Angry Liberal Mommy

Every day there's a story in the newspapers that just pisses me off! Few forums I've visited offer civilized political discourse--they all seem to degenerate into name calling. So get angry, give your opinion, or just read 'em and weep for our warped society.

Friday, April 29, 2005

I Feel Vindicated...Well, Sort Of

On The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, last night, his guest was one of the authors of this book, Stephen Levitt. As it turns out, some of the studies in this book are directly related to my most recent post regarding "parental consent" laws.

First, the author stated that they conducted research to discover what parents can do to help their kids achieve higher grades. They found absolutely no difference between spankers & non-spankers, parents who expose kids to culture and those who don't, etc. The one difference they found was that the children of parents who waited until age 30 or older to start having kids, got much higher grades than the children of parents who'd begun popping them out at a young age. For whatever reason, 30 was the magic number.

The other study discussed was how Roe vs Wade affected crime rates... The study showed that States with higher rates of abortion had a lower rate of crime 20 years or so after the landmark Supreme Court decision. The author, who does not address the subject from any sort of a moral standpoint, or with any sort of agenda, stated that since a large percentage of unwanted children grow up to be criminals, the mothers who aborted the unwanted children actually lowered the crime rate by doing so. He acknowledged that this was a very controversial point, but that they had taken many peripheral factors into consideration: changes in laws, increased police presence, more prisons, etc.

The book sounds really interesting, so I'll probably have to buy it to read more about how these statistical studies were conducted and what other fun stuff they discovered.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A View To A Bill (Great-now I have that Duran Duran song stuck in my head)

Today's peek into the ever-narrowing gap between Church and State concerns the congressional attempt to sign a National parental consent law for abortion Given that this has already passed through Congress, I expect our wussy Senate won't put up too much of a fight and this will shortly be on the books.

Quite a few States already have parental consent laws, but as I've been saying for years, Republicans are all rah-rah for States rights unless it concerns a "moral" issue to which they object like Oregon's Death With Dignity act, or any State without strict abortion laws or road blocks like parental consent or "waiting periods" (don't even get me started on those).

This is something that my dear husband and I have argued about in the past (Never fear--they are friendly arguments. We're not screaming or throwing things). He says that as a parent, he would like to be informed if his daughter was about to obtain an abortion. As a parent, sure, I hope that my daughters will trust me enough to confide in me. Better yet, I hope I can educate them well enough to totally avoid teen pregnancy.

We have to see beyond the scope of how this would affect our little family, however, and focus on all the teenaged girls out there who are simply not ready to be Mothers. They know that they made a mistake. They just want to have an abortion and move on with their lives, hopefully wiser for the experience. What if hypothetical preggo teen has ultra-conservative parents? Will she be forced to have the child, forfeit her future, and pay for her mistake forever? We talk about horrible parents forcing their children into sports and careers they don't want. What about forcing your child into the ultimate role---parent? Is the child going to end up either raised by Grandma & Grandpa, or being taken away by CPS? Look at the kids CPS takes away from their families---most of the Mothers are young and unmarried. So mom loses her future, and junior ends up totally fucked up. I'm not saying that there aren't any teens who would be responsible parents, but I feel that they are few and far in between.

I know that I'm going to hear the "But she could give the child up for adoption" argument. A fine option, but how many teens say they are going to do it, but are unable to after having gone through the whole pregnancy and delivery? Not to mention that the highest teen birth rates are among minorities. Sure, there is a big demand for "healthy white babies" among those wealthy enough to adopt, but what about the minority babies? What about all the kids already languishing in foster care?

This law also has the nasty side effect of jailing any non-parent family member or friend who may want to help the poor girl obtain an abortion. The pregnant teen has nowhere to turn and no one to help her (I'm not counting God here, since he can't actually give her advice or babysit so she can go to prom). The law effectively ties everyone's hands. If lawmakers want more parental involvement, maybe we should make the parents get involved before the kids get knocked up.

I know that many of these lawmakers have some sort of back-asswards position that making abortion more difficult to obtain will somehow end teen pregnancy. It won't. The only way to do that is to have parents take an active role in educating their children about sex. If you want your kids to wait until marriage or at least a real committed relationship, fantastic! Don't expect anyone else to be able to drill this into their heads except you. This goes double if you had your kids as a teenager--tell them how difficult it was, how much you had to give up, etc. You should want something better for your kids!

I expect Greg will be great at giving our daughters the "Men Are Scumbags Who Will Say Anything To get Into Your Pants" lecture (I heard him give this lecture to my sister, and it's pretty good). I'll do the whole sex-ed, you're too young, diseases, and birth control, birth control, birth control lecture.

I see these restrictions on abortion as just a punishment for young women. If the girl is forced to give birth to a child she doesn't want and isn't ready for, she pays for her momentary lapse in judgment for the rest of her life, on a day to day basis. For many girls it is "goodbye high school diploma", "goodbye college", "goodbye future", "hello welfare". What about the father of the child? Sure he has to open his wallet every month and pay child support, but he can still finish school, date freely, go on to college, and move on with his life relatively unscathed.

Tell you what...I'll support a parental consent notification if an amendment is tacked on that would force the biological father of the child to get a vasectomy. He would not be able to get a reversal done until he was emotionally ready to commit to being a father. Since it takes two to create the child, that sounds only fair to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Shoot! No Guns In Bars!

I've decided to save "Part Deux" of my "Why Women Are Idiots" post until a slow news day comes along, so stay tuned.

