Archive for November 18th, 2011
How do young women derive their confidence and sense of empowerment? We believe women’s prowess stems from a deep understanding of their femininity and an appreciation for their sexual self. Yet, how do women achieve this knowledge? What resources do they have to educate them in a voice that comforts and resonates and that embraces the technological tools on which they now rely? Quality answers to women’s sex and relationship questions are buried in books or scattered online, and women’s magazines, by in large, remain completely out of touch with real women’s core questions on these topics. Cosmopolitan magazine, the number one selling women’s magazine, barely scratches the surface. Women’s understanding of their bodies, what they want, and how to communicate their desires are at the core of women’s comprehension of their sexual selves, and yet our society keeps women’s sexual experience shrouded in taboo (continue reading…)
We have a crisis of conversation in our democracy. People want to be heard and to have a voice in our future. It’s time for citizens — you and me, all of us — to come in from the cold. Whether conservative, liberal, or independent, we are all citizens united with the same rights (continue reading…)
We live in troubled and ironic times. The times are certainly troubled. The IMF’s Managing Director has recently spoken with some justification of a looming “lost decade” for the global economy – warning of “dark clouds” blocking the capacity of the world’s leading economies to deliver a renewed bout of economic growth and generalized prosperity. The times are also deeply ironic: since the governing solution to those dark clouds – in countries as substantial as Italy and Greece, and in institutions as powerful as the IMF – would currently appear to be the replacement of elected leaders by appointed technocrats (continue reading…)
I recently saw the movie Martha Marcy May Marlene, which bravely took up the question of the insidious influence of bizarre cults on unsuspecting young people.
Having lived through the era when such cults were media fodder and a number of friends and relatives had lost adult children to this phenomenon, and having written the well-received novel, Cult, I was interested in how the filmmakers approached the subject.
Those, like myself, who were around in the sixties and seventies when cults were portrayed as actively recruiting and brainwashing their unsuspecting victims into walking zombies for profit and control, who saw families destroyed and worse, have been lulled into believing that that era is over. Far from it. There are thousands of cults operating in this country and many more abroad. Some are quite prosperous and upcoming generations should be forewarned.
Of course, we were shocked by the mass suicide of Jonestown and the brutality and violence of Manson and his so-called “family” and other weird manifestations of mind control, which brought into the popular culture terms such as “deprogramming” and images of dull-eyed young people selling flowers at airports.
The media once feasted on such stories, although they never quite delved deeply enough into the phenomenon to increase the public’s understanding of the subtle ways cynical and power-hungry people use phony spiritualism, alienation, and communes run by guru pretenders for power and profit (continue reading…)
In these difficult economic times, what would you say to an investment that offers an $8 return for every $1 you put in? What if I sweetened the deal by saying that as an ethical investment, it would lead to better health, higher rates of school attendance and would save hundreds of thousands of children’s lives. Too good to be true?
Not according to the United Nations Development Programme: “On any measure of efficiency, investments in water and sanitation have the potential to generate a high return. Every $1 spent in the sector creates on average another $8 in costs averted and productivity gained. Beyond this static gain, improved access to water and sanitation has the potential to generate long-run dynamic effects that will boost economic efficiency.”
Governments around the world are deciding how to direct increasingly finite resources to boost their economies (continue reading…)
“Every child thriving in the safe embrace of a loving family.” It’s one of the five critical pledges the National CASA Association has made to abused and neglected children. And this month — this Saturday in particular — is a time to celebrate one way children can find such families. November is National Adoption Month and this Saturday, November 19, is National Adoption Day. This is a cherished time for those of us who work in the field of child welfare — and even more meaningful for those of us who are adoptive parents (continue reading…)
This week marked the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. With the Zuccotti Park encampment in lower Manhattan cleared and hundreds being arrested in demonstrations in the financial district, it appears protesters have adopted an unflattering victim mentality.
