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« December 2010 | Main | February 2011 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » January 2011

By Ken Poland on January 30, 2011

We can't trust our luck. The attacks that have been waged against the Social Security program, from its conception, have been relentless. We read daily the charges that Social Security: was bad from the beginning; has ruined the economy; has made welfare a way of life for the elderly; is plunging us deeper and deeper into debt. We have been lucky that the system has survived the distortions that have gone unchallenged, for the most part. It is time we challenge those distortions before the lies have been told so many times that people begin to think they are the truth. Don't trust your congressman to protect the Social Security System without hearing from you.

Trust — What does that word mean? If you have a good thesaurus, you might be surprised at all the synonyms and associations or combinations of words that imply trust. For the purpose of this article, I choose to use the following definition; something (as property) held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on January 27, 2011

Last December I went with my wife to Alabama and Georgia to explore a part of the United States that I didn't know about. I have this plan that before I die, I want to visit all 50 states in this wonderful country. So far I've visited fourteen states. In Birmingham I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. While we were listening to one of the curators at the Institute, I learned about something that I had never known before. While we talked about the campaigns in the South in the 1960s, she mentioned the important role that Jews had in the Civil Rights movement. My close friend, Jan Lieberman, had told me that her rabbi had taken part in the marches, but I didn't realize the extent to which Jews had taken part in the fight for civil rights. I decided to check out some books in the library to learn more.

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By Tatiana McKinney on January 24, 2011

At a military training camp in Seoul, many of the reserve office training corps cadets prepare for another day. With their K-2 assault rifles, they prepare for battle by attacking their imaginary enemy with passion and weapons. If you take a closer look, you will realize that many of these cadets are not men, but women taking a large step for women's rights by putting pressure on a glass ceiling that obviously exits. While reading this article, I was upset by the comments section below. Many male military/civilians believed that this was not a stepping stone, but an upset and a stupid move on the military. Their complains, this is too much work for women, allow them to do the soft things, and let the man handle the "hard" "excruciating pain" of fighting for their country.

According to the Korean Herald, one of the women had a lot to say about her new entry into the Reserve Office training corps, citing "changing people's perception" as a goal in her military career, ""I applied to the ROTC to show that not only men but women also have the same opportunities because we are the same people. Through joining, my goal is to change people's perception and open the door for women a little wider," said Park Gi-eun, a student at Sookmyung Women's University."

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By Angelo Lopez on January 21, 2011

For the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about the lack of bipartisanship in the past few years. I have to admit feeling dread at the new Republicans that are coming to Congress this January. There are issues that Democrats will have to fight the Republican Party tooth and nail on, like the Republican promise to try to repeal last year's health care bill and the attempt by some Republicans to reverse the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. There are some issues, though, that Democrats could possibly collaborate with Republicans on. These collaborations will result in piecemeal, incremental reforms, but in my view, even incremental change is better than gridlock. I read two articles, Brian Riedl's November 29, 2010 article for the National Review titled What to Cut and Daniel Stone, Eleanor Clift and Andrew Romano's article for the November 1, 2010 edition of Newsweek called Yes, They Can to try to find some possible areas of common ground that the Democrats and Republicans can work on. Admittedly, there isn't much common ground between the liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans that dominate the Congress right now. I don't yet know the tendencies of the few remaining moderate Republicans who remain. Perhaps though if we find some areas of common interest to work at, maybe these next two years in Congress won't wind up just being two years of gridlock.

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By Tatiana McKinney on January 20, 2011

Hello, Readers. Sorry I have been MIA (Missing in Action), graduate school has really been kicking me hard, with the increase in papers and the tons of research for my prospective thesis, blogging has been put on the back-burner. But, I have a little free-time so I am going to be trying to post at least one-two blogs a day, or a week; give-or-take my schedule. Glad to be back.

Today, while perusing the internet I came across a startling article from PressTV about the recent increase of violence against Argentian women. According to PressTV, "a recent study by the non-governmental organization La Casa del Encuentro, 260 cases of crime against women were committed in Argentina in 2010, almost five per week, a Press TV correspondent reported on Wednesday."

What's so shocking in this article is the reports are claiming that in the study many of the attacks reported are by the de-facto spouse or by the victim's husband.

According to PressTV, "a survey published by the National Women's Council, one in three Argentinean women suffer from physical, psychological, sexual or economic abuse in her home."

Read more from this post here ...

By John Atlas on January 19, 2011

After the horrible Tucson shooting, John McCain and even Roger Ailes, the Fox News president, joined President Obama's call for a more civil discourse. Ailes told his anchors and reporters to “tone it down.” McCain agreed with the President’s call for “… every American who participates in our political debates… to aspire to a more generous appreciation of one another and a more modest one of ourselves.”

But if the recent history of ACORN is a guide to the future, Obama’s attempt to jolt the nation into civility, something we desperately need, will fail. And unless Obama fights to protect his base from the upcoming attacks by the Right, he will undermine our chance for a resurgent movement based on respect, equality and democracy.

