Friday, October 31, 2014

Gilmore Girls!

Warning: This post contains spoilers.  If you haven't seen the show, check it out on Netflix, they just added it.

-Gilmore Girls is one of my all-time favorite TV shows.  I wasn't happy with how they ended the series, but I loved all the previous seasons.

-The Mom, Lorelai, is played by Lauren Graham, and she is hilarious.  I love her relationship with her daughter, Rory.  They love to eat junk food, and Lorelai never cooks.  They bond by watching movies together.  Lorelai is the manager of an inn in the beginning, and then goes on to own her own inn.  It is inspiring to see what she accomplishes.

-You can tell from the beginning that Luke and Lorelai are meant to be together, and when they actually do start dating it is great.  But, what the writers do to their relationship is upsetting, and then they barely show them getting back together in the finale.

-I love Rory's relationship with Logan, and not only was it ridiculous that she rejected his proposal, but instead she went to work on Obama's campaign.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

-Yet, there are a lot of priceless gems throughout the show.  I love the small town that is supposed to be Stars Hollow.  It is the kind of place where most people would love to live.

-Many other characters make the show fun, like Kirk who is eccentric but funny.

-I love this post about the show on BuzzFeed Entertainment.  After watching Season 1, this was their conclusion:
Gilmore Girls is beyond incredible — beautifully written, perfectly acted, and its coffee cups runneth over with charm. Dean is the best boyfriend in the history of TV boyfriends, Lorelai is the mother we all wish we had, Luke is so scruffy and amazing it hurts, Sookie’s giggle could lead to world peace, and I can’t wait to start watching Season 2. I tip my eye-catching hat to you, Amy Sherman-Palladino. You done good.
Below are just some of my favorite quotes:
Lorelai: Who shows up at 8:00 for an 8:00 date?  Everybody knows that 8:00 means 8:15, 8:20 tops.
Rory: Obviously he was raised in a barn.
Lorelai: Okay, he's cute but this punctuality thing just marked 10 points off the dream guy quotient.

Lorelai: I'm related to God, that is so cool, it will make it easier to get Madonna tickets.

Lorelai: Don't let them put you on any of those pills, Tom Cruise would be upset.

Paris: We put the radio on Rush Limbaugh so people will think we have guns.

Lorelai: I can hear the termites chewing.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Westport

-I saw an article in the KC Star about artifacts from the Civil War Battle of Westport that were found by John Adams Jr. over 60 years ago.

-The Battle of Westport took place from October 21-23 in 1864, and 29,000 men fought in it:
A sprawling action, the battle occurred over three days. It started east of Independence and progressed along the Blue River and into what is now Loose Park, near Brush Creek, before turning south. The approximately 29,000 soldiers involved made it the biggest Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River. When the Union prevailed, any hope of a significant Confederate presence in Missouri ended.
-Adams' ancestors owned the land right near where the battle took place.

-As I read the article, I was excited to learn that Kansas City has a Battle of Westport Visitor Center and Museum.  I am planning on going in the near future, and of course I will blog about the experience.

Read more here:

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stolen Innocence--A Review

This trial has not been about religion or a vendetta.  It was simply about child abuse and preventing further abuse.
I hope that all FLDS girls and women will understand that no matter what anyone may say, you are created equal.  You do not have to surrender your rights or your spiritual sovereignty.  I know how hard it is, but please stand up and fight for your voice and power of choice.  I will continue to fight for you.--Elissa's statement after Jeff's 2007 trial (p. 422)
Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall is my sixth book in my study of the FLDS.  I have read about some amazing women, my next step will be delving into what the "lost boys" have gone through.  I am stunned at what can be done to men and women when they are in a cult.  Yet, we are all susceptible to being indoctrinated and brainwashed.

I have been immensely inspired by the women who have managed to escape the clutches of the FLDS, and even though it wasn't easy, fought to build a life for themselves and their children.

Elissa's story is especially impressive, because she started fighting back at the tender age of 14.  She was forced into marriage with a cousin she hated and was raped repeatedly.  This marriage was orchestrated by her "prophet", Warren Jeffs.  Elissa's father had already been exiled from her family by Jeffs, and her mother and sisters felt powerless to protect her.

She didn't have a way to escape then, and she thought her eternal salvation was at stake, so she stayed, but she didn't stay silent.

In the FLDS, girls and women are told to "keep sweet", which means, no matter how unhappy you are, no matter how badly you are treated, you are to pretend to be happy and be obedient to your "priesthood head".

