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« July 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » August 2009

By Gerald Britt on August 31, 2009

I'm going to have a little trouble writing this post. I may fumble it a little, so forgive me where necessary and be sensitive to the intent.

Criticizing local black politicians doesn't come easy for me. At least not publicly. One reason is because Dallas' history of black city councilpersons is historically brief. I'm old enough to remember George Allen, the first African-American to serve on the council - it was 1969. And, what is most unfortunate, I could actually take the time and name all of the black Dallasites who have served on the council since then. So, I, like many others who have given some leadership in the African-American community, have been slow to publicly offer much in the way of criticism or critique. Some would say that's more excuse than reason... if you say so, I take the, uh, criticism (or critique).

So here goes...

Read more from this post here ...

By Megan Hill on August 31, 2009

Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon. They’re some of America’s most famous landmarks and lately, they’ve been packed.

Visitors are coming in record numbers, the National Park Service announced on Monday. Visits rose nearly 4% this year and June alone showed an increase in over 700,000 visitors compared to June of 2008.

Chalk it up to fee-free weekends, a handful of dates set aside this summer when entrance fees were waived. The economic downturn and lower gas prices compared to last summer have also been factors. Americans are choosing to visit parks—especially easily accessible ones near large metropolitan areas—as a cheap alternative to more pricey summer vacations. And with Ken Burns’ newest documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” set to air on September 27, interest in the parks is sure to continue to spike.

But what does all of this mean for the parks and the fragile ecosystems they protect? It seems the flock of visitors can potentially hurt the very environments the parks are intended to preserve.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on August 31, 2009

Back to school time puts lots of great kids on our streets here in inner city Dallas.

I love watching them and watching out for them as I go to work or as I drive during the day when they are returning home.

This morning I saw a little boy around 5-years-old who caused me concern.

He trailed along behind a woman, I assume his mother. In one hand he carried a small bag of chips. In the other, a can of soda. It was about 8:00 a.m. I assume what I saw in his hands was his breakfast for the day. I hope not, but I'm almost certain it was his first "meal" of the day.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on August 31, 2009

No matter my critique or criticism of the public education system, I still believe that concept of a free public education to every child is probably one of our country's greatest gifts to the world.

I many schools in Texas, this is the first day back to school! So, a little something to all of my friends who are teachers, students, parents, grandparents and guardians of those precious young minds who will be filing into classrooms this morning:

It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time -- for we are bound by that -- but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.

T.S. Eliot

Have a GREAT school year!

By Gerald Britt on August 30, 2009

"Politics is not perfect but it's the best available nonviolent means of changing how we live."

Maynard Holbrook Jackson (1938 - 2003)
Mayor of Atlanta (1973-77; 1977-1981; 1989-1993)
Politician, Business Leader

By Larry James on August 30, 2009

Not long ago on a Monday evening after work, I broke into the Central Dallas Food Pantry. Big time no-no, I'm telling you.

Place was locked up tighter than a drum. No staff. No interview process. No forms to document output or outcomes. Just me, using my key to get inside the food storage area after hours.

Total disregard for policy, protocol and process. So, I'm a thief.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on August 30, 2009

"The work begins anew; the hope rises again and the dream lives on."

Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy (1932 - 2009)
The Lion of the Senate

By Larry James on August 30, 2009

Private airplanes and boats. A motorcycle sent by an anonymous supporter. Vacations in Hawaii and cruises in Alaska. Designer handbags. A ring of emeralds and diamonds.

“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” preached Mrs. Copeland, dressed in a crisp pants ensemble like those worn by C.E.O.’s. (Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich)

A few days ago over in Fort Worth, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland hosted a conference for "prosperity gospel" devotees.

The New York Times reported on the event and the mindset back of it. Here's a taste of the article (photo from same source)...

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on August 29, 2009

In this past week, I've been feeling very sad at the death of Ted Kennedy. I share a sense of loss that many people feel over the death of this man who has been such a great progressive Senator for all these decades. But it's more than that. For many, it's not just Ted's death, but the death of a generation of Kennedys that has played such a dominate role in our nations politics for such a long period of time. I am a liberal because of my admiration of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedys. In these past few days I've been reading a lot of blogs, post, and newspaper articles from writers saying how much Ted Kennedy has influenced their lives. It'll be a while before we see his likes again.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on August 29, 2009

Michael Steele, the Republican Party Chairman, is weighing in publicly on the health care debate. To be fair, he's probably gone on the record long before now but I haven't heard him, so I'll cut him some slack.

