Kansas votes to reject constitutional amendment to ban abortion

Kansas voters say NO to constitutional amendment that could ban abortion

On Tuesday, August 2, 2022, a ballot initiative was on the ballot in the state of Kansas, pushed by the Value Them Both Coalition, a Christian conservative collective that wants to ban abortion like so many other states with Republican majorities in their state legislatures, many with trigger bans in place, which became law, as soon as the ultra-conservative US Supreme Court overturned Roe Vs Wade.

I am happy to say that Kansas voted NO to the “value them both” constitutional amendment, and it was not even close, final results show an 18% gap between the YES and NO votes. Before the vote, I was concerned that Kansas would be too conservative, and the majority of voters would vote YES to the Kansas constitutional amendment that would pave the way for the GOP majority legislature to ban abortion.

I have to say that the NO campaign did an amazing job, sending out multiple mailers in the final weeks before the vote; we personally received a least a dozen mailers in our mailbox in the past month, compared to just one from the YES campaign. They had people knocking on doors, two people came to our front door, encouraging us to vote NO, and I saw plenty of adverts online across social media.

I think that the Republicans may have screwed up, forcing women to carry a fetus to term, by way of SCOTUS, taking away their bodily autonomy. With the success of the Kansas ballot initiative, I can see a lot of Democratic groups pushing state constitutional amendments to the ballot in states that have already passed abortion bans, many with no exception for rape, incest or the health of the mother.

I’m hoping this will also affect the midterm elections, with the SCOTUS Roe Vs Wade reversal motivating people to come out and vote, maybe for the first time ever. We know that Democrats and progressives outnumber conservatives significantly, but the right wing vote at higher percentages than the left.

With the Supreme Court decision stripping women of their rights to bodily autonomy, I am hopeful that the turnout in November will be high, with many more Democrats voting in the midterms. Literally, your rights are on the ballot, if abortion bans are allowed to stand, Obergefell (marriage equality), Griswold (contraceptives), and even Loving (interracial marriage) could all be on the line.

If the GOP regain control of the US Senate, you can bet the filibuster will be gone, and abortion will be banned federally, despite the SCOTUS state rights rheteric, they’ll uphold, or refuse to hear any challenge to a federal ban. SCOTUS is not nonpartisan, it’s 100% partisan, pushing their religious right agenda.

After a 3 hour drive, pain management refused to see us!

A 3 hour drive for a pain managment appointment, and they refused to see us.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how pain management in Wichita had failed my wife, being dropped from two pain management offices for her CBD use, despite being upfront and honest with them, they ignored her pleas for help, and requests for alternatives, as Hydrocodone was not managing her pain.

Anyway, Wichita, apparently only has two pain management offices that prescribe narcotics, our next nearest option was in Lawrence, Kansas, whom shall remain nameless for now. Not exactly ideal as it’s a 6-hour round trip drive from where we live in Wichita, but what other option do we have?

On Tuesday, I took a day off work to drive up to Lawrence, as I knew Erin was going to be in pain as she had reached the end of her supply of Hydrocodone. And, because of her negative experiences with Wichita pain management, I really didn’t want her to have to face that journey and office visit alone.

While we were on the road, the pain management office called and asked if we could arrive earlier, obviously, we could not, 3-hour drive and all, and the person on the phone confirmed a 1:45pm appointment. After being on the road for 2 hours, and 55 minutes, we arrive at their office in Lawrence, only to be told we were 42 minutes late, and that we cannot be seen today, leaving Erin up shit creek.

What is annoying is that this was clearly a miscommunication, and they were unwilling to bend a little after a patient drove 160 miles just for the appointment. They were not busy, there was literally one other person in the office. This indicates to me that this particular Lawrence doctor’s office will be just as uncaring as the Wichita doctor’s, people don’t drive for 3 hours unless it’s extremely important.

Another little detail that was not divulged until we got there, they don’t have an onsite lab, the drug test has to be sent off to Quest Diagnostics, with a minimum turnaround time of 72 hours, this does not include weekends, so Erin would be without medication for the best part of a week. A question that occurred to me later, was after the drug test comes back, would we have to pick up a physical script from the same office? which I remind you is 2 hrs, 20 mins away if we don’t stop and use the I-35 toll road.

