Featured Post

Pres. Obama and Trump let their guards down at White House

buzzz worthy. . . By Mona Austin President Obama and Donald Trump met for the first time on Thursday to begin talks about the official...

Breaking News

Friday, August 30, 2013

Judge order light sentence for teacher rapist sparks protest

buzzz worthy. . .

Protesters want a Bollings, Montana  judge to step down after reducing the sentence of a teacher to a light 30 days of jail time for the rape of a 14-year-old. State District Judge G. Todd Baugh, 71 said Cherise Morales seemed mature enough to understand, implying she was a willing participant in sexual intercourse with Stacey Dean Rambold, who was in his early 50s at the time of the rape.  Prosecutors had asked for 20 years, with 10 years suspended for the felony.  

At 16 Morales took her own life in Feb. of 2010 while the case was still unfolding. Judge Baugh said he should not have said he should not have said the victim appeared to be older than her age and has since apologized.
Read more ...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

March on Washington 2013 Photos

buzzz worthy. . .

By Mona Austin

Thousands stood beneath a slow drizzle on August 28, 2013 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.  Following a symbolic march in downtown DC, speakers paid tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and addressed the new frontier of Civil Rights at the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony held  at the Lincoln Memorial.  Spectators were spread out over the length of the Reflecting pool, numbering approximately 10,000.

Speakers included former members of the King family, Civil Rights leaders, former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Rep. John Lewis (D. Georgia) who marched with Dr. King, Oprah Winfrey, Marion Wright Edelman, Forest Whitaker, Caroline Kennedy, and Jamie Foxx among others. Speaking from the same spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the prolific "I Have A Dream Speech," President Barack Obama delivered the final words of the day in a speech that emphasized unity, accountabily and equality of opportunity.  The transcript of the historic address is below in its entirety.

An African American woman in her twenties who attended the event said she had hoped the president would say somethng about Trayvon Martin, the slain Florida teen who many believe died senselessly at the hand of a neighborhood watchman. Oprah Winfrey, apart from this event, said Martin is the Emmit Till of our time.

Obama steered clear of any racially polarizing issues or politically sensitive topics like gun control, instead focusing his remarks on the economy, the value of hard work, education and jobs.

Echoing MLK, Obama spoke of the need for economic opportunities so that everyone has a chance to experience a decent quality of life. The president recognized racial desparity in relation to income and joblessness.  

"Black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment, Latino unemployment close behind.  The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it's grown," said the president, pointing out that despite the magnitude of the nation's progess, the widened wealth gap is not equalized between racial minorities.

 The crowd was in stark contrast to the largely African American crowd that gathered for King's speech. People of all races were inspired the speech from a man who is he embodiment of Dr. King's dream.


Lincoln Memorial

3:07 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  To the King family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much; to President Clinton; President Carter; Vice President Biden and Jill; fellow Americans.  

Five decades ago today, Americans came to this honored place to lay claim to a promise made at our founding:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise -- those truths -- remained unmet.  And so they came by the thousands from every corner of our country, men and women, young and old, blacks who longed for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others.

Across the land, congregations sent them off with food and with prayer.  In the middle of the night, entire blocks of Harlem came out to wish them well.  With the few dollars they scrimped from their labor, some bought tickets and boarded buses, even if they couldn’t always sit where they wanted to sit.  Those with less money hitchhiked or walked.  They were seamstresses and steelworkers, students and teachers, maids and Pullman porters.  They shared simple meals and bunked together on floors.  And then, on a hot summer day, they assembled here, in our nation’s capital, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator -- to offer testimony of injustice, to petition their government for redress, and to awaken America’s long-slumbering conscience.

We rightly and best remember Dr. King’s soaring oratory that day, how he gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions; how he offered a salvation path for oppressed and oppressors alike.  His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time.

But we would do well to recall that day itself also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on TV.  Many had gone to segregated schools and sat at segregated lunch counters.  They lived in towns where they couldn’t vote and cities where their votes didn’t matter.  They were couples in love who couldn’t marry, soldiers who fought for freedom abroad that they found denied to them at home.  They had seen loved ones beaten, and children fire-hosed, and they had every reason to lash out in anger, or resign themselves to a bitter fate.

