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« June 2012 | Main | August 2012 »

Front Page » Monthly Archives » July 2012

By Angelo Lopez on July 27, 2012

The Democratic Club of Sunnyvale was formed over a year ago for Democrats in Sunnyvale, California and the neighboring region to promote Democratic values. I attended a few meetings last year and found the group to be dedicated to using the political process to fight for local environmental, labor and economic fairness issues. They're a nice group of people. One of the individuals whom I met was Nancy Hirstein Smith. Nancy is the founder of the Democratic Club of Sunnyvale and has been heavily involved in campaign and voter registration efforts.

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Thanks, Angelo! It's an honor to be invited to answer questions about myself and the Democratic Club of Sunnyvale. Before I start answering your questions, I wanted to brag that our club has been growing steadily since its first meeting in May 2009. It's hard to believe we've already been in existence three years!

Read more from this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on July 24, 2012

When I attended the Association of American Editorial Cartoonist convention in 2010 in Portland, I met many of the best political cartoonists in the country. One wonderful cartoonist that I met was Ann Cleaves, a cartoonist based in Southern California. I am a big fan of Ann's gentle satirical take on the nation's politics and popular culture. She has one of the most interesting biographies of anyone that I know. Ann is a graduate of Brown University, and she also studied art at Rhode Island School of Design, The Art Institute in San Miguel Allende, Mexico, and the University of Houston. Ann Cleaves began cartooning as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Liberia. As a volunteer in Fiji she illustrated schoolbooks for the Fiji Ministry of Education. She taught art in the Boston public schools, and cartooning courses in Texas. She also taught high school subjects in the adult division of the Los Angeles School District from 1988 to 2004. Ann and her husband Courtland live in Los Angeles.

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By Angelo Lopez on July 22, 2012

Here is a short list of some individual Christian women who have worked for social justice. This is a companion piece to blogs about the Nuns on the Bus and Christian Women for Gender Equality. Most of these Christian women, though not all, represent a more progressive, social activist type of Christianity. Like today's Leadership Conference of Women Religious, many of these strong Christian women clashed with their church hierarchy in their fight for social justice.

Lucretia Mott was an American Quaker, abolitionist, women's rights activist, and social reformer. Here is a youtube video of Lucretia Mott

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By Angelo Lopez on July 15, 2012

Thanks Ken for your comments. I hope you're wrong about conservatives in the Catholic Church eventually squelching the dissenting voices of American nuns, but I worry though that you might be right. I worry that this may be part of another one of those periodic attempts by conservative Catholics to rid the church of modern thinking. In the beginning of the twentieth century, Pope Pius X had instigated an antimodernist campaign that severely curtailed Catholic intellectuals and theologians for several years, and I think the current Pope Benedict XVI may be doing the same thing.

You're also right about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers in creating a secular state. Rerum Novarum is a wonderful social document, but it has the one flaw of assuming that civil authority should follow church authority in terms of morals and community standards. Later papal encyclicals, like Pope John XXII's Mater et Magistra, had a more proper respect of the civil government's authority and saw the church as a prod for social justice and not the sole authority to impose it. I think that is the difference between Martin Luther King Jr. and Jerry Falwell. King led protests and civil disobedience campaigns to prod the government to give equal rights to African Americans. King was motivated by his religious values as a Christian, but he fought and lobbied for civil rights outside of the system. The Christians fighting for civil rights in the 1960s were fighting for American values of freedom and equality that were inclusive and were shared by religious and nonreligious people alike. Falwell's Moral Majority of the 1980s were more of an exclusive movement, that tried to impose a more fundamentalist Christian viewpoint through the government that wasn't shared by many religious and nonreligious people. It excluded gays and lesbians, it restricted the rights of women, it tried to limit certain scientific viewpoints like evolution from being taught.

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By Ken Poland on July 14, 2012

I subscribe to a site called “Positive Quote of the Day”. This quote really says something to us all.

“Money is a way of keeping score in life, says T. Boone Pickens. But that is just for those who like playing the game. The real goal is to live with grace and dignity. You can do that with a small amount of money...or not do it with a fortune.”   -- Bill Bonner, financial journalist

First, however, we must define ‘grace’ and ‘dignity’.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on July 14, 2012

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the United States' 57,000 nuns, decided they could not accept the Vatican’s verdict, and sent their president and executive director to Rome on June 12 to open a dialogue with Vatican officials.

Don't worry about it, Angelo. The RC hierarchy will, with the help of the religious right and ultra conservative republicans, bring them into compliance with the aid of the U.S. Government.

Thank goodness, the framers of our constitution had the wisdom to declare our government a secular government that would protect all people (of faith or no faith) from the Pharisees of any faith.

Do we have enough voters with wisdom to keep us free? I have very strong religious opinions, and I reverently think I know God's will in most social choices. But, that doesn't mean I should coerce you, by the power of civil government, to act according to my conscience.

