Tag Archives: history

Alley Cat Allies (ACA) Timeline of “Success” [TNR = Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

30 Jul

I know I told you we would talk about the Glassdoor ACA employee reviews.  And I will.  But first, we need to talk a little more about the history of TNR.  Which, as close as I can tell, is inextricably linked to the history of ACA.  I’m saying, the history of TNR in America is pretty much the history of ACA.

A] ACA is one of the biggest proponents of TNR

They may have started TNR in the United States (see the last post) and the organization has most definitely taken the process mainstream.  On Google search, pretty much any TNR-related term brings back many results from ACA.  I looked 9 pages deep on the Google search, and the results that were not written by ACA or people directly related to it, mentioned ACA in positive terms. TNR is essentially ACA.

B] Timeline of Successes is very subjective

This timeline of successes was written by Alley Cat Allies.  I wanted to see how each project is doing currently, and what I found is a decidedly biased presentation by ACA.  Firstly, a lot of these projects actually leaned heavily on adoption to reduce cat populations.  Secondly, I found the language in each article highly subjective and politically charged.  Calling something a success doesn’t necessarily make it a success.  In fact, I would argue that following ONLY the principles of TNR made each of these projects failures.  I have taken what is on the ACA website and added my own commentary.  

Timeline from AlleyCatAllies.org:

The idea for the organization started in Washington DC in 1990.

By 1993, Alley Cat Allies had developed a set of protocols for Trap-Neuter-Return and veterinary care for community cats, also known as feral cats. These serve as guidelines for more than 4,000 humane societies and shelters.

[my insertion:  the ”feral” is not a synonym for community cats, homeless cats, or stray cats, and implies these cats are not adoptable, which is false] 

By 1998, our first office was opened in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. 

“Through natural attrition and the removal of adoptable cats and kittens, the cat population dwindled from more than fifty-four cats to six over seven years. The last cat from the colony died in 2007 at the age of seventeen.”

                   https://books.google.com/books?                                                   id=wWkpDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT132&lpg=PT132&dq=number+of+cats+and+Adams+Morgan+neighborhood+of+Washington,+DC.&source=bl&ots=ClvkeuF05J&sig=ACfU3U3IKMWdLMnYE83kcfWShAuj4Zo5rw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi166m1467xAhWQwJ4KHWS4AKYQ6AEwG3oECBMQAw#v=onepage&q=number%20of%20cats%20and%20Adams%20Morgan%20neighborhood%20of%20Washington%2C%20DC.&f=false

[Me again:  “Natural attrition” is a euphemism for the cats that left the colony and were not replaced.  Alley Cat Allies and the many biased articles touting TNR do not share specifically what attrition occurred.  It is unknown what percent of the colony died of old age, vs. more terrible fates like hit-by-car, starvation, disease, dog mauling, or the other risks posed to these strays living outside.  It is also not mentioned how many of the cats in the colony were adopted out.

Still me:

Another thing that goes unmentioned in many articles citing this “success story” in Washington D.C. is that the number of stray cats was relatively small- just 54.  We can calculate the rate of colony reduction using their beginning number and the number of cats 7 years into the TNR program:

54 at start minus 6 cats left after seven years = 48 cats had been removed from the colony

48 cats removed divided by 7 years = 6.857 cats reduced per year, about 7/yr.

It’s honestly not that great of a success in my opinion.  And I was left with many questions such as:  Were there concurrent anti-dumping laws that helped stabilize the population through zero new cats joining the colony?  Were any other laws passed that aimed to solve the stray cat problem?  Would cats be removed at the rate of nearly seven per year if the colony started out larger?  How many cats were neutered?  Were cats spayed as well?  What was the cost per cat to sterilize the cats? Does this reflect a financial deal with veterinarians, and if so is the discounted price good long-term?  How many of the 54 cats were adopted? How well was the colony tracked?  What size staff/volunteers did they have? How many caretakers of the colony were there? Were those caretakers consistent, or did the people change or decrease over time? Did any of the cats die from trauma or disease?  Is the 54 cats to 7 figure exactly accurate, or ballpark figures? 

It seems like a very hazy story with so many variables unknown that it’s difficult to attribute the complete removal of the colony to TNR, especially excluding other factors.]

Back to Alley Cat Allies Timeline:

In the year 2000, when Atlantic City’s animal control started trapping and killing cats living under the city’s famous boardwalk, Alley Cat Allies intervened and convinced the public health director, Ron Cash, to endorse a pilot TNR program. Now called the Atlantic City Boardwalk Cats Project™

15).  https://www.alleycat.org/about/history/#:~:text=

Our%20roots%20go%20back%20to,them%20to%20their%20outdoor%20homes.

In the immediate wake of Hurricane Sandy, Alley Cat Allies is mobilizing staff and volunteers to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where clean up and recovery efforts are underway at the Boardwalk after the devastating flooding there.  Specifically, we will help to assure that cats found during rescue efforts will have safe shelter until their caregivers or families are identified or until safe locations or new homes can be found.  We will also vet any injured cats, spay/neuter and vaccinate any cats that may be displaced but who are rescued, and provide supplies and volunteers to help build safe shelters and stations for the Boardwalk cats and other cats adjacent to the Boardwalk.

                             17). https://www.lifewithcats.tv/2012/10/31/

                             returning-to-the-boardwalk-atlantic-city-cats-post-sandy/

[It’s me:  So right off, the middle of a hurricane described as “devastating” doesn’t sound like the ideal place for cats.  And weather events and temperature are part of the TNR bargain.  Release means after the cats are castrated, they are put back where they were found–outside.  Think about all the dramatic weather forecasts in the U.S. and know that mother-nature is a constant threat to cats living outdoors.  Also, it sounds like many of the surviving cats may have been adopted, but numbers for death, adoption, and continuation in the boardwalk colonies are not provided by the article.]

