Friday, July 27, 2012

Didn't I see you down in San Antone' on a hot and dusty night?

by Dick Mac

Yesterday, Mick Jagger . . . that's Sir Michael Philip Jagger, thank you very much . . . celebrated his 69th birthday.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Non-Existent Voter Fraud Campaign

by Dick Mac

Right-wingers have been trying to prevent poor people from voting only in the past 15 years.  The 15 years before that, most people (including the poor) thought that voting for right-wingers would bring them untold riches, a la Ronald Reagan's promises.

Then, poor people began to see that voting right-wing is a huge mistake, and they started voting for moderates (there are few left-wingers in American electoral politics).

So, the right-wing is making it harder for poor people to vote.

The right-wing warns that voter fraud is rampant and voting laws must be tightened to protect . . . well, themselves, I guess.

The preponderance of voter fraud is a laugh.  In the years 2000 - 2010, the years of the strongest anti-voting campaigning, 13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation were reported.

That's 13 out of 649,000,000 votes case in ten years.

In that same time period 441 Americans were reported killed by lightning and 47,000 UFO sightings were reported.

Why does science fiction seem so realistic and right-wing politics like a plan from outer space?

UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Movin' On Up . . .

by Dick Mac

Sherman Hemsley was most famous for his role as George Jefferson on the television shows All in the Family and The Jeffersons.

He died yesterday at the age of 74.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dignity In Life, Dignity In Death: Damn Norwegians

by Dick Mac

Sally Ride's sister, Karen "Bear" Ride, spoke to the media about her sister, and explained that her sister had been Norwegian all her life!

I never knew Sally Ride was Norwegian!

What has our country come to when a Norwegian can work openly and freely in a government agency, without anyone ever having known?

How am I supposed to explain to my daughter that this hero wasn't who we thought she was? How am I supposed to let my daughter emulate Sally Ride, now that I know she was a Norwegian?

If God had intended astronauts to be Norwegian, he would have started the space program in Drammen or Kongsberg or Koppang. God never would have started NASA in the United States if he intended Norwegians to be involved.

That all sounds pretty silly, doesn't it!

"Sally didn't use labels, " Bear Ride said about her sister. "Sally had a very fundamental sense of privacy, it was just her nature, because we're Norwegians, through and through."

Her heritage did not define her as a person, define her career path, or define her reputation as an American hero. She is just "Sally Ride." Yes she was a "Ph.D." from Stanford University, and she was a "wife" to Steven Hawley for five years, and she was a "daughter," "sister," and "aunt" to her family.

Her sexual orientation also did not define her. She was the "partner" of Dr. Tam O'Shaughnessy for the last 27 years of her life. Sally had known Tam O'Shaughnessy for fifty years, and the two lived the life of a successful couple, with family, friends, careers, desires, wishes, hopes, dreams, fears, and all the same things as you and me.

"I hope it makes it easier for kids growing up gay that they know that another one of their heroes was like them," Bear Ride said.

Sally Ride was a private person who dedicated her life to education. Nobody knew she was a lesbian, because that was not something Sally Ride would discuss, anymore than she discussed being Norwegian. She discussed science and space, and she was a teacher, role-model and hero to many.

Sure, she was Norwegian; but, I think we should overlook that and not allow it to taint her legacy.


Memorium:  Donate to the Pancreatic Cancer Initiative in Sally Ride's honor

BuzzFeed: First Female U.S. Astronaut, Sally Ride, Comes Out In Obituary

USA Today: Sally Ride, first U.S. woman in space, dies at 61

Fox: America's first female astronaut Sally Ride dies

International Business Times:  Tam O'Shaughnessy: About Sally Ride's Partner Of 27 Years

Monday, July 23, 2012

All You Want To Do Is Ride Around Sally

by Dick Mac

Each time I hear mention of the astronaut Sally Ride, all I can think of is Wilson Pickett's song "Mustang Sally" that includes the lines:
All you want to do is ride around, Sally. Ride Sally ride.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the youngest American (at that time), and first American woman to fly into space. She was on the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger

In 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after take-off, Ride was appointed to the presidential commission to investigate the incident.

She left NASA in 1987, became a professor at Stanford, and launched Sally Ride Science, a company that created informative science programs and entertainment-style publications geared towards middle-school aged girls.

