Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Scottish “slam poet’s” sad story of her abortion while a teenager

“I Think She Was a She” is a poem written by “slam poet” Leyla Josephine, in which she talks about the abortion she had as a teenager.

Before getting into the content of this poem, you might like to know just what a “slam poet” is. “A slam itself is simply a poetry competition in which poets perform original work alone or in teams before an audience, which serves as judge,” according to, the online site of the Academy of American Poets. “The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page.” 

This slam poem was delivered via an online video. “I think she was a she,” the poem begins. “No, I know she was a she, and I think she would have looked exactly like me,” Ms. Josephine declares. With a heavy Scottish brogue that is sometimes difficult to understand she then goes into much detail, explaining how that as a mother she would have taken pains to protect her baby daughter, would have talked about her grandfather when the daughter was older, and would have taken pains to teach her all the things the poet’s mother had taught her.

The poem is touching and almost melancholy, something that might have been written by the mother of a child unfortunately lost before birth. But, of course, that is not what this poem is about. Here, Ms. Josephine condemns the cultural shame forced on her ever since making that fateful decision.

The tone of the poem then takes a sharp turn: “But I would’ve supported her right to choose; to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine. I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time."

Ms. Josephine is not sadly recounting a miscarriage; instead she is proudly describing why she had an abortion and how it was truly the right decision for her. “I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I’m so sick of keeping these words contained. I am not ashamed," she says of her decision to abort her child. She said that the child she created with the “boy I loved” was just too much responsibility for her as a teenager.

Lines of rationalization follow, as she tries desperately to justify what she did. She stubbornly claims dominion over her own body. And she regurgitates the statistics on how many abortions occur in a year in order to justify hers as just one more. And then this, in conclusion: “But this is my body, and I don’t care about your ignorant views. When I become a mother, it will be when I choose.”

Let’s review some of what she said.

Ms. Josephine states, "I would have died” for her aborted daughters right to choose, “just like she died for mine." The right to choose what? Aren’t we told abortion is just the process of eliminating a mass of unwanted cells, like having a tumor excised?

But she said her daughter had “died” for her right to choose, tacit recognition that her baby was living person; that abortion ended the life of her child. In which case abortion is murder, the deliberate killing of the child she and her lover created through a willful act.

"I'm sorry, but you came at the wrong time." You “came” at the wrong time? The child decided to create itself without first checking with mom and dad? Among the three persons in this story, the child, as the creation of mom and dad, had no choice whatsoever in this situation.

However, the artfully designed words that are intended to justify what she did in fact subvert that effort. She and her boyfriend willingly indulged in a sexual act, likely unprotected. For her, abortion is nothing more than a way to be rid of the consequences of her behavior.

Abortion is not a crime only because it has not been legally established that life begins at conception or at some point prior to birth. However, Ms. Josephine admits abortion ended her child’s life.

But her statement that she lacks shame at the same time reveals the contempt she holds for the life she created, and her comfort with being able to wash away that inconvenience at will.

Once accepted as a solution for inconvenient situations, abortion takes on even more bizarre forms.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sees abortion as a means to reduce the number of poor children. 

“Frankly I had thought that at the time [Roe v Wade] was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.” … “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.” 

That is a stunning perspective from an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and helps explain why our country is in such deep trouble today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Honorable service and integrity are requirements for good government

The anniversary of the United States Constitution passed by relatively unnoticed last week, but politics as usual went along apace. That marvelous document – born of discontent that sparked revolution, and which was followed by discord, debate, trial and error, and ultimately yielded triumph – set forth a form of government unheard of in human history. It created a government empowered by the people, a government that expects and depends upon people of integrity following the rules, because doing so benefits the whole of the American people. It is a form of government designed to operate above the muck and mire of petty politics.

A nation so constituted is obligated to the people that empower it to operate efficiently, responsibly, honestly, and to identify its mistakes, own up to and bear responsibility for those mistakes and take steps to assure that those mistakes are not repeated. This element is never more important than when government failure results in the unnecessary loss of life of Americans serving their country.

Such a government and the people of integrity that operate it do not allow political considerations to prevent the truth from being found. It requires people in government, whether put there as an act of faith through the electoral process, or whether put there as hired hands, all work for the people, and all owe a duty to the people to act lawfully and with integrity. Anything less is treasonous, perhaps not by the letter of the law, but certainly in the spirit of the law.

As that revered date passed by, so did another: a date marking the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, and the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.

