A lesson I learned from my garden

by CynthiaYockey on June 1, 2014

My newly planted heirloom tomatoes in a raised bed garden: Brandywine, Sudduth's strain; Brandywine, Liam's strain; Orange Russian 117; Dr. Wyche's Yellow; and Marianna's Peace.

My newly planted heirloom tomatoes: Brandywine, Sudduth’s strain; Brandywine, Liam’s strain; Orange Russian 117; Dr. Wyche’s Yellow; and Marianna’s Peace. The plants were in the red cups, which were labeled with each plant’s name.

“Life sort of unfolds, and certain things, which you can’t plan, reveal themselves at the right time.” Goldie Hawn

I love to grow heirloom tomatoes from seed because it’s a thrill to see the little plants burst out of the soil while it’s still grey and freezing outside. Plus, growing from seed gives you the largest selection of tomato varieties. I usually spend many happy hours in January perusing my favorite seed websites and tomato growers’ forum to select the varieties I want to grow.

But this winter was harsh and instead I whiled away the hours shoveling snow. I felt depressed and hopeless about planting any seeds because I didn’t see how I would cover the expense of getting the soil ready. However, I had promised my neighbor I would grow some seeds for her so I had to do it. Then I felt depressed and hopeless because I didn’t get around to ordering my seeds until March and didn’t plant them until March 27. I figured that meant I might not have seedlings mature enough to plant and hardened off until the end of May: just in time for our area, if I were lucky. But I still didn’t see how I could afford new potting mix for the half of my garden that grows in containers.

When you can’t see your goal, it’s hard to move forward. But I could see the next step, and then the next, and the next, and day-by-day I kept going, frightened and depressed as I was. If it was too expensive to do the right soil preparation for the containers to grow tomatoes, then I would grow basil and marigolds in them. At least I would grow eight tomato plants in the raised bed garden I share with with neighbor and deliver the plants I’d promised.

Then last week luck and inspiration opened the way for me to have room for all the varieties of tomatoes I was growing. The luck: my neighbor got me a load of compost for only $35, enough for my containers, raised bed garden and the patch where I grow Yellow Doll watermelons for the sweet Jehovah’s Witness who has been visiting our family for about the last 20 years. Then the inspiration: shades of Norman Borlaug and organic(ish) methods be damned, I own Miracle Gro! If I deep root water my containers every time with a dilute solution of Miracle Gro, my tomatoes will thrive in the potting mix I have supplemented with a bit of the new compost.

Eureka!

So the lesson is that there’s only so much you can plan ahead in some situations. But if you have a goal and just get started and keep doing each day’s tasks to make progress, then you give luck, inspiration and helpful people a chance to help you attain it.

So I am jumping back into blogging. It has been difficult to write because my father is 98 now and I have to be more vigilant and spend more time sitting with him to keep him feeling cheerful. I also have to cook almost everything for him from scratch due to his low-sodium diet. I can’t work at my desktop computer while I’m doing those things. I need a computer I can carry around so I can watch the stove or sit with my father and write. I need a laptop. And I’m in a catch-22 trying to earn the money to buy it myself because I can’t get to my desktop computer to do the work that would make me the money to buy the laptop.

I mentioned my dilemma to a wise friend, who pointed out that if I resume writing for my blog and don’t ask for donations, I’m stopping the flow of love. Face palm! She reminded me that I feel good when I can help people and that I ought not deny the people who do feel kindly toward me and want hear more of what I have to say the chance to feel good by making it possible for me to write more. A laptop could get me about 15-20 more hours of productivity, writing-wise, per week. It would give me the chance to build a career that would enable me to support myself when my father is gone. I don’t have any savings due to long-standing health challenges, which my doctors considered hopeless. However, thanks to reader donations, which gave me access to the tools and medical care I needed over the last four years, it looks like I’ve resolved them and I’m finally healthy enough to work. Obtaining a laptop is the next step.

So if you feel kindly toward me, it’s affordable for you and it would uplift you, I will be very grateful for your donation to my laptop fund. I will send donors a link to a members-only newsfeed site I’m developing as a thank-you gift. It’s in a rudimentary stage now, but when I have the laptop and can work regularly, I look forward to making it something convenient and useful for people who love having a bird’s eye view of the top headlines of leading blogs and news sites in a variety of subject areas.





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The Verizon SureResponse device in its wrist strap holder on my dad's wrist, next to a combination lockbox. The combination is usually shielded by a shutter that goes up to hide it.

The Verizon SureResponse device in its wrist strap holder on my dad’s wrist, next to a combination lockbox. The combination is usually shielded by a shutter that goes up to hide it.

A couple of weeks ago I was at my local Verizon Wireless store and spotted their SureResponse personal emergency response system for $19.99 with a two-year contract (or $229.95 without a contract), plus a $35 activation fee. I told the sales rep helping me that I needed it for my 97-year-old father and if she could reduce my cell phone bill enough for me to afford the $30/month cost of the SureResponse service, I would buy it. Thanks to newly introduced calling and data plans, plus a loyalty discount for long-time customers and dropping my VZ Navigator subscription, she was able to shave about $25/month off my bill while upgrading me to unlimited calls and texts, which did the trick.

Usually I do exhaustive research on a product this expensive and crucial for my father’s well-being before making the purchase. This time I didn’t and I was surprised to find when I Googled for reviews after I got home that the reviewers were generally furious with Verizon Wireless over the SureResponse. However, the next day at my dad’s regular check-up with his geriatrician, the nurse said that a lot of their patients have SureResponse and really like it, so I decided to give it a chance.

I had a week to return the SureResponse for a full refund if I brought it back in a condition where it could be sold again as new, or for a $35 re-stocking fee if I took it out and played with it. So I left everything in the box while I spent a few days doing my research. The alternatives I considered were the Great Call 5Star Urgent Response and the Philips Lifeline.

The features of the Philips Lifeline that were the most attractive to me were its automatic detection of falls with 95 percent accuracy, which triggers a call to its help center, and that you can cancel any time with 30 days’ notice. However, you have to stay in range of a base station and the monthly cost is about $40. So I ruled it out.

I found a lot to recommend the Great Call 5Star Urgent Response:

  • You can buy them at Walmart for about $50 or on Amazon for about $35* with free shipping.
  • Activation costs $35, or $25 if you do it online. So the total cost of acquiring and activating it can be as low as $60 before sales taxes.
  • The service costs $14.99 per month (plus tax) and you can cancel any time.
  • The device is attractively designed and comes in silver or black.
  • It has GPS and works both in your house and when you are out and about, wherever there is service by Verizon Wireless, the network it uses. You can enter your zip code on their website to see if you are in one of their service areas (scroll down to the coverage map at the link above).
  • Your call time is unlimited and the agents are trained in CPR and certified by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. They support about 100 languages.
  • The call agents can conference in family and friends.
  • You also have 24/7 access to talk to a nurse in English or Spanish.
  • There’s even a smartphone app that makes the service available through the user’s smartphone. The app also can be used by authorized contacts such as spouses, children and caregivers to monitor your location and the level of charge in your device’s battery. This is handy for loved ones who are absent-minded about charging the device and/or prone to wander.

