Tag Archives: current-events

‘Becoming A Man’ course: Helping young African-American men avoid prison

2 Jul

 

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read Tim Jones’ Bloomberg article, Chicago’s 29% Homicide Drop Comes With 400 Cops Working Overtime, which was posted at the Business Week site:

 

Chicago cut its homicide rate by 29 percent during the first half of this year, thanks in part to a crime prevention strategy that paid 400 officers overtime to quell violence in the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

 

Following a year in which homicides topped 500 for only the second time in a decade, Chicago reported its lowest first six-month total since 1965 — 180 through June 30, according to police data. That’s 76 fewer than the same period in 2012.

 

A question hanging over the latest homicide figures is the city’s financial ability to maintain the beefed-up street force as temperatures rise and costs mount. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-07-02/chicago-s-29-percent-homicide-drop-comes-with-400-cops-working-overtime

 

The murder rate and the associated violence has profound implications for society as well as the victims and perpetrators.

 

 

Sophia Kerby writes in the Center for American Progress report, The Top 10 Most Startling Facts About People of Color and Criminal Justice in the United States: A Look at the Racial Disparities Inherent in Our Nation’s Criminal-Justice System:

 

1. While people of color make up about 30 percent of the United States’ population, they account for 60 percent of those imprisoned. The prison population grew by 700 percent from 1970 to 2005, a rate that is outpacing crime and population rates. The incarceration rates disproportionately impact men of color: 1 in every 15 African American men and 1 in every 36 Hispanic men are incarcerated in comparison to 1 in every 106 white men.

 

2. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Individuals of color have a disproportionate number of encounters with law enforcement, indicating that racial profiling continues to be a problem. A report by the Department of Justice found that blacks and Hispanics were approximately three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than white motorists. African Americans were twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

 

3. Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make up two-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today.

 

4. According to recent data by the Department of Education, African American students are arrested far more often than their white classmates. The data showed that 96,000 students were arrested and 242,000 referred to law enforcement by schools during the 2009-10 school year. Of those students, black and Hispanic students made up more than 70 percent of arrested or referred students. Harsh school punishments, from suspensions to arrests, have led to high numbers of youth of color coming into contact with the juvenile-justice system and at an earlier age.

 

5. African American youth have higher rates of juvenile incarceration and are more likely to be sentenced to adult prison. According to the Sentencing Project, even though African American juvenile youth are about 16 percent of the youth population, 37 percent of their cases are moved to criminal court and 58 percent of African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

 

6. As the number of women incarcerated has increased by 800 percent over the last three decades, women of color have been disproportionately represented. While the number of women incarcerated is relatively low, the racial and ethnic disparities are startling. African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated.

 

7. The war on drugs has been waged primarily in communities of color where people of color are more likely to receive higher offenses. According to the Human Rights Watch, people of color are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites, but they have higher rate of arrests. African Americans comprise 14 percent of regular drug users but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. From 1980 to 2007 about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African American.

 

8. Once convicted, black offenders receive longer sentences compared to white offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison.

 

9. Voter laws that prohibit people with felony convictions to vote disproportionately impact men of color. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are denied the right to vote based on a past felony conviction. Felony disenfranchisement is exaggerated by racial disparities in the criminal-justice system, ultimately denying 13 percent of African American men the right to vote. Felony-disenfranchisement policies have led to 11 states denying the right to vote to more than 10 percent of their African American population.

 

10. Studies have shown that people of color face disparities in wage trajectory following release from prison. Evidence shows that spending time in prison affects wage trajectories with a disproportionate impact on black men and women. The results show no evidence of racial divergence in wages prior to incarceration; however, following release from prison, wages grow at a 21 percent slower rate for black former inmates compared to white ex-convicts. A number of states have bans on people with certain convictions working in domestic health-service industries such as nursing, child care, and home health care—areas in which many poor women and women of color are disproportionately concentrated. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2012/03/13/11351/the-top-10-most-startling-facts-about-people-of-color-and-criminal-justice-in-the-united-states/

 

The question becomes is there anything that can be done to stop individual involvement in criminal activity and/or violent crime.

 

Jennifer Aniston got into a flap about her opinion regarding single motherhood. As reported by the Celebitchy blog in the post, Bill O’Reilly Takes On Jennifer Aniston’s Pro-Single Mother Comments Aniston said:

 

Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing… that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long. The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere. That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.

 

See, Andrea Peyser’s Gals Being Lost in ‘No Man’ Land

 

The Washington Post article, Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence made moi think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero, Will Thomas.

 

The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

 

Why does the culture think that the opinion of any celebrity should be valued above common sense? Celebrities will often repeat the mantra that they are not role models and really want to work on their art or their craft. But, many young people look up to these babbling heads as if they are an example of the best way to live. So, the question becomes how to give children the values that they might receive if they were in a healthy family. Youth Guidance attempts to meet that need with the “Becoming A Man” program.

 

Youth Guidance describes “Becoming a Man” (BAM):

 

 

Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. (Becoming A Man™) – Sports Edition is a school-based counseling, mentoring, violence prevention and educational enrichment program that promotes social, emotional and behavioral competencies in at-risk male youth. B.A.M – Sports Edition’s curriculum addresses six core values: integrity, accountability, self-determination, positive anger expression, visionary goal-setting and respect for women, as each value relates to personal and academic success.

 

B.A.M. – Sports Edition addresses key challenges African-American and Latino youth confront daily in some of  Chicago’s toughest communities. B.A.M. – Sports Edition focuses exclusively on males because they are vastly more likely than females to be either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. Youth Guidance’s Anthony DiVittorio, L.C.P.C. created B.A.M. in response to an observation that his male students often lacked physical and emotional access to their fathers or other positive male role models. DiVittorio designed the B.A.M. curriculum around an innovative application of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, resiliency theory and rites of passage “men’s work” that have been demonstrated to successfully help youth improve self-regulation, social skills, and interpersonal skills. B.A.M. is invested in helping youth improve life-long protective factors and reduce behavioral risk factors.

 

Over the course of 30 weekly sessions, B.A.M. – Sports Edition participants engage in developmentally-based lessons and challenges that promote their emotional literacy, impulse-control, social competence, positive peer relations and interpersonal problems-solving skills. B.A.M. – Sports Edition is designed to help students pass classes, reduce both in-school and out of school suspensions, reduce detentions, increase school attendance, reduce disciplinary problems, and support grade promotion.

 

Results of the study released in 2012 show that B.A.M. works and is cost-effective. Program participants saw a 10 percent increase in graduation rates, a reduction in failing grades by 37 percent, and a decrease in violent crime arrests by 44 percent. At a cost of $1,100 per participant, the Crime Lab estimates the social benefit/cost ratio to be at least 3:1 per participating youth.

