Friday, December 7, 2012

Buy A Book And We'll Donate To Lawrence O'Donnell's K.I.N.D. Fund


 
 
 

For every ARK Stories book purchased between now and December 25, (paperback or Kindle edition), ARK Stories will donate $1 to the K.I.N.D. Fund (Kids In Need Of Desks), established by Lawrence O’Donnell and UNICEF. The video above is from 2011 and explains how the program works. Lawrence reported on December 6, 2012, that K.I.N.D. has received more than $4.6 million dollars in donations.
 

The money donated to K.I.N.D. pays for the assembling of school desks in Malawi Africa. It helps in two ways, by providing jobs and helping their local economy and by providing desks for students to sit on instead of having to sit on a hard floor for the entire day.
 
 
 



Visit ARK Stories to read samples of each book.
Or just use these links to go directly to the online venues.

The Virgin Diaries available only on Amazon


(Also available in eBook formats on Smashwords)


(Also available in eBook formats on Smashwords)

CRAZY available only on Amazon


 
After the holidays, we will post a picture of the check with the total amount.
 
It’s a great way to help those in need while you’re buying a great book.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Anti-Feminists

Susan Venker


There are a lot of women in America who are against feminism. They believe women should act like women, and ‘be true to our feminine nature.’  If we fail to do this, men won’t marry us. According to these women, we are destroying the country. Yeppers ladies, due to the fact we believe we deserve equal pay and want to control when and if we get pregnant, we are the in-house American terrorists.

Author Susan Venker accuses feminists—me— of having sex at ‘Hello.’ She has never met me and for her to assume this about me, or an entire group of women, is just completely ignorant and judgmental.  Venker recently wrote an article for FOX News titled The War On Men. She asserts that men have not changed much over time but women have changed dramatically. She says women are angry, defensive and that we’ve pushed men off their pedestal—now men have nowhere to go.

Before women were able to earn enough money to support ourselves and before we had the ability to choose if and when we become mothers, we had very little choice. Before the sexual revolution, being a divorced woman carried with it a very negative stigma—one where a woman was no longer worth anything because her marital status labeled her as damaged goods. Men dominated the work force and the jobs women worked, like secretaries and waitresses, didn’t provide enough income for a divorced woman, especially one with children, to live independently. So, if a woman was married to a man who was physically or emotionally abusive, a man who was unfaithful, or to a man she simply no longer wanted to be married to, her choices were so limited that she was often forced stay with him.

When women stood up and demanded freedoms like the right to vote, the right to earn as much as a man in the workplace and the right to choose whether or not to be a mother at any given time, we were labeled as angry and slutty. Because we could take a pill that prevented pregnancy, we were all of a sudden labeled as being loose. A woman who likes sex is a whore, a disgrace. This attitude is damaging enough when it comes from men but when it comes from women, it takes on a completely different meaning. It always reminds me of a battered woman who stays with her abuser because on some level she feels she deserves it. Venker and women who share her negative views on what women ‘should be’ are a danger because they help to keep all women from real equality.
 
Phyllis Schlafly
A perfect example of how these dangerous women have influence is Phyllis Schlafly, a politically conservative constitutional lawyer. Schafly opposed the ratifying of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s with a campaign —STOP ERA. STOP stood for Stop Taking Our Privileges.  One of the ‘gender specific’ privileges she was trying to preserve was, ‘dependent wife.’  She was an outspoken opponent of feminism and the ERA, and her efforts to stop women from being equal in the Constitution proved successful.
 
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter is a completely different kind of anti-feminist. Her messaging does not stem from the belief that all women should be obedient trophy wives. Coulter is actually a strong, unmarried feminist with a contradictory message. She is the author of books that are nasty, racist and mean-spirited. She’s on record saying that women should not be allowed to vote. The reason? If women didn’t vote, conservatives would always win.

Her sales approach is to go on news programs as a political pundit and make incendiary comments as a way to draw attention to her hateful books. An example is a recent guest appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher. Just weeks before the election, she accused Maher’s entire, liberal audience of being racist while promoting her latest book Mugged. If you are not familiar with Coulter’s work, here is the description for Mugged "
 
“This isn’t a story about black people—it’s a story about the Left’s agenda to patronize blacks and lie to everyone else.”

For decades, the Left has been putting on a play with themselves as heroes in an ongoing civil rights move­ment—which they were mostly absent from at the time. Long after pervasive racial discrimination ended, they kept pretending America was being run by the Klan and that liberals were black America’s only protectors.

It took the O. J. Simpson verdict—the race-based acquittal of a spectacularly guilty black celebrity as blacks across America erupted in cheers—to shut down the white guilt bank.

But now, fewer than two decades later, our “pos­tracial” president has returned us to the pre-OJ era of nonstop racial posturing. A half-black, half-white Democrat, not descended from American slaves, has brought racial unrest back with a whoop.

 Coulter knows how to cause controversy and her loyal followers reward her handsomely and flock to buy her books. They allow her to keep going and have a place on the national stage. During Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention, she tweeted “To get Bill Clinton to speak at the convention, Obama had to agree to carry his bags.” She also tweeted “Clinton just impregnated Sandra Fluke backstage.”
 