Yet, Elissa didn't keep sweet all the time, and she actually had the nerve to speak out.  She was fortunate that she had older sisters and brothers who had escaped before her, and eventually she was able to be set free.  It wasn't easy, she had to leave behind her mother and two younger sisters.

It took years, but she even ended up being a star witness along with her sister, Rebecca Musser at Warren Jeffs' first trial in 2007.

Below are some significant quotes from her book:
Our religion left no room for logical reasoning and honest questioning.--p. 44

Without my nurturing older sister around, I had no one to make me feel safe in the unrest that had taken over our home and irrevocably changed out lives.--p. 49

I was making the choice that my mother had been unable to make for me and my siblings.  I was choosing to give my child the power of choice.--p.321
Elissa says it best in the last paragraph of her book:
...there are still so many young girls and women who don't yet realize that they, too, have the right to cry out against injustice.  I hope this book reaches the many young girls and women around the world whose faces I'll never see and whose names I'll never know, and that perhaps in some way my words will help them to use their strength to reclaim what is rightfully theirs--the power of choice.
Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods
The Witness Wore Red

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Witness Wore Red--A Review

It started with one book, Escape, and my odyssey into studying the FLDS began. It has been therapeutic for me in dealing with my own issues with how those in the church, and other religious organizations treat women.

I was listening to, The Witness Wore Red on Cd while I was reading four of the other books on the FLDS.  It was fascinating as I listened to the different accounts of some of the key players.

I think I was able to relate, on a personal level, to Rebecca's account the most.  For some reason, I was surprised at how difficult things were for Rebecca and her sister Elissa after they escaped.  I think because they escaped before they had children, I thought things would be easier than they were for people like Carolyn, who already had 8 children.

Yet, it makes sense that things would be so hard.  They had been brainwashed and indoctrinated in a certain way for their entire lives.  Also, something that Warren Jeffs and some of the other priesthood men knew, was that even without their own children, they had scores of loved ones in the FLDS that they wouldn't want to leave.  And when you leave the FLDS, you can't just come back and visit relatives, because you are now an apostate and shunned by most of the community.

I was able to relate to Rebecca in her struggles to realize that what she was being taught about the roles of women was wrong.  And also to her trying to survive financially on the outside world.  She then had to deal with a husband who wasn't in the FLDS, but who still had some sexist views.

As I listened to the end of Rebecca's book, it gave me a lot of strength that I could face some of the things in my own life.  She escaped oppression, yet in doing that, she was severely judged by many and told she was going to hell.  We are by nature people pleasers, but sometimes doing what is right for us, will be judged by others, and that is okay.

Previous FLDS Posts:
The Treatment of Women
Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage
Church of Lies
Studying the FLDS
When Men Become Gods

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The 90's: The Last Great Decade? Part 3: Politically Incorrect

Part Three: Politically Incorrect

1) Bill Clinton's Sexual Harassment Trial, Monica Lewinsky and Impeachment
--My daughter, whose name is Monica, was 3 years old when all of this hit the fan.  She was confused as to why her name kept getting mentioned on TV.

--"It depends on what the meaning of 'is', is."

2) Viral Horror
--The Blair Witch Project

3) Tech Boom
--Steve Jobs returns to Apple after a 10 year absence.

4) Hard Drugs

5) Public Enemy No.1
--Osama Bin Laden attacks two U.S. embassies.  On August 7, 1998 truck bombs explode in the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

--Clinton retaliates, but is accused of trying to sidetrack the American people from the Lewinsky scandal.

6) Sit Down Com
--Seinfeld rules the American airwaves.  It was the biggest hit of the decade.

--I'm not surprised, since it is one of my all-time favorite shows.

7) The West Wing
--A liberal's fantasy White House

8) The Famous Royal Couple Splits & Diana's Death
--Princess Diana does a tell all interview, which is unheard of in British royalty.

--After going against convention, Princess Diana goes on to become one of the most loved women in the world.

--The world is in shock and mourning when Diana is killed in a car accident.  I will never forget that day, because the footage was never ending on the TV.  Her funeral is watched by 2.5 billion people.

9) World Trade Organization
--An anti-globalization protest of the WTO in Seattle lasted for 5 days and caused $29 million in damages.

10) The Shooting at Columbine High School
--I will never forget this day, it brought tears to my eyes.  Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris murdered 14 students and 1 teacher.

