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« March 2012 | Main | May 2012 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » April 2012

By Ken Poland on April 30, 2012

Angelo, I enjoy reading your interviews.

Rev. Britt and Larry James used to give us some very interesting bloggs.

By Angelo Lopez on April 30, 2012

Adam Zyglis is one of the best young political cartoonists today. I met him briefly about two years ago in an Association of American Editorial Cartoonist Convention in Portland, Oregon, and have been a fan of his work since seeing his incisive cartoons in the Buffalo News. Adam's cartoons are internationally syndicated and appear in publications like The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He also does illustration work for magazines such as The Week, Time, and MAD Magazine. In 2004, he graduated from the Canisius College Honors program summa cum laude, with a major in Computer Science, a minor in Math and a concentration in Studio Arts. Adam's first cartooning job was for The Griffin, the weekly student newspaper at the college, where he a first place national award from the Associated Collegiate Press and the Universal Press Syndicate. He placed second in the 2004 John Locher Memorial Award, and he was a finalist in the 2003 CharlesM. Schulz Award. In 2006 and 2011, Adam won third place for Editorial Cartoons in the National Headliner Awards, sponsored by the Atlantic City Press Club.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 29, 2012

One of the most interesting bloggers on the Everyday Citizen blogsite has been Gerald Britt. Rev. Britt is a graduate of Harvard University’s Summer Leadership Institute and taught about community organizing at Yale University’s fellowship program for public housing administrators. He served as pastor of New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church for 22 years. As a preacher, he has performed chapel services for the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox.
Rev. Britt writes a monthly column for the Dallas Morning News, and contributes to his blogsite Change the Wind. Rev. Britt serves on a number of Boards of Directors in areas that include, health and wellness, community and institutional organizing as well as ministry. He is one of the founders of the local network of the Industrial Areas Foundation (Dallas Area Interfaith), as well as the African-American Pastors’ Coalition and the Baptist Ministers Conference. Gerald currently serves as the VP of Public Policy & Community Program Development for City Square (formerly called Central Dallas Ministries).

In 1996 Rev. Britt was awarded the Coca-Cola African-American Heroes Award. He is also a recipient of the Mickey Leland Human and Civil Rights Award by the Texas State Teachers Association for his work in public education.

Read more from this post here ...

By Diane Wahto on April 29, 2012

Since we can't use the comments section on the Everyday Citizen blog site, I suppose we have to respond with blogs of our own. Thanks to Ken and Angelo for their thoughtful responses to my blog. My blog idea came from a blog I read on Alternet written by a man who had gone through his own spiritual journey.

For most people, life and what we think of it is a journey with many paths open to us. We have to find peace within ourselves in the best way we can. On the other hand, nothing is ever really settled. The search is ongoing. Forgive me if this all sounds cliche'. It's difficult to avoid those large ideas when one is thinking about the search for meaning in one's life. Long ago, when I studied existentialism in college, I came to the conclusion that the only failing is failing to make choices, that is, to let those choices be made for us. I found it especially enlightening to read Kierkegaard, a Christian theologian and according to some, the first existentialist philosopher. In his philosophy, one takes a leap of faith; one doesn't look for proof. One makes a choice to believe.

I agree, Ken, that there is a difference between religion and Christianity. When I said in my blog that many people use their religion as a stick to hit others over the head, I had that difference in mind. If a person is following the teachings of Jesus, he or she doesn't have to announce it. It will be evident in the person's life.

Angelo, I think it's healthy that you are asking questions. What is unhealthy is closing the mind. Who knows what possiblities may present themselves as time goes by.

I won't belabor this. I do appreciate the feedback.

By Angelo Lopez on April 29, 2012

This is just a reply to Diane Wahto's blog. It's a wonderful blog of your experiences at churches at different times in your life. I've gone through a similar journey, and am going through some spiritual struggles of my own. It's great that you followed your own path and that you have the integrity to stay true to yourself. I'm glad that you're enjoying your Sundays.

A good comment too, Ken. The Christian Church has a lot of good and a lot of bad, but anything that has human beings is going to be that way. I know a number of Christians who've left church due to the hassling of other Christians. But there are a lot of good Christians too, doing good work for their community and living humble devout lives.

By Ken Poland on April 28, 2012

I can't get in the comment section, so I'll comment on Diane's blogg with my own blogg.

Diane, there is a wide difference between Religion and Christianity. It is quite evident than many folks who 'profess' Christianity, may be religious but their idea of Christ's teachings and examples of service don't match what your Sunday School teacher tried teaching you about love, and especially God's Love.