As you can see, Coulter herself comes off as angry and as long she has an audience, she has power and influence.

In this past election season, conservative women equated women’s rights with abortion. They criticized liberal women with the asinine argument that we were voting with only our lady parts and that all we wanted was free birth control. These women are liars and an embarrassment to women everywhere.

I could go on and list many other women who stand in the way of equality for women but that would be a book. It’s a matter of every woman deciding what it is she wants for herself, her life, her children’s lives and then voting accordingly.

Women can be strong and equal and also love men. I am one of them. I don’t love all men and there are definitely some men I wish to remove to remove from congress. Those men are against my equality and cast votes to prevent it. I would rather elect a man or woman who will enact laws and policies that enable equality for all.

Being a strong independent woman allows for freedom to choose a mate based on desire, not necessity. The women who promote feminism as an evil are negligent, irresponsible and are slowing down the process of equality for all.

This is precisely why you need to vote – in every election, including the ‘boring’ mid-term elections. People who didn’t vote in the 2010 mid-term elections, helped to allow for the obstructionists to dominate House of Representatives. This resulted in more than a thousand of pieces of anti-women legislation  from January 2011 until today.  Let’s not do it again.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Deborah Sampson Posed As A Man To Fight In A War


 
Equality.

Human beings are made up of all kinds of people who have all kinds of interests and desires. Sometimes the law dictates that only one gender—usually male—or one race is permitted to engage in a given activity or cause. These biases can and will be overcome when someone finally has enough!

Take for example, Deborah Sampson. She wanted to be a soldier and fight during the American Revolutionary War. In 1778 women were not allowed to enlist in the military. Not surprising, considering the lengths she went through to fight, that she was against British rule. She joined the Continental Army. What is surprising is that she was not the only woman who fought. Sampson was among a small number of women who fought in that war.

She fought under the name of Robert Shurtliff  (her deceased  brother’s first and middle name) and served for seventeen months. Because she was 5’7 and considered a tall woman, it was quite easy for her to convince people she was a man. She was teased by other soldiers for not having to shave but clearly, she was able to fool the masses.

She was chosen for the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment under the command of Captain George Webb and the unit was made up of fifty to sixty men.

During her first battle on July 3, 1782 outside of Tarrytown, New York, she was wounded, receiving two musket balls in her thighs and a huge cut on her forehead. For fear of being found out, she begged her fellow soldiers to leave her to die. Despite her pleading, they refused to abandon her and took her to the hospital. She was treated for her head wound but before doctors attended to the musket balls, she left the hospital and removed one of the balls from her thigh by herself with a penknife and sewing needle. Her leg never fully healed because the second musket ball was lodged too deep into her thigh for her to remove.

By April 1783, she was promoted and served as a waiter to General John Paterson. Because of the promotion, she was afforded a better quality of life. She ate better food, had shelter and encountered less danger.

Everyone assumed the war was over when the peace treaty was signed, but on June 24, General Washington was ordered by the President of Congress to send a fleet of soldiers to Philadelphia to “aid in squelching a rebellion of several American officers.”  Just as this was happening, Sampson fell ill with a malignant fever. The doctor who treated her removed her clothes and her secret was out. Fortunately, he did not reveal the fact she was a woman posing as a man, in fact, he took her to his home and treated her with the help of his wife and daughters.

When Sampson recovered, she returned to the army for a brief time. In September of 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and peace was assured. When the doctor who treated her asked her to deliver a note to General John Paterson, she thought the cat was out of the bag—fortunately for her it was not. Sampson was granted an honorable discharge by Henry Knox after a year and a half of service, with a note with some words of advice and only enough money to pay for her trip home.

In January 1792, eight years later, her story became known only when she petitioned for back pay. She petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for the earnings withheld as a result of her being a woman. With the help of her friend Paul Revere, her petition was approved and signed by Governor John Hancock. The General Court of Massachusetts verified her service and wrote that she "exhibited an extraordinary instance of female heroism by discharging the duties of a faithful gallant soldier, and at the same time preserving the virtue and chastity of her gender, unsuspected and unblemished.” She was awarded 34 pounds—which was considered quite inadequate and ultimately resulted in Sampson giving lectures for profit, discussing her wartime experiences. 

Because of her extraordinary achievements and bravery, her successful struggle for the American Revolutionary War pension bridged the gender gap in asserting that all veterans who fought for their country were entitled to compensation.

In Sharon, Massachusetts, a statue was erected in front of the library honoring Sampson. Sharon also has Deborah Sampson Street, Deborah Sampson Field and the Deborah Sampson House. 
 
 

Excerpt from Women in the U.S. Army, coutersy of www.army.mil:

"...in February 1946, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower directed the preparation of legislation to make the Women’s Army Corps a permanent part of the Army. Lt. Col. Mary Louise Milligan (later Rasmuson) became a consultant/planner for the project. Col. Hallaren, third director of the WAC, became the recognized leader in the fight for passage of the legislation. In September 1947, the bill was combined with the WAVES/Women Marines bill and a section to include women in the Air Force was added. The bill was renamed the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. President Truman signed the bill into law on June 12, 1948.

