The Seperation of Church and State

As I did my morning reading I caught a piece over at C.U.S.S that made me start to think. Before you read this post, please pop over and read the one that inspired it:

The Blind Scalias of Justice

After reading the post I opened the comment window and began to type. When I reached my third paragraph I decided what I had to say was better done here so as not to clog the comment section with ramblings.

I agree that the men and women who are appointed to our courts are not always fair and impartial as they are supposed to be by law. I also think that that is to be expected. I do not know a single human being who does not make decisions and judgements based on their beliefs. We all do it whether we are Christian or not. I do think that the men and women appointed to our highest court tend to represent our Presidents mindset. I think that this is something that needs to be changed. In fact, I'm pretty much of the belief that if our government doesn't get a complete overhaul soon we're going to end up in the middle of our very own Second Civil War within the next twenty to fifty years....but that's a different post.

The topic that brings us here today my friends is the so called "separation of church and state" that supposedly appears in our Constitution. This is a debate that has been raging for as long as I can remember and until very recently I was on the "it's in the Constitution" side. And then I actually ran into someone who had made it part of their life's work to study the Constitution and it's framers and let me tell you , I got schooled.

Simple Fact Number 1: The phrase "Separation of Church and State" does not appear anywhere in our Constitution. It is not in the main text. It is not in the Bill of Rights. It simply isn't there.

Simple Fact Number 2: The founding fathers of this country were not trying to prevent a theocracy. They were trying to ensure that the people of this country would have the freedom to choose whatever religion they wanted.

If you read the First Amendment the wording is fairly clear:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now a lot of you are immediately going to go for my jugular, "It's right there Serena, it says : Congress shall make NO LAW..." And you would be right, but read it....really read it. It says that Congress won't make any laws with respect to the ESTABLISHMENT of religion or laws that would prohibit the free exercise of that religion. It does not say that Congress will define a clear line between the government and any religion.

When we get all bent out of shape because some conservative twit has done something stupid, we have to remember, he or she isn't breaking any laws. They are just being a twit. If we get angry because some asshole has tried to get a law passed that will infringe upon our basic rights, we need to stop blaming religion and start fighting back.

It's important to remember that every time we rage about "those damn Christians" they aren't the only religious group seeking and receiving preferential treatment from the government. Right now they are the loudest, but they aren't the first and they won't be the last. Even Atheists aren't above running to the courts to ask them to intervene.

Should government be separate from religion? Hell yes. Religion muddies the waters. It taints rational decisions with the murk of morality. Will it ever happen? Not until people learn to accept the flaws inherent in themselves. The search for "moral perfection" and the need to push that on others comes from the basic drive in the human species, the need to explain away the ugly and evil things that happen.

When we were cavemen it was the lightening in the sky and the sound of thunder that needed an explanation. Today it's child molesters, mother's who kill their own children, war that kills thousands, drugs that eat our children alive. People need an explanation for these things and God and the Devil provide a way to explain it. Looking inward and pointing that moral finger at ourselves would be to painful. Our society isn't ready for it yet. And so they thump their Bibles much like cavemen thumped their chests. The next time you hear that thump coming your way, stand up and thump back.


Below is a link to a page on the Library of Congress website. Here you will find the text of Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists. This letter contains in it the phrase "separation of church and state" and has been used to help set the precedent that is used today when a person or group has an issue that involves religion. When atheist groups sue to have social groups removed from schools based on religious function, when Jehovah's Witnesses sue to prevent teachers leading classes in the Pledge of Allegiance because it violates their religious code, when American Indians want the right to follow age old religious traditions that violate current Federal or State laws, when Christians sue to keep the ten commandments on display in a clearly secular setting. In any case where a person or group feels a local, state of federal agency has overstepped it's bounds, this is the document that has been held up to establish that our founding fathers did indeed intend a clear and lasting division between the two:

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists

I've read this document before and did not mention it because I don't feel that it really fit the topic at hand. Jefferson clearly upholds the idea that our government should not be allowed to interfere in the establishment of a religion or the practice of a persons chosen religion, but does it say clearly that all of the founding fathers, and not Jefferson alone, felt that the men and women in our government should never use their own moral and ethical values as a guiding compass?