There’s a whole lot of talk and tweeting going on about ‘police brutality’, ‘Nazi’ NYPD officers, ‘Cossacks in riot gear’ sent in to ‘cleanse’ Zuccotti Park, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg behaving like a repressive Arab leader. It all shows that today’s radical left-wing activists are happy, not only to display great historical ignorance, but also to revel in an image of themselves as put-upon underdogs (continue reading…)
I find it absolutely ridiculous that our society places so much emphasis on age benchmarks as a way of indicating if someone is responsible enough to have privileges.
The classic argument is that you need to be 21 to drink, but only 18 to go die for your country. Or how about 13 to see certain movies? Does a birthday really make that much of a difference?
Birthdays are days. They’re no different than the day before or the day after. You’re not one year older on your birthday than you were the day before; you’re one day older.
So why is it that turning 18 gives you the basic democratic right to vote in an election?
It occurs to me now — during the first presidential election cycle in which I am eligible to vote — that up until this point I have not enjoyed the same rights as the average American.
Never before have I been able to have a say in who represents me before the rest of the world.
Never before have my opinions on politics mattered in the slightest.
And my realization doesn’t just apply to me (continue reading…)
By Aaron Mehta and Bob Biersack, iWatch NewsOn her website, Rep. Diane Black asks constituents to join advisory panels in her Tennessee district. “I believe the best ideas to solve our nation’s problems will come from people like you,” Black writes, “not Washington bureaucrats and special interest groups.”Black is one of the new Republicans who rode a wave of anti-Washington sentiment into town in 2011, a self-identified member of the tea party wing that has been cast as a new kind of conservative– fiery, unwilling to compromise and determined to downsize the government. But while many say Black and her companions have created a split in the Republican Party, it is not visible among the companies and interest groups that are donating to members of Congress.A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years (continue reading…)
There’s a new teen trend in Maryland and this one just may have you blowing smoke out of your ears. The good news is that the overall number of Maryland teens who smoke cigarettes has declined significantly during the past ten years. The bad news is that new statistics from a survey by the Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene found that cigar use among teens increased by more than 11% from 2000-2010 (continue reading…)
When Ridley Scott executive produces a cable series focusing on how the visionaries of science fiction helped pave the way for our actual future, you might expect episodes speculating on a world where chest-bursters and replicants run riot. Instead, Prophets of Science Fiction — which debuted on the Discovery Channel on November 9 — looks into what such fertile minds as Mary Shelly, H.G. Wells, and Isaac Asimov (left) got right and wrong in their predictions (although we’re crossing our fingers that a scheduled episode on Philip K. Dick will take a welcome turn towards the dark).
Participating in the series is Dr (continue reading…)
“I’m so happy cause today I found my friends … They’re in my head.”
– Kurt Cobain
Several years ago I met a women with a very “don’t worry be happy” disposition. After several conversations and cocktails she admitted that she was taking the antidepressant Prozac. I thought to myself, “Wow, your happiness is a manmade chemical (continue reading…)
What happens when you take a relationships-based culture to the next level with the use of social media? Suddenly power networking, knowledge transfer, collaboration opportunities and ideas generation start to blossom and feed a powerful social dynamic that is already growing rapidly under the radar of marketers, business leaders and local governments nationwide.
The LATISM (Latinos in Social Media) National Conference 2011 that recently took place in Chicago is a good example of how the highly interactive and social nature of the New Web is powering Latinos in the US today. For those of you who still don’t know LATISM, it is a pioneering social media organization hailed as the most influential online movement in the new multicultural Web. Its mission is simple: advance the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community through education, networking and the use of social technologies (continue reading…)
Like many new parents I feel torn between two mindsets. On one hand, I have the primal urge to protect my children, to catch them every time they slip and shelter them from all things sharp and pointy. The other part of me desperately wants to raise my children with both a strong sense of play and the ability to shrug off a scraped knee. I fully expect them to toddle home with cuts, bruises and the occasional broken bone (continue reading…)
Are you traveling this season? Have you booked your flights? Are you staying with family or in a hotel? Have you checked off your whole shopping list? Are you shopping online or in store? Are you mailing gifts or carrying with you? While trying to answer these questions and take care of your travel plans, I felt it was necessary to discuss some tips to keep your stockings filled with gifts and not bedbugs.
