*Gasp!* Jillian Michaels speaks her truth!

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I am aghast at the comments on a recent Salon Broadsheet post about Jillian Michaels saying (re: pregnancy) that she didn’t “want to do that to her body.”

What year is it again???

It never ceases to amaze me that even women who support “a woman’s right to choose” get their panties in a twist when that right to choose leads a woman to remain child-free (or adopt rather than permanently alter their bodies.)

The insidious undercurrent (of which those of us who have chosen not to procreate are well aware) is that a woman’s primary charter is to breed, and that by not doing so she is somehow violating her purpose in life, or being “selfish.”

Hogwash!

Maternity Fascists in this country are sickening.  Since when does the (often enough to be significant) “accident” of getting pregnant elevate a woman to the status of “hero?”  Since when is adding to an overpopulated world something to honor or celebrate?

I’m all for propagating the race and all (where would we be without it?) Just suggesting that perhaps we shouldn’t fawn all over women who choose to breed…any more than we do women who choose to wear yellow or cook green beans on Tuesdays.

Good for Jillian, for having the courage to ignore the Maternity Fascists and admit that she chooses to keep the body she’s worked hard for instead of succumbing to peer pressure and altering it irreparably.

The only “body issues” that seem to be at issue here are those of the women who chose to breed and now resent its impact on their bodies, who seek a scapegoat for their disappointment rather than acknowledge and accept that there’s a physical impact from breeding that not every woman is willing to sustain.

Get over it, ladies!

Click here to see the post that set me off.

Healthcare Reform Passes!

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Dear Cynics,

First you said he couldn’t be elected.

When we got him elected, you said “they” would never let him get anything done.

When he accomplished what he intended, despite “their” resistance, you said “What, exactly, has he done?”

When we listed myriad, important policy changes by Executive Order in his first 10 days, you claimed it was window-dressing, that it meant nothing, and ridiculed his promise of “change.”

What do you say to this?   Historic Health Reform Measure Clears Congress

Call it “PR” if you must, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is the most positive impact Congress or any President has had on Americans since Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants and the war mongering obstructionists took “power.”

The SWMs are sleeping more fitfully now.  There may be backlash, so brace for lots of blustering and noise….but there is no leg to stand on, when the ship of state is trimming down and toning up….no longer the wounded, flabby carcass the previous Tenant-in-Chief left in his wake.

For a year, I’ve been saying there was more forward motion going on in this Administration than the MSM simpletons had vocabulary to describe or several thickheaded Congressmen/Senators had the integrity to participate in willingly.

We can trust the President’s integrity, work ethic and point of view, and that alone is worth the price of admission, after decades of it being ill-advised to do so.   I admit to an inordinate sense of justice, when the man they called “weak” for wanting to achieve bi-partisanship went as far as he deemed reasonable, then got it done…. (or, wait….flashback alert….”Got ‘er done” in Shrub-era slang.)

One word for anyone in the pack who objects to healthcare reform on finance/deficit grounds:  Iraq.   Where were your deficit objections when multiple (and blind) budget increases passed 2003 – 2009,  allowing billions of taxpayer dollars to remain unaccounted-for in that country, even today….  just one among many abominations which happened there while many of us watched American Idol and “went shopping” as instructed.

People rise to our expectations for them.  You thought we’d seen the last of Congress doing the right thing by us, and there was plenty of evidence to support that belief.  Now we must re-frame our expectations and hold them to a higher standard and more accountable than we have (for many of us in our lifetimes.)

This requires vigilance on our part.  It requires that we be responsible for  who we elect; that we consider it important enough to make a priority.  Some might balk at the added demand on our time and energy, but this citizen, for one, is only too happy to embrace it.

Today I saw a post on “Sex, Money and Life” (GREAT blog, btw….follow the link below to read it) about people driving slowly in the passing lane, holding up one line or another by being slow and unprepared…..and it made me think.   Here’s where I took it:

Whenever something like this happens, I think, “No problem lady/mister, there’s no one in the world but you.” This deflects ire and reminds me that people are too often (and sometimes dangerously) not present in the world or cognizant of the impact their choices have on the rest of us.

