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« March 2010 | Main | May 2010 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » April 2010

By Angelo Lopez on April 30, 2010

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By Darrell Hamlin on April 29, 2010

President Obama has indicated that he would like to announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens soon, perhaps as early as next week. What interests me more than the list of floated names on the President’s presumed short list is the list of characteristics we are no longer allowed to seriously consider in a Supreme Court Justice. The White House is daily warned, by voices from both parties, to avoid sending up any nominee who is “liberal,” “activist,” “outside the mainstream,” or “difficult to confirm.” Then the politician or pundit who is warning the president adds that there should be no “litmus test” for a potential jurist on the highest court.

A list of what’s unacceptable in a judge is already a litmus test. And why are we not allowed to consider how a variety of well-articulated but competing legal perspectives might enable the law to better address the complexity of problems we face in our lives?

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By Tatiana McKinney on April 28, 2010

According to the Telegraph, "Brig Hossien Sajedinia, Tehran's police chief, said a national crackdown on opposition sympathizers would be extended to women who have been deemed to be violating the spirit of Islamic laws."

"The public expects us to act firmly and swiftly if we see any social misbehavior by women, and men, who defy our Islamic values. In some areas of north Tehran we can see many suntanned women and young girls who look like walking mannequins."
We are not going to tolerate this situation and will first warn those found in this manner and then arrest and imprison them."

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By Bob Hooper on April 25, 2010

Pontius Pilate asked, "What is truth?" It is always a good question.

For several columns, I have done my journalistic best to explain that climate scientists overwhelmingly agree: Our planet is warming. Humans are mostly to blame. We would be wise to take that seriously.

I have explored motivations of those advancing a different view: the fossil fuels industry, and those who oppose all government regulation as anti-capitalist. In short, those who want to privatize the profits and socialize the costs. It's an old story.

We know about the campaigns of the tobacco industry. Two more recent issues are whether cell phones can cause brain tumors, and whether high fructose corn syrup is a bigger factor than sugar in Type II diabetes. Both products are profitable--at least in the short term, by the short view, for those who sell them. Independent research will predictably be opposed by manufacturers and distributors--just as climate change science is fought today. Money talks.

But there's also a brand of religion which sees science more as a threat to comfortable dogma than an ally in facing sometimes uncomfortable truths.

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By Angelo Lopez on April 25, 2010

As President Obama and the Congress head into the summer facing the issues of climate change, immigration reform, financial regulations, unemployment and gays in the military, I expect to see an uptick in rallies, vigils, and protests by activists for those particular causes. This is good, as a democracy is at its best with an involved and active citizenry. With this in mind, I've become more interested in the people who took part in the Freedom Rides in 1961. The Freedom Rides were a movement of civil rights activists to pressure the government to enforce federal laws banning segregation in interstate travel in the Southern states of the country. Two really good books chronicle the exploits of the Freedom Riders. One is a Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Raymond Arsenault, which chronicles the history of the Freedom Riders and the effect it had on the country and the Civil Rights movement. The other book is called Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders by Eric Etheridge. It shows the mug shots of the Freedom Riders that were taken by the Mississippi police and were collected by the Sovereignty Commission and are now held by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Etheridge looked for Freedom Riders who are still living, took a photo of them as they look now, and ask them of their insights of their experiences as Freedom Riders. Taken together, both books give a broad view of the historical significance of the Freedom Rides in American history and a more personal view of individuals' experience in a significant social movement.

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By Angelo Lopez on April 23, 2010

I read an article by Howard Zinn in the Progressive Magazine last year. He was glad that Obama got elected, but Zinn felt that Progressives should not be expecting Obama to be going too far in a Progressive direction unless he is pressured by Progressive grassroots agitation. I think Zinn is right. I'm actually not that surprised at Obama's more centrist direction. Most of what Obama is doing now is what was stated in his campaign website when he was running for President.