 

The University of Chicago Crime Lab study shows that Youth Guidance’s B.A.M. program reduces youth violence, increases school achievement and helps Chicago’s young men reach their full potential.  ‘Becoming a Man’ helps young men find evidence of their worth, strengthen their connection to and success in school, and help build safer communities,” stated Youth Guidance’s CEO Michelle Morrison.

 

B.A.M.’s curriculum is built on six B.A.M. Core Values

 

Here are the BAM Core Values:

 

1.INTEGRITY – is the core principle of the program. Students learn to identify and respect societal values and to conduct themselves in accordance with those values. Students learn that a man’s word should have meaning, and that a man’s integrity is dependent on keeping his word. Students learn that a man is someone who is reliable, honest and in touch with his integrity or lack thereof. He makes amends when he is out of integrity, and does what he says he is going to do.

 

 

2. ACCOUNTABILITY – Students learn that they should be responsible for the choices that they make and take ownership for their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Students learn that a man does not project, or put blame onto others for the consequences of his own bad choices. A man can feel anger, sadness or fear, but he must own his reactions to those emotions.

 

 

3. SELF-DETERMINATION – is a learned skill, and practice begins in B.A.M. group. Students learn the importance of focus and perseverance in reaching one’s goals. Students learn to deal with self-defeating feelings, thoughts and behaviors that can become obstacles or barriers to goal-attainment. Students learn that self-doubt, uncertainty, and moments of weakness are natural when attempting to reach a goal.

 

 

4.POSITIVE ANGER EXPRESSION – is the most effective and remembered lesson taught in the program. Students learn that anger is a normal emotion that can be expressed in a constructive manner. This skill allows for the alleviation of angry feelings and becomes a bridge to goal attainment. Students learn anger management coping skills such as deep breathing exercises to elicit a relaxation response. Students learn effective techniques to express anger that avoid typical negative consequences (i.e. suspensions, arrests, damaged relationships, etc.).

 

 

5.VISIONARY GOAL SETTING – Students learn the difference between short-term and long-term goals and how to create realistic steps toward goal attainment. Students learn to envision their manhood in the future and to make clear connections between their current behaviors, attitudes and values and their vision. During this intense phase, students aim to get in touch with traumas, pains and faulty thinking that cause them to act in negative, destructive manners. They learn how to heal these parts of themselves and to use the energy toward attaining their vision. Not all students are ready for this phase of the program. However, it can be a life altering phase for those who are.

 

 

6. RESPECT FOR WOMANHOOD – Students go through three stages of learning. First, there are lectures and discussions around the history and contemporary roles that women have held in society. Students are challenged to take a critical look at which norms represent positive value and appreciation as opposed to depreciation, devaluing and oppression. Second, students learn concrete positive communication skills and begin using them during their interactions. As a result, students enter the final stage of training, wherein they increase their value and appreciation of womanhood.

 

 

B.A.M. – Sports Edition places special emphasis on issues surrounding respect and integrity. This value reinforces those important messages at a deeper level.

 

 

See, Therapy Helps Troubled Teens Rethink Crime http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/02/188646607/therapy-helps-troubled-teens-rethink-crime?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=share&utm_campaign=

 

It is going to take coordination between not only education institutions, but a strong social support system to get many of these children through school. This does not mean a large program directed from Washington. But, more resources at the local school level which allow discretion with accountability. For example, if I child is not coming to school because they have no shoes or winter coat, then the child gets new shoes and/or a coat. School breakfast and lunch programs must be supported and if necessary, expanded. Unfortunately, schools are now the early warning system for many families in crisis.

 

 

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The PC morons are going to get us killed: Yes, Virginia evil walks among us

19 Apr

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: As this post is written, the authorities are searching for the suspect(s) who were involved in the Boston Marathon Bombing We, as a society are reluctant to call it what it is-a case of pure EVIL. For those who want to celebrate diversity or respect cultural competency or don’t want to make judgments because we believe there is a level of cultural equivalency, moi says you are morons. Just as every race, cultural, religion, creed, and family may have individuals who are for lack of a better description, batshit crazy, this goes beyond crazy, it is EVIL.

According to the Free Dictionary.com definition, EVIL  is:

adj. e·vil·er, e·vil·est

1. Morally bad or wrong; wicked: an evil tyrant.

2. Causing ruin, injury, or pain; harmful: the evil effects of a poor diet.

3. Characterized by or indicating future misfortune; ominous: evil omens.

4. Bad or blameworthy by report; infamous: an evil reputation.

5. Characterized by anger or spite; malicious: an evil temper.

n.

1. The quality of being morally bad or wrong; wickedness.

2. That which causes harm, misfortune, or destruction: a leader’s power to do both good and evil.

3. An evil force, power, or personification.

4. Something that is a cause or source of suffering, injury, or destruction: the social evils of poverty and injustice.

adv. Archaic

In an evil manner.

EVIL is an ideology, a way of life. Just because folk use the umbrella of a more benign philosophy to shield them from criticism for their dastardly deeds doesn’t mean the clear thinking and rational folk can’t point out that it is not a benign philosophy which caused the murder and the mayhem, it is the FREE WILL CHOICE of individuals propelled by EVIL impulses. The abortion bombers were no more representing Christianity than a non-believer. They used the umbrella of the Christian name to attempt to shield themselves from criticism. It is interesting that the most successful social movements are led by those who espoused Non-Violent Protest

So, for those wimps who are afraid to call out EVIL and terrorism because they are afraid of hurting some one’s self esteem, your stupidity will get a lot more people killed. We need be united in removing the umbrella from those who seek to shield themselves from the discovery that they are EVIL. EVIL knows no race, color, creed, religion, class, gender, or sexual orientation. EVIL simply seeks destruction for whatever twisted pleasure is derived.

“Evil is no faceless stranger, living in a distant neighborhood. Evil has a wholesome, hometown face, with merry eyes and an open smile. Evil walks among us, wearing a mask which looks like all our faces.”

Dean Koontz

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I gotta have a man, so my child’s safety doesn’t matter

31 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Pick a city, any city and one will periodically get a story like Kathleen Cooper’s Tacoma New Tribune story, TACOMA: 2-year-old killed; man booked into jail:

A 2-year-old child was killed Saturday morning in Tacoma, and a man has been booked into the Pierce County jail on suspicion of murder.

The News Tribune is not naming the man because he has not yet been charged.

