Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just Nine Months

Sorry I haven't really posted in a while. Life called. I've kept up with current events, though. The negativity coming from both the right and left has bothered me. I mean, you got the conservative haters saying Obama is destroying the country. Liberal haters are saying he's not kept up to his promise of change. Well, they both can't be true. Sorry. And while I wish we were farther along in the agenda, I realize it hasn't been a year. Most of the promises Obama made during the campaign had a year-long deadline. Fix healthcare during his first year; close Gitmo in his first year; meet with foreign leaders we don't like in his first year.

It hasn't been a year yet. Just nine months. I think we're doing pretty good. If a woman became pregnant the day Obama was inaugurated, she'd just right about now be having the baby. And guess what?

It would still be just a baby.

So I while I do agree we need to keep progressive pressure on both the president and Congress, I think it's premature to declare "Mission Failure." And this article pretty much gets at the point better than I just did.
"Doom and Gloom" on the Left

by Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron - posted Oct. 27, 2009
San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily

As reports emerge of the Senate's increasing support
for a public option, it's a tossup whether Republicans
or some progressives are more distraught. After all, an
article in the October 19 edition of The Nation states
that the progressive agenda "has stalled," and "key
aspects of healthcare reform, like a public option,
appear dead." The writer even claims that corporate
interests face "little outright opposition" in the
legislative process, a remarkable statement in the face
of the massive organizing and outreach efforts of labor
unions and other progressive groups. (Click here to finish reading. And let me know what you think of the jump-break.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Healthcare and Women

This is Michelle Obama on why women need healthcare reform. I mean really, pregnancy of a pre-existing condition? We need coverage for pap smears, mammograms, and abortion. Yes, abortion. (Not only is it not your body, it won't be your child.) And let's be clear ladies (and gentlemen), women make up the majority in this country. If we want it done, it will get done done.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take a Number via SEIU Healthcare

I've gotten my number. Just trying to keep "Diana Prince" and "Wonder Woman" separate. Don't ask why. I don't know. ~ No1KState

We sent more than 10,000 letters to Congress in response to Peggy Robertson's story. Her insurance company had required that she get sterilized if she wanted to receive health insurance.

Members of Congress heard about it. The media reported on it. But we wondered, do our friends, family and neighbors realize how insurance companies have turned being a woman into a pre-existing condition?

Take your ticket for gender equity. Get yours, here:

Women want equal coverage for the equal premiums they pay - plain and simple. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is leading the charge, but we've got to get the word out. We built a tool to do just that - to demonstrate that it's time to deliver on health insurance reform.

When you take your "deli counter ticket," you'll receive a unique number. Post the number, along with this automatically-generated status update to Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere: I'm [your number] against discrimination by health insurers. Women deserve equal coverage for equal premiums. #hc09

Your ticket is waiting. Take it, here:

Right now, millions of American women aren't involved in the health care debate. They haven't called or written Congress. They haven't thought about health insurance reform much at all. But they're dealing with the health insurance system every day - paying more and getting less.

Women pay 30-40% more on the private insurance market as men. Common pregnancy and c-sections are considered "pre-existing conditions." And in some states, insurers can even deny coverage to victims of domestic violence.The bills before Congress will guarantee, once and for all, that women are treated fairly and equitably by insurers.

Let's demonstrate that women (and men!) across the country are calling for an end to discrimination against women by health insurers. Take your ticket now.

Thanks for speaking out,

Jessica Kutch
Online Campaign Manager
SEIU Healthcare

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Need of Aid?

I don't have any commentary except to maybe say I hurt for these people. Just thought you should that over the past several years, billions of money has been wasted by non-profit groups not ACORN. The money was supposed to go to help AIDS patients, or rather, as much money was wasted, maybe just people who're have AIDS.

Well I guess two things could be said: with a better health care system, a lot of this could've been averted; fixing this, doing right by people who have AIDS, or are HIV positive, is what I mean by "justice and righteousness."

So okay, two more things. First, there's an epidemic happening in DC. In affluent, white neighborhoods as well as poor, black neighborhoods. That's unacceptable. Completely unacceptable. Not just because people die; but also because we should treat each other and ourselves better. I know getting millions of people to all practice abstinence is something of a pipe dream; but just because you're sexually active doesn't mean you can't pass up it up sometimes! Please. Take time to ask yourself if you really want to share your body with this person. You are increasing your risk of infection and pregnancy. Is that what you really want to do? You're also increasing the risk of your partner becoming infected. Is that something you really want to do? Lots of people who're HIV positive may not even know it, including you. And your partner.

Which brings me to my next point: if you are sexually active, for heaven's sake, get educated, get tested, and use a condom! Don't just practice safe sex, perfect it. Don't get all full of yourself men and go out and buy condoms you know are too large. If you use illegal drugs, please use a clean needle. Or, better yet, try quitting altogether.

Okay. That's it. No more commentary.

No, They're Not a Bunch of Racists

They're a bunch of racist idiots. That's different. (Or better put, they're different. Even they admit not living on the same planet as the rest of us.) If you have the time, you should read through the report yourself. It would be more entertaining if they didn't reportedly represent almost 20% of the electorate. They apparently really talked about "racism" in terms of the "race card" being played to discredit them. But what discredits them is their ideas. They think Beck is a "truth-teller" and that the Republican party is "Democrat-lite." They're convinced Obama has some secret plot that no one's talking about because Obama keeps everything closed off from the media which is liberal and shills for him anyway. They complain about his school records being closed and swear every other president kept everything wide open. They think they are the people, which makes you wonder who elected President Obama. And, if that weren't enough, they feel as though W compromised too much. Though, to their credit, they did find his public speaking embarrassing.

The whole thing is an indictment about Fox, the South, and public education. These people know diddly squat about history, civics, or economics. They fault HW for raising taxes; they don't even realize the budget- deficit the Reagan caused.