To start, with all that we have on our minds during the holiday travel season we forget that so many retailers and online websites are still dealing with bedbug infestations. On the one hand, you have a high turnover of shoppers entering big box retailers. On the other are massive online shopping warehouses where gifts are delivered straight to your front doors. Both options could potentially create bedbug infestations.
So how do we receive online and offline purchases, rent automobiles and travel without infesting our homes or travel destinations this holiday season? Staying educated is the key to staying bedbug free (continue reading…)
As the TSA “celebrates” its 10 year milepost, here’s a look back at some of its less than stellar moments.
According to the logic employed by the folks at the Transportation Security Administration, the real threat to national security isn’t, say, a shifty Nigerian businessman scamming his way onto a transcontinental Virgin Atlantic flight using a stolen and expired boarding pass and an expired ID.
No, the real danger comes from people like Jean Weber’s 95 year-old, wheelchair-bound, Depends-wearing mother, who attempted to board a plane from Florida to Michigan to see her family, perhaps for the last time before possibly dying of leukemia.
Agents in New York couldn’t be bothered to read the boarding pass of a man that had no business boarding a plane to California, but their counterparts at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport had all the time in the world to ruin the day of a very old, very frail and frightened woman, pulling her aside for 45 minutes of additional screening and forcing her to remove her undergarments.
When it comes to the TSA, one thing’s for sure: They have no idea how to get the traveling public to like them (continue reading…)
In the wake of the Department of Transportation’s landmark decision to find American Eagle $900,000 for the May 29th stranding of nearly 600 passengers on Chicago O’Hare’s tarmac, remarkably similar stories claiming that the fines would terrify the airlines and drive them to cancel huge numbers of flights appeared all over the national media.
The fact is that American Eagle was fined for loading 15 aircraft that they knew had no chance of making an on-time departure and for those flights’ passengers spending hours on the tarmac as a direct result of their decisions. The $900,000 fine is far from fatal for American Eagle parent company AMR, and is a small fraction of the $43.3 million they could have been fined.
Moreover, AMR management earns bonuses that vary with their stock price (continue reading…)
The happy hoopla surrounding the lifting of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell had a shadow side. Close inspection revealed a lot of partners and spouses of LGBTIQ military people who had been cloaked in secrecy and euphemism (“Meet my cousin”) for years. Now they, too, can come out. But they remain second-class citizens whose marriages don’t count because of the Defense of Marriage Act (continue reading…)
The function of violence in this world, I believe, is to attempt to put people “in their places.” I learned at an early age that violence toward me would be a potential consequence of me daring to step out of place, and I never knew my place when it came to gender. Though they said I was a boy when I was born, I never acted the way boys were allegedly supposed to. Those kids who chased me home from school every day during my elementary and junior high school years were trying to put me in my place. “They beat the girl out of my boy.. (continue reading…)
Every year, I hope it’ll be different, and every year, it isn’t. This year, it’s even worse.
Every year, when the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance rolls around, I pay a visit to the Remembering Our Dead website to look at the names and read the stories of people whose lives were cut tragically short by acts of anti-transgender hate violence.
Every year, the list grows even longer, with this past year showing a marked increase in the number of lives lost to anti-transgender hate violence.
While many may remember the name Brandon Teena from “Boys Don’t Cry,” the Oscar-winning movie starring Hilary Swank, other names are not so well known. Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata, Rita Hester, Ukea Davis, Amanda Milan.. (continue reading…)
Commentary on the decision of the California Supreme Court to grant legal standing to the proponents of Proposition 8 to appeal the 2010 judgment invalidating it.
The California Supreme Court ruling giving legal standing to an unelected, unappointed mob committed to taking away fundamental rights from LGBT Californians was a disappointment. But more important than the decision giving supporters of marriage discrimination the right to appeal is the decision they’re appealing. And that decision is Judge Walker’s ruling that taking fundamental rights away from equally protected American citizens is fundamentally unconstitutional.