Tacoma police did not release much information beyond the fact of the death, including the gender of the child, the location of the death or the relationship of the suspect to the victim. Tacoma police responded to the scene around 7:30 or 8 a.m., said Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool. There was “a pattern of abuse,” she said.

Asked why no more details of the crime were available, Cool said the investigation was continuing.

They’ll charge him on Monday,” she said. “Once they do that, (the information) will come from the prosecutor’s office.”
http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/03/31/2537250/tacoma-2-year-old-killed-man-booked.html#hyperlocal-headlines-default

Vernol Coleman wrote an excellent report in the Seattle Weekly entitled A Child Left Behind

Years before she was rescued from virtual imprisonment, Janet (not her real name) tried unsuccessfully to run away from home. On a spring afternoon in March 2005, 11-year-old Janet, accompanied by one of her elementary-school classmates, opted out of her usual bus ride home and fled for the safety of somewhere other than her parents’ Carnation residence. Hours later, a local man called Carnation Elementary School‘s main office to report that the two had arrived at his house a few miles away, and were resting on his front lawn. They were eventually returned to the custody of school officials. There, months of silence gave way to confession as Janet revealed the real reason she had bolted: fear.

According to witness statements given to investigators from the King County Sheriff’s Department, Janet begged her teachers, including Susie Marshall, not to send her home. “Please don’t call my dad,” she said. “He won’t believe me.”

Per the guidelines of the Riverview School District‘s homeschooling program, Janet attended Carnation Elementary two days a week—often enough for at least two of her teachers to notice the slightness of her frame. Still, they didn’t suspect just how bizarre the disciplinary methods at the Pomeroy household had become.

“From what we could tell, no one had any idea that this was going on,” says Carol Gould, one of Janet’s instructors.

Each morning after her father, Jon Pomeroy, a software engineer at a Bellevue information technology firm called Estorian, left for work, Janet remained locked inside a windowless room in a converted garage while her father’s wife, Rebecca Long, slept. To use the bathroom, she told her teachers, she had to bang on the wall to alert her younger brother that she needed to go.

More harrowing details of her situation followed. Janet was not allowed to play outside with her friends or use the computer or phone, she said. Her only full meal came in the evening, after her father arrived home from work and prepared dinner. Beyond that, the only food she was allowed each day was the two pieces of toast given to her when Long awoke each afternoon. Her stepmother, Janet added, “hit her a lot.”

The article details the specific acts of torture this child was forced to endure and also reports about other children who fell through the CPS system.

The genesis of this article begins with this comment from the child’s torturer, “Of her relationship with Janet, Long told authorities that she never wanted to be a stepmother. All their problems started there, she said.” Well, girlfriend, it’s like this, if you don’t want children, hate children, or children creep you out and you are dating or plan to marry an man with children, this will probably end badly. Same goes for dudes, many of you date women with children figuring, to put it bluntly, they are an easy lay. You need to leave women with children alone unless you are willing to step up to the plate and be a positive male role model for the kids.

Stepparents and Abuse

It is difficult to find statistics on abuse by step-parents, but one study out of Sweden, Step-parents abuse children to death more often provide some food for thought.

258 children under the age of 16 were killed by their parents between 1965 and 1999. 23 of the children (9%) were abused to death. Stepchildren are more often killed by abuse than children who are killed by their biological parents, according to new research from the University of Stockholm. More than half of the 258 children were killed in connection with a conflict between the parents e.g. divorce or custody battle. Most of these children died in connection with the extended suicide where the perpetrator took or tried to take his own life. The men who murdered their children also often took the life of their partner. On the other hand, no woman tried to kill their partner when she murdered the children, writes senior lecturer Hans Temrin and PhD student Johanna Nordlund at The University of Stockholm.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has statistics about infanticide but it is difficult to determine specific abuse by step-parents because of the reporting.

Note: Parents includes stepparents.

Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 —

·         31% were killed by fathers

·         29% were killed by mothers

·         23% were killed by male acquaintances

·         7% were killed by other relatives

·         3% were killed by strangers

Of those children killed by someone other than their parent, 81% were killed by males.

The child described in the Weekly article had a step-mother who abused her and a biological father who abused by failure to prevent abuse.

How to Spot Signs of Abuse

Child Information Welfare Gateway has an excellent guide for how to spot child abuse and neglect The full list of symptoms is at the site, but some key indicators are:

                         The Child:

Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

Lacks adult supervision

Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn

Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

Shows little concern for the child

Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home

Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome

Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

Rarely touch or look at each other

Consider their relationship entirely negative

State that they do not like each other

If people suspect a child is being abused, they must get involved. Every Child Matters can very useful and can be found at the Every Child matters site and another organization, which fights child abuse is the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform People must push for tougher standards against child abuse.

Many Single Parents are not Going to Like these Comments

Queen Victoria had it right when she was rumored to have said something to the effect that she did not care what two consenting single adults did as long as they did not do it in the streets and scare the horses. A consenting single parent does not have the same amount of leeway as a consenting childless single adult because the primary responsibility of any parent is raising their child or children. People have children for a variety of reasons from having an unplanned pregnancy because of irresponsibility or hoping that the pregnancy is the glue, which might save a failing relationship, to those who genuinely want to be parents. Still, being a parent is like the sign in the china shop, which says you break it, it’s yours. Well folks, you had children, they are yours. Somebody has to be the adult and be responsible for not only their care and feeding, but their values. I don’t care if he looks like Brad Pitt or Denzel Washington. I don’t care if she looks like Angelina Jolie or Halle Berry or they have as much money as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, if they don’t like children or your children, they have to be kicked to the curb. You cannot under any circumstances allow anyone to abuse your children or you. When you partner with a parent, you must be willing to fully accept their children. If you can’t and they are too gutless to tell you to hit the road, I’ll do it for them. Hit the road.

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Do you have to be a moron to be a person of faith: Saying ‘vagina’

27 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: People of faith are admonished to “be in the world and not of it.” Does that mean that one has to lose the ability to think critically because one is a person of faith? Alexander Abad-Santos of the Atlantic Wire posted the article, A High-School Sex-Ed Teacher Is Being Punished for Saying the Word ‘Vagina’:

Tim McDaniel, an 18-year vetaran of the biology department at the public school in Dietrcich, Idaho, might have to figure out how to teach the miracle of life to his high-school students without saying the word “vagina” after a group of unhappy parents found the word offensive. Because now he’s kind of in big trouble for, you know, doing his job in the teen pregnancy capital of Idaho. According to what McDaniel told Boise’s Times-News, four parents at the school complained that he taught their children “the biology of an orgasm” and said the word “vagina” during his sex-education lesson to a room of sophomores. Yes, sophomores, some of whom have had vaginas for 14 to 15 years. It’s unclear whether the word “penis” was met with equal offense. But, apparently, allegations from (likely Mormon) parents also complain that McDaniel has shown the film an Inconvenient Truth in class, and according to a letter served to McDaniel by a quick to respond official from Idaho’s Department of Education: 

[T]he allegations also include that he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents, showed a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes, taught different forms of birth control and told inappropriate jokes in class.