Driving back home, I could feel my blood pressure and anger rising, as my wife sat next to me in tears, believing she was going to be without pain medication for an undetermined period of time. I’m thankful that Erin’s primary care doctor made an exception to her not prescribing narcotics rule, to help my wife out. This solved the immediate issue, but Erin still had to make another appointment in Lawrence, which is on August 23, 1:15pm, at least this is a week before the prescription needs to be refilled.

I’m hoping that Erin can find a local alternative, maybe switching to a primary doctor that will prescribe narcotics, as a 5 to 6 hour round trip is not feasible, from a time perspective, nor a cost perspective, including gas, tolls, and food costs, Erin cannot go five hours without food, this trip cost us roughly $100.

An update on Wifey’s car troubles that we cannot ESCAPE!

Progress! but Escape still down!

Three weeks ago, my wife’s 2012 Ford Escape had a catastrophic failure, the radiator fan exploded taking the radiator out with it. We had that fixed at a cost of $650 for a replacement fan assembly and radiator.

We knew new tires were needed but didn’t realize that on the inside of the tire, the metal belt was exposed, that’s another $850 for 4 new tires. After driving the Escape on the new tires, the wife noticed that her car was pulling to the left while braking, which became more violent the harder she braked.

The ABS and traction control lights that were lit on the dashboard remained unresolved. The shop that replaced the radiator/fan said they plugged in an ODB2 scanner and it reported that there was a front left wheel speed sensor fault, which they didn’t fix, they cleared the codes, and drove the car a short distance, saying the lights didn’t come back on, but after a single trip to work, the ABS/TC lights came back on.

We got it back into the tire shop, I was thinking the braking issue was related to the ABS/TC lights, and that faulty wheel sensor. But no, it’s that the brake pads were completely worn down, which is surprising as we only had the rotors and pads replaced in 2019. I’m praying that this is the reason for the ABS/TC light, and not just another issue, on top of whatever is causing the ABS/TC lights on the dashboard.

Wifey’s Escape will be in the shop until Friday, so we don’t know if the ABS/TC light issue is because of the tires, so stay tuned for more updates. An additional issue is that the wheel arches on the rear of the car are rusting, because, as I discovered recently, the rear wheel liners are missing, letting water inside the inner and outer bodywork. It seems like this is the $12,000 (in 2018) car version of The Money Pit.

Update [Jul, 21 2022]: it gets worse, both lower control arms on the front are bad, which is why the tires and brakes wore out, according to the shop, I’m not a mechanic, so I’ll have to take their word for it. I just hope that this fixes the ABS and traction control light issue too. Given that this car had over 100,000 miles on it when we bought it in 2018, it looks like the previous owner elected not to do the regular maintenance, which of course, we did not know at the time of purchase. Lesson learned, if I buy another used car, I’m gonna stump up the cash for a mechanic to come to look at it before paying a cent.

Update [Jul, 22 2022]: After a new radiator and fan assembly, four new tires, new brake rotors and pads, new lower control arms, and a four-wheel alignment, the !@#$ing ABS and traction control lights are still on, meaning that particular issue is still present. In addition to this, when braking, the pedal feels soft, and there is a low-frequency hum when depressing the brake pedal about 1/3 of the way down.

While I am grateful that my father-in-law paid for these repairs, his insistence that we use his preference of shop, a shop that is down a back road that does not correlate with any street address, and only takes cash payments has been frustrating, this has been going on for over 3 weeks now. I had an appointment with Rusty Eck Ford service set for my wife’s car, but she decided to go with her father’s choice, and one of the major issues still exists. I know that Rusty Eck would have been more expensive, but, based on my experience, it would have been fixed the first time, and we could move on with our lives.

But now, this saga continues, I don’t like my wife driving a car with the ABS light on, I don’t take risks with brakes and tires, if it needs service, the money is not important, even if we have to use credit cards to pay for it, I cannot replace my wife if she is killed in a wreck, for any amount of money.

Pain management failing patients

Pain management doctors failing patients

My wife Erin, suffers from Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and extreme back pain due to a car wreck a decade ago, plus other medical issues. As a result of these conditions, she needs a pain management doctor to prescribe her Hydrocodone, after her primary care doctor at Ascension Via Christi dropped her due to missed appointments, which was a miscommunication, after regular trips to the ER for Lupus/Fibro flares, and having to make an appointment to see her primary care doctor sooner than her regular visit, and the later appointment was never canceled by the Ascension Via Christi admin staff as requested, which they counted as a missed appointment, and after 3 missed appointments they drop you.