Another thing that bothers me is that they believe Obama is purposely trying to destroy the country. They're even suspicious of his support for lengthening the school year; it's a sign of his desire to regulate everything. They claim there're banks that want to pay back the bail-out money, but the Obama administration won't let them. What's worse is they don't believe he's trying to create jobs here in America. Sorry, but that's a bit hard to take after their stalwart Beck got Van Jones to resign.

All in all, they take Fox as gospel - which speaks for itself. And apparently, race did come up; it's just that those undertaking the focus groups (focus groups for political purposes as opposed to sociological purposes which explains the command to "get over it [race]") thought ". . . it did not ever become a central element, and indeed, was almost beside the point." But like I said in the earlier post, racist themes did come up, not least of the two contradictory notions that either Obama is a puppet being controlled by people like George Soros or he lies and his intelligence is scary. So, black people are always either 1 - too dumb to think of themselves or 2 - too smart to trust. Plus, the fact that the think so much of Beck? Come on. That's racism all day long.

But they need to understand, both the idiots and the group who did the study, is that the accusation of racism isn't being used to silence them. :eye roll: It's not being used to discredit them or because the media doesn't want to address their illegitimate concerns. Part of the reason we're, and I'm including myself cause I think a large segment of you are racism. But, part of the reason we accuse you of racism is that your complaints make no sense otherwise. I mean really. The president and Congress has cut taxes for 95% of you, and you complain about being overtaxed? You should be glad we think you're racist, cause otherwise you're just a bunch of idiots.

Now It's Sexism in Session(s)

I saw the clip when the show first aired. I had other things on my mind. But after seeing this article in The Nation, I decided to share just a couple of thoughts. I share Jon Stewart even though we're saying the same thing because he's funny.

1 - Should they start complaining about executive compensation, remember this:
"Congress should not be involved in writing or rewriting private contracts," he (Sessions) argued.

2 - They can't pass this, but they can go after ACORN?
The bill was, he (Sessions) maintained, a "political amendment at bottom, representing a political attack on Halliburton."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh. My lord! (Updated)

See post They're Not a Bunch of Racist for more analysis.

Now. I don't know what training the people who ran this study have in race dynamics. And I haven't read the entire report (PDF), plus I'm tired, so I can't do a thorough analysis right now. But believe you me, if these people aren't ignorance and racist, then they're just ignorant and ignorant.

What constitutional rights are they concerned will be taken away? That's what I can't figure out. We just had a president who denied people their constitutional freedom of speech and right to privacy. He disregarded the Geneva Conventions and US law. He denied people the right of habeus corpus; sent random people to black sites; he lied us into war. And they're worried about this particular president corroding constitutional rights?

Bush Co ram the PATRIOT act through Congress in a matter of months; yet, they're worried about how fast Obama is going. Bush Co put us into two, yes two, unnecessary wars, one of which he lied to Congress about. Neither war was paid for. He signed tax cuts without paying for them. Passed Medicare Part D without paying for it. And they're worried about the debt Obama is running to get us out of this economic crisis. They even say he doesn't know anything about economics. "What? Huh?" Apparently, not only do they know nothing about economics, they know even less about history.
And all their suspicion of ACORN but nothing about the fraud of billions of dollars by likes of KBR and Halliburton and Xe (formerly Blackwater), groups who have killed soldiers and civilians. Groups who have raped American citizens working for them. Nothing.

The reason I question how much the researchers know about race dynamics is that they apparently don't know that you don't have to say "black" or "race" to be making racist statements. Certain racist themes about black people have been around so long, you don't need to say "black" or "African American" to be talking in racist terms. For instance, our part president couldn't hardly put a complete sentence together, but it's Obama whose education they question? They're "afraid" of this president because his talk is too "smooth." That doesn't smack of "jive talkin' nigger" to you?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And You Say Obama Has an Ego?

Yeah, gotta admit, after getting myself excited about the incredibly spectacular debacle a Rush owned team would be, I was disappointed that the whole thing fizzled out. I suppose I should be glad that racism has been rejected, and I am. Yeah, I am.

Plus, RushBo's response makes up for it a lot! (Sorry about the picture. That was not under my control.) Now, my next post should be a little more serious. But since I wrote on the issue in Ram Rush, I feel like I'm obligated to write about the conclusion. So anyway, back to your regularly scheduled program:
Limbaugh blamed DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, whom he called an "Obama-ite," and the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, whom he referred to as "race hustlers," for Checketts' decision a day earlier to drop him. He said his sacking was an example of the political clout wielded by the Obama administration.
Yeah. The ignorance he blathers had nothing to do with it.

"What is happening to the National Football League, what is about to happen to it, has already happened to Wall Street, has already happened to the automobile business," Limbaugh said.
Correct me if I'm wrong, and main street and unemployment numbers aside; didn't the DOW close over 10,000 for the first time in months this week? And did I miss something? When did the NFL get a bailout?

Limbaugh said he's "lost nothing" over the episode and vowed to continue being the "biggest non-paid promoter of the sport."

"On the other hand, our country has lost a great deal. A lot more than most people realize at the moment," Limbaugh said.
That's just laughable! Whatever we "lost," I'm glad we've lost "it." We should've never had "it." Setting "it" aside, wow. 8-o Wasn't aware Limbaugh was such a major player in American history. Really surprising seeing that he's not the head of the RNC or the Republican Party. Allegedly.

Lastly, "Limbaugh said the real reason he's out is the NFLPA's attempt to influence negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement."  If that's true, that makes me happy. The player contracts and the pension and healthcare ex-players receive suck.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hush, Little White Church. Naw, for Real. Hush.

What really pissed me off in the previously referred to essay on Christian social justice was this line: If the church were awake when abortion was passed in the 70’s, it wouldn’t have happened. But the church was asleep” (Goodstein, “Disowning Conservative Politics”). Now granted, he was quoting someone else. And granted I think I may have heard the quote before. I just wanna pop go the weasel till the weasel go pop!