In July 1948, the first enlisted women entered the Regular Army and in December, the first WAC officers received Regular Army appointments. Women could enlist from ages 18 to 35. Enlistment under age 21 required parental or guardian consent. Women were no longer sent to a TO unit of 150 women, but received individual assignments. Enlistments in the Women’s Army Corps, Regular Army, opened to civilians in September 1948, and on Oct. 4, the Women’s Army Corps Training Center opened at Camp Lee, Va.”

I decided to share this story as an example. As women, we have to fight harder for rights and freedoms. It is worth it. And it is important to never forget what the women before us did so that we have choices, rights and freedoms today.
 
More details HERE

 

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Radium Girls - Profits Before People


 
Have you ever heard of the Radium Girls?

Around 1917, women were hired in radium factories to paint watch dials with glow-in-the-dark paint. The paintbrushes would lose their shape after a few strokes, so employers encouraged the women to re-shape the brushes with their mouths. For fun, the women painted their fingernails and even their faces and teeth. Hey, it was glow-in-the-dark and that’s FUN! The women believed the paint was safe.

Here’s the rub—the U.S. Radium Corporation who hired these women were hip to the fact that radium is not safe to ingest or to smear all over skin. In fact, the chemists carefully avoided contact with the toxic substance, using lead screens, masks and tongs to handle it. Literature on the injurious effects of radium had been distributed throughout the medical community but this didn’t stop the factories from hiring women and using them as expendable employees. These factories could have easily provided the women with the necessary masks and gloves but they didn’t. Masks, gloves and tongs would have cost the radium companies money. They even encouraged the women to put the paintbrush tips in their mouths—KNOWING the radium was toxic!
 
 

Was this a case of employers wanting to make employees sick? Doubtful. It’s more likely they just wanted product to sell. Glow-in-the-dark watches were used in the military and money was to be made. So what if women got sick? It wasn’t their problem. Profit was their bottom line.

Women DID get sick. Many women later suffered from anemia, bone fractures and necrosis of the jaw—also known as radium jaw.  Radium and other watch-dial companies denied the radium caused these ills. In an effort to keep this information from the public, doctors, dentists and researchers complied with requests from companies to not release the damning data. At the urging of the radium companies, workers’ deaths were blamed on syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases in an effort to not only distract the public from the poisoning but to smear the reputations of the women who died.
 
In 1922, Grace Fryer, a woman who once worked in the plant grew concerned when her teeth started to loosen and eventually fall out. Her jaw became swollen and inflamed. A primitive X-ray machine revealed serious bone decay and her jawbone was honeycombed with small holes in a random pattern. The doctor suggested her condition was a direct result of her exposure to radium.  Fryer decided to sue U.S. Radium but it took two years to find a lawyer willing to take on the case. Five women who worked in the factory, dubbed "The Radium Girls" joined the suit. Their case set precedents including a baseline of provable suffering.


As mentioned in my last blog about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where women who worked under extreme sweatshop conditions plunged to their deaths to escape an inferno, this horrific and true story also resulted in labor laws and legal precedents. The Radium Girls case enabled the right of individual workers to sue for damages from corporations due to labor abuse. Industrial safety standards were demonstrably enhanced for many decades as a result.

I used to sell industrial chemicals. The company I worked for often complained about the EPA and their pesky rules—rules in place to keep the air and water clean. Their beef was primarily about the fees associated with EPA testing of certain chemicals. Companies who distribute these chemicals must cover part of the fees. This chemical company would have gladly looked the other way so they could make more money selling products that were damaging and unhealthy to the environment, their own employees who had to demonstrate the chemicals and the maintenance crews who handled the product—just so they would have a little more money in their pocket.

 
Without labor laws and unions, employers have proved that employee safety is not always a concern. We know that every employer isn’t evil but enough of them have proved that labor laws, regulation and worker safety are necessary in order to protect the rights of employees.

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More details HERE

 

 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

These Women Had To DIE So YOU Can Have Better Working Conditions


Unions have gotten a bad rap lately, especially by Republicans. The GOP has made union a dirty word and while any organized group is open and vulnerable to corruption, unions are there for a reason: To protect workers from poor working conditions, unfair rules and making sure they receive fair wages. I’m about to share a gruesome story that impacted union, safety and labor laws.

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City caught fire and 146 of the women who were working there under extreme sweatshop conditions were killed.

Most of the women who worked and died in the factory were Jewish and Italian immigrants and were between the ages of sixteen to twenty-three. They endured long hours—usually ten-hour days, six days a week. Workers earned approximately $1 a day. The common practice of locking the doors and blocking stairwells in order to prevent ‘pilferage and unauthorized breaks' resulted in a horrific disaster when fire struck on the eighth floor just before quitting time.

A cigarette was blamed for the fire, although there is some dispute. Smoking in the factory was prohibited. When firefighters arrived, their ladder only reached to the sixth floor. Women on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors jumped to their deaths in order to avoid being burned alive. Others died of smoke inhalation
Sidewalk after the fire
 

From Wikipedia: “Terrified employees crowded onto the single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly anchored iron structure which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the heat and overload, spilling about 20 victims nearly 100 feet to their deaths on the concrete pavement below.”