Initially, Erin went to Advanced Pain Medicine located at the corner of N Oliver and E 37th St N in Wichita, which was fine at first, before Erin’s pain started to spike to a point where her Hydrocodone was ineffective. Erin’s pain management doctor increased the strength of her Hydrocodone, which helped, but ultimately became ineffective with the combination of Fibro, Lupus, and multiple herniated discs.

As Erin’s pain increased, she found herself bouncing between her rheumatologist, who said that pain management needed to help her with her increased pain, only for pain management to send her back to her rheumatologist to help with her pain, while her primary care doctor, refuses to prescribe narcotic based pain medication. As Erin’s doctors passed the buck, in regard to Erin’s growing pain, this led to more frequent visits to the ER for pain relief, and for the most part, Wesley Woodlawn ER was amazing.

The one time that Wesley Woodlawn ER failed was because of one doctor, Dr. Brian L Debrot, who said Erin was using the ER for pain management, instead of going to a pain management doctor, and he put a block on further treatment. In a way, Erin was using the ER for pain management, as her pain management doctor would not help. When your doctors refuse to help, what option do you have other than to turn to the Emergency Room when your pain is so bad that killing yourself is a viable option?

In an effort to reduce the number of visits to the ER, Erin started taking Delta 8 in the evenings to help manage the pain and allow her to sleep. Delta 8 in combination with Hydrocodone, and infusions from her rheumatologist, kept her pain to a level where she could tolerate it better, although every 3 to 6 weeks, her pain would get out of control and we would end up in the ER for further pain relief.

Erin’s consumption of Delta 8, led to her being dropped by Advanced Pain Medicine because they found traces of Marijuana in her system. Let’s be clear, Delta 8 is 100% legal in the state of Kansas, and Erin does not smoke Marijuana, but that does not matter to pain management doctors, they drop you like you’re abortion in a red state, instead of having empathy, suggesting alternative pain medication options.

After being dropped by Advanced Pain Medicine, Erin was referred to ICT Internal Medicine & Pain Management, located at K-96 and N Ridge Rd, by her primary care doctor. And after her first visit there with Dr. Baoluan Nguyen, she did not want to return to their office, he was very aggressive, dismissing her pain, and lorded it over Erin that he had the power over whether she was in pain or not.

I did some research on Dr. Baoluan Nguyen, and his reviews online are very mixed, most women gave 1-star or 2-star reviews, explaining that they were treated as my wife was, while men often gave 4-star or 5-star reviews. Which, this is my opinion, not a statement of fact, indicates that Dr. Baoluan Nguyen is a misogynist, Erin’s friend had the same experience with this doctor, so much so, that neither Erin nor her friend wanted to visit him alone, so, they attended each other’s visits together for their own safety.

ICT Internal Medicine & Pain Management ended up dropping Erin, for a minimal amount of THC in her system when she did the pee test at her last visit. This is despite being open about her Delta 8 use, and asking about a different pain medication after the last visit when they told her that they had found THC in her system, they ignored her request, instead electing to drop her, rather than have empathy, and find another drug that would help. Any doctor that is content to see people in pain is not a doctor in my book.

The person in the shop where Erin gets her Delta 8, explained that he and his partner gave up on pain management, having gone to the same pain management doctors, instead deciding to rely solely on THC-based products to manage their pain, basically getting high as fuck to manage pain. What an absolutely fucked up system the US has where doctors lack empathy and drop patients in a heartbeat.

So, now, Erin has found a third pain management doctor, but this one is in Lawrence, Kansas, which is 161 miles from where we live in Wichita, which will use up a tank of gas for the round trip, at a cost of around $70. This is because all closer pain management doctors don’t take our medical insurance, which is crazy, as we have Blue Cross, Blue Shield, one of the larger insurance companies in the country.

As Erin’s husband, the person who sees what pain she suffers every single day, it has me feeling incredibly angry and ready to start punching people in the face. I understand that there are tight controls on narcotic-based drugs, but this is out of control, these doctors, the ones we have visited so far, never take the time to fully assess and listen to what their patients are saying, prescribe different drugs, to find something that works for the patient, and drop patients without giving it a second thought.

Another kick in the nuts! What do I have to do to get a break?

Escape Down! multiple problems with wifey's car

Three weeks ago I wrote about how the increased cost of living is crippling, financially and mentally. Yesterday, another blow came in the form of my wife’s car, which we bought used just four years ago, suffering, what I suspect to be a bad radiator leak after her radiator fan exploded all of the sudden.