Imagine how Rush Limbaugh and the Fox News commentators from Sarah Palin to Glen Beck would have responded to the Tucson violence if we discovered the gunman had some connection to ACORN, the group demonized by conservatives as a dangerous, even criminal organization.

Would they have pushed their current talking points about the assassin being a lone wolf, a paranoid schizophrenic completely unaffected by the political rhetoric of the left?

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 16, 2011

Is it a little presumptuous for us to attempt to state exactly how the framers of our constitution would speak to our present environment and culture? Historical evidence, both prior to and after the ratification of the Constitution, indicates that all the members of the committee of men who wrote that document didn't get what they wanted. They had very strong differences concerning many of the issues. The only thing we can hope to do is pontificate on outside communications and opinions by each of the framers. We cannot determine with absolute certainty how each one would think today. We have had two hundred years worth of history since their time. We have problems facing society today that they had never had to deal with. We have remedies available today that were unheard of then. We live in a world without transportation or communication boundaries. We can, literally, talk face to face with someone on the other side of the world, just as if they were sitting in a chair facing us. And that is available to the masses, not just government officials.

Some of us grew up in the same overall environment as Rev. Martin Luther KIng, Jr. did. We didn't all experience exactly the same environment, but communication allowed us to witness both word and picture of what Rev. King was speaking of. We don't all agree with his priority of the worst wrongs or the best rights.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on January 12, 2011

Someone in my family gave me Jon Stewart’s new book, Earth (The Book), for Christmas. It is subtitled A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Having read a few pages of Earth, I have found it lives up to my expectations in that it deals with a serious issue, the extinction of the human race, in a chuckle-provoking manner. In the introduction, Stewart first addresses the alien readers, those who have come from outer space to a planet now devoid of human beings. He then addresses the human readers of the book, starting with the line, “It’s perfectly clear that we as a species are not long for this world.”

The world is what this book is about. Not just the geographical world, but the world we human beings inhabit, everything from the religious, (rituals, beliefs, holy wars) to the physical (physiology, bathroom habits, sex—well, everything). He even throws in Barbie and Ken dolls. This book is nothing if not comprehensive.

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By Ken Poland on January 12, 2011

We have experienced a tragic event that has both united and separated us. We are united in our grief and emotional sympathies for those directly involved in this tragedy. We are divided and defensive when faced with who is responsible for this heinous event. We want to run and hide undercover to avoid our liability in this event. When our cover is pulled and we are forced to face reality, we flail about and find every conceivable way to place the blame on someone else.

Indeed! We are prone to divide society into categories that will validate our own opinions. And, sometimes, those divisions are valid to back up those opinions. Often, though, they are meant only to inflame emotions for or against.

Was it Hillary Clinton who said that "it takes a community to raise a child?" She was absolutely right. It also takes community to define a nation. We, as a nation, are inclined to base our opinions and justify our actions solely on our own selfish desires and benefits. We excuse our selves and blame the community, when things appear to have gone wrong. We puff out our chests and claim personal credit when things appear to have gone right.

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By James Bordonaro on January 11, 2011

Former Governor Palin has taken pains in the past to castigate pundits who have labeled her son, Trig, as retarded. Trig Palin is (in the most current sociopolitical appropriate term that I'm aware of) a person with Downs Syndrome. Mrs. Palin is not alone in her condemnation of the "R Word." One of the most eloquent objections to the term that I have observed in the media was made by Tim Shriver, head of Special Olympics, as part of the organization's publicity campaign to remove the term from common usage as demeaning to individuals with disabilities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Jean Binder on January 9, 2011

More and more is coming out about what a disturbed young man the young assassin was. It is not even clear he was processing anything from the world around him, political or otherwise.

Perhaps the time is ripe to discuss a very pressing problem: the situation of the mentally ill in our country - and our vulnerability when they are not adequately respected with treatment.

Time and again, communities will be aware of someone actively mentally ill like this, with peers complaining; professors kicking them out of class until they have a mental evaluation...which never occurs.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on January 4, 2011

Who knows the real status of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds? I just finished reading a multi page summary of the 2010 annual reports of the Boards of Trustees for those two funds. When I got done, I could only shake my head to clear out the profound conglomeration of percentages of this and that. I’m no genius, but I can understand solid figures and actuarial statistics. I’ve not seen the original reports. But, if they are as full of confusing and confounding repetitions of what the statistics actually show, then someone should demand a resubmission of their report. I seriously doubt if 1% of the general public or even the board members themselves could find a clear bottom line in the report.

When I hear our congressmen complain about the Health Care Bill being so confusing and misleading that they didn’t know what they were voting on, how, pray tell, can they have any clear understanding of the facts surrounding Social Security and Medicare? It doesn’t help any, when special interest groups or individuals are allowed to, intentionally, put out absolutely misleading and false information.

Read more from this post here ...

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