Years later, Louis Waldman who witnessed the scene, had this to say:

“One Saturday afternoon in March of that year — March 25, to be precise — I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library... It was a raw, unpleasant day and the comfortable reading room seemed a delightful place to spend the remaining few hours until the library closed. I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines. Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire.

A few blocks away, the Asch Building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was ablaze. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.

Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle ShirtWaist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.

The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.”
 

This tragic disaster led to legislation requiring improved safety standards as well as spurring the growth of The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union which fought for and resulted in better working conditions for sweatshop and textile workers.

As a teen in high school, I can’t remember learning about HERSTORY. I must have learned something regarding women’s rights, the right to vote and suffrage, but if I did, it’s long gone. This 2012 election brought the plight of women into my focus and the more I learn about it, the more interested I am in spreading the word. All the talk of rape, sluts and extreme abortion bans awoke the fire and passion in my soul – and I don’t say that lightly – to help all women, and especially young women, and the men who care about them, realize what the women before us had to deal with in order for YOU to have rights. Forgetting this will start the erosion of these rights. It already has. Just ask Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, Todd Akin, Richard Murdock, Michele Bachmann, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and on and on and on…..

Women plunged to their deaths because (male) employers didn’t want them to take a break.

Remember that.



A similar fire that killed 112 employees at a Walmart supplier in Bangladesh has prompted a workers-rights group to take action, calling on the world's biggest retailer to improve its safety efforts.
Read the full article HERE


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Read more about this on Wikipedia HERE

As I mentioned, I am working on a book and want it to be available by March 2014. I have set up an Indiegogo campaign to help me with marketing costs as well as for editing, the cover and formatting. Please have a look HERE. All of my intentions are explained on the link and there is a two minute video. Anything helps. Thanks!


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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why Liberal Media Won’t Stop Reporting On Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck And Ann Coulter




Recently, a colleague of mine at Addicting Info posted that she is flattered her articles on people like Rush Limbaugh are keeping him in the public eye. She wished she had that kind of magical power. As someone who writes for a political blog, so do I but alas, it has nothing to do with us.

Every time I post or write about these people, I get at least one person telling me I need to ignore them. I usually comment why I won’t and am choosing to write this blog so I can just post it instead of constantly having the same conversation about it.

Liberal media is not the reason any of these lunatics have a voice. They have a loyal following. The right-wing electorate is their audience. What’s worse is Republican politicians like Speaker of the House John Boehner take cues from Rush Limbaugh.

FOX News also falls into this category. They lie and promote hatred and racism. They have an audience of millions. As long as they have a voice and influence, they NEED to be held accountable. Liberal media and everyday people will not always (or even often) have the ability to change the minds of their rabid followers, but we can help to educate those who are open to truth. Fortunately there are more truth seekers out there than we give credit to. They voted in 2008 and 2012 and made the difference.

These GOP pundits generate millions in revenue and the politicians want and depend on that money. The beautiful irony is that after BILLIONS of dollars failed to win this election, the GOP will be forced to change their tactics or face extinction. Limbaugh, Coulter and the like will always exist. They will never completely go away because there will always be the fringe audience that needs to suckle from their teat. Always.

It won’t always be necessary for liberals to call them out. When the GOP lays down to die and a new and improved party emerges—one that does not allow lies and fear to dictate message and strategy—liberals will find something else to focus on. It’s as simple as that.

Last, as a rational and critical thinker, I understand you are frustrated that hate mongers and the knuckle draggers get any attention. So am I!!!! I would prefer they go away too. You have the option of not reading the articles and paying them no mind. For those of us who report on the happenings in the world of politics, we will continue to stand up against the BS, call them out and hope that inch-by-inch, we can help to eliminate them from the public lexicon.




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Women ROCKED The 2012 Election - THANK YOU!!!!!




What a beautiful day!!!


In February, Rush Limbaugh helped to spread awareness about the Republican War On Women. As a result of his ignorant, misogynistic comments regarding Sandra Fluke, I penned an open letter to him. Because of the letter, Addicting Info – a political blog - asked me to be a contributor and then on April 5, I received an email from Susan Emry. She asked if I would be interested in being the spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote. It didn’t take long for me to say yes, and the journey began.


It has been an amazing journey and the reason Obama was re-elected had EVERYTHING to do with YOU!!! It was YOU who shared the posts, YOU who sent us story ideas,YOU talked to your friends and helped spread awareness, YOU got your friends and family to the polls and most importantly, it was YOUR dedication to justice and what is right (no pun intended.) We all did this together and doesn’t it FEEL REALLY GOOD???


We’ve put up with A LOT of crap for our liberal beliefs. We’ve been called sluts, ugly, c*nts, baby killers – you name it. As far as we’ve come, we still have a long journey ahead.


