Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Roe, Roe, Roe Your Vote

It’s a man’s world, like it or not. Even in countries with some of the best standard of living, such as my own United States of America, women rarely get an even break. Here in the States, men make more money in almost every career.  Factor in the unwanted advances of sexual harassment or worse that too many women experience and we’re looking at a rough working world for women in the USA. Consider also the general societal pressures placed upon women to dress and behave a certain way. What I really do not envy is how so many women are expected to be the producers and primary caretakers of children. Now we are really looking at some strenuous stuff that females in the United States have to contend with. So much is demanded of the ladies around us, that it is refreshing to see some justice offered to women which helps to assert their position as being equal citizens.

Today is the 45th anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s decisive ruling in Roe v. Wade. The Court determined by a 7-2 vote, that a woman could legal have and abortion in accordance with due process offered by the 14th Amendment, thereby striking down laws prohibiting abortion throughout the country. The landmark ruling still divides political and religious members today, but I believe that it is another critical victory for the betterment of women and society within the United States of America. just as the 19th Amendment finally granted women the right to vote in the US, Roe v. Wade secured a woman’s rights to her own body.

Roe v. Wade is widely known and referenced, but the initial court case that grew into a national ruling began as a much smaller affair in a state that frequently advertises how much bigger everything is there. In Dallas, Texas during the summer of 1969, a woman named Norma McCorvey was pregnant with her third child. She had endured a troubled childhood and young adult life which included her father leaving at a young age, her alcoholic mother beating her, another family member allegedly raping her, and her husband -whom she married at 16 – allegedly abusing her. Her first two children were already adopted out, but she did not want to have to carry and take care of another, so she sought an abortion. Problem was, abortions in Texas at the time were only legal in instances of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life was in danger, so at the advice of some friends, Norma falsely stated she had been raped. Since there was no police report of such a crime though, she was unable to legally procure an abortion. Thus, she set out to obtain an operation at an under-the-table establishment, but that door was also closed after it had been shut down by law enforcement. McCorvey would give birth to and adopt out her child, but not before she had begun working with attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee to sue the state to permit abortion. For anonymity, they changed her name to Jane Roe, and the suit was brought up to the Dallas County District Attorney, a man named Henry Wade who was tasked with representing the state of Texas.

About a year after Norma realized she was pregnant for the third time, a panel of North Texas judges declared that the state’s laws were unconstitutional and violated the 9th Amendment’s granted right to privacy. Spurred on by other similar cases around the country at the time, the case reached the US Supreme Court in December 1971, was reargued the following October, and then finally decided on January 22, 1973.

Ironically, McCorvey’s personal views on abortion changed drastically over time and she became a pro-life advocate for the Catholic Church. She died last year at the age of 69.

Ideally an abortion is not the go-to for avoiding having a child. I firmly believe that if you are not actively trying to have a baby then you should use some form of protection during sex. There is an immense variety of different items and medications for men and women that help to prevent pregnancy. Find the best for you and your partner based upon your needs and comfort, and revel in erotic euphoria all the live long day if you desire. Personally, I prefer the classic condom as it has remained simple and effective for centuries, and it fits within my philosophy that penises are like Christmas presents: they’re best when they’re wrapped.

Of course, there are scenarios when an abortion is necessary. In these instances, it is just that women have the right to exercise this option if they so choose. Furthermore, the ruling of Roe v. Wade grants the deserved authority of a woman over her own physical self, so while it may still be a man’s world, at least it is undeniably a woman’s body.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or suggestions at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Be sure to return here next week for the quarterly State of the Season recap.

