Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Open Letter to the Penn State Football Family

Dear Deluded Asses:

Apologizing for a child rapist and a subsequent cover up does nothing to repair the reputation of Joe Paterno or Penn State.  Your effusive praise of Paterno and Penn State is sickening to anyone who has read the letter of support and Grand Jury report.  This is neither about Paterno’s legacy nor the alma mater.  This is about children, dozens if not hundreds of children who were cruelly used and thrown aside like old socks. 

Sandusky’s crimes are writ large in the grand jury testimony and Paterno’s culpability is there for all to see.  He himself said he wished he had done more.  We know from testimony, that the police weren’t called because Paterno did not want to disrupt the weekend.  Read that again.  No calls were made because it was the FUCKING WEEKEND.  For that alone he should burn in hell. 

Statistics show that 1 in 10 boys report sexual abuse but probably 1 in 6 were abused.  That means of the 382 of you, chances are that 38-50 have been abused.  In the open of the letter you expressed sorrow and pity for the victims.  Your pious mouthings don’t make up for the pain that they suffered. 

Here’s an exercise that I often do when I talk to people about child sexual abuse. 

Close your eyes.  Think back to the first time you had a sexual encounter.  Remember being nervous, maybe sweating a little, fumbling for words and buttons.  Remember maybe you were in the back of your first car or on your parents basement couch.  Okay open your eyes and tell me about it.   Not very easy is it?

Close your eyes again now imagine that you are 10, your encounter scares you, makes you feel sick and alone.  Imagine that you are screaming for help and nobody comes for you.   Now imagine that 10 years have passed.  Open your eyes and tell a professional.

You have no idea what it’s like for me or any DCFS Investigator to interview victims and get them to talk about the most horrific thing that has happened to them.   No idea what it’s like when a victim breaks down because he or she didn’t tell and their little sister was subsequently abused.  No idea how mad it makes you when a 4 year old says she knew she did a good job at oral sex because she would get a chocolate chip cookie as a reward. 

You  have no idea what it’s like to sit with parents after doing a Victim Sensitive Interview and having the parents both men and women turning into sobbing, inconsolable messes because they blame themselves for not having known or seen the signs.  There are no words that suffice, the silence seems like an eternity and in the end all you can offer is Kleenex and the name of a good therapist.

Clearly Penn State's Football family has hubris that knows no bounds.  I dare you to sit with me or any of my DCFS colleagues and talk to these children and parents.  I guarantee that if you had you would never sign this arrogant treatise on the glory that is Penn State.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Progressive Father's Thoughts on the Plan B Decision

I find the recent caterwauling about Health and Human Services Plan B decision by the professional left somewhat amusing. It ranges from legitimate concern about the decision to the extreme left suggesting that President Obama has completely abandoned women.

In the interests of fairness, I must inform you that I am a father of two girls, ages 11 and 5. My wife and I have always given our girls frank and honest information about sexuality. They call body parts by their correct names. The fact that my 5 year old struggled with her V sounds for a long time so it was pagina, not vagina, notwithstanding.

My 11 year is starting puberty (yay me) and because we have been open and honest, if something happened and she required Plan B, I'm confident she would come to her mother or I for help. I should also note the boy in question might meet with Plan DOA, I'm progressive, but not that progressive.

As to the broader decision, I understand the people who are upset. The science is sound, the pill is at least as safe as regular birth control. I think the overall decision is flawed. I wish that Secretary Sebelius had simply said, "there are moral and legal issues regarding this contraceptive for use by children." She should have made it over the counter for adults and perhaps girls as young as 15 or 16. Other first world countries have age limits of 15 or 16 for similar meds.

Another point that most people have missed. Around the country, pharmacists are mandated reporters of child abuse. If a minor comes to them for morning after contraception, they must make a report to authorities. Again if an 11 or 12 year old needs this medication, someone needs to check into it. In most states its a crime for children to have sex with anyone, even if the partner is also a child. I think this is why a 15 or 16 year old age limit is appropriate. The pharmacists could still be reporting to authorities about younger children, but the older teens would be able to deal with their behavior in an anonymous way.

When it comes to government decisions that affect women's health, I'm no authority, but I don't think President Obama should be characterized as anti-woman. People like Katha Pollitt and Joan Walsh are out of their minds if they think he and his administation are abandoning women.

Those who are most shrill on the issue should remember that for the last 2 years the GOP controlled House and GOP state governments everywhere are actively trying to force their way into the uterus and are treating women as brood mares and chattel.

By comparison it seems to me that the Plan B decision, well not the best decision ever, is not the first volley in an Obama lead war on the pagina.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eye of Newt, Tale of Batshit

Recently, Newt Gingrich decided to take the fight to those good for nothing layabouts and wastrels mooching off the public dime. I'm speaking of course about poverty stricken 9 year olds. Taking their lives of luxury for granted what with their free lunch and book fee waivers. Those little bastards are getting by wayyyyy to easy.

Don't worry though, Old Man Gingrich has a plan. You see, these little ingrates just need to pick up a mop and clean toilets. To be fair, Newt isn't blaming these hobbit sized louts. Its not their fault they're freeloading an education at PS10, its their PARENTS fault, because they too are lazy good for nothing criminals who don't work 'cept for stealing from hard working 'Merican's like Newt.

Here's the problem with that. Census research that has been widely quoted around the net shows that 3 out 4 children living in poverty have at least one parent working. Half of children living in poverty have parents working full time jobs. 25% have a parent working at least a part time job. The great irony in Gingrich's theory is that if the kids go to work as janitors, they most likely will be putting their own mom or dad out of work.

Newt's assertions that kids in poor neighborhoods have no roll models is just flat out wrong. I grew up in poverty. My parents made $20000 a year between them until I was in college. They were hard working people, they weren't criminals. They taught me and my sister a work ethic that has led us both to great jobs in Social Work and Education.

In turn my sister and I work with people in poverty every day. There are some people who don't work, but for the most part the people I have dealt with are working 2 or 3 jobs to get out of poverty.

This is the fundamental flaw in Gingrich's ideas and largely the ideas of the GOP. They think that poor people choose to be poor. Nobody chooses that. They complain about the left killing the American dream, but they take no time to find out that the people living in poverty dream of getting out, dream of doing better and dream of their children in college and good jobs.

If they took the time ask a poor person if they would take a 75 K a year job, I doubt they'd say no, I'd much rather clean toilets at the school.