ACA continues:

When the TNR effort started, there were an estimated 300 stray cats who called the Atlantic City Boardwalk-area home. Nobody knows for sure; that’s a best-guess estimate.  As it’s progressed through the years, [my sidenote:  Article written July 17, 2017, seventeen years after the initial TNR efforts began] Wildman said that population has dwindled to roughly 100. They live in 15 “colonies” spread along a two-mile span of the Boardwalk. 

16). https://www.phillyvoice.com/meet-the-people-who-care-for-

                     100-boardwalk-cats-at-jersey-shore/

[My sidenote:  For those keeping track.  The boardwalk started with approximately 300 cats and over 17 years reduced to 100.

300 initially minus 100 at the time of this article touting the TNR a success = 200 cats left the colonies.

200 cats reduced out of the colonies divided by 17 years of the TNR program = A decrease of just under 12 cats per year.]

ACA timeline continues:

In 2008 Alley Cat Allies launched a social media campaign that resulted in 208 Facebook friends and 11 Twitter followers. Today, through our online communities of nearly half a million Facebook fans and 21,000 Twitter followers, we can take even swifter action to mobilize our network to protest threats to cats.

15).  https://www.alleycat.org/about/history/#:~:text=

                       Our%20roots%20go%20back%20to,them%20to%20their%20outdoor%20homes.

[Here’s my assessment:  Now we’re talking actual, measurable success!  

Facebook 208 to half million 

Twitter from 11 to 21,000 

Social media growth from 2008 to 2021 (13 years) was 49,792 more and 20, 989 more, respectively

49,792 / 208 = 23938.46% increase in Facebook followers!

20,989 / 11 = 190809.09% increase in Twitter followers!

*this is the real success of the organization.]

And given the protest comment, along with the charged language, plus all the law changes implemented across the country, I think this is actually the priority of this organization.  The ACA wants to persuade, recruit, protest, and change laws to start TNR everywhere in America.

NOW the next thing I’ll talk about is the Organization as employer.

Who Started TNR & Why? [Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

29 Jul

Depends on who you ask.

A brief history of TNR

courtesy of: Best Friends Animal Society

https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/tnr-stray-cats-meaning-history-statistics#:~:text=TNR%20evolved%20in%20the%20U.S.,launched%20the%20Feral%20Freedom%20program.

The humane approach called trap-neuter-return emerged on the public scene in Great Britain during the 1950s and later in Denmark in the 1970s. At some point during that time, TNR began to take hold in the U.S. as well, but it didn’t become part of the public discourse until the 1990s. That’s when Alley Cat Allies eased TNR into the mainstream.

TNR evolved in the U.S. after the city of Jacksonville, Florida, became the first city to introduce it in a shelter setting in 2008. At that time, the city teamed up with local nonprofit First Coast No More Homeless Pets and, with funding from Best Friends, launched the Feral Freedom program. This program allows First Coast No More Homeless Pets to take all community (feral) cats entering Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services, so that they can be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped and returned to their outdoor homes. According to the First Coast No More Homeless Pets website: “This program has and continues to save thousands of cats each year from certain death at Animal Care and Protective Services, and frees up vital resources to be used on adoptable pets.” The Feral Freedom program has been instrumental in helping the City of Jacksonville to achieve and maintain no-kill status for the past two years.

An Alternate history of TNR

from: Alley Cat Allies

https://www.alleycat.org/about/history/

Our roots go back to 1990, when Becky Robinson and a friend discovered an alley with 56 feral cats, and two smaller colonies, in the Washington, DC neighborhood of Adams Morgan. With the help of the cats’ caregivers, they humanely trapped the cats, had them neutered, and returned them to their outdoor homes.

Deluged by requests for help, and concerned for cats routinely killed by animal control agencies and shelters, Robinson founded Alley Cat Allies.

A year later, she launched the Feral Friends Network to help people navigate the animal control system and connect with experienced cat caregivers for advice and assistance. Today the Feral Friends Network comprises thousands of skilled caregivers, veterinarians, rescue groups, and spay and neuter clinics in America and around the globe. By 1993, Alley Cat Allies had developed a set of protocols for Trap-Neuter-Return and veterinary care for community cats, also known as feral cats. These serve as guidelines for more than 4,000 humane societies and shelters.

By 1998, our first office was opened in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. Becky Robinson is invited to speak at the first discussion of nonlethal feral cat control at a National Animal Control Association training conference. Her participation demonstrates both the growing momentum behind TNR and Alley Cat Allies’ role as TNR experts.

Though the accounts differ in almost all respects, the organizations seem to get along. The ACA website starts it’s history with this quote:

“Beginning in the early 1990s trap/neuter/return (TNR) protocols, pioneered in this country by Alley Cat Allies, changed the fundamental paradigm for managing free-roaming stray and feral cats – collectively known as community cats.”
– Gregory CastleCEO Best Friends Animal Society

At any rate, it’s safe to say Alley Cat Allies (ACA) may have started TNR in America, and they most definitely took the process mainstream.

In my next post I will delve deeper into the organization. But I will leave you with a link and picture of employee reviews copied from Glassdoor.

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Alley-Cat-Allies-Reviews-E848138.htm

Medieval Holocaust: A Story of Plague and Greed [Anti-Valentine’s #15]

12 Feb

I was really struggling to come up with another reason to shun and not celebrate Valentine’s Day. But I had written the annual blog post17 years in a row now (I think?), so I was not going to give up easily. I had to think outside of the box. I wish I could say 2020 hit me on the head–or Covid-19. Because disease is important in our history and to our development as a society. It routinely kills more than war, so disease is a primary factor in shaping nations and their populations. Disease drives science, improves medical tactics, and shapes societal norms. Here is a historical event, that was intentionally carried out on Valentine’s Day, that speaks of disease, the ugliness of human-greed, and kinda sums of the sentiment and lessons of 2020. But also, provides a 17th reason why Valentine’s Day can, and should be abolished.