This morning, Sally Ride succumbed to pancreatic cancer, after a year-and-a-half of treatments.

She was 61.


Ride, Sally Ride!

1951 - 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

What's Grandpa Doing?

by Dick Mac

Some people are really funny.

Comedians tend to be funnier than most.

Some comedians tend to be funnier than other comedians.

Eddie Izzard is a funny man. A funny comedian.

Throughout the history of Western Civilization, the funny people: clowns, jesters, comedians, etc., tend to be the brightest people. They are keenly aware of those around them, what makes us tick, what makes us laugh, what moves us.

Eddie Izzard is most certainly one of those people:

Then there are the stupid people:  Mass Shooting at Colo. Movie Theater, 12 People Dead

In America today, the stupid people have as much credibility as the smart people!  As well they should:  they have guns and they use them!


Remember:  guns don't kill people, people kill people.  And monkeys kill people, if they have guns.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

God's Plan

by Dick Mac

In the 1972 film "The Concert For Bangladesh," Billy Preston offers his notions of God's plan for us, in this wonderful performance of "That's The Way God Planned It."

I was a big Billy Preston fan and saw a remarkable performance by him at Boston Garden, in 1974.  He was one of the two opening acts for the George Harrison tour.

Preston absolutely stole the show, and Harrison's set was best when Preston joined him on stage.  (The rest of Harrison's set was actually quite a yawner, I'm sorry to say).

Most people don't know, or don't remember, or don't realize that Billy Preston is the only musician to be a member of both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The line-up for his album "That's The Way God Planned It" looks like this:

Billy Preston – vocals, piano, organ
George Harrison – guitars, Moog, sitar
Eric Clapton – guitar
Keith Richards – bass
Ginger Baker – drums

An impressive line-up

I'll bet you knew this wasn't going to be an article only about Billy Preston! It's also about God. Eric Clapton is God. Billy Preston is God. You are God. I am God. You see, that's the way God planned it should be!

I have always been amused by the penchant of the right-wing (so-called "conservatives") to blame everybody else for everything that happens around them, in their lives, and to them.

American right-wingers are unable to have the courage of their convictions because they assume no responsibility for anything. They are just victims of the elitist homosexual socialist intellectuals who are trying to cram something or another down their throats.

(As an aside, I am always amused when right-wingers refer to gay rights as having homosexuality crammed down their throats! They say it all the time! Do they fail to see the irony in referring to homosexuality as something being crammed down one's throat? Tee-hee!)

Back to the blame game (as they like to all it):

On the one hand, America is a mess because the government is bad and is doing bad things with the bad taxes being collected from the poor, long-suffering conservatives. You see, it's not their fault, it's your fault.

On the other hand, everything is just as God planned it and this is why homosexuals got AIDS, and black people were slaves, and women menstruate. You see, homophobia, racism, and misogyny are supposed to exist. That's the way God planned it! It's not their fault, It's God's fault.

The latest in the God-excuse arena is a murderer who is sorry. It was God's plan that he would kill his victim so that he could have the spiritual awakening that explains-away his crime and allows him to live free from sin, fear, and retribution. He did nothing wrong. He only carried-out the will of God.

The truth is, of course, that this ass is totally OK with his actions because he's an idiot, racist fuck with "conservative" beliefs and too many guns at his disposal; not because it was just the way God planned - just the way God wants it to be.

George Zimmerman is a murderer who killed a 17-year-old boy.

As my friend Brian remarked: "Hopefully it's also in God's plan for him to spend a big chunk of his life behind bars."


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rise & Shine, The Jay DeMerit Story now available on iTunes

by Dick Mac

Even if you are not a soccer fan, the story of Jay DeMerit is amazing.  It is an American success story about a young man's hard work, ingenuity and perseverance.

After graduating, it was assumed by everyone that DeMerit would sign-on with an MLS team, likely the Chicago Fire with whom he had a minor league tryout.

Oddly, it never happened, and this very talented athlete was without a job.  He decided to take matters, and his future, into his own hands.

This movie discusses DeMerit's travels around Europe, living hand to mouth, and off the kindness of strangers, trying to get a tryout with a professional soccer team.

European teams did not (and some still do not) consider American players worthy of a look.  He never lost hope and eventually landed in the English Premier League (the best soccer league in the world).  