And yet they chose a different path.  In the face of hatred, they prayed for their tormentors.  In the face of violence, they stood up and sat in, with the moral force of nonviolence.  Willingly, they went to jail to protest unjust laws, their cells swelling with the sound of freedom songs.  A lifetime of indignities had taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that God grants us.  They had learned through hard experience what Frederick Douglass once taught -- that freedom is not given, it must be won, through struggle and discipline, persistence and faith.

That was the spirit they brought here that day.  That was the spirit young people like John Lewis brought to that day.  That was the spirit that they carried with them, like a torch, back to their cities and their neighborhoods.  That steady flame of conscience and courage that would sustain them through the campaigns to come -- through boycotts and voter registration drives and smaller marches far from the spotlight; through the loss of four little girls in Birmingham, and the carnage of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the agony of Dallas and California and Memphis.  Through setbacks and heartbreaks and gnawing doubt, that flame of justice flickered; it never died.

And because they kept marching, America changed.  Because they marched, a Civil Rights law was passed.  Because they marched, a Voting Rights law was signed.  Because they marched, doors of opportunity and education swung open so their daughters and sons could finally imagine a life for themselves beyond washing somebody else’s laundry or shining somebody else’s shoes. (Applause.)  Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and, yes, eventually, the White House changed.  (Applause.)  

Because they marched, America became more free and more fair -- not just for African Americans, but for women and Latinos, Asians and Native Americans; for Catholics, Jews, and Muslims; for gays, for Americans with a disability.  America changed for you and for me.  and the entire world drew strength from that example, whether the young people who watched from the other side of an Iron Curtain and would eventually tear down that wall, or the young people inside South Africa who would eventually end the scourge of apartheid.  (Applause.)

Those are the victories they won, with iron wills and hope in their hearts.  That is the transformation that they wrought, with each step of their well-worn shoes.  That’s the debt that I and millions of Americans owe those maids, those laborers, those porters, those secretaries; folks who could have run a company maybe if they had ever had a chance; those white students who put themselves in harm’s way, even though they didn't have; those Japanese Americans who recalled their own internment; those Jewish Americans who had survived the Holocaust; people who could have given up and given in, but kept on keeping on, knowing that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Applause.)

On the battlefield of justice, men and women without rank or wealth or title or fame would liberate us all in ways that our children now take for granted, as people of all colors and creeds live together and learn together and walk together, and fight alongside one another, and love one another, and judge one another by the content of our character in this greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

To dismiss the magnitude of this progress -- to suggest, as some sometimes do, that little has changed -- that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years.  (Applause.)  Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Martin Luther King Jr. -- they did not die in vain.  (Applause.)  Their victory was great. 

But we would dishonor those heroes as well to suggest that the work of this nation is somehow complete.  The arc of the moral universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.  To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency.  Whether by challenging those who erect new barriers to the vote, or ensuring that the scales of justice work equally for all, and the criminal justice system is not simply a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, it requires vigilance.  (Applause.) 

And we'll suffer the occasional setback.  But we will win these fights.  This country has changed too much.  (Applause.)  People of goodwill, regardless of party, are too plentiful for those with ill will to change history’s currents.  (Applause.)  

In some ways, though, the securing of civil rights, voting rights, the eradication of legalized discrimination -- the very significance of these victories may have obscured a second goal of the March.  For the men and women who gathered 50 years ago were not there in search of some abstract ideal.  They were there seeking jobs as well as justice -- (applause) -- not just the absence of oppression but the presence of economic opportunity.  (Applause.)

For what does it profit a man, Dr. King would ask, to sit at an integrated lunch counter if he can’t afford the meal?  This idea -- that one’s liberty is linked to one’s livelihood; that the pursuit of happiness requires the dignity of work, the skills to find work, decent pay, some measure of material security -- this idea was not new.  Lincoln himself understood the Declaration of Independence in such terms -- as a promise that in due time, “the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.”  