Where does that line blur? Would it be okay if the decisions being made matched more closely with the opinions you held? Would the religious beliefs of the person making those decisions then become less of an issue? Exactly how do you separate religion from government completely?


Sometimes I'm simply stunned by the sheer lack of knowledge (I'm trying to be less of a bitch) that I encounter in my everyday life. Today was one of those days.

I had to get groceries today so off to Wal-Mart I went. My bill came to $62.00 and some change so I handed the girl behind the counter a $100 dollar bill. She got a very confused look on her face. She looked down at her counter. She held the bill up to the light. She looked down at her counter again. She held the bill up to the light again. She turned to the cashier next to her and said, "What should I do? I don't see the little security strip? I don't have one of those marker thingies."

At this point I said, "If it's going to be that big of a deal I can give you a newer bill, one with the BIG face on it."

She turned back around, looking very relieved and handed me the bill back....and then she actually thanked me. I handed her a bill with the large, off center face of Benjamin Franklin on it. She didn't try to find her little pen, she didn't check for the security strip, she simply put the bill in her drawer and gave me the change. All because it had the BIG face on it.

I couldn't help myself, as I was leaving I said, "You know hun, they did actually make money BEFORE the year 2005." I don't think she appreciated my humor.

All of this confusion was caused by a $100 dollar bill minted in 1985 which I was given by my bank last Friday. I will be exchanging it tomorrow lest I give some poor unsuspecting cashier an aneurysm.


Bitch...Unleashed (part II)

So, having enjoyed 1408 and feeling in the mood for some shopping we proceed out into the sunny glow of capitalism that is a Saturday at an outdoor mall. We head to Anthropologie because they have the best lotions and perfumes. (Please see post where I confess to being obsessed with all things lotion and skin related....) I got these wonderful little perfume solids from crazy libellule and the poppies .

Content with my purchases I leave the store to find Stehpanie standing outside waiting for me and I notice a small child sitting on the sidewalk in front of Buckle. No parent in sight. Stephanie mentions that she's been watching this child for five minutes and has yet to see a parent. I start looking around and I notice a blond woman inside the store. I ask the child if that is her mommy. The child replies that yes, it is indeed her mother. At this point I can feel my dander rising. I go and stand next to the child and look at the woman. She eventually makes eye contact with me, looks at the child and then......she goes back to shopping! I'm dumbfounded. I continue to stand there thinking that perhaps this bleach bottle blond just hasn't processed the information yet. She looks at me again. Again we make eye contact. Again she looks at her child. And AGAIN she goes back to shopping. This time she actually walks all the way to the back of the store and into the dressing rooms to look at herself in the mirror. At this point I get pissed.

I turn to Stephanie and I say, "Watch this child please," and I step into the store. The over tanned, underfed wonder mom sees me coming and she stops. We lock eyes. I say, "Excuse me, is that your child on the sidewalk outside?" She pulls a face and says, "That's none of your business." I cock my head to the side and say, "Yes, actually it is. Do you have any idea how easy it would be for someone to just walk off with her?"

Now she's pissed off. She slaps her well manicured hands onto her boney ass hips and snaps, "It's none of your fucking business and besides, my daughter is watching her." I smile evenly and reply, "Would this be the same daughter that is standing next to you inside the store watching you try on clothes?" There is a sharp intake of breath and said teenage daughter says, "Chill out would you?" This does not help calm me down. We have attracted the attention of everyone in the store and several people on the sidewalk. She looks angry and embarrassed. I say, "You need to watch your child or you're going to end up being one of those families on the evening news crying for your child back. If you won't go get her off that sidewalk, I'll go find a police officer and you can explain it to him." Her stunning reply? "Why don't you find something better to do with your time, like eat a cheeseburger?" This is obviously a comment aimed at my weight, because apparently she believes everyone in the world is as shallow as she is. I smile and say, "Why don't you try watching your children instead of getting a tan?" and walked off to find a police officer.