A remarkable success story.

After ten years in England, DeMerit returned to America and the MLS.  He is currently playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The documentary was made on a shoestring budget and is worth every minute.

It has had a number of showings throughout the country and at festivals, but has not been the easiest ticket to buy.

It is now available for download at iTunes, and as of this writing is the #2 sports movie on their list.

You don't even have to leave the privacy of your home.  Just open your iTunes account, buy the movie, pop some corn, sit in front of your television, and enjoy!

Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, at iTunes
Get it at Amazon
Get it at eBay
Jay DeMerit, at wikipedia

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bob Babbitt, Bassist, 1937 - 2012

by Dick Mac

There are few bass lines more readily identifiable by my generation than this:

If you are over 50 you have likely heard that riff repeatedly throughout your life.  It is the opening of a Motown hit.  It was created by Bob Babbitt, a Funk Brother.

It is amazing to me that any of the Funk Brothers would be 74 years-old.  Harder to accept, still, is that they are not all going to be with us forever. 

Bob Babbitt died yesterday, July 16, 2012.

Rest in peace. 


Monday, July 16, 2012

It's all I ever wanted

by Dick Mac

Friday, July 13, 2012

From A Whisper To A Scream

by Dick Mac

This wonderful song by its writer, Allen Toussaint, then a live performance by Glenn Tilbrook, then a low-quality copy of Elvis Costello's studio recording:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Subsidize This!

by Dick Mac

One of the saddest by-products of America's movement towards the right-wing the past few decades is the absurd notion that one person's stupidity is just as valid and important as another person's intelligence.

Smart people are called "elitists."

Right-wingers like to demean a smart person by calling her an "intellectual," as if intellect is some kind of mental health disorder, or worse, it's like socialism.

Stupidity is rampant; and it's not just American right-wingers who bask in its glory.  It's a universal truth.
Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense. . . .
See, wikipedia.
Just like parents who've removed competition from their child's life by having every team and every challenger awarded a prize, because he's a winner just for showing-up, we have allowed stupid people to think that their thoughts are just as important, and their ideas just as valid, as those of intelligent people.

Ronald Reagan is the hero of the stupid.  He was the politician that convinced poor people they weren't poor, and convinced working people that it was because of poor people that they didn't have enough money.

He convinced the majority of Americans that by taking their money and giving it to the people with the most money, that everyone would get more money.  Even the lowly poor people.

We used to call these people "stupid"!  Now we call them "conservatives"!

This trick was successful because Reagan had convinced people that all their money was already being given to poor people who didn't want to work.  The "welfare queens" were robbing us blind.  A stupid person actually believes that poor people have taken, or are getting, all the money.  An intelligent person has familiarity with mathematics, and doesn't need to spend a lot of time counting on his fingers and toes to conclude that poor people aren't getting all the money, because then they wouldn't actually be poor people anymore!  (An intelligent "conservative" just rationalizes that welfare for the poor is somehow unAmerican because it is socialism.)  But, let's take off our gloves and our socks, loosen all our fingers and toes, and do a little math!

Let's say that 100,000,000 Americans are on welfare, one-third of our population.  That is a gross exaggeration, of course; but, for argument's sake we will use that number.

A family of four receives approximately $900 in welfare payments and $400 in food stamps.  So that's $1,300 per month, or roughly $15,600 a year.  Not much less than a minimum-wage worker, actually.

If one-third of the American people are on welfare, it costs a few billion dollars a year to support them.    

Thirteen hundred dollars per month for twenty-five million families of four for twelve months:


Just under three billion dollars.

In reality, about 30,000,000 Americans are receiving welfare benefits (ten percent of the population), so the annual cost is actually about $812,500,000:  less than a billion dollars.  Let's add 25% as a margin of error, and that number gets all the way up to $1,015,625,000, just over a billion dollars.

How much did we give the millionaires and billionaires over the past few years?  A lot!  And they are not even one percent of the population; because not every millionaire and billionaire received this windfall, only the bankers.  I don't know the exact number each banker received, but they all got a hell of a lot more than the equivalent of $15,600 in each of the years we have been bailing them out.  They have received trillions of dollars.  Free money.  Money taken from the hands of those who earn a hell of a lot less than your average banker.

Back to "welfare"!