11) The Internet Bubble is a sensation overnight.  Everyone goes crazy, but then isn't making a profit, so their stock plummets.  The bubble bursts and people lose a lot of $.

12) Y2K--The Millenium Bug
--Many people were genuinely freaked out about this and really thought the world was going to come to an end.  People stocked up on food and water, etc... I figured if anything really bad happened I'd be dead anyway, so why be psycho about it.  I remember that I even forgot about the panic until the day after New Years, and then I realized I was right about not freaking out.

Part One: Great Expectations
Part Two: Friends & Enemies

Friday, October 17, 2014

Malala Yousafzai is Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!

In July 2013, Yousafzai addressed the United Nations, telling delegates that the Taliban "thought that bullets would silence us, but they failed.
"The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions," she said defiantly, "but nothing changed in my life, except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."--Scott Neuman
I am in the middle of reading I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.  So, I was excited when I found out that she was being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

She is one of the most amazing teenage girls I have ever seen.  Men and women alike fear the Taliban, yet Malala stood up to them at a young age.  She was shot for that courage, but survived to continue the fight for girls and women's rights to be educated.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee had this to say:
Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls' rights to education.
Malala is the youngest ever to receive the award.  NPR had this to say:
Yousafzai, 17, defied the Taliban in her town of Mingora in Swat Valley, near the volatile western frontier dividing Pakistan and Afghanistan. In October 2012, Taliban militiamen boarded a school bus she was on, singled her out and shot her in the left side of the head. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack.

Left in critical condition, Yousafzai received an outpouring of international support and was moved to the U.K. for treatment.
"Malala battled for her life, and came back to become an international ambassador for the rights of girls to be educated," NPR's Julie McCarthy says.

She is a previous recipient of the Sakharov Prize and was first nominated for the Peace Prize last year. She now lives in Birmingham, England, but the Taliban have threatened to target her again.
Malala is sharing the prize with Kailash Satyarthi.  The ironic part is that Malala is from Pakistan and Kailash is from India, two countries that have been at odds for a long time.

Time Magazine had this to say:
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Friday.

Both Satyarthi, a 60-year-old Hindu from India, and Yousafzai, a 17-year-old Muslim from Pakistan, are renowned children’s rights activists. Malala became a household name around the globe when, in October 2012, she was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin while on her way to school. The young girl had been an outspoken advocate of girls’ education before the shooting. Afterward, she became an international beacon for the cause and was chosen as TIME’s runner-up for Person of the Year in 2012. She was later named one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People. Now, at age 17, she is the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate.

For Yousufzai, who continues to receive threats from the Pakistani Taliban who attempted to silence her demands to be educated two years ago, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize offers no better, and no louder, rebuttal.
Malala has a bright future ahead of her.  I imagine that maybe some day, it is possible that she can break barriers and become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.  That would certainly make the Taliban's blood boil.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Roosevelts--An Intimate History!--A Review (Part 1)

No other American family has touched so many lives.--The Roosevelts
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History by Ken Burns has 7 parts, that aired on 7 nights on PBS.
1-Get Action (1858-1901)
2-In the Arena (1901-1910)
3-The Fire of Life (1910-1919)
4-The Storm (1920-1933)
5-The Rising Road (1933-1939)
6-The Common Cause (1939-1944)
7-A Strong and Active Faith (1944-1962)
--I am going to be doing a review on each episode.  I love Ken Burn's documentaries.  My favorite, before this one, was The Civil War.

--The narrator is Peter Coyote.  He narrates a lot of history documentaries.  I love his voice.

-Clay Jenkinson
-George F. Will
-David McCullough
-Jon Meacham
-Geoffrey C. Ward
-Doris Kearns Goodwin
-Jonathan Alter
-Edna Gurewitsch
-William Leuchtenburg
-H.W. Brands
-Patricia O'Toole
--I am a huge fan of David McCullough and have read his book on Teddy Roosevelt, so it was great to see that he was a part of this documentary.

--I was excited when I found out that Burns was going to do a documentary on the Roosevelts.  The reason being that I love Teddy Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.  While I'm not a huge fan of Franklin Roosevelt, he was a major historical figure.

Episode 1-Get Action (1858-1901)
Between Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, they would occupy the White House for 19 of the first 45 years of the 20th century.--The Roosevelts
My Notes:
--Teddy's father was such a philanthropist that he was nicknamed, Great Heart.