The House kept a majority. Paul Ryan kept his seat and so did Michele Bachmann. Obama will still have to work with the congress that refused to work with him. The difference now is, hopefully, they will see their obstructionist strategy has pissed off the majority of Americans. In 2014, we have a shot of firing John of Orange Boehner and Mitch Sour Grapes McConnell. The mid-term elections are usually less exciting and less people vote. In 2010, so many were disappointed that Obama couldn’t magically fix the eight years of damage in two years and we allowed the obstructionists to take control. I know everyone – including me – is breathing a heavy sigh of relief this morning but our work is not done.


The other very important point I NEED to address is that WOMEN ARE NOT LEGALLY EQUAL IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION. This is a BIG HUGE DEAL.


Please check out this wonderful site: ERA EDUCATION PROJECT. Kamala Lopez is doing a stupendous job. Let’s help her. Let’s educate the young women and men. It IS our responsibility.


Look at the difference we all made yesterday. BELIEVE that with more effort and diligence, we can get the ERA ratified but it won’t happen if we stop now. And if we do stop now, in four years, we could easily go back to ‘legitimate rape’ and ‘binders of women.’ We have helped to preserve Roe v. Wade – for now. We have told the rape dudes, Akin and Murduck to stick it where the sun don’t shine but WE ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE to being equal.


My goal is to continue this fight for equality – with some humor and sarcasm. I will continue to write about what is happening and to do my best to inspire and motivate but I am one woman. Kamala is one woman. We can only do so much alone. We need your help. We all need each other. I am not sure what Susan will do with Rock The Slut Vote – but I ask that if you wish to forge on with me – to please 'Like' the Facebook page I created HERE. I love getting your ideas and feedback. I am an author as well so from time to time I will talk about the projects I am working on and will ask for your opinions, your stories and let you know how you guys can contribute if you’re interested. I also wish to help promote others – whether they are artists, activists, writers or any other form of inspiration.

I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for making November 6, 2012 a day I will never forget. You are beautiful and I hope we can continue to make a difference together.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The White House Replied To My Letter


A while back, I sent a letter to the White House regarding women’s rights. I mentioned that I was the spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote and described our mission. I forgot I even did this until today.
 
I know that it’s probably a form letter and Obama probably didn’t write it himself but I was happy to read that he has received other letters from people about women’s rights and I think it’s cool to know someone actually read it and took the time to reply. Below is the message:

 
 

October 22, 2012





Dear Kimberley:



Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about issues affecting women, and I appreciate hearing from you.
 

My Administration is working hard every day to promote equality, enhance women’s health and economic security, and ensure women have the opportunities they need and deserve at every stage of their lives. From my perspective, these are not just “women’s issues.” When women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men earn, this not only harms women, but families have to get by with less and businesses have fewer customers with less to spend. When a job does not offer family leave to care for a new baby or an ailing parent, this burdens both women and men. When insurance plans deny women coverage because of pre-existing conditions, it strains emergency rooms and drives up the cost of care for everyone. And when any American cannot fulfill his or her potential because of factors that have nothing to do with talent, character, or work ethic, we are all impacted.
 
The success of American women is critical for the success of American families and our economy. That is why I created the White House Council on Women and Girls during my first year in office and directed them to ensure every agency, department, and office in our Federal Government—with the policies they draft, the programs they create, and the legislation they support—takes into account the needs and aspirations of American women and girls. That work started with the very first bill I signed as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restored basic protections against pay discrimination for women. In 2010, I created the National Equal Pay Task Force to facilitate inter-agency coordination in identifying and combatting equal pay violations. As a result of these efforts, for example, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has obtained more than $62 million in monetary relief since January 2010.
 
We are also working to equip women with the education and training they need to compete in today’s economy. Because women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs earn an average of 30 percent more than women in other fields, we are working to promote women and girls in STEM degrees and careers. In addition to passing the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which is helping over 9 million students attend college, we also increased the number of students receiving Pell Grants by 50 percent. As a result of these increases, we are helping millions of students—including 2.3 million women—afford their tuition and reach for their dreams.
 
Additionally, we are working to expand opportunities for women by creating new jobs, supporting women small business owners and entrepreneurs, and promoting efforts to help women and men balance the needs of their families with the demands of their careers. Over the past three years, we repeatedly cut taxes for small businesses and provided over 16,000 loans worth more than $4.5 billion to female entrepreneurs. To promote workplace flexibility, we are working to make the Federal Government a model employer by adopting new policies on practices such as teleworking.
 
Finally, we are making significant strides in expanding access to, and improving the quality of, health care for women. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are now required to cover preventive care without cost-sharing, and in 2011, more than 20 million American women were eligible to receive services such as mammograms, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care without co-pays or deductibles. As of August 2012, the covered services also include contraception and domestic violence screenings. By 2014, it will finally be illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to women because they have a pre-existing condition such as breast cancer or pregnancy, and insurance companies will be prohibited from charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage. For more information on health care reform, please visit www.HealthCare.gov or www.WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform.
 
I am also committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose while supporting policies and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, assist pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.
 
To learn more about how my Administration is working to support women at all stages of their lives and careers, please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Women. Thank you, again, for writing.