Jesus, himself declared that He didn't come into this world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He didn't pay much heed to the laws, rules, and regulations of the established Jewish leaders of the day. He, in fact pointed out to those leaders and the people that rules and laws were not the answer. Strict obedience to rules and laws could not give man eternal access to God's presence, because man simply could not or would not obey them all.

A simple faith, like that of a child, in God's Grace will enable us to quit worrying about damnation and start giving, as Jesus did, to the needs of our fellow man. God doesn't condemn man, man condemns himself. If Jesus told those who were doing wrong that it wasn't up to him to judge them, why do we think God depends on us to judge the salvation of our fellow man?

The true Christian Theology is impossible to present in a blogg on the internet. But a starting point is to advise everyone to quite listening to the advocates of rules and laws to facilitate a loving relationship with our fellow man and with God. That doesn't mean that sin and hell are not real. It does mean that we must accept, whether we can absolutely explain why or not, that Christ paid the penalty prescribed by law for our wrong doing and try emulating Christ's example of love and compassion for both saint and sinner alike.

Man has to enforce civil laws to protect ourselves from one another. But those laws can't or won't guarantee us a relationship with God.

It is most unfortunate that man's bigotry, greed, and hate, in the name of Christ, has turned many people away from Christianity.

By Diane Wahto on April 28, 2012

Wichita, Kansas—Politicians use religion like a stick, hitting citizens over the head with it in order to convince voters that a vote for a certain pious politician is a vote for Jesus, God, or whatever deity the particular politician claims allegiance to. Backers of politicians who want to ease taxes and regulations on business while they build great fortunes, use religion to mobilize the troops to carry forward the free market message under the guise of following what they claim to be the teachings of Jesus about such social issues as legal abortion, gay and lesbian rights, and equality for women and minorities. How successful these ersatz religious politicians and their backers have been may be ascertained by the number of religious zealots now serving in Congress or running for office, mainly on the Republican ticket. Even that many-married sinner womanizer, Newt Gingrich, managed to find Jesus in the form of the Roman Catholic Church once he married the woman with whom he’d been in an adulterous relationship while he was married to another, less Roman Catholic wife.
I say all this to trace my own religious journey, which has been twisting and surprising in ways I never imagined when I was a child in the Southern Baptist Church of my small southeast Kansas hometown.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on April 18, 2012

Haven't been able to sign in for comments, now for several days.

Angelo, I wanted to comment about your Rap Music interview. Popular music, whether it's religious, contemporary modern, classical, blue grass, western, or rap, usually reflects the reality and attitude of society. It is usually more accurate than political poles and, even, the vote tallies in elections. The 'fans' of all the different music styles don't have the same perception of society, but each artist is quite adept at putting the lyrics together that fairly represents their followers likes and dislikes.

If the contemporary and rap followers were diligent about their civic duty of voting, they would very likely swing the political agenda away from the religious right and ultra conservative issues.

The political bantering about Ann Romney, the stay at home mom, is quite ridiculous! No, she most likely doesn't relate to the average stay at home mom, but that certainly shouldn't be an issue in which candidate will make the best president.

By Angelo Lopez on April 18, 2012

Around two years ago I attended a convention in Portland by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists where I met some of the best cartoonists in the U.S. and the world. During my time at the convention, I met Tjeerd Royaards, a Dutch political cartoonist who was recruiting American political cartoonists to join the Cartoon Movement, a global website that Tjeerd launched to promote political cartooning and comics journalism. Tjeerd had been a political cartoonist for seven years since getting a masters degree in political science at the University of Amsterdam. In that time, his cartoons have appeared in the Dutch dailies NRC Next, Der Pers, and De Volkskrant, the German newspapers Handelsblatt and Hannoversche Allgemeine, and the Swiss weekly Weltwoche. In 2010 Tjeerd won the "Citation for Excellence" for the United Nations Political Cartoons Award.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 13, 2012

I've never really liked rap music much as a kid. I'd like the occassional song from Run D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys, but I had a hard time understanding the anger of the gangster rap that came during the late 1980s and early 1990s. As time has passed, however, I've gained a greater appreciation of what those rappers were trying to get at with their lyrics and strong sound. The rappers of the 1980s and 1990s were expressing the anger and despair of the black youths of the inner city in the same way that punk rockers in the 1970s were expressing the anger and despair of the working class white British youths of England's inner cities. Both rap and punk rock were criticized for its angry lyrics and its harsh sound. Yet both movements were just reflecting the despair of a young generation trapped in dismal economic conditions. One of the most influential and political rap groups of the 1980s and 1990s was Public Enemy