--Geoffrey C. Ward described Teddy (as an adult), like a six year old child on steroids and like the Tasmanian Devil.

--Teddy was devastated when he lost his Mother and his wife, Alice on the same day, February 14, 1884.  On that day he wrote in his journal, "The light has gone out of my life."

--Franklin Roosevelt was the only child of his Mother and was adored by all.  FDR was doted on to the point where he saw his rightful position as being the center of the world.

--As I watched this first episode, I was not disappointed.  This is another stellar production by Ken Burns.  I look forward to watching the next episode.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When Men Become Gods--A Review

--When Men Become Gods is my 5th book in my study of the FLDS.  I've read Carolyn Jessop and Flora Jessop's accounts, and I'm listening to Rebecca Musser's on Cd.

--The women's accounts were their own personal stories.  In contrast, Singular gives a history and an overview of the FLDS movement.  He share the history of the Mormons, starting with Joseph Smith.

--He then details how things went wrong with some of the modern leaders of the FLDS.  And he shares about the women who started escaping and fighting back, and about the brave few who helped them.  The women and those who helped them were listed by Singular as the "Resistance".

--A list of just some who made up the "Resistance":
1) Flora Jessop--One of the many women who escaped and fought back
2) Sam Brower--A private investigator
3) Elaine Tyler--She assisted women who were trying to escape the FLDS, and she founded the Hope Organization.
4) Gary Engels--An investigator hired by Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith
5) Ross Chatwin--A loyal FLDS member who was kicked out by Warren Jeffs.  He was one of the few men who chose to fight back.  Most of the time Jeffs took away these men's homes and wives and children.  But Chatwin refused to leave his home, and his wife and kids stayed by his side instead of obeying Jeffs.
6) The Lost Boys--Teenage boys who were kicked out of the FLDS, so that the older men have more women to choose from.
--As I've studied all that has gone into the FLDS being exposed, I have been upset that Flora Jessop hasn't been given more credit for her role.  Below is Singular's description of her, and I think it's a good one:
Every revolution produced somebody like Flora Jessop: a flamethrower who jolted others into action.  She had a knack for inspiring victimized women to come forward--and for turning off strong FLDS opponents and embarrassing the police or other authorities.  In the absence of any organized effort to enforce the law along the border for the past several decades, Flora, like Laura Chapman before her, had stepped forward and done what others wouldn't.  Nobody else had wanted to take the risks to help the men, women, boys, girls, and childhood victims of polygamy--least of all the Latter-day Saints church up in Salt Lake City.--p. 121

--As the government authorities and members of the resistance tried to figure out how to bring the members of the FLDS to justice, they had some concerns.  They feared a Waco or Jonestown catastrophe.  The governments of Arizona, Utah and the Federal government were afraid to tackle the many crimes that were being committed in the FLDS community.  Yet, finally something needed to be done. The FLDS wasn't above the law and questions started to be raised by many, below are some:
What about the rising costs of welfare and of treating fumarase deficiency?  What if citizens across the nation with no connection to Mormon fundamentalists had to pick up the tab for other people's very expensive marital and sexual practices?  What if a religious sect on the Utah-Arizona border were being run like a criminal enterprise, similar to the mafia?  Or like a terrorist outfit, answerable only to its Prophet?--p. 115

--Singular shares how the authorities finally go after Jeffs, eventually putting him on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.  And about the 3 sisters who testified against him, Elissa Wall, Theresa Wall and Rebecca Musser.

--Elissa Wall was forced into marriage when she was barely 14 and was raped by her husband.  Not only was this Jeffs' idea, but he refused to listen to her many cries for help and told her to "keep sweet" and submit to her husband.

--When Jeffs was declared guilty by a jury of his peers, several of the heroic women who stood up against him had this to say:
This wasn't just lawyering in the courtroom, this was justice.--Elaine Tyler

Opinion is a fleeting thing, but truth outlasts the sun.--Elissa Wall quoting Emily Dickinson
--Laura Chapman (one of the first women who fought back) was happy with the verdict, but warned people that the fight against the FLDS was far from over:
So much is still lacking in terms of accountability...Elissa Wall's parents not only failed to protect her but prepared a child in a wedding dress for her abuser.  They are culpable by law and should be charged.  If Warren Jeffs has 80 wives, and birth certificates of his 264 children prove this, he should be charged with 79 counts of bigamy...He was not charged for violating the Mann Act (taking a minor across state lines for sexual purposes).  Elissa was taken to Nevada to be married.  Jeffs should be held accountable for the human trafficking of women and children to Canada...