Sincerely,

Barack Obama

 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Dreamed Of A Teapublican


 
 
Just before I woke up this morning, I dreamed of a Teapublican. I am aware of her via social media. I will call her Lisa.

I write for the political blog Addicting Info, and I utilize various websites and public Facebook pages for content. Lisa is one of the many Teapublicans I follow. She is also aware of me and has said some pretty nasty and scathing things about me, so my association with her feels more personal, even though we’ve never met.  While following her, I have learned a little bit about who she is. She has a pretty good sense of humor. She has sadness in her life, which she has made public. She loves to laugh. She loves her family. But because she is a Teapublican, she also picks on people – some celebrities, some political, and I will grant her they are fair game. But when she picks on them, she becomes quite nasty. She uses hatred to ‘entertain’ and it clearly works with her Teapublican following. They latch on to her negativity and when I see it, I feel anger. I get very upset with how divided we are as a nation.

I often use sarcasm in my articles and blogs when writing about politics. I don’t believe I have used hatred or been the ‘mean girl’ and I do make an effort to promote voting and making sure I am truthful, as well as backing up my work with valid sources. I have found that Lisa also uses sources but many of them are very much like FOX. She likes to source Breibart and Drudge often and they are not always – or even often – reporters of the truth. But I digress.

In my dream, Lisa and I attended some kind of conference. It’s a bit fuzzy, so please forgive the fact I am not super-detailed, but I think the conference was not political and it gave me a chance to view her as a woman, a mother and a person who might be a friend of mine if the parties weren’t so divided. In the last part of the dream, we were on a bench and she had a cute animal on her head (it made sense at the time) and I was cooing to the little critter. I looked at her and felt love (not romantic, just to be clear) but in that moment, I didn’t see her politics at all. I recognized that we have differing views but I genuinely felt love for her as a human being. I remember feeling so sad that we were unable to really connect because our political passions kept us on different sides and frankly, I cannot stomach the hate and lies she preaches to her loyal followers.

I wish to add that neither side—the left or the right—are completely innocent or perfect. If you are familiar with my opinion and writing, you know that I am often sarcastic and get in my zingers. I am not afraid to call out the trolls and I say it like I see it. Often the other side sees that as offensive. But I don’t lie and I don’t promote hate. Tea Party folks have called me an “ugly liberal,” “ slut,” and  “ baby killer.” I have been accused of being part of the left’s fringe and my personal favorite—on Twitter, a woman said I was a “disgrace to humanity.”  I have an agenda: I want people to vote. Of course, I want everyone to vote Democratic down the line on November 6, 2012 but more importantly, I want EVERYONE to wake-up and get their butts to the voting booths and let’s see what shakes out. It should be about what the majority wants.

Getting back to the dream: Before I woke up completely, I continued to dream about Lisa. I dreamed about writing this blog. A strong feeling overcame me and I felt like for some reason, even if only for me, I needed write about the fact I felt love for a person who in my waking hours offends me. It’s not that I think it will make any real difference or that all of a sudden, everyone will come together in love but maybe it’s just an exercise in compassion and an opportunity to not bitch about what ‘the other side’ is doing.

I’m sure as my lovey-dovey morning fog wears off and the caffeine kicks in, I’ll be back to reading her posts with my jaw on the floor and a complete sense of disgust. Before that happens, I just want to immerse in the idea that underneath it all, we all just want to be loved and happy. Maybe if Lisa were happier, she would see things differently. I don’t know. I DO care. And I hope the U.S. is able to overcome all that divides us. I believe with some real effort, we can —and with a second term for Obama and a Democratic majority in Congress, we will. (Ha ha – had to get that in there!!!)

 

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Have A Dating Story - I Want It For A Book

 
I’m collecting new stories on dating for a book. I want them to be from both men and women. You can be credited, use first name only or be anonymous .
 
IMPORTANT – All submissions MUST contain this release. Copy and paste it into an email (No word docs). Emails only. Stories that don’t have the release included in the email will not be used.
 
I agree to release all rights to ARK Stories and understand that the stories may be used in whole or in part for the purposes of publication, promotion and/or distribution in any manner. I understand there is no compensation for my story and that if published, my story will be anonymous unless otherwise specified.
 
Send your completed submission to: nsots68@gmail.com
 
I am looking for entertaining stories. They can be funny, shocking, sad, really romantic, weird, unbelievable, horrible but most of all they must be entertaining. Anything goes. For instance, a story you would share at dinner with friends. It can be a first date, a last date or any kind of date. BE DETAILED! Details are the most important part. I am accepting both hetero and homosexual dating stories. In fact, any sexual orientation. No one is excluded.
 
 
No word count. The most interesting stories will be chosen. You may also submit more than one story but please send them separately.
 
 
So send them in. Share this with your friends and thank you.
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rave Reviews of CRAZY (A Thriller)



Crazy? You Bet!
by Jodi Ann Hanson


Retired actress Ann Werner has found her niche in writing psychological thrillers. With `CRAZY' her third fiction novel, Ann delves into the dark mind of a killer creating a tense storyline that has her reader afraid to turn the page for fear of the next gruesome scene.