Many religions don’t honor Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday, because of it’s shaky origin story. I heard even the Catholic church removed Valentine’s Day from its calendar because Saint Valentine couldn’t be substantiated. And I know, many religions frown upon Valentine’s Day as too “Pagan” just like like they dislike Halloween. Hinduism, India’s major religion (80% of their population) doesn’t love the day of love (1). Traditionally, Asia’s most popular religion discourages public displays of affection between the sexes, including handholding, which Valentine’s Day encourages (1). I couldn’t find a religion that explicitly bans Valentine’s Day, though now that I’m thinking about it I’ll bet Jehovah Witnesses don’t acknowledge it because they don’t believe in anything that’s not actually written in the Bible (that’s my understanding, anyway). But they probably don’t single out that one holiday as more problematic than any other holiday either. They just across the board don’t celebrate things not in the pages of the Bible.

I was reading that Valentine’s Day is a touchy subject in Jewish eyes because of anti-Semitic rumors about the origin of the plague. In 1349 the Bubonic Plague aka “Black Death” was sweeping across Europe, with estimates that 60% of Europeans died from the disease (2).  Though we know now that Bubonic Plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is most commonly spread by fleas that live on rodents like rats and mice, they had no idea what was causing millions of people to die back in those times. Currently, Bubonic Plague is treatable with modern medicines. In the Middle Ages, of course, no medical treatment existed to mitigate the Plague’s devastating effects (2). 

So fear took over. Terrified people (who didn’t have the benefits of science) were looking for someone to blame. And many Jews worked in the financial sector, acting as creditors. This vocation, contributed to anti-Jewish sentiment among the less privileged, so Jews were a natural choice to blame. Christians turned on the Jews in their midst, accusing them of spreading the Plague by poisoning Christian people’s wells (2).

*Trigger Warning*

*But it wasn’t just accusations, according to Dr. Yvette Alt Miller, there were horrifically violent attacks:

In Cologne, Jews were locked into a synagogue which was then set on fire.

In Mainz, the entire town’s sizeable Jewish community was murdered in just one day.

Across Europe, in Spain, Italy, France, the Low Countries, and the Germanic Lands Jews were massacred and tortured (2).

In 1349, a group of feudal lords in France’s Alsace region attempted to make the spontaneous attacks on Jews official. It was decreed that the property of Jews (murdered for supposedly spreading the Plague) could be seized by their Christian neighbors with impunity. With this financial incentive to kill Jews, the attacks only intensified (2). The feudal lords of the Alsace formally blamed Jews for the Black Death and adopted the “Benfeld Decree” which targeted Jews, singling them out for murder and calling for their expulsion from towns. This had an immediate effect as Jews in thirty communities were attacked (2).

The one hold-out to all the massacring was the city of Strasbourg. Strasbourg’s patrician class understood that Jews were important to their town’s economy–as they paid high taxes. So they had a financial interest in protecting their city’s Jews (2). But the citizens of the city had a desire to kill the Jews and see their own debts cancelled, or even to expropriate their property (3). The members of the city’s butchers and tanners guilds accused the three sympathetic patrician leaders, who would not round up the city’s Jews, of having been bribed by the Jews in return for protecting them. The citizens drove them from office (3).

Using these rumors that Jews had dreamed up the plague in order to poison Christians, the citizen-mob in Strasbourg, planned to full-on exterminate local Jews (to whom they owed massive debts). They designated February 14, St. Valentine’s Day, as the date on which they would execute Strasbourg’s entire Jewish population (1). The city’s Jews were given a choice of undergoing baptism or being killed. About half of them accepted conversion or left the city; the remainder were barricaded in the Jewish cemetery (3).  A number of about 2,000 Jews were burned alive on a platform in the local Jewish cemetery (1). Their murder took hours. Afterwards, eager townspeople combed through the smoldering ashes, not searching for survivors, but looking for valuables. There was primarily a financial motive for this enormous massacre.

A quote from von Konigshofen:

“…everything (all debt) that was owed to the Jews was cancelled… The council…took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt, they would not have been burnt” (2).

Strasbourg’s mob government and citizens faced no criticism. A few months later, they were officially pardoned for the killing of their town’s Jews and for stealing their money (2).

How do you close out a historical account of something so tragic and horrible? I can’t believe I had never heard of this massacre (genocide?) before. I will end just by reminding us to study our history, and remember that it repeats. People need to learn from mistakes of the past. Take proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease (and Covid-19!) even if it is inconvenient for you. Don’t fear, prepare. Accept all people, even if especially if they are different from you. Don’t hate, learn. See that money is not everything, and greed only causes ugliness. Don’t covet, volunteer. And also, just be decent human beings. Which you don’t need a holiday to tell you. Love every day, and don’t save affection for Valentine’s Day. You don’t need a reminder to love, nor should you remember to love on only one day of the year.

(1) https://www.southerndigest.com/article_3bcfe8ad-7fbf-5c6c-a400-46cde8907d8e.html#:~:text=Valentine’s%20Day%20is%20the%20traditional,the%20need%20to%20shun%20it.

(2) https://www.aish.com/jw/s/Horrific-Valentines-Day-Massacre-of-Jews.html

(3) https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-1349-a-valentine-s-day-massacre-1.5229805

This is such an eventful and impactful time

17 Mar

I don’t know if everyone of a certain age feels this way, but I feel like I’ve experienced a lot of huge events in my lifetime.  Here are some (obviously not all) history I have lived through:

RICO laws essentially ended the reign of mobs in America

Exxon Valdez oil spill

San Francisco earthquake

The Berlin wall came down

The Soviet Union/USSR turning back into Russia

Rodney King beating –> LA riots

computers started entering households

The Waco standoff

The Oklahoma City bombing

The OJ Simpson trial

President Clinton’s sex scandal(s)

The Columbine Massacre

cell phones began to go mainstream

Florida (hanging chad) ballot cheating

9/11

meth is a big thing

Hurricane Katrina

smartphones

a great recession

the 1st black president

BP oil spill

Hurricane Maria

The Camp fire

and now a global pandemic that’s shutting down business in the U.S. like I never imagined was possible.