I located a mall security officer and had him get me a Salt Lake City police officer. I made a report and he returned to the store. I would have loved to have been there when he showed up.

Later that day I had a thought, "One of these days I'm going to get punched." I'd do it again though.


Common courtesy has died a slow and painful death in our society.

I went to a movie on Saturday with Stephanie. The theater makes you purchase reserved seats like you would at a concert. I can understand the point behind this. It makes it handy if you purchase online for a night out with the family or purchase a head of time for a major release, like the upcoming Harry Potter. You get to pick where in the theater you want to sit and you know you and your date/family are guarenteed seats without hassle.

So Stephanie and I pick our seats, get our goodies and go in and sit in our reserved type seating. Behind us are three women. I noticed them because they were giggling. Well, not so much because they were giggling, but because they were old enough to be my mother and they were giggling loud enough to be my teenage daughter. Just before the movie starts a young couple (early teens, late twenties) walks into their aisle. The young woman says, "I'm sorry, but I think you might be sitting in our seats." She was very polite. She kept her voice low, trying not to embarass the other women. One of the ladies looks up, laughs and says, "Yeah, well there were people sitting in our seats so we just took these." She and her companions made no attempt to move. The young woman got upset and left. She didn't do anything to claim her seats. At this point, I turned around, looked directly at the three women and said, " You would think some people would be old enough to know better. I mean you expect that kind of behavior from teenagers, but from grown women? Common courtesy really has died a slow, painful death in our society, hasn't it?" The women laughed nervously, but the noise level in the row died down and they started fidgeting and looking around.

I felt a great sense of satisfaction.

Stay tuned for Bitch...Unleashed, part II (oh yes, it gets better....)


Big article out today about doctors refusing care to women based on their personal belief systems. The article has, at one point, a headline which reads:

"An ethical dilemma"

In this portion of the article we meet Sandy Christiansen, M.D., an ob/gyn in Frederick, Maryland. She says that providing services that are legal, like abortion referrals, EC and even birth control cause an "ethics problem" for her. She says that, "Doctors are people, too," she adds. "We have to be able to leave the hospital and live with ourselves. If you feel in your heart an action would cause harm to somebody — born or unborn — it's legitimate to decline to participate."

Here's what I have to say to that. If you feel that you're a "christian" doctor, then you need to advertise yourself as such. You need to tell your patients up front that if they come to you they had better be on the same moral footing as you, believe the same things as you and be living the perfect little Christian life that you seem to be saying you're living.

When you simply hang out a shingle that says OB/GYN on it and allow any woman to make an appointment, regardless of what her beliefs might be, she has the right to expect she will receive access to all legal medical options allowed her in this country, including the ones that don't jive with your self-righteous mind-set. You want to ride the high moral tide? Great! Then your ad in the yellow pages better read something like this:

"Christian OB/GYN. Will not give patients access to most modern procedures. Believes self to be above reproach and has developed a God complex that allows self to make moral judgements of others that will govern the standard of care they receive. Those of questionable moral fiber need not call for appointments. This includes, but is not limited to: lesbians, single mothers, sexually active teenagers, rape victims, victims of incest, women with piercings in places I may find disgusting, women with oddly colored hair, and women of other religions. We are taking new patients. Mary, Mother of Christ always welcome. Mary Magdalene need not apply."

There's a difference between ethics and morality. The ethics of a given profession are there to ensure that those of us who rely on the people practicing that profession get a high standard of care. Morals are the code each individual person lives by. If you can't seperate the two then you need to build yourself a time machine and haul your June Cleaver ass back to the 1950's.