Right now, I have to give kudos to our Governor, Janet Napolitano for her veto of the idiotic bill that would have granted gun owners the right to carry their concealed weapons into establishments that serve alcohol--as long as they promise not to imbibe. Bar/restaurant owners would need to post signs if they chose to prohibit guns in their establishments.

My first reaction when this bill was introduced was to wonder how bar owners/bartenders would know not to serve someone alcohol when their weapon is concealed. My second reaction, having been an active bar hopper in my younger, single, childfree days, was how f-ing stupid are these legislators??? How many bar brawls that end now with just a few drunken idiots beating the living hell out of each other would end with one or more corpses if this law had passed?

The bills proponents argued that "responsible gun owners" would not be able to protect themselves if they had to leave their weapons in the car upon entering a bar or restaurant. OK, I have to ask...if these gun owners are out there, carrying their concealed weapons and foiling criminal attempts all the time, why aren't we seeing dozens of news stories about it? Why is it all we hear about are the negative aspects of gun ownership--kids shooting each other with Daddy's pistol, family arguments turning deadly, men shooting their estranged wives or girlfriends, school shootings, etc.?

I know that some people will say that it is a major conspiracy by our so-called "liberal media", but hey, even good old hippie, commie liberals love a human interest story where the little guy triumphs against evil. If these gun owners are out there fighting off criminals just like Spiderman (well, except Spiderman didn't use a gun), we'd definitely be hearing about it. Also, I have to wonder how many people have actually been robbed or assaulted while hitting the salad bar at the local Applebees. Why are these gun owners so angry about leaving the gun in the car? Are they afraid they won't be able to get to it in time to fend off that scary panhandler or illegal alien? I keep thinking of Homer Simpson's reaction when he was told he'd have to wait 3 days for his gun. "But I'm angry now"!

Just for the record, I am not totally anti-gun. I grew up with them. I learned to shoot when I was 8, and won prizes for marksmanship when I was 11 and 12 years old. Dad kept his rifles in an unlocked closet, but I would never have dreamed of touching them without permission. Having said that, I will also say that I firmly advocate gun control especially in the form of a ban on assault weapons. The average "responsible gun owner" doesn't need them, and I share General Wesley Clark's opinion that if someone really wants to shoot an assault rifle, they can put on a military uniform, strap on some boots, and fire all the assault rifles they want.

I was really worried about this bill because our governor has been cozying up to conservative voters recently, but her vetos against this issue and the "pharmacist's conscience law" have restored my faith in her. She may have totally pissed off the NRA, but she definitely made bar and restaurant owners, the travel industry, and local law enforcement agencies breathe a sigh of relief. Sometimes sanity does prevail! Keep those cojones, Janet!

PS. For some levity, I have to add some dialogue from the excellent Whit Stillman movie 'Barcelona':

Marta (Mira Sorvino): How can you say that Americans are not more violent than other people? All those people that die from shootings in America?

Fred (Christopher Eigeman): Oh shootings? That doesn't mean Americans are more violent than other people. We're just better shots!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why Women are Idiots...Part I

OK, so I'm coming in a bit late with this one as it is last weeks' news, but some pet health dilemmas (see my husband's blog) have kept me from starting this post sooner. The big news last week was that silicon breast implants are back! I hate to insult my own gender, but the way some women speak of larger breasts as a source of empowering just makes me crazy!

Congress (speaking of big boobs)apparently has nothing better to do than debate whether the merits of the silicon implants outweigh the potential health risks...Huh? Ok people, we're not talking about a drug just invented to cure cancer that might have a few nasty side effects. We're talking about something purely cosmetic that has the potential to harm the recipient.

Congress listened to women who claimed their lives had been ruined by leaky implants, as well as women who extolled the virtues of the implants, claiming that the implants gave them confidence & self esteem. These were not bimbos, either. The women testifying were doctors and lawyers--which some how makes it even sadder. Congress decided to OK the return of silicon.

I don't have a huge issue with breast implants, in general, but I wish women wouldn't lie to themselves about why they are going through the expense and physical pain. If you want bigger boobs to attract more men, just admit it. Last time I checked, "confidence" and "self esteem" were not items you could purchase from a plastic surgeon. These are qualities that come from within. Larger breasts may get you more dates from the shallow end of the gene pool, but do you really want to date someone who is more interested in your breasts than your personality? I won't even get into how many times you'll have to hear the word "Dude" uttered.

For anyone considering the option of breast implants to obtain self esteem or confidence, may I suggest some alternative ways to spend your hard earned cash...

1.) Go back to school. Knowledge is power...power is confidence. Get your diploma or degree, take some classes in your spare time.
2.) Travel, or do an Outward Bound course. Outward Bound practically advertises that their courses instill confidence. They certainly are challenging, and it is definitely a better way to spend your money.
3.) If you're really unhappy with the way you look, a "surgery-free" makeover might be worthwhile: Do a spa day, pamper yourself, get a free makeover from the cosmetic counter at your local department store (pick the salesperson with the least makeup, not the one who looks like Divine), get a professional bra fitting done (most women wear the wrong size), buy some new clothes & shoes that flatter you.
4.) If all else fails and the only way you can think to boost your self esteem is to have plastic surgery, a few sessions with a really good shrink might be beneficial. I'm not even joking about that. Anyone who feels that radically altering your body to please someone else is a good idea, really does need help.

I'll end with this caveat: I don't feel that all implants should be banned--certainly women who have had mastectomies, or who have some sort of birth defect (no, small boobs are not a birth defect) have a genuine need for cosmetic enhancements, but I wish more women would delve into the real reasons they wish to alter their appearance so radically.

I have more to say on the subject of why women feel the need to drastically mess with our appearances to please men, but that can wait for another entry.