HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » theHandpuppet » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4


Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: West Virginia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 19,964

About Me

Cantankerous by nature, aspires to a genteel misanthropy. Interests include carpentry, organic gardening and sustainable living, history, genealogy, astronomy and paleontology, visual arts, lgbt activism. Caretaker for a brace of Scotties and several ungrateful, rescued cats. Addicted to watching sports and cheers for perennial losers. Education: I suppose, though some might think an MFA doesn\'t really qualify as such. Partnered for 24 years to a saint. Just lucky, I guess.

Journal Archives

Really? Really? This is the man so many of you are fawning over?

Thread after fawning thread about Pope Francis here, on a supposedly progressive forum where the rights of women and gays are assumed to be important? Well, maybe not so much, huh? And that fight against poverty? The grinding poverty that has a demographic comprised mostly of women and children, most severely manifested in countries where women are denied reproductive choice? Is there not the slightest bit of recognition that there is a disconnect between being against the death penalty but sentencing thousands, if not millions of women around the world to death because they do not have access to birth control and abortion? Preach to me about the Pope's love for women even as he continues the war on progressive nuns and reaffirms that the door to the ordination of women remains closed. Remind me again about this new dawning for it looks like the same old sunrise to me when Archbishop Gerhard Mueller remains in charge of the Vatican's policy regarding the sexual abuse of children.
Now having dismissed all of the above, by all means please feel free to post another gushing thread about the Pope's car. And by all means, let me know if he adopts a puppy.

Sure enough, the day after the publication of the interview—and to much less notice—Pope Francis gave a firmly anti-abortion speech to a gathering of Catholic gynecologists. He quoted Pope Benedict on the connection between “openness to life” and social justice (“openness to life” is code for banning not just abortion but contraception), castigated abortion as part of a “throw-away culture” and urged Catholic doctors to refuse to perform them. At best, this suggests an opening for the “seamless garment” Catholicism promoted by the late Cardinal Bernardin, in which opposition to birth control and abortion was connected with opposition to war, capital punishment and poverty.
Women really get the short sleeve of the seamless garment, I must say. Realistically, ending war or poverty is way beyond the church’s power, but it has been rather effective around the world at promoting unwanted pregnancy and forced childbirth. I honor the way Catholic activists have fought the death penalty in the United States, but it is a fact that exponentially more women die because of lack of access to birth control and abortion globally than do prisoners in the execution chamber. In numerous countries where the Catholic Church is powerful—Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, the Philippines—the death penalty does not exist, and abortion is banned even to preserve the woman’s life: a serial killer is at less risk of death from the state than a pregnant woman.
Pope Francis’s record on women so far is a continuation of his conservative predecessors’. “On the ordination of women,” he has said, “that door is closed.” Church watchers can debate whether he was agreeing with John Paul II’s “definitive” (but not quite infallible) statement on the matter or simply acknowledging a current political reality. Either way, governance of the church will continue to present a Saudi-like front of solid, if not necessarily heterosexual, masculinity, and its all-important sacraments will continue to be dispensed by men alone.
Pope Francis is continuing the investigation, begun last year by Pope Benedict, of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the progressive nuns’ organization charged with espousing “radical feminist themes” and being insufficiently zealous against abortion and gay rights. It’s hard to imagine winning many hearts and minds among American Catholic women—who use birth control and have abortions and even same-sex weddings like other American women—by putting these immensely learned, dedicated and, of course, devout women under the supervision of male authorities, as though they were children....