Sadly, some "smart" people cop to the myth of conservatism, too.  

Intellectuals who preach notions of conservatism have language skills that help them make their stupid position sound like history and reality.  Because they know the math is fraudulent and the notion that poor people cause economic hardship for the rest of us is absurd, they couch their argument to subsidize the rich and not the poor in a discussion of what they call "libertarianism."  (For those who are unfamiliar:  libertarianism is a mythical social, political, and economic philosophy that has never existed among human beings.)  

The notions of "libertarianism" are adorable when passionately presented by teenagers and twenty-somethings who are honing their intellectual skills and trying to grasp the reality of life in the real world.  I absolutely love hearing a young intellectual promote the notions of "libertarianism."  It is a sign of intelligence when a young person waxes eloquently about "libertarianism."  

A young person should be energized by someone like Ron Paul.  He preaches a mythical land of Reagantopia, where "libertarianism" rules and everybody is freer than free, where they can smoke weed, and spend all their money on anything they want because they don't have to pay taxes or subsidize the poor.  (But, they probably will have to subsidize the rich; we just won't talk about that.)

After a few years in the workplace, facing real economic and financial realities, smart children generally grow out of this phase.  It is most unbecoming when an adult, someone who should know better, promotes the notions of "libertarianism."  Their argument is that the government shouldn't be in the business of providing benefits to anyone.  Nobody should receive subsidies.  

When you go deeper with them, however, the things they need are important and should be managed or subsidized by the government, whereas the things poor people need are frivolous, and provision of those things is socialism.

Are stupid people bad?  

No.  Stupid people can be dangerous, because they lack sense; but they are not in-and-of-themselves intrinsically bad.  

Should stupid people be given a voice at the table of political debate, international diplomacy, and economic planning?  

Probably not in a civilized society.  

Let me re-phrase that:  "NO!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Most Important Thing Is That We Cut Taxes

 by Dick Mac

People who tell you that the notions I put forward here are just as much the fault of Democrats as Republicans are lying.  It is not true.  Like much of what the right-wing believes, it is a myth.

As we cut-off our noses to spite our faces, our nation is going right down the economic shitter.

The post-Reagan Republicans (even the socially liberal ones) with their fairy-tales about small government (that has never existed) and low taxes (which have never existed) and unregulated corporate avarice (which has always led to economic failure), sit smugly and rant on about some foolish notions they call Libertarianism (which has ever existed).  These fairy tale notions that are being developed into governmental policy are leading us to ruin.

There is allegedly some good reason why we must cut taxes everywhere at all times. This notion is based on a lie that our government is too big.  Of course, the right-wing doesn't want to shrink the parts of the government from which they benefit.  You see, the stuff they think is important is necessary and protected by the Constitution, while the stuff niggers and queers and socialists think is important is frivolity.  

Every benefit "conservatives" enjoys is a necessity, and every benefit they do not use is socialism.

There is nothing more absurd than someone who works for a bank or other financial institution complaining about "welfare" or "government interference" or "socialism"!

Line-up a thousand bankers and a huge percentage of them are "conservative" or "anti-big-government" or "libertarians" and don't forget the best:  "socially liberal but fiscally conservative"!  What that really means is:  "I want the right to indulge in every self-satisfying pleasure at every whim without repercussion, and you can have that to; but I don't want to pay for a government that would protect that right."

After thirty years of treating this mythical Reagantopia as reality, I can't believe there are working people who still think it can work and that it's a good idea!  I know why gazillionaires believe in this stuff:  they really do save huge, massive sums of money that can then be horded.  But why anyone earning less than a half-million dollars a year would subscribe to this stuff remains mind-boggling.

I do understand that we Americans all consider ourselves millionaires-in-waiting who are just a breath, one hair away from the good fortune that will bring the windfall we know we deserve.  Then all these absurd laws that define our fiscal fairy-tale will be in place for us.  So, we need to support the right-wing now, because their insane demands of today will protect us tomorrow.

In Reagantopia, the bankers are unicorns and the clerks are leprechauns!  

You can't have both Reaganomics and a successful economy with which to build a civilization.  

You can have:

  1. Reaganomics, which leads to the Reagantopia where the economy is in free-fall, and working people use their taxes to prop up the myth; or,
  2. you can have an actual civilization with real fiscal policies based on sound mathematical equations.  

