Monday, March 26, 2012

Religious nuts getting crazier...

The Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in Middletown, PA staged a 'fake kidnapping and interrogation' on members of their youth group, using a real gun, and apparently, a real off-duty police officer and real retired Army Captain.
The stunt, which was designed to prepare the youth group for the hostile events that could possibly occur while they are doing missionary work overseas, left a 14-year-old girl traumatized, and after reading an account of the events, it is amazing that no one was physically injured or killed. Neither the students or their parents were told of the plan, which involved mock kidnappers abducting the kids, covering their heads, putting them in a van, and interrogating them.
Here's a link to the news story
The mother of the 14-year-old has filed a police complaint.
Is it me, or are the Fundies getting crazier?
It's not like this is an isolated incident. Every day brings a new example of nut cases using religion as an excuse for doing something creepy.
Their efforts to drag us kicking and screaming back a century threaten each and every one of us- and as long as we tolerate it, they'll keep trying.
Just for the record; I like the idea of missionary work about as much as I like the idea of home invasion.  We know how the same folks who feel its fine to go abroad in order to 'spread the word' feel when worshippers here wish to build Mosque, or choose to reject having Christianity shoved down their thoats. They tend to be intolerant. Funny, huh? Just like the guys on the right who preach about life being sacred are mostly in favor of the death penalty. What a load of crap.
We went to a film festival over the weekend, and several of the comedy submissions poked fun at the Christian right. This offended a few of our friends, who had no qualms about vocalizing about the 'Jesus bashing'. They didn't get that it wasn't Jesus anyone had a problem with, it was those who are inflicting damage in his name. I marvel at how easy it is for them to speak up when they think their rights have been denied, yet have no hesitation about steamrolling over opposing POV's whenever someone has the guts to express them.
The older I get, the more offended I am by religion.
If you are a religious person, hooray for you. Please keep it to yourself. I don't want to hear about it, and I am sick to death of bad behavior and wackos using God as an excuse for defending bat-shit crazy beliefs and justification for denying the rights of non-believers.
And another thing...quit tormenting innocent kids, and stay off my lawn.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