Here's an excerpt of his Washington Post op-ed:

"Americans are engaged in a critical debate over reforming our health-care system. While Republicans believe that reforms are necessary, President Obama's plan for a government-run health-care system is the wrong prescription. The Democrats' plan will hurt American families, small businesses and health-care providers by raising care costs, increasing the deficit, and not allowing patients to keep a doctor or insurance plan of their choice. Furthermore, under the Democrats' plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed.

"Republicans want reform that should, first, do no harm, especially to our seniors. That is why Republicans support a Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care. We also believe that any health-care reform should be fully paid for, but not funded on the backs of our nation's senior citizens."

Steele's column gives me a chance to ask two questions that I have been pondering for the past few weeks....

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on August 29, 2009

News of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy instantly brought tears to my eyes. The reasons behind my emotional reaction are complicated, I know.

Living through the assassination of President John F. Kennedy here in Dallas affected my view of the entire Kennedy family. Then, the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, when I was 18-years-old, moved me and my family deeply. The passing last evening of Senator Kennedy completes a cycle of emotion, loss and celebration. His death is strangely personal for me and for millions of others, I expect.

I remember, as a young man, watching Ted Kennedy walking behind the funeral hearse that carried the body of his brother, Robert. I remember a much younger man standing with his older brother at the funeral of their brother, John. I remember the tears of my parents at the deaths of both of these American leaders.

Beyond those memories though, I'm moved by what Ted Kennedy worked so hard to accomplish and by the manner in which he worked.

Read more from this post here ...

By John Petty on August 28, 2009

Many people don't know this about Ted Kennedy, but he was very nearly as pious as his older brother Robert. Ted attended Mass every week, in some cases, such as during Kara's bout with lung cancer, every day. At his mother's funeral, he made mention of her "greatest gift" which was "faith."

Jack took his Catholicism with a cool distance, though never flinched in his loyalty. Robert, on the other hand, did his religion the same way he did everything else -- wholeheartedly and passionate. Bobby was a Catholic every which way, from fasting with Cesar Chavez, to attending Mass, to having a big Catholic family. He once stepped into the theater at the Kennedy compound where the cousins were watching a movie. When he saw a racy scene, he ordered the projectors stopped and ran the kids out.

Read more from this post here ...

By Bob Hooper on August 28, 2009

"Polls indicate the public wants healthcare reform and a public-insurance option. So the health-insurance industry is pretending to be in favor of reform while trying to kill it...says Wendell Potter, who [recently] headed corporate communications at CIGNA, a major health-insurance company..., He says [t]he industry uses 'deception, outright lies, and fear-mongering' to peel away reform's supporters." - David R. Francis, US is slipping toward plutocracy, Christian Science Monitor
Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) argued that emotions were a better guide to good sense than reason. These days, he'd find lots of knuckleheads nodding amen. He'd also find grinning corporate profiteers slapping each other's back, "Glory, glory, hallelujah! Praise be to the God of Greed."

Fear-mongering works. It trumps reason better than any other propaganda tactic. Lies and deception spread fear. Fear then leads to hatred, hatred leads to inflammatory rhetoric, and red-hot rhetoric all too often leads to violence. That, my friends, is the narrow ledge on which we teeter today. The Obama-hating screamers, fist shakers, name callers, and the testosterone addicted gun-toters who come to Town Halls and other public meetings are not harbingers of reason. And health care reform is but one arena where hatred is festering.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on August 28, 2009

The 'Cash for Clunkers' program has come to an end. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood says that between 700,000 and 800,000 cars have been sold throughout the country.

The 'Car Allowance Rebate System' (or 'CARS', the real name for the program), has been apparently wildly successful, in spite of some problems dealers are having getting reimbursed from the fed. More than 625,000 vouchers have been submitted for nearly $3 billion of federal money to get gas guzzling cars off the street, traded in for fuel efficient new models.

The fun us over. But wait a minute! If you live in Texas there's still hope!

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on August 28, 2009

If you would like to evaluate the impact of Congressional bill, H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, on a congressional district-by-district basis. The information that you'll find is amazing!

Here's what I found about U. S. Congressional District 5 represented by Jeb Hensarling (R-TX):

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act would provide significant benefits in the 5th Congressional District of Texas: up to 13,400 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees; 8,600 seniors would avoid the donut hole in Medicare Part D; 700 families could escape bankruptcy each year due to unaffordable health care costs; health care providers would receive payment for $84 million in uncompensated care each year; and 167,000 uninsured individuals would gain access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.

Read more from this post here ...