An apology should be issued to the thousands of people, over 160 years, who have lived in extreme conditions of poverty, emotional and spiritual abuse, sexual coercion and assault because of this doctrine that places men as superior over women.  Since the LDS church is one of the wealthiest religious organizations in the world, they should fund non-profit organizations to provide resources for refugees of polygamy.  They should no longer allow a man to be sealed for time and all eternity to more than one woman.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Studying the FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) Cult

The above photo is Flora Jessop with her sister Ruby Jessop.  Flora had worked for many years to help Ruby escape, and they were finally successful.

--Since, I watch a lot of true crime shows, I started seeing shows about the horrific abuses in the polygamous FLDS cult years ago.  Every time I would see a show, I would write down the books and authors that were mentioned on the show.

--Recently, I started reading one of the books and I was hooked and wanted to learn more.  So far, I have read the following books and done posts on them:
1) Escape--Carolyn Jessop
2) Triumph--Carolyn Jessop
3) Church of Lies--Flora Jessop
--I am in the middle of reading:
4) The Witness Wore Red--Rebecca Musser
5) When Men Become Gods--Stephen Singular
--On my list to read:
6) Stolen Innocence--Elissa Wall
7) Lost Boy--Brent W. Jeffs
8) The Polygamists: A History of Colorado City, Arizona--Benjamin Bistline
--As I've learned more, especially after reading Flora Jessop's book, I wanted to see some of the people I was reading about.  So, I found some good documentaries online.

--When I'm finished with all of the books, and when I'm done researching, I will do a comprehensive post on the FLDS. 

--It is important to educate people about what is going on.  As I was talking about this at work, a friend just assumed I was talking about a group in a third world country.  I said, no, this is going on right here in the U.S.

-Rebecca Musser: Choose to be Free
-Child Protection Project
-The Hope Organization

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The 90's: The Last Great Decade?--Part 2: Friends & Enemies

Part Two: Friends and Enemies

1) Waco: David Koresh vs. the Government
--The ATF, then the FBI tried to enter David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound.  They had 305 guns and there were allegations of child abuse.  When the ATF tried to raid the compound 4 ATF agents were killed and 6 Branch Davidians.

--The FBI then engaged in a 51 day standoff that ended on April 19th, 1993.  The FBI went in, a fire was started (most likely by Koresh) and 50 adults and 25 children died, including Koresh.  This initiated a lot of anti-government sentiment, which contributed in part to the OKC bombing 2 years later on the exact same day.

--Amazingly, Janet Reno, who oversaw this fiasco, was never held accountable.

2) X-Files: The nation's obssession over aliens and ufos.

3) Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan
--On January 6th, 1994 someone attacked Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan by whacking her in the knee.  It was discovered that Harding's husband and bodyguard were responsible.  Harding has always denied that she knew anything about the attack beforehand, but many believe that she master minded the whole thing.

4) Jerry Springer and the rise of Trashy Tv Talk Shows
--Jerry Springer went from politics, to news to hosting one of the nation's trashiest talk shows.  The sad part was the world was captivated and his ratings skyrocketed.  He was called the "Mayor of Dysfunction Junction".

5) Black Hawk Down
--I have researched and talked a lot about this event.  It is one of Bill Clinton's many failures which led to Osama Bin Laden's view of the U.S. as a "paper tiger", and ultimately led to 9/11.

6) Medicated America
--Actresses such as Roseanne admit to using prescription drugs for depression and anxiety.  The world learns of a new set of drugs known as SSRI's.

7) The rise of Rap music and Rappers

8) Oklahoma City Bombing
--On April 19, 1995, exactly 2 years after the Waco siege, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols planted a car bomb by the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.  The bombing killed 168 people and injured 600.  Before 9/11 this was the largest terrorist attack in the U.S.

9) The rise of Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio
--One of the best things about the 90's.

10) Bill Clinton and the Government Shutdown
--Congress led by Newt Gingrich and the President got into a battle and the government shut down for 27 days at the end of 1995 and the beginning of 1996.  As usual, the media made the Republicans out to be the bad guys, and the Republicans caved.

11) Mobsters John Gotti vs. Sammy the Bull Gravano
--Gotti is the head of the Gambino crime family, and is a media whore who becomes popular until he is brought down by his second in command, Sammy the Bull Gravano.

