Abraham Lincoln on Ferguson

CaptureI recently picked up a book at a thrift store on the Upper West Side called “Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly” by Jennifer Fleischner for a cool $2.00. The book is a dual biography that goes between the lives of Mary Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckly. The former being the wife of our 16th President and the latter being a freed black woman who became close to the Lincolns as a caretaker and dressmaker. The book is good, I definitely recommend it to any history or Lincoln fans, but there was one part that caught my eye in relation to current events, specifically the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

As you may or may not  should know, the conversation on race relations in America has flared up again after 18-year-old Ferguson resident, Michael Brown, was shot by police. Missouri has a long and fraught record when it comes to the treatment of African-Americans that goes back hundreds of years. Take 1847, the year Elizabeth Keckly arrived in St. Louis, Missouri. By this year, the state assembly had passed laws “outlawing schools ‘for the instruction of negroes and mulattoes in reading or writing'”, preventing free (and presumably better educated) blacks from entering the state, and barring all forms of assembly. On top of all this, the slave trade was extremely present in St. Louis with slave traders being “noted for…barbarity” by a mixed-race slave named William Wells Brown, who would later become an antislavery activist and writer.
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The promise of the future and the reality of the present #NYPC2013

Yours truly and my NYPC2013 tablemates
Courtesy of the New York Press Club Foundation

This past Saturday, I attended the 21st annual New York Press Club Foundation Conference on Journalism. Though it it’s a fairly small gathering, it was a beautiful sight to see journalists young and old getting together to talk the profession. The theme was the potential of social media in reporting and disseminating the news. During the plenary session, there was talk of geotagging, crowdsourcing, and tweeting until an eager audience member had something to say. To a round of hardy applause, 60 year journalist veteran and WNBC senior correspondent Gabe Pressman made sure to remind all in attendance that no matter what technological innovations come around there is no replacement for old-fashioned, shoes on the ground journalism. Though it was easy for many of the younger digital natives in the room, including myself, to dismiss what seemed like the technophobic ramblings of an old blow-hard, he had a point. A point that came back throughout the rest of the conference.
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cutting sacred cows #Obama2point0

I’ve had this post written for some time and have put it off but that it would make a great post-election discussion of what I think would be super great to see over the next four years with Obama 2.0

There goes an old adage that says something to the effect of “never bite the hand that feeds you”. This means not only to be grateful for what you are given but to know from where it came and who allowed it to be given to you. My food, clothes, education and health care were funded by the grand, old U.S. Army. More specifically by my father’s near twenty year employment by it.

Lately there’s been all of this talk about budget deficits and national debt. We have to come together as a country to tackle it right? We all have to sacrifice. That’s all fine and dandy until the bird comes to roost in your tree. I’ve been completely appalled by the lack of open voice in our government about the need to buckle down and lace the boot straps about cutting sacred cows on both sides, including social welfare and defense spending.

I wish I could easily say, “Well duh we have to cut the defense budget. We need roads and education!”. Let’s overlook the fact that most of this spending goes to defense manufacturers or private contractors, it becomes more complicated when the subject of cuts becomes my father, military friends and their families (this includes me). Less money means less treatment for PTSD, less counseling for parentless children and less education and training for returning soldiers and their families.
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why i’m voting for @barackobama

*Everything below is purely my opinion and is not meant to demean the beliefs or political leanings of any readers. Just my thoughts.

As any person with a brain and access to the internet knows, we are in yet another political cycle. It doesn’t feel like four years have passed since the last presidential election. Last time it was pretty clear who would be winning but this time most people are not sure. Some believe the president could lose because he’s soft on defense, the health care law is unpopular, he spends too much money or because he’s black. It’s a lot of these things but his biggest downfall could be apathy of his voting base.

As far as I am concerned, a no show for Obama is a vote for Romney. In short, this post is about how not voting is worse than voting. I’ll try not to get too preachy because that can be infinitely exhausting.