The 5Star is not only great for seniors and people with disabilities, but also children. If you have a child who is being bullied, this product may help because they can push a button and the call center or 911 will answer. That goes for adults, too — on Amazon, several reviewers reported that when they hit the call button while being mugged, the voice of the call responder frightened off their assailants. (Pressing the call button for five seconds bypasses the 5Star call center and sends the call straight to 911.)

The biggest knock on the 5Star is that it is not water resistant and the warranty can be voided by taking it into a bathroom. For people who are worried about falling in the shower, that’s a deal breaker. However, an alternative would be to take a cordless phone into the bathroom with you instead when you bathe and put it near the tub in a spot you could reach it if you fell. Frankly, that’s a smart idea for everyone.

Ultimately I decided to keep the Verizon SureResponse as the best fit for our needs. Here’s why:

  1. It is the safest one for my dad to wear. There are three ways to wear the SureResponse: on a lanyard around your neck, a belt clip or on a wrist strap. My father has a pacemaker and the FDA advises against having a cell phone within six inches of pacemakers, so he can’t wear a device on a lanyard around his neck. Arthritis has limited his dexterity, so he can’t wear a device on a belt clip. While I think the design of the SureResponse wrist strap can be improved, it’s the safest way for my father to wear a personal emergency response device. Plus, when it’s on his wrist, if he ever needs it, just seeing it will remind him it’s there for him — he won’t have to remember he has it. Remembering you have a device that gets you help is harder than you think when you’re stunned from a fall, or you’re about to black out, so that’s a big deal.
  2. Now I can call my father when I’m out of the house. When you set up the device online, you can designate a list of authorized caregivers and specify which ones are allowed to call the person using the device. Non-emergency calls to and from the device are called “convenience calling.” The monthly fee includes unlimited emergency calls and 60 minutes of convenience calls (with additional minutes billed at 45 cents per minute). All calls go through the SureResponse Call Center. That means that the device user can ask the Call Center operator to place a call for them, such as to a relative, doctor or store, and the operator patches it through. It also means that authorized caregivers can call the Call Center and get patched through to the device user, since the device is a small cell phone. Since only authorized caregivers have permission to get through, this protects the wearer from predatory sales calls and phone scammers, who particularly target the elderly.**
  3. The speaker on the device has a volume control button and excellent sound, which my father can hear and understand, despite being hard of hearing.
  4. The SureResponse works in and out of the house, wherever there is Verizon Wireless service.
  5. The SureResponse device is water-resistant. Verizon says you can wear it in the shower, although you cannot submerge it in water. I wouldn’t push it, but this gives it an edge over the 5Star.
  6. You don’t have to remove the device from the wrist strap (or lanyard) to charge it. You do have to take it off the belt clip to charge it, but you don’t have to remove it from the plastic holder. This is great for people with limited manual dexterity.
  7. I don’t care that SureResponse doesn’t take any medical information about you at all and doesn’t have nurses on call. When I created my father’s SureResponse online profile, in the box for special directions to the house, I put the information on where to find our ER go bag, which has copies of my dad’s healthcare power-of-attorney; a list of his diagnoses, medications and doctors; and photocopies of his insurance cards. I suggest putting information like this in page protectors in a small three-ring binder, with colored tabs to separate them, and keeping it in your own ER go bag.

By the way, another piece of the puzzle for ensuring a loved one can get emergency help is making sure that no one has to break down your front door to determine if he or she is OK. A pricey option, if you have a smartphone, is to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and swap out your locks for ones that can be operated via your smartphone. One flaw in that plan is that people have to be able to get through to you to unlock the door remotely. However, for $30 you can buy a lockbox that opens with a combination, which you can change at any time. There are models that lock onto round doorknobs (but not lever ones), or which you can screw into a wall. You also have the option of buying the lockbox and hiding it wherever you want — just put the instructions on where to find it, along with the combination, in your SureResponse profile online in the box for special directions to your home.

You also have to let your authorized caregivers know where to find the lockbox and give them the combination. Since the SureResponse operators have no way to verify their identity over the phone, if you don’t give your authorized caregivers that information, the operator will have to call the police to the home to verify their identity before giving the police officer the combination. One option for helping your authorized caregivers keep the combination handy is to buy an inkjet-printable magnetic sheet at Staples or Office Depot and write the information they need on it so they can put it on their refrigerator.

I did have some frustrations in getting started with the SureResponse:

  • When I first charged the device, after a few hours I expected it to say, “Fully charged,” but even after 24 hours it never did. Tech support suggested two reasons for that: (1), it hadn’t been registered yet, so it kept searching to connect with the system, or (2), the signal reaching the charging base was weak, so the phone was constantly searching for a signal. It was probably the former since it now tells me when it is fully charged. Either way, if it’s constantly searching, it won’t be able to get to a 100 percent charge, but when you see four bars for the charge, you may consider it fully charged.
  • You get two charging stations with the device. The instructions say you need to plug the main charging station into a landline jack. But you don’t. When the product was designed, Verizon planned to deliver software upgrades and whatnot to the device via a landline. Then they decided to do it wirelessly, but not change the design of the product or the instructions or put any kind of notice in the box at all that it doesn’t need to be connected to a landline. Sigh. Just put the main charger in a place in your home where it will get a strong wireless signal. I put the main charger near a front window and the travel charger at my father’s bedside, so he can take the device off at night, charge it and still have it handy. (Since your loved one may get up in the night to get up to go to the bathroom and be in too much of a hurry to put the device on, it’s a good idea to keep a cordless phone in the bathroom at night.)
  • When I was going through the online process of registering the device I got caught in an infinite loop because the process was set up for the purchaser and caregiver to be two different persons and it wanted two different e-mail addresses for those roles, but was too coy to say so. Eventually, the tech support available by phone got me through the process.
  • When I first put the device into its holder on the wrist strap, the two pieces of the lock when flying. I’m not rough with equipment, so I was astonished. I called customer service. They were very pleasant and said it was under warranty and they’d send another wrist strap out right away, I’ll just have to return the old one in the box the replacement comes in. Since you don’t have to take the device out of its holder to charge it and therefore don’t have to use the lock every day, I can live with that. I also cut a small strip of duct tape and put it over the spot where the lock was and onto the device on both sides to hold it in place because belt and suspenders.

The bottom line is that the Verizon SureResponse is a worthy product and suits our needs. I like how our SureResponse test calls have been handled. SureResponse has been on the market for two years now and I expect it to get even better when Verizon stops treating it like a redheaded stepchild. I also hope to see Verizon double the number of convenience call minutes for the same price.