I believe in a higher power. I also believe that when people like this pass into the next life they will find a seriously pissed of version of said higher power waiting for them with one question: "What exactly was it that you thought you were doing?" It gives me some measure of comfort knowing that for every tiny minded individual like this one there is a higher force waiting to judge them....and the retribution will be Divine.


Rise of the Silver Surfer

I took my husband to see Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer today. For anyone who saw the first movie, this second offering is an improvement. It's still not a great movie, but it's an improvement. I'm of the opinion that comic book movies should be fun first and anything else after that. This movie scores on the fun part of the equation and it made improvements over the first film as far as the cheese factor goes.

The big problem I had with this film was the lack of character development. The Fantastic Four are still a little cardboard for my tastes and the Surfer doesn't get a lot of air time. They spend more time focusing on trivial stuff...like a wedding and media hype. The time would have been better spent focusing on the Surfer and how the Fantastic 4 come to form a relationship with him.

The second problem with this film is a pretty big plot flaw. SPOILER ALERT: Johnny Storm has a run in with the Surfer early in the movie. It leaves him with a virus that causes him to swap powers with whoever he touches. At the end of the movie Doom steals the Surfer's board and it makes him all powerful. In order to get it away from him and stop the planets impending doom the 4 all touch hands and transfer all their powers to Storm......Okay....wait a minute. Stop the movie.

Here's the problem with that:

(1) When he touches someone he changes powers with the person he touches. He gets their power and they get his. So, if he touched all three of the other Fantastic 4 he would get their powers, but they should all have gotten his, he shouldn't have his fire anylonger, right?

or....it should have swapped powers among the four with unknown results, but in the movie it simply automatically transferred all four powers into Storm.

Now, he takes off and flies after Doom where he starts fighting with the SuperVillian and we encounter plot hole two.

(2) Because of the virus the first time he touches Doom the powers that he has should transfer to Doom and the powers Doom has should transfer to him. But they don't why not?

I hate when they just have things work because they need it to in a movie. They need to give me a reason. Any reason, but damn it, give me a reason.

All in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend an afternoon with my husband and my son.


Thirteen Days and Coutning.....

There are two sides to every argument.

Just because you can do a thing it doesn't follow that you should do a thing. Simply because we can kill and eat lower species, does it necessarily follow that we should? When civilization was young that may have been the case, meat was required for survival. Now that simply isn't true, not in non-third world nations anyway. Science has created several alternative nutrient sources that provide for our dietary needs and several of the plants found in nature can provide the things our bodies need just as well as meat can.

So why has the habit of eating other living creatures persisted throughout history. Many point to the Bible and the Book of Genesis. God putting the animals on Earth for Adams use and all that. That argument only works if the person your arguing too is a Christian, and even then it can be argued that "use" does not have to imply consumption, so it's a flawed argument.

I have pointed out the fact that even if everyone stopped eating meat based on the "cruelty" factor we would be left with an overpopulation of domesticated stock. This would cause several problems like where to house them and who would care for and pay for the animals. The answer to those questions is actually not as complicated as it might seem. Rather than try to force meat out of the public consumptive pattern all at once, it would be better to shoot for a gradual end to meat consumption. While doing so, you gradually begin thinning the herds being kept by commercial farmers and begin preparing animal preserve space for the herds that will be left. This process would take several years, but would result in a manageable population.

Health concerns can be raised regarding the proteins found in meat and the calcium and other minerals found in dairy products. Again, a slow phasing out of the products now in place and implementation of replacement with substitutes already found in nature could be managed. The products are available and while they do not taste the same many of them do provide the same nutritional content with out the fat content or cholesterol found in traditional foods. Over time, these new sources would become the "norm" and future generations would look on meat consumption as odd, even unhealthy.