The former is really inexpensive and fast-moving, the latter is expensive and its wheels turn slowly and deliberately.  

You can't have both.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, (the heartland of Reagantopia) it has come to this:  the firefighters and cops are being paid minimum wage. Their contracts have been nullified and guys with families who earned $900 a week are now paid $300 a week.  This is great for the wealthy people whose taxes have been reduced and reduced and reduced over the past thirty years.  That tiny group of people is quite happy about this arrangement.  It's not good for the cops and firefighters.

I really want to take the side of the the firefighters and be outraged by this.  

Sadly, firefighters so often vote Republican -- vote against their own best interests -- that I actually think it's kind of funny that they are upset.  This is what Reaganomis promised them!  Now, they're all upset because they discover they will not benefit one iota from these fairy-tale tax policies promoted in Reagantopia.  

Odder still, is that as as these firefighters sit fuming about their horrible situation, they have Fox News blaring in the background telling them it's Barack Obama's fault because he's a socialist who wants to destroy America.  They will listen to their lords and masters at Fox News and vote for Republicans (they'll even vote for Mitt Romney) this Autumn.  They will sigh a sigh of relief when the socialists are voted out, and they will actually believe that Republican lawmakers will cut spending, reduce overhead, solidify the economy, and protect Constitutional freedom (as if they actually know what that means).

I support workers' rights to collective bargaining, and I support unions, and I believe that the working man in America needs to be protected from management's whims.  But when you look at a group of workers who consistently vote against their own best interests, it's hard to feel sorry when they get what they've been promised.

If you support the notion of small-government, and you are a government employee, then you believe your job should be eliminated.


You can't have it both ways!

The plan of the Republican party is to completely gut all government services, privatize what they must retain,  and eliminate anything they don't like.

Any firefighter who votes (or ever voted) Republican is voting against his own existence.  They don't want firefighters on the government payroll.  They want that service privatized.  

You think it sucks to make only $7.25 an hour?  Wait until you are earning $7.25 an hour with no benefits; because that's what our privatized governments services will pay their workers.  That's what the Republicans will bring you.

I promise!

Scranton mayor slashes pay for all city workers—including police and firefighters—to minimum

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Of The Heap

 by Dick Mac

I am a long-suffering sports fan.

I grew-up a Boston Red Sox fan, a devoted follower of baseball.  I visited parks around the country any time I could.  Major League, minor league, park league, little league . . . I would watch it.

I worshiped at the shrine of baseball for forty years. In 2003, I washed my hands of the sport, never having seen my team win the championship.

The Red Sox, of course, went on to win the World Series the following year, without me.

I left baseball because of my passion. I am passionate about some things: sports, art, spirituality, and politics being the top four. In 2003, Major League Baseball took a political stand that offended me so deeply that I really can't be bothered anymore. (I don't need to go into why, but you can follow these links, if you care: Petroskey Shames Hall and Baseball Hall Of Fame – The Bull Durham Debacle.)

I had spent quite a bit of time in London at the beginning of the 2000s, and another American ex-pat brought me to my first English soccer match. Because English television broadcast only one baseball game per week (the ESPN Sunday night game), and it started at 1:00 A.M. local time, I had a difficult time with sports entertainment.

Arsenal Football Club became my new focus. So, when Major League Baseball lost me in 2003, I had a team awaiting my allegiance: Arsenal! And they got my allegiance.

I was in love with Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Denis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera, Freddie Ljungberg, David Seaman, Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell, manager Arsene Wenger, and the rest of them. I worked hard to get access to Arsenal matches in New York City. It's much easier now-a-says, but in 2003, it wasn't easy to see English soccer matches.

I also became a season-ticket holder for my local MLS team, the Metrostars.

Having been a life-long Red Sox fan, the Metrostars were a perfect team for me: heartbreaking at every opportunity. A year after my daughter was born, I had to take a break and become a dad. Gong to soccer matches was really not in the cards anymore, so I let go of my tickets.

In my absence (I was only gone a moment), MetroMedia sold my team to Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company with new investments in many sports around the world. My team became Red Bull New York. I was not pleased, but what can you do? We do not have a second team in New York, and well, I always had Arsenal.

