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« May 2012 | Main | July 2012 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » June 2012

By Diane Wahto on June 29, 2012

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance....

At a recent family gathering, I found myself caught up short when my petite teenage granddaughter told us about a fight that had broken out on the soccer field between her high school team and another team. As she talked about the heated competition between the teams that led to the fight, I had reflected on how much members of my family had benefited from Title IX.

Title IX was codified into law in June 1972 and with it came controversy, mainly relating to what would happen to sports programs for boys and men in public high schools and colleges. As a retired high teacher and community college instructor, I saw little impact on sports for men. However, I did see quite a bit of impact on women’s ability to participate in sports in public schools.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on June 28, 2012

But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.

That quote from Jefferson's writing is sometihing that doesn't seem to register on either side of the aisle today.

Angelo, your selection of clips is a good example of friendship and cooperation by many of our political leaders in times past. Adamant opposition on some issues should not prevent cooperation and compromise to achieve legislation that allows our government to go forward and meet the needs of the nation, as a whole.

Jefferson and Adams argued on opposite sides of many issues, but were able to keep their arguments civil and accept defeat or success, graciously. That doesn't mean that they didn't have some periods when they didn't appear to be on speaking terms with one another. Ideology did not prevent them from striving to find middle of the road policies that protected the national welfare of all. I don't recall ever reading evidence of either of them accusing the other of disloyalty to the U.S. or any segment of the population.

The habit of society questioning the religious or spiritual status and intent or the inteligence of anyone who dissagrees with them is distructive and divisive and does nothing to make society better,

By Angelo Lopez on June 28, 2012

Read more from this post here ...

By Beth Boisvert on June 22, 2012

So, this article has been flying around the web over the last couple days. I finally took the time to read it, although I haven't dared delve into the comments section. While I agree with Ms. Slaughter's arguments and where there needs to be change, as a Christian pastor, I did find something missing: a consideration of calling.

This of course makes sense, as this was a public opinion, not a religious piece, yet I am still left wondering if women who do have religious beliefs and practices--and particularly those of the more feminist, progressive persuasion--consider God's call on their lives when they wrestle with these other issues.

While as a pastor people generally expect me to talk of a sense of calling in relation to my work, I find that often others are hesitant to do the same, as if pastors are the only ones that God calls. I think this is to their detriment.

What would it mean to consider not just what we individually, our families, our employers, or society wants, but also God? Would it add validation to our choices, if made after a true period of discernment? I think so.

This article hits home for me, as I am a full-time working professional and a fairly new single mother by choice of a pre-teen to-be-adopted son. I get the struggle. My job can be fairly flexible, but also has its own drawbacks and demands. I am still in the early years of my ministry, a time to figure out its potential trajectory and do the work to move me up the ladder (yes, ministry has those too). I could/should be writing and networking and joining committees and getting my name and face out there. I am, a little. But I'm also now making choices that affect someone other than me, and so I haven't been to conferences and haven't been doing much writing while I work on attaching to my new son.

While this is exactly what Ms. Slaughter proposes should be an acceptable norm, for me it doesn't matter much what society or other feminist think. I feel that God has called me to parish ministry; God also called me to motherhood. I will continue to follow those calls as I feel led by the Spirit, and am confident it will work out well if I approach both with an attitude of discernment of call, rather than for personal preference or in deferment to societal pressures.

By Angelo Lopez on June 20, 2012

Last year, while I was the political cartoonist for the Tri-City Voice, a controversy erupted in New York City over a proposed mosque that was to be built near the sight of the former World Trade Centers. The wave of Islamophobia led me to do research on the subject of prejudice against Muslim Americans. My research led me to contact Zahra Billoo, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR for short. CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization that strives to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. I learned a lot from Zahra about many issues that the Muslim American community are facing and it inspired a few of my cartoons last year.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 19, 2012

