Monthly Archives: September, 2012

Insect Life

When the Republican Party is the fly in the Teacup, you know you are far from the middle of the road. Though Sen. Fred Harris once said there is nothing in the middle of the road except yellow lines and dead armadillos, it’s a more happening place than the ditch– which is where Todd Akin’s campaign consultant is driving the message. Todd Akin Gaffes Not a Bug-a Feature.

Petition Channel 12 WPRI: Let Abel Collins into the Debate | Change.org

I am not sure what is causing Channel 12 to keep Abel Collins out of their upcoming debate for the Congressional seat in District 2. One hopes it is not some unholy alliance between big media and big politicians in Rhode Island, but one can never be sure. With enough pressure, Channel 12 will likely cave (she said optimistically) so please sign the petition. This is not a democrat or republican, liberal or conservative issue — this is a fairness and accuracy in elections issue that everyone should be concerned about.

Petition | Channel 12 WPRI: Let Abel Collins into the Debate | Change.org.

Not Happy? Maybe It’s Your Culture

Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.

Why Not a New WPA?

Sidewalk Lippitt Park

That’s a seventy-year-old sidewalk laid down by WPA workers in the Great Depression. Still sound, like a lot of the infrastructure work done then.

The New York Times business section puts in simple terms why stimulus money used wisely on needed repairs is smart policy…

Millions of Americans remain out of work only because employers can already produce more than enough to meet depressed demand. The obvious remedy is to increase total spending. Although economic stimulus has become a controversial topic in the abstract, a few simple observations should persuade every sensible legislator — perhaps even a majority! — to support a specific type of higher spending: accelerated refurbishment of our crumbling infrastructure.

Some in Congress have consistently opposed the president’s infrastructure proposals, citing the huge national debt. But that’s an incoherent objection. If repairs to the Capitol dome or a tattered stretch of interstate highway are postponed, they will just become more costly. Many job seekers have the skills for this work. If we wait, we’ll have to bid them away from other tasks. The required materials are cheaper now than they will ever be. And interest rates are at record lows.
Of course, the debt is an important long-run problem, but deferring infrastructure repairs will only worsen it. Relative to current policy, then, such projects would address multiple pressing problems without distress.

Pumping up consumption while neglecting essentials just means that the car we bought on credit gets dinged in the pothole we didn’t fix.

It’s true, Americans want jobs, but when we get past the desperate stage we want work that matters. The WPA created both jobs and useful work. Why not build on what we learned then at such cost?

Endangered Manhood

Hey, what’s the use of working as a nurse for over 20 years if you can’t laugh about some of the crazy stuff people do. Like when you stay overtime to help a guy who is circling the drain for kidney failure and he tells his doctor he’s there for the condition Rush Limbaugh will be organizing a telethon for real soon.

Rush Limbaugh Thinks He Discovers a New Disease
It’s called DUD (Dwindling Unit Disorder), and this nurse explains why a man might think he is a DUD, when really he’s a WUSS.

Fox News Host Opens a Can of Worms

Reblogged from EmancipationConversation…

Film provocateur, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is temporarily a right-wing martyr to free speech, though when it all sorts out might turn out to be more hustler than hero. Still, the picture of him covering his face as he leaves his house under the protection of police officers makes a good visual…

Nakoula is reportedly fearful for his life after the film generated widespread outrage in the Middle East and has prompted anti-American violence in numerous countries. Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last week.

Deputies picked up Nakoula at his Cerritos home on behalf of federal probation officials shortly after midnight on Saturday. Nakoula was whisked away by a waiting car, his identity shrouded by a white scarf covering his face. He wore a heavy winter coat and kept his hands in his pockets.

A U.S. Courts spokeswoman said Friday that federal probation officials were reviewing whether Nakoula, who was convicted on bank fraud charges, violated terms of his probation in relation to the video and its uploading onto the Internet.

Fox News got into it, and host Eric Bolling tried to change President Obama’s religion for him. They’re always doing that. They haven’t figured out yet that the liberal Christians of the United Church of Christ are way scarier than Muslims. Dare to attend their Coffee Hour and you will know what I’m talking about…

BOLLING (co-host): Can we throw that picture up of the filmmaker again? When he’s all, like, in disguise and the cops are leading him out? To me, America changed. I –

DANA PERINO (co-host): Yeah, I agree.

GRED GUTFELD (co-host): Yeah.

BOLLING: Someone emailed that picture la– Mark Levin, actually, sent it to me. He goes, “Take a look at this.” America changed at that moment. To use a — what is being called a flimsy ploy to bring this guy in for questioning –

PERINO: What next?

BOLLING: — proves that the Obama administration, through all this appeasement and apologizing, answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second.

I’d love to see a reporter ask Mitt Romney if he answers to the Book of Mormon first and the Constitution second. I’d love to see that type of question put to all our politicians. I think President Obama would be able to say that he answers to the Constitution in his service as President and the Bible in his personal religious convictions. It’s called separation of church and state.

