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And Now For Something Completely Different…

The Virtual Paintout is back after a long hiatus this year.

(Check out the link in my blog roll on the right of the page.)

Each month Bill Guffey, the wonderful artist who runs the whole shebang, picks a spot somewhere on the planet for artists of all stripes to convene and travel the streets via Google Street View and then submit their artwork of the spots they find interesting.

The choice this last month was the U.S. Virgin Islands.

My husband of 42 years passed away in June. He always encouraged me in my artwork and had been after me to get back into it, but his months long illness and radiation treatments took their toll on both of us and I just didn’t have the will to do that.

So when Bill started up his website again in August, I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t have quite yet what it takes to do a full blown painting, so I found this rooster strutting his stuff in front of a house and did a quick sketch using color markers. And here it is.

I call this one “Funky chicken.”

funky chicken

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Suffer the Little Children…

The ever-expanding sexual abuse scandals involving the Catholic church have been in the news for days now.
It’s time to re-post part of a piece (“A Tale of Two Pedophiles”) in which I wrote about my encounter in the late 1980’s with Father Oliver O’Grady.
Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed in the wake of that scandal:

Thoughts of Jaycee Dugard brought up my brief brush with one of the worst pedophiles the Catholic church has known to date.  His name is Father Oliver O’Grady, who spent years being shuttled from one diocese to another even though the hierarchy of the church knew he was molesting children.  He finally wound up as the parish priest in a small town in Calaveras county, California.  I was working as a dental hygienist for a local dentist and Father O’Grady happened to be one of our patients.

The dentist I worked for was a devout Catholic.  My employer was, on the whole, a nice fellow who felt strongly about his convictions.  He had anti-abortion posters hung quite visibly in his lab where patients would see them as they were escorted to their dental chairs.  Some patients took offense at being subjected to something like that in a dental office and angrily left the office–and in some cases they left the practice itself.  To me, this dogmatism on his part was like wearing a pair of blinders which allowed you to see only what you were supposed to see.

Often the dentist, his assistant and I would have lunch at a nearby sandwich shop.  On some occasions the dentist’s wife would join us.  At one of these informal lunches we were talking about water wells; a common topic in rural areas where having a good well is essential to life itself.  I happened to mention that a neighbor of mine, whose father was half Native American, taught me how to dowse for water with a forked branch.  The usual term for that was “water witching”, a skill that even the men who worked for our local electric company, PG & E, knew how to do.

My employer turned to me and said, very serious and straight-faced, “Isn’t that witchcraft?”  At first I thought he was kidding, but quickly realized he wasn’t.  I was nonplussed and stammered something about “No, it’s just something you feel.”  The dentist’s wife was in our little group and she tried to smooth things over a bit, but I have to say I was taken aback that someone in our modern age would bandy about the charge “witchcraft.”

Now, post-Palin anti-witchcraft blessing ceremonies, I’m no longer surprised.

I mention all of this in regard to Father O’Grady only to make the point that while my employer was looking behind the dental chair for imaginary witches, here we had a man who was actually doing unspeakable things with children.  Father O’Grady was a figure of authority and power, as was the diocese that sent him to this unsuspecting little hamlet.  Everyone in my office fell all over himself in deference to this man when he came in for his appointments.  It was “Father this…” and “Father that…” but no one had the slightest clue that he had been molesting children for years and the powers that be knew about it, but kept it hidden.

The sadly laughable thing about it was that he was such a little milquetoast of a man when I finally did meet him.  I took an immediate dislike to him because he would not look me in the eye.  What kind of a priest won’t look you in the eyes?  Aren’t the eyes windows into the soul?  Father O’Grady’s soul was hidden from view.  There was too much ugliness there.

Father O’Grady as he looked sometime around when I met him.

2005_07_13_Russell_BlindEye_ph_Oliver_OGrady

It was several years after I left that practice that the whole story surrounding Father O’Grady came to light.  I could only imagine what they thought at my old dental office.  Had real evil replaced the imaginary?  I somehow doubt it.  Excuses were made all along the line for the transferring of O’Grady from one place to the next, without punishment or warning.  The man involved in Jaycee Lee Dugard’s abduction seems to have had every break in the books also.  It shouldn’t have taken so long in either Garrido’s case or Father O’Grady’s for someone to step up and put a stop to the abuse.

The kids deserved better.

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Quote of the Day

From New York Magazine on Trump’s angry response to Sarah Sanders being kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant, by Jonathan Chait:

“There is a problem of political hypocrisy here, of course — if the Trump administration supports the right of bakers to withhold service from gay and lesbian weddings because they are disgusted at the thought of gay people getting married, it should also support the right of restaurant owners to deny their delightful creations to people who work for an authoritarian racist presidency.”

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Yes, We Should Be Worried About Assault With a Deadly Condom.

From The Hill:

Florida lawmakers on Tuesday passed a resolution declaring pornography a public health risk, less than an hour after they rejected a motion to consider a bill that would ban assault rifles.

The Florida House of Representatives opened its Tuesday session with a motion to debate a bill banning assault rifles, which it rejected by a 36-71 vote within three minutes, according to the Washington Post.

In the same session, less than an hour later, according to the newspaper, the legislature considered a GOP-backed bill to declare porn a public health risk, which it passed by a voice vote.

During the debate, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D) questioned State Rep. Ross Spano, the GOP lawmaker who presented the pornography bill, asking if pornography has killed anyone or caused first responders to seek counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“[Spano] was saying porn as a health risk was more important to address here in the Florida Legislature than the epidemic of gun violence,” Smith told the AP. “These are their priorities. I don’t understand the politics, to be honest, if I’m being honest. I’m not aware there’s a base of voters who are losing sleep every night over the epidemic of pornography as a public health crisis.”

 

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Who’s Minding the Store?

The Porter plot thickens: (From The Hill)

“One former official said that, under normal circumstances, the White House would have run a name check on Porter as he was joining the administration, which would have surely turned up record of a protective order that one of Porter’s former wives, Jennifer Willoughby, filed against him in 2010.

“If there was a court record about this, they should have known about this immediately,” the former official said. 

“Especially if you’re going to give someone an interim clearance,” the former official continued. “The FBI or the White House counsel’s office would have taken those initial steps before initiating an interim clearance.”

Porter, who has denied the allegations of abuse, would have also been required to disclose the record of the restraining order on an SF 86, a standard form that government officials in national security positions are required to fill out.

It remains unclear whether Porter disclosed the allegations on the form. Lying on an SF 86 could trigger criminal prosecution.”

 

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Melania, Start With Your Hubby

From Politico:

First lady Melania Trump on Wednesday called on the international community to better protect and support children, speaking out against bullying and calling parents and leaders around the world to “come together for the good of our children because through them, our future will be defined.”

That the first lady would select bullying as a cause to throw the weight of her office behind struck some as ironic, given the president’s penchant for lobbing insults and heated rhetoric at his opponents, both online and in stated remarks.

Image result for trump cyber bully