We well remember the first of those dates, when Muslim terrorists hijacked four airliners and crashed two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and passengers scuttled the fourth before it could reach its target, but these acts resulted in killing nearly 3,000 innocent people. Not since Pearl Harbor had the United States seen an attack of such magnitude.

On the latter date, Islamic militants attacked the Benghazi consulate. In that attack U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information officer, and Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, two former Navy SEALs working as security personnel at the consulate died. This is an event many want simply to forget, and move on. “Dude, that was two whole years ago!”

The Benghazi attack occurred on the watch of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, neither of whom has any appetite for providing answers to the several serious questions about security failures that they are obligated to provide to their bosses, the American people.

The tragedy of Benghazi resulted from a grossly failed episode of government that puts some public servants in a very, very bad light. But people who put good government above sordid political concerns understand that the many unanswered questions of Benghazi deserve –require – answers. Honest and complete answers.  Mrs. Clinton’s shameful response to a Congressional committee, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” simply does not cut it.

And the longer Americans are left wondering which of the public servants in our government made decisions, or failed to make decisions, that led to the murder of four brave Americans serving their country, the more tawdry details leak out.

In a lengthy story for the Daily Signal online, Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson reported that as the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepared for its first hearing on the scandal last week, former State Department diplomat Raymond Maxwell alleged that confidants of Hillary Clinton took part in removing some damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating the security lapses prior to and during the terrorist attacks on the consulate.

As Ms. Attkisson reported: “Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the ‘jogger’s entrance.’ He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.”

Mr. Maxwell said that he observed boxes and stacks of documents, and that a State Department office director, whom he said was a close advisor to Mrs. Clinton was there. The office director actually worked for Mr. Maxwell, but he said he was not consulted about her working on this weekend assignment.

The office director explained that the assembled staff were to go through the stacks of documents “and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs office] or seventh floor [where the Secretary of State and top advisers are] in a bad light.

 “I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ he said. “She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

These State Department employees were more concerned with following orders than with acting honorably and legally, something that should concern everyone. 

For that reason, and for the memory of those four brave Americans that died needlessly, we must pursue the truth about Benghazi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Potpourri: Comments on the passing scene

From the “Aha” department: Judicial Watch reports that “Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told the organization on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe.”

However, attorneys also said it would just be too dad-gummed hard to go through the backup files to look for evidence of possible criminal behavior. Imagine that: an emergency backup of the entire government, so that if the entire government computer system were to be destroyed, all the information is protected, but it’s so disorganized that you can’t easily find anything. Doesn’t that make the backup essentially useless? Was this system designed and built by the same people that gave us

Do you suppose that none of the people at the IRS who claimed the emails had been forever lost knew about this backup? Really? 


Raising the minimum wage by $2.85 an hour to $10.10 an hour effectively imposes an “unskilled labor tax” on employers of $6,170 per worker, according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark J. Perry. That includes not only the increase in wages, but also increases in FICA, Medicare and unemployment taxes.

A survey of 400 U.S. Chief Financial Officers conducted by Duke University finance professor Campbell Harvey shows that a substantial increase in the minimum wage will, as so many have said for so long, cost jobs, as well as reduce job benefits and increase outsourcing.

The survey showed that in response to a $10 per hour minimum wage:
    •    Sixty percent of the firms said they would lay off employees.
    •    Forty percent said they would slash benefits to employees.
    •    Seventy percent said they would increase contracting, outsourcing, or moving actual production outside the United States.

A report on the study by the National Center for Policy Analysis notes that, “Businesses will not simply absorb these costs; they will look for ways to minimize the $6,000 tax by reducing the number of workers they employ, cutting workers' hours, halting additional hiring or finding ways to use automation to replace work done by employees. Employers may also cut employees' non-monetary fringe benefits rather than eliminate their positions.”


Since President Barack Obama ended the War on Terror, America’s new efforts to combat, er … fight, umm … deal with terrorism has a new name: “comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.” This strategy has already produced more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq that killed ISIL/ISIS fighters, destroyed weapons, and allowed Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. Thank goodness we are not involved in another war.

The president announced that with allies and Congress, America will lead a broad coalition in a counter-terrorism strategy called Operation Double Bogie to roll back this terrorist threat (from behind?).


While drug smugglers and who knows what other filth sneak in and out of the U.S. over the non-existent southern border, Border Patrol agents busy themselves making birthday cakes for illegal aliens who have crossed the border into the country.