You go girls,



The American Adams Family

Happy President’s Day! The highest executive office in the United States of America has been occupied by 44 men since 1789 and has seen some interesting scenarios over the course of two plus centuries. For example, Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms with Benjamin Harrison’s term sandwiched between them, so Cleveland is counted as both the 22nd and 24th president. Additionally, there is the Curse of Tippecanoe, also called Tecumseh’s Curse, that is the folksy title given to the grim coincidence that saw every president who was elected or reelected in a year that ended in zero die in office. The frightening trend began with William Henry Harrison and continued through John F. Kennedy, before ending with the failed assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan. This seemed to let George W. Bush off the hook, but there was actually an odd assassination attempt against his life back in 2006 (and no, I’m not talking about the pretzel). While in Georgia (the country), a man threw a grenade at President Bush and the Georgian President! Crazy!

Today, I am focusing on one of the unique relationships between a pair of presidents, and how these men have been portrayed in two of my favorite films based in American history. The presidents in the spotlight today are the second and sixth, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. In the case of many a political figure, president included, it has been said that so-and-so would have gotten nowhere without such-and-such, but in the case of the Adams’ it is absolutely true that John Quincy Adams would have gotten nowhere without John Adams. In fact, it is not even hyperbole to say that JQA would not even exist without JA for the plain and simple reason that he physically could not. Even if you are not from the US or slept through all your history classes, you can easily piece together that John Adams is the father of John Quincy Adams, but that is not where it ends, for you could just as easily say that John Adams is the father of America. Okay, that is starting to get into hyperbole, but John Adams is certainly one of the fathers of America, and he is frequently called such as he was one of the most prominent of Founding Fathers who helped to form this country from rebellious British colonies to the United States of America.

John Adams served as the first Vice President, aiding first President George Washington over the course of two terms, before taking up the task of Commander-in-Chief for himself. His attempt at reelection would be thwarted by his close friend Thomas Jefferson. Adams returned to his home in Massachusetts feeling more than a little sour about the whole thing, but eventually he and Jefferson got back in touch and were friendly for their final years. In fact, both men died on the same day, mere hours apart. Adams’ last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” a comfort to himself that the country still had one of its greatest leaders. Unfortunately, he was wrong as Jefferson preceded him in death, however short it may have been. The appropriate coincidences do not end there though, as the day both men died on was July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day the Declaration of Independence both men worked so hard to draft and ratify, was signed into effect.

If you’re looking for an entertaining film about the birth of America that features the efforts of Adams and Jefferson in uniting their compatriots in creating a new nation, than look no further than 1776 (1972). Originally a Broadway musical in 1969, the film retains its key actors, including William Daniels as John Adams (funnily enough, his first TV role was as John Quincy Adams!). Adams is the chief protagonist, and he is delightfully annoying to the other delegates in the first Continental Congress. Look, or I should say, listen no further than my favorite song from the show where Adams is trying to get someone to write the Declaration of Independence: “But, Mr. Adams”.

In addition to future Presidents Adams and Jefferson, the film showcases one of the greatest Founding Fathers who never sought that office, Benjamin Franklin, who in the film, as he did in life, often steals the show. Look, or, well yeah, look and listen no further than this scene where Adams is trying to win over a crucial vote for independence from Maryland:

We need a musical about that OGFF (Original Gangsta Founding Father). Hip-hop, rock and roll, you pick the genre, but I’m looking at you Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Now let’s look at the man John Adams actually fathered, John Quincy Adams. Where his father is best remembered for his actions prior to being president, Quincy Adams is best remembered for what he did after his presidency. He served for the final 17 years of his life in the US House of Representatives representing Massachusetts. He became an especially loud voice in the opposition of slavery, despite the derision he received from the South for it. His intellect and cleverness served him well when arguing against slavery, even when the there was a “gag rule” in place in the House that prevented the issue from being spoken about during proceedings. In 1836, Adams brought forth a petition from a man in Georgia (the state). In it, the man called for a “disunion” because the South was pro-slavery and the North was not. Essentially, this was the era of grumblings that 25 years later would escalate into civil war, and this Georgia man was not alone in wishing for a separation at the time. Many southern representatives shared these wishes for disunion, but Adams did not. He merely presented the letter as bait that his frustrated fellows would jump on. Quincy done triggered those fools. They took the bait and moved to censure the issue of disunion; Congress at the time was very much a “we’ll talk about this later” kind of place (kind of like today!). This move allowed Adams to offer his rebuttal where he was able to rail into the evils of slavery as much as he wanted without having to worry about the gag rule.