If you're not horrified, there is something wrong.
Finally, a Grand Jury in Seminole County will take up the case of Trayvon Martin's death. He was killed on February 26 by George Zimmerman, who invoked Florida's 'stand your ground' law, and is claiming self defense, despite the fact that Trayvon was unarmed, and Mr. Zimmerman was the one doing the pursuing. Finally, the Justice Dept. and FBI have opened an investigation.
But what can one say to Trayvon's mother, and family, except we're sorry that a tragic act of violence robbed your son of his life.
I guess that a good number of us think of our own children whenever we hear of  an event so devastating, and for a moment we imagine the immeasurable pain Trayvon's parents are experiencing; heartbroken for them, and, if we've been graced with reasonably healthy, happy offspring, we feel thankful that we've all made it this far in one piece.
I've always considered myself lucky. Not in the traditional-soccer-mom kind of way, but more, because I was lucky enough to be the mom of a multi-racial, multi-cultural family.
Our family expanded by two when the kids we gave birth to were teenagers. It was a good thing that my husband and I had some 'parenting' under our belt, otherwise we'd have been a bit unprepared.
We went from a family of four to a family of six, but more than falling in love with kids who were already works-in-progress, we had the unique gift of getting to learn about our own safe little world through the eyes of someone who didn't share our life experiences or perspectives. We got to learn (a little) first hand about what the world looked like if you weren't white kids from the burbs.
Up until then, I'd always felt a little smug satisfaction at belonging to an upscale 'diverse' community.  I was completely full of crap. And when my teenage sons (one white, one black) were walking home from school one afternoon followed by a police car, creeping along behind them at about 3 mph. I had no idea what to think. My husband and I went outside to find our youngest son (one I gave birth to) outraged and angry, while  our newly adopted son was in the process of explaining to the cop that yes, he did live in the gray house, and the adults charging out the front door were, in fact, his family. The cop had seen a black kid and a white kid in a neighborhood where there were generally only white kids, and decided that my teens were up to no good. He was dumbfounded that we challenged him- and acted as if he had behaved heroically, rather than harassing our children.
I learned my son was used to this. That he'd dealt with it his whole life. There was very little shock, or anger- he just had coping skills. Coping skills I didn't have- and in a heartbeat, I got a tiny snapshot sample of what he'd had to put up with for his entire 14 years of life. He was used to it; and briefly, I got to see another side of  my neighborhood and community. One that was ugly, stupid, sinister, and judgemental. Maybe we learned to cope, too- because the police car presence in the neighborhood happened a few more times- every time the PD would get a new wet-behind-the-ears rookie, he'd go through the drill until he'd get yelled at by my 6'4" crazy-eyed husband, who was extremely protective of his kids.
My kids are all grown up now. They're mostly healthy, happy, and are OK that they didn't have a soccer mom or little league dad, instead they were stuck with nutty, quite emotional  parents who taught them to challenge authority even if it pissed people off. Especially if it pissed people off.   Sometimes I think about lessons I learned from them, and some of the gifts that parenthood has given me. Most of us don't get to step into the shoes of others. We can travel and observe, read and explore, but often, unless you're on the receiving end of a different perspective, you have no idea. You can't put on a different skin and live in it a while, and given the opportunity, I doubt many of us would choose to. It's taken me a long time to know that I don't know, but I do know what happened to Trayvon Martin was a crime.
It's easy to slam Florida, their idiotic laws, and the weak-minded authorities who basically had to be threatened before they took action. None of that will heal Trayvon's mother's broken heart. It's just that if we don't recognize this for the violent crime it is, and take steps to fix it, every parent is at greater risk of losing their kids to an unstable asshole with a gun.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lying about who gets the contribution...

Spent a good deal of time last night staring out the window at the remnants of the latest storm; which by its' arrival from California, had dwindled to a half-assed mix of rain and snow. Even with the dull brown of winter still covering the pastures, the view from the Mesa is spectacular- and will be even more glorious in the coming weeks, as everything begins to 'green-up'.