This information comes via Pinal County, Ariz. Sheriff Paul Babeu, who appeared on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World” program last Thursday on Fox News Channel.

The sheriff said, “I can give you a window into this administration because just a month ago, while all this was going on, we heard, myself and countless sheriffs in Fort Worth, Texas, heard … how wonderful it was these Border Patrol agents, federal law enforcement, had a birthday cake for this 13-year-old Honduran, and he’s never had a cake ... I called him on that, and said, ‘how on earth have we arrived at this point where it’s become the job of our Border Patrol agents, who their sole purpose should be to protect our country and secure our border, is to do what you just said, to have a birthday cake for a 13-year-old Honduran?’”


From the Nervous Hospital, Unhinged Ward: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) claims that Democrats are not “fear-mongers;” but said on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “It would be very important for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate,” she warned. “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”


Earlier this year came news from Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that we face increased risks from human-induced climate change. These new risks are, of course, the result of CO2 in the atmosphere, which now has more CO2 than it previously had. Over the last 100 years the number of CO2 molecules in a given quantity of air is up from 3 to 4.

No wonder they are concerned: that represents a 33 percent increase in CO2!

That sounds like a really serious problem, until you realize that the quantity of air in this equation is 10,000 molecules. We now have 4 molecules of CO2 per 10,000 air molecules, instead of 3. The amount of CO2 in the air is now 4 ten-thousandths (.0004), up from 3 ten-thousandths (.0003). Catastrophe has descended on us; we are surely doomed.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Editors Note: What follows originated in 2006, and is repeated in 2014.

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers joined together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person payed tribute to a single victim.We honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

So reads the introductory material on the 2996 Web page. I was assigned James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr. I was the 1357th blogger to sign up for the 2,996 Tribute project.

The name of each 9-11 victim was been assigned to a blogger.

This project was a very moving one for me. In searching for information on Jim Greenleaf’s life, I was deeply touched by who this young man was.

James Arthur Greenleaf, Jr., age 32, native of Waterford, Conn. Mr. Greenleaf was a foreign exchange trader at Carr Futures and died at the World Trade Center. He was a resident of New York, N.Y. Mr. Greenleaf was a 1991 graduate of Connecticut College, he was the son of Mr. And Mrs. James Greenleaf, Sr., and the former husband of Susan Cascio, a 1992 graduate of Connecticut College.

The following was posted by Mr. Greenleaf’s mother on

April 6, 2002

My Dearest Jim,

Almost 7 months have passed and not a day goes by that I don't think about you. Some days I pretend that I just haven't seen you in long time and that you will be visiting soon. I know that it will be a long time till we see each other again, but it does help on the bad days.

Just this week Dad and I received 2 letters from old friends of yours recalling some great times that they spent with you and they wanted us to know what an impact you had on their lives. One letter we received said that she had children of her own and just hoped that some day they might grow up to be the kind of person that she remembers you as being. What a
wonderful tribute to the fine man that you were. You touched so many people and I'm sure that you had no idea of how others thought of you.

I know that I kissed you and told you how much I loved you every time I had the opportunity to, but I wanted to say it to you today again.

I love you so much,


Peter, Bryn and I talk about you all the time and remember all the wonderful times we spent together.
(Patricia Greenleaf, Waterford, CT)

Quilt graphic thanks to Kim at United in Memory

The James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established to honor and remember a dear family member and friend who lost his life as a result of the catastrophe which occurred in New York City in 2001. The fund will be used to provide financial assistance to students attending St. Bernard High School.

Dave McBride also hopes to help others by honoring the memory of his long-time friend with the 5th Annual 5K River Run For The Fund. The race, which takes place this Saturday, May 13th at Ocean Beach Park in New London, is part of the Greenleaf Memorial Foundation, which also incorporates an annual Golf Tournament and a Memorial Dinner. McBride and James Greenleaf were best friends since high school, graduating from St. Bernard in 1987.

Sadly, Greenleaf lost his life because of the terrorist acts that occurred as he was working in New York City on the morning of September 11th, 2001. In a tribute to Greenleaf, his family and friends created the James A. Greenleaf, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc., with proceeds used to award full book scholarships for 8th grade students to attend St. Bernard High School. The organization received approximately 30-40 scholarship applications annually, which require a formal essay and teacher recommendations that are reviewed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The fund also hopes to increase its scholarship offerings either to St Bernard students or other local students who will be attending college.