The next thought is always to summon compassion. I mean, do you want to be THAT person, Mr/Ms Magoo, stumbling through the world, not present, for even a moment?

The “Self-Appointed Guardians of the Speed Limit” are very likely frustrated people who feel so powerless in their own lives that they sieze control of whatever 5’x5′ space they can, whenever they have the chance. Do you want to be THAT person?

A friend gave me a great idea about handling these kinds of daily frustrations: imagine in the moment that this person is distracted because their child is in the hospital, seriously ill….or that they recently lost a parent or spouse, and have a really good reason not to be present.

While some of us are very aware of our surroundings, and organize our thoughts and intentions with expert skill, we are about .5% of the population….and with that blessing comes the “burden” of cultivating compassion for slower, plodding, clueless “others.”

When I hear myself saying “People are so f*&%ing stupid” and want to keep my own ego in check, I remember the time, just after I found out my dad in PA had been diagnosed with leukemia, that I sat through three light cycles at an intersection, not even hearing the blaring horns or seeing the flipping birds around me…..

Thanks for the reminder to summon compassion whenever I feel the familiar tug of judgment or the sound of “If everyone would just listen to ME, this world would work so much better!” which, even if it only happens once or twice a month) will drown out the joy in my life too often for my taste….

Enjoy your day!

MsCellaneous

Check out Sex, Money and Life:

http://sexmoneyandlife.blogspot.com/2010/02/it-must-be-me-part-ii.html?showComment=1265662123618_AIe9_BFkc7HZwSbXU4xjoFaZwE4rYncz2JzYWODaDsnELxv_tfMFw0JX69gqsLR_Vu9gTVkjab2r7njP6t2bmowZ5Qil4ufSFC1OjHjs1vq0qBFN_kaVoywVduStXdvCrDMiDXkWtKfbFY8KpMDhFlCx8ezoXBoWtz8b7OHpozI3vQY6J3sEgRNK0Gv2Tpp5GiqfKOcO3ujza6Gys335QsYJotEs0OcEn4rPUiA9eIv7kCD1QiDBqJo#c2491101467065538391

Glad your “I told you so” moment was good for you, Joan

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In response to Joan Walsh’s article on Tom Hayden’s letter endorsing Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign (link below.)

I campaigned every day, from the moment the President announced his candidacy until election day 2008, and I would do it again.  I never drank any Kool-Aid.

Mr Hayden did not say anything which hasn’t played out in real life.  Though his over-the-top prose is rare outside the halls of Congress, he said nothing wrong or misaligned with what is happening today.

Anyone with half a brain never expects to agree (or blindly support) everything Mr Obama (or any President) says or does. To expect that is not only unrealistic, it is juvenile and unsustainable in a country this size.  (Did we learn nothing from the goose-stepping mob which followed “W” around for 8 years, fawning and sycophantic, while he ran our country into the ground?)

After the past 8 years, our President is a breath of fresh (intelligent, literate, compassionate and sensible) air.  While I disagree with his choice to send more troops to Afghanistan because it puts more people at risk, I am also willing to admit (because I am not a sanctimonious blowhard) that Mr Obama is a whole lot smarter and has a whole lot more information at his disposal than I do, which he undoubtedly used to reach his conclusions.

We live in a complex, interdependent world.  At last, can we at least be grateful for (and respectful toward) the man who stepped into the worst situation the US has known in decades, rolled up his sleeves and committed to do the best he can?   Can we spend at least as much time acknowledging what he has done RIGHT as we do snarking with our small, marginally informed minds about what we’d have him do differently?

At the very least, can we admit that he has spent the first year of his term cleaning up the mess left for him by the bumbling prior tenants of the Oval, and for god’s sake cut him some slack?