I think that any liberal or moderate Democrat who becomes President is going to run into a fierce opposition to even moderate reforms from conservative Republican groups, corporate interests, conservative Christian activists, and entrenched lobbyists. Politicians only go as far as the public will let them, and if the tea party is making all the noise right now, Obama is going to go in a more centrist direction. In a book I read Paul Wellstone wrote that the only way to overcome the corporate sway in politics is a sustained and loud Progressive grassroots effort.

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By Janet Morrison on April 22, 2010

Great partnerships are what makes our organization work so well. A couple of weeks ago a group of City Year staff came in early Monday morning to prep many of our sites at Roseland for a group of 100 ARAMARK volunteers who would arrive on Thursday to paint murals on some of our walls and add a new plot to our already thriving garden. The volunteers also took on the huge task of painting the entire inside of the gym/community center as well as creating raised flower beds for the church across the street.

I have to commend Danielle Evans, Children's Education Coordinator, and Tameshia Rudd-Ridge, Digital Connectors Coordinator, for spending so much time and effort on this project. All day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Danielle and Tameshia worked with the City Year group to choose the designs and create the spaces for the ARAMARK volunteers to work. By the time Thursday morning came along, Danielle and Tameshia were up and at work ready to go by 6:00 a.m.

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By Janet Morrison on April 22, 2010

Over the years, I have witnessed the determination of our kids as they persevere and defy the stereotypes, low-expectations, and difficult life situations they endure. Their ability to press forward inspires me.

Just last week I spoke with Kieva, who will finish her Master's degree in Public Administration in August. Her sister is working on her graduate degree as well. Jessica just started her Masters program in January and plans to continue straight through to get her Ed.D. Bridgette is almost finished with her graduate degree as well. Tiffany, Erica, and Fredrick will graduate from Baylor, UNT, and Lamar University this year. They have thought about pursuing Master's degrees as well.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on April 21, 2010

If you haven’t read all of Angelo Lopez’ post of April 20, you need to. He has done a great job of tracing the political maneuvering and debate over how much the Federal Government should be involved in our everyday lives. Historically, collective societies can only be measured by how they equitably treat all members of society. (rich or poor / master or servant)

Angelo, you have done a lot of reading and research. Very few people have any concept of the economy and how government has dealt with it over the expanse of our national history.

For those of us directly involved in agriculture, especially across the high plains of western Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and the Dakotas, severe drought that occurs anytime during the economic downturns in our national economy have dealt us an especially severe hardship. Government farm programs have attempted to neutralize the extreme ups and downs of production and prices. They haven't always been successful and it appears to be impossible to make them equitable to all segments of agriculture and still maintain adequate, dependable, and cheap food for the consumers.

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By Angelo Lopez on April 19, 2010

In the course of the debate over the past few months on health care reform, a much larger debate has occurred between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans over the proper role of government in our lives as opposed to the role of the market economy. Democrats on the whole see a positive role that an enlarged government can play in the areas of health care, climate control, immigration reform, and in helping people survive through the current recession. Republicans and Tea Party protesters have much less faith in the government and place more faith in individual initiative and the market economy. This debate between a strong federal government and a less intrusive government has been around since the beginning of this country's existence. The debates of the passage of our Constitution occurred between leaders like James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, who were dissatisfied with the weak Articles of Confederation and wanted a stronger federal government, and leaders like Patrick Henry and George Mason, who were suspicious that any strong federal government would degenerate into tyranny. The ratification of the Constitution did not end the debate over a strong federal government. The debate evolved into an argument between Alexander Hamilton's Federalist belief in a strong federal government and Thomas Jefferson's Republican creed of state rights and local control.

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By Diane Wahto on April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010—a date marked by two different headlines in the Wichita Eagle. One on the front page trumpets a poll that maintains: “…distrust of government rising,” accompanied by a picture of President Obama. The other, on the inside page, deals with the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. This act of domestic terrorism killed 168 and injured more than 600 federal employees, daycare workers, children, and others who happened to be in the Federal Building where Timothy McVeigh parked his explosive-filled truck.

