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« April 2010 | Main | June 2010 »

By Angelo Lopez on May 30, 2010

On April 9, 2008 my first cartoon for the Tri-City Voice was published and it was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I grew up wanting to be a published cartoonist, and the Tri-City Voice gave me an opportunity to be one. The Tri-City Voice is a wonderful newspaper with a circulation of 21,000 readers that covers the Fremont, Union City, Sunol, Milpitas, and Hayward areas of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every week I look forward to going on the drawing table and thinking up a new cartoon to submit to the Tri-City Voice editors.

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By Weeden Nichols on May 30, 2010

It was Bob Dylan who started me pondering what ordinary persons such as I do expect from public figures, and what is reasonable for us to expect. It isn’t that I am overly sympathetic to public figures. Most of them sought that status, and that status pays off fairly well for most of them. We private citizens have a fair degree of legal right to our privacy. Public figures do not. That is part of the bargain. They forfeit privacy in return for the advantages of notoriety. So, it is not the privacy issue I am addressing. That is more or less settled. What I would like to address is ownership. Yes, once we the public fasten upon someone who has become a public figure, once we are delighted or moved by something he or she does, we think we own that person as he or she is (or as we think he or she is) at that moment.

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By Mikyung Lim on May 30, 2010

The Earth has undergone several mass extinctions of living species since its creation. I remember an old article of Time magazine asserting that, since the beginning of human civilization, “Climate Change” is the most dire crisis of human existence, more dangerous than any wars that human has fought, any natural disasters that human has encountered, or any epidemics that killed many of us throughout history.

Since the late 2008, we have undergone the most severe economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s: crisis with health care system and the meltdowns of housing market and financial sector. These are tragic social, political problems that we have encountered cyclically but can be solved depending on what kind of politicians voters chose to put in power. But none of these problems are as fundamental as the current challenge posed by “the Crisis of Climate Change.”

Sadly, poor people always seem to be the targets of natural or man-made disasters or any kind of misfortunes. For example, recent political history showed that health care crisis, housing market meltdown, recession and unemployment hit the less privileged, poor people hardest while the rich always seem to find ways to avoid any kind misfortunes. Even “Global Warming” is expected to hit the poorest people in poor or developing countries or those in the United States of America instead of rich people, rich countries.

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By Jean Binder on May 29, 2010

Death of the ocean bottom and thereby death of the life and lifestyle - of rig workers, of fisher folk, and of homes: for fish, shrimp, birds, and coastal dwellers. All because of what? Cain and Abel? Could it really be?

Seems it was due in large part to those following the example of Cain and Abel. You know, those Biblical boys, the firstborns of Adam and Eve, the ones who broke their parents hearts and ruined both their lives over jealousy, resentment, and "personal differences."

Apparently, the BP representative on that fateful rig KNEW from gauge readings that there had to be natural gas in that pipe, but failed to ask for advice before going ahead. WHY? Because of "personal differences" with his superior in Texas.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 28, 2010

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By Kate Ott on May 28, 2010

Banning Silly Bandz is an example of how teachers and parents opt for an easy solution instead of using teachable moments. As a sexuality educator in faith communities and Christian ethicist who thinks a great deal about childrens' developing sense of moral agency and integrity, I'm always looking for opportunities to teach my children, out of my tradition of Christianity, how to treat others fairly, to recognize diversity as part of God's intention for creation, and how to communicate with others to build positive relationships.

It might seem laughable, but Silly Bandz provide us with that opportunity. Unfortunately, most schools have banned the bracelets (including my son's pre-school which prides itself on teaching social skills and how to be part of a community). Teachers and parents should take a step back and use this as a teachable moment.

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By Jennifer Schwaller on May 27, 2010

With the release of Sex & The City II, it’s that time again.

Time for breathless “news” discussing earth shattering stories of consequence. What are Carrie/Samantha/Charlotte/Miranda wearing? Are Carrie and Big still together? Is Samantha…umm, still not “family friendly”? What’s up with awkward Miranda? How’s Charlotte’s sugar coated, goody-goody life?

I am invoking the words of Roberto Duran when I say with regards to Sex & The City – “NO MAS”. Yep, in the words of Mixed Martial Arts, I am tapping out of the Carrie/Samantha/Charlotte/Miranda bout. No mas. Tap…tap…tap.

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By Diane Wahto on May 27, 2010

When I first heard that a new Sex and the City movie was coming to a multiplex near me, I called my friend to ask her if she was up for seeing it. She and I had watched and discussed every episode of the TV version and had seen the first movie together. “Of course,” she said. Now we’re trying to find a day when we can both take time out to spend an afternoon at a movie.