I got new season tickets and returned to Giants Stadium to watch my team. We signed Juan Pablo Angel, the Colombian striker who'd had a very respectable career with River Plate in Argentina, Aston Villa in England, and on the Colombian national team.

It was a good signing, and I loved watching Angel play.

He was very discouraged about the attendance at Giants Stadium as were all players. It was an 80,000 seat stadium with ten thousand fans scattered around the lower bowl. Even when we had a big crowd, the place looked empty.

One day I read an article n a local media website about Thierry Henry, my all-time favorite athlete, formerly of Arsenal and who at that time was playing for FC Barcelona, told a reporter that he wanted to retire to New York City and perhaps he could end his career playing for the Red Bulls.

I nearly wet my pants. Ask anyone who had to suffer my enthusiasm. I was over-the-moon.

The next Summer, FC Barcelona came to Giants Stadium to play an exhibition match against my Red Bulls. Henry was with them, so obviously he hadn't signed with New York.

My daughter and I watched an amazing display of athletic prowess during the clinic Barcelona put on for Red Bull New York.

And there was Thierry Henry, in the unmistakable red and blue striped uniform of his team. I was watching him play again, live in a stadium and I was happy.

During this visit, Henry again said he would be retiring to New York City, because it is the greatest city in the world. And, perhaps, he said, he could finish his career playing for the Red Bulls.

What to believe?

Is he being polite and generous with the interviewer by giving him a great story, or does he really want to play on my team.

The next season started and he was still signed to FC Barcelona, and relegated to the bench. He was older than many teammates, and his role had changed.

When the La Liga season ended, Henry was rumored to be looking for a home in New York and a member of the Red Bulls front office told me that he was in the midst of negotiations with the team. I was sworn to secrecy, I honored that oath, and only discussed it when somebody else mentioned the possibility.

David Beckham had signed with Los Angeles, so there was now a precedent for a bib-time European player to sign with an MLS team.

Then it happened!

Thierry Henry signed with the Red Bulls. My all-time favorite athlete, the French god of soccer, signed a contract with my team! Not only that, he convinced Barcelona teammate, and captain of the Mexico national team, Rafa Marquez, to sign as well.

My team now had Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez!

And they came at a price. A high price.

Not only did they get a lot of money, Henry's arrival meant Juan Pablo Angel's departure. A huge loss for me and my daughter. To this day, I am an avid Juan Pablo Angel fan, and will cheer for him at any opportunity.

Now my team had the two highest-paid players in Major League Soccer. This meant that the silverware would start to accumulate.

But it hasn't.

I love my team. All of my team. All of the players are my players and my favorite player of all time is on my team. I am a lucky man.

Although we have not gotten to the top of the heap as a team, we are top of the heap as an employer: Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez are the highest- and second-highest paid players in the league. David Beckham is third.

Here's the list of top ten salaries in MLS:

Top 10 highest paid MLS player

Monday, July 09, 2012

Adopted or abducted?

The wall of the House of Good Shepherd,
Huntington Avenue, Boston
by Dick Mac

The House of Good Shepherd was ensconced behind a long brick wall at 841 Huntington Avenue, in Boston, that ran along Huntington Avenue from Kempton Street for a quarter-mile, almost to the Brookline border, and from Huntington Avenue back almost another quarter-mile, to the Riverway.  It was a bucolic area in the middle of what was soon-to-become urban decay.

It was ostensibly a school, and may have been one when it was first opened.  By the mid-1960s, it was known as the place where bad girls were sent.  In reality, it was an orphanage.

I knew some bad girls, but none of them ever went to the House of Good Shepherd.

Much is discussed in the media and around debating tables about the crime of priests diddling little boys.  Almost nothing is said of priests who diddled or abused little girls, young women, and adult women.

After all, they are just women and this is America, so not much would be made of a woman being sexually abused.  As we all know, if a woman is sexually abused she must have been asking for it.  "Why was she there in the first place?"  "Why was she dressed like that?"  "She should have known something like this would happen."  We've all heard those responses to hearing about a woman being sexually assaulted or abused.  We may even have said or intimated the same thin ourselves.

Women being sexually abused int he Catholic Church is a non-story.  it is neither sensationalized nor well-documented.  It happened, possibly as much as boys and men being sexually abused by priests; but it is not an important story in America.