 

I omitted most spree killings, hurricanes, tornadoes, most fires, terror attacks on planes, and food recalls because there has been an overwhelming amount.

I suppose that every generation feels this way–I’ve seen those decade series produced by Tom Hanks.  It’s just strange to feel like I’m seeing large historical events that will shape us in the future.  What a weird thing to see in the first person and live through events future kids will have in their textbooks…

Fast Food: Detained, Strip Searched, Sodomized

16 Apr

EnronAll from phone instructions of a person claiming to be a police officer or upper management. Enron 2 It sounds crazy, but I remember taking Social Psychology for extra credits in the summer and people will do strange things.  For instance, whe group mentality drives people to shout “jump” to a suicidal person on a ledge.  Or how the ethos at Enron let them perpetrate such obvious crimes.  Humans are wired in certain ways, and it can have very scary consequences.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

 

Here’s what happened from http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20051009/NEWS01/510090392/A-hoax-most-cruel-Caller-coaxed-McDonald-s-managers-into-strip-searching-worker:

She was a high school senior who had just turned 18 — a churchgoing former Girl Scout who hadn’t received a single admonition in her four months working at the McDonald’s in Mount Washington.  But when a man who called himself “Officer Scott” called the store on April 9, 2004, and said an employee had been accused of stealing a purse, Louise Ogborn became the suspect.  Summers said “Officer Scott” in Mount Washington knew the color of Ogborn’s hair, as well as her height and weight — about 90 pounds. He even described the tie she was wearing.  Summers, 51, conceded later that she had never known Ogborn to do a thing dishonest. But she nonetheless led Ogborn to the restaurant’s small office, locked the door, and — following the caller’s instructions — ordered her to remove one item of clothing at a time, until she was naked.

By the time the caller telephoned the company-owned McDonald’s in Mount Washington in April 2004, supervisors had been duped in at least 68 stores in 32 states, including Kentucky and Indiana. The targets included a dozen different restaurant chains.  Managers of at least 17 McDonald’s stores around the nation had been conned by that time, and the company already was defending itself in at least four lawsuits stemming from such hoaxes.  Some of the strip-searches weren’t even reported to police, because embarrassed restaurant officials were reluctant to publicize them, said Jablonski, the ex-FBI agent. The fiercely competitive chains also initially were reluctant to talk to each other. “For a variety of reasons, they were slow on the draw,” he said.

By now, Ogborn had been detained for an hour. Her car keys had been taken away, and she was naked, except for the apron. She would later testify that she thought she couldn’t leave.  “I was scared because they were a higher authority to me,” she said. “I was scared for my own safety because I thought I was in trouble with the law.”

He pulled the apron away from Ogborn, leaving her nude again, and described her to the caller. He ordered her to dance with her arms above her head, to see, the caller said, if anything “would shake out.” He made her do jumping jacks, deep knee bends, stand on a swivel chair, then a desk.  He made her sit on his lap and kiss him; the caller said that would allow Nix to smell anything that might be on her breath.  When Ogborn refused to obey the caller’s instructions, Nix slapped her on the buttocks, until they were red — just as the caller told him to do, Ogborn testified later.  Louise Ogborn had been in the back office for nearly 2½ hours when the caller said she should kneel on the brick floor in front of Nix and unbuckle his pants.Ogborn cried and begged Nix to stop, she recounted in her deposition. “I said, `No! I didn’t do anything wrong. This is ridiculous.”  But she said Nix told her he would hit her if she didn’t sodomize him, so she did.

Like the rest of her ordeal, it was captured on a surveillance camera, recorded on to a DVD. And it continued until Summers returned to the office to get some gift certificates, and Nix had Ogborn cover herself again.

And finally, she realized the same. She called her manager — Lisa Siddons — whom the caller had said was on the other line. Summers discovered Siddons had been home, sleeping.  “I knew then I had been had,” Summers said. “I lost it.  “I begged Louise for forgiveness. I was almost hysterical.”  Summers watched the store video later the same night, saw what Nix had done, and called off their engagement. She hasn’t spoken with him since, according to her attorney.  She initially was suspended, then later fired, for violating a McDonald’s rule barring nonemployees from entering the office. A couple of weeks later, she was indicted on a charge of unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor. Nix was indicted on charges of sodomy and assault.

Many police departments filed their case away under “miscellaneous” because they couldn’t figure out how to pursue the caller, Prewitt said, or had trouble figuring out what crime, if any, he had committed.  Several departments were able to trace the calls to phone booths in Panama City, Fla. But that was as far as any had gotten until the Mount Washington hoax.  He eventually learned the call had originated in Panama City, and that the largest seller of phone cards there was Wal-Mart. But that didn’t help much — the largest seller of everything is Wal-Mart, and it has three stores in Panama City alone.

The camera at that store was trained on the registers, and it showed the purchaser was a white man, about 35 to 40, with slicked-back black hair and glasses. The same man could be seen on Flaherty’s video entering the other Wal-Mart, where he was wearing a black jacket with small white lettering.  Flaherty and a colleague flew to Panama City on June 28, 2004, and local officers immediately identified the jacket as the uniform worn by officers of Corrections Corp.of America, a private prison company.  When they showed it to the warden at the company’s Bay Correctional Facility, he identified the man as David R. Stewart, 38, a guard on the swing shift.  Stewart denied making the calls, but when confronted, he started to “sweat profusely and shake uncontrollably,” Flaherty wrote in a report. Stewart also asked, “Was anybody hurt?” and said, “Amen, it’s over,” according to the report.