Do I think that our society is ready for such a change? Not right now. Our palates and our cultural senses are attuned to a certain way of doing things. Right now, being a vegetarian is outside the cultural norm. Do I think such a change could happen? Yes, actually I do. I believe that as a society progresses it will inevitably shift away from killing for any purpose. "Just because you can do a thing, it does not follow that you should do a thing." I think that within the next decade or so we will begin to see a slow melding of these two points, more vegetarian options will begin to appear...and more people will start to choose them.


Here's One For All the Geeks Out There...

If you listened to Dr. Demento as a kid. If you played D&D as a kid. Better yet, if you did both...then this is for you.

The Dead Alewives


I'm a Goddess, who knew??

As I was looking for clothes tonight I was surprised to learn that I'm a Goddess. I know, shocking isn't it? Don't believe me? Well I can prove it.

Goddess Serena

Not what you were expecting, huh? Imagine how surprised I was to find out that a corset has been named after me. Apparently not only am I deity, I provide comfort and support. I'm a full service Goddess.

Nine Days and Counting

I'm nine days into my no meat experiment and I have to say I never realized how much meat I actually ate. I find myself reaching for something and then stopping because it involves a meat component. It's one of those experiments that makes you stop and take stock of your habits. Technically you would call me a Pescatarian, a person who eats a mainly vegetarian diet but still eats fish for health reasons or to ease into the vegetarian lifestyle. In my case, it's health reasons. My doctor advised that doing away with all major sources of protein would be a bad idea as my body is still recovering from two pregnancies...so fish stays in the diet.

I also choose to keep dairy in my diet. This is also for health reasons. I need the calcium and the vitamin D. Selfish reasons abound as well. I enjoy cream cheese, yogurt, pudding, cheese and many other things of the dairy persuasion. I also do not relish the idea of becoming a hunchbacked old woman with brittle bones. Osteoporosis sounds painful and is not something I wish to experience.

There are the basic arguments to be made to in counterpoint here. Multivitamins are available as well as supplements that have the other compounds like protein and calcium. While this is true, those chemical supplements are not closely regulated and so do not contain a reliable amount of the necessary vitamin or mineral. Also, it is a medical fact that while multivitamins can be a good addition to a diet, they are not absorbed by the body as well as the vitamins and minerals found in food and so your body does not get as much of the health benefit from them. Hence my decision to keep fish and dairy in the diet.

Okay, now I'm going to address the whole "you shouldn't eat animal products because it's cruel" issue. This is a touchy issue with a lot of people and I tend to avoid it whenever possible because honestly I think many of the people who make the arguments have never actually been to a real farm.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the argument against the large scale "farms". Thousands of dirty, sickly looking chickens crammed into a holding pen is not a pretty thing and it is, well, cruel. Calves locked in pens and not allowed to move so that veal will be soft. Cruel. Animals killed solely for their skins. Cruel. Rodeos....Cruel, no explanation...just cruel. There are many things I could list that I agree with that are cruel. We can work to change those things.

Here are the flaws I find with the whole "Don't use animal products, it's cruel." argument.

The main argument against dairy seems to be that the cows are "kept" pregnant. In many peoples minds this seems to illicit a vision of cattle popping out calves all the time. A heifer will produce milk for twelve to fourteen months after having been calved. The farmer will breed the heifer once every twelve to fourteen months in order to keep her producing milk. The machine used to collect the milk is attached to the udder and uses a force that is akin to someone sucking on your finger. Having grown up around dairy cattle I've actually seen the machines and have, in fact, stuck my finger in one...so I know what I'm talking about.

When I was on the PETA website recently I noticed a side link where you can "Meet the animals". Curious, I started clicking and reading. I have to say, the animals they are describing are not the ones I grew up with. Cows can indeed be very gentle and curious, but the ones we had were not the uber geniuses PETA is painting. They didn't have cliques in the farmyard or pout when their calves were taken from them. My grandfather did have one that was a complete bitch, but that's a whole other story. I don't doubt that cows are more intelligent than a many people give them credit for, but people they are not. That's gonna piss people off, but I'll get to that argument in a minute. Now, on to the chickens.