I was getting ready for bed when my daughter comes in and says something is wrong with momma’s car. So I rush out to the car to see plastic pieces all over the floor in a significant puddle of fluid. Initially, my thought was that after a recent oil change, the shop that did it didn’t tighten down the drain plug enough and that the plastic pieces were unrelated, maybe it was something my wife had run over backing out.

Looking under the car, it was clear that the fluid was leaking from the front of the car, in front of the engine, and there was a horrible grinding sound. My wife popped the hood of the car, and the first thing I noticed is how hot it was under the hood, after just 2 – 3 minutes of running, then I notice fluid spray over the front of the engine. I thought that maybe there was an issue with the air conditioning system, so I had my wife turn off the A/C, but that did not stop the terrible grinding sound or the fluid leaking.

Eventually, the grinding sound stopped, and the engine ticked over nicely, but after another couple of minutes, while I was inspecting the engine bay with a flashlight, the grinding sound started up again, and I see fluid spray into the engine bay, which caused significant smoke to billow from under the hood.

This is in addition to a secondary issue of the ABS and traction control lights turning on and off, staying on longer each drive, but that did not affect the brakes, and ABS seemed to be working fine. But, as we will have to have the car diagnosed for the suspected radiator issue, let’s have that issue looked into too.

It’s going to cost $220 just to get the problem diagnosed at Rusty Eck Ford in Wichita, I went ahead and made an appointment to get the car in for service, but that won’t be until July 12, 2022, just under two weeks away, leaving my wife driving my car as I work from home. This frankly makes me nervous as my wife has been in 4 wrecks in the past five years, one of which was in my car the last time she drove it, none of these wrecks were her fault, but she does seem to be a magnet for Wichita’s bad drivers.

We’re already in a bad financial situation, and it’s going to get worse, my wife needs her own car, so fixing it is the only option with the current insane car prices, 20-year-old cars are going for $15-20,000. The cost of the fix will have to go on credit cards, causing further financial hardship for my family. I’m at the point of thinking, let’s spend the last $9 in my bank account on lottery tickets and pray my numbers come up!

As expected, Roe Vs Wade overturned by SCOTUS

Roe V. Wade Overturned

Seven weeks ago, a draft opinion on Roe Vs Wade was leaked from the Supreme Court, published by Politico, and that draft opinion has now become a reality, with a 5 – 4 decision striking down the landmark ruling. Samual Alito, Clarence Thomas, and the three Trump appointees, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett voted to overturn Roe Vs Wade, while liberals Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, and chief justice John Roberts voted to uphold the 1973 decision.

This is not about being pro-life, because we know that the religious conservative right is not pro-life, if they were, they would financially support young mothers and their children, so they don’t have to live below the poverty line, and they would do more to control guns, so 10-year-olds don’t get gunned down in school. It’s about control, mostly old white Christian men wanting to subjugate women.

It all boils down to religion, a form of control, in my opinion, as much as the five Supreme Court justices claim it’s about the constitution, and not about religion, if that is the case, then why did the law stand for almost 50 years? It’s because it has taken this long for the right to push this many religious zealots to the Supreme Court, previous SCOTUS’ has upheld Roe, despite many challenges over the years.

If you think this is where the current SCOTUS attack on Americans’ rights will end now that Roe has been overturned, you’re mistaken. Clarence Thomas, the justice with the seditious wife, has indicated that contraception (Griswold vs. Connecticut), private sexual acts, aimed squarely at the LGBTQ+ community (Lawrence v. Texas), and same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges) is on the chopping block, which all hinged on the same 14th amendment to the US constitution, that Roe v. Wade relied upon.

Of course, the Democrats had their fundraising emails ready to go the moment the decision to take away women’s rights to bodily autonomy was announced. I say don’t give the Democrats a fucking penny, they control the House, the Senate, and the White House, they could kill the filibuster, and pass an equivalent law to Roe right now, they don’t need a single Republican vote. This bipartisanship line from the likes of President Biden, Joe Manchin, and Kyrsten Sinema needs to stop, bipartisanship is long dead!

President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi have been in front of the press saying Roe Vs Wade is on the ballot this November, in an effort to mobilize the electorate to vote in the midterm elections. Literally, in 2010 and 11, Democrats had a super majority in Congress, but Obama and his vice president Joe Biden didn’t think codifying Roe was a high priority, so they can fuck all the way off. I have no faith that even if there were 60 Democrat senators that anything with being done, Democrats are feigning outrage for the fundraising, don’t fall for it, don’t give them a single red cent of your money!