That's how I ended the last post, and I think I wanna go ahead and cap this off before moving on. Cause I've heard that sentiment before.

So lets be clear. The "American church" wasn't sleep before the 70s. The Black Church was busy fighting segregation, neo-slavery, and legal discrimination. The White Church was busy fighting to maintain their way of life.

Quit crying. No, not all white churches everywhere in the US, no.

But make no mistake about it. If the Southern White church had been living out the words of Christ and not the words of . . . oh I don't know, just pick a random slaveowner . . . Jefferson Davis, maybe? Things would not have gone down the way they did. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we have the MLK Letters from a Birmingham Jail, but damn.

Now, I'm sorry I'm not going to spend much time proving that the White church wasn't sleep. Once you think about it, it's quite evident. But if not, let me know. Okay? Cause I got another point I wanna make.

Cause there's a reason white Christians, and maybe not even just the ones in the South, persist to insist on that myth. It's so they can pretend that the reason they suddenly stopped voting for Democrats just as blacks were allowed to vote isn't that they were/are racist. Naw. It was cause they were suddenly astounded to learn that women were having abortions. Or deeply disturbed that their children would no longer be led in prayer at the beginning of the school day.


Now you find yourselves protesting so that the wealthy won't have to pay more taxes or so that health insurance companies can continue with private death panels. I mean seriously. After a president who lied you into war and arrested and held Americans without cause and listened into phone calls, now, you're suddenly worried about your freedoms and liberty? Seriously? And it has nothing to do with race?

Please. Please. Please! Quit lying to yourselves. Do you really believe that after seeing fire hoses and police dogs being turned on fellow Americans; after the bombings of churches and homes; murders of little children . . . it was abortion that woke you up? Abortion that stirred you to action?

I think you're lying but my lord! I hope you're not. Naw, for real.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Social Justice that Jesus Could Support

Okay. So "social justice" wasn't the next post after writing about the Bible's liberal bias. :eye roll:

I wanted to take my time with this. I didn't want to just lambast a bunch of idiots and their idiocy like I usually do. I took this seriously cause dammit, they had to go bring my God into this!

Now, I've already done a post on what I think about social justice:
For clarification, according to Glen Harold Stassen and David P Gushee, in Kingdom Ethics (p151), the Hebrew word for "righteousness" means "delivering justice."

--the kind of justice that delivers the downtrodden from domination and brings the outcasts into community

I pulled my working definition so that we could have it in front of us. I increased the font size so that I would stay in front of us.

Happily, I doubt this will take as long as I had thought. I read several articles and essays on social justice and especially whether or not "welfare" did more harm than good. I had hoped to get to hard and fast numbers, but that wasn't as easy I had hoped. But what I found is more than sufficient for my purpose.

And that purpose is to not so much argue conservative Christians to my perspective as is challenge them to question their own. By that I mean taking a good look at reality, read the studies and do the research, and then ask yourself if you really mean what you say about God and government.

More importantly, I wanna get God out of partisan politics. Don't get me wrong. I'm not asking that people leave their faith outside the voting booth. No. I'm asking taht people who vote based on religious conviction also take into account facts and reality. Let's have our working base be a just and righteous government, regardless of its size. Let's put in place laws and agencies to ensure justice and righteousness then worry about size.

Cause ultimately, I suspect far too many conservative Christians are forcing religion to fit their predetermined political leaning. And while that make happen with liberal Christians as well, liberals aren't complaining that the Bible is too conservative. Let's be clear. A bible which highlights and emphasizes passages concerning the environment and man's relationship to nature is quite different from a bible translated with an end goal in mind. (There is no "feminist" bible, only feminist interpretations.)

I was with the author of the article on Christian social justice for a good portion of the essay actually. It's when the discussion turned to government's roll that the author lost me. For example:
A word of caution about socialism (democratic or otherwise) is in order here. Should Christians advocate a state political and economic system that to some extent redistributes wealth in order to bring about equality and lift up the poor? This temptation to use the state as a collectivist Robin Hood that steals from the rich and gives to the poor must be avoided at all costs. In fact, socialism, in any form, only hurts the poor in the end. Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute clearly addresses the dangers of socialism in his paper, “Capitalism and Christianity: an Uneasy Partnership”:
Really? Shouldn't a person at least define socialism before issuing a word of caution? Or, have a more concrete idea of which just and righteous acts are better done by individuals and which government before being so cautious?

And from the same essay:
Some examples of seemingly helpful actions – distributing condoms in Africa, clean needles to drug addicts, or incremental welfare to unwed mothers – may address immediate or surface problems, but over time, they can lead to much worse social problems. It has been widely shown that distributing condoms, clean needles, and incremental child welfare only perpetuate the social problems those state distribution programs are attempting to alleviate. Christians have a duty to offer prudent and wise solutions.
So I did attempt to find hard numbers showing that these seemingly helpful actions can leed to much worse social problems. Nothing. I did find a study on how much teens in low-income families work. It was helpful to the extent that the teens who could use jobs the most had the least access to jobs and/or just not a good employment model. But nothing suggesting that distributing clean needles and condoms actually increased the number of AIDS infections. And the only time child welfare "perpetuated" the problem is when due to the costs of transportation, childcare, etc, remaining on welfare was just the better, wiser decision. But most conservative Christians I hear and see don't suggest bringing good-paying, green jobs into urban centers. No, instead they rail against Van Jones, a person who did. They don't suggest easier access to childcare or an increase in the minimum wage. Do they? No, they just . . .

I'm sorry. I forgot I'm trying not to point fingers. So let me make my point another way.