On June 16, 2012, Peter Herbert wrote a great blog about the logic of Barack Obama's recent decision to grant extended, renewable visas to illegal immigrants who came here with their parents as children, so that they can stay in school, on the job, or in the military. Immigration reform is an important issue, as it affects millions of lives and affects many businesses that rely on the labor of these people. On March 10, 2012 the group Campaign For An America Dream sponsored a walk of activists that started in San Francisco and hopes to travel 3,000 miles across the U.S. to promote the Dream Act and immigration reform. They've inspired a lot of conversation about the subject and have influenced many people whom they have contacted to consider the merits of a fair immigration reform. President Obama's recent decision to stop the deportation of young illegal immigrants was partially influenced by the actions of activists like these Dream walkers, as well as a civil disobedience campaign of sit-ins and hunger strikes by Dream activists at Obama campaign offices in more than a dozen cities.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 18, 2012

In the next week or so, the Supreme Court will be ruling on whether parts or all of Barack Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, specifically the mandate on making people buy health insurance, is constitutional or not. This will have a major affect on the President's prestige and political agenda, as this health care reform law is the President's major achievement on domestic affairs. This is not the first time, however, that the President and the Supreme Court has clashed. James F. Simon, a Martin Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus at New York Law School, has written three books about different times in history where the Executive Office and the Supreme Court have had clashes over the limits of the federal government. His three books, What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States, Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers, and FDR and Chief Justice Hughes: The President, the Supreme Court, and the Epic Battle Over the New Dealdescribe three periods in which a strong President and an equally strong Chief Justice clashed over the limits of the Presidency and the Supreme Court. I'm reading FDR and Chief Justice Hughes right now, and hope to read the other books soon.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on June 16, 2012

Peter, the name of the game is: Defeat Obama and make a clean Republican sweep of the legislature. The end justifies the means. Fact and truth give way to ideology.

In 1987 the Wichita Eagle-Beacon published an insert to the Daily Paper that was taken, for the most part, from a diary of James Madison. If his diary and account of the proceedings is accurate, the Constitutional Convention after four months of vigorous debate and compromise presented the U.S.A. constitution to the people. There were bitter and heated arguments, but in the end the majority put together a document that has served for well over 200 years with only a few amendments.

The convention convened on May 27 and on June 13 Madison stood up and said he was tired of hearing what the delegates thought the people thought. No delegate could say what the people think, Madison said wearily. And no one could say what the people would think six or 12 months from now, he said. Forget the people. What ought to be considered,he said with deliberate words, is what is "right and necessary in itself for the attainment of a proper government."

I like his deliberate words, "right and necessary in itself for the attainment of a proper govenment." What is right and necessary is hard to determine without accurate and truthful statistics.

If our President and the legislature must first check the mood of the people or the opinion of the wealthy campaign contributors before they can act, they are never going to keep any continuity in our laws.

I hesitate to call the public stupid, but the truth is the public is easily influenced by scam artists, and politicians are, perhaps, among the most skilled of scam artists. News reporters and editors can obfuscate the truth and sway public opinion.

By Peter Herbert on June 16, 2012

From a purely rhetorical point of view, the value of an argument depends on how it affects the audience. Does it get them to do what the speaker (or writer) wants them to do? From a purely logical point of view, the value of an argument depends on whether the reasons support the conclusion. Do they make the conclusion likely to be true, or just? It is possible to get an A+ in pure rhetoric and an F in pure logic, or vice versa. Politically, the best arguments are good from both points of view: they motivate people to do what the speaker wants, and the reasons given have real merit: they really support the truth or justice of the conclusion.

A deep problem in American democracy today is that we ignore the logical side of this too much. Our press focuses almost entirely on the rhetorical point of view. Case in point: yesterday President Obama granted extended, renewable visas to illegal immigrants who came here with their parents as children and have always played by the rules, so that they can stay in school, on the job, or in the military. As I will explain below, the merits of the argument are strongly on Obama’s side, from the logical point of view. But the press focused almost entirely on the rhetorical side of the issue: how many Latino votes will this win for the President, and will they be worth it – will they offset the white male votes this may cost him in swing states? Hardly a word about whether this is good policy. Worse, most mainstream press outlets insinuated (or simply claimed) that the President must have done this only for political reasons, since this is an election year.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 14, 2012