*This is an affiliate link. If you buy this or any other product from Amazon after clicking this link, I will receive a small commission at no extra expense to you and I will be very grateful.

**If you have gullible and/or compliant people in your home whom you want to protect from phone scammers, another option of the Verizon FiOS telephone service is a “Do Not Disturb” feature. It is supposed to allow you to fill in online up to 10 phone numbers that are permitted to ring through, while all others go straight to voicemail. However, there’s no place on the web page for the “Do Not Disturb” service to fill in any phone numbers. Oops. When they fix that, “Do Not Disturb” plus “Incoming Call Block,” which allows you to block all anonymous calls, will prevent phone scammers from getting through to your vulnerable loved ones.




If this post was helpful to you, please donate any amount you can. This week I am seeking donations to attend CPAC from March 6 to 8. Donations after that will go toward buying a laptop so I can work while minding the stove when I cook or while sitting with my father to monitor him and keep him company. Thank you for your generosity!

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A tulip poplar is rotted at its base and has broken and fallen onto a red oak tree.

I explain the photo of these trees in our backyard at the end of this post.

I have been providing longterm and end-of-life care to my loved ones for most of the last 29 years, since my late life partner moved in with me in September 1984. (She died of complications of multiple sclerosis in December 2004.) I took care of my mother when she was dying in 2006 and shortly afterwards moved back home to provide end-of-life care for my father, who is now 97, due in large part to my mad skillz in fending off the angel of death.

But a lot of my success in getting a better and longer life for my loved ones depends on getting good doctors and sticking with them. Sometimes when you are forced to change doctors, you luck out and get one who spots something your usual doctor missed. But more often, switching doctors means important details are overlooked, test results get ignored or misunderstood and important information gets left out of your health history in the new doctor’s records. And good luck if you need pain medication before your new doctor trusts you.

I lost my ability to work for the last nine years because I moved in 2002 and had to change doctors. In 2003 my old doctor had dropped my thyroid dose by 80 percent to try to deal with my chronic racing, irregular heart rate. By early 2004, because my new doctor ignored my TSH level showing my thyroid dose was too low, I had developed a rare sleep disorder, idiopathic hypersomnia. Treatment in 2003 of another sleep disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, cured my racing, irregular heartbeat. But the sleep doctor never bothered to rule out endocrine disorders before diagnosing the idiopathic hypersomnia. Over the ensuing years my primary care doctor blew off the blood test results showing my thyroid dose was too low until last July when I found a study about hypothyroidism and idiopathic hypersomnia on my own. It took from August 2012 to March 2013 to find the right thyroid dose again — by restoring the 80 percent dropped in 2003 when my endocrinologist took me off Cytomel.

People who are well can change their doctors because they don’t need much care. But the practice of medicine is an art as well as a science. Medicine is not a production line and doctors are not interchangeable parts. It is even more important that your doctors know you very well and trust you than it is for you to know and trust your doctors. A doctor who knows and trusts you will tell you more than one who doesn’t. Just as important, that doctor will give you more options. That’s because doctors are influenced by their knowledge of your life and personality when they choose medications and treatments for you. It’s not all science. For example, when my father was dying of congestive heart failure in 2008 at age 92, his cardiologist of 11 years told me the only reason he recommended a pacemaker for my dad was that he knew my father had a book contract with Cambridge University Press and wasn’t just watching TV and waiting to die. Without that pacemaker, my father had only a few weeks or months to live.

In the spring of 2013 my father celebrated his sixth year with his geriatrician. I asked the doctor if he had any other patient in his 90′s who had gotten better since starting treatment with him. He said my dad’s the only one. And then he said that because he has gotten to know my father very well, he takes any complaint from my father very seriously because he’s learned my dad won’t say a thing until he’s at the pain level most people call “kill me now.”

People with chronic illnesses, or complicated healthcare needs, are going to die because Obamacare forced them out of their relationships with their current doctors. That’s because a wealth of information that can never be put into a chart will be lost and they don’t have the time and resilience to start over with new ones. Conservative groups opposed to Obamacare would be smart to collect their stories and not let them die in vain.

Dear Stacy McCain has a great video of Sarah Palin, whom I adore, schooling Matt Lauer on Obamacare this morning. It was clear he did not have the remotest comprehension of her description of Republican proposals for “free market, patient-centered” healthcare reform that would improve both the quality of care and access to care.

Dear Instapundit’s USA Today column discusses Forbes columnist Avik Roy’s new book, How Medicaid Fails the Poor. Dear Moe Lane is mordently gleeful that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R, Calif.) has subpoenaed White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park to appear before them for questioning: warm up your schadenfreude.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit calls the smaller doctor and hospital networks of Obamacare policies “the unexploded landmine in the Obamacare rollout.” His post is a response to Democratic Party chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz claiming that once people can sign up for Obamacare they will love it so much that Democrats will be able to run on it.

Bookworm links an old post of hers explaining Obama’s “you can keep your health plan/doctor” lie as a manifestation of his narcissism. It is on the money and quite brilliant. It was Obama’s lies about his pastor and mentor Rev. Wright in 2008 that irrevocably turned me against him even before I became a conservative. Here’s an example of one of my first posts to this blog explaining Obama’s sociopathy, “The Chilling Explanation of Why Obama is Cool.”

Update, 11/25/13: Linda Szugyi at DaTechGuy has a three-phase plan for healthcare reform that is worth reading. Phase Two involves gathering and publicizing the stories of people whose lives are damaged or ended by Obamacare. Liberals have been trying to take the stink of Obamacare off Obama by claiming that Katrina was worse for Bush by comparison. Sadly, this is going to prove to be false by at least one or two orders of magnitude. The Katrina death toll is an estimated 1,833 persons. The Obamacare death toll easily will prove to be 10 or 100 times that — 18,000 to 180,000 — simply due to the dangers of forcing millions of people with complex medical conditions to change doctors and try to cope with their challenges with a smaller network of physicians and hospitals. Only healthy people can get away with that unscathed.




If you enjoyed this post and it is comfortable for you, I would really appreciate your donation. I have to raise $675 by Nov. 18 to cut down the broken tulip poplar tree and the oak it fell on in our backyard shown in the photo above. It potentially could fall on the house of one neighbor and the property of another, who is an attorney. On Friday I received the lawsuit the attorney intends to file for damages of at least $25,000, plus his fees, if I don’t get the tree cut down. This month through other enterprises I’ve earned about half the money, but I still need to raise $675. I have an arborist scheduled to cut the trees down, depending on the weather, the week of Nov. 18-22. The neighbors have agreed not to sue if the work is done that week. Now that I’ve regained my health, I have to get on my feet financially and returning to regular blogging is part of my plan, so I’m not just showing up to bleg. Thank you.

Update: I just received a donation for $25, so now the amount I need to raise is $650. I am very grateful.