Despite the letter from the upper levels of the state education system, the school superintendent tells the Times-News that upset parents won’t get Mr. McDaniels fired: “It is highly unlikely it would end with his dismissal… Maybe a letter of reprimand from the school board.” McDaniel is denying any wrongdoing, and the school’s slap on the wrist might indicate that McDaniel’s alleged transgressions might just be that — alleged. “I teach straight out of the textbook, I don’t include anything that the textbook doesn’t mention,” McDaniel tells the Times-News. “But I give every student the option not attend this class when I teach on the reproductive system if they don’t feel comfortable with the material.”                               

http://news.yahoo.com/high-school-sex-ed-teacher-being-punished-saying-214012946.html

Now, keep the discussion of the teacher in hot water for saying “vagina” in perspective when reading news about the number of sexually transmitted infections.

Terence P. Jeffrey writes in the article, CDC: 110,197,000 Venereal Infections in U.S.; Nation Creating New STIs Faster Than New Jobs or College Grads:

According to new data released by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19.7 million new venereal infections in the United States in 2008, bringing the total number of existing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S. at that time to 110,197,000.

The 19.7 million new STIs in 2008 vastly outpaced the new jobs and college graduates created in the United States that year or any other year on record, according to government data. The competition was not close.

The STI study referenced by the CDC estimated that 50 percent of the new infections in 2008 occurred among people in the 15-to-24 age bracket. In fact, of the 19,738,800 total new STIs in the United States in 2008, 9,782,650 were among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket.

By contrast, there were 1,524,092 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States in the 2007-2008 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That means the total number of new STIs in 2008 outpaced the total number of new bachelor’s degrees by nearly 13 to 1, and the number of new STIs among Americans in the 15-to-24 age bracket outnumbered new bachelor’s degrees by more than 6 to 1.  http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/cdc-110197000-venereal-infections-us-nation-creating-new-stis-faster-new-jobs-or

Yes, there is obviously a question of values, but there is also a question of how to teach children of faith critical thinking skills so that they can engage the culture and not run from it.

Moi wrote in Critical thinking skills for kids are crucial: The lure of Superbowl alcohol ads:

The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hairstyling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. Many boys look at the buff bodies of the men in the ads and don’t realize that some use body enhancing drugs. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe. It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society. Parents and schools must teach children critical thinking skills and point out often that the picture presented in advertising is often as close to reality as the bedtime fairy tail. Reality does not often involve perfection, there are warts.

See, Admongo                                                                 http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/admongo/html-version.shtml

and How to Help a Child With Critical Thinking Skills      

 http://www.livestrong.com/article/178182-how-to-help-a-child-with-critical-thinking-skills/#ixzz2Jlv5L6HR

The blog, Dad in the Middle has some great thoughts about teaching kids in the post, 22 Ways to Teach Kids HOW to Think And Not Just WHAT to Think:

So, how do we encourage our kids to think about God and analyze their faith even at a young age?  How do we teach them the critical skill of questioning their faith and working through the answers?  How do we teach the essential skills of critical analysis?  Here are twenty-two ideas for elementary age kids:

  1. Encourage questions….
  2. Draw questions out of kids. So, we’ve seen that kids have plenty of questions, but there are a some kids who just don’t want to ask them.  Whether they are shy or embarrassed or whatever the reason may be, as workers in Children’s Ministry we must establish the kind of environment that not only encourages questions but draws them out from those kids who are reluctant to ask them.  Ask kids what is on their mind.  Leave time for questions and answers.  Call on kids who may be reluctant and ask them to give you a question.  Have reluctant kids ask the children who are less reluctant what they learned that weekend.
  3. Let kids know that it is OK to ask questions about God. Remind kids that our God is a big God, and he can take our questions.  There is no question that catches God by surprise or changes his love for us…. 
  4. Model asking questions in your life. Kids learn best by example.  We must model asking hard questions about God and about our faith.  We must share with them how we have worked through our own questions about God.  We can even suggest questions for kids to think about.
  5. Be prepared to answer their questions. When we’re working with kids to teach them how to think through their faith, it is critical that we be prepared.  That means we must actively engage in the same kind of critical analysis in our own lives and in our own walks with God so that we can lead kids through the process.
  6. Try to lead the child to an answer rather than just giving it to them. It is easy to just answer a question – especially if you’re in a hurry.  It is harder, but much more edifying, to help a child work through their question prompting them when necessary… 
  7. Never minimize a child’s question. Sometimes kids ask questions which seem simple or trivial or which are an annoyance in the grand scheme of trying to teach your lesson.  That said, you must never minimize their questions.  The question was important enough to them to ask it, and you should treat it with the same level of importance in answering.  If you don’t, you risk building a culture where the kids do not feel free to ask questions.
  8. Try to figure out if there is a bigger question behind the question which was articulated. Another reason not to minimize any question is because the questions that children ask sometimes mask bigger questions which are on their minds…. 
  9. Be willing to admit when you don’t know the answer. Kids are pretty astute.  If you try to fake your way through an answer, one of two things will happen.  You will either teach them some flawed theology that could stick with them and harm their spiritual journey, or they will see right through you and no longer trust you to answer their questions.  If you don’t know the answer to a child’s question, use that as an opportunity to work through that question alongside the child.  What a wonderful opportunity to teach them exactly what critical thinking and evaluation of a question looks like!  Teach them how to brainstorm answers, and use the Bible to come up with the right answer.
  10. Ask hypothetical questions. This encourages children to apply what they have learned.  Give them age appropriate scenarios and ask them what they would do.  If they’re wrong, don’t just tell them they’re wrong and move on.  Encourage them to think through the issue and explain why they gave the answer they did.  Encourage them to explore the other sides of the hypothetical question.
  11. 11.  Ask questions where the answer is not always God or Jesus
  12. Ask open-ended questions. Simple yes/no questions and factual questions serve a purpose, but in order to get kids thinking, it is important to ask open ended questions…. 
  13. Encourage kids to consider other perspectives. Ask them how other people they know might handle a situation.  Ask them what they would say if they had to defend the opposite position on an issue you are discussing.  Ask them why they think some people don’t believe in God.  Teaching kids to identify and think about potential issues in their way of thinking (right or wrong) helps them to critically analyze what they believe and to arrive at a considered opinion rather than leaping to a conclusion or basing there conclusion solely on feelings.
  14. Encourage kids’ imaginations. Imagination spurs on the thought life.  Encourage kids to draw pictures and make up stories.  Show them a picture and ask them to tell you a story about.  Help them if you must, but encourage them along the way to come up with their own story.  In encouraging their imaginations, you are encouraging them to think and to think outside the box.  You are encouraging them to pay attention to details.  All of these skills are useful in learning how to think.
  15. Ask kids what they think something means before you tell them. Read kids a Bible story and encourage them to tell you what they think it means.  Offer the kids a scripture verse and ask them to explain it to you.  All of these exercises move us from teaching kids what to think to teaching them how to think!
  16. Teach kids to keep an open mind. Most kids, most people in fact, think they are right most of the time.  It is important to teach kids how to keep an open mind.  Once a child decides they are right and there is no reason to even entertain dissenting opinions, they have closed themselves off to thinking and analyzing their beliefs and positions critically.  Truth is truth, and it can stand up to rigorous examination.  There is no danger in keeping in an open mind.  Ultimately we hope that our kids will have strong convictions and an open mind based on their own analysis of the evidence.
  17. Teach children that there is right and wrong in the world. In the post-modern, relativistic world that we live in, and that kids are subjected to every day, it is important that they realize that there is such a thing as right and wrong.  However, it is not enough just to tell them this truth, you must show them why it is true.  We must teach them that truth exists because God exists and that the Bible is the revealed truth of God.
  18. Work to move kids from the milk to the meat of Christianity….
  19. Encourage children to talk about their doubts. Even kids have doubts.  We must encourage kids to talk about them.  Doubts left to fester can eventually undermine a child’s faith.  Encourage kids to deal with their doubts quickly.  Doubts are a great way to teach kids the art of how to think.  If a child has a tragic event happen and doubts the love of God, ask them what they know about God’s love from the Bible.  Point to examples of God’s love in their life.  Point to examples of God’s love in helping you through difficult times.
  20. Teach them to actively listen. In order to think critically, we must be able to listen to other people.  This entails a lot more than just hearing.  Encourage kids to not only repeat what you have said but to tell you what they think you meant.  Teach kids to hear people out and think about what they are saying.  Explain to kids that you can’t listen to what someone is saying when your using all of your brain power to come up with your response before they are even done…. 
  21. Teach kids to love and to use their Bibles….
  22. Encourage children to pray about their questions and their doubts. We must encourage kids to take their questions and their doubts to God in prayer.  This may mean leaving a question hanging until the next week so that the child can pray about it.  The next weekend, ask them if they have been praying about the question, and ask them what they have learned in their prayer time.  Even with the skill of knowing how to think, it is important for kids to understand that God knows all and they should take their questions and their decisions to him.