Chickens are mean. I have the scars to prove it. Chickens are not loving or curious or fun to have around. Chickens are angry and mean and will peck the shit out of you given the chance. The only thing meaner is a goose. Chickens will actually stop chasing you, geese will not. Eggs are not a form of torture. Chickens lay them everyday. I know because I used to have to go and gather them everyday, thus incurring even more wrath from said chickens. I will concede the point that the color of the egg doesn't mean a damn thing. The color of the egg is a matter of what breed the chicken is and what the chicken eats. The white eggs most people buy have been bleached. But eggs are not something evil being done to chickens. The biggest difference is that between a family farm and a commercial farm...and that is something that can be changed.

Now, let's deal with the main argument. The actual killing of animals for food. The first point people make is that the way in which animals are killed is inhumane. This in and of itself makes my head hurt. I mean, is there a humane way to kill something? There isn't....death is death and it's ugly. So we aren't even going to discuss that one.

My main problem is this: Let's say you get everyone to stop eating meat. Now what? The farmers and ranchers with herds aren't going to pay for the upkeep of the animals once it stops being profitable, so what do we do then? We have hundreds of thousands of head of cattle and then what? How do we keep them in check? Who pays to keep them healthy? Where do we house them? Who pays to feed them? And that's only the cattle. Then you have to factor in the chickens, pigs, goats and other livestock.

In nature, when a herd becomes to large for the environment to support disease takes over and decimates a portion of the population until it is once again sustainable by the ecosystem. If the livestock population were allowed to run out of control, the same thing would happen....unless a "livestock" hunting season were instituted in order to keep the herds thinned enough to prevent disease. (which is what is done with deer, moose and other wild herds....) and then we're right back where we started.

I don't believe in killing an animal only for it's fur. I won't take my children to zoos, rodeos or circuses. I wear leather. I generally eat meat and even if I choose to stop, I'm not going to expect others to because my choice will be health based and not because I think meat is murder. Fact is, we're the top of the food chain, simple as that.

People make this decision for a great many reasons, but the next time you start to give the speech to someone about how eating meat is cruel, go spend sometime on a real farm. Get to know a farmer or two. Sit down and think about what would happen once all of those animals were "free".

There are always two sides to every argument. This is my side.



They sent Paris kicking and screaming back to jail and all I have to say about it is:


Today I will not be writing emails in outrage and frustration. Today I will be writing emails in congratulations and incredulity. I can't believe that the judicial system actually sent the snivelling little brat back to jail. Hooray for Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer!!!!

Can I tell you that I actually barked with laughter when I read the headline? Seriously. It just jumped out of my chest. Then I rubbed my hands together like some deranged mad person. Is it wrong that I'm getting a LOT of enjoyment out of the picture of her in tears in the back of a squad car? Does this make me a bad person who will burn in hell? Should I feel guilty because I don't care if it does?

Anyone else experiencing an overwhelming euphoria knowing Paris is sleeping on a hard prison cot tonight and dining on institutional food? Cause chances are, you're going to hell too and all I can say is: HA!

Poor Little Paris

It appears that Paris Hilton isn't immune to the long arm of the law after all. Apparently the judge that sentenced the fluffy headed heiress to serve her sentence in the L.A County jail was not amused when the Sheriff allowed her to return home with an ankle bracelet due to an "Undisclosed Medical Condition" and has ordered her to appear before him in court today.

She was picked up by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, placed in handcuffs and driven to the courthouse where the prosecutor is expected to demand her return to jail and is also expected to ask that the Sheriff be held in contempt for allowing Ms. Hilton to leave the jail at all.