At this point, there is no fixing the US of A, it has become a theocracy, despite the separation of church and state clause of the constitution. Time to turn it off, wipe the memory and start over with a new set of rules with specific terms, not up for interpretation, with built-in maximum term limits for congresspeople, and federal judges and have a true UNITED states, if red states don’t like it, please kindly fuck off and become your own country, losing all that funding from the blue states, via the federal government.

Increased cost of living, crippling debt, makes me feel like giving up

The increased cost of living coupled with crippling debt makes feel like given up

I don’t work a minimum wage job, far from it, but despite this, I have been finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet. Between my full-time income, and my wife’s part-time income, our net income is around $3,600-3,700 per month, yet we have gone overdrawn every two weeks for the past two months.

Today, I went grocery shopping, as we had next to no food, and I had to walk around the store with a calculator to make sure I did not go over what I had available to spend, which is just enough food to get us through to next payday, which is two days away. I had to factor in that I knew that my wife would need gas in her car to get to work, meaning I could only spend 50% of what we had in our checking account.

Gas prices have gone insane in the past 3 months, I understand that I have it easy compared to some, especially those back home in Europe, but currently, to fill my 16-gallon fuel tank will cost almost $75, six months ago, that was $35-40 per fill-up. The price of car insurance has increased too, our premium is up by $43 per month, then we get to grocery costs. Our monthly shop at Samsclub used to come to $600-650 per month about 18 months ago, now it’s closer to $800-850, which we cannot afford, so we buy less food, which is why I am writing this blog, finding myself penny-pinching to afford basic groceries.

The cost of renting a home has also gone insane, homes that used to rent for $800 one year ago, are fetching $1,000-1,100, and they still rent because people need a roof over their head, so like we have had to do, have to make cuts elsewhere in the budget to keep that roof over their heads. I know this to be true, I work in real estate marketing, so I see the trends, initially, I thought owners were price gouging, but it’s the current trend, and once prices go up, they never go down again, so this increase is permanent. Our own rental rate jumped $60 per month, putting an even bigger squeeze on our finances.

Our biggest problem is our debts, I have a personal loan with a payment of $557 per month, plus credit cards, which don’t have silly large balances, but I still have to make the minimum payments, which come to around $100 per month, then we come to my wife’s cards, two of which are maxed out, and unfortunately, one is a shared credit card, these minimum payments cost an additional $250+ per month. In total, the debt payments alone account for nearly $1,000, about 27% of our net income.

My current personal loan is to consolidate previous credit card balances and to roll in a previous personal loan with a terrible interest rate, which was to consolidate older credit card balances. A lot of this debt is medical, from before we had decent medical insurance for my wife and kids, my medical insurance is not so great, so I avoid doctors like the plague. Every time, I get a personal loan, I have a plan, but something always happens, such as my wife will be laid off, or there’s an unexpected cost, such as a car repair, or there is an increase in the cost of living, which is the current financial crisis for so many people.

To juggle our finances to cover this increased cost of living, I have had to push bills back to their due date, sometimes a day or two beyond, incurring late fees, compounding our financial woes. Whereas I used to pay within a day or two of receiving the bill, 2 to 3 weeks before the due date. This was great, as it allowed me to sometimes defer paying to cover another expense and be back on track the next month. But, that is a thing of the past, there has been a 15-20% cost of living increase, and my last pay rise was 4%, and the next potential pay raise isn’t coming until September, and I doubt it will be 15%.

Literally, I do mean literally, that’s not an exaggeration, the only thing keeping us afloat is the $1,066 child support payment from my son’s absent biological father, but my son turns 18 on August 6, 2022, so that will stop. As the present father, I still have to feed, clothe and keep the roof over his head. I could be a dick and throw him out unless he gets a job and contributes financially to the household, but I am not a dick, he has been my son for the past 15 years, and that doesn’t stop at 18 years of age.

I am so close to just saying FUCK IT, I’m done, move from this house into something much cheaper, at least $250 less per month, and hope that they don’t find out we skipped, and give the middle finger to all the debtees, declaring bankruptcy and taking the devastating credit hit. I feel so damn hopeless, I never thought that I would be earning $3,500+ per month and be struggling to make ends meet. rent payment system & BS late fees

Costar rental portal charges section

To be clear, although I have named, a Costar company in the title, the problem is more with my landlord and management. That said, the Costar system does not seem to be able to distinguish between rent and other fees, applying a late fee, even when the rent has been paid in full.