And Dr. King explained that the goals of African Americans were identical to working people of all races:  “Decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old-age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community.”

What King was describing has been the dream of every American.  It's what's lured for centuries new arrivals to our shores.  And it’s along this second dimension -- of economic opportunity, the chance through honest toil to advance one’s station in life -- where the goals of 50 years ago have fallen most short. 

Yes, there have been examples of success within black America that would have been unimaginable a half century ago.  But as has already been noted, black unemployment has remained almost twice as high as white unemployment, Latino unemployment close behind.  The gap in wealth between races has not lessened, it's grown.  And as President Clinton indicated, the position of all working Americans, regardless of color, has eroded, making the dream Dr. King described even more elusive. 

For over a decade, working Americans of all races have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar, even as the pay of a fortunate few explodes.  Inequality has steadily risen over the decades.  Upward mobility has become harder.  In too many communities across this country, in cities and suburbs and rural hamlets, the shadow of poverty casts a pall over our youth, their lives a fortress of substandard schools and diminished prospects, inadequate health care and perennial violence. 

     And so as we mark this anniversary, we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of millionaires.  It was whether this country would admit all people who are willing to work hard regardless of race into the ranks of a middle-class life.  (Applause.)

The test was not, and never has been, whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few.  It was whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many -- for the black custodian and the white steelworker, the immigrant dishwasher and the Native American veteran.  To win that battle, to answer that call -- this remains our great unfinished business. 

We shouldn’t fool ourselves.  The task will not be easy.  Since 1963, the economy has changed.  The twin forces of technology and global competition have subtracted those jobs that once provided a foothold into the middle class -- reduced the bargaining power of American workers.  And our politics has suffered.  Entrenched interests, those who benefit from an unjust status quo, resisted any government efforts to give working families a fair deal -- marshaling an army of lobbyists and opinion makers to argue that minimum wage increases or stronger labor laws or taxes on the wealthy who could afford it just to fund crumbling schools, that all these things violated sound economic principles.  We'd be told that growing inequality was a price for a growing economy, a measure of this free market; that greed was good and compassion ineffective, and those without jobs or health care had only themselves to blame.

And then, there were those elected officials who found it useful to practice the old politics of division, doing their best to convince middle-class Americans of a great untruth -- that government was somehow itself to blame for their growing economic insecurity; that distant bureaucrats were taking their hard-earned dollars to benefit the welfare cheat or the illegal immigrant.

And then, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that during the course of 50 years, there were times when some of us claiming to push for change lost our way.  The anguish of assassinations set off self-defeating riots.  Legitimate grievances against police brutality tipped into excuse-making for criminal behavior.  Racial politics could cut both ways, as the transformative message of unity and brotherhood was drowned out by the language of recrimination.  And what had once been a call for equality of opportunity, the chance for all Americans to work hard and get ahead was too often framed as a mere desire for government support -- as if we had no agency in our own liberation, as if poverty was an excuse for not raising your child, and the bigotry of others was reason to give up on yourself.

All of that history is how progress stalled.  That's how hope was diverted.  It's how our country remained divided.  But the good news is, just as was true in 1963, we now have a choice. We can continue down our current path, in which the gears of this great democracy grind to a halt and our children accept a life of lower expectations; where politics is a zero-sum game where a few do very well while struggling families of every race fight over a shrinking economic pie -- that’s one path.  Or we can have the courage to change. 

The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate.  But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together.  We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. 

And I believe that spirit is there, that truth force inside each of us.  I see it when a white mother recognizes her own daughter in the face of a poor black child.  I see it when the black youth thinks of his own grandfather in the dignified steps of an elderly white man.  It’s there when the native-born recognizing that striving spirit of the new immigrant; when the interracial couple connects the pain of a gay couple who are discriminated against and understands it as their own. 

That’s where courage comes from -- when we turn not from each other, or on each other, but towards one another, and we find that we do not walk alone.  That’s where courage comes from. (Applause.)

