O’ Canada!…

We here in the Constipated United States of America will never fully realize the dream of “equality and justice for all” that our Forefathers had. And by the looks of things, it is our lovely neighbors in the Great White North who will beat us to it. Imagine seeing a public relations blurb like this on ABC, CBS, or NBC… it will never happen. I mean – can you imagine the screams from the Reich? All that bullshit sliding down the walls about “protecting children”, while they’re busily molesting their own and sending them off to their below-minimum wage jobs? I can hear it now.

Thankfully we have Canada to look to for inspiration – in equality in military service, equality in marriage, and a viable, accessible-to-all health care system. Now if only me poor ol’ bones could handle the cold…

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November is (almost was) Testicular Cancer Awareness Month…

OH ALRIGHT, DAMMIT! So I’m a little late to be posting about this. Remember – only 10 fingers and my toes aren’t long enough, so shut up already!

Good! Now, drop your pants. See them funny lookin’ things hanging between your shapely thighs? Good. Feel ’em.

NO, NOT LIKE THAT YOU F’ING PERV!!!!

Feel ’em like your life depends on it! Because it very well could. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, it is estimated that 8,290 men will be diagnosed with and 350 men will die of cancer of the testis in 2011. Nearly half of the cases diagnosed between 2004 and 2008 occurred in men between the ages of 20 and 34. Symptoms of testicular cancer in the early stages include:

  • A swelling and/or lump in one or both of the testes. Pain in the testes or scrotum may or may not be present.
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum.
  • A dull feeling of pain in the region of the lower abdominal area, groin, or lower back.

So feel ’em up!

Orwellian America…

…OK, So dear old George missed the date by 27 years but that isn’t stopping the U. S. Senate from taking our nation on a head-first dive into making “1984” a reality. Either today or tomorrow, the Senate will vote on the 2012 Defence Authorization bill. In it are two sections which will give the President – this one and all future ones – the authority to arrest and indefinitely imprison any U.S. Citizen, here or abroad, and use the various branches of the military to do so.

Somehow this doesn’t fit the picture Mommie Dammit has of my children in uniform…

Sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

  1. Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;
  2. Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and
  3. Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

If you’ve ever read the Constitution of the United States of Mommie Dammit America (and why the hell haven’t you?), you know as well as I do that this is in blatant violation of said Constitution on several points. It could be twisted to violate the

  • 3rd Amendment – Quartering of Soldiers: No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. Under normal circumstances Mommie Dammit would molest welcome a man in uniform under my roof. But these are not “normal” circumstances, and it isn’t a question of “if” but “when?”
  • 4th Amendment – Search and Seizure: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Obama has already proven that he cares little or nothing for this Amendment, and I can all-to-readily imagine if this were act were passed with another Dubya in the Oval Office.
  • 5th Amendment – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. Yeah… well, we only have to look at what happened to the OWS encampment in New York – so much for the 5th Amendment.
  • 6th Amendment – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence. Gitmo, anyone? We’ve already seen how well the Constitution holds up under the Pentagon’s aegis, let alone the Geneva Conventions. I don’t give a damn how nasty a Godfather’s Death Disk is, Herman – waterboarding IS TORTURE! Or shall we recount the travesty of Abu Ghraib… no? Don’t want your face rubbed in that little pile of shit do you, Mr. President. The Gods forbid that the “Land of the Free” and the nation of “…with Liberty and Justice for All” should shame itself by using torture, nor shame our troops by forcing them to commit the acts.

  • 7th Amendment – Trial by Jury in Civil Cases: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. That worked real well for American-born Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, when Obama ordered his Joint Chiefs of Staff compile hit-lists, for which the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, acknowledged in Congressional testimony that the administration reserves the “right” to carry out such assassinations.
  • 8th Amendment – Cruel and Unusual Punishment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Say it with me, O’ my Children… “Gitmo”, “Abu Ghraib”, “Pepper-spray”, “Smashing heads into pavement”, “Running over people with motorcycles”… any questions?

We have seen too much of what happens when a corporate sock-puppet orders our uniformed servants to abandon honor and become thugs. Now the Senate wishes to write that horror into our laws, and we must do all within our power to stop them. First, you can join the ACLU in their petition effort against sections 1031 and 1032. In case you didn’t have a clear picture of just how evil this piece of legislative crap is, understand that the bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing. Levin – a blue-dog dem, and that’s an insult to mutley pooches everywhere – and McCain, the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. So get your butt over to the ACLU’s Web site and sign the petition above, and then you can make Mommie Dammit really proud of you and fire off a really nasty email to your Senator telling him how many truckloads of fresh chicken shit you’re going to dump on his desk if s/he doesn’t vote in favor of the Udall Amendment (which will strip sections 1031 and 1032 out of the appropriations bill).

