Maybe Some Inspirational Presidential Quotes Will Help. Although I Suppose That Depends on the President Being Quoted.

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“I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty five years of my life dedicated to its Service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the Mansions of rest.” ~George Washington

“I alone can fix it.” ~Donald Trump

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 “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ~George Washington

“Get him outta here! Don’t give him his coat! Keep his coat. Confiscate his coat. You know it’s about ten degrees below zero outside. No, you can keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks.” ~Donald Trump

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“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” ~James Madison

“It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” ~Donald Trump

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“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” ~Harry S. Truman

““Everything I’ve done virtually has been a tremendous success.” ~Donald Trump

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“If you treat people right they will treat you right… ninety percent of the time.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“You have to treat them like shit.” ~Donald Trump

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me.” ~Donald Trump

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“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.” ~Donald Trump

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 “Certainly in the next 50 years we shall see a woman president, perhaps sooner than you think. A woman can and should be able to do any political job that a man can do.” ~Richard M. Nixon

“And when [Hillary Clinton] walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.” ~Donald Trump

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“If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” ― James Madison

“That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack,” ~Donald Trump

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“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” ~Jimmy Carter

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” ~Donald Trump

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“It is not enough to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It must be put into the hands of those who will know how to strip its military casing and adapt it to the arts of peace.” ~Dwight D Eisenhower

“I would bomb the shit out of them.” ~Donald Trump

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“Piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.” ~Jimmy Carter

“You have to be wealthy in order to be great.” ~Donald Trump

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“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long [to kick out protesters] is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore.” ~Donald Trump

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“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.” ~Ronald Reagan

“I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” ~Donald Trump

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“Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all neighbors in a global community.” ~Jimmy Carter

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” ~Donald Trump

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“It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.” ~Barack Obama

“He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK?” ~Donald Trump

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“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

“Look at my African-American here!” ~Donald Trump

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“We must carry forward the work of the women who came before us and ensure our daughters have no limits on their dreams, no obstacle to their achievements and no remaining ceilings to shatter.” ~Barack Obama

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything. Grab them by the pussy, you can do anything.” ~Donald Trump

An open letter to Donald Trump fans

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Dear Donald Trump fans:

You guys – really?

OK, fine. I have to accept that there are people out there who honesty think that Donald Trump is a viable candidate for president. I have to accept that you are entitled to your opinion. But my god, people – your opinion is wrong.

When Trump first announced his candidacy, I thought it was funny. Of course, no one would accept Donald fucking Trump as a realistic choice. Of course they won’t. I mean…wait a minute – he’s LEADING? WHAT THE FUCK, AMERICA???

Do you really mean to tell me that you think that this man can realistically run a country without getting us into such a fucking mess that we can never recover? REALLY?

In the interest of fairness, I think the entire slew of republican candidates is a clown car, but let’s set politics aside. Because I don’t think that Trump supporters are motivated by politics. A smart friend of mine recently commented to me that the people who support him seem to be enamored by his personality (his “outspokenness” to be exact), rather than his political viewpoints and plans. This makes sense, because he really hasn’t exposed any political viewpoints or plans, unless you count ranting about being great and calling people losers is a good country-running plan.

So – it seems likely that that is exactly why Trump is getting and keeping supporters despite his increasingly crazypants, temper-tantrum, blowhard, Stillwell Angel behavior. So let’s talk a little about that.

To support a presidential candidate because of their personality, rather than their politics is insane. It’s worse than insane – it’s dangerous. Particularly when that personality is one like Trump’s. He is unkind. And hateful. And bigoted. And ignorant. And rude. And arrogant. And defensive. And downright mean.

Unkind, hateful, ignorant, rude, arrogant, defensive, mean leaders do not work in politics. Maybe in business, where you are willing to cut the jobs of thousands of people in order to increase your profits it works. You know, for YOU. Bu that kind of person as president will work for no one. We will end up losing valuable allies (the entire world hates him), losing money, losing wars. And hoo-boy, there will be wars. He will have us in conflict with every nation with weapons that have developed beyond rocks and sticks. In a nutshell, if Trump gets elected, WE ARE FUCKED.

