Oct 222010

President Obama’s “It Gets Better” video:


Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It’s something that just shouldn’t happen in this country.

We’ve got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage – that it’s some inevitable part of growing up. It’s not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.

I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you. And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.

But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you’re getting down on yourself, you’ve got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it’s your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You’ve got to reach out to them, don’t feel like you’re in this by yourself.

The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you’re going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You’ll look back on the struggles you’ve faced with compassion and wisdom. And that’s not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.

It will mean that you’ll be more likely to help fight discrimination – not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you’ll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it’s so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people’s eyes and stand in their shoes – that we never lose sight of what binds us together.

As a nation we’re founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That’s the freedom that enriches all of us. That’s what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.


Oct 212010

There has been a lot of chatter on a lot of blogs by a lot of so-called experts (particularly on the right) about NPR’s decision to fire Juan Williams over comments he made on a FOX News program.

Let’s cut to chase, shall we? NPR was completely within their rights to fire Mr. Williams. This is not the first time he has run afoul of his bosses at NPR over comments he made while appearing as a paid commentator on FOX News. Mr. Williams has made it abundantly clear that he would rather work for Rupert Murdoch’s right wing propaganda machine than at NPR. Today he got his wish. FOX signed him to a multimillion dollar contract.

So the wingnuts on the right can now have all they want of Juan Williams. Juan Williams is now where he wanted to be all along. NPR is better off without him. Everyone is happy, though the folks on the right will continue to feign indignation for a few more days. (They are very good at that.)

End of story.

Old wounds

 Posted by at 18:35  Politics
Oct 202010

What motive could Virginia Hill possibly have for opening up these old wounds at this late date?

Virginia Thomas seeks apology from Anita Hill

It is one of Washington’s enduring mysteries.

Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his fractious Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it remains unclear who was lying.

Hill has maintained that she told the truth. Thomas, meanwhile, has steadfastly denied her accusations.

Now, Virginia Thomas, the justice’s wife, has rekindled the controversy by leaving a voice mail message at Hill’s Brandeis University office seeking an apology.

“Good morning Anita Hill, it’s Ginni Thomas,” said the message left this month, according to a transcript provided by ABC News. “I just want to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.”

“I certainly thought the call was inappropriate,” Hill, who worked for Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions, said in a statement released by Brandeis, where she is a professor.

“I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony,” she added.

I remember the Senate confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas quite clearly. Anita Hill was a very believable witness. I believed her then and I believe her now. Besides, it has become abundantly clear over the years that Mr. Thomas did not then and does not now possess either the intelligence or the intellect needed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. I was thoroughly amazed when the Senate confirmed him to the Court by a vote of 52 to 48.

Clarence Thomas will always be one of George H. W. Bush’s biggest regrets and embarrassments.

Clarence and Virginia Thomas
Clarence and Virginia Thomas

Anita Hill
Anita Hill


The Republican narrative

 Posted by at 14:28  Politics
Oct 192010

The following video is must-watch for anyone in the United States who has any interest whatsoever in the midterm elections scheduled for two weeks from now. That should be everybody in the United States. It is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast last evening, October 18, 2010. Rachel explains in no uncertain terms how the media has adopted the Republican narrative for these midterms and emphasizes again how important the outcome of these elections is to each and every one of us.

If you are of (or close to) voting age and a citizen of the United States of America, you need to be interested in and involved in these elections. If you are not, shame on you. It really is that simple and that important.

Weekly Address 10-16-10

 Posted by at 06:52  Politics
Oct 162010

“GOP Rewarding Corporations that Create Jobs Overseas”

From the White House weblog:

The President lays out his agenda to foster investment here at home. He vows to close the tax loopholes for sending jobs and profits overseas that Congressional Republicans have tried to protect.

“When more things are made in America, more families make it in America; more jobs are created in America; more businesses thrive in America. But Republicans in Washington have consistently fought to keep these corporate loopholes open. Over the last four years alone, Republicans in the House voted 11 times to continue rewarding corporations that create jobs and profits overseas – a policy that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.”

Click below to listen to the audio only:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The transcript of the president’s weekly address, as prepared for delivery, is available after the break.

Continue reading »

Oct 152010

It’s our weekly compilation of the political and editorial cartoons that we deem to be the best published during the week just ending. Your mileage may vary (though it probably shouldn’t). Click and enjoy…

anderson101110.jpg   bagley101110.jpg   beattie101310.jpg

bennett101210.jpg   bennett101310.jpg   bennett101510.jpg

billday101110.jpg   billday101410.jpg   cole101010.jpg

cole101110.jpg   darkow101310.jpg   englehart101310.jpg

fitzsimmons101110.jpg   fitzsimmons101210.jpg   fitzsimmons101410.jpg

hands101110.jpg   harville101410.jpg   heller101310.jpg

heller101510.jpg   margulies101410.jpg   mikescott101210.jpg

pett101210.jpg   sack101310.jpg   sherffius101410.jpg

stein101210.jpg   ohman101210.jpg   sheneman101210.jpg

As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.

Bonus video (may not viewable outside the United States):


It gets better

 Posted by at 15:13  General
Oct 152010

In case you missed it, skipped over it or haven’t had the chance to see it yet…

The story as reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram follows…

Fort Worth councilman offers hope to youths struggling with their sexuality

FORT WORTH — Just hold on. It really does get better.

That’s the message Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns shared in an emotional speech during Tuesday night’s council meeting, saying his goal was to reach out to youths everywhere who are struggling with being gay.

During a moving speech, Burns said it tears him up each time he hears about youths taking their own lives somewhere in America after being bullied because of their sexuality or simply struggling with it.

Burns, who is gay, said he’d like to give his 13-year-old self — who also struggled with being gay — glimpses into the future.

His younger version would see him meeting his partner, being loved by his parents, winning a City Council election, Burns said.

“High school was difficult, coming out was painful,” he said. “I want to tell any teen who is watching this, life will get better. … Life will get so, so, so much better.”

Burns’ sometimes tearful comments drew praise from his fellow council members.

“So very proud of my friend and colleague Joel Burns for his stance against bullying of gay youth and those perceived to be gay,” Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks wrote on Facebook during the meeting. “I am sure he saved many tonight.”

Councilman Sal Espino echoed Hicks’ thoughts.

“Burns displayed tremendous personal courage today in speaking out against bullying against youth and children particularly gay youth in light of the recent tragedies,” he also posted on Facebook. “Fort Worth is a diverse community and we believe that all of God’s children should be treated with dignity, compassion, and love.”


Oct 142010

New DNC ad targeted mainly at young voters but it carries an important message for all of us…

The clip of President Obama is from a speech he gave at a large DNC sponsored rally at the University of Wisconsin on September 28.

Small Spender

 Posted by at 14:39  Election 2010, Politics
Oct 112010

I would encourage you to read Paul Krugman’s latest column. He really puts the lie to the right’s main talking point in the current midterm elections…

Hey, Small Spender

Here’s the narrative you hear everywhere: President Obama has presided over a huge expansion of government, but unemployment has remained high. And this proves that government spending can’t create jobs.

Here’s what you need to know: The whole story is a myth. There never was a big expansion of government spending. In fact, that has been the key problem with economic policy in the Obama years: we never had the kind of fiscal expansion that might have created the millions of jobs we need.

Ask yourself: What major new federal programs have started up since Mr. Obama took office? Health care reform, for the most part, hasn’t kicked in yet, so that can’t be it. So are there giant infrastructure projects under way? No. Are there huge new benefits for low-income workers or the poor? No. Where’s all that spending we keep hearing about? It never happened.

Click on the title of the column to continue reading.