 Leave a message in honor of James Arthur Greenleaf Jr.

From: Lisa LaGalia Date: 11/19/2004 Message: Hi babe it me. Still not better without you. Can't you take me there where you are. We should be together
From: Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh Date: 08/29/2005 Message: At every one of your events. We know you are there in spirit....laughing.

This comment was left just a few days ago:

Thank you for posting information on Jim Greenleaf. We went to high school together. During the three years, we played football and ran track together. We ate many lunches together. 

With my return to the US in 2007, I have been able to attend the annual golf outing twice. The outpouring of help given by friends of Jimmy is very inspiring. His scholarship is helping many children attend St. Bernard H.S.

Thank you for the great site.

PS As an aside, we lost another high school friend that day, Eric Evans. He was in one of the towers when they fell. Both gone but not forgotten.

Jim Greenleaf, rest in peace.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

When you are self-absorbed, you can’t see the forest for the trees

Life provides lessons for us in unusual ways. Occasionally, it is someone totally missing something obvious that provides the lesson. Here is a very good example of that.

A photograph posted on Facebook shows a woman holding up a sign. The sign says: “I have a Master of Arts degree in Women’s Studies. However, the only job I can find is as a bartender at a local restaurant. I owe over 60k in student loans. I am forced to rely on food stamps and WIC to support my son. Is this the ‘American Dream’ I worked so hard for? I am the 99 percent”

The lesson is there for all to see, but the woman – let’s call her “Ms. OWS,” – not only didn’t learn from her experience, she didn’t even suspect there was a lesson there. That experience was only an opportunity to complain that America hasn’t provided a better life for her.
The lesson that unless you are independently wealthy or have someone to support you while you go to school, you don’t borrow 60 grand to pursue a degree in a subject area that will not equip you to support yourself and your child and pay for the education that you have just received totally escaped her notice.

Like the make-believe class college kids used to joke about, “Underwater Basket Weaving,” Women’s Studies, is not a viable career field. To prepare for supporting yourself you study accounting, engineering, computer technology, law, medicine, chemistry, elementary or secondary education, or one of the other majors where jobs are available. But Ms. OWS, probably without a gun to her head, instead chose Women’s Studies.

The Occupy Wall Street movement with which Ms. OWS so closely identifies, includes some pie-in-the-sky idealism, like:
    •    The right to economic justice, including a living wage for all, regardless of the job, or the level of skills or experience one has
    •    Debt forgiveness for all debts
    •    Free college education
    •    Open borders

These goals are not merely unrealistic; they are dangerous. None would be good either for the country or for its inhabitants. Someone has to pay for the higher wages, the free college education, and the debt forgiveness, and that won’t be the people who think about life like Ms. OWS does; it will be the people who approach adulthood responsibly, and prepare to take care of themselves.

Movements like Occupy Wall Street seem to attract those disaffected souls who, for whatever reason, have not learned what life is about, expect to be provided for, and become indignant when life does not provide to them the rewards to which they believe they are entitled, due to nothing more significant that they were not aborted and draw breath.

Like Ms. OWS, they float through life indulging in the things they like, neglecting to seek out things that will prepare them for life as a responsible citizen, and then contributing to society and the wellbeing of our country.

Perhaps it’s not entirely their fault. We have a segment of our society that imagines it is possible to achieve Utopia, and a large group of pandering vote-seekers all too willing to promise it to them, and who provide a few goodies at taxpayer expense in return for votes and a cushy career in government.

And then there’s government, itself, at all levels. Even in cases where young people show some initiative, and take steps to help themselves, they are often thwarted by bureaucratic absurdity, as in these examples reported by The Daily Signal:

** Chloe Stirling started a business in her kitchen called “Hey, Cupcake!” In addition to selling her goods to friends and neighbors, she donated some to charitable events, including a fundraiser for a student with cancer, and delivered cupcakes to residents in a senior home. Not good enough! Illinois health officials declared that she lacked the necessary permit to operate and told her to close up shop.

** A zoning official in Holland, Mich. shut down a 13-year-old’s hotdog stand because he was supposedly competing with nearby restaurants.  Nathan Duszynski had planned to sell hotdogs to raise money for his disabled parents. The boy’s mom has epilepsy and his dad has multiple sclerosis. Within minutes of opening his stand, a zoning official ordered him to cease operating because he lacked a license.

Bah! Humbug!