My husband, the guy who likes to watch PBS documentaries about headhunters in Borneo who, during WWII, separated the heads of Japanese soldiers from their bodies, says every time he sees an ad for Sex and the City II, “You’re going to hate that movie.” I respond by saying, “No, I won’t.”

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By Tatiana McKinney on May 27, 2010

Pro-choice. Keep Your Hands off My Body. My Body, My Choice. Does this apply to men as well?

According to, " In a complicated, fascinating and refreshingly balanced story for the June issue of Elle called "The Parent Trap," writer Stephanie Fairyington explores the case of Greg Bruell, a divorced, stay-at-home father of two who, when confronted with an unwanted pregnancy, just said no. Bruell and his girlfriend had already gone through one abortion when, just months later, she found herself pregnant again. He says they'd agreed ahead of time that if she conceived again, "she'd abort without waffling." Instead, she not only had the baby, she sued him for child support. What may have been a messy private situation for a man, a woman and a child soon became a golden opportunity for the National Center for Men, an advocacy group devoted to "assertively addressing all legitimate men's concerns."

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By John Atlas on May 27, 2010

What's the difference between James O'Keefe, who made national headlines with his ACORN undercover video, and ACORN? O'Keefe is a criminal and ACORN is not. Yesterday O'Keefe pleaded guilty to charges of entering federal property under false pretenses when he attempted to embarrass Senator Mary Landrieu because of her support for the health care legislation. O'Keefe, along with three co-defendants, said their goal was to show that the Senator's office phones were working, yet people opposed to health care reform could not get through to register their opinions. He was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine.

Despite numerous official investigations and innuendos by the extremists, like Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ACORN has never been convicted of a crime. Issa released a report in 2009 falsely accusing ACORN of hiding "behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy ... to manipulate the American electorate."

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By Tatiana McKinney on May 27, 2010

According to, "There is My Single Ring, which is advertised as a ring for a "single person who is happy with who they are."

It features images of interlocking male and female symbols and is meant to send the message: "I am an intelligent, empowered individual and available to meet the same."

The rings have been created to signify to the general public that I'm happy and independent and I don't need a mate to buy me jewelery, I can do that myself. According to, "Along the same lines, there is the $350 diamond-heavy Ah Ring, which is meant to communicate that the wearer is "available" and "happy."

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By Janet Morrison on May 27, 2010

Our kids have a lot of potential. They're bright, inquisitive, and active. The problem is, when there isn't something for them to do, they get restless and work to find a way to fulfill their need to do something. Unfortunately, this often results in them "experimenting" with things like, "What happens when I throw this paver (that was supposed to go to our garden) to the ground?" or "How hard do I have to throw this rock before it breaks that double-paned window?"

I don't think they have a clue that what they're doing are physics experiments. In their minds... and most times in ours... I think they're just vandalizing property... which is extremely irritating. But the reality is, whether they know it or not, they're experimenting. Our job is to channel that experimentation. And that's not always easy.

I want to say that parents should be more involved and aware of what their kids are doing. But during my social work internship, I was told that, "You can't 'should' all over yourself." So, instead of "should-ing" we've got to go to work.

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By Janet Morrison on May 23, 2010

Charlie Mae Ransom was diagnosed with cancer in 2006. I remember the heavy hearts we all had when we heard the news. The doctor had given her only months to live.

We should've known better.

Ms. Ransom never was one to simply accept news. She was a fighter. She defied the doctors. Up until a few months ago, she might get tired a little quicker, but she never let it show.

She was tough and she spoke her mind. She demanded respect for herself and the community around her. When something wasn't getting taken care of, she made phone calls and went up the chain of command until she found the right person to take care of the issue. Her persistence gained her respect and reverence so that if Ms. Ransom called, you answered and you did whatever she asked...and if something new was going on in the community, you made sure Ms. Ransom knew and approved.

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By Darrell Hamlin on May 19, 2010

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal should step aside as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. Clear evidence exists that Blumenthal has engaged in a pattern of misrepresenting himself, and allowing others to misrepresent him, as a veteran who served in Viet Nam during the war.

Blumenthal points to other times when he has more clearly indicated that he served in the Marine Reserves during the war without implying that he was deployed into the combat zones of Viet Nam. Thus, Blumenthal argues, he simply “misspoke” on multiple occasions when he referred to his service in Viet Nam.

I don’t buy that he simply misspoke, and I don’t think it matters all that much if he did. Based upon primary results so far, this is not shaping up to be a good year for candidates or parties that aim for getting through one more election cycle with the same old approach.

