â€śBastardâ€ť is a word most often used as a pejorative when referring to a person â€“usually a male- with whom we disagree. Many people regard it as a â€śswear wordâ€ť. The dictionary defines bastard as â€śan illegitimate childâ€ť or â€śborn of unwed parentsâ€ť.
Of course, political correctness precludes our use of this word in reference to any child. I suspect the reasons why are that today 50 percent of women under 30 years of age who give birth are unmarried and two out of three children of color are born to single mothers regardless of age.
What called this to mind was the announcement that â€śThe Jersey Shoreâ€ť reality TV seriesâ€™ â€śSnookiâ€ť Polizzi is three months pregnant, presumably by her boyfriend Jionni LaValle. Actually, one need not look any farther than our own capital cityâ€™s mayor, Angel Tavares and his girlfriend, for an example of this â€śnew normalâ€ť.
Another example of the new normal is Stephanie Malek, 23, of Providence who was arrested recently and charged with child neglect of her daughters, ages 2, 3 and 4. These little girls were found on a mattress surrounded by dried feces in their motherâ€™s apartment. They were lice-infested and covered in bed bug bites. Clothing on one of the girls was so tight it had to be cut off at the hospital.
According to the stateâ€™s largest daily newspaper, Ms. Malek appeared in court â€śheavily pregnantâ€ť with the child of her current live-in boyfriend, 22-year old Johnathon Ramsdell, a convicted child molester.
She admitted to smoking crack cocaine and marijuana which means the baby in her womb is probably addicted to both. Family Court Judge Michael Forte ordered Malek released on bond despite concerns expressed by prosecutor Suzette Pintard.
Not so lucky is Mr. Ramsdell, who was sent to the ACI on probation violation and held on charges of molesting Ms. Malekâ€™s two older daughters.
I cannot help but wonder what feminists think about Ms. Malekâ€™s freedom to exercise her â€śreproductive rightsâ€ť.
Speaking of reproductive rights, the Democrats appear hopeful that contraception will be the issue this election that unites college-educated women behind their candidates, particularly President Obama who enjoyed their support in 2008.
Democrat congressional feminists trotted out a third year Georgetown Law School student, Sandra Fluke, to counter the testimony of five male witnesses the Republicans brought forward in the committee hearing about the proposed Obama administrationâ€™s regulation that requires church-affiliated institutions to provide birth control in health plans offered to its employees and, apparently, its students. (Georgetown is a Catholic Jesuit institution of higher learning.)
Miss Fluke claimed she had a friend who had an ovary removed because her insurance carrier would not pay for the contraception prescription needed to stop the growth of cysts. Thus, her argument supports the position advanced by Obamaâ€™s health secretary Kathleen Sebelius and others that contraception is â€śa womanâ€™s health issueâ€ť, not a moral one.
Fluke stated she was embarrassed when she went to a pharmacy and didnâ€™t have enough money to pay for her birth control. She said 40 percent of her female law school students were financially hard-pressed to pay for contraception. Note: it costs about $45,000 a year to attend Georgetown Law.
Miss Fluke testified that contraception can cost $3,000 over the course of her law school education. Talk show host Rush Limbaugh wondered in a crude way what this implied about her social life. This brought condemnation of Limbaugh by Congresswomen such as Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Barbara Boxer. President Obama even weighed in with a telephone call of support to Miss Fluke.
Seven of Limbaughâ€™s radio sponsors succumbed to pressure by feminist groups and pulled their ads. Mr. Limbaugh apologized â€“sort of- to Miss Fluke on his website. However, this may mark the end of â€śEl Rushboâ€™sâ€ť reign as king of the yakkers.
President Obama, on the other hand, declined to order one of his super-pacs to return the million dollar contribution by HBO comedian-commentator Bill Maher who has used a vulgar slang expression for a part of the female anatomy to refer several times to former Republican governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
The double standard is alive and well this campaign season.
n The United States spends more on its military-industrial complex than all of the countries with which we have alliances combined. The resultant lethality of the modern battlefield far surpasses that of previous wars.
For example, Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico has developed a â€śsmart bulletâ€ť that hits within eight inches of a target one mile away. Actually the bullet is a 4-inch by 1 1/2-inch dart fired from a smoothbore barrel.
Snipers say that the present capability of their optics far exceeds that of the ammunition available to them. The new dart has tiny fins and an optical sensor in its nose capable of making 30 adjustments a second while in flight as it follows a laser painted on its target.
The prototype dart travels at 2,400 feet per second â€“ over twice the speed of sound â€“ which means, as snipers say, â€śIf you try to run youâ€™ll just die tiredâ€ť. It also means youâ€™ll be hit before you hear the sound of the shot. Sandia is looking to commercial ammunition makers to develop a propellant that will increase the velocity to 3,000 fps.
Can you imagine what it will be like on a modern battlefield when helicopters and unmanned aircraft can hover a mile away and pick off enemy combatants one-by-one?
Developments like this mean no conventional force can stand up to the American military, which is why asymmetrical â€“or guerilla- warfare is what we face in places like Afghanistan, the Philippines, Columbia, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. The Obama administrationâ€™s emphasis on â€śspecial operationsâ€ť at the expense of conventional forces seems justified.
n There was a segment on last Sundayâ€™s â€ś60 Minutesâ€ť about â€ścyber-warfareâ€ť, a cause about which our Congressman Jim Langevin has been very vocal.
Evidently the United States, perhaps in cooperation with Israel, temporarily sabotaged Iranâ€™s nuclear program using a highly sophisticated malware computer program. Problem is, companies like Symantec that specialize in computer security were able to isolate the software and engineers have begun reverse engineering the programs.
This means the malware may be used against us to disable our power grid including nuclear reactors, water treatment plants, refineries and traffic control systems. One expert interviewed said a â€śPandoraâ€™s Boxâ€ť had been opened and implied that initiating this kind of warfare was a stupid decision by the Obama administration.
We shall see.
Richard August is a North Kingstown resident and a regular contributor to the Standard Times. His opinions are his own.