Because what is at stake in the Proposition 8 challenge is not just the future of marriage for some Californians but the history of fundamental values for all Americans.
Are we a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all — not just some — are created equal? Do we believe that equal protection isn’t equal protection unless it equally protects all Americans? And is it fundamentally unconstitutional to put the fundamental rights of American citizens up to a “majority rules” vote?
Judge Walker answered those questions when he ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional in August 2010 (continue reading…)
Moline Loves Paul Simon Plus Chatting With Bill Wyman American Idols James Durbin and Mastodons Brann Dailor
Paul Simon Plays Moline
When Paul Simon performed at Moline, Illinois’ I wireless Center this past Wednesday night, he joked, “I might buy a place here. Let’s see how many standing ovations there are.” Well, he’d better be consulting with his real estate agent because in addition to the two at the show’s end that sparked pretty generous encores, standing ovations were a-plenty as the otherwise reserved and attentive Midwest audience enthusiastically sprang to their feet seemingly after every third or fourth song.
Although it seems that Paul has been on the road frequently over the last few years, this particular tour seems much more date-packed as he heralds his latest and one of the best albums of his career, So Beautiful Or So What. Reuniting with producer Phil Ramone resulted in that album’s tighter arrangements and return to a more concise songwriting, now also evident in the live format as new songs “Rewrite,” “Dazzling Blue,” “Love Is Eternal Sacred Light,” and “The Afterlife” easily blended with Paul’s older standards. And although there were only two Simon & Garfunkel songs that were revisited–”The Only Living Boy In New York” and “The Sound Of Silence,” played like his 9/11 tribute–Paul re-imagined almost all of his solo classics, with surprising medleys bursting out of “Hearts And Bones” (“Mystery Train,” “Wheels”) and “Kodachrome” (“Gone At Last”) (continue reading…)
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech (No. 8 BCS, No. 9 AP) will win the ACC’s Coastal Division on Saturday night if Virginia loses at Florida State (No. 23 BCS, No. 25 AP). If the Cavaliers win, the Virginia rivals will play for the crown Nov. 26.In perhaps a sign of how confident he’s feeling, Thomas wants to have to earn it.”I’d love to see them go out there and win and make it mean a lot more next week,” Thomas said of the Cavaliers, the only team still in contention for the spot opposite Clemson in the conference title game.
ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich writes about all things ACC in the conference blog.
• Blog network: College Football Nation
Thomas has plenty of reasons to feel good about the Hokies’ chances after their 24-21 victory over North Carolina on Thursday night. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as Virginia Tech built a 24-7 lead, then held off a comeback bid by the Tar Heels in the final quarter.The Hokies (10-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their sixth in a row since a home loss to No. 7 Clemson and remained on track for a fourth trip to the ACC championship game in five years. Virginia Tech is the only team in the nation that has won at least 10 games in each of the past eight seasons.Thomas hit Chris Drager with a game-tying 11-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, ran 23 yards for a touchdown in the third and hit D.J. Coles on a perfect fade route to make it 24-7.”He put the ball where only I could make a play on it,” Coles said of his second touchdown.And once again gave coach Frank Beamer reason to feel good going forward.”I think he doesn’t do crazy things with the ball. There’s a lot to be said for that,” Beamer said after earning his 250th win. “I think he just continues to be a good leader. I think his poise rubs off on the other guys.”Thomas wasn’t the only one making huge plays for the Hokies. Antone Exum forced a fumble by Ryan Houston at the Hokies 5 with North Carolina poised to go ahead 14-0, and Derrick Hopkins recovered. Even better, the Hokies drove 95 yards to the tying touchdown.”I was just happy to get off the field,” Hopkins said. “That changed the game.”The play came at the end of the Tar Heels’ only sustained drive until the fourth quarter, and