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 9, 2012


One of the great pleasure of the Everyday Citizen blogsite is reading the blogs of Diane Wahto. A teacher, a pro-choice advocate, an anti-war activist, an award winning poet, and a precinct committeewoman for the Sedgwick County Democratic Central Committee, Diane has worn many hats in her life. A native Kansan, she has a BA degree, cum laude, in English from Western Michigan University, an MA in English from Pittsburg State University, and an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Diane raised three sons as a single mother, and now has three wonderful daughters-in-law, and five entertaining grandchildren.

From your bio in the Everyday Citizen site, it sounds like you have a wonderful family. Tell us a little of your family.

I have three sons and five grandchildren. They all live near. My youngest and his family live in Lawrence and the other two and their families live in Shawnee, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. All of children, their wives, and two of my grandchildren are KU grads. Rock chalk, Jayhawk!

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 7, 2012

Many people remember the presidency of Ronald Reagan fondly. They see the economy improved under his watch, and see the image he created as a strong and confident chief executive who wore his love of America proudly. At the time I didn't like the Reagan presidency, but many years later, I have to admit that there were some good things about it. As a person, even his political adversaries have admitted that Reagan was a very kind and gracious human being who had friendships with both his political supporters and opponents, as his friendship with Tip O'Neil would attest. After the Vietnam War, Watergate, high inflation, long gas lines and the Iran hostage crisis, the United States was feeling very low, and I give credit to Reagan for making America feel good about itself again (even if I think he made America feel good about itself for the wrong reasons). And I do think his sincere attempts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons with Gorbachev was probably the greatest achievement of his presidency. But I still disagree with a lot of Reagan's economic policies. As a result of his domestic policies 13 million children lived in poverty, the live of people living in the inner cities grew worse as government social programs were cut, and social conservatives were given carte blanche to attack the gains in women's reproductive rights, affirmative actions programs, and gay rights laws. One of the hardest hit communities during the Reagan era was the farming community. During that time, John Mellencamp released the album Scarecrow which described the plight of the American farmer during the Reagan era.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 5, 2012

Last December my wife and I watched the Meryl Streep movie about Margaret Thatcher. It was a wonderful movie and Meryl Streep did an amazing job portraying Margaret Thatcher. I learned a lot about Thatcher's life that I didn't know before, and I admire Thatcher's toughness and persistence in breaking through the male chauvinism of that era. Though I like Thatcher as a person, I never really liked her politics. From what I remember of that time, Great Britain was a mess, and I remember Thatcher's policies being especially tough on the working class of that time. A response to the rage of many of the young who felt helpless in the face of the diminished economic prospects of the time was the punk and the ska musical movements. One of the great bands of that time were the ska band the Specials.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on April 4, 2012

On March 10, starting at the Golden Gate Bridge, a group of enthusiastic immigrant rights activists began a 3,000 mile walk across the nation to promote the Dream Act and immigration reform. These activists hope to create a dialogue about the plight of undocumented youth in small towns and big cities along their route. These walkers are sponsored by the group Campaign for an American Dream and they hope to arrive at Washington D.C. with renewed support for the passage of the Dream Act.

Read more from this post here ...

By Peter Herbert on April 1, 2012

Back during the health care debate, I argued on these pages that a mandate without (at least) a public option was a mistake. I thought that forcing people into the private health care market, without at least giving them a public option, was immoral. Little did I imagine that it might also be unconstitutional. But now the Supreme Court may rule that way. They seem to be leaning that way. Then what will we do? What is our Plan B?

I’m sure the President and Senate Democrats have people furiously working on that now. I hope different people than the ones who advised them to give up on single payer and the public option without a fight! Meanwhile, since no one has blogged on this site lately, I’ll throw out a half-baked idea – I’ll think out loud for a moment. Let’s let states decide by referendum whether to join one of two blocks. One block will adopt a single-payer system, or at least Obamacare with a public option. The other will adopt a Paul Ryan plan – one that is exactly like the status quo, only without Medicare and Medicaid. Joining one block or the other will have to be binding for a long time, at least a decade, and we may have to restrict the benefits of moving between blocks, so that refugees from the red states don’t bankrupt the blue ones, or (ha ha!) vice versa.

Read more from this post here ...

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