Is this a great country, or what? On the one hand there’s a substantial number of people who think they are entitled to whatever they think they are entitled to, and lack the motivation to get off their duffs and earn their rewards, and on the other hand people in government stupidly apply rules to punish young people who take the initiative to earn something through work.

But then there was a pleasant breeze of tolerance and common sense wafting its way north from Dunedin, Fla. where 12-year-old T.J. Guerrero operates a lemonade stand to raise money for summer activities with his friends and family. After one neighbor complained to the city, Mayor Dave Eggers visited the stand, enjoyed some lemonade, and praised the youngster’s initiative.

Perhaps all is not lost. But we must be vigilant.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri, is really a story of inappropriate reactions

The death of a black teenager at the hands of a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the events before and after the shooting, have raised many questions: about race relations, about the behavior of police, about the militarization of local and state police forces, and whether and to what extent the self-serving and often-biased behavior of the national media makes things worse.

The most important thing about this episode is that no one really knows what happened, except the 18 year-old male, who is now dead, and the police officer who shot him.

Maybe the black residents of Ferguson are correct in their belief that the police officer murdered an innocent black teen.

If the police officer did indeed kill the boy without justification, or used excessive force, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Several times this column has pointed out examples of unjustified and stupid use of force by law enforcement officials at all levels. Police must be held to account when they break the law, or injure innocent people, just like the rest of us.

But perhaps other information that shows the young black male as something other than the “gentle giant” he has been portrayed to be is correct. And if so, that also has to be taken into account.

In such emotional situations as this one, people’s initial reactions are usually based upon their existing attitudes about those involved. Perhaps they believe white police officers are biased against black residents. Or, perhaps they believe the worst of the black people involved. And, the stronger the emotions involved, the stronger the reaction to the situation is likely to be.

That seems to be precisely what happened.

The majority black population in Ferguson immediately believed the white policeman murdered the black youth, while others believed the worst about the black youngster and thought the police officer was justified in shooting him. Black residents demonstrated and protested, leading to police responses that mostly made things worse.

There are pieces of information floating around to support both the black youth and the white policeman, but what is lacking is being able to know which of all of these various pieces of information are credible and which are not. Investigating crimes frequently takes time, and first impressions about what happened are often wrong.

If they are devoted to objectively and accurately reporting events, news organizations can help settle initial emotional reactions. But if other considerations take precedence, the way news outlets handle events can stir things up further.

One issue is that of proportionality: as serious as this situation is in Ferguson, Missouri, one must ask the question of whether in the universe of important events this situation truly justifies the hundreds of hours of breathless, up-front coverage given to it by the dominant news outlets?

The Media Research Center (MRC) is a 501(c)(3) media watchdog organization, which is one of several organizations that looks and reports on the performance of the national media. Brent Bozell, MRC’s founder and president, comments: “You’ve got a hundred blacks [that] have been shot by white cops. What happened to the other 99? Why don’t they merit coverage?” And then, “You’ve got 5,000 blacks killed by blacks. Why isn’t that news?”

Both are fair questions, and important questions.

In cases such as the Ferguson shooting death, Mr. Bozell rightly says that “this is where the media, more than ever, need to be disinterested, neutral observers.”

There’s enough tragedy in this story to go around. The parents, relatives and friends of the young black man whose life is now over obviously have a tragedy to cope with. But so do the relatives, friends and co-workers of the white policeman.

If we analyze how the national broadcast and online media, and major daily newspapers operate, it is evident that news organizations often glom onto a story based not just on the news value of the story itself, but whether the story fits in with certain of the dominant media’s favored narratives. A story about a white cop shooting a young black male has greater media appeal than a story about white man killing another white man, or a black man killing another black man.

Further, too often it is a matter of who is first with something, not who gets it right. The online and cable/broadcast outlets have to furnish 24 hours of content a day, and if you ain’t first, you ain’t in the game. So any little tidbit of new information becomes a headline, or “Breaking News.” And it is not unusual for these “urgent” items to be relatively unimportant, or may be either iffy or flat out wrong.

Quite a lot of the accounts we have seen, heard and read in the news are incomplete, contain unverified elements, and sometimes are biased. The media may eventually report the unvarnished truth, or not, but the chaos that occurs in the interim stirs emotions on all sides, and obfuscates the truth, which is precisely opposite to the responsibility the news media have to serve the public.

Good journalism demands more, much more, than this.