Update, 11/13/13: Thanks to another generous donation, my target is now $615. And I’m still grateful.

Update, 11/16/13: I’m grateful for another donation and my target is now $590.

Update, 11/25/13: Thanks to a generous donation on Friday, my target is now $560. The broken tulip poplar and the lightning-damaged red oak it fell on were safely taken down on Thursday. However, I still have to fundraise to meet my target to pay off the money I had to borrow to make the full payment to the arborist.

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Obama with feet on desk in Oval Office

In a tribute to the Obama administration, Redskins team owner Daniel Snyder announced today he is changing the team’s name to the most powerful force for destruction in the twenty-first century: Washington Corruption.

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder announced today he is bowing to pressure from Pres. Obama and Native American activists and is changing his football team’s name to the Washington Corruption. The new symbol of the team will be the White House and the team’s mascot will be a caricature version of Obama.

Fans may show their team spirit by donning Obama masks or painting each half of their faces with the team’s colors so they are symbolically two-faced to honor the team’s spirit. The new team colors are black and white to symbolize both the racial tolerance symbolized by Pres. Obama’s biracial heritage and the dichotomous or black-and-white thinking required for demonizing opponents while idealizing the team and all its allies until the team’s progress requires them to be thrown under the bus.

“Sports teams founded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries,” Snyder told reporters, “derived their names from their uniforms, like the Boston Red Sox, or from an animal or people widely respected for their fighting spirit and feared by their foes. Based on the number of amateur and professional sports teams named for Native Americans, like the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks, no other people has more tributes to its courage and ability to intimidate its opponents than Native Americans.

“However, since vocal groups of Native Americans no longer wish to be associated with those qualities, which inspire so much admiration and respect, I began to consider the idea of keeping the Native American theme, but updating it to the twenty-first century. I asked myself, what are Native Americans most known for today? However, I decided the team’s new name must be more universally frightening than the Washington Usurers, the Washington Casinos, or the Washington Welfares.

“But then Pres. Obama weighed in with his advice and I considered the devastating impact he has had on the U.S. and world economies, from the stimulus bill that allocated money to ZIP codes and Congressional districts that didn’t exist, to billions down the drain for his green energy cronies and Obamacare exemptions by fiat for Congress and thousands of his powerful friends. I realized that White House corruption embodies what people should fear most in the twenty-first century and that no one personifies government corruption more completely than Pres. Obama.

“That is why the new name I have chosen for the Washington Redskins is the Washington Corruption. Our team symbol will be the White House because no other American institution is more rife with corruption. And because nothing will characterize Obama’s place in U.S. history more than the corruption of his administration, a caricature of Obama is my team’s new mascot.”





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Peter and Linda Lou Davis, of Resume Speed, Texas, circa 2003. Linda Lou passed away on June 26, 2013.

Peter and Linda Lou Davis, of Resume Speed, Texas, circa 2003. Linda Lou passed away on June 26, 2013.

[If you can't see the donation widget raising money to help Peter Davis, click here.]

My friend and favorite commenter, Peter Davis, of Shakey Pete’s Shootin’ Shack, lost his wife, Linda Lou on June 26 to pneumonia and MRSA. Over the last few years, Linda Lou had struggled with injuries from falls, broken bones, recovering from knee replacement surgery and infections, until infections finally claimed her life.

I hope my dear gentle readers will read their story below and donate to Peter by clicking the GoFundMe button above. The donation goal is $1500 with the hope that if he doesn’t need it to cover the costs of Linda Lou’s final care and cremation, or the skyrocketing costs of his own prescriptions, that he can use it to buy a much-needed new computer to stay in touch with family and friends. It’s not easy for Peter to do that by phone because he is hard of hearing, what with all those decades of shooting firearms. I’m hoping that for all the years of service to his country and in law enforcement protecting strangers, that strangers will thank him with a donation to express their gratitude and help him heal from his loss. (I have set up this GoFundMe account especially for Peter and all the proceeds will go to him.)

Peter is a Viet Nam war veteran and Texas sheriff’s deputy retired on disability and coping with Parkinson’s disease. Peter loves German shepherds — police dogs — and Linda Lou loved pugs, so they had both, until May, when Peter had to find a new home for his beloved Cochise Apache Princess because she was getting to be a bit much to handle with his Parkinson’s. Peter is left with Bingo T. Pug (formerly known as Lt. Commander Fatboy).

I lost my own life partner of over 20 years on Dec. 7, 2004, to complications of multiple sclerosis. So, for Peter, and everyone who is facing the loss of a spouse, or who is newly bereaved, here are a few things you may need to know about how to survive the loss of your spouse:

  1. No matter how much time you had to prepare for the loss of your spouse, you will feel like every nerve in your body has been torn when it finally happens. No one can tell you how long the feeling of being ripped and raw will last. Crying helps. So does laughing with loved ones about the good times you had. Sometimes the crying and laughing go together. Don’t expect to have a lot of energy — you are recovering from a wound.

2. Rescue Remedy, a Bach Flower Remedy, is a homeopathic remedy that soothes the shock and pain of grief. The liquid form is preserved in brandy, but it also is available in non-alcoholic currant-flavored pastilles. (I mailed four tins of the pastilles to Peter and he’s enjoying them.)

3. The second hardest time of the day is when you remember your loss as you are falling asleep.

4. The hardest time of the day is when you wake up. That’s because it is likely to be several months before you wake up remembering your spouse is gone. Until then, you will wake up thinking he or she is still there, and then you will remember and be bereaved all over again.

5. It is normal to be absolutely furious with your spouse for dying and leaving you. This is because the loss hurts, and for a lot of us, pain triggers anger. (Note to married persons putting off getting that lump/cough/mole/chest pain checked: your widows/widowers will be the angriest of all.)

6. It also is normal to be overwhelmed with guilt, especially if you were angry and/or frustrated with your spouse for not doing enough to prevent his or her own illness and death. This one is a good reason to see a bereavement counselor for at least a few sessions. People who were indeed neglectful don’t often feel guilty about it. But bereaved spouses who did their best and now are second-guessing themselves to shreds will benefit from the specifics about dying and bereavement that really good bereavement counselors can provide.

If that’s not affordable, then try writing a letter to your departed loved one using the love letter technique, which I learned from John Gray, of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus fame, before he was famous. Write one paragraph expressing each of the following emotions: anger; sorrow/hurt; fear; guilt/remorse; love, clarity, understanding, forgiveness, release, gratitude, happiness and/or joy. There’s a good example here, but do NOT follow that author’s advice to write a page for each of the five emotional states because most people get too tired to finish. If you don’t get to the final section of love and clarity, you will stay stuck in the negative emotions, so don’t clean house, instead, peel the onion. If you don’t clear everything with one letter, write another one. Just be aware that your healing process has its own schedule, which can’t be rushed, and you will heal quicker if you are patient with yourself.