I watched Mr Obama’s address about Afghanistan, and feel very disturbed that he has chosen to take the course of action he has.  I also trust that he is a thoughtful, intelligent and capable man who considered every possible impact of every action before making that choice, unlike anyone has done for the past 9 years.

Lest we forget, Afghanistan would not even BE a situation today if those before him hadn’t so thoroughly botched it for decades, starting with the right’s beloved dingbat-in-chief, The Gipper.

At the very least, can we take a moment to acknowledge that this man has, in his top 10 priorities, the wellbeing of actual people (other than the chattering classes) in mind?  That is more than we can say for just about anyone who came before him on this path.

I find all of this snarking from the left sickening.  I’m surprised to see it on Salon, of all places…though I shouldn’t be, since (along with the maligned MSM) Salon has been flirting with the goose-steppers for years, and in one way or another, selling out just as they accuse Mr. Obama of doing.

Step back, for god’s sake, and let the man do his job.   A majority of you voted for him (again, unlike the last guy.)  Why not try a little TRUST?  He’s not any of our exes, paving the way for years of suspicion when a new love comes into our lives.  He’s the one in office NOW, and deserves to be evaluated on his own merits….many of which there has been inadequate time for him to demonstrate.  It’s the least we can do, given that we gave the last guy 8 years to fumble the ball time and time again.

By the way, I’d like to know…where are all of the people who, during the last administration, called it “unpatriotic” to question the Commander in Chief?  Let’s see….what’s different about this President, that would make it OK to treat him with less deference than the last guy in office?

I’m wracking my brain.

What prompted this post:     http://bit.ly/7bMdB7

Two out of three???

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There is nothing “tangential” about the relationship between eating right/exercise and health care. If anything, “preventive care” is tangentially related to the health care debate, if you’re referring to MDs and/or big pharma’s stranglehold on our sick care system.

If people ate real food, instead of dessicated, preservative loaded food-like substances, and moved around for an hour or so a day (trips to the fridge during commercials don’t count) then there is little doubt that the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and maybe even cancer would be reduced, in effect lightening the load on the system.

Status quo in the sick care system has made us steadily fatter and sicker for decades. Let’s be honest ~ it wasn’t until HMOs were invented (aka Insurance “Death Panels”) that health care became problematic. Before then, if you were sick you went to the doctor, and the insurance you’d paid premiums for covered it. Get lawyers and insurance people together and anything will end up FUBAR.

I admire the First Lady for being a living example of what she believes about health and wellbeing. Hopefully people will be gracious enough to be helped by her efforts instead of dismissing it on principle because they don’t like her husband.

Come to think of it, there seems to be a preponderance of pasty, overweight white people holding those signs calling Obama a “Nazi”…..Not only are they funded indirectly by Big Insurance and Big Pharma, but could there BE any doubt that they are on the wrong side of the health care issue, being walking proof of its abject failure to make us healthy?

See Ms Berman’s post here:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2009/09/17/michelle_obama_healthcare/index.html?source=newsletter

Memorial Day 2009

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Disclaimer: I do not purport to have any claim on The Truth….the following stream is just from my heart, in response to a dear friend’s forward of one of those Memorial Day emails…

My heart and mind struggle with this every Memorial Day. While I know I’m supposed to “honor and respect the fallen,” the most I have ever been able to muster is profound anger and sadness at the waste of human life on both sides of every conflict, how senseless and tragic it all is, and how many families will never be the same (or exist at all) because of the hubris, greed, violence and stupidity perpetrated by old (mostly white) men around the world, in every generation since time began….and the influence and control they’ve exerted over whole populations of people who drank the Kool-Aid.

Backing it up too many paces as usual, I suppose…In recent history (ie my lifetime) I see soldiers as mercenaries, since no war I’ve been alive for has really been about “defending ourselves,” but has instead been about mercenary, expedient self-interest. I know this is not a popular viewpoint, and have been called unpatriotic and worse for it, especially in the dismal past 8 years … I just always come back to one of the first political slogans I remember as a kid: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” That has always sounded like the very definition of a perfect world to me.