I have to admit that I am pleasantly surprised by the prompt response to this outrage by both the judge in this case and the L.A County District Attorney's office. They appear to be doing the right thing....making Paris Hilton take responsibility for her actions. It's about damned time, that's all I can say.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Glamour Girl got the call telling her she was going to have to account for herself like a grown up and that batting her eyes and crying just wasn't going to cut it. And how pissed do you suppose Mommy is? Is it wrong that I'm gleeful about this? Is it sick that I did a little happy dance upon finding out that they actually handcuffed her underfed, over manicured ass? I hope the judge reads her the riot act!

If they actually follow through with this, there will be a second round of emails on my part, congratulating them for doing the right thing.


I usually don't talk about celebrities or their lives but today I'm making an exception. It seems that Paris Hilton was sent home from jail after serving only five days of her already reduced jail sentence because of an undisclosed "medical situation". They fitted her with an electronic bracelet and she'll do her remaining forty days at home. Basically, she's been grounded to her room and I'm sure we all remember how effective that was as a punishment.

I'm so angry about this it's hard to put it into words. This is a perfect illustration of how unjust our justice system really is. I'm sure there are any number of men and women sitting in jails all over our country right now serving time for the same crime Ms. Hilton was convicted of that have medical conditions and none of them are being sent home. I'm betting every single one of them wishes that a tummy ache would get them the magical "get out of jail free" card.

Hilton is receiving special treatment because of who her family is. She's rich and white and that makes all the difference. I mean who cares if she's a negligent little bitch that drove drunk? Who cares that she then drove on a suspended license? The law apparently only applies to those of us who aren't rich enough to buy ourselves a little justice. The rest of us have to "do the time". Our jails are overflowing with first time offenders, many of them incarcerated for non-violent offenses. Public defenders don't have resources and many of them don't really give "due diligence" to the cases.

Something like this is a slap in the face to the rest of society. Personally I will not stay at another Hilton Hotel. My money won't be missed I'm sure, but perhaps those of you reading this will think about the principle involved and follow me and encourage your friends and family to do the same. I will be writing a letter to the Hilton Corporation telling them why I will never use their services again. Paris Hilton's family deserves as much blame as the system that allowed this to happen. Her parents are responsible for raising a selfish, self absorbed child that has grown into a adult with a sense of entitlement, one that our country feeds.

I encourage you to do two things after reading this:

(1) Write a letter or send an email to the LA County District Attorney's office telling them that you think it is a miscarriage of justice that Ms. Hilton was sent home when no other inmate gets such preferential treatment, not even inmates with life-threatening diseases.

210 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 974-3512
Fax: (213) 974-1484
Email: lada@co.la.ca.us
Web Page: http://da.co.la.ca.us/

(2) Write a letter or send an email to Hilton Hotels telling them that you and your family will not stay at the Hilton chains because of the apparent lack of respect the Hilton family has for the American justice system and their apparent belief that their family is above the law.

Hilton Family of Hotels
Kendra Walker, Vice President - Brand Communications
Phone: 310 205-4017
Fax: 310 205-7880

While a few letters may not change the world, standing up for a principle can have a larger effect than you may believe.


These are the emails I sent out today. The first is to Kendra Walker and the second is to LA District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Dear Ms. Walker,

I am writing in response to the recent news that Ms. Paris Hilton was released from jail after serving only five days of her already reduced sentence. I would like your company to know that my family and I will no longer use any of the Hilton chains when we travel and I will recommend to my friends and extended family members that they do the same.

While the Hilton Corporation itself may not be responsible for Ms. Hilton's behavior, she and her family receive revenue from the company. I will no longer contribute to that pool. Ms. Hilton and her family apparently believe that they are above the law. I will not allow my children to see me supporting anything or anyone that is connected with that attitude. Money should not give a person a "get out of jail free" card. There are many men and women serving time in our nations correctional facilities with medical conditions, many of them convicted of non-violent offenses and yet none of them are sent home to serve their time in relative comfort. The only difference is the lack of money and the last name.

