09 May 2011


IT GETS BETTER. The It Gets Better Project is an online video website whose goal is to "prevent suicide among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) youth by having gay adults convey the message that these teens' lives will improve." Most if not all gays have experienced harrassment, intimidation, and assault. Some have been tortured or murdered. In recent years the suicide rate among gay teens has risen (or perhaps we are simply more aware of the numbers). I would submit that as important as it is for gay adults to reach out, it is equally important for straight adults to reach out. I have a number of gay and lesbian friends, and they know that I'm as closely allied to them as I am allied to any minority, any other cause of social justice. Our children are our children, period.

President Obama lent his voice to the movement in a video release on October 21, 2010, in which he said, "We've got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage, that it's just some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And for every young person out there, you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help."

Here is the website for the It Gets Better Project. Take a look at the videos, and consider adding your voice to the call for humane treatment of all people, regardless of sexual orientation.

CLASSISM. Imagine this -- the profits of the Fortune 500 companies rose 81 percent between 2010 and 2011. Income inequality in America is higher than at any other time since the Great Depression. Taxes on the wealthy are at their lowest level in decades. And those corporate profits? -- they do not trickle down to produce more jobs. As union membership decreases, middle class income shrinks. Meanwhile, the average salary of any given CEO in this country was $11 million last year, while teachers and Navy SEALs are lucky to eke out $55,000 a year.

Tax reform on the wealthy and on corporations would erase our national debt, balance our budget, and return us to being a nation of the people, by the people, for the people. Is it likely to happen? Not while Wall Street controls government, and not while 5 percent of the population controls 80 percent of the nation's wealth. All of you who consider yourselves to be "middle class" need to realize that the middle class is fast becoming a myth. If you hesitate, view this video showing graphs and figures which leave no room for doubt.

KERMIT. On this day in 1955 (the same year my younger brother was born), everyone's favorite frog made his first public appearance. Puppeteer Jim Henson's most famous muppet, Kermit the Frog, went on to host The Muppet Show, and to appear many times on Sesame Street. He was the Grand Marshall in the Tournament of Roses parade in 1996, the same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Amphibious Letters at Southampton College, NY. The cheerful and modest Kermit even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Happy birthday, Kermit -- may you cheer us, young and old, for many years to come.

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