Spring usually brings a measure of optimism with her; which is one of my favorite things about living in a state with actual seasons. As the days gradually become longer, and the weather less severe, folks turn their attention to spending more time outdoors and planting gardens, while I start obsessing about when the bears will wake up and lumber over the hill to see if I have the potential to provide a tasty meal. I'm guessing I have too much fat, but there is an endless list of things for a former Californian to be scared of.
This year, many North Fork residents are greeting spring with a sense of angst, along with a renewed vow to take on a fight we don't know if we can win.
We're trying to protect ourselves from becoming another statistic in the world of oil and gas development- attempting to keep our valley a safe place to grow organic food, live a peaceful life and remain a location where residents can responsibly earn a living from their land. We'd like to continue to provide produce, wine, honey, livestock, natural fibers, art, music and film to those who seek the area out as a place to live or visit, but that is being threatened by the recent BLM decision to move forward with the sale of 80% of the leases that were in question, choosing to ignore the thousands of citizens who have come forward to voice their concerns; basing their decision on environmental 'findings' from the 1980's.
Taxpayers in the area have gotten screwed by the oil and gas industry already- Two of the major players, SG Interests and Gunnison Energy were recently fined $550,000 for colluding on lease bids, which means they defrauded taxpayers out of the potential revenue that would have been generated  from the sale of mineral leases, when they agreed not to bid competitively, but split those leases.
Can you smile and say Anti-trust?
So now, it's not just the risk to the environment that causes us grief- it's the fact that the guys clamoring for the leases are lying cheating greedy bastards.
I did some internet snooping and found that SG Interests is a group from Houston, TX.
 Here's a link to a little info on them.
Russell Gordy, who is listed as their President, has been spreading cash around, so getting dinged for a few hundred thousand in fines is most likely no big deal.
But here's something odd...under their list of campaign and political contributions, it shows more cash donations to donkeys than to elephants. Contributions to Republicans: 31,400. Contributions to Democrats: 164,600. This didn't make any sense; but upon closer look, I find they're lying about that, too. Go back to Russell's page, and click on the 'see more contributions'- it will list them individually, and you'll see the tidy sum of 150,000 going to a 'Democratic' group called THE FIRST AMENDMENT ALLIANCE. Democrats? Are you fracking kidding? If this is a Democratic Group then I'm going to join facebook just so I can 'like' Newt Gingrich and his 2.50 gallon gas.  What I'm trying to say is these guys are better at fiction than I'll ever be.
Here's the paperwork for the contribution, so you can see it yourself.
and looky what People for the American Way have to say about The First Amendment Alliance...they say, (practicing my most shocked expression) that this is a front for the (GASP) Oil and Gas Industry!
It's not enough that the industry ruins the land, trashes the roads, contaminates the water, threatens the local farming economy, creates an incessant amount of dirt and noise, doesn't want to disclose the chemicals they're injecting into the earth, but they lie. Over and over again. They lie about jobs, they lie about environmental  impact, they lie about what they spend, and how they spend it.
That's why we can surmise these guys are corrupt and cannot be trusted. If they were honorable, and the good stewards of the environment they profess to be, they wouldn't have to lie, cheat and steal.
They are NOT good citizens, and until we start putting CEO's in jail instead of handing over wrist-slapping fines, nothing will change. Once upon a time, it happened in the paper industry- sending a handful of corporate execs to prison for anti-trust violations got everyone's attention, and business practices changed.
I don't guess it will change until we get outraged enough to elect some folks who are not on the payout list...and sadly, most people don't pay that much attention.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time out from crazy.

The political climate is so cat-box crazy that it's been safer to stay off the blog, and park in the kitchen (where republicans think I belong) baking things with so much fat and sugar no one in my family will voluntarily eat them. Sometimes, I choose to sit like a zombie in front of crime drama re-runs, watching various murder mysteries unfold. The thing is, once you've seen something about six or seven times, it is no longer a mystery. '48 Hours' seems like 4,863 hours,  'Unusual Suspects' becomes 'More Ordinary Bad Guys' and  'Cold Case Files' turns into ' Hey, stupid, that guy did it, that guy, no, THAT guy!" I'd really better turn off the TV.
Slowly, I can emerge from the cocoon of safety, stick my head out and see that the Crazy Train is still chugging along.
 Here on the Western Slope, the BLM idjuts have ignored the health, safety and well-being of residents, and are moving forward with 80% of the oil and gas leases that have the potential of destroying the land and water quality in our pristine valley. It's pretty hard to get a clear picture of reality when your view is obstructed by gas and oil industry ass. When agencies or congress members have their mugs pressed up kissy-face close to the oil and gas industry's big butt, we can't expect an objective perspective. We also can't expect our rights to be protected. Heavy Sigh.  We'll continue to fight... but Damn-hell, when one stops to consider that we have to fight to protect our voting rights, the rights to control our own bodies, the right not to have an employer decide what medication or medical treatment they can cherry pick, and choose not to cover, the right to keep our private lives private... sometimes it just gets to be overwhelming. Each and every time I have to hear someone justify ANYTHING the repo's have been trying to pull, I  think about all those murder mysteries I've been watching, the images of  bad guys fade to images of Mitch McConnell, Roy Blunt, Jim DeMint, or Eric Cantor- because they pose a bigger threat to our health, well-being and safety than your average street thug. Crazy bad guys threaten and do harm all the time- but when they wear suits and have an (R) behind their name, they get their own parking place, and it takes simple folk too long to figure out they're the ones we need protection from.