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« February 2012 | Main | April 2012 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » March 2012

By Ken Poland on March 26, 2012

Dear MoveOn member,

The frontlines of the war on women have shifted to state capitols around the country, with Republicans turning back the clock on women's rights. And the laws that pass in the states are sure to become models for national legislation in the Republican-controlled Congress.

Check out what's happening:

In Arizona, if you want a health insurance policy that covers birth control, you'll need to give a written permission slip to your boss, according to a bill that just passed a key committee.1

In Tennessee, Republican lawmakers are pushing a law that would require the state health department to publish personal data on the Internet that could be used to identify the names of women who have had abortions.2

And if you're a woman in Texas or North Carolina, before you can get an abortion you must first undergo an invasive ultrasound with a vaginal probe, and similar requirements are flying through in state after state.3

Talk about invasion of privacy and forcing people to pay for tests they don't want!

Read more from this post here ...

By Alice Pfeifer on March 20, 2012

Why don't Catholic bishops oppose the recruiting of soldiers for unjust wars on Catholic school campuses? Why don't Catholic bishops rule out the recruiting of CIA torturers on campuses, too? Why are they so vigilant about "religious freedom" for Catholic institutions and employers in some areas and not in others?

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By Alice Pfeifer on March 20, 2012

Why don't Catholic bishops oppose the recruiting of soldiers for unjust wars on Catholic school campuses? Why don't Catholic bishops rule out the recruiting of CIA torturers on campuses, too? Why are they so vigilant about "religious freedom" for Catholic institutions and employers in some areas and not in others?

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on March 20, 2012

A few weeks ago I heard that Davy Jones had died and it made me sad. As a kid, I loved watching the Monkees television show and thought their music was great. In the 1970s and 1980s in the San Francisco Bay Area, channel 44 would play reruns of the old Monkees television show and I got hooked on watching the show. I thought they were the coolest group, until a distant cousin visited our home with his latest Prince cassette and thought I was uncool for liking the Monkees. I eventually grew to like Prince too, but I never stopped liking the music of the Monkees. They were just catchy songs. When I went to college, I met my friend Greg Beda, who was a big Monkees fan. He let me borrow a 4 disc Monkees compilation and I learned that they actually had a very diverse set of music.

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By Jean Binder on March 17, 2012

“I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” These were words in which good citizens of every stripe once found national solidarity. A summation by Evelyn Hall on the works of Voltaire, this phrase was commonly used. It was the flame beneath our melting-pot of a nation.

As a people we understood, that even in the face of disagreement, we could respect our common humanity. Conflicting opinion would not be denigrated or restrained. We would die to defend one's right to think differently - to express thoughts we might find disgraceful. Yes, once upon a time, such a perspective was celebrated and it showed the world what it meant to be a free people.

Today, I only hear these words from the very old, and very seldom, yet hear it from conservatives, liberals, and moderates alike. It seems one’s particular persuasion used to make little difference, the axiom still held true. Their parents had been immigrants and they lived through times when all had to pull together.

Differences challenged then too, yet were respected, so wars could be won, communities built and peace proven. Most everyone understood this. It was the“American Way.” Now we seem to have lost this perspective almost completely.

It is not just on National TV that one hears strident voices insisting on their own way -actually describing the opposition and their aims as “evil.” It has reached the outposts of ‘Hays America’ in letters to the editor, in opinion articles, and in daily conversations. This negative zeitgeist seeks to ascertain who is religiously correct and whose political party has gone to the dark side. Both sides seem to disdain the moderate.
So is intolerance itself an expression of political and religious freedom? I would say it is actually freedom turned in upon itself to where some can enjoy it and others may not. Because of this intolerance we hear little talk of dying so that others may express their ideas.

In fact, I have observed folks who in their daily lives pretty much agree on every value and even every point of personal faith and behavior, but differ totally on the this issue of tolerance. The less tolerant will proceed to bash the tolerant as if they had nothing in common.

My point is – How did our view of what it means to be an American become so narrow? How did our concept of religious faith become so mean-spirited? I think the old people had it right.