And with that courage, we can stand together for good jobs and just wages.  With that courage, we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on Earth for every person.  (Applause.)  With that courage, we can stand together for the right of every child, from the corners of Anacostia to the hills of Appalachia, to get an education that stirs the mind and captures the spirit, and prepares them for the world that awaits them.  (Applause.)

With that courage, we can feed the hungry, and house the homeless, and transform bleak wastelands of poverty into fields of commerce and promise.

America, I know the road will be long, but I know we can get there.  Yes, we will stumble, but I know we’ll get back up.  That’s how a movement happens.  That’s how history bends.  That's how when somebody is faint of heart, somebody else brings them along and says, come on, we’re marching.  (Applause.)

There’s a reason why so many who marched that day, and in the days to come, were young -- for the young are unconstrained by habits of fear, unconstrained by the conventions of what is.  They dared to dream differently, to imagine something better.  And I am convinced that same imagination, the same hunger of purpose stirs in this generation.

We might not face the same dangers of 1963, but the fierce urgency of now remains.  We may never duplicate the swelling crowds and dazzling procession of that day so long ago -- no one can match King’s brilliance -- but the same flame that lit the heart of all who are willing to take a first step for justice, I know that flame remains.  (Applause.)  

That tireless teacher who gets to class early and stays late and dips into her own pocket to buy supplies because she believes that every child is her charge -- she’s marching.  (Applause.)

That successful businessman who doesn't have to but pays his workers a fair wage and then offers a shot to a man, maybe an ex-con who is down on his luck -- he’s marching.  (Applause.)

The mother who pours her love into her daughter so that she grows up with the confidence to walk through the same door as anybody’s son -- she’s marching.  (Applause.)

The father who realizes the most important job he’ll ever have is raising his boy right, even if he didn't have a father -- especially if he didn't have a father at home -- he’s marching.  (Applause.)

The battle-scarred veterans who devote themselves not only to helping their fellow warriors stand again, and walk again, and run again, but to keep serving their country when they come home -- they are marching.  (Applause.)

Everyone who realizes what those glorious patriots knew on that day -- that change does not come from Washington, but to Washington; that change has always been built on our willingness, We The People, to take on the mantle of citizenship -- you are marching.  (Applause.)

And that’s the lesson of our past.  That's the promise of tomorrow -- that in the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it.  That when millions of Americans of every race and every region, every faith and every station, can join together in a spirit of brotherhood, then those mountains will be made low, and those rough places will be made plain, and those crooked places, they straighten out towards grace, and we will vindicate the faith of those who sacrificed so much and live up to the true meaning of our creed, as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  (Applause.)          
Read more ...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RE: Miley Cyrus VMA's performance; Grow up

buzzz worthy. . .
By Mona Austin

As the mother of two young daughters who are huge Miley Cyrus fans I feel obligated to weigh in on the controversy about the pop star's recent  risque performance.

At the MTV  Video Music Awards Sunday night Cyrus left the TV viewing audience feeling visually violated.  I won't be  too descriptive because I found what she did to be highly offensive.

The latest behavior from the same singer who warmed America's heart with "The Climb" shows she is on a decline. And I mean decline because the exhibitionist, sexually suggestive number she did with "Blurred Lines" singer Robin Thicke was inappropriate on a gutter low level.

Cyrus' antics were disturbing and should in no way be confused with art or maturity.

The ex-Disney Channel star is obviously trying to show she's all grown up now, no longer a kid star.  My daughters and I understand "Hannah Montanna" does not exist anymore. We don't want "Hannah Montana" back. Her time has long past and every child star should be allowed to grow up without feeling pressured to be like the chracter that made them famous for the rest their lives.  As a parent, before my money goes toward the purchase of anything else associated with Miley, I want to see her grow into a woman with a sense of self respect and dignity. Selena Gomez, and other past child stars in her peer group have moved on in a normal manner and I beleive she can too.

Eveyone is asking, "What went wrong with Miley?"