In my opinion, it has always been too easy to manipulate men into battle, under the banner of “patriotism, honor and duty” without (it seems) much thought about what the reality of war actually is/does. Beyond bragging rights, nothing good ever comes from perpetuating violence. Is it genetic? Are men just born with a proclivity for violence and weak resistance to the call? If you look at how men are with each other a lot of the time, it’s easy to understand the huge, dangerous, testosterone-driven games of chicken that have played out since the dawn of man. (I’m a raging feminist, as you know, but one thing about it stumps me: that women actually fight for their right to stand shoulder to shoulder with men in all of this….it’s beyond my comprehension. If women are nothing else, shouldn’t we be the voice of reason when hot heads prevail? I suppose that would be true if men actually listened to us en masse….but that’s another diatribe.)

The reason we don’t (all) speak Japanese or German is because the U.S. is a melting pot….always has been, always will be…and nothing will ever change that. That creates tension and pressures and enemies that many other countries don’t have, but that kind of diversity (and the right to express our views freely) is our charter, our birthright…and no amount of weapons or murder is necessary to sustain it. It is who we are. Take away the murder and pillage and occupation and empire-building, and it will still be us….maybe even stronger for choosing non-violence. That is an excellent theory that NO ONE has ever tested….the lure of glory on the battlefield has always dominated the collective consciousness, and everyone who has ever tried to refute its value has been either dismissed (if female) or ridiculed as “weak” (if male.)

If you look at history, the UK and the US have been responsible (directly or indirectly) for the vast majority of the slaughter and destruction in the world. It’s no wonder that some people hate us and want bad things to happen to us, if only to take us down a peg. Common sense dictates that doing the same thing over and over again (like being the world’s biggest arms dealer) will engender a substantial amount of animosity ~ and dismissing it as “jealousy” or “hating our freedom” misses the point entirely. Fear doesn’t endear or enroll people in our tenets, or build strong alliances. The biggest bully in the yard may not have many challengers, but he doesn’t make the friends he’ll need later in life either.

We are at the end of our adolescence as a country, and war is not only obsolete, but obviously doesn’t work as a “path to peace” ~ or we’d live in a peaceful world by now. The whole “defending freedom” line is and always has been bullshit propaganda to get men (and now women) all riled up and ready for slaughter/maiming. It’s time to outgrow our schoolyard bully tactics and start treating the rest of the world with the respect and compassion they deserve. Even our “enemies” have the right to believe what they believe. If we really want to spread “democracy and freedom” around the world, wouldn’t it be a good idea to start by demonstrating that we believe everyone has the right to believe what they believe, whether or not we agree with them?

I’m so sick of Bush & Co (and the entire GOP’s) tired, now-generations-long argument that if we appear “weak” the terrorists and/or enemies “win.” If we weren’t such hypocritical bullies, the “terrorists” would have no beef with us! If we didn’t casually desecrate their beliefs (by, say, putting female soldiers on bases in Saudi Arabia for starters ~ which was what put the bee in Bin Laden’s bonnet to begin with) or dismiss/belittle their religion as “fanatical” or “terrorist” (which, in my opinion is equally if not MORE applicable to their beloved Christianity) without even the courtesy of actually learning about it….what would “the terrorists” have to push back against? If the UK/US hadn’t arbitrarily decided to plunk European refugees in the middle of Palestine and call it “Israel” after WWII, what would the Palestinians be doing today? Probably living, working, raising their families and minding their own business the way they were before that travesty was visited upon them and blew their country to smithereens under a violent, arrogant, US-backed regime.

While we’re fantasizing about a perfect world, what’s wrong with others “winning” sometimes, in the form of “live and let live?” Gee, where have I heard THAT old chestnut before…..? Hmmmm…..