I wonder how many of the politicians who use God to get votes would be able to handle that without stuttering? I once saw Sen.Harold Metts testify in the State House against marriage equality with a Bible in his hand. He was waving it. Really. This was a pretty clear message that he has no problem with using his office to promote his religion, and if you don’t follow his religion you can just move out of his district.

Come to think of it, that’s why there’s a Rhode Island. The Puritans told Roger Williams not to let the door hit him on the way out. History shows that when a state establishes an official religion, the religious start purging and persecuting dissidents among their own. It may have something to do with power politics and human nature.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula threw gasoline on a fire from the safety of his home in the USA, not caring who got hurt. He gave cover to violent anti-US extremists so they could carry out their political attacks under the cover of religion. Free speech doesn’t mean a free pass from criticism for lack of responsibility. Or for that matter, gratuitous insult.

I was raised Catholic, back when nuns wore habits. They told us stories about priests who ran into burning churches to save the Holy Host. To profane this little white wafer would be a sin unthinkable. But heretics and evil-doers were everywhere, so each of us must be prepared to defend the Faith, with our lives if need be.

Different religions have symbols they hold in reverence. From a humanistic perspective, I would not disrespect anyone’s religious practices. Or tell anyone their grand kid was funny-looking. Why be needlessly hurtful and offensive? This is bad policy in social relations.

In Democracy our elected representatives should be fair to all and favor none. So I’d love to see Fox ask each one of them if they serve the Constitution, or their religion first. Those who serve their religion should abandon politics and follow their true calling as clergy.

Marilyn Monroe: Foster Child

This is a fascinating documentary — a window into a Marilyn Monroe who wanted a much fuller identity than this crazy mixed-up world would allow. It struck me with a new depth to realize she was a foster child, after many years of working with foster children and helping them form healthy identities. It’s amazing to see Marilyn striving for new levels of identity — to be taken seriously as an actress, a creative force in her own right, and not just a stereo-type of the Dumb Blonde, sexy, but ultimately empty. She also wanted to bring others to their fullest expression as artists, helping to get jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald into the realm of stardom. She also wanted to express her leader more, and started her own production company. Sadly, it really sounds like Arthur Miller did her in by not letting her continue in her partnership with Milton Greene. Of course there were many factors in her undoing, but this movie gave me more to think about in terms of how children with vulnerable identities get co-opted by “sharks in the pool” — relationship partners who are tyrannical in the level of control they must have over the other partner’s life.

Mormon Discipline and Radical American Nuns

A civil and fair-minded site for Mormons who want to discuss their religion, MormonThink.com, is at the center of a political controversy. From The Daily Beast…

David Twede, 47, a scientist, novelist, and fifth-generation Mormon, is managing editor of MormonThink.com, an online magazine produced largely by members of the Mormon Church that welcomes scholarly debate about the religion’s history from both critics and true believers.

A Mormon in good standing, Twede has never been disciplined by Latter Day Saints leadership. But it now appears his days as a Mormon may be numbered because of a series of articles he wrote this past week that were critical of Mitt Romney.

On Sunday, Twede says his bishop, stake president, and two church executives brought him into Florida Mormon church offices in Orlando and interrogated him for nearly an hour about his writings, telling him, “Cease and desist, Brother Twede.”

Mormon leaders have scheduled an excommunication “for apostasy” on Sept. 30. A spokesman for the church told The Daily Beast that the church would not be commenting for this story.

If David Twede wants some support, he should email the nuns…

A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns group said it was “stunned” that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been “silent on the right to life” and had failed to make the “Biblical view of family life and human sexuality” a central plank in its agenda. It accused the group of promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by American bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops — “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals” — is unacceptable, the report said.

It’s tough for believers when their church organizations become so politically entangled that they find themselves on the defensive for not voting or campaigning for the approved candidates.

Collusion between Church and State has gotten a lot of people killed, quite a few in our own New England, founded by exiles who were the wrong type of Christian. The Puritans did not take a lesson in the evils of intolerance, and went on to do stuff like hang Mary Dyer in Boston Common for the crime of Quakerism.

Mary Dyer was a tough case– continually defying the authorities and returning to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to support her faith. Religion is like that– uncompromising. Politics, on the other hand, is the art of the possible. Democracy depends on majority rule, tempered by laws that protect the individual. Rarely an uncompromising politician can do great good in the world. More often they just put up a front and make deals in the back room. Let them be what they are– they’re not spiritual leaders– they’re attention junkies who love power.

Separation of church and state is freedom’s best friend. Church and State are two great powers and the individual needs some space between them. Ask Roger Williams about that.

EG Candidate Mark Co-Signed Father-Daughter Dance Letter To Cranston – East Greenwich, RI Patch

It seems that Cranston has once again become the epicenter for acting out a drama that is likely being repeated, on a much smaller scale, in communities all across the country. This time the hot now-in-the-national-news debate is about father-daughter dances and how we are now calling them family dances.