7. There is no such thing as closure. Ignore people who think there is.

8. The loss of someone you love will always hurt. It hurts the most when it is new because then it fills your entire horizon. But if you let life carry you on, gradually, in a natural way, the loss becomes a part of your horizon, but not all of it. It will hurt whenever you put your attention on your loss, but most of the time, your mind and heart will be occupied in your present.

9. Wear your wedding ring as long as you want. The right time to take it off is when YOU are ready. (See “Monk” and “The Mentalist.”)

10. Peter reminds me at his blog that when anyone in recover hits a rough patch like the loss of a spouse, that’s the time to go to AA meetings again, if you’ve stopped, and even double up on going to meetings.

I asked Peter to tell me more about Linda Lou so I could write about her in this post, but I can’t do better than Peter’s reply:

Yes, I was Linda Lou’s third husband, she was my third wife. We met on Feb. 2, 1988, it was my turn to set up for the 6 PM [Alcoholics Anonymous] meeting. She showed up wearing clothes too light for the winter weather, homeless and about to lose her job at the Post Office, and you know how hard it is to lose a post office job. It’s kind of funny, the Employee Assistance guy at the P.O. was a casual sorta friend of mine, he told her to stay clear of me because I was (and am) a loner by nature and such men don’t stay sober. Linda Lou and I went to his funeral after he died of an OD.

Her elderly daddy had bought her a cheap motel room near her job and she was set to go into treatment, paid for by the USPS. We started dating shortly after Linda Lou got out of treatment. Not long after that she chased off the other women I was dating.

I was then sharing a house with another divorced guy, out of the edge of town. We called it Morality Manor.Well, what else would you call a house with two divorced guys? Linda Lou started spending nights once in a while, then weekends. So I gave her a drawer in my chesterdrawers, so she could have some clean underwear, and a little space in my closet.

It should have dawned on me that something was amiss when I noticed her new kitten was there, complete with litter box, but then, nobody ever accused me of being too bright. Then one morning I woke up and looked in my closet for something to wear and there was nothing there but her stuff. I stumbled out and got a cup of coffee and asked, “Ware my clothes?” The answer was something along the lines of, “You guys walk around in your underwear, so I moved your stuff in the hall closet.”

That’s when I knew I was in trouble. A few months later I was sitting around trying to read my newspaper and having my morning coffee when Linda Lou started in about how she’d feel better about herself if we were married and how her health insurance was so much better than mine and all those other advantages to being married. Well, I wanted to drink my coffee and read my paper so I said, “Yes, dear, anything you say.”

Well, she wanted to have a wedding anniversary that I couldn’t forget, so we got married on November 10, 1989, on the Marine Corps’ birthday.

We got married following the Friday night Birthday meeting in our old home [AA] group. As luck would have it that group met only a few blocks from where the Rolling Stones were having a big concert in the Cotton Bowl. So the preacher said, “I now pronounce you man and wife,” and ever since then I can’t get no satisfaction!

Linda loved to read. Some time shortly after we moved out here to Resume Speed, Texas, we discovered that the field mice kept invading our house. This was well after her cat went out and never came back, so Linda Lou went to the pet adoption at PetsMart to collect a cat to be a mouser. The cat scratched her, so, being Linda Lou, she brought home Bentley, who soon became Captain Fatbob, The Black Pug Of Doom. Thus began Linda Lou’s lifetime love of Pugs. I don’t think Linda Lou ever forgave me when Lieutenant Commander Fatboy (aka Bingo T. Pug) decided that he was my Pug.

Linda Lou was born in Topeka, Kansas. I, on the other hand, was born in northern California in a railroad town. My momma was an Okie, actually from Herrington, Kansas. She went out to California as a girl during the Dust Bowl. It is a family joke that I had to go clean to Texas to find a Kansas woman to marry.

Hope this helps, love, Peter

Peter wants me to add that Linda Lou was proud of staying clean and sober since her rehab in 1988. Linda Lou Davis was born on November 23, 1945, the daughter of Emit Elmer and Jesse Mae Henderson. She passed away on June 26, 2013, and in addition to Peter, she is survived by her sister, Martha Wilson, and her children from previous marriages: Andy Romero, Robin Corner, Michael Corner and Stephanie Rosnett. And, as Peter writes, Linda Lou was “Granny to nine hairy legged boys and two beautiful girls. Wife to a guy who never did deserve her.”

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With its decisions announced today striking down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and its two-fer decision that effectively struck down Prop 8 because the proponents in the appeal did not have standing to object to the district court’s 2010 ruling against Prop 8, the Supreme Court today declared that lesbians and gays are almost 30 percent human and endowed by their Creator with semi-alienable rights, the exact alienability of which they will decide in the future.

The good news for conservatives in the DOMA decision is that it just made gays and lesbians a gettable constituency for opposing death taxes — the federal ones, that is, and those in the 13 states plus the District of Columbia that allow marriage equality. That’s because the lawsuit was brought by Edie Windsor over the $368,000 federal estate taxes she had to pay after the death of her wife, thanks to DOMA, which DOMA-approved widows and widowers do not owe.

I’m calling the Prop 8 decision a two-fer because it let stand the district court’s ruling against Prop 8 (read Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision here, it’s very entertaining) but also as a standing ruling — a decision on who is allowed to challenge a lower court ruling — it was a decisive smackdown that will discourage others from this tactic for a good while.

Regarding Prop 8 and standing, Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog has a great explanation (read the whole thing for a plain English explanation of both the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions):

For a lawsuit to proceed in federal court, both sides must have (among other things) “standing” – a legal term for a real and specific injury that can be cured by a court decision in your favor. In this case, the two same-sex couples won in the federal trial court, and the state officials who would have otherwise enforced the law didn’t appeal that decision because they agreed that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. Only the sponsors of the initiative wanted to appeal – but the district court hadn’t ordered them to do (or not to do) anything, so they “had no ‘direct stake’ in the outcome of their appeal.” Simply disliking the law, the Court explained, is not enough to create “standing.” Nor does California law justify allowing the sponsors to participate in the case: California election laws don’t give them a special role in enforcing Proposition 8, and a ruling by the California Supreme Court that state law allowed the sponsors to appear in court on behalf of the state doesn’t help them here. The Supreme Court, it explained, “ha[s] never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to.” Thus, it continued, it “decline[d] to do so for the first time here.”

Soon after the Prop 8 decision was announced, California Governor Jerry Brown ordered all the state’s court clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the Ninth Circuit lifts its stay on the district court’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

By striking down section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage for federal purposes as being between a man and a woman, the Supreme Court gave same-sex couples married in states and countries that legally allow same-sex marriages access to the 1,138 and counting federal rights and privileges accorded to married couples. However, the decision did not address section 2 of DOMA, which was designed to thwart same-sex couples marrying in states that permit it and then having equality under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution everywhere else. So legally married lesbian and gay couples only have equality in 13 states and the District of Columbia and must cobble together assorted contracts, wills and powers-of-attorney to have anything remotely like the protections straight married couples have in all the other states.