Stewart eventually was brought to Bullitt Circuit Court, where he pleaded not guilty to solicitation to commit sodomy and impersonating a police officer, both felonies, as well as soliciting sex abuse and unlawful imprisonment, both misdemeanors. He was released on $100,000 bond pending his trial Dec. 13. His bond was posted by his brother, C.W. Stewart — a retired police officer from Cheektowaga, N.Y.  Detectives in other jurisdictions say they didn’t press charges because the caller’s crime would be a misdemeanor for which he could not be extradited.

Across the United States, at least 13 people who executed strip-searches ordered by the caller were charged with crimes, and seven were convicted.  But most of the duped managers were treated as victims — just like the people they searched and humiliated.  Many of the supervisors were fired and some divorced by their spouses, Annunziata said. Others required counseling.  But the duped managers have been condemned by others.

McDonald’s blamed what happened on Stewart and Nix, over whom it says it had no control. The company has sued both of them.  In court papers, McDonald’s also has blamed Ogborn for what happened to her — saying that her injuries, “if any,” were caused by her failure to realize the caller wasn’t a real police officer.  Questioning Ogborn during a deposition, Patterson suggested that although she had no clothes, she could have walked out of the office, but stayed voluntarily to clear her name.  “Did it ever occur to you to scream?” he asked.  Her therapist said she followed orders because her experience with adults “has been to do what she is told, because good girls do what they are told.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

Birth Control as Cure-All

28 Mar

Before we had sound medical science alcohol was used for a huge number of ailments.  You name it (disease, disorder, mental conditions (including “female hysteria” aka woman’s orgasm), and even surgery– alcohol was used to treat it.  More examples here:

http://www.barlifeuk.com/index.php/2011/07/drink-to-your-health-the-history-of-alcohol-as-a-medicine/

But then, research uncovered FACTS and we moved away from such rudimentary practices.  Or did we?  I would suggest, for as many good, and legit reasons birth control pills are prescribed there are just as many reasons that fall into the cure-all b/c we don’t know and don’t gave a damn about finding out category.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am very happy birth control is so widely available. I’m glad it gives women control over her own body and child-bearing decisions.  (All stats from Planned Parenthood–an organization I SUPPORT).

-majority of women believe birth control allows them to take better care of their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%). The financial success and emotional well-being of women are undoubtedly tied to contraception, while unintended pregnancies put a financial strain on everyone. The cost of unwanted pregnancies in the U.S. average an estimated $11.3 billion per year

– Oral contraception can cost as much as $1,210 per year for women without insurance

– 40% of births are unplanned. Birth control not only empowers women, but considering only 5% of men around the world even wear condoms. . .

-ugh–what a yucky stat!  I think the world should focus on the condom instead of how to get more and more BCP out there.  Condoms help prevent STDs too (AIDS!!!).  A lot of unintended pregnancy would be averted if men would take responsibility too.  Plus, it isn’t good enough to force women to have children, make it impossible for her to plan her own choices, AND put the whole burden of sexual activities consequences onto her.   This leaves men to enjoy as much sex, with as many people as possible–with no worry of consequences.  Then, if there IS an unintended pregnancy HE has the choice of how much involvement he wants to have.  Finally, at the same time men don’t have to think about sex, or be responsible for it’s aftermath, THEY get to make the laws regulating women’s access to preventative methods and what she does with her own body.  Tell me how everybody doesn’t see reproductive issues as political power issues?!

That was a train (though a very important one) away from my actual point:  The point is, birth control for women’s freedom and family planning is good.  It’s liberating.  It gives women power, and that is excellent BUT I think it can be lazy medicine.  I think it is haphazardly doled out as a band aid fix-all. Cramps?  Get on the pill.  Acne?  The pill.  Irregular periods?  The pill.  PMS?  The pill?  You’re a woman?  It’s too complicated to delve into what the underlying cause of your problem might be.  Besides, all the research is done about MEN’S problems.  The research funding goes to impotence–there’s no $$$ left to study little menstrual cramps–that’s just part of being a woman after all.

That’s dis-empowering to women.

It’s not for everyone. And just like any Monsanto product, we don’t really know what it is doing to us in the long term. And I think now that would be very hard to study, because we’ve run out of control groups. Even in lesbian populations (not your primary birth control user) BCP are being routinely supplied for skin or period pain.

Anatomy 2

How we (Cool and I) got birth control pills:

–>for 1 day of extreme, incapacitating, horribly painful cramps once a month.

-w/o even an exam of the repro system.
-w/o BW
-no R/O
-even with a hx of hypertension
-in a lesbian–or without even asking sexuality

-33% of teens aged 15-19 and nearly 800,000 women who have never had sex, who use oral contraception for non-contraceptive purposes.  most common reasons why women use the pill are reducing cramps and menstrual pain (31%); menstrual regulation, which for some women may help prevent migraines and other painful side effects of menstruation (28%); treatment of acne (14%), and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that can cause pelvic scarring, severe pain, and sometimes infertility (4%). About 14% of all women use birth control exclusively for reasons other than contraception.

So it’s great that birth control can band-aid so many conditions.  But my questions are:  Aren’t there any treatments specific to those actual conditions?  Why?  And do we KNOW long-term affects of birth control use?  Against an equal control group who has not been exposed to birth control.  Do we know this information for the intended use for reproductive issues AND these extraneous conditions as well?

I suspect the answers are still a mystery and here are the reasons for that:

-it’s because the research/interest for women’s health just isn’t there
-a doctor’s (male-dominated profession) mentality “quick fix” “cure all”

And that’s not good for women at all.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Inspirational Women: Molly Brown

23 Mar

http://the44diaries.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/little-known-black-history-fact-molly-williams/

A female firefighter?

A black woman?

Check and check.  Williams was way before her time!

  • The first woman firefighter was an African American.  Molly Williams worked along side the men of the Oceanus Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 of New York City in 1818.