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By James Bordonaro on May 18, 2010

I've written several posts in the past calling for Connecticut Senator, Chris Dodd, to resign given the ineffectiveness of his handling of the banking crisis. Now that he has indicated that he will be leaving after this term the leading Democratic candidate to replace him, Ct. Atty. General, Richard Blumenthal, has admitted that he "misspoke" about his record of military service. It seems that Dodd's senate seat is inherently toxic. That's not a comforting thought to this former resident of Connecticut. See the link for the full story.

I will admit that I don't know most of the facts. I didn't read the New York Times report and I didn't watch Blumenthal's press conference. All I really know is the information presented in the MSNBC story. If true, and I don't have any reason to believe otherwise, Mr. Blumenthal's explanation falls far short and he should remove himself from the Senate race.

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By Anna Lambertson on May 15, 2010

“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. "Light! Give me light!" was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.” ~ Helen Keller

In the 1980s, I was Karana, a young girl abandoned on the island of the blue dolphins. I crafted a hut from whale bones and hunted fish. In the 1990s, I watched Mr. Darcy intervene in the budding relationship between his friend and my sister. In 2009, as an American journalist in Paris, I discovered unsettling connections between my husband’s family and a young Jewish girl whose brother perished when the French police ripped her and her family from their home.

I admit these alternate lives were nothing more than luxurious dips in the dream worlds of literature. But I often wonder how different my life would be if I hadn’t had the opportunity to go to school and learn to read. Had I been born in a poor country, not attending school would have done more than deny me the joy of reading; it would have been a detriment to my health and well-being.

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By Weeden Nichols on May 13, 2010

A couple of meetings ago, the speaker at our local Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) chapter meeting was a state VVA official, who briefed us on VVA affairs at the state and national level. One of the matters mentioned was the possibility being discussed at the national level, of “retooling” the organization for a new mission so that the organization could continue to exist after most of the old Vietnam veterans had died off. I spoke in response to this point. I mentioned, in essence, that I have been an observer of organizations for my entire adult life. I stated that it has been my observation that, at a certain point in their existences, most organizations turn considerable energy and resources toward perpetuating themselves. I opined that the world is full of organizations and that most of them came into existence for a purpose. I suggested that they ought to devote all their energies and resources to fulfilling their (presumably legitimate) purposes, and then go gracefully out of existence when their former purpose was either fulfilled or overtaken by events, there being no shortage of organizations. I gave as an example The Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union veterans of the Civil War. They had a purpose, other than merely fraternal. (They gave us Memorial Day, for example.) When most of the Union veterans had died off, though, they declared the 1949 National Encampment at Indianapolis to be the final encampment. They knew when to “turn out the lights” and so should we.

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By Darrell Hamlin on May 11, 2010

There are all kinds of reasons, from both the left and the right, why Elena Kagan might not be the best choice to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. In the next six weeks we will hear all of them.

But, coming from Republicans, the complaint that the current Solicitor General does not have experience on the bench by which to evaluate her past decisions is as disingenuous as any argument could be.

The reason Elena Kagan does not have judicial experience is because the GOP never allowed her earlier nomination to the federal bench to proceed when they were running the Senate while Bill Clinton was President.

Read more from this post here ...

By Janet Morrison on May 9, 2010

It's Mother's Day and I'm 500 miles away from my mom...but she's been on my mind for the last week. As I've listened to news stories, I've thought about my mom and even had a conversation with my best friend about her.

We joke about my mom being so "frugal." But the other side to her frugality is that she is very generous and kind. and shares everything she has with everyone else. When we lived on the farm, she took eggs to church and sold them for something like 50 cents so other people could have cheap and farm-fresh eggs.

We had more than enough and there was no reason they should go to waste so she sold them cheap. She had a HUGE garden that she had created with anything from squash to tomatoes to peas to potatoes. She exchanged different produce with friends and neighbors who had gardens, but often gave the extra to people who didn't have a lot--shut ins, elderly, and people she knew couldn't afford a whole lot.

Once our house became a Bed & Breakfast, the business status provided her with discounts for different products in hopes that she would buy their product and sell them to her patrons for a profit. Instead, she let the customers and friends browse the book, collected orders, and purchased the products at cost so others were able to receive the discount. There was nothing in it for her. She just felt like everyone else should have the opportunity to have what she had.

Even when we opened the Bed & Breakfast, I can remember them having conversations about how much to charge. They didn't want to charge exorbitant amounts. They didn't...and in the 10 years or so they were open, I only remember them increasing the price by $5 or $10 one time.

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By Janet Morrison on May 8, 2010

About this time last year I went to Nathan's cello concert. You can read about it here.

Much to his mother's surprise, Nathan has stuck with the cello. He is in his third year of orchestra and second year of playing the cello. He said he really likes it and is already signed up for orchestra for his freshman year of high school. I am really hoping he will try out for the Young Strings program at the Dallas Symphony next January.

Read more from this post here ...

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