Over at DoubleThink Online, dear gay libertarian Bruce Majors has the best summary I’ve ever read of the major arguments for and against marriage equality. I’m very honored that he writes I am the first to make one of them (read the whole thing):

But my favorite argument in the debate, and one of the newer ones, was elaborated by blogger Cynthia Yockey (A Conservative Lesbian) just a couple of years ago. Ms. Yockey notes that some churches (synagogues, etc.), like the gay oriented Protestant Metropolitan Community Churches, perform gay marriage. So if the government defines a church sacrament, marriage, to mean only one set of churches (and their sacraments) are recognized in the law, and other churches and their sacraments are not, the government has established a church (or set of churches) as approved State churches. This is a violation of the First Amendment. Ms. Yockey concludes that gay marriage must be legally recognized because of the First Amendment clause supporting freedom of religion and prohibiting the establishment of a state church.

While I wholly agree with Ms. Yockey, and take delight both in her original argument and in the fact that I am friends with someone who has produced an original argument, I also would like to emphasize my corollary to her argument: traditional marriage (at least state establishment of traditional marriage) also violates the First Amendment.

However, I must remind dear Bruce that the government does not establish religion by regulating the civil rights and responsibilities associated with marriage — 1,138 at the federal level and about 400-500 for each state and D.C., so over 21,000 altogether. Government regulation of the civil rights associated with marriage is the only thing that assures freedom of religion, another argument I am the first to make. When the government controls the civil rights associated with marriage, it ensures your right to change religions, or have no religion and still get married.

I’m also the first person to point out that the anti-gay religions funding and driving the opposition to marriage equality are after a much bigger prize than denying equality to lesbians and gays. To wit, the anti-gay churches have as their ultimate goal grabbing from government ALL the powers over married couples, both civil and religious, in order to gain virtually absolute control over their followers. For example, under the Catholic definition of marriage, Catholics cannot divorce. However, thanks to the government’s control of the civil rights of marriage, which levels the playing field regarding all religions, Catholics CAN divorce AND re-marry, and their church only gets to deny/stigmatize their subsequent marriage(s) but not preclude them.

The idea for this power grab must have come from the Mormon Church, which has three definitions of marriage (civil, celestial and plural). The Mormon celestial marriage can only occur between two Mormons with temple recommends, which are only accorded to Mormons whose church taxes (tithes) are paid up and who are obedient to every command and whim of the church hierarchy. The purported benefits of the celestial marriage hold great sway in the minds of Mormons. In contrast, what Mormons call a civil marriage is regarded as spiritually dead and is highly stigmatized. It is a second-class marriage. Likewise, the proposition that if gays are accorded marriage equality, they should only be allowed civil unions, which they cannot legally call “marriage,” is a deliberate effort to degrade same-sex marriages as spiritually dead, even though there are religions that celebrate same-sex marriages–the Metropolitan Community Church and both reform and conservative Judaism. (By the way, the Vedic literature of Hinduism holds that gays and lesbians are indeed born that way — see Parashara on Jyotish — and provides support for the belief that if you are born gay and try to be straight, you have committed the worst possible sin of falling off the path of your individual dharma.)

Returning to the benefits of the Court’s decision striking down section 3 of DOMA, same-sex married couples in our military and diplomatic corps need their marriages to be defined by the federal government to have the same rights accorded to straight married couples, such as death notice rights for spouses of soldiers, the right to military housing, the right to diplomatic housing and more. The Court’s decision should clear the way for this.

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Gov. Palin is right on Syria, let Allah sort them out

by CynthiaYockey on June 16, 2013

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made news yesterday addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C., when she said the following as reported by Breitbart.com:

Militarily, where is our commander-in-chief? We’re talking now more new interventions. I say until we know what we’re doing, until we have a commander-in-chief who knows what he’s doing, well, let these radical Islamic countries who aren’t even respecting basic human rights, where both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line, “Allah Akbar,” I say until we have someone who knows what they’re doing, I say let Allah sort it out.

In other speeches Gov. Palin wisely has pointed out that one of the most important factors in deciding whether to send American soldiers into another nation’s conflict is America’s own best interests. America’s interests are not served by interfering in Syria, regardless of the atrocities being committed there.

But the reason I’m writing this post is that there is a fascinating history to the phrase, “Let Allah sort them out,” which dates from July 22, 1209, when Pope Innocent III ordered the slaughter of a Christian sect called the Cathars because they rejected his authority:

De Montfort [commander of the army sent to kill the Cathars] demanded that the leaders of Beziers turn over the town’s Cathar heretics to him. They refused. The Crusaders attacked.

According to accounts written decades later, as the attack began, a soldier asked Amalric [the French Cistercian monk there as the Pope's representative] how they would be able to tell which Beziers townspeople were Catholics and which were Cathars.

Amalric supposedly answered (in French): “Kill them all. God will recognize his own.”

Some sources give the alleged quote as “Kill them all, for the Lord knows his own” or as “Kill them all. The Lord knows his own.”

It eventually came to be most commonly paraphrased as “Kill them all and let God sort them out.”

[snip]

Amalric’s infamous quotation was updated during the Vietnam War, when the saying “Kill ‘em all, let God sort ‘em out” became popular among American special forces troops.

This “witticism” was put on unofficial military patches, pins and t-shirts that are now sold as “collectibles” on eBay.

More recently, American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan updated the saying again in the form: “Kill ‘em all. Let Allah sort ‘em out.”

T-shirts with that variation are now being sold online by the SEAL Team Gear store.

The awful truth is that there will only be a semblance of peace in Syria when one side seeking absolute power has crushed the other side, which also is seeking absolute power. There is no advantage to America in interfering with this process because it would be like trying to stop an avalanche. The forces involved are too powerful to stop until they reach an angle of repose on their own. It also would be the Obama administration’s excuse for a flood of Syrian immigrants to the U.S.–immigrants whose religion requires them to kill or subjugate all unbelievers. Let Allah sort them out.

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Note: I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long and I’ve missed my dear gentle readers. I think I have my health issues sorted out now and will explain more about that, soon. Now that I am well enough to work, I am finally able to create a career that will generate the income required to pay off the debts and taxes for my father and me that accumulated as a result of my health challenges. I don’t entirely know yet exactly how I will do that. But I’m starting to see my way and this blog is part of my plan, so I can write again without worrying that I am blogging instead of making a financially self-sufficient life for myself. I also want to thank one of my faithful subscribers for his donation yesterday. I promised him in my thank-you e-mail that I would write a post. I’m several hours late, but I’m here.