Many thanks go out to a number of my personal friends and fellow workers who share the calling to minister to God’s children.  Thanks for your input and your suggestions.                                                                     http://waynestocks.com/2009/06/19/22-ways-to-teach-kids-how-to-think-and-not-just-what-to-think/

People of faith must be able to confront and challenge the culture when necessary. Yes, we may be “in the world and not of it,” but we are still in the world. One does not have to be a moron to be a person of faith.

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A comment about the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on gay marriage: Is it time to get government out of marriage

21 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement regarding their position on civil marriage:

American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Same Gender Civil Marriage

3/21/2013

For Release:  March 21, 2013

Article Body

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports civil marriage for same-gender couples – as well as full adoption and foster care rights for all parents, regardless of sexual orientation – as the best way to guarantee benefits and security for their children.

The AAP policy statement, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” and an accompanying technical report will be published in the April 2013 Pediatrics (published online March 21).

“Children thrive in families that are stable and that provide permanent security, and the way we do that is through marriage,” said Benjamin Siegel, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, and a co-author of the policy statement. “The AAP believes there should be equal opportunity for every couple to access the economic stability and federal supports provided to married couples to raise children.”

In a previous policy statement published in 2002 and reaffirmed in 2010, the AAP supported second-parent adoption by partners of the same sex as a way to protect children’s right to maintain relationships with both parents, eligibility for health benefits and financial security. The 2013 policy statement and accompanying technical report adds recommendations in support of civil marriage for same-gender couples; adoption by single parents, co-parents or second parents regardless of sexual orientation; and foster care placement regardless of sexual orientation.

“The AAP has long been an advocate for all children, and this updated policy reflects a natural progression in the Academy’s support for families,” said Ellen Perrin, MD, FAAP, co-author of the policy statement. “If a child has two loving and capable parents who choose to create a permanent bond, it’s in the best interest of their children that legal institutions allow them to do so.”

A great deal of scientific research documents there is no cause-and-effect relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and children’s well-being, according to the AAP policy. In fact, many studies attest to the normal development of children of same-gender couples when the child is wanted, the parents have a commitment to shared parenting, and the parents have strong social and economic support. Critical factors that affect the normal development and mental health of children are parental stress, economic and social stability, community resources, discrimination, and children’s exposure to toxic stressors at home or in their communities — not the sexual orientation of their parents.

According to the policy statement, the AAP “supports pediatricians advocating for public policies that help all children and their parents, regardless of sexual orientation, build and maintain strong, stable, and healthy families that are able to meet the needs of their children.” 

# # #

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

This causes moi to ask whether it is time for government to get out of the business of marriage and only sanction civil unions for everyone. The government would define a valid civil union and the contractual benefits which flow from that union would be defined by government. Marriage would be defined by various religious institutions and they are free to marry whom they choose. Marriage would then be a two-step process of civil union and whatever ‘blessing’ ceremony the community of faith allowed.

This country is headed for another confrontation over the meaning of religious freedom and the guarantees of the FIRST AMENDMENT. Whether one agrees or not, some religious groups have a theological basis for defining marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. They are not going to change. So, the question is whether society wants to be tolerant and pragmatic or to punish those who are not politically correct. Moi has a Hallelujah moment for some in the gay community and their supporters – tolerance is different from acceptance. If the goal is to get everyone to accept a definition of marriage other than one man and one woman, you will fail. If the tactic is to demonize religious folk, call them bigots, prevent certain denominations from offering adoption services and foster care as well as go after church tax exemption, this can be done at great cost to the culture and society. Isn’t it time for a pragmatic approach?