Recently, we signed our first lease with a new owner of the house we rent. For the past two years, we have been on a holdover lease from the previous owner on a month-to-month basis. I asked for a new lease to sign in May 2021 from the current owner, and it never materialized, so I don’t believe that we are bound by their lease agreement prior to when the wife and I signed it starting June 1, 2022.

Late into the evening on June 1, 2021, a rock was thrown at our kitchen window by an unknown party, which obviously broke the outer pane of glass. The next morning we contacted the property manager, to report this breakage, expecting them to bear the cost of the repair as we did not break the window, but no, their lease agreement, which I remind you, we had not signed at the time of the window breakage, states that “Lessee agrees to be responsible for the cost of: iv. any broken glass, window, or window blinds, regardless of cause“, amongst many other things, basically shifting the cost regardless of cause, to the resident, while simultaneously pumping up rental rates $170 over 3 years.

Moving back to the late fee, the reason for the $50 late fee is a $226.53 charge, which we had previously agreed could be taken out of the security deposit at the time of the window breakage, as I look at security deposits as fees, in my experience, landlords always find reasons to Nickle and Dime you, and not return your deposit. The late fee was charged today, June 6, 2022, which would be fine, if we had been short on rent by the sixth of the month, which is a standard fee, rent becomes late after the fifth day of the month. But, this is not the case, I paid rent in full on May 27, 2022, days ahead of when rent is due.

I contacted the manager on June 1, 2022, when I got the email saying if I don’t pay the outstanding balance that I will be charged a $50 late fee. And the manager said that she would look into getting that window breakage charge made into a nonrecurring charge, that is not part of the rental rate, or remove it from the Costar system and handle it internally, that was now six days ago, and the late charge is in effect.

The ball is now in the court of the owner/manager and how they deal with these erroneous late fees. Suffice to say, I am not going to pay this late charge, and I really don’t want to pay the window breakage charge, as we were not under the current owner’s lease at the time of the breakage, but we made an agreement with the manager to pay the glass replacement charge out of our security deposit.

We would like to move, but we are in a catch 22 situation, with the recent rental rate increase of $60 over the previous year, plus the costs of living, essentials like groceries, fuel, and more jumping significantly in the past six months, we don’t have the cash flow to move, with deposits on homes being equal to a months rent, and the rising cost of rental homes, means we are stuck in this crappy situation.

Update (July 1, 2022): I paid July’s rent today using the Costar system, and I am happy to write that the late charges and other fees were removed. My landlord must have taken care of this as promised.

End of the road for the Monaco Grand Prix?

End of the road for the Monaco Grand Prix?

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the Monaco Grand Prix. It has always seemed to me that it’s all about the glitz and glamor of F1 cars driving around the Principality than a race event. With the majority of races turning into a procession of expensive cars. Overtaking is rare and when an overtake is made, it’s frequently through strategy during the pit stops, which is not what the pinnacle of motorsport should be.

And today’s race in the south of France was no different, Pierre Gasly made a few overtakes on track, but he was out of place on the track and on a different strategy. The change of positions for the points was made through pitstop strategy, which Ferrari messed up throwing away an easy win. And, the end of the race was a perfect example of why Monaco is not a race, Perez, Sainz, Verstappen, and Leclerc were line astern after the mid-race safety car period, with zero overtake attempts. Which in this case, I’m kinda happy about it, if Verstappen had passed Sainz, I feared Checo would have been forced to move aside for Verstappen, like the Spanish Grand Prix. Perez does not deserve to be screwed this early in the season.

Due to the street circuit nature of Monaco, the race directors, Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich apparently had a disagreement about the race start procedure after there was a sudden downpour before the race. This in itself is weird, my understanding of the race director situation was that Freitas and Wittich, were supposed to alternate from race to race, not be co-race directors. This disagreement resulted in a 1 hour delay to the start, which still ultimately started under the safety car, and meant that it ended a timed race. Race fans and pundits alike were vocal about why we were not racing, the safety car driver was sat in the pits instead of driving the track to assess conditions, another FIA clusterfuck!