Sorting through the current embarrassment of riches, scandal-wise, dear Prof. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection was the first to point out that Democrats are going be able to pass their illegal immigrant amnesty bill, aka “immigration reform,” because Republicans won’t focus on the one menace they actually could stop in its tracks with enough phone calls, e-mails and letters to Congress. (I can’t find the link so I used a more recent one!)

Ann Coulter made an eloquent speech at CPAC in which she pointed out that research shows Republicans are not going to win the Latino vote with amnesty because the majority of Latinos embrace the welfare state. Click here to see Ann’s interview with John Phillips on PJ Media’s Next Generation TV. (Sorry, there’s no code to allow me to embed it here.) About three-quarters of the way through, Phillips says something I’ve pointed out for years: Mexico, our chief supplier of illegal immigrants, is an oil-rich nation with lots of other natural resources and it ought to be a prosperous country.

In her column this week, which I recommend you read, Ann makes the case that amnesty is suicide for the Republican party and Latinos don’t want it:

Who convinced Republicans that Hispanic wages aren’t low enough and what they really need is an influx of low-wage workers competing for their jobs?

Maybe the greedy businessmen now running the Republican Party should talk with their Hispanic maids sometime. Ask Juanita if she’d like to have seven new immigrants competing with her for the opportunity to clean other people’s houses, so that her wages can be dropped from $20 an hour to $10 an hour.

A wise Latina, A.J. Delgado, recently explained on Mediaite.com why amnesty won’t win Republicans the Hispanic vote — even if they get credit for it. Her very first argument was: “Latinos will resent the added competition for jobs.”

But rich businessmen don’t care. Big Republican donors — and their campaign consultants — just want to make money. They don’t care about Hispanics, and they certainly don’t care what happens to the country. If the country is hurt, I don’t care, as long as I am doing better! This is the very definition of treason.

Hispanic voters are a small portion of the electorate. They don’t want amnesty, and they’re hopeless Democrats. So Republicans have decided the path to victory is to flood the country with lots more of them!

I think Ann is correct that the Republicans pushing for amnesty are driven either by greed for cheap labor, or greed for votes, or both. But I think there’s another factor no one else is mentioning that is wearing down the resistance to amnesty, which is the idea that is would be an enormous, expensive hassle and really, really mean. However, I have a cheap solution that will make illegal immigrants not only want to leave the U.S. immediately but also pay their own freaking way home. To wit, if property confiscation is a good enough weapon for the war on drugs, then it should be employed to secure our borders, too. How? By passing a law that whistleblowers who turn in illegal immigrants get to keep 60 percent of the value of their confiscated assets with the balance going to local law enforcement. Bank robbers do not get to keep their ill-gotten gains if they get a certain distance from the bank before they are apprehended. There’s no reason for illegals to get to keep theirs, either.

UPDATE, 6/28/13, Fri.: The Senate passed its immigration reform bill yesterday and at HotAir.com, Gang of Eight member Sen. John McCain finally got on Allahpundit’s last nerve with his 1,001st trashing of his own party (the links to polling expert Sean Trende indicated in the text below are clickable in the original and very much worth reading):

And that’s not the worst part [i.e., that McCain trashes the GOP]. The worst part is that he [McCain] continues to peddle the self-serving double-barreled lie that (a) the Latino vote sunk Republicans in the last two elections (it did not) and (b) that immigration is an insuperable obstacle to being more competitive among Latinos. The man you want to read on that is Sean Trende, who’s had three indispensable pieces about it published over the week or so. First, he reveals the real culprits in why Romney lost last year, namely, economic-populist white voters who supported Perot and now stay home because the GOP no longer really talks to them. Second, he reminds the GOP that immigration reform isn’t as simple as winning Latinos, it’s winning Latinos at the expense of losing some white — and black — voters who might otherwise consider the party. Has McCain, Graham, Rubio, or anyone else on the amnesty spirit squad ever once been asked to address the prospect of losing some votes too in passing this bill? Do they have the faintest idea of whether they’d lose more white/black votes than they’d gain among Latinos? Do they care? If we’re going to pass a terrible bill purely in the interests of helping ourselves electorally, it’d be nice to have some idea of whether passing it really will help us electorally.

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On ‘Being Gay at CPAC’ at National Review Online

by CynthiaYockey on March 16, 2013

Friday afternoon at CPAC I had a pleasant conversation with National Review Online fellow, Betsy Woodruff, who was trying to, as the headline says, sort out what it is like this year being gay at CPAC for a post at The Corner at NRO. I won’t keep you in suspense. It is a joy. I am re-connecting with blogger friends and others whom I love and respect. I’m in love with CPAC, just as I’ve been since my first one in 2009 when I had barely sat down at the very first panel I attended and panelist Andrew Klavan opined that conservatives really ought to do more outreach to gays and I astonished him by popping up and thanking him.

Chatting with Betsy, I talked a mile a minute and laid out a comprehensive analysis of why there are gays in the conservative movement, the Constitutional reasons why gays have an unalienable right to equality and why the progressive approach of advocating for gay equality by demanding people change their religious beliefs and emotions is wrong. Respectively:

  1. There are gays in the conservative movement because discrimination by our own families, religion and government forces gays to cope by becoming entrepreneurs in large numbers, to be self-reliant and also work together to create the businesses, services, organizations and charities the gay community needs. In other words, the gay community embodies fiscal conservatism in action. To exist, the gay community needs free enterprise and a small government that lets us keep the lion’s share of the fruits of our labors. That’s why there are gay conservatives and over a third of gays vote Republican.
  2. Unalienable rights, as Ted Olson points out, are not subject to majority rule, so federalism does not apply to them. The Constitutional protections of equality for gays are due process, equal protection, the Establishment clause, the right to free exercise of religion and the full faith and credit clause. To assert that the best path to equality for gays is any form of majority rule is identical to asserting that gays are subhuman, not created equal or endowed with unalienable rights. It also is identical to saying that religions are entitled to define various groups as unworthy of equality and then use civil law to disadvantage or even destroy them.
  3. Progressives are wrong to demand tolerance and denounce rhymes-with-late. People advocating for the liberty to love must also protect the liberty to rhymes-with-late and leave others be regarding their beliefs and emotions. The correct approach is the conservative one, which is concerned with limiting the coercive powers of government. This means that social conservatism has no business coveting the coercive powers of government to impose religious beliefs in civil law. It means that in a nation founded on the protection of religious liberty, social conservatives must be content with what they can accomplish in the marketplace of ideas using only the powers of persuasion. In the marketplace of ideas, they can believe anything and be as rhymes-with-lateful as they want.

I also told Betsy that our national political conversation now is one of dueling totalisms: the progressive serfdom of the all-controlling nanny state vs. the social conservatives’ ideal of an all-controlling theocracy. This explains the political homelessness of the fiscal conservative/social liberal, whose would-be leaders are barred from rising in either political party.