Let's take abortion as an example cause that's an issue that can run people hot. And let me make my position clear. I'm not "pro-abortion" as though I think every woman should have one at least once in her life. I'm pro-choice because whether or not to bring life to fruition is between a woman and her god. I'm not going to tell some teenager or even 40-year-old career woman that they have to carry this . . . I'm sorry. People have names and memories. So I can't say "person." And I can't say "baby." But whatever the term, that's 9 months in a body that's not mine wearing shoes that don't belong to me. And that's not even getting into the 18-year commitment.

You know what. Yes. Let's get into the 18-year-long commitment. If I'm gonna force a woman to have a baby against her will, as though that's not rape, because I want to protect the life of the unborn, shouldn't I really put my money where my mouth is? But remember the big hubbub about S-CHIP? And what about making sure all kids get a quality education? Cause trust me, it ain't just urban schools that are crumbling. Poor white kids are going to piss poor schools to.

But that's not all. Long-term studies show that poverty can damage the brain's growth. So basically, no matter how much the child studies or the parents are involved or turn off the TV; if the child is in a precarious financial situation, the stress of wondering what you'll eat and how much you'll get to have or where you'll live is gonna damage his/her prospects for school and life. Now, while we previously thought poverty only affected the child to the extent that s/he received proper nutrition and medical care, and only recently are we looking into the effects of stress chemicals on the child's brain; we've known for a very long time that a child born in poverty really didn't have "equal opportunity." But just recently, Republican Cynthia Davis of the Missouri house suggested that "hunger can be a positive motivator."

Again, I haven't found anything suggesting that people willingly choose welfare over work out of sheer laziness. Or anything suggesting that clean needle programs actually increased the rate of illegal drug use. So please. Before you start taking the Lord's name in vain politics, first have a concrete idea of what social justice should look like absent prejudices for any particular "size" of government; second, deal with the facts and not speculation and conjecture; last, just flat keep YHWH out of partisan politics!

What really pissed me off in the previously referred to essay on Christian social justice was this line: If the church were awake when abortion was passed in the 70’s, it wouldn’t have happened. But the church was asleep” (Goodstein, “Disowning Conservative Politics”). Now granted, he was quoting someone else. And granted I think I may have heard the quote before. I just wanna pop go the weasel till the weasel go pop!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ram Rush

If I'm honest, I'm not sure how I feel about the possibility of Rush Limbaugh owning an NFL team. That's why I haven't posted anything about it. Though, the NFL Players' Union is against it.

See. My first thought is that it would be repulsive for the Rams to be sold in part to Rush. Don't get me wrong. There're other owners who's politics I might find disagreeable. But only Rush is on the air every day spreading racist nonsense. The players have a morality clause; team owners should have one as well.

Then again, it might be interesting to see what kinda team Rush could manage to put together. Maybe Pat B could be the quarterbacks' coach. Glenn Beck could be the wide receivers' coach. Michele Bachmann would head up the cheerleaders.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Obama (with Added Thoughts)

And another thing!: If Pres Obama doesn't deserve such accolades, he doesn't deserve the condemnation we've seen since his first day in office, either.

On second thought: Pres Obama is the first person of color to become president in the Western world. And for that, there's gotta be something higher than the Nobel Peace Prize for that! Cause Lord knows I didn't think I'd see one before my 40s or 50s, and I'm still in my 20s!

President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. I'm a bit surprised. It's kinda quick.

The Nobel committee sited his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Now a lot of people criticize Pres Obama for being a celebrity. Well, a lot of conservatives and idiots and haters. And well, the committee itself says, "Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future."

Then of course are those who got bent-out-of-shape when Pres Obama said he was a citizen of the world. And well, the committee itself says, "His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population."

And there're those who decry his diplomatic style and "apologizing" for the US to the world. And well, "Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. . . .Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened."

I don't know. I just find it interesting that the things some condemn you for, others will praise you for.

Gotta go now. Other things to work on. Life calls.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Got Give It Up for Mississippi

I'm not finished with the whole "lets make the Bible more conservative" issue, but I just got this in the inbox. Thought I'd share. And mind you:

White children who got the full story about historical discrimination had significantly better attitudes toward blacks than those who got the neutered version. Explicitness works.
And a sentence I think I'll try to flesh out more cause I find it interesting:

"It also made them feel some guilt," Bigler adds. "It knocked down their glorified view of white people." They couldn't justify in-group superiority.
Mississippi Mandates Civil Rights Classes in Schools

All students will study the nation's racial troubles and progress in US history

By Carmen K. Sisson
The Christian Science Monitor
October 4, 2009

McComb, Miss. - The boxwoods are perfectly trimmed to
spell out McComb. It's a warm, Mississippi welcome from
"The Camellia City of America," where streets are named
for states, and flowers spill from planters accenting
century-old architecture.

Only when you stroll beyond downtown, into older
neighborhoods, do you catch a faint whiff of another
time, a summer when the air seemed to always be filled
with smoke, the streets stained with blood - a time
when McComb had a darker moniker: "The Bombing Capital
of the World."

Most Mississippi children have never heard of Emmett
Till, the 14-year-old black child whose 1955 lynching
in Mississippi by a white mob galvanized the civil
rights movement. They haven't heard of the 1964
"Freedom Summer," when 1,000 volunteers swept into this
area to register black voters. They don't know about
ordinary citizens who faced extraordinary odds to bring

But they're going to know all about it soon. In a
groundbreaking reform - believed to be the first in the
nation - Mississippi will require civil rights as part
of its US history curriculum. McComb schools made that
move in 2006; but starting next fall, the stories of
the civil rights era will be taught - and tested - in
all public schools.

In many places, it will end a decades-old culture of
silence. People here don't like to remember the nights
of church bombings and explosions; the sound of rifles
being loaded in the dark as citizens patrolled
sidewalks and sanctuaries, trying to stem the violence.
They don't like to remember the fear and distrust -
between blacks and whites, but also among themselves.