Five years later, Adams would get a chance to directly take a stand against slavery. While it may not have been a full on emancipation (that was still eight Presidents away), Adams was able to argue for the freedoms of illegally obtained slaves who revolted against their captors. The Africans broke free onboard the Spanish slave ship La Amistad and demanded to be returned to their homeland. During the day the ship, which had been near Cuba where it was going to sell the men and women, sailed east toward the sun and their native continent, but at night the crew turned north, and eventually the ship made landfall near New York. This nightly deception led to a series of convoluted court cases, but sense was made of it and the African men and women were granted freedom, until incumbent President Martin Van Buren pushed the case to the Supreme Court because of pressure from southern supporters. Van Buren was not a fan of slavery, and certainly neither was the senior Adams who did not seek to discuss slavery much during his time as president for the same reason Van Buren did not: they feared for conflict arising between North and South. I do not know if either anticipated the full-scale war that would eventually break out, but they were wary on the subject on the national scale. The younger Adams was not during his time as a representative, and when the Amistad case was brought before the Supreme Court, he spoke for four hours on behalf of the Africans who had been stolen from their homes. The court agreed with him and upheld the lower court rulings granting the Africans their freedom.

There is a great film made about the Amistad revolt and court cases called Amistad (1997). Directed by Steven Spielberg, it is often overlooked because of the success of his other films, especially similar themed films like Schindler’s List (1993) and The Color Purple (1985), not to mention he released Saving Private Ryan the next year. Amistad is more than worth a watch though, and Anthony Hopkins is terrific as John Quincy Adams. The movie is certainly played up for dramatic effect at times, including many of Adams’ scenes, but I love the depiction of him as a man who has always been in the shadow of his father, making the most of it while others around him laugh at how he can never measure up to him. The key moment for him is when he is speaking with Cinque, the leader of the Africans played by an equally great Djimon Hounsou, whose respect for Adams is as assured as his knowledge that his ancestors will be with him in his hour of need because he is “the whole reason they have existed at all.” Adams realizes that he too, like all others, is the greatest creation of his parents and those before them because he is the one carrying on their legacy now. He uses this insight in his speech to the Supreme Court, calling upon the Founding Fathers for advice, because “who we are is who we were.” His father may have helped create America, but it is up to John Quincy Adams and those residing in it in his day to continue improving it and make it the idyllic country the Founding Fathers laid the foundation for. For America is also a child of these men who made it, and they will always be invoked for help in guiding this nation in the right direction.

This is the American pursuit we all have a responsibility to strive for, for as grand as this country has been, it can always be better and we must always do what we can to protect the ideals that allow America to grant the freedom and justice that all on this Earth deserve.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy your President’s Day and that you’ll return here next week. Direct any questions or comments to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Stars and Stripes Forever,


Flags of our Freedom: Everybody Deserves Rights and Respect, Especially Sharks

It was only a matter of time, it was a long time coming, it was justice done for those now and in the future, it was justice done too late for some, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity – oh, sorry, that just happens sometimes when I get started like that. What I mean to convey is that the landmark decision delivered by the Supreme Court of the United States this past weekend regarding marriage equality for all, thereby granting same-sex couples the same marriage rights and opportunities as heterosexual couples, is one that was an eventuality but should have been official for many years prior to now. I can understand how the Founding Fathers didn’t work in a specific section on same-sex couples when they first drafted the Constitution, yet that was a different era and a long time ago. We have come to a greater understanding of the world we live on, the universe we live in, and the differences and similarities between us all since then. Brave people have been fighting this particular fight for equal rights for all for a long time with considerably fewer successes, and many did not live to see the change they so desired to come to fruition. Nonetheless, their lives’ work was not in vain, and I and many others am very happy with the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it certainly is better late than never, even if the supporters and dissenters sound like the plaintiff and defendant walking out of Judge Judy’s courtroom: “It was fair and just because I won,” “I don’t think it was fair at all because I lost the case. The lesson is never trust anyone.”