Women suffered a much worse fate in Catholic communities.

We all pretend that women aren't supposed to get married until they are married.

We all pretend that child-birth out-of-wedlock and shotgun-weddings are the result of our permissive lifestyle.  The truth is that children have been conceived outside of wedlock sine the dawn of man.  The notion that a woman is supposed to be married before she has sex, is a quaint and horrific myth that turns all sexually active women into sluts and 'girls who deserved it.'

Because that myth has existed for so long, many sexually active young women have been taken advantage of and abused by their parents and those whom they trusted the most.

I am not saying their parents sexually molested them, although there is a certain amount of statistical data that proves most women who are raped are raped by a family member:  father, brother, uncle, or a close friend.

The betrayal that a sexually active young woman experienced, as recently as the 1980s, took place if she became pregnant out-of-wedlock.

There was a time, and if you are old enough to read this it may have taken place in your life time, when a pregnant girl was sent away to school.  Generally a school far away from home.  She would live there until she gave birth.  The baby would be taken from her and sold into adoption.

I know we are not supposed to use the word sold when discussing adoption, but as soon as one penny changes hands, it is a sale.  You can call that exchange of money an application fee, or an administrative fee; but, it makes the adoption a sale:  cash and carry.

Young women would live for six or seven months, away from home, with no friends, in a Catholic "school," give birth, and never see her baby.

Catholic Charities would then find a lovely family with a lovely home and a lovely income in a lovely neighborhood.

The young woman would then be sent home, back to her local school, and everyone would act as as if nothing had happened.

Many of the infants sold into adoption were raised nearby their biological mothers; but, neither the adoptive family nor the biological mother knew each other and would have no way of knowing that for decades afterwards, the separated mother and child lived in the same area.

This happened because of federal laws enacted at the beginning of the 20th Century that forbid the transport of minors across state lines.  These laws were intended to prevent "white slavery," which we know today as "sexual slavery."  The laws are relatively successful, and an unintended outcome of their passage was the placement of adoptive children in the same state in which they were born.

The mother was a minor when she became pregnant, so she could not be transported very far away, off to another state; nor could the infant child be legally moved out-of-state.  Also, transportation options in much of the 20th Century were still expensive, limited and archaic; so, it was not realistic to send the pregnant teenager or the infant child a very long distance.

Why would these girls give-up their babies?

Some/Many/Most of them did not want to give up their babies.  I have actually never heard a woman say:  "Oh, goodie, I can get rid of this kid."  I don't think it happens that way.  Ever.  And if you want to isolate some urban tale about a woman who you heard once wanted to get rid of her baby, that does not make it a cultural imperative.

The girls were sent off to places like the House of Good Shepherd.  Attended school classes, slept in dormitories with other pregnant girls, went into labor, delivered their child into the hands of a waiting nurse/nun, and as she cried to hold her baby, the infant was whisked out of the room and documented.  The next lucky family on the list would receive a call, and within a few short days, the sale would be complete.

The new, childless mother would be left depressed and angry, alone, in a huge compound, now separated from the other pregnant girls, awaiting her time to "go home."

If you think this is a weird or uncommon story.  Think again.

If you think my portrayal of the episode is melodramatic, then put your self in the shoes of the girl and think it through.

What the Catholic Church did to these women, with the complete cooperation of the girls' families, is a travesty.  If you think it through, and I beg you to think it through, it sort of makes a teenage boy getting a blow job seem almost like a day in the park.  I do not intend to diminish the horror of childhood sexual abuse; but I am in awe of the fact that the abuse of boys is such a scandal, but the abuse of girls is matter-of-fact.

There has been an amazing backlash against the Catholic Church for the abuse of boys and young men.

Nothing is ever said about this horrendous activity against girls and young women.

Fortunately, some in the media have tried to shed a light on this history.

The light will only shine long enough to expose the horror if you are wiling to point the light on it.

Think about this story.

Think about what happened to these girls and young women.

Think about those you know who were adopted.  Think about their biological mothers.

These are not easy thoughts.  And they should not be easy thoughts.

This was a travesty.

It needs to be more public.

See, Adopted or abducted?

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Replacements - "Alex Chilton" - Original Music Video

by  Dick Mac

I still can't believe Alex Chilton is dead! He survived Katrina only to be taken from us while still so young.