12) New York City is rescued by Rudy Giuliani
--When Giuliani is elected as Mayor of New York City, crime was at an unbelievable high of  2,200 murders a year.  He implemented a no tolerance policy.  The # of murders per year was 2, 245 in 1990, and by 2010 it had dropped to 536.

--Two very popular Tv shows took place in New York City in the 90's.  Seinfeld is regarded as pre-Giuliani New York City, and Friends is post-Rudy.

13) Howard Stern--Father of a VERY Dysfunctional Family

14) Homosexuality comes out of the closet
--Roseanne and Ellen have gay people coming out of the closet.  The horrific murder of Matthew Shephard who was gay also takes place and gives rise to hate crimes laws.

15) Macarena song takes the country by storm
--Everyone is dancing the macarena.  It helped bring out Latino singers such as Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin.

16) The Internet
--Who knew when this was invented in 1991 (not by Al Gore ;-)) how much it would change our daily lives.  There was confusion on how to use it until Google comes on the scene and gives people an easy way to search the internet.

17) The OJ Simpson car chase, trial and verdict
--91% of Americans watched the verdict live.  It was the country's own version of a soap opera.  And one of the biggest miscarriages of justice.  The message was, if you have enough $, you can get away with murder.

Part One: Great Expectations

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Church of Lies--A Review

It's amusing how many people now want to take credit for the fall of Warren Jeffs.  It's a seductive story.  Everybody wants to be seen as the hero...

But Flora Jessop--well, she's the real McCoy--one of the original warriors and genuine heroes.  In fact, in many ways, Flora Jessop and a childhood friend of hers from Colorado City are truly Arizona's Founding Mothers of this hard-fought, human rights revolution.  A campaign that had to overcome more than a half-century of institutionalized neglect and indifference on the part of Utah and Arizona officials before a man like Warren Jeffs could finally be brought to justice.

There are people who might dispute that claim--but I would argue that they are people who either don't really know the story or are lying to cover their own asses.--Mike Watkiss
--After reading Carolyn Jessop's two books, Escape and Triumph, about the abuse in the FLDS polygamous cult, I decided I wanted to learn more.

--Flora Jessop is Carolyn Jessop's cousin, since most of the FLDS community are related to each other.  Flora escaped long before Carolyn, while she was still a teenager.  Flora was being sexually assaulted by her father from a very young age.  She tried to escape numerous times before she was eventually successful.

--Flora's book details her early childhood, her escape from the FLDS cult and her struggle to live a normal life afterwards.  She eventually finds peace and a good life in the outside world.  It is then that she begins to help many other women and teenagers who want to escape from the FLDS as well.

--The more I learn about the FLDS cult, the more like the mob they seem.  They indoctrinate, brainwash and abuse their members in order to keep them imprisoned.  They don't want you to escape to tell the truth, so they manipulate and try to control your every move.  If you do escape, they hunt you down and try everything in their power to force you to return.

--The women that are able to escape intact, are some of the bravest and most courageous warriors I have ever seen.

--Flora Jessop is the Executive Director of The Child Protection Project, which is an amazing organization helping many escape their lives of abuse in the FLDS.

--To this day, Jessop continues to fight for victims of abuse, wherever they may be.  As Mike Watkiss says, she is one of the "original warriors and genuine heroes" of this movement.

Monday, October 06, 2014

American Sniper

--I remember the first time I saw Chris Kyle on O'Reilly's show, I was impressed.  I immediately wrote down his book and put it on my Goodreads list.

--Tragically, after being a Navy Seal and the most successful sniper in American military history, he was killed by another soldier he was trying to help who suffered from PTSD.

--I have since bought Kyle's book and was very excited to see that they have made a movie about him starring Bradley Cooper.  The movie has the same title as his book, American Sniper.  It comes out in December.  I will be one of the first in line to see it.

--I am a big Bradley Cooper fan, so I'm glad that he is playing Kyle.  And to add icing to the cake, Clint Eastwood is the director.

--I have 3 months to get the book read before the movie.  I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The 90's: The Last Great Decade? Part 1: Great Expectations

--The National Geographic Channel did a short mini-series entitled, The 90's: The Last Great Decade?  It has 3 parts, so I thought I'd do a post on each part and give a rundown.

--Since, the 90's was when I entered adulthood, I remember almost everything that is mentioned very well.  In many cases, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the events unfolded.  Yet, I did learn some new things, because for the first 3 years of the 90's I was in college and paying no attention to the outside world.