In April, Francis reaffirmed his predecessor’s censure of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that represents 80 percent of Catholic nuns in the United States. These nuns were penalized by the Vatican, and continue to be penalized, for focusing on poverty instead of stoking moral panic about the existence of gay people or sexually active teenagers — exactly the kind of community-centered work that Francis just declared sorely missing from the church.
In the report admonishing the sisters, and stripping them of the independent authority to develop their own charter and conduct their own business, the Vatican said they were undermining “issues of crucial importance to the life of Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality” and promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
Francis’ censure places these women under the full authority of the Vatican and its “program of reform,” which includes the appointment of three male bishops to manage the rewriting of the nuns’ conference statutes, review its community-based programs and otherwise ensure the group “properly” follows Catholic teaching.
In the same interview in which the pope urged Catholics to move away from the “obsession” with reproductive healthcare and gay rights to create a more inclusive, welcoming church, he also said, “The teaching of the church, for that matter [of abortion, contraception and gay marriage], is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”


A senior Vatican spokesman has denied rumors that Pope Francis may appoint two women as cardinals at the upcoming February conclave. Theologically and theoretically, it is possible," Fr. Lombardi said. "Being a cardinal is one of those roles in the church for which, theoretically, you do not have to be ordained but to move from there to suggesting the pope will name women cardinals for the next consistory is not remotely realistic."

Pope Francis Excommunicates Priest Who Backed Women’s Ordination and Gays
Despite his reforming attitude, Francis still supports traditional doctrine
Read more: Pope Francis Excommunicates Priest Who Backed Women’s Ordination and Gays | TIME.com

The Door to Women’s Ordination is Closed, Says Pope Francis, and Thanks Be to God

Pope Francis slams door on women's ordination
July 29, 2013
Washington, DC - "The Women's Ordination Conference is deeply discouraged to learn of Pope Francis' remarks regarding women's ordination.
In an interview given to reporters on July 28 en route to Rome from Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis made it very clear that this papacy sees women as separate, but not equal to men, and will keep the door to women's ordination closed, citing Pope John Paul II as his reasoning....

September 21, 2013, 1:40 PM
Pope keeps cleric who leads crackdown on liberal U.S. nuns
In another important decision, Francis left Archbishop Gerhard Mueller in the powerful role of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Mueller, originally appointed by Benedict XVI, directs the Holy See's crackdown on nuns suspected of undermining Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality. His office also shapes policy dealing with clergy who sexually abuse minors.
Under Mueller's tenure, critics of the Vatican's strategy have so far been frustrated in their lobbying for Vatican and other church hierarchy to be held accountable for policy that for decades left pedophile priests in their ministry, merely shuffling them from parish to parish when complaints emerged....

Church in final birth control fight in Philippines
A relentless Catholic Church campaign to derail a birth control law in the Philippines entered its final phase at the Supreme Court yesterday, with the verdict to have a monumental impact on millions of poor Filipinos.
The court began hearing arguments against a family planning law that Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, defying intense church pressure, helped steer through parliament late last year.
It is the last legal recourse for the church, which for more than a decade led resistance to birth control legislation in the mainly Catholic nation.
The church, which had threatened Aquino and other supporters of the law with excommunication, yesterday held prayer vigils, protests and masses near the Supreme Court....

Pope Francis has been highly touted for his criticism of institutional evils that create poverty. But there is something deeply troubling about a church leadership that rails against poverty and institutional sin while using its resources to defeat civil laws aimed at alleviating the suffering of the poorest.
If the pope and his brother bishops are to be fully honest about roots of poverty, they must take an honest look at the ways in which the policies and agenda of their institutional church contribute to inadequate medical care for mothers, the starvation of families, the swelling of the slum population, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and environmental degradation.
I realize Pope Francis cannot change the contraception teaching overnight, but he could call the bishops of the Philippines to cease this relentless, well-funded campaign. The institutional church now stands as the lone impediment between poor Philippine mothers and adequate maternal health care. The hierarchy's lobbying has kept mothers and fathers from raising families they can afford, families small enough to allow children to be fed and educated....

Francis' comments on the appointment of bishops suggest that his criteria has less to do with loyalty and orthodoxy and more to do with pastoral experience and compassion. But in his first American appointment, one that was not in the pipeline before his papal election, he named Bishop Leonard Blair as the new archbishop of Hartford, Connecticut.
Blair is a true believer culture warrior and former Vatican official who led the charge against the Leadership Conference of Religious Women last year and earlier joined in the condemnation of Notre Dame University for having President Barack Obama as a speaker. And in light of Francis closing the door on female priests, many women theologians and lay leaders are wondering about his emphasis on a new role for women in the church...
...She points out that the Pope says that the church does not want to wound gays and lesbians, but "Francis doesn't seem to understand that it is precisely the teaching of the church that is doing the wounding."...
...And our new Pope, unintentionally, may seduce many into thinking that things are getting better and provide cover for the Cordileones of our church to continue their campaign of condemnation and exclusion....