Emily Simonson is on the road to fame. Once a struggling actress, she cast aside her hopes of being a starlet for the tools of a chef, becoming a rising star in the ranks of celebrity chefs. With a bestselling cookbook, a successful restaurant, kitchen store and appearances on morning television shows, Emily has the world by its tail; or at least she thinks so. Amongst her world of adoring fans she has developed an enemy; a crazed stalker hell-bent on taking away Emily's fame and her life no matter the cost.

When Emily receives a letter in the mail she opens the envelope to find a sheet of paper with the word `Bitch' cut out from magazines little does she realize that moment will be the last time she doesn't have to look over her shoulder wondering if she is going to wind up dead. That's the moment when the game of cat-and-mouse was started by the stalker.

When want-to-be starlets that closely resemble Emily begin being murdered and the graphic images sent to Emily and television stations, she is forced to acquiesce to the police and hire a team of bodyguards for protection. The police need to find the killer before he/she can get to Emily and enact the horrific murder they have promised.

With Emily Simonson, Ann Werner has created a character any reader can love and relate to. The fear that consumes Emily leaps off the page pulling the heartstrings of her readers making them want to protect her from harm. Ann nails the mad dialogue between the killer and `guardian' as they two conspire inside the killers mind giving the reader a glimpse of just how depraved that mind is.
The book could easily have been written as the typical slasher type horror, but Ann gives just enough gory detail to keep that from happening. What Ann has ended up with is a thriller that will keep her readers glued to the pages to see what happens next.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves to be dragged by the heels into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse. Whether you chose to root for the evil-doer or the victim you will enjoy the read.


Buy on Amazon: Kindle   Paperback

See all Amazon reviews HERE

Riveting and Intense
by E. Thomas Amazon.com


In the twilight world of post-dream Los Angeles, populated by failed actors and wannabe starlets, a serial killer stalks Emily Simonson. A rising culinary star, Emily is riding a wave of good breaks, from the success of her thriving restaurant to the publication of her best-selling cookbook to her increasing exposure on T.V.. Soon, though, she finds h...erself being harassed and tormented by threatening letters, grotesque packages, and worse. Who is doing this? And why?

CRAZY threads its suspense with claustrophobic and strangling tension, keeping the characters frantic even as it becomes apparent that the killer is among them. The escalation of atrocities only serves to heighten Emily's fear and loathing, which hits a fever pitch after the maniac starts targeting Emily's look-alikes. It stays there for page after riveting page until the final apocalyptic showdown.

I love the villain. Like the namesake book title, the villain is CRAZY. All the good stuff is here: voices in the head, psychotic self-centeredness, maniacal rationalizing, and even a touch of Satanism. The lockstep sequence of gruesome attacks is superbly paced, ramping up the dread in Emily's mind as she navigates their impact on her life.

CRAZY is more than just a cut-em-up. In addition to its obvious thriller/suspense designation, it's a little bit "literary", too. CRAZY, in true cross-genre fashion, combines the best elements of both. The author Ms. Werner, by dwelling on the effect of the maniac upon Emily's relationships, paints a fully-realized and three-dimensional portrait of her heroine. Emily is a strong woman in an impossible situation. Her friends Chris and Phaedra, her associates Monica and Gina, her watchmen Detective Walker and the hunky bodyguard Trevor, and everyone else in her life is of dubious influence. No one is above suspicion, but there are no easy discoveries. In true Hitchcockian fashion, CRAZY thus creates a powerful drama for the slasher crowd.

I thoroughly enjoyed CRAZY, and I am looking forward to Ms. Werner's next opus.



Buy on Amazon: Kindle  Paperback

See all Amazon reviews HERE

Friday, July 27, 2012

An Open Letter To The Women Of The GOP From A Liberal Woman About The War On Women


***WARNING: This post contains very, very strong language.


THE WAR ON WOMEN


The majority of GOP women say The War On Women is a liberal distraction. It isn’t real. They like to paint liberals as self-admitted whiny victims and maintain this “war” against us is a manufactured one. I will illustrate how this war is real and debunk the myth that liberal women look the other way when liberal men call any woman a name.

Rush Limbaugh launched a nine-hour attack on Sandra Fluke, calling her a slut and a prostitute and demanded to see her sex video. He lied and said she stood before Congress and complained that she was having so much sex she could no longer afford birth control and wanted it to be free.

The truth is that Ms. Fluke stood before Congress and addressed them politely and eloquently, and made the case that birth control should be available on all insurance plans. She made the point that it isn’t available through her current insurance provider. Rush Limbaugh LIED and passed it off as news, fully expecting his audience to believe what he was saying was truth. Not a joke or satire.


When GOP women talk about Limbaugh, they are quick to call out liberal women and say that we have said nothing about Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a cunt. Or David Letterman referring to Sarah Palin as slutty and (making a bad, bad joke) that one of the Palin daughters was "knocked-up by Alex Rodriguez" at a Yankee game. Ed Schultz called Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.” And last, Larry Flynt’s publication, Hustler, created the depiction of conservative, S.E. Cupp, in a mock-up photo to look as if she had a penis in her mouth.