Even as a slave, Williams had gained the respect of her fellow firefighters. Her story and strength paved the way for other women, including one the first paid Black female firefighters and the most tenured in the country – Toni McIntosh of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who served for over 11 years.

forest fire 5And such is typical–I can hardly find anything written about her.  To me, this is a big deal and you’d think there would be many books on the first female firefighter.  Who is also a black woman.  But I really can’t find very much aside from those facts, which just goes to show who records history and makes me wonder how much more of MY stories have been left out?  How many other woman did amazing things that we’ve never even heard of because some white man didn’t deem it important to write down?  It’s a real forest fire 6shame.

Here’s what I can find:  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/dianne-ochiltree/molly-golly/

A children’s book.  That’s it.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all, but I was hoping for a biography with substance–or at least a compilation of important historical firefighters or something like that.  How disappointing!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

frances willard (good thing this isn’t for a grade)

13 Mar

My citations would NOT be appropriate.  OK, it may be a cut & paste job, but this is a really interesting history of an early feminist in honor of women’s history month.  Anyway, it might not be my own, and it might be in a jumble, but the biography is inspiring and educational all the same.  Check it out:

-Frances Willard was a radical social progressive who stood out against gender inequality and fought to give a voice to society’s disenfranchised.  She exposed the inherent hypocrisies of the status quo and forever changed accepted societal norms (2).

-the alcohol problem represented the powerlessness of American women. The crusade to stop alcohol was a protest by women of their lack of civil rights. In the late nineteenth century, women could not vote. In most August 2011 105states, married women were considered “dead to the law,” their identity subsumed under their husband’s. Men could take their wives’ pay but not vice-versa. Married women could not own property in most states, and men could not be prosecuted for wife abuse. As late as the year 1900, in 37 states a woman had no right to custody of her children in the case of divorce. When the WCTU began its work, the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven, and prosecutions for rape were rare (3).

-Women in the United States were victims. The consumption of alcohol by the men of America, coupled with the The German by Laurel 009powerlessness of women, led to child and wife abuse and other oppressions of women. And liquor was truly a curse. In the late nineteenth century, there was one saloon for every 50 males over age 15 in working class sections. Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded. The liquor trade held a disproportionate share of public offices and was involved in corruption, crime, and vote-buying. By the year 1900, one of every 116 Americans was employed in the liquor industry. Americans spent over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages, $900 million on meat, $150 million on churches, and less than $200 million on public education (3).

-The women who fought to control liquor were opposing one of the most powerful, entrenched forces in American life. Alcoholic men spent their money on liquor and had no legal obligation to support their wives and children. In divorce, the same alcoholics were awarded the children. As the leader of the WCTU, in the forefront against the grave societal evils represented by liquor, Frances Willard became the most admired woman in America (3).

-in 1873-4: the so-called “Woman’s Crusade.” In Hillsboro, Ohio, in December of 1873, a group of Protestant winechurch women went to hear a temperance speaker. The women became so excited by the dangers of liquor portrayed in the speech that they stormed the local saloon with prayer and non-violent protest. Across the Midwest, normally quiet housewives began to march and to accost druggists, hotel owners, and saloon keepers and demand that they refuse to sell liquor. Women dropped to their knees for pray-ins at local saloons and refused to leave until the saloon shut down. Within three months, the women had driven liquor out of 250 villages and towns. Opened casks of liquor were poured down the streets. By the end of the Woman’s Crusade, over 900 communities in 31 states and territories had experienced it. Nationwide, 750 breweries were closed. Thousands of women felt empowered by the crusade, which was the first time many of them had taken a public stand for anything (3).

-Willard recognized, developed, and implemented the use of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as a political organizing force (2).

-The WCTU quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States, with local branches in most wine pic-niccommunities. It was the first national religious organization to be organized in the South after the Civil War. Its paper, the Union Signal, by 1890 was the largest woman’s paper in the world (3).

-She became the national president of the  Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in 1879, and remained president for 19 years (wiki).

-Under her leadership, the WCTU grew to be the largest non-secular organization of women in the 19th century (2).

-In their push to expose the evils of alcohol, Willard and other temperance reformers often depicted alcohol as a substance that incited black criminality, and implicitly made the argument that this was a serious problem requiring a serious cure.[ (wiki).

-National Prohibition has been interpreted as a cultural war between Protestants who were already well-Cool's b-day wknd 154established in North American and the newer Catholic and Jewish immigrants, who typically drank alcohol beverages as part of their cultures. In addition, Protestants tended to live in rural areas and towns whereas the newer immigrants tended to settle in large cities, thus creating another division. 5 WCTU membership included women from nearly every sector of American life, but consisted largely of lower-middle and middle-class women with strong ties to evangelical Protestant churches (5).

Although the WCTU had chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada with a very large membership, for years it did not accept Catholic, Jewish or African-American women or women who had not been born in North America. This reflected the cultural division conflict. When the WCTU began accepting African-American women, they were organized into separate chapter or unions. Black members tended to be teachers or other professional (5).

The WCTU was anxious to “Americanize” new immigrants, which meant to them, to persuade them to abstain from alcohol beverages. In the first two decades of the twentieth century much of its budget was spent on its center on Ellis Island in order to begin this “Americanization” process. The WCTU was especially concerned about the immigration of Irish and Germans and what it believed was the threat they posed to abstention and the promotion of prohibition (5).

-One WCTU leader expressed strong concern over “the enormous increase of immigrant population flooding us Easter 006from the old world, men and women who have brought to our shores and into our politics old world habits and ideas [favorable to alcohol]” and peppered her writing with references to this “undesirable immigration” and “these immigrant hordes.” (5).

The WCTU was not unique; the largely anti-foreign, anti-Catholic, anti-German and anti-Semitic nature of the temperance movement has been extensively documented. 7 The WCTU also supported eugenics. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) actively promoted Prohibition and its strict enforcement and many women belonged to both the WCTU and the KKK, sometimes holding leadership positions in both organizations(5).