By Adrian Klaphaak on March 15, 2012

This is a wonderfully articulated essay by William Deresiewicz about finding your own path, living a meaningful life, and everything that gets in the way. Enjoy it… you’ve probably been feeling the same way.

By Angelo Lopez on March 11, 2012

With the 2012 Presidential elections coming up, it's time to look back on the past 4 years and decide who we want to vote for. I know many progressives who had high hopes for change after the 2008 elections and have been disappointed with the Obama administration's lack of progress in the economy, in climate change legislation, in immigration reform, in regulating the excesses of Wall Street. Many wonder if it is worth it to vote again after being disappointed at the slow pace of change and at the lack of a more progressive choice than the moderate course taken by the Obama administration. I do think voting is important and I think, as citizens, we should all vote in each elections for the important issues that come forth. But we should also realize that voting alone will not bring change. After the 2008 elections, several activists suggested to progressives not to trust in the ballot box alone to affect the political changes that we hope to get enacted. After the elections, even if the candidates that we want are elected, these activists urge progressives to stay active and lobby for the causes that are important to them, and to build up a social movement to rally public opinion and pressure the President and Congress to pass legislation for those issues.

Read more from this post here ...

By Peter Herbert on March 10, 2012

Who can forget the video of John McCain croaking “Bomb Bomb Iran” to the tune of Jan and Dean’s “Barbara Ann?” It’s election season again, time for all good Republican candidates since Reagan to call for immediate war with Iran. Of course they don’t mean it. Never have. Iran intentionally leveraged the hostage crisis to help Reagan get elected, and the grateful Reagan administration sold arms and technology to Iran in order to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. While talking tough about Iran, George W. Bush did them the greatest favor in their history: he turned Iraq, Iran’s former nemesis, into a satellite of Iran. Now, as usual, we have Iran acting especially aggressively during an election year. Who knows what the Republicans have promised them this time? Or maybe Iran still owes them for the Iraq War. Or maybe Iran just likes the Republicans, since Iran and the Republicans share the same social agenda and the same theory of the (NON-) separation of church and state.

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By Angelo Lopez on March 8, 2012

When I attended my first convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, I met a great cartoonist from Oregon named Jesse Springer. Jesse has been doing political cartoons since 1994, and his work has been incisively commenting on the political and social scene in the Oregon area. In 2007 and 2009, he won the Grand Prize in the Science Idol cartoon contest, sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists. To see some of his cartoons, you can click on this link

You've been a regular cartoonist since 1994. What got you started in political cartooning? Who were your artistic inspirations?

Probably like most cartoonists, I have always liked to draw as far back as I can remember. Notebooks and school papers were filled with doodles and gags for the amusement of myself and friends. And I was always aware of political events growing up, but for some reason, I never brought the two together. It wasn't until I graduated from college (1990) and began to live life as "an adult" that these political events suddenly seemed to have some relevance to my life. In particular, it was the local political happenings that seemed the most immediate-- had the most direct impact on my life. Eugene has a very good, independently-owned daily newspaper, and I began to really become a student of the editorial cartoons. Among the syndicated cartoonists that appeared in the Eugene paper, I would say that Borgman and Toles were the ones I was most drawn to. Before too long, cartoon ideas that applied to local and statewide issues began popping into my head. One day, I decided to sketch a couple of those out. In addition to the daily paper, Eugene has a number of alternative papers, which eventually ran one of those first cartoons (1994). I didn't get paid, of course, but the idea that I could express myself politically through a cartoon, and that it might be read by some unknown number of fellow citizens, was very exciting.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on March 8, 2012

This year is the first year that I have been interested in football in a long time. My favorite team, the Raiders, showed promise as the season began and Jason Campbell was still healthy. The Forty Niners were rejuvenated under a new head coach and a revitalized Alex Smith at quarterback. And in Denver, a young quarterback named Tim Tebow was pulling out the craziest victories in spite of his erratic passing and college style offense.