While you’re doing that, here are a couple of thoughts for you to mull over…

A great civilization is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within.

The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.

  • Will Durant

O’ my Children, now is not the time for us to be divided.

O’ My Children…

There are several reasons why I earned the moniker of Mommie Dammit; chief among them is the fact that I have no patience with stupidity and will strike like lightning to yank my offending child up by the short ‘n’ curlies. My poor, suffering drag-children stuck me with it long ago and it has grown on me until I now wear it as a badge of honor. But I sometimes think that the unknowing observer would mistake it as a sign that I’m some kind of sadist, or fallaciously think that I don’t like children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mommie Dammit loves children – all children, big and small – for they are crunchy and go well with asparagus and brie. No, seriously! A little cornmeal breading, dipped in egg white and roast at 425 degrees for … Gawds, you are so gullible.

To be honest, my “parenting” track record could be traced back to when I was very little and would rock my much younger cousin to sleep (thought I’d forgotten that, di’ntya Craigers), to be followed shortly thereafter by changing my little brother’s diapers and protecting him from our mother’s insanity. Remember the crayon mural on the bedroom wall, Matt? I do, and for all the wrong reasons. Later I became Godfather to two little girls, only to become their father-by-default when their biological father died from cancer. He was a good man, a terrific father, and a good friend – and I still miss you, Chuck. Now that my “heathens in hair-ribbons” are grown, they’ve made Chuck and I into avô five times over. From my teens to the present I have loved, supported, nurtured, counseled, disciplined, nagged, fed, diapered, bathed, bandaged, tutored, worried over, and gained far too many white hairs and whiskers for dozens of children. Most of my adult life I’ve been blessed (?) with re-raising other peoples’ kids… hence, “Mommie Dammit.” I’ve fed them when they couldn’t feed themselves, taken them into my home when either circumstances or their own family has thrown them on the street, sat vigil at their bedside while AIDS prepared its final blow, held them in my arms while they cried, and stood at their side to celebrate their union with another. All of it done not so that I could blow my own horn now, on these pages, but because that’s what a mother does. I learned it from the best example anyone could have – my Gram.

Gram taught me how to cook (and I’m damned good at it), keep house (good at it when I want to be), garden – although Gram FARMED, as that’s the only accurate description for that 6 acre monstrosity she nurtured – and I still think it’s the best “therapy” you could ask for, and she taught me a multitude of other things that have all stood me in good stead. She also taught me the immeasurable depth of love in a mother’s heart, and I have tried – with both success and failure – to honor that love by giving it back to others throughout my life. Throughout my adulthood, I’ve had dozens of what I call my “A.W.P.” kids (adopted without papers). From toddlers to teenagers, and not a few in their twenties and thirties… it just didn’t matter to me how young or old they might be, didn’t matter if they were boys or girls, didn’t matter if they were straight or gay, didn’t matter what color they were or if they had ten toes or twelve. They needed a mom, and I “adopted” them. They’re my kids, and – wherever they are now – I love each and every knot-headed one. Yes, even you, Barry. And Beth, too, especially now that she’s stuck with you. Ahem.

So what’s all this long-winded drivel about, you ask… Yes, Mommie Dammit, what’s it all about? Tell us! … it’s about the fact that November is National Adoption Month, and that there are thousands of same-sex couples in this country of ours who have opened their hearts and homes to foster and adopt children… the kind with papers. These couples – and let’s not forget those brave souls who have done so all by their lonesome as single parents – are real heroes in Mommie Dammit’s eyes. They have waged a private war against unjust laws, bigoted bureaucrats and prejudiced judges because they had that same immeasurable depth of love in their hearts and they wanted a child to give it to.

This is no easy feat. With adoption laws, and fostering regulations, changing from state to state – even in some cases, county to county – there is no single, viable course of action for those who choose to take a child into their lives. As LGBT parents, we know that we face near-insurmountable obstacles – both before and after the judge signs-off on the paperwork. This is why Mommie Dammit sometimes thinks that our children are just that little bit more precious to us, as LGBT parents, than to our heterosexual differently-sexed counterparts – our children never happen by “accident.”

While November has been ticking all-too-rapidly by, and I begin preparations for my first Thanksgiving alone in more than a decade, I’ve been thinking a lot about my kids and grand-kids… splattered all over the country, and too far away for me to bring home for fattening. In the midst of all this maundering I’ve come across a handful of articles that bring home the difficulties that face single and coupled LGBT parents. Not that there’s anything in them that’s “news” to Mommie Dammit, nor should any of it surprise you – if you’ve been paying attention. But each shines a close, personal light on the injustices and inequality facing us – trials that our heterosexual counterparts never face, and things that they take for granted that we must fight (often fruitlessly) to achieve.