Too often we forget that the principal purpose of the metaphorical wall of separation between church and state was always to prevent governmental interference with a religion’s decisions about what its own theology requires. . . . To be consistent with the Founders’ vision and coherent in modern religiously pluralistic America, the religion clauses [in the United States Constitution] should be read to help avoid tyranny — that is, to sustain and nurture the religions as independent centers of power. . . . To do that, the clauses must be interpreted to do more than protect the religions against explicit discrimination.

Stephen Carter

The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion

Moi discussed the secularist view in The great cultural divide: Many of us will never be secularists:

There are many folks who simply just don’t get that there are many people of faith. This faith group is of a variety of religions and a variety of theologies. Some “liberal” strands of faith have no theology or interpret their theology in line with contemporary social thought. They see religion as part of a wider social movement. For this group, there are no fixed theological positions because the emphasis of their faith is “social justice” however that is defined. Many in this secularist religion group simply do not understand that many of faith have a fixed theological perspective on religion. They feel that theology does not change because the cultural context has changed. In this group there are eternal positions because they are very cognizant of an eternal life. Moi thought the many attempts to persuade her by providing lists of people who support a particular position were laughable. People who made the lists or who thought because this prominent person or that prominent person supported a position would make moi and many others jump on board were clueless. What they did not realize is that moi and others, to paraphrase the old Righteous Brothers song “believe in forever.” It doesn’t matter how many people, whether they are prominent or not believe something, that doesn’t change the theological perspective. Many of these proponents do not believe in the Bible, that it is a stupid little book that only morons follow. Moi suggests that these secularists spend some time digesting the book of Daniel. People of a non-secularist faith are not morons and really don’t want to be treated as such. So, the question is how do various groups operate in the society were all have to live.  https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/the-great-cultural-divide-many-of-us-will-never-be-secularists/

As the character, Margo Channing said in All About Eve: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night! .

There should civil unions for society which establish the contractual relationships and government benefits of a union. Marriage should be defined by theological entities.

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Reflections on PC: Morons, progressives, and the U.S. Constitution

15 Mar

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has announced that he plans to appeal a court decision overturning his soda ban. David McLaughlin, Chris Dolmetsch and Henry Goldman report in the Bloomberg News  article, New York City Appeals Soda Size Ban Court Defeat:

New York City challenged a ruling throwing out Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s proposal to restrict sales of large-size soda drinks, calling the decision by a state court judge “contrary to law.”

In a five-page notice of appeal, the city said it would fight the March 11 ruling by New York Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling before the court’s appellate division in Manhattan. Tingling barred the ban from becoming law yesterday, saying it had too many loopholes and violated the jurisdiction of New York’s City Council.

We are moving forward immediately with our appeal,” said Michael A. Cardozo, corporation counsel of the city’s law department. “We believe the judge was wrong in rejecting this important public health initiative. We also feel he took an unduly narrow view of the Board of Health’s powers.”

The city’s Board of Health in September approved the plan to cap the size of sugary soft drinks sold in restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas at 16 ounces (473 milliliters) a cup. In October, groups representing beverage makers, restaurants and theaters asked the court to quash the regulation as “unprecedented interference” with consumer choice. Tingling issued a permanent injunction barring the city from implementing the plan.

The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose,” Tingling wrote. “It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners.”

City Overreached

The plaintiffs said the city had overreached and ignored the rights of New Yorkers to make their own choices. The plan is “grossly unfair” to small businesses such as street-food vendors and pizzerias because convenience and grocery stores can still sell the larger sizes, lawyers for the plaintiffs said.

The city argued it’s trying to stem an epidemic of obesity driven by consumption of sugary beverages, which is rising because food establishments sell ever-larger portions. Under the rule, consumers are free to buy an unlimited number of smaller drinks and get refills.

Bloomberg is the majority owner of Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News….

The case is New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce v. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 653584-2012, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-12/new-york-city-files-notice-of-appeal-over-soda-size-case.html

All, moi can say is really. There is no doubt that sugary drinks are bad, but so are other conditions which cause harm, Probably, those who over-consume sugar by choice are morons, but the trend appears to be that we only condemn the morons that WE do not like.

A case is point is the level of single parent births in communities of color. Child Trends and DataBank reports the following in the article, Births to Unmarried Women:

Importance

Children born to unmarried mothers are more likely to grow up in a single-parent household, experience instability in living arrangements, live in poverty, and have socio-emotional problems.1,2,3,4 As these children reach adolescence, they are more likely to have low educational attainment, engage in sex at a younger age, and have a birth outside of marriage.5,6,7,8 As young adults, children born outside of marriage are more likely to be idle (neither in school nor employed), have lower occupational status and income, and have more troubled marriages and more divorces than those born to married parents.9

Women who give birth outside of marriage tend to be more disadvantaged than their married counterparts, both before and after the birth. Unmarried mothers generally have lower incomes, lower education levels, and are more likely to be dependent on welfare assistance compared with married mothers.10,11,12,13 Women who have a nonmarital birth also tend to fare worse than childless single women; for example, they have reduced marriage prospects compared with single women without children.14,15

A majority of unmarried births now occur to cohabiting parents.16 Between 2006 and 2010, 58 percent of unmarried births were to cohabiting parents: in 2002, the proportion was 40 percent.17 Children born to cohabiting parents are more likely to see their parents eventually marry than are those born to non-co-residential parents.18 Nevertheless, children born to cohabiting parents experience higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage, and fare worse across a range of behavioral and emotional outcomes than those born to married parents….19 

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin20

There are large differences by race and Hispanic origin in the share of births to unmarried women, with non-Hispanic white women and Asian or Pacific Islander women much less likely than women in other groups to have a nonmarital birth. In 2011 (preliminary estimates), 72 percent of all births to black women, 66 percent to American Indian or Alaskan native women, and 53 percent to Hispanic women occurred outside of marriage, compared with 29 percent for white women, and 17 percent for Asian or Pacific Islander women. (Appendix 1) However, the difference between black and white women in the percentage of births that are nonmarital has been shrinking consistently since 1980, while the difference between white and Hispanic women has been widening. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Percentage of Births that were to Unmarried Women, by Race & Hispanic Origin, 1960-2011

http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/196

This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of “Katrina,” the real genocide is self-inflicted.