Election times are here again and Obama is going through the same criticisms that all past Presidents face during an election year. If a Democrat is President, the Republicans accuse him of being a bleeding heart socialist who's out to destroy the American family and raise taxes unreasonably. If a Republican is President, then Democrats accuse him of being a heartless corporate shill who is in the back pocket of CEOs and is a crazy Christian fanatic. As I'm to the left of the political spectrum, I'm biased towards that direction, but I realize that Democratic and Republican Presidents tend to be more complicated than the partisan stereotypes that they're painted by their critics. In the 2008 elections, I was originally a Hillary supporter, but I've grown to like Obama personally. Obama is not as great as his supporters say he is, but he's not the worst President in our history, as his conservative critics say he is. He's a decent president, who has accomplished a lot more than we realize.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 10, 2012

This year the Boston Celtics have had an impressive run in the playoffs. Because of the age of their fabled Big Three players, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, the Celtics were not expected to go far in the playoffs. In the past several years, the Big Three has become the Big Four, with point guard Rajon Rondo emerging as one of the great point guards in Celtics history, having several clutch playoff performances in the past few years to lift the team on his shoulders. In the playoffs this year, the Celtics have gone all the way to the conference finals to take the Miami Heat to a seventh game. I've been a Celtics fan since the 1976 finals against the Phoenix Sun, when the Celtics had John Havliceck, Paul Silas, and Jo Jo White. My brothers and I are second generation Celtics fans, as my father was a fan way back in the 1960s, during those legendary Red Auerbach teams with Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, and Tommy Heinsohn. Being Celtic fans has always been an important thing in my family, as each decade has produced a new generation of great Celtics teams that win championships.

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on June 7, 2012

Thanks Ken. I've enjoyed researching on musicians who've commented on society. It gives me something to emulate.

I wanted also to say that your latest blog is great. I don't know very much about the situation with farming, and your blog is very educational.

By the way, since I'm doing interviews, would you be interested in being interviewed? You're one of the most interesting bloggers around, and it'd be good to hear more about your experiences with farming. Let me know

By Ken Poland on June 7, 2012

First off! I sure wish our comment system would work!!!

Angelo, you have brought us some interesting interviews and commentaries on the artistic contributions to history. We, sometimes, think those people live in a never never land of their own. But, in reality, they bring us face to face with the every day lives of the common people. They speak for those who have no voice and they tell the story of the honest emotions, ambitions, and dissappointments of mankind.

Artists, poets, story tellers, and musiciations give us a more accurate history of society, outside of the political powers and wealthy folks realm.

By Angelo Lopez on June 7, 2012

Many Republicans today hold to a strong belief in a free market economic philosophy with a minimum of government interference. Within the Republican Party, libertarians like Ron Paul and the Tea Party activists are pushing the Republican Party to a more austere economic policy with cuts on government spending, a minimum of government regulations on businesses, and lower taxes on the wealthy, on the assumption that an unrestrained free market will eventually life all sections of the population. They look to the Reagan recovery of the early 1980s, where after passing tax cuts, cutting spending on social programs, and cutting business regulations, the American economy went through an economic upsurge in the mid 1980s. The unrestrained free market economy that libertarians and Tea Party members sound great on paper. But when you look at history, the boom-and-bust cycles of the unrestrained free market economy has wrecked havoc on the poor and the middle class. In the course of this country's history, the United States has had periods of serious economic crisis in 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893, 1907, 1919, 1929 and now today. And in those economic crisis the same things happen: a large percentage of people are thrown out of work, homes are foreclosed, banks go under, thousands of businesses go under, and charities are overwhelmed by the sheer need of the poor and homeless.

During those times, musicians have chronicled the struggles of the poor and the working class. In the nineteenth century the spirituals of the African American churches sang about the struggles that African Americans endured in segregationist America. Folk singers like Woodie Guthrie sang about the unemployed and the migrant workers of the Great Depression. The punk rockers and ska groups of the 1970s articulated the anger of the youths of the decaying manufacturing centers in England and America. Rap groups like Public Enemy described the despair of the inner cities during the 1980s and 1990s. One of the great musicians of social commentary today is Bruce Springsteen, who has been singing about the blue collar American for the past 40 years.

Read more from this post here ...

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