"They just don't talk about it," says Jacquelyn Martin,
a black civil rights organizer. "People don't
understand that part of the healing begins when you
talk about it, so they just keep it to themselves."

Making it a subject in school is "a pretty drastic
change," says state curriculum specialist Chauncey
Spears. "But how can you have a strong education
program when you have high-achieving grads who have
such little understanding of their own history?"

Mississippi Senate Bill 2718, passed in 2006, mandates
all kindergartners to 12th-graders to be exposed to
civil rights education. In the younger grades, students
will read books such as "I Love My Hair!" as a way to
discuss concepts like racial differences in skin
complexion and hair texture. Later grades will delve
more deeply into how ordinary citizens shaped the civil
rights movement and the long-term effects those changes
had upon the nation.

Mr. Spears says the new curriculum is being taught this
year in 10 pilot programs. Teacher workshops begin this
month, taught by the state Department of Education in
conjunction with the Fannie Lou Hamer National
Institute on Citizenship and Democracy at Jackson State
University, Teaching for Change in Washington, and the
William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at
the University of Mississippi.

Mandating the new curriculum was the only way to ensure
it would be taught, says Spears. It's not that teachers
haven't wanted to teach civil rights, though he admits
that's probably the case in some places. It's more a
symptom of a nationwide problem, an educational
stricture some say is an unwelcome byproduct of the No
Child Left Behind Act: Teaching to the test. As the
stakes become higher, the curriculum narrows.

In some schools, Spears says, there's such intense
pressure to rectify faltering math and reading scores
that everything else is "pretty much ignored."

But how do you chart such relatively new territory in a
state where the history is still so fresh?

WHEN EDUCATORS BEGAN ASKING these questions, they
sought inspiration in the McComb High School classroom
of teacher Vickie Malone. Three years ago, when she
began teaching "Local Cultures" as an elective to
seniors, she had no idea what the course would become.
She just wanted her students to hear all the voices of
history, both black and white, taught in an open way
that promoted understanding, not fear.

"I wanted them to understand choices, and how
profoundly they can affect the rest of your life," Ms.
Malone says. "A lot of kids today are just numbed out,
but back then, the kids were the movers and the

(Indeed, in 1961, 300 students walked out of Burglund
High School to the McComb City Hall in support of
voting rights - 116 of them were jailed.)

It's painful, this exploration of history, but then,
nothing has been easy since Malone developed the class.
Because it's new, and not a critical course like math
or reading, it's often left off the master schedule by
accident, forcing her to recruit students. Even then,
it's not a quick sell. They don't need it for a
diploma. It won't get them into college.

The class is fashioned more like a college seminar than
a high school elective. There are no rigid rows of
desks, multiple-choice tests, or rote memorization.
Instead, students gather at a table to talk about
issues that even their grandparents and parents - some
of whom were participants on both sides of the civil
rights battles - may have difficulty discussing.

In one class last month, they examined dual
perspectives, and each student wrote a poem from two
angles, examining life through the eyes of another.
There were the expected combinations:
Popular/unpopular, rich/poor, white/black. But there
were surprises as well, and as they read their work to
their peers, there was occasional muffled admiration.

"Whoa," a student said, after one reading. "That's

Sometimes, discussions get heated, like the day a white
student became incensed by a black classmate's seeming
nonchalance to learn that one of McComb's top black
athletes had been recruited by an exclusive, all-white

"I thought she was going to leap across the table,"
Malone recalled. "She kept saying, 'Doesn't it make you
mad that you can't go there?' "

Some days there are tears. For Sarah Rowley, 17, the
class has been a watershed. Initially she saw it as "an
easy grade," but quickly realized she was wrong. Much
of the class centers on gathering oral narratives from
residents who grew up in a radically different McComb,
a place where inequality and violence was a part of
life. In the middle of one interview at the home of
Lillie Mae Cartstarphen, Sarah asked an innocent
question about the role of law enforcement during that

Sarah's grandfather had been a McComb policeman and,
later, chief of police during the 1960s. In her
family's eyes, he was a hero. But, says Sarah, her
voice trembling as she recounts the answer: "[Ms.
Cartstarphen] said you couldn't trust policemen, that
they were just as involved as the KKK. Even now, it
makes me want to cry. I thought, 'I have to regain my
composure. I can't let this interfere with what I'm
here to do.' But I felt like I was in a tug of war.
Here is this woman telling me this, but my family .
they're such good people. What do I do?"

She talked to Malone and to her father. She prayed.
Eventually, Sarah says, she made peace with the legacy
of a man struggling to keep his job, feed his family,
and survive in a troubled era. She's certain he'd make
different choices if he were alive today.

It's more difficult to talk about things with her
boyfriend, who attends Parklane Academy, which is 99
percent white. When Sarah reads books like "The
Mississippi Trials, 1955" she's overwhelmed by sadness.
But he doesn't want to hear about it, she says. "He
thinks it's over with and in the past. He gets up and
walks out.... He's growing up in this mind-set that's
so sheltered. It breaks my heart."

Malone's emphasis on seeing all perspectives makes it
easier for Sarah to cope. "I have to remember that if I
was in his shoes, I'd be the same way," Sarah says. "In
the South, it's a very, very touchy subject."

But Sarah believes passionately in the class - she took
it twice and returned this year as a teacher's aide:
"Stories like Emmett Till's - that should tear
everybody up. People need to know ... like they know
the Civil War.... Being in your little bubble isn't
going to help you at all."

And ultimately, say proponents of the curriculum
changes, that's the goal: Making Mississippi's future
better, even if it means dredging muddy waters.

DR. SUSAN GLISSON, director of the William Winter
Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University
of Mississippi, spends a lot of time thinking about
this, analyzing where the state has been and where it's
going. Pockets of progress are punctuated by serious

"Kids are practically being funneled from school to
prison," Ms. Glisson says. "When you throw in a failing
economy, terrorism, fears of wars abroad, and the first
African-American president, you have a potentially
dangerous situation. It requires us to be as vigilant
as ever."