although Houston later scored to make it 24-21, he was kicking himself for the mistake.”It was unreal for me,” he said. “The last time I remember fumbling was in my freshman year when I was here. It brought back bad memories.”North Carolina (6-5, 2-5) lost its second straight but made it tense with the help of some defensive breakdowns by the Hokies when they appeared comfortably in command.Bryn Renner’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Erik Highsmith made it 24-14 with 7:06 to go, and after the Hokies were forced to punt, Renner’s 64-yard pass to Highsmith on a blown coverage set up Houston’s short touchdown run, making it 24-21 with 2:32 to play.The Tar Heels tried an onside kick and recovered it, but the ball did not travel the required 10 yards to allow them to gain possession. Virginia Tech almost ran out the clock, leaving the Tar Heels time for one play — but Renner’s short pass fell incomplete.”It wasn’t real clean, but it was a win. I think that’s the important thing at this time,” Beamer said.Thomas finished 19 of 32 for 195 yards. He hit Jarrett Boykin 10 times for 106 yards, and Virginia Tech improved to 19-5 on Thursday nights.Until the late drama, the Hokies were in control.They led 10-7 at halftime and scored twice in the third quarter to effectively put the game away, especially since the Tar Heels’ offense managed to do very little. Their cause was not helped when 1,000-yard rusher Giovani Bernard, who gained 45 yards on 10 carries and scored their first touchdown, left with a mild concussion in the first half and didn’t return.Thomas made it 17-7 with a 23-yard touchdown run on third-and-2. It capped a 70-yard drive helped greatly by a pass interference call against Charles Brown on a ball that was well over the head of Boykin. The whistle came on a third-and-13 from the Tar Heels 44.After an exchange of punts, Thomas hit Boykin for 39 yards to the Tar Heels 27. Josh Oglesby followed with runs of 13 and 10 yards, and Thomas hit Coles with a beautiful throw on a fade route to the right corner of the end zone, pushing the lead to 24-7 late in the quarter.Only then did the Tar Heels start moving the ball, but they ran out of time.Virginia Tech drove to the North Carolina 26 on its second possession, but Thomas missed Boykin on fourth-and-4. The Tar Heels appeared poised to double their lead, but fumbled it away.”We knew we would go up 14-0 and we just kind of fell back,” Highsmith said.That started an 18-play, 95-yard drive for the Hokies that featured three third-down conversions and a 2-yard run on fourth-and-1 by Thomas. The 6-foot-6, 254-pounder had scrambled for 18 yards on third-and-19, then pushed the pile after appearing to have been stopped.Three plays later, he hit Drager from 11 yards out for the tying touchdown.After failing to get a first down, the Tar Heels gave the Hokies a short field when Dion Guy was called for fair-catch interference, and Virginia Tech took over at the Tar Heels 34.David Wilson covered the first 33 on the next play, but when two rushes by Wilson and one by Thomas netted minus-4 yards, Cody Journell made it 10-7 with a 22-yard field goal.The Hokies found themselves in familiar territory early — trailing — very quickly.On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Sylvester Williams hit Thomas from behind and stripped the ball. Tydreke Powell recovered for the Tar Heels at the Hokies 20.Renner hit Dwight Jones for 18 yards on the second play, and Bernard ran it in from the 4 on the next play, giving North Carolina a 7-0 lead after just 1:18. It was the seventh time the opponent has scored first against Virginia Tech this season, and the Hokies were 5-1 in those.
Links:Full news story
My best friend — and finest journalist I’ve ever known — Sean Holton determinedly took a break from brain cancer yesterday to post this response to Facebook well-wishers:
While he wrote, I told him I know it’s sad but you’re making me laugh. And that’s exactly why we love him. It was more than two years ago, in his first month of this epic battle, he wrote the following piece for his blog. It’s as though he was preparing us all those many months ago:
by Sean Holton
Same Time Tomorrow
(How Sean Holton Learned To Stop Worrying And Just Have Brain Cancer Instead)
August 24, 2009
I’ve been thinking lately about why the idea of the individual case of terminal cancer commands such enduring dramatic interest in our society (continue reading…)