By Larry James on August 28, 2009

What follows may be the best, most succinct thing I've read during the current health care reform debate. Thanks to my good friend, Randy Mayeux for sending me the link. I encourage you to read it all. And, of course, I hope to read your reactions after you've done so.

I'm safe on board. Pull up the life rope
By Roger Ebert on August 20, 2009

Having read through some 600 comments about universal health care, I now realize I took the wrong approach in my previous blog entry. I discussed the Obama health plan in political, literal, logical terms. Most of my readers replied in the same vein. The comments, as always, have been helpful, informative and for the most part civil. My mistake was writing from the pragmatic side. I should have followed my heart and gone with a more emotional approach. I believe universal health care is, quite simply, right. (Read the entire post here.)

By Zola Jones on August 27, 2009

Rep. Lynn Jenkins is a freshman white congresswoman from Kansas. Did I say she is white? She is. And, apparently, very proud of it.

At a recent political event in Hiawatha, Kansas, Rep. Jenkins let her hair down a little - about race and about the future of the Republican National Committee, which incidentally is currently headed up by a black Republican man, Michael Steele.

Perhaps Rep. Jenkins is unhappy about the color of Michael Steele's skin. Maybe, she doesn't like Barack Obama's complexion. At any rate, at that event in small-town-Kansas, away from the ears of people of color, Rep. Jenkins confided in the group and shared what she believed to be the Republican party's mission. She said,

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope. I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington."
She went on to mention some names of white male Republicans.

When Rep. Jenkins used the term "great white hope" - make no mistake - there's no double meaning. It means exactly what it sounds like it means. The term "great white hope" comes directly from the 1960s, from boxing, from civil rights and - the struggle between white and black people.

Read more from this post here ...

By Caleb Correll on August 27, 2009

A broad group of progressives, moderate Democrats, center independents, and even now, some moderate Republicans in Kansas' Second District are growing weary of the constant gaffes, mistruths, and overall failed representation of their delegate to the U. S. House, Representative Lynn Jenkins. Her latest comment on the Republicans' need for a "Great White Hope" underscores the the Second District's need for true representation in Congress.

Read more from this post here ...

By Gerald Britt on August 27, 2009

"In all chaos there is cosmos, in all disorder a secret order."

Carl G. Jung, 1875 - 1961

By Pamela Jean on August 26, 2009

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." (Edward M. Kennedy)
He fought for and won so many great battles—on voting rights, education, immigration reform, the minimum wage, national service, the nation’s first major legislation to combat AIDS, and equality for minorities, women, the disabled and gay Americans.

He was an opponent of the Vietnam War and an early champion of the war’s refugees. He was a powerful yet lonely voice from the beginning against the invasion of Iraq. He stood for human rights abroad—from Chile to the former Soviet Union – and was a leader in the cause of poverty relief for the poorest nations of Africa and the world. He believed in a strong national defense and he also unceasingly pursued and advanced the work of nuclear arms control.

When cancer affected his son Teddy at an early age, Senator Kennedy made it the cause of his career to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care. He has been fighting for universal care - single payer - for over thirty years.

On December 9, 1978, he gave a speech entitled, "Health Care for All. A Right Not a Privilege." Here are some selected excerpts from that speech thirty one years ago...