I started looking on Mondays on youtube for the latest highlights of Tebow's football exploits. His in-your-face displays of his Christianity sometimes got annoying, but I figured that he is just a kid, and will eventually learn to be more humble in his expressions of faith. I just enjoyed watching the improbable comeback victories that he always seemed to pull off.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on March 8, 2012

United Nations action for the advancement of women has taken four clear directions: promotion of legal measures; mobilization of public opinion and international action; training and research, including the compilation of gender desegregated statistics; and direct assistance to disadvantaged groups. Today a central organizing principle of the work of the United Nations is that no enduring solution to society's most threatening social, economic and political problems can be found without the full participation, and the full empowerment, of the world's women

Today, March 8, 2012, is International Women’s Day, a day marked by the United Nations in its initial 1945 charter “to proclaim gender equality as a fundamental human right.” Since that date, women’s rights, while often trampled on at various times and in various places around the world, cannot escape scrutiny.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on March 6, 2012

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By Ken Poland on March 4, 2012

First, let me offer my empathy and condolences to those who suffered great losses in last week's violent storms. No matter our political orientation or spiritual choices, we all recognize the magnitude of nature's power and fury. In spite of that power and destructive fury, we all can enjoy the beauty of nature and abundance of life. The sun is always shining, even behind the darkest of clouds. The world isn't in a hand basket in hell, yet. And, I don't think the liberals or the conservatives are going to, single handedly, put it there.

And, now, if we don't have a sudden return to more winter like weather, I'm going to get in my tractor and start preparing my fields for spring planting. I love to kibitz and debate politics and religion. But, my love for farming is far greater, and it usually pays a little better. I've lost money a few years and I don't expect to live long enough to die wealthy. But, my partnering with God's creation and self fulfillment far outweigh the negatives in life.

You will be spared my nonsense, or it will at least be offered a little more sparingly. I hope a few more of our member writers will whip out their keyboards and activate their creativity to keep up a lively dialog of interest to our group and visitors to KFP and EC. You visitors (left, right, or non committed) keep you comments coming. A one sided dialogue doesn't stimulate the mind and motivate action. Silence is deafening, and civilization will be destroyed if communication ceases.

By Darrell Hamlin on March 3, 2012

I was raised by polite and loving parents, so I often heard expressions such as, “Don’t say anything if you can’t say something nice.”

Or, “Don’t speak ill of the dead.”

Thus the passing of Andrew Breitbart has left me in a state of reserved comment for the better part of a week. I want to be fair to a man whose voice can no longer raise a defense. But I also want to speak my own mind while I still can.

Legacy matters. What is left behind still exists, to elevate or damage, in the wake of a life.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on March 3, 2012

I would furnish a case or two of eggs to a group of you women to hurl through the door into Rush Limbaugh's broadcast studeo.

I have to bite my tongue to keep from describing him with a little more colorful adjectives than a dispicable, arrogant, chauvinist.

He is (or should be) an embarrassment to any intelligent member of society, no matter, your political or religious affiliation.

The stations and networks that carry his program should be inundated with a barrage of protests over his libelous statement and indictemant of the young lady who testified on the latest issue concerning cantraceptive coverage by health care providers.

By Angelo Lopez on March 2, 2012

Two years ago I attended a convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in Portland and met many great editorial cartoonists from around the country. The very first cartoonist that I met was Steve Greenberg and his wife Roberta. Steve Greenberg is one of the most insightful political cartoonists in this country. Steve has several cartoons published in Southern Californian publications, among them the Ventura County Reporter, the influential L.A. news and politics site LA and the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles. His cartoons are distributed in He also contributes to the Cartoon Movement out of The Netherlands, the first American cartoonist invited to join. He is also an award-winning informational graphics artist and illustrator.

Your cartoons do a good job of distilling an issue in a single powerful image. What cartoonists or illustrators influenced your style?

Among my strongest influences were Paul Conrad of the Los Angeles Times (this was the paper we read each morning), who was the master of the powerful, searing-image cartoon, Ron Cobb, cartoonist for the underground L.A. Free Press (I never saw that paper at the time, but saw his work via book collections and a gallery exhibit), whose brilliant work blew me away, and Tony Auth of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who taught me how to communicate well with simpler images. There were many others, including 20th century masters Bill Mauldin (whose work I saw in library collections), Britain's David Low (whose work was in my history textbooks) and the brilliant Don Wright. Plus like many Baby-Boomers, I was quite influenced by Mad magazine.

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