McVeigh and his co-conspirator Terry Nichols were mad at the government. McVeigh said they were mad at Bill Clinton and those in his administration after the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. Who knows what else they were angry about? However, the dead and injured in Oklahoma City had nothing to do with motivating their anger as far as anyone could tell.

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By Bob Hooper on April 13, 2010

“For the past 150 years, industrial civilization has been dining on the energy stored in fossil fuels, and the bill has come due. Yet, we have sat around the dinner table denying that it is our bill, and doubting the credibility of the man who delivered it. The great economist John Maynard Keynes famously summarized all of economic theory in a single phrase: ‘There is no such thing as a free lunch.’ And he was right. We have experienced prosperity unmatched in human history. We have feasted to our hearts’ content. But the lunch was not free.” Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, in Merchants of Doubt Bloomsbury Press c2010

As a youth I worked in the oil patch. There was this quip about someone too dumb to pour pee out of a boot even if he read the directions on the heel. So... you who can (without directions on the heel) pour pee from a boot: Why don't you get it that failing to responsibly regulate capitalism doesn't make for a free lunch? There are often costs to our environment, our health, and our pocketbooks.

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By Tatiana McKinney on April 12, 2010

Conservative Feminist have ranted and raved about not having appropriate representation when it came to women's rights and health on the conservative end. Either they've had women who are not down-to-earth or non approachable, or they've had women that could not relate to the audience in either their politics or way of getting things done. But, have no fear, conservative women have gained two powerhouse speakers and advocates for both "Anti-Abortion" and "War"... Conservative Girls feel like they are back in the game!

According to the Politics Daily, "The earnest Minnesota governor brought his best zingers and one-liners to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Wednesday, but he got his biggest applause at the GOP fundraiser only when he introduced Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The two brightest stars of the conservative movement were headliners for the event to raise cash for Bachmann's re-election campaign. On the charisma scale, he was chalk to their napalm."

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By Ken Poland on April 12, 2010

Our local paper publishes my opinion articles now and then. The following was published back in 2003. I make reference to a coupe of my teachers, who, along with most of my teachers, quite often were frustrated with my independent nature. When I look at the bios of the authors here in Everyday Citizen, I find myself a little out of my league in higher learning and professional stature. But never the less, my profane attempt at poetry gives a pretty accurate picture of who I am and where I've been.

I hope you enjoy it.

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By Janet Morrison on April 11, 2010

I've never been a fan of Extreme Makeover. I love seeing the houses transform, but I've always been irritated by their claim to help the lives of people.

Extreme Makeover is for people who have little to no money to fix up their own homes. Extreme Makeover comes in and gives families the finer things of life that they could never afford. While the finer things of life are nice, I always have to wonder how the people who can't even afford repairs on their older, sometimes dilapidated, home will be able to afford the repairs on flat screen TVs, specialized germ-free air units, an outdoor pool, etc. But even before the stuff gets old enough to have to repair, how do the families afford the monthly bills of all of that stuff?

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By Diane Wahto on April 11, 2010

My dad worked in the lead mines in Southeast Kansas in the 1940s. My family lived in the middle house of three small, unpainted houses. One uncle and his family lived on one side of us. My aunt and her family lived in the house to the west of us. The men went down the street to work in the mine every morning and returned every night. The recent coal mine disaster in West Virginia brought back thoughts of my dad, as well as of the men and women who go underground every day to dig out the ore that keeps our economy running.


Early morning he dresses in the kitchen
while his wife brews coffee on the stove
and packs his lunch pail, spreading mayonnaise
across white bread, filling the red thermos.
The girl sits in the corner at the table.
She is six and what he calls work, she calls fear.
He puts his hard hat on and his light
and walks in the dark to the mine.
In the evening the girl waits on the steps
watching until his dirt-black face gleams
through the dusk. He is always out of sorts,
raving about what it means to be a man,
to pour his sweat and blood into this family.
The woman keeps her head down and doesn’t answer.
Late at night, her harsh voice penetrates the walls.