But I get that a person’s personality does draw you in. Sometimes you can forget about their qualifications, because they’re just so gosh darn nice. But nice doesn’t run a country any more than mean does. So while I could understand how someone could be swayed by a particularly charismatic, yet inept, politician, let’s not forget that Trump is NOT charismatic. He’s terrible. He’s a terrible, horrible, no good , very bad person. And your support of him is forcing me to make assumption about the person that YOU are, Trump supporter.

This man regularly avoids answering question on anything, from his behavior to, you know – running the country – by resorting to attacking people’s appearance. He calls people losers. He calls them ugly. He calls them fat. He calls them dogs and slobs and bimbos. He retweets white supremacists.

He seems to have a particular hatred towards women. He attacks their looks most of all. He calls breastfeeding disgusting. He has implied that successful women become successful based on their looks alone. He makes derogatory comments about women’s bodies, their bodily functions. He makes period jokes. He likes to tweet, then delete when he’s called on it. He’s a big fan of saying ridiculous things like, “I won’t say that [insert person] is [insert insult], but…” which is the equivalent of “I’m not a racist but…”

He talks big about helping veterans, but new information was just revealed that virtually none of the donations he is begging “for veterans” is actually going to them, but into the deep pockets of his “foundation.” And let’s be honest – he shouldn’t be asking for donations – he’s a billionaire – if he wants to give, he has plenty.

He is a big, fat mouth with no brain attached. He is basically the opposite of everything we teach our kids to be. The opposite of everything we learned in kindergarten. The actual, literal OPPOSITE.

This man has said- and I quote- “I could shoot someone and not lose supporters” and guess what? He’s right! And that right there is why I am writing to you. I know there has to be some tiny little sense of decency in you – you can’t be totally comfortable with this behavior. Because if you are, I (and a lot of others) and going to be making assumptions about you. I know assuming = Ass+U+Me, etc, but until you give me a reason why you are supporting Trump other than his “outspokenness,” I am going to assume that by “outspokenness,” you mean, “willingness to say terrible, bigoted, racist, misogynistic things out loud as if they were true and/or it was OK to say them.” I am going to assume that you like this about him because you ALSO want to say terrible, bigoted, racist, misogynistic things. And I am going to assume you want to say those things because you are a terrible, bigoted, racist misogynist. I think I am justified in these assumptions.

If you claim to support him because of his politics, I am just going to laugh and laugh, because he doesn’t have any. Until he started this nonsense about running for president (which, for him, is a big game. He’s rich and he’s tired of golf. So he’s playing out a whom and the entire country is at stake). Until he decided to make the entire world his fucking monopoly board, he has repeatedly praised Obama, both Clintons, and many other democratic leaders. He has said repeatedly over the years that he is a democrat (or his views are democrat). He has said that he is pro-choice. He has said a lot of things that are the opposite of what he is spewing now. But the world is his stage now and he’s putting on his big, gross GOP costume and you are believing him. But do you really believe him? I don’t think so. I think you’re still stuck on his “outspokenness,” because there are other candidates whose politics match up with whatever you think (or claim to think) Trump’s are. And they have a hell of a lot more experience in politics than Trump does (which is NONE). Pick one of them.

I still won’t agree with your politics, but at least I’ll know you aren’t a hateful troll. So if you’re still supporting this man:

Shame on you.

Christopher M. Panatier

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I didn’t know Christopher M. Panatier. I had never even heard his name until I heard it read along with 2,965 others. And though I know I heard it read, I don’t know that I really even took notice of it. 2,966 is a lot of names. It’s especially a lot of names when we’re talking about people who lost their lives.

Christopher Panatier was 36 on that day. Ten years younger than I am now. Many, many years younger, I’m sure, than anyone ever imagined they would lose him. Christopher was a foreign currency trader for Cantor Fitzgerald. I imagine he left for work that day in the towers thinking the worst thing he would deal with was traffic, or irritable clients, or a busy day. Instead, he – along with almost 3,000 others, lost his life in the one of the worst tragedies we have seen in this country.

Christopher was a husband, a father, a son. He married his high school sweetheart, Carolyn, and they had two children, Annie and Christopher. His children were only 6 and 4 when they lost him. Too young to lose their father. Especially to lose him that way. Too young to even understand how something like that could happen. But really, there is no age, no amount of knowledge or wisdom that could ever make sense of what happened that day.

Everyone who talks about Christopher seems to mention what an amazing, adventurous, and funny man he was. People were drawn to him.