I am a statistic in this campaign. A young person who enthusiastically voted for the President in ’08 and is much less so in ’12. I don’t see how we could be as excited. We’re much to fickle of a people to get that riled up about the same person twice. But there are lot of reasons to continue this administration.

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on bullying and ignorance

From my dear brother and greatest ally, Matthew Mercier

” And whereas the theme of school safety is being used as a pretext to advance a much broader agenda, the legitimization of homosexuality and related conduct to impressionable school children
And whereas the Anoka Hennepin school board is considering removing the protective sexual orientation curriculum policy, an action that undermines the academic focus of this district and open the door to pro-homosexual and related conduct materials in the school curriculum thereby exposing students to concepts hostile to there religious faith and/or moral conviction
And whereas school officials would be liable for violating parental rights by subjecting a child to homosexual and related conduct indoctrination
And whereas the Supreme Court in Meyer v Nebraska has held that parents’ right to direct the moral upbringing and education of their children is one of the most fundamental of all rights and a failure to abide by parental rights can result in liability for damages both the the school district” (Link to Article)

—————- His response and thoughts…

First, why is there a need to legitimize homosexuality? It exists. People don’t choose to be homosexual anymore than I chose to be Mexican. It exists in nature in various animals, just look up gay penguins. I don’t ask that you accept it. What you believe is what you believe. But people need to understand that this is a group of people who are who they are. That is a undeniable fact. People would not be choose to accept all this hate and misunderstanding simply to do it. It is WHO THEY ARE.

Secondly being able to mention LGBT issues does not undermine any academic focus. OH NO THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT GAY PEOPLE I CANT STUDY JEFFERSON OR STATS! And since when does knowing about LGBT issues open the door to “pro-homosexual and related conduct materials” whatever the hell those are. Does that mean hearing about gay people will make people talk about sexuality and stuff? Isn’t that kinda the point of Sex-Ed? So our kids know how everything works in order to give them the best information available? Oh that’s right some people are terrified of that and believe heterosexual abstinence only sex-ed is the best teaching method even though it hasn’t shown any proof towards lowering any sort of STI or pregnancy rate… ANYWHERE. “Oh man our teacher talked about gays in class. I kinda hope they continue doing it cause it sounds awesome and I kinda want to join.”(Fun fact:Pretty sure that’s not how gay works. It’s not a brainwashing group last time I checked. Maybe they are and I’m resistant to their awesome dressing, dope hairdos, and kick ass personalities much to the chagrin of those silly gays.)

Also why are there parents being upset about how their kids perform in school or parents blaming their kids friends for how their kids act if the Supreme Court held up that it was the parent’s right to “direct the moral upbringing and education is one of the most fundamental of all rights”? Are these parents shrugging off their right to other people? Take some damn responsibility for your lives. Public schools have a duty to provide an environment that is inclusive to EVERYONE. That is the point of PUBLIC is to include everyone not just what you believe. Teach your kids how you want and raise them how you want. They are your kids after all. A major part of living is to learn and decide your own views on things. Don’t blame the school because they want to look into being able to mention(not teach) that some people have different lifestyles. This could be detrimental to a child if they were LGBT or thought differently.

Finally the fact that someone could say this with a straight face “But what’s this I find in our schools as a potential role model? Dan Savage is a militant homosexual activist he seeks to end bullying by affirming and normalizing homosexuality. His method is to use shockingly obscene anti-christian hate rhetoric” To provide background Dan Savage and his husband started the It Gets Better Project in order to prevent suicide of LGBT teens by spreading the message that it gets better. For someone to call a person who tries to spread a hopeful message to other people in order to prevent suicide a “militant homosexual activist” just seems confusing to me. What about trying to help others makes something militant? Especially when the goal is prevent suicide? In that case let me complain about the National Suicide Hotline because its a militant pro-life group.

For more on this story and the people affected, see this article