Oh, and I called social conservatives the architects of the Left because so many of its constituent groups are natural fiscal conservatives but social conservatives purged them on theocratic grounds. Progressives welcomed these groups but do not serve them unless they are useful in destroying free enterprise. Gays depend on free enterprise, which is why progressives use gays primarily as worker bees and cash cows and the only other places where gays are welcome on the Left is at the back of the bus or under it.

That is how I tore into social conservatives when I spoke with Betsy. But I did it entirely in conservative terms. I can’t stand the thought that conservatives reading her column will assume that I used progressive ideas to critique social conservatives. I did not. Ick.

However, regarding conservative gays being treated courteously by conservatives, I do say there is no such thing as a courteous way to tell gays they are unworthy of equality. It is indeed an intrinsically offensive statement to make and position to hold. (It’s worth noting I first said this to Mark Steyn when he was standing in for Rush Limbaugh in 2010 and he invited gay conservatives to call in and discuss how we were being treated by the tea party. I told him I’ve been treated very well by the tea party — except for that.)

This brings me to Betsy’s encapsulating the gay experience at CPAC 2013 as a place so genuinely inclusive of diversity that Rick Santorum and Cynthia Yockey are both there and greet one another pleasantly. Genius. It’s true. That is how CPAC and the conservative movement do diversity.

Technically, on Friday Sen. Santorum and I were only metaphorically face-to-face since he was about 15 feet away from where Betsy and I were sitting. I didn’t see him coming because I was facing Betsy and turned away from former Sen. Santorum as he walked past us with his entourage. Betsy kindly pointed him out, perhaps expecting an explosion since Sen. Santorum is the great Satan of gay progressives. Instead, I remained serene. That’s because the only limit I want imposed on Sen. Santorum concerns his ability to impose his religion on me through the coercive powers of the state.

(I actually have met Sen. Santorum because he had the wits and class to visit the Bloggers’ Lounge at CPAC 2010 or 2011 and my friend Stacy McCain introduced us, including the name of my blog. Sen. Santorum was pleasant and courteous and so was I.)

So, what is it like being gay at CPAC? More than ever, it’s a joy. The only true friends gays have are conservatives. We can settle our differences in Constitutional terms, which will be articulated by conservative attorney Ted Olson before the Supreme Court when he argues for marriage equality in the Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases before it on March 26 and 27.

As I told the gay Left in October 2011, equality for gays will come from the Right. The watershed moment for gay equality at CPAC came together in an organic way in the “Rainbow on the Right” seminar this year, thanks to ACU board member and Competitive Enterprise Institute founder, Fred L. Smith, Jr., who just thought it was the right thing to do.

This is my fifth CPAC and my fourth as an official CPAC blogger. I can attend CPAC thanks to generous donations of my dear conservative gentle readers. In fact, I’ve been able to haul myself back from the brink of death and have just recovered my health thanks to the donations of my dear conservative gentle readers. I fell in love with CPAC in 2009 and I am even more deeply in love with CPAC now. For me, that is what it is like being gay at CPAC.





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Rainbow on the Right at CPAC 2013

by CynthiaYockey on March 15, 2013

On Thursday evening at CPAC, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is a sponsor of CPAC, held a panel called Rainbow on the Right, which featured only conservatives who favor equality for gays. (!!!!!!!111!!!!111!!!) CEI founder, Fred L. Smith, Jr., told me in a phone conversation a few days ago that he sits on the American Conservative Union’s board and he was surprised this year that GOProud had not applied to be a sponsor. Since sponsors are allowed to have seminars on the topics of their own choosing with panel members of their own choosing, the idea just naturally came up at CEI that they ought to dedicate one of their seminars to the subject of gay equality and include GOProud co-founder Jimmy LaSalvia. The rest of the panel was comprised of Fred, Republican campaign strategist Liz Mair, Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, author and CNN political contributor Margaret Hoover and author, Fox News commentator and National Review Online editor-at-large, Jonah Goldberg.

I was very happy with all the speakers and the fact that most of the audience gave them enthusiastic applause. (I think the ones that didn’t were a mix of wary social conservatives and even warier progressives, mostly the latter, since there were plenty of progressive journalists attending, including two I recognized immediately, Mike Signorile and Sally Kohn.) The room wasn’t just standing room only, it was packed and I heard later that a number of people who wanted into the room just could not squeeze in.

So none of my dear gentle readers will be surprised that in the question and answer period I made several points that I make here frequently, which obviously astonished the progressive gay journalists (and probably some of the panel members). But I had learned something amazing and vitally important, which is that most of the arguments I’m making for gay equality are original and unique. That is, I’m the only one making them. There was really only one overlap of my ideas with Margaret Hoover’s and it’s because we both lifted it from conservative attorney, Ted Olson, who will be arguing in the Supreme Court March 26 and 27 respectively for the repeal of California’s Prop 8, which repealed marriage equality in that state, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. (DOMA was passed to thwart federalism and the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, thus revealing the reverence with which social conservatives observe federalism and the Constitution — you should totally read Elizabeth Birch’s takedown of Bill Clinton’s recent self-flattering revision of the history of why he signed it into law).

So the point that Margaret and I both lifted from Ted Olson is his research into decisions of the Supreme Court on marriage starting from 1888 include 14 ruling that marriage is a right. Unalienable rights are not subject to majority rule, therefore they are not delegated to the states. Neither fiscal nor social conservative commentators have bothered to read up on this, so it is going to be a bolt from the blue for them. Well, that and the tsunami of amicus briefs countering every objection to gay equality ever raised in gay equality cases.

But the most important thing I learned is that I am making unique arguments for gay equality. Without going into specifics, if I step lively before March 30, I can pull together a book proposal and have a shot at getting a literary agent. So I will put up as many posts as I can manage with the equipment I have during CPAC and the day after (Sunday), then I’m going to concentrate on that. While I’m doing that I will blog here as often as I can manage on the topic of overcoming blockers to one’s progress toward an objective, and of course, I doubt I’ll be able to resist commenting on the coverage of the Prop 8/DOMA cases.

P.S.

Props to Mike Signorile on interviewing me for his Sirius radio show after the panel and being reasonably fair. He said he would read this blog. I hope this opens up a dialog. The biggest problem that gay progressives have in arguing for equality is that they don’t know they don’t understand the principles and constituencies of the conservative movement with the result that they never address our concerns in ways we find persuasive. As an ex-liberal, I speak both Left and Right. I’d like a shot at explaining these things to him (after I’ve written the book proposal).

Also, Jimmy LaSalvia told me that GOProud did ask unofficially whether they would be allowed to sponsor CPAC this year and, although Jimmy didn’t say it quite this way, they were given to understand that GOProud was welcome to sponsor CPAC as soon as hell froze over, but not until. So they never officially applied. Instead they went about minding their own business. It’s 4:40 am now and I have to get up at 6 am, so as soon as I can, I’ll pick up the story of how the GOProud/CPAC story blew up in an entirely organic way, beginning with an opinion piece and a tweet.

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