Sometimes I feel like we have a special talent here in Cranston for making an issue out of things that would make common sense for us all to agree on. I wish we all could have agreed to just take the “Heavenly Father” off the prayer banner and call it a school pledge. I wish we could agree to let this family dance be our clarion call of respect for our different ways of raising children in the community. Sometimes I wonder if we were having this conversation in the presence of the children whose fathers are not available for the dance, how many of us would make the right decision and say to the children, “This is a family dance, and all are welcome. You can bring anyone you want.” But as Bob Plain points out, we are still feeling the pain from out last go-around with the ACLU, which may be driving a certain amount of the posturing and outcry.

I can sympathize with people who want this name to go away. While the pictures could line our walls of my husband and our ever-growing daughters posed side by side for the father-daughter dance photos, it’s not right for children to feel excluded. I know from my practice of social work, these issues are particularly hard on children in other family constellations, such as being raised by grandparents, foster parents, single parents, or in families with two moms. Our school changed to from the Father-Daughter dance to the Family Dance last year, and reports from our parent-teacher organization were that it was a successful event and we raised money for the school.

Carolyn Mark, who is the president of the National Organization for Women in Rhode Island, and who is running for school committee in East Greenwich, co-authored the letter that prompted the change in nomenclature. Click through to read more about the issue, including the letter she wrote.

EG Candidate Mark Co-Signed Father-Daughter Dance Letter To Cranston – East Greenwich, RI Patch.

Support National Children’s Mental Health Funding

An email from the Children’s Mental Health Network about an upcoming Action:

ACTION ALERT

The federal government supports many programs that benefit all Americans, including mental health and social services; public health; housing; public safety and law enforcement; medical and scientific research; and education and job training. In Washington, these programs are collectively referred to as “nondefense discretionary” or simply “NDD” programs. On January 2, 2013 these programs will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent through an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration” unless Congress works together to prevent these cuts through a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction.

On September 20th please join us in a National NDD Community Call-in and Tweet Day and ask your member of Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include further cuts to NDD programs, including children’s mental health.

NDD programs represent a relatively small and shrinking share of the federal budget and our overall economy—already reduced to levels not seen since President Eisenhower held office. They are not the drivers of the debt. In fact, even completely eliminating all NDD programs would still not balance the budget. Yet to date NDD programs have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts. If sequestration is allowed to take effect, core services upon which Americans have come to rely will be greatly curtailed or even eliminated.

Email, Call, Tweet, or Facebook your Members of Congress on September 20th to let them know that NDD programs, including children’s mental health and research, have already done their part to help reduce the deficit – it’s now time for a balanced approach! We have made links on the Network website to send an email, sample Facebook posts, Tweets, and information about how to call your Members of Congress and are also included below to help you advocate to protect public health and research from further cuts! These materials are also available on the Coalition for Health Funding’s website.

Email Your Congressman

Take approximately five minutes and send an email to your Members of Congress: http://www.cmhnetwork.org/share-your-voice. You’ll simply click the “Take Action” button, scroll to the bottom of the page, enter your name, address, and contact information. Click the blue Send Message button and you’re done!

Call Your Congressman

For those not familiar with calling the offices of your Members of Congress, you can call the Capitol Switchboard and asked to be connected to your Members’ offices. The phone number is (202) 224-3121. You can also go to http://www.Congress.org to find the office’s direct line and to look up your Members of Congress.

Suggested Facebook Posts

This January, essential jobs and services will face more deep cuts through sequestration. There is bipartisan agreement that these cuts would be devastating to the nation. Only through a balanced approach can we avoid sequestration, balance the budget and restore the nation’s economic stability. Take action!

Suggested Tweets

How to Tweet Your Members of Congress:
Use the Children’s Mental Health Network Tweet Your Legislator tool to get in touch with your member of Congress via Twitter. For those relatively new to Twitter, this is a great Twitter 101 Guide from the folks at Half in Ten/Center for American Progress.

Template
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure [insert Member Twitter handle]. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited.

Sample
Invest in public health, mental health, medical research, & infrastructure @MaxBaucus. Support balance to stop #sequestration! #NDDUnited

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Template (links to NDD national sign-on letter)
Remember [insert Member Twitter handle] over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

Sample
Remember @MaxBaucus, over 3000 groups want you to support a balanced approach to stop #sequestration!http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

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Template
#Sequestration means an 8.2% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. [insert Member Twitter handle] support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

Sample
#Sequestration means an 8% cut to #mentalhealth funding in 2013. @MaxBaucus support a balanced approach! http://bit.ly/N2jgsB #NDDUnited

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Template (links to The Hill editorial by American Federation of School Administrators)
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. [insert Member Twitter handle] find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited

Sample
#Sequestration devastates medical research, education, & infrastructure. @MaxBaucus find a balanced solution! http://bit.ly/OPmbSl #NDDUnited

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Let us know what you need from the Network! We love feedback so let us know how we can improve the website to better meet your needs. Contact us here. As always, thank you for your continued support of the Children’s Mental Health Network, and remember to take action on September 20th!

Scott Bryant-Comstock
President & CEO

http://cmhnetwork.org

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