Both the choice to consume sugary drinks and to have children out of wedlock are defined as personal choices. Bloomberg and others won’t touch this issue with a hundred foot pole. Why? Too many of their electorate would be pissed for a variety of reasons and they don’t want to chance their wrath. Scholastic News has a concise description of why the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution in the article Bill of Rights:

The debate over the need for a bill of rights was sparked by a proposal made by a dissenting minority in the Pennsylvania ratifying convention. Some delegates believed that guarantees of certain basic rights and liberties were missing from the proposed Constitution. They called for a number of amendments that would secure a wide range of liberties, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and press, and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Majorities in the ratifying conventions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina also called for numerous amendments to the proposed Constitution. Although the substance of these recommended amendments differed from state to state, most contained provisions that would limit the powers of the new federal (national) government and protect the people from inconsistent and oppressive rule. http://teacher.scholastic.com/scholasticnews/indepth/constitution_day/background/index.asp?article=billofrights

So, a behavior that statistically is more damaging than consuming sugary drinks is never condemned. The child born to a single poor mother is usually condemned to follow her into a life of poverty. Yet, the same rigor of dissuasion is not applied to young impressionable women who are becoming single mothers in large numbers as is applied to regular Coke or Pepsi addicts. Personal choice is involved, some of the snarky could categorize the personal choice as moronic in both cases. Government intervention is seen as the antidote in the case of sugary drinks, but not single motherhood. Why? Because we like to pick the morons we want government to control. The fact of the matter is that government control is just as bad in the case of sugary drinks as it would be in regulating a individual’s reproductive choice. The folks like Mayor Bloomberg who want government to control some behavior really don’t want to confront the difficult, for them, political choice of promoting individual personal values and responsibility. It is much easier to legislate a illusory solution. So, the ruling elite will continue to focus on obesity, which is a major health issue, while a disaster bigger than “Katrina” and “Sandy “ sweeps across the country with disastrous results.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Constitution: Like what would Jesus do, folk wonder what would Martin do?

20 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: There are a group of Christians whose reflex actions to a host of contemporary issues is to ask the question what would Jesus do? The answer is contained by reading the Bible, it’s in there. Similarly, folk of all persuasions like to play the what would Martin Luther King, Jr. do or think. Conservatives like to quote the “I have a Dream” speech for evidence that there should be a “color-blind” society. Moi guesses “liberals” are calling themselves “progressives” or maybe they are still “liberals” like to quote anything from Dr. King which advances their agenda. People change, grow, and often modify their views or time. The best indicator of what a person was thinking is what they left behind in terms of conversations particularly if their life was ended too soon. Moi read this self-serving pronouncement from a group of church folk, which was reported in the Seattle PI.com article, Pro-gun protest ‘shockingly insensitive’ — area clergy:

Seattle religious leaders have drawn up a letter, with 201 signatures as of early Friday, decrying as “shockingly insensitive” a pro-gun rally scheduled at “high noon” Saturday in Olympia, during the weekend of the national holiday honoring assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The letter will be released on Friday morning.

We find it shockingly insensitive to Dr. King’s message, and contemptuous of his legacy, to celebrate the very instrument of his assassination during a holiday weekend dedicated to his memory,” said a draft of the clergy statement.  “The way to honor Dr. King’s memory is to condemn violence and to oppose any and all racial hatred, and we call on gun rights activists to join us in doing this rather than in focusing on the very means of Dr. King’s murder.” http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/01/17/pro-gun-protest-shockingly-insensitive-area-clergy/

Moi understands that many in the faith community do not like guns because their abhor violence, but shockingly insensitive? Really folks, you need thicker skin to exist in a world where oil worker hostages get blown up.

So, let’s play that game what would Dr. King do or think when confronted with a group exercising their FIRST AMENDMENT rights? If one reads the actual text of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” one is struck by the references to the U.S. Constitution, a document which he put his faith in to bring equality to those disenfranchised. Here is a portion of that speech:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html

Piers Morgan refers to the U.S. Constitution as “that little book.” Well, that little book is a bit like the Bible. Folk like to pick and choose passages from the Bible that suit their purpose and discard portions that they don’t like. Most Bible scholars agree on rules of construction for how the Bible is to be read and interpreted. So it is with the U.S. Constitution. One cannot discard the FIRST AMENDMENT or the SECOND AMENDMENT because one finds them or people who exercise their rights under the Constitution “shockingly insensitive.” The Constitution guarantees, like the Grace of God protect the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

Too bad those who are asking what would Dr. King do, don’t have the same faith in the U.S. Constitution that Dr. King did.

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Celebrate diversity: Can people of color, women, and gays be racist and/or bigots?

11 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Jamie Foxx made a joke on SNL about “killing all the white people.” Madeline Morgenstern reports at the Blaze in the post, Jamie Foxx: Hollywood Deserves Some Blame for Violence (After Joking About Killing ‘All the White People’ Last Week):

Hollywood star Jamie Foxx said the movie industry deserves some of the blame for people who go out and commit violent acts

Foxx, promoting Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “Django Unchained,” an ultra-violent Western-style vengeance film about slavery, told the Associated Press that actors can’t ignore that the violence they portray onscreen can influence people in real life.

We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence,” Foxx said Saturday. “It does.”

Foxx’s comments came in the wake of Friday’s mass elementary school shooting, where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.

But in an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” last week, Foxx joked about how “great” it was that he got to “kill all the white people” in the new film. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/12/16/jamie-foxx-hollywood-deserves-some-blame-for-violence-after-joking-about-killing-all-the-white-people-last-week/

Now, a white person making a joke about killing all people of color and gays, not only would never eat lunch in this town again, they would probably not work again, either.

Politico reports in the article, Charlie Rangel hits Obama on diversity:

Barack Obama is facing charges that his White House lacks diversity.

It’s embarrassing as hell. We’ve been through all of this with [2012 GOP presidential nominee] Mitt Romney. And we were very hard with Mitt Romney with the women binder and a variety of things,” Rangel said on MSNBC. “And I kind of think there’s no excuse with the second term.”

The Obama administration has been criticized recently for not having enough diversity with its Cabinet appointees after The New York Times ran a photo of Obama meeting with senior advisers in the Oval Office, the vast majority of them white men. The White House responded by releasing its own photo, which showed a much more diverse crowd of Obama’s top advisers. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/charlie-rangel-hits-obama-on-diversity-86005.html

One could rest assured that had Governor Romney won the presidency, there would be mass marches outside the White House had Rep. Rangel called him out on diversity.

The Urban Dictionary defines racism:

1.

racist
A label given to a person, or group of people who hate/dislike those who belong to a different race. This typically applies to hatred based on skin-color.The KKK is a racist organization.buy racist mugs & shirtsby AYB Feb 12, 2003
2. racist
someone who thinks that people of other ethnicities are inherently inferior to one’s own.Racists can occur within any ethnicity, and no one ethnicity as a whole is racist. In fact, to say that all members of a given ethnicity are racist, or that all racists are of a given ethnicity, that is, well… racist. Talk about being no better than those you complain about…

Hell No Racist, Drag! Makes this statement at their site:

We’re sick of going to drag shows to have a good time and instead being faced with racist imagery and epithets. We’re done with racists perpetuating racial stereotypes. Donning black face and mocking minorities is never ok, and we’ve decided to use this blog to expose the racism and general oppressiveness perpetuated by drag queens who aren’t being held accountable.