The Southern Poverty Law Center cites a 50 percent
increase in hate groups and extremism in the US since
2000. As part of the Klanwatch project, the nonprofit
monitors more than 900 such currently active groups, 22
of them in Mississippi, and nearly 400 concentrated in
the remaining secession states: Texas, Louisiana,
Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida,
Virginia, and the Carolinas.

In McComb, the curriculum change has sparked a storm of
controversy. In his Aug. 29 editorial, "A Relevant
Subject," McComb Enterprise-Journal editor and
publisher Jack Ryan tried to allay fears that kids will
be force-fed a message of "white people bad, black
people good."

He says the issue "cuts too close to the bone." When
officials began talking about teaching civil rights,
they discussed omitting McComb church bombings. In
1984, when the newspaper published a 20-year
anniversary "Freedom Summer" report, a white employee
told him she wished they'd "just leave that stuff

Those feelings are echoed in public comments posted on
the paper's website below Mr. Ryan's editorial.

"I can't imagine what this course will accomplish other
than to open old wounds, some of which aren't healing
well as it is," says one poster.

But Spears says that's why Mississippi should pioneer
civil rights education: "It's not over, and that says a
lot about what this state can potentially become. We do
struggle, and out of necessity, we can't just stand pat
with the challenges we face."

Glisson agrees: "Mississippi owes this to the nation,
because so often we have led negatively. With better
understanding, we can make the state better."

That may come from the younger generation of
Mississippians like Delisa Magee, a black student in
Malone's class.

"We're not bad people; it's just our past," says
Delisa, as she puts away her notebook and heads to a
pep rally. "There's still so much racism down here on
both sides. It needs to change."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

God Has Heard Your Prayers!

And in record time, no less, as it was just last week that I requested your prayers. However sarcastic I may have been.

A group of conservatives have decided that the Bible as currently translated has a liberal bias. That includes the King James Version. Here's where they're collaborating to retranslate the Bible with it's true conservativism. Cause Jesus would've been a Republican. And my mother is Phyllis Schlafly.

You can google "conservative Bible project" to read a lot of opinions. They range from "liberal" mocking to religious admonishing. And let's not kid ourselves. If you're a conservative being chastised by, you may have taken things a little too far.

Now, I'm going to address a few problems I have with the project right now. Then, I need to eat. But mostly, since one of their gripes is the the Bible as it's currently translated "improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians," I'm gonna take some time later to show where the Bible encourages "social justice" regardless of the political bent of the translators/ions.

But as of right now, a few things. First, of course, is the most obvious, and that's the error of politicizing the Bible. And let me be clear. Am I a registered Democrat? Yes. Do I believe there is Biblical support for my political position? Yes, and by the way, I can use the original texts of both Testaments to prove my point.

If I'm wrong here, please correct me; but I never have and never will declare that Jesus would be a Democrat.

Again, I want to make sure I'm perfectly understood. Given the option of the two major political parties, and the civic duty to vote, do I think Jesus would vote Democrat? Yes, I actually do. That's my personal opinion.

So what am I trying to say, right? It's more than just not politicizing the Bible. It's my view that God is beyond partisanship. Just like I believe God is beyond gender. I try not to refer to God as "he" as though God is masculine, with a penis and testicals and facial hair. And unless I'm trying to make the point that we could pray, "Our Mother, who aren't in heaven," I shy away from "God/ess." It's not just because typing out "God/ess" is more cumbersome, but that I believe that God is beyond gender so much so that even to suggest God is both male and female would be incorrect. In my personal notes, yeah, I refer to God as "he"; again, it's easier to write than God; I've used that language all my life; and, I know what I really mean. But I don't believe God has a scrotum anymore than I believe God has a vagina. Listen, God is Spirit. God is Immaterial. God didn't come from dust. So let's not bog God down with "dust" labeling.

You get my point? If I were speaking to a group, I might even refer to God as "He" and in other masculine-form nouns to be able to speak about God in a way that wouldn't be distractive. But understand that part of the reason God is referred to as "He" in the Bible is that the word's available to descibe an All-Mighty Being were masculine! Just like "wisdom" in Proverbs is talked about like a woman; but it's the same concept John referres to in his Gospel where he says: "In the beginning was the Word."

So, are we all on the same page here? Yeah, it's my personal opinion that Jesus would be a liberal or progressive. I doubt that Jesus would vote for Democrats if there were a more liberal 3rd party. But my first instinct is that God is far above and beyond 21st century American partisanship.

Especially in light of the fact that even European conservatives support single-payer health systems!

Now. I don't have a problem with someone getting the original Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic so that they can better understand Scripture. In light of the fact that my health prevents me from taking a class in Greek or Hebrew, and that the different lettering makes my head buzz, I watch a lot of Pastor Melissa Scott. I dig her cause she uses these classroom size dry-erase boards to write out the original language, then goes through translating it in her sermons. Oh, it's just great! The lettering still makes my head buzz, but it's not as bad with the English written out nearby. And sorry folks, a complete interlinear Bible is out of my budget right now . . .

Though, if you wanna send a donation, let me know. I'll see if I can set that up! LOL!

So, no. I don't have a problem with the desire to go and dig out the true meaning of the Scriptures. But seeking to translate, or even retranslate (Not everyone wants to go so far as to start from scratch. Some are satisfied with editting the King James Version.), the Bible for the purposes of partisanship is unseemly and even wicked.

That's my first point.

Now, I like others think their goal of "Express[ing] Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning" is asinine, as well as wicked and false. But, I also think they're ignorant as to the meaning of "social justice." Or, at least what activisst mean when we use the term.

So, hopefully in my next post, I'll flesh that out as well as demonstrate God's call for social justice through the entire Bible, any version.