So even though I didn’t know Christopher, I am remembering him along with the other innocent victims of the September 11th 2001 attacks. He was a good man, a good husband, a good father, and a good friend. Because of that, his legacy lives on.

He will be remembered not only for how he died, but for how he lived.

This post is a part of Project 2,966. Go there to see more tributes.

Advice for the College Bound

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So many of my facebook friends (or their kids) are heading off to college in the next few weeks, and I feel the need to give you all some advice, from someone who has been on both sides:

1. Let your parents be a little crazy when they drop you off. Sure, they’re embarrassing, but they love you. You’ll be in their shoes someday and only then will you really understand. Until then, just smile and accept it. It will be over quickly.

2. Find your passion. Being able to make a living doing what you love is pretty rare, but if there were ever a time to try, it is now. Sometimes we randomly decide at age 5 want we want to be a doctor (or an engineer or a lawyer), and then we head off to college and discover that literature (or theatre or art or education) makes our heart sing. Don’t worry too much about your future paycheck, worry about your future happiness. THAT is what will make you rich. Take your chances (or make your mistakes) when you are young. Both are much harder when you’re older.

3. Whether you live on or off campus, get involved. Don’t rush home every night or weekend – make friends, find activities, groups, clubs, etc. Grow.

4. Study. I’m not saying you have to tie yourself to your desk and never venture out, but I promise you that you will regret it if you screw up this opportunity. Maybe not for a long time, but you will. Even if you got straight As in high school without even trying. In fact – ESPECIALLY if you got straight As in high school without even trying. College is a whole new ballgame. There will be another party tomorrow and the next day and the next day for the next four years. You can miss this one.

5. That said – have fun! You won’t have opportunities like this again in your life, so seize them when you can.

6. Everything in moderation. Your parents aren’t stupid. We know there are parties and lots of things you probably shouldn’t be doing. We also know that you will probably do them. Be safe, and don’t let the partying become the #1 thing. Consider the consequences of your actions.

7. CONDOMS. Get the giggling out of your system now, because I am serious about this one – CONDOMS! This goes for you too, ladies – even if you are on other methods of birth control – CONDOMS! Do not even consider for a minute having sex of any type without protection. There is too much at stake. So get your ass to the drug store and buy some right now. If you are embarrassed, then you aren’t mature enough to be having sex anyway. But if you must, get a friend to buy them, get your parent, your older sibling, your aunt, me – I’ll buy them for you, for Pete’s sake! But you MUST use condoms.

8. No means no.

9. Form your own opinions about Greek life. If you are interested in a fraternity or sorority don’t listen to anyone who tells you that they are stuck up, or stereotypical, or that you are “paying for friends” (someone told that one to my 11 year old). There is good and bad in everything, and if you think you would enjoy it, go for it. I was in a sorority in college and I loved it. That said, if you AREN’T interested, don’t let anyone push you into it. You’ll be fine without it.

10. Listen to your parents and professors. We aren’t always right, but we do know a thing or two. I know you are at the age of thinking you know everything and that we old folks are out of touch, but I promise you, we know a few things. Listen. I’m not saying obey, necessarily, but LISTEN.

11. Eat healthy food as often as you can. I love pizza and fried everything, so you have my sympathy here. I know you can walk into dining halls and restaurants and get all the carb-y, batter dipped, deep fried, sugarcoated deliciousness your heart desires. But I am begging you – eat some (non-fried, non-cheese-coated) vegetables.

12. Coffee is not a substitute for sleep.

13. Be frugal. Your parents are paying a lot of money for you to have this opportunity. You yourself may have student loans that you will be paying for many years to come. We want you to have everything you need, but believe me – it’s expensive. Maybe not each individual thing, but all of it together? EX-PEN-SIVE. So if we give you money, don’t blow it all on $7 coffees, then call home because you need money for school supplies.

14. When in doubt, wash it on cold.

15. Don’t be a total slob. And believe me – no one in the world would call me “neat,” so I understand. But you have to live with another person, and it’s best for everyone if you are considerate.

16. If you need help, ask for it. If you are struggling in a class, or socially, or emotionally, ask for help. Your professors, your parents, your advisors all want you to succeed and be happy. Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you feel like you are having problems, or not keeping up with your classes, ask for help NOW. Particularly when it comes to classes – your professors will be far more likely to sympathize and be helpful now than a week before the end of the term.