GOP women – you are dead wrong when you declare liberal women have said nothing. I have. You can read what I said about all of it in this post. Additionally, I have tweeted to Maher and Schultz, expressing my disappointment with their choice of words.


There is a glaring difference though. These men who painted derogatory pictures of women by using shaming words were name-calling. Unlike Limbaugh, they did not spend nine hours lying about what any of these women did. There is a difference. Limbaugh has an audience that believes what he says is news and accepts it as truth. Letterman and Maher are comedians and everyone understands that they are not passing themselves off as newscasters.

That said, I don’t believe men should ever refer to any woman, no matter her political affiliation, as a cunt or a slut. These words are shameful and specifically geared toward taking away a woman’s credibility because of her gender. I appreciate the right to free speech but personally, I would prefer men, especially smart, prominent men, to refrain from using that language when referring to women. Why? Because it does no one any good.

White men, so far, have had a free pass on this kind of shaming epithet. If you wish to insult a white man, what do you call him? An asshole, a douchebag, a motherfucker? Of course there’s plenty more but none of these words hold the same, specific, incendiary connotation. Conversely, if you wish to use words to shame other groups, well, they exist and here are a few:

African-Americans – Nigger, Coon
Mexicans – Wetback, Beaner
Gay men - Faggot
Jews – Hymie, Heeb, Kike
Women – Slut, Cunt

These words are used only for shame and it’s wrong for anyone to refer to another individual this way. So your argument that liberal women stay silent about liberal men calling women names is a crock and let’s please move on to what the real issue is.


As a woman who champions women’s rights—including the women of the GOP—I will continue to do what I can with the platform I have to make sure we are all treated fairly.

Here are some questions I pose to conservative women:

Do you believe you should make the same money as your male counterpart is paid for doing the same job? If so, what do you have to say about the fact that every single Senate Republican blocked the Equal Pay Act? Seriously, you’re okay with that? If you are, why? What if your daughter gets a job in a company that pays more to a man doing the same work as she does? Do you think that’s fair? Did you know that when a woman makes less over her lifetime, she also sees less in her Social Security checks when she retires? Is that okay with you? And if so, why?


Do you think that pharmacists should have the right to deny you birth control based on their personal opinions? In Kansas, pharmacists have that right.


How many of you conservative women are single moms? Would you want the government to penalize you, calling your marital status a “contributing factor to child abuse and neglect?” Well, Republican Senator Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin introduced a bill that would criminalize single mothers. Do you agree with this? If you do, I’d like to hear why.


Now here’s one that may incite some anger but Ladies of the GOP who identify yourself as pro-life, please, please tell me how this can be? In Arizona, a doctor has the legal right to withhold life-threatening medical information from a pregnant woman, in case she may—may—be considering an abortion. So, basically she may DIE. The fetus may also DIE and the doctor doesn’t have to tell her in case she MAY want an abortion. Now I get that you are against abortion. But how can you be against it so much that you’d be willing to let a woman and/or her baby DIE in the name of a pro-life agenda? Can you understand that this is hypocrisy? How do you justify that? I would really like to know.

Every single one of these bills/laws was introduced by a Republican.

I would like to end this with an example.

A conservative, 35 year-old, married, pregnant woman with three children under the age of five finds out there is an 90% risk of her dying if she follows through with her pregnancy. If she dies, her unborn fetus would too. Her family would be without a mother. The father would be left to take over the responsibilities of both parents while grieving and explaining to his children that it was better that mommy died as a result of a dangerous pregnancy rather than have a safe, legal abortion and live. What would you do in this situation? What would you want your daughter to do in this situation? I can tell you right now, Rick Santorum’s wife who was faced with a similar problem, chose to induce labor, knowing the baby would die. She did not technically have an abortion. Here's an interesting point that Jezebel makes: "Santorum's even against abortion if there were no hope of the fetus surviving to full term, or even if the woman carrying the fetus risked death doing so. Karen Santorum would have died if the fetus were not removed, and labor was induced and not halted knowing that the fetus would not survive. How is this not technically "abortion?" In Santorum's world, it would probably qualify as infanticide."

Of course, once it was over, she and her husband wanted to make safe, legal abortions illegal, even when the mother and/or the baby are facing death.  You can also read this article in examiner.com about the choice the Santorums made. "Numerous sources report Santorum’s wife Karen had a second trimester abortion in October 1996. The Santorum’s, however, don’t like to describe it as an abortion. Instead, they call it a medically induced miscarriage. Yet for many, this is a distinction without a difference."

I am leaving the comments open and anyone may post a reply. I expect some angry responses, even some hate—all of which I will leave for everyone to see. If you choose to rebut this post with a hateful response, your true colors will be on display. I will not argue with replies that do not directly answer the questions I posed. I ask these questions because I don’t understand how you can deny that all women in this country are under attack. Our rights are at stake and I promise to do what I can to help change that. Not just for liberal women but for ALL women.

Thank you for reading and I leave you with a great song from two very strong, beautiful women:

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves
“Now this is a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state
Mothers, daughters and their daughters too
Woman to woman we're singing with you
The inferior sex has got a new exterior
We got doctors, lawyers (Yes we do), politicians too.”