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, by Peter Cannellos, August 26, 2009
Excellence in Higher Education, August 26, 2009
Senator Kennedy's Lasting Imprint on our Generation, August 26, 2009
Edward Kennedy, 1932-2009, August 26, 2009
Senator Ted Kennedy's Legacy, August 26, 2009
It's Getting Harder to Recognize One Another, August 25, 2009
One Tin Soldier, August 25, 2009
Should moving out of public housing be the goal?, August 25, 2009
Bloggers can take a 7-month nap, right?, August 25, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, August 24, 2009
Steve Martin to Benefit Central Dallas Ministries!, August 24, 2009
Congratulations 'MR. TIBBS'!, August 24, 2009
Kansas 150: Commemorating Our State's History, August 24, 2009
Obama hints at opening White House farmers market, August 24, 2009
How's Business? Pretty Good if You're in Insurance!, August 23, 2009
Don't call me a saint, August 23, 2009
Unbelievable!, August 23, 2009
The Armor of God, August 23, 2009
Jasper the Cat Tackles Health Care, August 22, 2009
Studies I'd Like to See, August 22, 2009
The Activist's Complete Guide to Health Care Reform, August 22, 2009
Beyond Community Gardens: Urban Agriculture and Economic Development, August 21, 2009
Global Youth United in Efforts to Stop Climate Change, August 21, 2009
The Other Guy, August 20, 2009
The Moral Core of the Health-Care Debate, August 20, 2009
Health Care Reform FAQs, August 20, 2009
The Prose of Citizenship, August 20, 2009
Rep. Anthony Weiner: 'My health is on the line', August 20, 2009
Why Do Many Newborn Babies Die?, August 20, 2009
Health Insurance Reform Debate: From Irrationality to Reason, August 19, 2009
Rove vs. ACORN, August 19, 2009
Glamping: The New Trend in Camping, or Just a Fad?, August 19, 2009
Thanks for sending me to Netroots Nation, DFA!, August 19, 2009
Where's THIS Guy Been?!, August 19, 2009
Health Care Debate: A Word from Great Britain, August 19, 2009
American Health Care Crisis, August 19, 2009
Cooperative Snake Oil, August 18, 2009
Kathleen Sebelius Threw Us Under the Bus, August 18, 2009
KS Rep. Lynn Jenkins' Secret Plan to Fix Health Care?, August 18, 2009
Penny Wise, Pound Foolish, August 18, 2009
How Do You Spell R-E-M-O-R-S-E?, August 18, 2009
Some places are downright hostile to student voters, August 18, 2009
Howard Dean Frames the Healthcare Debate: Tips on Winning the Public Option Battle, August 17, 2009
More NN09 Videos Some about Public Insurance Option, August 17, 2009
Hope for Healing and an Intelligent National Debate, August 17, 2009
Urban Farming, Culture of Conflict and Congo Street, August 17, 2009
Texas: Tale of Two States, August 16, 2009
A Fresh Look at Heritage, August 16, 2009
Simply Amazing, or Appalling: Depends On How You Look at It, August 14, 2009
Wrap Up: Young Democrats of America 2009, August 14, 2009
NN09: Getting Ish Done, August 14, 2009
We Are All Steelworkers, August 14, 2009
Astroturf Doesn't Have Grassroots, August 14, 2009
Better Civil Discourse AND a Better Health Care System, August 13, 2009
A Health Care Cartoon for July, August 13, 2009
Kansas’ Sunflower: Burning More Than Coal, August 13, 2009
The Founder of MY Humanism, August 12, 2009
Are Poor Folks Criminals?, August 11, 2009
She's Going to Harvard!, August 11, 2009
Is God the Cause of Injustice?, August 10, 2009
Thoughts on the Shanahan Legacy, August 10, 2009
The Politics of Fear, August 10, 2009
Why We Can't Rest, August 10, 2009
CityWalk@Akard 'Topping Off' Celebration, August 10, 2009
Ed Schultz, Single Payer Option, and My U.S. Senator, August 9, 2009
Kansas Free Press: Coming Soon!, August 8, 2009
Breaking News: Crystal Strait Elected As New YDA President, August 8, 2009
To Remember Just for Fun, August 8, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, August 8, 2009
Over 1,000 Kansas public safety jobs saved by Recovery Act, August 7, 2009
Ship 'Em Out!, August 7, 2009
Are You Opinionated?, August 7, 2009
Youth Homeownership Drops, Despite Great Buyer's Market, August 7, 2009
Twitter As Advocacy and Hatchet Tool, August 6, 2009
Sports Drama for Far Less Than $97 million, August 6, 2009
It's the Neighborhood, August 6, 2009
Norman Magnus MacLeod, Soldier and Chief, August 6, 2009
Cash for Clunkers: How Far Can it Go?, August 6, 2009
Creative, Helpful Housing as Security, August 6, 2009
Brownback says what?, August 5, 2009
How Much Longer Will We Be Waiting On the Mailman?, August 5, 2009
Patriot Solar Power, August 5, 2009
White House Council Holds Live Chat on Green Initatives, August 4, 2009
The Tragedy of Chronic Homelessness, August 4, 2009
The times... they are a changing, August 4, 2009
Lessons from my Father..., August 4, 2009
Happy Birthday President Obama!, August 4, 2009
Homeless Neighbors: A Very Bad Deal, August 3, 2009
McCain Urges NY GOP toward Gay Marriage, August 2, 2009
For Those Who Would Change the Wind, August 2, 2009
Congressional Gold Medal for a Fallen Fly Girl, August 1, 2009
Journalism Degree? What Were You Thinking?!, August 1, 2009
My How Time Flies, August 1, 2009
Health Care Reform and Some United Methodists, August 1, 2009
Pennsylvania Young Dem Chapters Give Me Hope on Health Care and EFCA, August 1, 2009
The Activist's Guide to Health Care Reform, August 1, 2009

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