Another example of better late than never that is all the more incredible to me is the recent removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse in its capital Columbia. I understand that there are cultural differences between northern and southern states that go back to the days when America was still part of the British Empire, and I am aware that many residents of southern states like to proudly declare that they have been fighting “northern aggression” since 1861, but God damn it, why? Do you not understand the reason for that “northern aggression” from 1861-1865? Most people in the North weren’t fans of forcing people into servitude anymore and decided to take action to rid the country of slavery, a cause worth fighting for to ensure that all humans are granted their inherent human rights. The Confederate States of America was a thankfully short-lived attempt to create a new nation that not only condoned slavery but thrived off of it by splitting off half of a growing nation trying to better itself (which, admittedly, it did not always do well or without harming or occasionally destroying other cultures). What remains from the memory of the American Civil War is quite plentiful and varied from monuments and national landmarks to photographs and texts to not much of the original Atlanta, but the greatest lesson learned was the terrible impact of slavery and racial hate. This lesson seems not to have been learned by everyone though, as far too many still fly and revere the Confederate flag – which isn’t even the official flag of the former CSA (that’s this thing), but a flag flown by troops of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia that became more well known over time as the battle banner of the South.

That banner still declares battle, but finally it seems the tide is turning against it as people like myself are wondering how a symbol that is rooted in the most despicable part of American history is still featured predominantly and even on a government building. Well, not anymore at least.

Continuing with turmoil in the Carolinas, us humans (my apologies to any dogs, cats, robots, or any other non-humans reading) are not the only ones with basic rights that should be respected though. My favorite animals have been having some bad PR lately as six people have been bitten by sharks in the last three weeks with most occurring along North Carolina’s Outer Banks islands. This doesn’t have anything to do with the 40th anniversary of the release of Jaws though. Instead it is most likely that the number of beach-going humans getting into the water is increasing. Natural factors such as warmer water and bait fish coming in to popular swimming areas contribute to the number of sharks coming into contact with people increasing this year, but it is up to us to be mindful of them when we enter their domain. We may be going to the beach to enjoy some fun in the sun, but the sharks don’t know that. They’re thinking, “I gotta eat, I gotta hunt, I gotta…” well, you know. Sharks are wild animals and our fun in the sun locations are their natural habitats. They are attracted to many of our recreational activities because they are similar to the signs they have to look out for to get food, like playful splashing being like the panicked motions of an injured fish, or bait or chum in the water for fishing being like, well a shark’s natural food because it is. If you do go swimming in the ocean remember to stay in a group; keep close to shore if at all possible (you have more to worry about with riptides in the Outer Banks than sharks with this one); steer clear of where there is fishing going on or where you see smaller fish swimming around; don’t go in the water with an open wound (you have more to worry about from the sting of saltwater with this one); stay out of murky water; avoid swimming at early morning, evening, and night, and after it rains; and don’t wear anything shiny or colors that really stand out in the water like yellow or orange. Surfers, you know what you’re getting into better than I do, so hang loose out there. Rest assured, that your odds of having a bad encounter with a shark are extremely low. The International Shark Attack File kept by curator George Burgess at the Florida Museum of Natural History says the odds of being bitten by a shark is around 1 in 11.5 million. So don’t exactly wet your wetsuit just yet.

Thanks for reading! Be safe over the holiday weekend so that you can come back here next week and read more enthralling information. As usual, direct any comments or queries below or to monotrememadness@gmail.com. And remember to aim away from yourself and others and back away after lighting the fuse.

Have a happy (American) Independence Day,