In “The Economics of Same-Sex Parenting”, by Yimou Lee, the difficulties of same-sex couples with children in Texas are illustrated by two families that Lee interviewed for his article. One family faces enormous financial difficulties brought to them by their battle with cancer, the other … well, I’ll let them tell you…

Because they are denied the 1,138 legal protections that come with marriage — like property rights, social security benefits and taxation — the Lutes-Stein family bought some of the most basic rights, among them, will filing, which costs $720 for both parents; directions for disposition of remains, $180; and designation of guardian before need, another $180. They spent $1,325 on legal costs associated with obtaining partner documents to gain the power of attorney, health care decision-making and inheritance rights granted through legal marriage.

“All the rights we bought come with a $50 marriage license,” Lutes said.

like I said, nothing new to me there. I’ve known this kind of inequity exists for years, and have seen it play out for many couples in my former position with one of the world’s largest tax services companies. Until DOMA is repealed and the IRS regulations are changed to recognize legal same-sex marriages, LGBT married couples are forced to file separately for federal income taxes even when their state revenue service allows them to file jointly. I’ve witnessed where this has cost some couples additional tens to hundreds of dollars just to file – this doesn’t even take into account the hundreds or thousands of dollars in federal income taxes they end up paying that our heterosexual married counterparts never will. And if there are children/dependents involved, the tally goes up considerably. To Mommie Dammit’s eyes, however, these inequities – though daunting – come in a distant second to the risks foisted upon our children.

One of my most-favoritest sites to visit in the morning, while hosing down my first gallons of coffee, is Mombian, which labels itself “A resource for lesbian moms…” OK, so I’m a drag queen and not a lesbian – but as the marvelous woman at Mombian’s helm, Dana Rudolph, states this site is a resource for all LGBT parents, and I thank her for it. So, my urchins and waifs, get off your butt – go there – and learn sumthin’. It’s good for ya. Mommie Dammit will spank if you don’t, and the pervy amongst you won’t like it.

Recently Dana has produced two articles that illustrate exactly what I’m talking about. The first, “New Birth Certificate Suit in Iowa” redirects you to the original article on the Keen News Service. It details the legal fight Heather Martin Gartner and Melissa Gartner are waging to have Melissa listed on their two year old daughter’s birth certificate as co-parent. The fact that Melissa was not originally included on the birth certificate has already put their daughter in jeopardy because Melissa, as the stay-at-home parent had no legal rights to make decisions on behalf of their daughter’s health. Iowa statutes use gender-specific terminology regarding parents listed on a child’s birth certificate, and because of this Melissa’s name could not be recorded at the time the certificate was issued. Lambda Legal has taken the case before the Iowa courts and expects a ruling in a few months, but expects that – whatever the ruling may be – the losing side will appeal.

The second article Dana brings us, “Blogging for Adoption: There Are No ‘Alternative’ Families” gives us links to a couple of recent additions to the resources available for LGBT families. It also outlines the statistics facing both LGBT adoptive families, and those of children still waiting for loving homes. Over 115,000 of them in the United States, hundreds of children here in my state of Missouri alone – poor, shriveled, blackened thing that it is, these numbers make my heart bleed. And yet, as Dana points out, over two million LGB people are interested in adopting. Dana and I both presume that this applies to Trans-persons as well, but the statistical research just isn’t there to indicate it.

While I consider myself as one of those two million, and even as I look out over the dozens that I’ve already “re-raised” over the past 25 years, there is one statement that Dana made in this article that I agree with wholeheartedly – “…I firmly believe that there are no “alternative” families. If it’s the family you embrace, there is no alternative.”

Amen, Dana. Amen.

Suffer the Children, Indeed…

I’ve held off on posting this article because there are points that I must raise that are painful for me, and yet there is no other way I can go about this without them.

I’m angry – no, furious at Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Reich Wing media who follow in his slime trail. Far more so now than I have ever been in the past. Two weeks ago, during his daily bilge-fest, Limbaugh dropped the “other shoe” on the Penn State scandal that I’ve been dreading but knew it was inevitable that some sorry jackass would go there. It (Limbaugh) said, “we’re always told that homosexuals are not pedophiles, but in this case, he sure was… Sandusky has to be — he’s a gay guy. Nobody’s mentioning that aspect, because it’s just too dangerous.” My first reaction was, “…I knew it. Somehow I knew it had to be this asshole to throw that lie out there.” My next reaction was one of rage, and I desperately wanted to hit something – preferably it, but since it wasn’t in the room and flat screen monitors are expensive I did my best to put a hole in my desktop. I say “it” because I cannot equate that noxious excrement known as Rush Limbaugh with anything resembling a human being, let alone a man and thereby deserving of “him.”