Some of the contributors who were interviewed as part of the series:
-Rob Lowe (he narrates all 3 episodes)
-Newt Gingrich
-Tucker Carlson
-Jerry Springer
-Colin Powell
-P.J. O'Rourke
-Monica Lewinsky
-Detective Tom Lange
-Matthew Perry

Part One: Great Expectations

1) Gulf War
--On August 2, 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.  CNN was the first news organization to air live from Baghdad when a war had started.  Kuwait is liberated.

2) Humvees and Hummers
--The humvee got a lot of good press from the war.  The humvee led to the creation of the hummer.  Arnold Schwarzenegger ended up buying 2 of the first ones.

3) Roseanne
--She credits herself in this series as being the one who got President Bill Clinton elected.  I'm not sure thats true, but even if it was, it definitely isn't something to brag about ;-).

4) Clinton's Election
--I had all 4 of my kids while Clinton was in office.  It was because of his presidency that I woke up and started paying attention to politics and current events.  I was outraged by his lack of morality.

This series credits Clinton and his team with inventing the spin machine for how to get out of tough spots, and Clinton had many.  James Carville was the leader and can probably be credited for keeping Clinton from being impeached.

5) Vanilla Ice and the Hip Hop Culture
--Vanilla Ice had a quick rise to fame, even though it didn't last long.

6) The Fresh Prince of Bel-air
--The series credited Will Smith and cast on the Fresh Prince with giving a new and better image of the black man.

--My oldest son used to get very excited when this show came on and would "dance" in his high chair to the theme song.  The show always came on when I was fixing supper.

7) Rodney King
--This was an event that I didn't know much about because I was in college when it happened.  And while I was outraged about about the Rodney King beating, and think the police shouldn't have been acquitted, it doesn't excuse or justify what happened afterwards.

--I was horrified as I watched the footage of black men beating and almost killing Reginald Denny.  Denny's skull was fractured 91 times.  Titus Murphy was one of the four people who rescued Denny and got him to the hospital.  He was a true hero.

--The riots ended up killing 55 people and causing $1 billion in damages.  How is killing innocent people and ruining businesses in your own neighborhood going to fix police brutality?

8) Clarence Thomas
--There are few things that outrage me as much as Anita Hill being used by liberals to try and destroy Clarence Thomas's life, character and chance to be a Supreme Court Justice.  Thank goodness she wasn't successful, but it bothers me to this day that many still mistakenly believe he was guilty.    Anita Hill is a disgrace to all the women who have been genuinely sexually harrassed.

--And the U.S. is fortunate that Thomas is on the supreme court, he is an honorable man.

9) Thelma and Louise
--A rogue movie in the 90's.

10) The Rise of the Bimbo
--Anna Nicole Smith got a breast enlargement and it led to a huge rise in women getting the surgery.

--She was one of the first people to become famous for no rhyme or reason, but many would follow.

11) The Decade of the Internet
--The world wide web transforms people's lives.

--Bill Gates makes computers accessible and affordable for everyone.  By 2013, Gates is the world's #1 philanthropist.

--In the 80's, there was a movie called, Revenge of the Nerds.  In the 90's, the movie actually happens.

12) Generation X
--Nirvana is one of the many voices of Generation X.  Kurt Cobain commits suicide.

13) Reality TV
--The Real World launches a new genre of TV, reality TV.

--Court TV airs the Jeffrey Dahmer trial live.

14) The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing
--It was treated as a criminal justice matter and the men who were responsible were arrested.  It should've been seen as an act of war.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Facing the Music--A Review

Early on, I became accustomed to how people in the church can have a tendency to complain about others by judging someone's likeness to Christ by their own perceptions of what a Christian should or shouldn't look like, do, or not do.--Facing the Music
--I was sent a free, advanced copy of Facing the Music from Howard Books for me to read and review on my blog.  I loved it.

--Three years ago I wouldn't have chosen to pick this book up, let alone read it.  Yet, since my divorce, a whole new world has been opened up to me.  I have discovered that the world isn't even close to as narrow as I used to think it was.

--In reflecting on the past 20 years, I cringe when I look at how much I judged others, and at how judgmental many Christians and churches can be.

--Recently, I disagreed with another Christian blogger who had a very uncompassionate view of interacting with a gay person.  He too also just went through a divorce.  I was shocked that his divorce hadn't softened his heart towards others.