17. If you see someone else struggling, help them.

18. Read something other than what is required by your professors.

19. Register to vote, follow current events, watch the news, read the paper, and when it’s time, vote. Your voice matters.

20. Don’t plagiarize. Not even a sentence. It’s a stupid thing to do and your professors WILL find out.

21. And finally – this one is very important: CALL YOUR MOM! She misses you.

That Time I Finally Understood Where My Mother Was Coming From (#372)

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I remember a day WAAAAAAY back when – probably around 1979 or 1980 – when I was finally allowed to walk around Kennywood by myself with friends. It was an exciting day. I went with a friend who was a family friend – our parents had been friends since childhood, so we had known each other pretty much since birth and despite her being a year younger (huge to a child), we were good friends.

I believe her parents took us and set us loose. My parents were coming later, after work. We made our way around the park, and ended up meeting up with some of HER friends (I knew them all, but we didn’t hang out, or really have a relationship). It started off OK, but there was an odd number of us now, and before long, it was me who was being forced to ride alone (or not at all in the case of the 2-riders-or-none rides like the Thunderbolt). And eventually, somehow (I don’t really remember how it happened), they dumped me.

A few hours before, I felt so grown up, walking around this seeming huge place without an adult! But now? Now I was scared. I was surrounded by strangers and I had been abandoned by my lifelong friend. I was embarrassed, as if it were somehow MY fault that they had left me. I don’t remember how long I walked around that park like that. It seemed like an eternity, but it was probably about an hour or two before I saw my parents running towards me. They had spotted me walking alone and crying, and it scared them to death.

I remember that my parents spent the rest of the night riding every vomit-inducing ride the park had, just to try and make me feel better. And in the end, the night finished with me becoming best friends with the girl who still holds that spot in my heart (an awesome story for another day), so it all worked out, I suppose. But not for my mom. She was PISSED. I don’t know if she ever said anything to my friend’s parents, or just let it go, but I remember how very, VERY pissed she was.

And she stayed pissed. Even though I forgave my friend, my mother did not. She never trusted her again, never suggested that I invite her over, pretty much never liked her at all after that. I used to roll my eyes when she’d make a comment. Even many years later – as an adult – if I mentioned this friend, she would say, “I always remember how she left you in Kennywood.” And even as an adult, I would roll my eyes and say, “It’s FINE, Mom! It was years ago! It was no big deal – nothing bad happened!” But now I’m a mom, too, and I understand that something bad DID happen – her baby was hurt. And moms have a hard time forgetting when someone hurts their baby.

Recently, one of the girl’s friends said something extremely unkind about her. It really hurt her feelings (and if I’m being honest, it hurt mine a little, too). She didn’t say it to her face, but someone who heard it told her. And when the friend heard that she knew, she walked up to her, said, “I know you know what I said.” And walked away. No explanation, no apology, nothing. At some point in the next day or two, the girl forgave her friend (which is the right thing to do, of course), but now I get it. I get where my mom was coming from. The friend changed her story at some point, claiming she never said it – that the girl who relayed it made it up, but I don’t believe that based on her reaction when it happened. And like my mom, I will never forget. I will continue to be cordial, but I have no inclination to invite this girl over, or to extend any other sort of invitation. I’m glad that my daughter is kind and is continuing to be friendly, but like my mom, I can’t forget her face, her tears, her pain. And despite the fact that she looks and sounds exactly like me when she says, “It’s FINE, Mom!” I know that for me, it will never be fine.

And that’s OK – I’m the mom. It’s my job.

But she’s a MOM!

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OK, I‘m about to do something I never imagined I would do in my lifetime. I am going to defend Kim Kardashian. Before I do, I want to make it clear that I am not a fan. That is – I’m not a fan of the whole Kardashian “thing.” I’m not a fan of the “thing” in general. The Kardashian/Hilton/Honey BooBoo/fake reality show/famous-for-being-famous garbage.

Don’t get me wrong. I do watch competitive (non-celebrity) reality shows like Survivor and Amazing Race. It’s the ones like I just mentioned that drive me insane. The rich people do everyday things – isn’t it entertaining type. The let’s exploit little girls and parade them around like tiny hooker dolls type. The redneck idiot ‘murrica type. The catfights and the ignorance and the hook-ups and the paparazzi – they all make me want to scream.