Rush made its implication of Sandusky being gay with no evidence, whatsoever, to support it. In fact, Sandusky has been married to a woman for decades and has children by her. As to the parallel between homosexuality and child molestation, it is a heinous and intentional lie on Limbaugh’s part. It knows, as well as you and I do, that over 70% of child abuse and molestation cases are perpetrated by a member of the child’s own family.(1) Sandusky is representative of one particular subset of perpetrators in that he used his position as an educator to gain access to his victims. In U.S. Schools, perpetrators ranging in age from 21 to 75 (with a median age of 28) included (in order of prevalence) teachers, coaches, substitute teachers, bus drivers and teacher’s aides – accounting for 69% of the offenders.(2) And now Sandusky joins their ranks – and in Mommie Dammit’s eyes you can throw Paterno and McQuearry in with him for their refusal to do anything to stop the monster destroying these boys’ lives.

I know well the pain and hardship these boys, now becoming young men, can, will, and have faced. I’ve faced them myself as a survivor of child abuse and molestation. At the hands of my own mother, her 2nd cousin, and her step-father I lost my innocence, my ability to trust, my ability to make friends of my own age, or to form normal, healthy relationships with my elders. I learned to fear those who should have protected and nurtured me. I learned to lie and hide from those who actually did love me, and to distrust that love.

It was only through the unconditional, undying love, patience, and support of my paternal grandparents that I live today. Yet even their god-like hearts could not prevent me from attempting to end my life and my pain, nor from the inevitable emotional collapse that resulted in my commitment to a mental institution at the age of 14. At the time I was convinced that being committed to the (former) Nebraska Psychiatric Institute was a sign that I was unlovable, that I had indeed been found worthless and that my life was over. But within those halls I began to discover the truth, and I found the seed of healing. Today I look back at that time, over 35 years ago, and I bless those doctors and nurses for opening my eyes and giving me the tools to heal my wounds. There have been many incredible people who have lent me their wisdom, love, and strength over the decades – my Gram and Grampa not the least among them – but it is to those doctors and nurses (bless you eternally, Nurse Rose) to whom I owe the beginning of a new and whole life. A life I would never have lost, nor ever had to go to such tortuous lengths to reclaim, had it not been for three HETEROSEXUAL members of my immediate family.

Yet, as if this wasn’t enough to make Mommie Dammit start searching on E-Bay for deals on a flame-thrower, IT didn’t stop the lies and bullshit there. Noooooooo… We had to go to another whole, new depth of disgusting with it making insinuations that Sandusky was also a pimp: “…there are some people alleging that Sandusky was pimping them out to donors, to big-time Penn State donors. That is a story that’s out there. Now, you’re — I haven’t mentioned it because … it comes from fringe elements of media.”

Fringe elements…” Nice of it to recognize its place in the media food-chain, but still bullshit nonetheless. Mommie Dammit sees the tabloids at the grocery store and the gas station just as often as you do, O’ my children, and far more often than it does. And until it slung this piece of putrescence out there, I hadn’t seen anyone else making the accusation. So the only “fringe” media whore, til that time, who was making the insinuation was you, Limbaugh. You’re the one who put the “gorilla in the room”, you’re the one perpetuating the lie, and you’re one of the many who I will forever hold guilty for the pain these young men, and the millions like them the world over, are forced to endure.

  1. Courtois, Christine A. (1988). Healing the incest wound: adult survivors in therapy. New York: Norton. p. 208. ISBN 0-393-31356-5.
  2. Shakeshaft, C, “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of the Literature“, U.S. Department of Education, 2004, p.24-25. (.pdf)

A Thought for the Day…

I’m pagan. I follow the faith and philosophy of one of the many Old Religions. As such there are times when I find myself disgusted/bemused/enraged/frustrated, or just plain gaseous, when the monotheists shove their beliefs/faith/dogma/fear/intolerance… what-have-you down our collective throats. Never more so than when they rear their ugly heads in the political arena, forcing their so-called “values” on the rest of our society and using those same “values” as a litmus test for a candidate’s viability and qualification for office.

I will undoubtedly expound on this thought in later posts, so I’ll keep this within range of the short-attention-span theatre crowd. Here’s what one of our wisest Founding Fathers had to say about religion and politics…

“Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”
— Thomas Jefferson

‘Nuff sed!