Oh! Let me just say here before I forget and not say at all that social justice, doing what's right and just throughout society, (Did I just flesh it out? I sure hope so.) shouldn't be so partisan an issue that someone would claim that Christians either shouldn't be involved in a movement for social justice or are motivated by false Bible translations that supports  it. (What? Huh?) In fact, it shouldn't be a partisan issue at all.

But anyway, God heard your prayers. :eye roll:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Last of the Dumasses

I'm sure you know the saying: those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it.

And quite possibly, you're aware of how ridiculously stupid/ignorant/unlearned Americans are. And I mean dumb as a box of rocks . . . apologies to all boxes of rocks.

I mean really. Do you really think that people from half way around the world "hate us for our freedom" enough to kill us? -> Which reminds me. I'm so glad these townhalls are over! If I had to hear another white person go all Cinque from Amistad, "Give us us free!" I was gonna pop! I mean seriously. Can you be more dumb and insensitive?

Again, dumb as a box of rocks . . . apologies to all boxes of rocks.

The lesson that should've been learned is that the US did not get out of the Great Depression until WWII forced us to the federal government to spend money like a scorned woman with her husband's credit card. Or, to be more gender neutral, like a cheating husband with his mistress.

Instead of cowaring to 'Pubs, congressional Democrats and the Obama administration need to put more people to work. If 'Pub governors like Jindal or Perry wish to keep their states in recession, so be it. Do the right thing, homies!!

The Truth About Jobs That No One Wants to Tell

If the feds don't spend money to put people back
to work, the economy won't recover and politics
will get uglier

By Robert Reich

Oct. 2, 2009

Unemployment will almost certainly be in double-digits next year -- and may remain there for some time. And for every person who shows up as unemployed in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' household survey, you can bet there's another either too discouraged to look for work or working part time who'd rather have a full-time job or else taking home less pay than before (I'm in the last category, now that the University of California has instituted pay cuts). And there's yet another person who's more fearful that he or she will be next to lose a job.

In other words, 10 percent unemployment really means 20 percent underemployment or anxious employment. All of which translates directly into late payments on mortgages, credit cards, auto and student loans, and loss of health insurance. It also means sleeplessness for tens of millions of Americans. And, of course, fewer purchases (more on this in a moment).

Unemployment of this magnitude and duration also translates into ugly politics, because fear and anxiety are fertile grounds for demagogues wielding the politics of resentment against immigrants, blacks, the poor, government leaders, business leaders, Jews and other easy targets. It's already started. Next year is a mid-term election. Be prepared for worse.

So why is unemployment and underemployment so high, and why is it likely to remain high for some time? Because, as noted, people who are worried about their jobs or have no jobs, and who are also trying to get out from under a pile of debt, are not going to do a lot of shopping. And businesses that don't have customers aren't going to do a lot of new investing. And foreign nations also suffering high unemployment aren't going to buy a lot of our goods and services.

And without customers, companies won't hire. They'll cut payrolls instead.

Which brings us to the obvious question: Who's going to buy the stuff we make or the services we provide, and therefore bring jobs back? There's only one buyer left: The government.

Let me say this as clearly and forcefully as I can: The federal government should be spending even more than it already is on roads and bridges and schools and parks and everything else we need. It should make up for cutbacks at the state level, and then some. This is the only way to put Americans back to work. We did it during the Depression. It was called the WPA.

Yes, I know. Our government is already deep in debt. But let me tell you something: When one out of six Americans is unemployed or underemployed, this is no time to worry about the debt.

When I was a small boy my father told me that I and my kids and my grand-kids would be paying down the debt created by Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Depression and World War II. I didn't even know what a debt was, but it kept me up at night.

My father was right about a lot of things, but he was wrong about this. America paid down FDR's debt in the 1950s, when Americans went back to work, when the economy was growing again, and when our incomes grew, too. We paid taxes, and in a few years that FDR debt had shrunk to almost nothing.

You see? The most important thing right now is getting the jobs back, and getting the economy growing again.

People who now obsess about government debt have it backwards. The problem isn't the debt. The problem is just the opposite. It's that at a time like this, when consumers and businesses and exports can't do it, government has to spend more to get Americans back to work and recharge the economy. Then - after people are working and the economy is growing -- we can pay down that debt.

But if government doesn't spend more right now and get Americans back to work, we could be out of work for years. And the debt will be with us even longer. And politics could get much uglier.

Update: This morning's job numbers are bad enough -- 263,000 more jobs lost in September, and unemployment now at 9.8 percent -- but look behind them and the news is even grimmer. The only reason the numbers don't look worse is that 571,000 workers dropped out of the labor force. Remember, too, that the economy needs about 125,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with a growing population. So we're even further behind.

The numbers would be even worse but for the stimulus package. According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, the stimulus is saving or creating between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs a month. Without it, job losses in September would have been nearly twice what they actually were.

State governments, meanwhile, continue to shed employees. Here's one of the most depressing statistics I've seen (if you need any additional ones): Some 15,600 teachers didn't return to work in September. They were laid off. So our classrooms are bigger, we have fewer teachers, and our students are presumably learning less -- at the very time when they need to be learning more than ever.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ego Has Landed!!!

Okay so yeah, I had this thought earlier today, but was working on the healthcare post.

So anyway. Chicago lost its bit to host the Olympics. Rio de Janeiro won. I'm quite pleased that Rio won. I cheer for Latin America, much of which is steeped in African tradition and heritage. I'm not sure how I feel about the way Rio treats its poor; but be that is it may, I'm not happy that Chicago lost.

Conservatives and 'Publicans are. Beck and Rush, though, are. The headline "The Ego Has Landed" is borrowed from the drudgereport. However, I can't bring myself to link you to any idiot (re: conservative) sites, so this will have to do.