Now on spring days my father and I
walk around a town so small
it takes us less than an hour to cross it.
On the west side, we pass a monolith
of eroding concrete and steel,
remains of a worked-out mine.

I knew it was a mistake, your ma and me,
after six weeks, but you were on the way by then.
His voice goes funny and dry.

I catch a whiff of rust,
the seductive decay of long-extracted ore.

By Adrian Klaphaak on April 8, 2010

My one month experiment working remotely from the rice fields...

I'm in Bali for the month of January, living into my long held dream of working remotely from Southeast Asia. I have had a vision of building a "second life" for myself here since my first trip through Southeast Asia five years ago. This month in Bali is my first experiment with what it's like to live and work in a very different reality. So far it has been just that – a very different reality.

I rented a house for the month in a village called Penestanan, just outside of Ubud. It is awesome in the old sense of the word – full of awe and beauty. The village is dripping with green, effortlessly growing in and around all of the homes. Nature is king here, and there is very little separation or attempt to control it. The people live in it and move with it. When the monsoon sweeps through in the afternoons, everyone yields and brings their already slow pace to a pause. They don't fight it. They stay in the flow. Seeing this level of fluidity reminds me how I sometimes resist what is happening around me, instead fighting to make what I want happen. That doesn't work here. What does seem to work is staying in the flow. Always a good lesson.

Read more from this post here ...

By Paul Faber on April 8, 2010

I know. Criticizing a campaign mailer -- or maybe that should be spelled "campain maler"--is like picking the fruit hanging so low it's almost on the ground. But maybe you will allow a little venting.

I won't criticize the use of suggestive phrases instead of actual assertions ("Kansas values. Kansas commonsense.") Nor will I criticize the assertions that are only questionably relevant: "Five generations of Mann's [sic] have lived in the house his great-grandfather built." OK. But he lives more than 100 miles to the east.

But then we get these words: "Free market solutions for healthcare reform" and "protect Social Security and Medicare." Under the assumption that he is listing these things because he supports them, isn't there a problem here? Neither Social Security nor Medicare are "free market solutions," and that is their glory. We have learned from hundreds of years of experience now that free markets are greatly inventive, but without assistance they promote inequality. In fact, they promote so much inequality that those who can no longer sell their labor or intelligence on the free market would be left without the necessities of life.

So which do you want, Mr. Candidate, free market solutions or help for the elderly?

By Tatiana McKinney on April 8, 2010

According to, "Jessica Simpson bares it all in the May cover of Marie Claire. She's pictured with no makeup, no airbrushing -- it's just bare-faced beauty. The magazine cover is part of a promotional push for the singer's VH1 reality show, "The Price of Beauty," an exploration of global beauty standards, and the upcoming launch of her "A Beautiful Me" campaign for Operation Smile."

Wow! For the past year Jessica has been scrutinized and trashed in the tabloids for putting on weight and she decided to embrace her beauty and believe in herself and the new show and campaign is proof of her progress.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on April 8, 2010

I'm just reading this article from the Dallas Morning News:

I have lived in the Jubilee neighborhood for the last 15 years. A friend of mine called the other day asking my opinion on the DISD desire to use eminent domain to tear down all of the houses where he used to live. He has since moved out of the area, but many of his friends and neighbors still live in the houses they intend to tear down and they are upset because they will be losing their homes in the upcoming rebuild of O.M. Roberts Elementary.

Read more from this post here ...

Earlier posts in this month:

Death Penalty for Spammers, April 7, 2010
Unique field trip experiences make a difference, April 7, 2010
Rappin' and Writin', April 7, 2010
Ted Kennedy in YouTube, April 6, 2010
Facts of Systemic Racism, April 3, 2010

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