Posted by theHandpuppet | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 01:44 AM (70 replies)

Just want to share something with y'all

I had debated whether to share this even with family but on reflection, I would like some kind of public record about what happened to my partner and I a few short weeks ago.
A little background here. My partner and I are very visible Democrats and an out couple. (During election cycles our house looks like an outsized kiosk festooned with signs for Dem candidates.) On occasions when certain events are scheduled - like the recent boycott for low wage workers -- we'll put a hand-made sign in our front window. We also have a more permanent, large decal in support of Planned Parenthood there.
Anyhoo... I've been renovating my studio after some storm damage; the windows to my studio face the street. As I was on the ladder repairing some plaster, I happened to glance out the window and see some weird debris on the sidewalk. I went out to clean it up and to my alarm saw that there were two bullet holes in the house, just below the windows of the studio where I was working.
Of course I called the police. They took some cursory photos of the bullet holes, looked a bit around the neighborhood and left. End of story.
My partner and I are no strangers to being targeted for our political views or for the fact that we're out. Mostly it's just religious extremists leaving messages at our doorstep though one time, when we lived in Virginia, the KKK visited us in the middle of the night and left us a lovely letter. Nevertheless, we aren't the type to scare easily and even now I'm not frightened, just really pissed. The only thing I can't abide more than a bigot is a cowardly bigot.
So now we're left wondering just what pissed someone off so much that they decided to send us a message. Is it because we're an unapologetic, out couple? Our proud support of Planned Parenthood? Because we're dyed-in-the-wool Dems? All of the above?
There's been no followup investigation as to who took shots at us and we both know there isn't going to be one. But just in case something should happen in future, heaven forbid, I thought it prudent to share this story on a more public forum and I think the LGBT forum here is a safe space to do that. I also know that those who choose to participate in this particular group won't dismiss our concerns and fully realize that the intimidation and threats against GLBTs in this country are very real.
That's about it. I'm not inclined to take up forum space with personal issues such as this but hope you will understand why I decided to post this here.
Posted by theHandpuppet | Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:06 PM (20 replies)

A page from history: Paul Robeson appears before HUAC

kpete has posted on GD an informative thread about Ronald Reagan's role as a "friendly witness" before the HUAC, proving once again just how much of a sniveling scumbag St. Ronnie really was. Now let's remember a man who stood up to HUAC...


“You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves”: Paul Robeson Appears Before HUAC
Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956

Many African-American witnesses subpoenaed to testify at the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) hearings in the 1950s were asked to denounce Paul Robeson (1888–1976) in order to obtain future employment. Robeson, an All-American football player and recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa key at Rutgers, received a law degree at Columbia. He became an internationally acclaimed concert performer and actor as well as a persuasive political speaker. In 1949, Robeson was the subject of controversy after newspapers reports of public statements that African Americans would not fight in “an imperialist war.” In 1950, his passport was revoked. Several years later, Robeson refused to sign an affidavit stating that he was not a Communist and initiated an unsuccessful lawsuit. In the following testimony to a HUAC hearing, ostensibly convened to gain information regarding his passport suit, Robeson refused to answer questions concerning his political activities and lectured bigoted Committee members Gordon H. Scherer and Chairman Francis E.Walter about African-American history and civil rights. In 1958, the Supreme Court ruled that a citizen’s right to travel could not be taken away without due process and Robeson’ passport was returned.