-Her tireless efforts for women’s suffrage and prohibition included a fifty-day speaking tour in 1874, an average of 30,000 miles of travel a year, and an average of four hundred lectures a year for a ten-year period, mostly with her longtime companion Anna Adams Gordon. (wiki).

-Willard insisted that women must forgo the notion that they were the “weaker” sex and that dependence was their nature and must join the movement to improve society, stating “Politics is the place for woman (wiki).

-The WCTU pushed for women’s rights to vote specifically so that women could vote for the prohibition of liquor. Halloween 2013 006As an organization of church women, the WCTU persuaded the Protestant churches to get behind the women’s vote as a vehicle to push through temperance. Suffrage and temperance were seen as two pieces of the same issue: national prohibition was finally enacted in 1919, shortly before women received the vote (3).

-The WCTU has proposed, supported, and helped establish protection of women and children at home and work, stiffer penalties for sexual crimes against girls and women, traveler’s aid, police matrons, pure food and drug laws, legal aid, passive demonstrations, among many others (2).
-lesbian?

-“The loves of women for each other grow more numerous each day, and I have pondered much why these Vodka_and_Martinithings were. That so little should be said about them surprises me, for they are everywhere … In these days when any capable and careful woman can honorably earn her own support, there is no village that has not its examples of ‘two hearts in counsel,’ both of which are feminine.”  –Frances Willard, The Autobiography of an American Woman: Glimpses of Fifty Years, 1889 (wiki).

-To most modern historians, Willard is overtly identified as a lesbian,[17][18][19] while contemporary and slightly later accounts merely described her relationships, and her pattern of long-term domestic cohabitation with women, and allowed readers to draw their own conclusions.[20] Willard herself only ever formed long-term passionate relationships with women, and she stated as much in her autobiography.[21] (wiki).

-denounced prez candidate for Catholic religion (prohibition documentary).
-later became Catholic (prohibition documentary).

1) wikipedia

2)  http://www.franceswillardhouse.org/Frances_Willard.html

3)  http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/temperancewillard.htm

5)  http://www2.potsdam.edu/alcohol/Controversies/Womans-Christian-Temperance-Union.html#.UyImbD9dWtM

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Brain-Dump Labor Dave Sunday

2 Sep

Frilled-DragonFed and watered and medicated the house cats, and watered the outside plants at work, Starbucks, and then we were off!  It was 80 degrees before 10AM.  We went to Lenore Lake Caves and hiked, and I put my hand in Soap Lake, which actually smells of soap!

Soap Lake bubbles

Tried to find a few other trails, but Google Maps directions were crazy so we drove aimlessly, just enjoying the middle-Washington scenery and each other’s company.  Got to a spot near the Columbia River and decided to hike down so I could dip my feet.  Hiked, and hiked, and hiked in the 90 degree direct sunlight over the optical illusion of a short trek, then searched for a break in the plants to get to the water.  Found just the right spot, with a circle Labor Dave Sunday 048of rocks and an island, which was empty!  Dipped our feet–the water felt lovely and we wished we had swim clothes.  Decided to go there before tail-gating next year.  Crawled up the fine, deep sand way to the top of the mountain in 90+ degree direct sun.

Slurred to the car covered in sweat and dirt.  Took off my shoes and shorts, and took a sponge bath with the damp washcloths we put in the cooler.  Felt like geniuses for having the foresight to pack those!  Deodorized, perfumed, re-sunscreened, and dressed in our concert gear.

tail-gate 2Drove to the parking-lot, folded down the seats in the car, and made our bed for camping.  Sat in camping chairs, alternately drinking Gatorade, peach cocktails (still cold in the thermos), and CANS of craft beer.  Also ate many snacks.  Note to self–next year bring some sort of meal along with the munchy snacks, because the prices inside are outrageous.  Talked, laughed and ate from 3PM to 5-ish, before heading inside.

Bought the requsite merch, beer, and sold a kidney in order to buy dinner.  Took many, ampitheatre 3many pictures inside the Ampitheatre.  Spread our WSU blanket on the grass.  Moved to the opposite side when some creepy dude sat immediately next to us on the empty hill.  The new spot was near the bathrooms, so worked out wonderfully.  Watched weird people in black lace bras (only), tie-dye onsies, bear-hats (yes, the animal), tube-tops, and other inappropriate-for-public attire.  Drank more beer so as not to get annoyed by people standing in front of us, smoking right next to us, and generally being obnoxious as people do.

1231669_10201840464311713_1796803503_n

Wrote down each song as it was played to see who came closest to predicting the set-list (Cool did).  Danced, sang, watched, and enjoyed the Sunday show.  Really enjoyed it–even from the lawn.  Still decided to get legit seats next year, because even the worst seats are better then general admission.  Because the sit is yours even when you’re ampitheatre 4not in it, the other people in seats also paid more so they’re paying attention and not screwing around, and you can see much better.

I bought Cool a shirt for winning our contest and we left at the start of the last song to get the car out of the crazy, crammed lot.  We got lost, but eventually found Feathers camping site.  Cool decided it was full (it wasn’t) so she parked further up the road near the boat launch.  Slept.

Woke up in the moost beautiful of places, happy to have pre-gamed with IB Prophen, Pepto, wake up spotcarbs, and Gatorade.  Felt good, took pictures of the canyon walls, Columbia River right outside the car door, and a waterfall.  Talked and drove to my work to check the buddies.  Cleaned the car, unpacked, and showered.  Boy does it feel nice to be clean.

All in all, a wonderful weekend, with lots of things to remember for the future, and many nice pictures and videos!

 

Camels in Nevada

20 Jun

And yes, Joe Cool, but also the other kind was also in the state for awhile.Kidron's NV pics 063

I grew up in Dayton, and we had historic camel barns downtown.  And yet, I never really knew the story of camels in North America.  So last time I was at Walla Walla, I snatched up a book (The Last Camel Charge:  The Untold Story of America’s Desert Military Experiment, by Forrest Bryant Johnson) on the subject.  I highly reccommend the book, even though the NV history for which I purchased it was less than a chapter long–probably less than a page.