Ms. Hilton should be ashamed of herself and her parents should be ashamed as well. I have asked my readers to join me in boycotting your hotels. It's time someone stood up and said enough is enough. Having wealth should never be a way to escape taking responsibility for your own actions and as long as your company supports that image, I will actively speak out against it.


Serena Woodward

Dear Mr. Cooley,

I am writing today because of recent news that Ms. Paris Hilton was released from a L.A County jail after serving only five days of an already reduced sentence. The article said that Ms. Hilton had been sent home due to an "undisclosed medical condition" and that she had been "fitted with an electronic bracelet". Mr. Cooley, is it a new policy in Los Angeles to ground people to their rooms? I'm sure that this must come as a relief to the many other non-violent offenders currently serving time in your jails. Will you begin sending them home as well? I'm sure that many of them have any number of medical conditions ranging from tummy aches to AIDS.

I find it appalling sir, that you allowed this to happen. There is not an intelligent adult in this country that doesn't understand what happened. Ms. Hilton was found guilty of a crime but because she is rich and her family is powerful she was given what basically amounts to a slap on the wrist. Had this been any other individual they would have been taken to the jail's infirmary, treated there and then returned to their cell.

I am hoping to read a press release from your office soon that states you have developed a plan to use electronic bracelets on non-violent offenders as a way to relieve over crowding in prisons and that Ms. Hilton was a test case. Sadly, I do not think any such press release will be forthcoming.

When things like this occur it does not matter to me how much good you say you are doing, it is tainted. I am a parent and I will hold this, and you, up to my children as an example of how not to conduct yourself. You should be ashamed. Justice should not be for sale to the highest bidder. The next time you find yourself in a discussion about what is wrong with the justice system in our country, look in the mirror, the answer will be staring you in the face. Have you ever stopped to question why so many young people don't have any respect for the law? People like you. They understand that without money there is no justice and you prove them right every time you allow someone like Paris Hilton to skate by. Wrong is wrong, it shouldn't matter who you are or how wealthy your family is. Ms. Hilton broke the law and should have been held responsible for it. Shame on you sir. Shame on you for spitting in the face of everything your office is supposed to stand for.


Serena Woodward


Now that the child is feeling better....

Don't watch this one at work:

And just in case you can't get to church this Sunday:

And because you're going to go to hell for laughing at that one:

This last one is a joke that only Gunfighter will get, or at least I hope he'll get why I posted it. Still funny though...and look, it's Hugh Laurie pre-House!


Exotic Illnesses

Just letting everyone know I may not be around for a while. My son has contracted Herpangina. I know! It sounds like a mutated STD doesn't it? I almost fell off my chair when the doctor told me what he had. Turns out it's just a fancy way of saying my three year old has a really high fever and a mouth full of puss filled blisters.

It supposed to last for a week. It can't be treated with antibiotics. Needless to say, this will most likely be my last post for a while. (Unless the husband is sitting with the sick child....)


Monty Python

I'm feeling the need for funny today. And Monty Python is funny.

Funny Stuff

Thought I'd share this.


In keeping with the spirit...

So far this summer I have:

(1) Gone back to college after a thirteen year hiatus

(2) Taken my writing out of mothballs and begun work on it in earnest

(3) Signed up for a script writing .... umm??? Activity? Contest? I'm not sure what to call it exactly, but it's exciting.

and my newest new thing, in keeping with the spirit of adventure I seem to have embarked upon is:

Beginning on June 4th I will remove meat from my diet for one month. I'm not going to go Vegan for a month, THAT would kill me. I am going to try vegetarian. I know a lot of people that are vegetarian or vegan and I've often wondered how you eat that way and stay healthy and what prompts a person to stick with the lifestyle.

I have all these questions like: Don't you just crave a hamburger sometimes? and How long does it take for you to get used to not eating meat? So I'm going to give it a shot. I'm going to take the weekend and do some research and starting Monday, no more meat for a month.

I wonder what else I'll discover this month?