I am going to include here one passage from the transcript:

Mr. ROBESON: Could I say that the reason that I am here today, you know, from the mouth of the State Department itself, is: I should not be allowed to travel because I have struggled for years for the independence of the colonial peoples of Africa. For many years I have so labored and I can say modestly that my name is very much honored all over Africa, in my struggles for their independence. That is the kind of independence like Sukarno got in Indonesia. Unless we are double-talking, then these efforts in the interest of Africa would be in the same context. The other reason that I am here today, again from the State Department and from the court record of the court of appeals, is that when I am abroad I speak out against the injustices against the Negro people of this land. I sent a message to the Bandung Conference and so forth. That is why I am here. This is the basis, and I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist, I am being tried for fighting for the rights of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America. My mother was born in your state, Mr. Walter, and my mother was a Quaker, and my ancestors in the time of Washington baked bread for George Washington’s troops when they crossed the Delaware, and my own father was a slave. I stand here struggling for the rights of my people to be full citizens in this country. And they are not. They are not in Mississippi. And they are not in Montgomery, Alabama. And they are not in Washington. They are nowhere, and that is why I am here today. You want to shut up every Negro who has the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of his people, for the rights of workers, and I have been on many a picket line for the steelworkers too. And that is why I am here today. . . .

So here we are in 2013, still fighting so that all may have an equal opportunity to vote, and for the rights of workers to demand a fair wage.

Posted by theHandpuppet | Sun Aug 18, 2013, 07:49 AM (44 replies)

Billionaire's playground: the world of professional sports

I'm not sure why this subject has been so taboo on DU (previous attempts to broach this subject have been met with surprising reproach) but let me wade in here once again. Perhaps we all need to be reminded that at a time when Americans are losing benefits, having pensions slashed, cities are going bankrupt, schools are locking their doors, the poor are being told there's simply not enough money to feed, clothe and house their children, there's at least one tier of citizenry who are laughing all the way to the bank -- owners of professional sports franchises. While most families in America work multiple jobs to make ends meet, owners of team sports hold financially strapped cities in a type of financial blackmail, demanding taxpayer monies to build their stadiums and all manner of compensation packages, right down to breaks on their utility bills. Even better for these owners, the federal government seems a willing partner to this sham with the huge taxbreaks proffered to sports industries from NASCAR to the NFL which, in case you didn't know, has tax-exempt status.
Then again, perhaps I'm being too hard on these shining examples of American entrepreneurship. It could just be a matter of.. well, as Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen put it so simply, "I'm better at life than you."
What is it about the sacred cow called professional sports that no amount of greed and corruption can stir an ongoing debate, much less the slightest outrage, about the inequity of it all. To the billionaire owners it's just a game, and one they play with house money.

To begin, let's take a look at a sampling of some non-sports jobs and what they pay. The following wage figures were garnered from several sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes and ESPN

Average salary (median) for the following professions (in thousands of dollars)
Elementary-high school teacher: 40 –44.6
Firefighter: 42.4
State governor: 124
Mail carrier: 40 – 56.7
Day care worker: 21.3
Staff nurse, RN: 67.4
Maids and housekeeping cleaners: 21.8
Plumbers, pipefitters, steamfitters: 46.6
PFC, US Army <2 yrs experience, active duty : 20.3
Speaker of the House: 223
Retail salesperson: 25.3
Sanitation worker: 28.9
President of the United States: 400
Housewife: 0; calculated compensation due: 134.1

Now let's compare those incomes with the median annual salaries in professional sports: (in millions)
MLB: 3. 4 (Alex Rodriquez, per game: 150 thousand)
NBA: 5.1
NHL 2.4
NFL: 1.9
NFL Commissioner, including compensation: 29.4
Highest paid college coaches, top 50: 1.49 - 5.19
Highest paid golfer: Tiger Woods, 78.1*
Highest paid tennis pro: Roger Federer, 71.5*
*includes monies paid for endorsements; figures provided for MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL do not include monies paid for endorsements.

Paul Allen is the richest NFL owner, by far
Posted by Mike Florio on March 26, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

Like Seattle star cornerback Richard Sherman recently told Skip Bayless,
Seahawks owner Paul Allen once again can declare to his NFL colleagues, “I’m
better at life than you.”