But. If you know me, you know my contrary thinking found a silver lining, gold even, around this particular cloud.

  1. Since "the world reject has rejected Obama", that should put an end to all the "Obama is the anti-Christ" dribble.
  2. It should also put an end to the Obama new global world order nonsense.
  3. No more false patriotism.

I think that's it. I'll update if I come up with anymore.

Die Quickly!

Okay, so Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fl) is one of my new heroes. I have some other new heroines after watching Oprah yesterday (Oct 1, 2009); but more about them in another post.

Recently, the minority leader in the House of Congress, Rep John Boehner claimed not to have taked to a regular person who supported the public option. I think he's lying, but I called his DC office, hoping to talk to him, anyway. He wasn't available. Probably somewhere lying some more. So I talked to the staff person who answered the phone. Boehner's objects to the public option are standard 'Publican dribble. But, as you know, there are somethings in their argument I just can't figure out.

So first off, a public option could eventually take over the private industry, according to Boehner. I'm left to wonder how exactly that would work, as though people would "opt" into it against their will. So of course, I point out that the option would have to operate like a regular private company, collecting revenue and premiums and all. Then the guy said something about Medicare running up the national debt. And I was confused on a number of levels.

Sorry, but genius though I be, if you say something stupid enough, you can leave my speechless.

I responded that I didn't think the guy was being completely accurate, but as the point was to record my support for the public option, I went ahead and ended the call. But, still bothered by the issue of the of Medicare adding to the national debt. "Huh?" The first thing that came to mind was that Social Security was running low, but I knew that was because previous administrations had been raiding the Social Security trust fund in order to afford tax cuts. But that wasn't the case with Medicare. Also, if Medicare is rising to the national debt, and it's not because we're just printing money to fund it (If that were the case, I'm certain we'd have heard it by now.), then isn't the problem the rising cost of healthcare altogether? What does that have to do with Medicare? Doesn't that mean that everybody's being hit?

So I do some quick research. I discovered that healthcare costs are being driven up by over-treatment. "Huh?"

From the AARP:
Of our total $2.3 trillion health care bill last year, a whopping $500 billion to $700 billion was spent on treatments, tests, and hospitalizations that did nothing to improve our health. Even worse, new evidence suggests that too much health care may actually be killing us. According to estimates by Elliott Fisher, M.D., a noted Dartmouth researcher, unnecessary care leads to the deaths of as many as 30,000 Medicare recipients annually.
To his credit, the guy did mention that the public option wouldn't contain rising healthcare costs, and would end up in the red like Medicare, which is how Medicare got brought up. But as I recall, the public option isn't supposed to contain costs; there're other parts of the president's plan that would do that like adjusting provider compensation. And that's something the president wants to do (via his Minnesota townhall transcript):

Now, think about that if car -- auto repair shops operated the same way. You take your car in and you get it fixed, and a week later the thing is broken again. You go in. The guy says, well, let me charge you all over again, and I'll do just the same thing. That doesn't make sense. So what we've said is, let's give hospitals an incentive. Let's say to the hospitals, we're going to charge you for overall treatment of whatever the problem is. And if you get it right the first time, you get to keep a little extra money. But if you keep on having the person coming back again and again, then there's a disincentive.
But he doesn't meant to use the public option to do so.

Some other reasons we've been spending more on healthcare than on food is probably how much we spend on food! We're just not doing enough to take care of ourselves and prevent illnesses like diabetes.

Two other sites where you can find some answers to any questions talking to a conservative might raise are Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Coalition on Healthcare.

But, if I made any news, it's that Republicans don't like Medicare as much as they've been recently saying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pray for Me!

Oh, my Lord! I am so upset right now.

Originally, I intended to mock Liberty Counsel's "Adopt a Liberal" project. But now, I'm a little pissed. To answer David Waters's questions, prayer initiatives like these are condescending. I would agree that Jim Wallis was also being condescending about prayer for Glenn Beck except that Beck has asked for prayer and clearly needs it. To Waters's second question, prayer should not be politicized.

Especially if you're the one spouting off about the bi-racial president being racist towards whites and also about armed uprisings.

But I digress. Here's the thing. I cannot for the life of me figure how people who claim to love "freedom," who're currently decrying the intrusion of government between patients and their doctors, can deny gays and lesbians the freedom to marry and feel free to intrude between a woman and her doctor.

But mostly, I'm pissed about the misappropriation of my own faith. It makes me want to scream!!

All those people hanging all over Jesus? Does anyone really think that not one of the "sinners and publicans" dining with Jesus was gay. Not one? And for all that's written in the Bible, do we really think it's just an oddity that no where does the Bible explicitly prohibit purposely ending a pregnancy pre-term?

And to conservative Christians, do you really suggest gays and lesbians, or women who've had abortions, are beyond God's reach? If you believe abortion is a sin, is it somehow not among the multitude that love covers?

Now, am I saying homosexuality is okay with God? That God smiles at abortions? No, I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that it's not up to me what other people do. All I can do is show them the love of Christ. Who, by the way, passed up the chance to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery. Who ministered to Samaritans and even gave a good Samaritan the starring role in a parable?

And speaking of parables . . . what about the one where the father runs out to meet and hug his long-lost son? Doesn't the whole story all start with the father honoring his son's request for his share of the inheritance?

And please, please!! Someone help me understand how or why God would hold us responsible for gay marriage and abortions, but not for the nearly 45,000 people who die each year because they have no health insurance?

Oh, and by the way, I'd have an easier time takiLinkng your anti-abortion stance seriously if you didn't link it to the need for more low-wage workers.

So by all means, please keep praying! Cause I've found prayer does more to change the one praying than the people they're praying for. And I trust you'll find the same.

Did I just politicize prayer? No. This isn't about Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal. This is about not taking the Lord's name in vain and/or blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.

But if you disagree and think that I am politicizing prayer, then . . . don't pray.

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