NV Feb 2010 147

Here is more or less (less) the short version of the story, copied from various (less reputable/researched) sources:

-Purchased by Jefferson Davis when he was the US Secretary of War in 1855.  He purchased 77 bactrian (two hump) and dromedary (one hump) camels in the Near East for southwest desert transport (2).

-Middle-Eastern Dromedary (1).

-Congress funded a small naval expedition which was quickly dispatched to the Arab nations along the Mediterranean. After eight months, this naval “Noah’s Ark” returned (4).

-US Camel Corps put together back in the mid 1800’s (3).

-The idea was to find alternate means of transportation in the dry and rough climate of the South Western United States. To put the plan into motion $30,000 was set aside on March 3rd, 1855. Although it took awhile traveling to the Middle East, the US eventually had 34 camels (3).

-Several handlers from the Middle East were also brought with the camels. The most famous was a Syrian named Hadji Ali, although he was called Hi Jolly. A second later shipment brought the number of US camels up to 77 (3).

-Edward F. Beale maintained the animals could haul materials for the military in the arid West. They could carry more than horse or mules, and they had a legendary ability to survive without much water (1).

-could carry 600 pounds for 30 miles in desert conditions without water (2).

-After their trial run, Beale put the camels up on his friend’s ranch, claiming that they should stay in California for future use if a war with the Mormons of Utah ever occurred. His friend, Samuel Bishop utilized the camels to haul freight on his own ranch and back and forth to Fort Tejon. The route taken to Fort Tejon passed through lands controlled by the Mojave Indians who often attacked civilian transports, but avoided any military soldiers. As Bishop was a civilian and the camel experiment currently officially a civilian experiment, no soldiers were with the camel caravans traveling from Bishop’s ranch to Fort Tejon. A large force of Mojave Indians threatened Bishop’s teamsters, forcing Bishop to order them to mount the camels and charge the attackers. The surprise charge of the teamsters on such strange beasts did in fact rout the Mojave Indians and also went down in history as probably the only camel charge in the west, which ironically was performed by civilians as opposed to the military (3).

-There are rumors of a few more experiments performed with the camels. They are attributed to the US army when it was still trying to find a use for the beasts. The first involved using the camels in an attempt to perform a pony express or “camel express”. Sadly in both the first and second attempt the camel dropped dead from exhaustion. It was determined that although the camel could carry enormous loads and travel for extended periods of time with little rest, food, or water, it was not an appropriate steed for a mailman to speedily deliver the mail, especially since its maximum speed appeared to be no faster than the mules already used to deliver the mail. In the second experiment, the army turned the camels over to a survey crew, mapping the Nevada / California border. The expedition became lost, was forced to abandon their equipment, lost their mules, and grew hopeless of ever surviving to see civilization. The camels took over the mission, led the crew back to Visalia, and saved the surveyors (3).

-The Civil War distracted the army from the experiment and the Deputy Quartermaster General for California got permission from the Secretary of War to sell off the animals.  A corral was built on the southern part of the arsenal property and all the camels were gathered from all over California to be auctioned off.  The local youngsters of Benicia earned extra money hauling water to the barns.
The 34 camels which were auctioned off brought a total of $1,495 in 1864 and were purchased by Samuel McLeneghan to haul freight to Nevada mining camps (2).

-By November 1863, the California Camels were put up for sale and purchased largely by zoos, circuses, and mining operations with a few camels going to private individuals such as Beale himself. Those camels remaining in Texas were sold off in 1865, though the government later reclaimed some of them as stolen property and then promptly released them into the desert on their own (3).

-Sam McLeneghan purchased ten of the Army’s Dromedaries for hauling supplies in the territory. Camels brought salt to mills in bothVirginia City and Austin (1).

-On his way to Virginia City with ten camels in 1864, McLeneghan stopped in Sacramento and staged a “Dromedary Race” in the city’s Agriculture Park. Some of the camels were recruited into circus acts; others were used by private freight-hauling and road construction outfits. Eventually, many of the poor beasts were abandoned in the desert, where some survived for years. Angry Wells Fargo stagecoach drivers complained of camels all the way from Lake Tahoe to Ely. Their teams panicked at every encounter with the strange, humped creatures. Even 30 years later, some wide-eyed prospector would stride into a Comstock saloon, belly up to the bar and tell the bartender of the bizarre “mirage” he had seen (4).

-They were resold again but only a few were purchased and the remaining camels were released into the desert where they startled travelers for years (2).

-In 1875, the Nevada legislature prohibited camels on public highways to safeguard horse traffic. This effectively ended the commercial use of camels (1).

-In Lyon County [my county of Dayton], if you let your camel stray, they threw you in jail for 30 days (4).

-The act was repealed in 1899 (3).

-Operators set many camels free while selling others to circuses. For decades, various people throughout the West reported seeing the wandering beasts throughout Nevada and the southwest (1).

-The last surviving camel died in 1934 in the Griffith Park Zoo in Los Angeles (2).

-Camels later assumed a different role in Nevada history and culture. In 1959, the revivedTerritorial Enterprise reported the results of a fictional camel race held in Virginia City. To the delight of residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the event as fact. The following year, actor-director John Houston, in northern Nevada for the filming of The Misfits, heard of the contest and became determined to ride in the “second annual” camel race. Virginia City held an actual competition, Houston won, and the annual camel races grew into a tradition celebrated to this day (1).

1)  http://www.onlinenevada.org/camels

2.)  http://www.beniciahistoricalmuseum.org/ArsenalHistory/arsenalhit_1860.htm

3.)  http://www.weirdca.com/location.php?location=36

4.)  http://www.thestormking.com/tahoe_nuggets/Nugget_190/nugget_190.html