--All that said, I found Jennifer's book to be very therapeutic.  I have always loved people who are genuine and real, and Jennifer is just that.

--She shares about her childhood, and how she grew up.  She talks about her struggles with addictions while trying to cope with her life at college.  She talks about how she became a believer, and how she ended up becoming a successful singer in the Christian Contemporary realm.

--Jennifer then talks about how she wanted out of the Christian music scene and her realization that she was gay.

--I could relate to a lot of what she says in dealing with a very judgmental Christian realm.  Below are some excerpts on how she concludes her book:
Really, it's all about story.  To be oneself requires a vulnerability that needs love, compassion, forgiveness, and empathy to protect.

I must write.  I must sing.  I must love.  I must have faith.  All these things insert themselves into being who I am.

Yet none of us will ever be able to live any life other than our own.  There comes a point where the only real thing, the only choice we really have, is the choice to be responsible for the journey that is our own.

Friday, October 03, 2014

It is Time for Women in the U.S. to Stand up for our Counterparts in the Middle East and Africa

Societies that treat women badly, are dangerous societies.--Condi Rice
--Rayhaneh Jabbari was 19 when she stabbed a man who tried to rape her.  Below is a summary of what happened:
Jabbari, who worked as a decorator, was convicted of the 2007 fatal stabbing of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. Jabbari, who was 19 at the time, has long maintained Sarbandi drugged her and tried to rape her after the two met at a café and she agreed to go to his office to discuss a business deal.

Sarbandi took Jabbari to a rundown building in a remote location, according to her supporters. Once there, he offered her a fruit drink which forensic tests conducted by the police determined contained a date-rape drug, according to human rights advocates.

Jabbari allegedly stabbed Sarbandi in the shoulder with a small pocket knife and fled, while Sarbandi bled to death.

Human rights advocates say the case shows the brutality and intolerance of Iran’s penal system.
--As a result of defending herself, she was sentenced to death.  Apparently, she was supposed to let him rape and kill her, especially since she is a woman.

--Liberal women here in the U.S. always claim to be for women's rights.  Yet, when it comes to the horrible circumstances that women are subjected to in the Middle East and Africa, these same women are silent.  The argument is that we shouldn't interfere in other countries' affairs.

--As a woman, I think it is time we stand up and fight against the unfair treatment of women, whether it be here or overseas.

Ways to Help:
-Aha Foundation
-The Status of Women in the Middle East and North Africa

Below are some examples that I have blogged about in the past:
-Girls being subjected to marriage at the age of 10
-Women being sentenced to death for marrying out of their religion
-Women sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly committing adultery
-Woman journalist held in prison in Iran for alleged espionage

Thursday, October 02, 2014

200th Anniversary of The Star Spangled Banner

 Photo: 6, 600 Maryland students made a living flag at Fort McHenry National Monument

--I'm sure I have heard The Star Spangled Banner played hundreds, if not thousands of times, yet, I still tear up everytime I hear it.  It signifies everything that is good about our country.

Fast Facts:
--It was written as a poem by Francis Scott Key entitled, "Defence of Fort M'Henry".
--He wrote it on September 14, 1814 while watching the British bomb Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.  It was published on September 20th.
--2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the song/poem
--Key wrote the poem to go with the beat and melody of a song called, "To Anacreon in Heaven".
--It was made the national anthem in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover.
Previous posts on The Star Spangled Banner:
-The History of The Star Spangled Banner
-Happy Independence Day

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Good Lie--A Review

--I saw a pre-screening of The Good Lie last night.  It was an AMAZING movie!  I had high expectations going in, and yet it still surpassed them.

Why I Loved It
--The movie was accurate when it came to the facts.  Almost everything about the lost boys journey from Sudan to Ethiopia to Kenya was similar to what Valentino Achak Deng's account was in his book, What is the What.

--I love it when a movie that is based on true events, sticks closely to the real facts, and this movie did that.  After the lost boys journey, it also accurately depicted the Kakuma refugee camp and their transition to life in America.

--The acting was incredible.  Reese Witherspoon did an incredible job, and so did the kids and the adults that played the lost boys.

--The movie has heart.  It crafted things in a way that made you feel for the lost boys.  I teared up several times.

--This is a great movie for introducing many into what the Lost Boys have been through in Sudan, and what life is like for them once they get here in the U.S.

--I liked the reason for calling the movie, The Great Lie.

What is the What--A Review
The Lost Boys of Sudan
Lost Boys in Kansas City--The Good Lie