The Chinese say that water is the strongest element, because it is completely non-resistant, yet wears away stone in time. What would the world look like today if we hadn’t provoked (or perhaps even colluded with) the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor, to give what was a protectionist population at the time the rationale to mix it up and get a piece of the action in Europe, (while boosting our economy and becoming the world’s largest arms dealer during WWII?) What would the world look like if we hadn’t created a “cold war” to justify spending billions of dollars on our (and the world’s) arsenal in order to bankrupt the USSR and become the sole “superpower?” And now that we’ve accomplished that, what will we do with all of that awesome power, one day soon when the world’s water supply has dwindled to dangerous shortages? What good will all of that “firepower” do us when our children (along with those in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe) do not have clean drinking water anymore?

Clearly, our times indicate the need for a different kind of leadership….a different paradigm for “superpower.” In order to sleep at night, I have to believe we are at a tipping point where that view has become more widely accepted.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies if any of this offends or seems disrespectful to your father…that is not my intention. I do not express any of this flippantly. I really do respect people who do what their conscience dictates, regardless of whether or not I agree or would choose the path myself. To me, that is the highest form of expression of ourselves as Americans ~ to follow the dictates of our conscience, do what we feel is right for us, and to accept others’ right to do the same, all while living peacefully, with tolerance and mutual respect. It is no small feat, and most of us do it very well.

In spite of all of this (or perhaps even because of it) our country has done some astonishing and generous things in the world; we have been a beacon in so many ways ~ why not be a beacon of non-violence and REALLY change the world? We have the power and (now) the intelligent, compassionate leadership which seems to have begun to take minute steps in that direction. I have all the faith and hope in our country that my heart can hold.

All of this is my brand of patriotism, this holding a vision of the best America. THAT is what I honor on Memorial Day. Thank you, fellow patriots, for always stimulating my mind and giving me the space and listening that you do.

My best (and gratitude) to you fellow patriots in uniform for your service.
love
bja

Letter sent to the President

Mr President,

One of the reasons I campaigned and voted for you was my certainty that you would do the right thing and end the Bush Administration’s damaging policies and be rigorous in pursuit of truth and justice with regard to their nefarious activities.

I am perplexed by what I’m hearing in the media about your administration’s possible decision to allow “more of the same” rather than implement the meaningful and necessary changes which I worked so hard to communicate daily, during an almost two year campaign, to a large and sometimes stubbornly cynical electorate.

To each of them I repeatedly insisted “This man is different. He will do what he says he will do.”

How can we say we are committed to repairing our image in the world community while perpetuating the secrecy, untruths and arrogant disregard for the American principles and values on which our country was founded, as demonstrated by the previous administration?

As you said many times during the campaign, this is a unique moment in history, and we are in a position to right the wrongs perpetrated on our national psyche and reputation. Please, Mr President, I implore you not to squander the moment in the name of appeasement or politics.

I believe you and have faith that you will do right by us. Please don’t disappoint us. If you must do this, will you please explain clearly and directly to us why you are doing it, so we can understand and counter the growing suspicions about your motives and leadership which is starting to come even from the ranks of your supporters?

I continue to offer myself as a voice of support, but I simply cannot understand the reason(s) you would even consider it practical to exonerate your predecessor and his administration’s policies, after all he did to damage our country, by continuing one of the very policies you labeled “failed” during your campaign.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts…during an address, or a press conference, or even an email response. My best to you and your family, and may your conscience be your guide.
bja

Live Free or Die

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Unfortunately for smokers who live in multiple dwellings, it is NOT “their home” if they share walls with others.

Smokers who think “condo” means “home” should buy a HOUSE and smoke to their hearts’ content.

Secondhand smoke is potentially lethal in not-very-big doses.

Being a smoker is not a “right,” but a privilege.

You abuse that privilege as soon as you impose your deadly filth on your neighbors, their children and visitors.

We all have the RIGHT to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” which includes freedom from carcinogens.

Neighbors should have recourse available to protect themselves from secondhand smoke.

Most tenants (and most of the population) are now NON smokers, so should have majority opinion.

I propose dedicated smoking areas 25’+ away from windows in multiple dwellings….or dedicated smoking buildings to keep smokers apart from non-smokers so everyone can live free (or die) as they wish.