So you’d think any chance I have to jump all over Kim Kardashian I would. And when she poses fully nude & oiled up for a magazine and blasts it all over the internet, it seems like the perfect opportunity. But I’m sorry, I won’t be doing it.

I’m just not one to get all het up about this stuff. I personally don’t care who poses for whom, wearing or not wearing clothes. Kim Kardashian can paint herself purple, shave her head, and ride a buffalo naked, and pose for all the photos she wants. I don’t care. Do I want to see the photos? Probably not. Does that mean that no one should see or want to see them? Definitely not. The solution is simple. If I don’t want to see them, I won’t look at them. And before you go on about how they are popping up in facebook feeds whether you want them or not – so what? It’s the human body – we all have one. The photos aren’t porn. She’s not shoving anything into an orifice. She’s not breaking any laws. You see similar images (though maybe not that butt-shelf trick) in any museum. I’m not saying it’s the same as Manet’s “Olympia” or Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” but anyone who is familiar with the work of Gustav Klimt (or even better Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”) knows that even fine art can be erotic (and sometimes bizarrely erotic). So right off the bat, what I am saying is that I am not bothered by nude photos as long as they are taken knowingly and willingly, and everyone is an adult. My only caveat is that people be careful with what could get out there and be seen. Clearly that isn’t a problem for Ms. Kardashian, since she tweeted the shit out of her photos.

I’m less bothered by her photos (you could effectively describe my attitude as “Have no shits to give”) than I am about people’s reactions to her photos. One reaction in particular:

“She’s a mom!”

I have seen comments and posts and tweets galore raging about Kim’s nude photos and the majority of the people who are up in arms about it seem to be so solely because she’s a mom. Which makes me want to ask one important question:

Why are the rules different for moms?

If you are opposed to nude photos – fine, whatever. If you are OK with nude photos as long as the subject has no children – Um…what? Why? If a woman is beautiful/sexy/erotic/sensual, etc, she doesn’t stop being those things just because she has given birth. She doesn’t stop being a woman, and she certainly doesn’t stop being a person. If we’re going to play the mom card here, why don’t we say that moms shouldn’t skydive, or bungee jump, or swim on the ocean, or…the most dangerous activity of all drive/ride in a car? Those are dangerous things. You can be hurt or killed, and if you were, your kids would suffer.

That’s the argument that is being used regarding these photos – her poor child will have to grow up knowing those photos are out there! The horror! To that I say, “so what?” Chances are that because YOU are appalled by it, your kids would be appalled by it. But those same chances tell me that a woman who feels entirely comfortable with baring all and sharing it with the world (whether it is for art or porn or – in this case, most likely – total fame-whoredom) – is going to raise her child with the same attitude – that it is no big deal (that it is art/that it is natural/that it’s an easy way to get more fame and money). Regardless of their opinions on the matter, her kid will care far less than you do. Also – not your kid, o stop worrying. That child will grow up with plenty to east, a roof over her head, and more luxuries than you or I could even imagine. As long as she is not being physically abused or neglected –it’s not your business or mine.

Kids may tease her about it someday. When she’s 11, one of her male classmates may pull out the photos and show to his friends. Maybe she’ll be embarrassed. But every one of us knows that an absence of these photos is no guarantee of an absence of teasing or bullying or embarrassment. The may tease her because she short. Or tall. Or for the way she pronounces her Rs. Or because he dad is a jerk. Or because she didn’t know the answer to a question in class. Or because she drank from the water fountain on the right and today all the cool kids are drinking from the left. If there is one constant ion life, it is that kids are assholes. And she’ll be embarrassed of her parents – nude photos or not. ALL kids are. We make stupid jokes. We pull out baby photos. We sing loudly (and badly). We drive them to school in our jammies. We kiss them in front of their friends.

So in the grand scheme of things, these photos are a drop in the bucket. It seems to me that the people crying mom are simply trying to force their own sense of morality onto someone else and justifying it by saying they are just thinking of the children. If you’re worried about children, worry about your own. Or the millions of others without enough food, or a home, or medical care.

In fact, if you’re worried about the kids? Here’s a great place to go and help some:

xmas

It’s a far better use of your time and energy.