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech also means freedom from religion and freedom from speech of others. We cannot force others to tolerate our religion or speech, if it infringes on their human rights and personal privacy. The test that creates problems that the courts must rule on is whether our freedoms can be curtailed for the good of all people in society. Polygamy, child molestation, indecent exposure, stealing, destruction of other's property, murder, speeding on public roads, etc. are things that most of us understand will harm society.

By Angelo Lopez on July 13, 2012

In the past few months, the big news in the Christian world has been the clash between the Vatican and the American nuns over the issue of social justice. In April, the Vatican reprimanded the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which has challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, for deviating from some aspects of Catholic doctrine. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the United States' 57,000 nuns, decided they could not accept the Vatican’s verdict, and sent their president and executive director to Rome on June 12 to open a dialogue with Vatican officials. In the meanwhile, several nuns decided to organize a Nuns On The Bus tour around the nation to emphasize their commitment economic justice and to persuade Congress to consider the poor and the struggling middle class when deciding on budget issues. The American nuns are just the latest examples of Christian women who have made great contributions to the great Christian tradition of fighting for social justice for the poor and marginalized in society.

Read more from this post here ...

By Ken Poland on July 8, 2012

Kinda hard on the Repubs, aintya?? Well !! maybe not. They told us immediately after the election that their most important goal was to make Pres. Obama a one term president and prevent any part of his program to come to fruition.

We have had three and a half years of obstinate resistence to anything the Democrats or Pres. Obama has tried to do. Very few times have we been offered any real alternatives to the programs they oppose.

Reduce taxes (mostly directed at the higher brackets) and reduce government oversight of capitalistic practices of the corporate entities within our jurisdiction has been the rallying call.

By Peter Herbert on July 8, 2012

Excuse me, Republicans. How can you spend all of the Obama years resisting and sabotaging every attempt by government to do something about our jobs, homes, and health care problems, and then claim that those same years prove that government can’t do much about our jobs, homes, or health care problems? The current impotence of our government is something you’ve done to us, not something you’ve suffered because of us. Stop pissing on us and telling us it’s raining! That ought to be President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan.

As for a campaign slogan for the Republican candidate, how about one of these?
1) Mitt Romney: he wants to be your president. As for everything else, he’s flexible.
2) Mitt Romney: he has a great record, so long as you ignore the personal, financial, business, and political parts.
3) Mitt Romney: he’s just like you, except for EVERYTHING!
4) Mitt Romney: his record doesn’t matter. He deserves your vote, just like he deserved to be born a multi-millionaire with strong national political connections
5) Mitt Romney. He’ll bring a fresh, new perspective to foreign policy: he knows nothing about it and cares even less. (Oh, wait! George W. Bush did that already.)
6) Mitt Romney. They say that recycling is good for the environment. So let’s recycle the George W. Bush approach to government.
7) Mitt Romney: let the U.S. auto industry die.
8) Mitt Romney: he was for expanded, lower cost health care coverage before his friends convinced you that you don’t want it.
9) Mitt Romney: he stands for whatever he thinks you want him to stand for.
10) Mitt Romney. The American middle class are struggling. Isn’t it time we finished them off!

By Ken Poland on July 4, 2012

Oh! How I wish our comment system would work!!

Angelo, thank you for your collection of documents and documentaries, depicting the process of our birth as a nation, independent of any absolute decrees of what our rights and privileges would be anchored to, other than the will and voice of the people. You have skillfully produced evidence that these men (no women were directly involved) did not agree on all issues and that the colonies they represented were quite different in their religious and political alliances and beliefs.

Yet, they were skilled statesmen and able to compromise and cooperate to bring into existence 'One Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all'.

Yep, I left out 'under God'. That was not a part of the original text of our 'Pledge' to the flag. In fact, the original pledge, that some think is sacred and maybe even a part of the original documents of independence and constitution, didn't appear until the late 1800s or early 1900s.

I profess Christianity, but I defend your privilege to profess or deny religion. I will celebrate today and thank and praise my God for this great nation and what it stands for. You may praise or credit whatever and whoever you wish, as to what inspired our forefathers to courageously defy the King of England and declare their right to form a self governing nation 'of the people and by the people'.

By Angelo Lopez on July 4, 2012

On July 4, I've always reflected on this country that I call my home. The United States has made many mistakes in the course of its history, but it has also achieved a lot of great things that all Americans should be proud of. I am especially admiring of the history of reform in this country, from the abolitionists to the women's suffragists to the civil rights activists to the activists working for change today. These reformers have worked to help its country live up to its highest ideas. The Founding Fathers were not perfect, but many of them were also reformers who worked to created a more perfect union. Two of the most celebrated Founding Fathers were Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They were best friends and they also were important leaders in the fight to free this country from the British Empire. One of the most fascinating things about Jefferson and Adams is that they both died on the same day: July 4, 1826, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

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