Forbes has issued its annual list of worldwide billionaires. Not
surprisingly, more than a few of them own NFL teams. The richest of all NFL
owners, via SportsBusiness Daily, is Allen, at a whopping $15 billion.

A full 11 figures in the distance is Rams owner Stan Kroenke, at $5.0
billion. (Coupled with wife Ann Walton Kroenke’s $4.5 billion, that’s a
$9.5 billion power couple.)

The bronze is shared by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Buccaneers owner
Malcolm Glazer, both of whom are listed at a net worth of $4.4 billion.

Next on the list is Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, at $2.9 billion. Giants
co-owner Joan Tisch also has a net worth of $2.9 billion.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is worth $2.7 billion, followed by Patriots owner
Robert Kraft ($2.3 billion), Browns owner Jimmy Haslam III ($1.8 billion),
Texans owner Bob McNair ($1.8 billion), Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti ($1.8
billion), Falcons owner Arthur Blank ($1.6 billion), Colts owner Jim Irsay
($1.5 billion), Titans owner Bud Adams ($1.2 billion), Saints owner Tom
Benson ($1.2 billion), 49ers co-owner Denise York ($1.1 billion), Redskins
owner Dan Snyder ($1.0 billion), and Chargers owner Alex Spanos ($1.0

That’s 19 teams owned by billionaires, with every team in the AFC South
owned by a billionaire. Which means, excluding the publicly-owned Packers,
12 teams are owned by non-billionaires.

Which makes us wonder what those owners are doing with the money that owning
an NFL team allows them to print.

Follow these links for a small sampling of articles on the subject :

Congress Gives NASCAR a $40M Tax Break

Why Does the National Football League Deserve Tax-Exempt Status?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-frederick/nfl-tax-exempt_b_1321635.html

Big-time sports tax breaks: 'How much does it bother you?'http://www.wral.com/nfl-is-tax-free-how-much-does-it-bother-you-/12063209/

House panel OKs $60M in tax breaks for sports facilities (Florida)

Kentucky govt. diverts economic development funds from Appalachian counties for basketball arena
Posted by theHandpuppet | Mon Aug 12, 2013, 09:23 AM (23 replies)

Kentucky govt. diverts economic development funds from Appalachian counties for basketball arena

As if it isn't difficult enough to wean local Appalachian economies from a dependency on the coal industry, here's a blatant example of how the state govt. of Kentucky sabotages these efforts. I was so disgusted by this report I thought it worthy of posting to this forum. As an Appalachian born and bred, I am well aware of how the people and resources of Appalachia have been exploited and though we would all like to see a less coal-dependent economy (i.e., JOBS) in this region, it won't happen when the state diverts coal severance funds to renovate a basketball arena in Lexington.
The underlining below is mine.

Coal Report for June 19, 2013
[url]http://www.wmmt.org/archives/6337 [/url]

Many Kentucky coalfield county leaders are upset after the state announced that 2.5 million dollars of this year’s coal severance money will go toward renovations of Rupp Arena in Lexington. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that many coal-producing counties, which rely on coal severance money to provide basic services, are being forced to slash budgets this year due to falling local coal production, and Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne Rutherford, for one, called this plan a “raid on our coal severance funds for their project.” The Kentucky General Assembly decided last year that the 2.5 million for Rupp Arena would come from Local Government Economic Development Fund, a pot of money within the coal severance fund specifically meant to help coalfield counties diversify their local economies through helping build businesses not affiliated with coal. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo, of Prestonsburg, defended the plan, saying “Though Rupp is not in the coalfields, many believe it plays an important role in the state because of the tradition of the University of Kentucky basketball program.” He also said he hopes to get this money replaced back into the Coal Severance Fund after it’s spent. But many coalfield leaders are still upset, including Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop, who said “I love UK basketball as much as anybody, but this wasn’t a good use of coal severance money.”
Posted by theHandpuppet | Tue Jul 2, 2013, 08:56 AM (5 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4