We are hoping to build community with other queers who are sick of people praising, paying, and exalting those who seek to harm and alienate marginalized members of our community. http://hellnoracistdrag.tumblr.com/

So, what’s going on here? Is it situational ethics rather than looking at principles which are enduring and apply to all? The theory as to why some believe that people of color, women, and gays cannot be racists is that they are oppressed? Really, are Oprah, Hillary Clinton, or Elton John oppressed? What the theorists want to assert is that if there has been a history of wrongdoing, that wrongdoing is eternal and can never be eradicated. If one is a member of a group who has suffered oppression mere membership in the group is enough to stamp your eternal oppression card.

Moi is not suggesting that the U.S. is a “post-racial society” where race, sex or sexual orientation does not matter, it does. Still, to suggest that people of color, women, and gays cannot be bigots and racists is ludicrous. Individual members of any group can be racists and bigots and individuals from any group can collectively join to be racists and bigots.

The principle in society should be that no one gets a pass for racist and bigoted behavior and the time of stamping eternal oppression cards must end.

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The culture has come to this: Divorcing your parents

29 Dec

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: When moi posted Not P.C., but it is true, parents and parenting matter, she was writing about folk of average intelligence who were within the normal range of sanity:

Many “progressives” want to put forth the idea that families don’t matter, particularly in low-income communities of color. It is a different story in middle and upper income “progressive” families as they “helicopter parent “their children. There are some awesome single-parent households, but moi is going all “OLD FART” on you and saying that children need two active, engaged,and involved parents to thrive. https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/not-p-c-but-it-is-true-parents-and-parenting-matter/

There is always some example that will make one want to eat their words and say that maybe this child is better off being an orphan.

Lydia Warren reports the the Daily Mail article, US music student, 21, wins stalking order against pushy PARENTS who monitored her every move ‘to make sure she succeeded:

A music theater student has won a stalking order against her parents who admitted they installed monitoring software on her computer and phone to ensure that she succeeded.

David and Julie Ireland have been ordered to have no contact with their 21-year-old daughter – their only child – before September 23, 2013 and must keep 500 feet away from her at all times.

The unusual case concerns Aubrey Ireland, a musical theater major who regularly fills lead roles at Cincinnati’s prestigious College-Conservatory of Music and has made the Dean’s List every quarter.

Despite this success, her parents often drove 600 miles from their home in Leawood, Kansas, to visit her unannounced and to accuse her of promiscuity, of using drugs and of having mental issues.

They even informed her head of department that she had mental problems and that they were considering going to court to force her to get treatment, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

They admitted they had installed monitoring software on her laptop and cellphone, making their daughter feel ‘like I was a dog with a collar on’, Ms Ireland said.

As the situation escalated last year, she even called police to her apartment, claiming she had been assaulted by her mother, who in turn said Ms Ireland had assaulted her.

The school even hired security guards to keep them out of her shows, the Enquirer reported.

When she cut off all contact, they stopped paying her tuition and demanded she return the $66,000 they had spent. The judge refused and the college gave her a full scholarship for her final year. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2253668/Aubrey-Ireland-case-Student-21-wins-stalking-order-PARENTS-monitored-make-sure-succeeded.html#ixzz2GU4GkZ00

See, Aubrey Ireland, College Student, Wins Restraining Order Against Helicopter Parents http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/aubrey-ireland-restraining-order-parents_n_2372043.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Lynette C. Magaña, Judith A. Myers-Walls and Dee Love discuss the different styles of parent and child relationships and the type of parent behavior associated with each relationship type.Their comments about parents are very important. Richard Niolan reviews an article by Bamrind, which was published in the Journal of Early Adolescence.He describes Bamrind’s Model. Each of the parent types are described by Nioland. Whether they are called stage parents, out of control little league dads or over achieving soccer moms, the parents share certain traits and characteristics of an authoritarian parenting style. Nioland describes the authoritarian parenting style:

These parents are highly directive, value obedience and are more controlling, show less warmth and nurturance and more distance and aloofness, and discourage discussion and debate. They are high on demandingness but low on responsiveness, maintaining order, communicating expectations, and monitoring the children carefully. Their children have a multitude of problems, and are less individuated and show lower internalization of pro-social values, ego development, and perform more poorly on cognitive tests and see their parents as more restrictive. They were also more likely to come from divorced families. Boys from single authoritarian homes had more problems than boys from two parent homes.

Does this parenting style describe anyone you know?

Ten Top Mistakes Parents Make

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. What people can do is learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. Craig Playstead has assembled a top ten list of mistakes made by parents and they should be used as a starting point in thinking about your parenting style and your family’s dynamic.

1)            Spoiling kids 

2)            Inadequate discipline

3)            Failing to get involved at school

4)            Praising mediocrity

5)            Not giving kids enough responsibility

6)            Not being a good spouse

7)            Setting unreal expectations

8)            Not teaching kids to fend for themselves

9)            Pushing trends on kids

10)           Not following through

Playstead also has some comments about stage parents.

Let kids be kids. Parents shouldn’t push their trends or adult outlook on life on their kids. Just because it was your life’s dream to marry a rich guy doesn’t mean we need to see your 4-year-old daughter in a “Future Trophy Wife” t-shirt. The same goes for the double ear piercing—that’s what you want, not them. Teaching kids about your passions is great, but let them grow up to be who they are. And yes, this goes for you pathetic stage parents as well. It’s hard enough for kids to figure out who they are in the world without you trying to turn them into what you couldn’t be.

Whatever the dream you feel you didn’t realize, remember that was your dream, it may not be your child’s dream.

Helping Your Child Develop Self-Esteem

The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. A discussion of values is often difficult, but the question the stage parent, over the top little league father, or out of control soccer mom should ask of themselves is what do you really and truly value? What is more important, your child’s happiness and self esteem or your fulfilling an unfinished part of your life through your child? Joe Jackson, the winner of the most heinous stage parent award saw his dreams fulfilled with the price of the destruction of his children’s lives. Most people with a healthy dose of self esteem and sanity would say this is too high a price. 

Letting Go

Sarah Mahoney wrote a good article at Parents.Com about four ways to let go of your kids and she describes her four steps, which she calls Independence Day. Newsweek also has an article on the fine art of letting go  Remember it is your child’s life and they should be allowed to realize their dreams, not yours.

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