The current deal for the Principality to host the race ended this year, and a new deal has not yet been agreed to. There are a number of issues including potential track layout changes, and taking the production of the show away from Monaco TV broadcasters, to bring it in line with every other circuit, where Formula One Management produces the entire show for consistency from race to race.

I suspect that a deal will be struck, to keep the “Jewel in the Crown of F1” on the calendar, but I have everything crossed that agreement cannot be found and the Monaco GP “race” goes away forever.

Uvalde, Texas, the 27th school shooting in just five months

Uvalde, Texas, the 27th school shooting in just five months

It’s a sad fact that, in the United States, the lives of children are less important than the continued proliferation of guns. With every mass shooting, 212 in the first 5 months of 2022 alone, the people who have the power to make changes to the US’ gun regulation offer “thoughts and prayers”, while denying that America has a gun problem, often advocating that the solution is more guns, scapegoating mental health, attempting to deflect attention away from the real issue, which is the ease of access to firearms.

Yesterday, an 18-year-old Uvalde high school student, who I will not name, entered the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and proceeded to open fire with his AR-15 rifle, shooting students and teachers. At the time of writing, 19 children, all 4th graders, and two teachers have been killed. To put this into perspective, most of the victims barely reached double digits of age, it’s truly heartbreaking.

I don’t want to hear about a good guy with a gun as an argument for more firearms, there was an armed school police officer, plus two other officers on site, and despite these “good guys with a gun”, the shooter still entered the school, and 21 people are dead, 19 of which had barely started their lives.

A day later, it emerges that a whole slew of “good guys with guns” stood outside of Robb Elementary for up to an hour, stopping parents from trying to save their children, while 19 kids and two teachers were massacred. Police officers take an oath to protect and serve, in this case, they failed miserably to uphold this oath, schoolchildren did not agree to take a bullet, because these cops don’t want to get shot.

Texas has unbelievably lax gun regulation, as proven by yesterday’s events, soon after the shooter’s 18th birthday, he went into a gun store and bought two semi-automatic rifles, which he used to murder 21 people a week later. I don’t need to hear a word from politicians in Texas and Washington, we already know how this is going to go, thoughts and prayers will be offered, followed by it’s not time to talk about gun regulation, mental illness will be blamed, and after a handful of days, there will be radio silence, and we move on with zero action taken to address gun violence, until the next mass shooting.

There will be calls to not politicize this tragedy, now is not the time to talk about gun regulation, while furiously writing fundraising emails to people, using this massacre to get campaign donations. This is both Republicans and Democrats, pandering to their particular base, whether its parents outraged by another school shooting or gun fanatics who want to right to buy infinite firearms. Don’t give them a cent until we see real change, not more empty promises and fake outrage from the Washington DC elite.

President Joe Biden gave a somber speech last night, talking about how America must act on gun regulation, but I feel that it’s nothing more than lip service, we’ve heard it all before, with zero action from Congress, the majority of whom, on both sides of the aisle are in the pocket of the NRA.

Assault rifles were banned by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, but this ban was only in force for 10 years, and after that time elapsed, Congress allowed it to expire, and in those 18 years since, these AR-15 style assault rifles have been used in hundreds of school massacres.

I’m sure the second amendment will be invoked should President Joe Biden actually do something in regard to gun regulation. To which I say, fuck your second amendment rights, lives are more important than a piece of metal, that is designed to injure or kill, guns are not very pro-life, are they?

The second amendment was never designed for firearms of the 21st century, in 1791, the legislature that ratified the second amendment could never have imagined how firearms would have evolved into mass killing machines, capable of spraying bullets, ending the lives of dozens of people every minute.

A second amendment era rifle could fire 3 lead balls per minute, depending on the proficiency of the gunman, with a muzzle velocity of 1,000 feet per second, and accurate to a maximum of 50 feet. Compare that to a modern-day AR-15, capable of firing 45 bullets per minute, a muzzle velocity of 3,260 feet per second, and accurate up to 500 meters. The second amendment is in desperate need of modernization.

Revolutionary era musket Vs modern day AR-15

It has emerged that parents had to give DNA samples to identify victims of this massacre, because of the injuries sustained from the shooters’ rampage. I cannot imagine what the parents are going through, not only losing a child but having that child’s body be so horribly disfigured that DNA has to be used to identify them. All because the gun nuts can have the freedom to buy unlimited guns and ammunition, while these ‘babies’ have lost their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

My thoughts and heart are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives in Uvalde.