While the once wholesome girl from Tennessee was still a teen she sought legal emancipation from her parents and started shacking up with her boyfriend-turned-fiancee', actor Liam Hemsworth as if she was a grown woman.  Hollywood can speed up the clock of maturity, yet there is no such thing as instant adulthood.  Maturation is a long process.  When the courts cancel out parental control based solely on rebellion, parents are rendered powerless. Ever since Miley took her life into her own hands the "Party in the USA" singer has made negative headlines.

If she was in fact trying to show she is no longer a child, she failed.  From the 2-year-old  hair-do and goofy moves, this performance showed just how immature Cyrus is.

I do not blame Miley's parents for her unraveling.  The challenge the Cyrus' faced is popularity vs. parenting. Teens are hard to raise while competing with the broader billboard messages in media that overshadow and contradict what they are being taught at home.  Celebrity kids are even harder to raise because their acceptance and popularity is a career mandate.  In her distasteful pursuit of the attention she needs to thrive in the music industry, the singer is now more "popular" for the wrong reasons.  The Miley Cyrus performacne got 306,000 tweets per minute. The network and Cyrus both got what they wanted: attention.  Miley needs to think long and hard before her next move because these spurts of outrageous behavior will eventually backfire and  put her on the road to  "Has Been Ville."

The disconnect that parents of out-of-control celebrity kids deal with is one that most of us will never understand.  They have access to more things that can ruin their lives and are constantly surrounded by "yes" people, giving them a sense of entitlement beyond our comprehension.   In this case, Miley's parents lost their footing as the authority figures and leaders in their home somehow, which could be due to their daughter feeling a sense of power based on the money she made.

One of the other things that went wrong recently is that people seemed to co-sign Cyrus wop/twerking dance video on Youtube.  (It's funny how people reacted more strongly against the nearly nude photos of Cyrus in the Vogue spread a few years ago.)  For some, those massive numbers on Youtbe add up to acceptance. The video was wildly popular and I'm sure a good percentage of those hits were from some of her younger fans.   Parents must monitor their children's online activity and set boundaries of what is an isn't acceptable viewing consumption.

So many people want to  debate about what is and isn't age appropriate.  For me, anytime I have to cover my daughters' eyes or rush to reach for the remote, that content is unacceptable.

However,  Miley Cyrus is not the only one to blame here.  The network must be held accountable for not censoring the act. The Parents Televsion Council is condeming the award show for not providing content that adhered to the PG-14 rating.

The Director of Public Policy for the watch dog group, Dan Islett said in a statement: "MTV has once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and condom commercials -- while falsely rating this program as appropriate for kids as young as 14. This is unacceptable.  This much is absolutely clear: MTV marketed adults-only material to children while falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children," (Incidentally, according to news reports Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley's father, is on the organization's board.)  
Placing her near naked girating body on display for millions of viewers to gaulk at (an many of the fellow celebs who were clearly not entertained), producers approved the act beforehand. The producers of the VMA's pounced on the vulnerability of internet voyeurs, thinking it brilliant to integrate Miley as a "dancer" into a collaboration with another popular singer. 
Thicke should also be held accountable.  At 36, (16 years her senior) he is old enough to be a mentor to Miley, but  did not hesitate to play along with the performance, thrusting as the 20-year-old singer shook her booty in front of his male zone.  Not to mention he is married to actress Paula Patton.

What was more disturbing to me is that  Cyrus is sending the wrong message about sex and sexuality. Her ideas about both are wreckless, aggressive, lude and wrongfully degrades the beauty of sex and its intended purpose.  Contrary to the dance moves and fashion in popular culture, a woman does not have to act or look like a stripper or porn star to be appealing to a man, as  the growing trend in this over-sexed generation suggests.

My message to Miley and other misguided young ladies is you can grow up, but grow up gracefully.
Read more ...


buzzz worthy. . .

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is continuing its sponsorship of the Telluride Film Festival with a series of special events including an exhibition highlighting the history of the festival at the Historic Sheridan Opera House.  Telluride, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, runs August 29 through September 2.
“The Telluride Film Festival is a showcase for great films and filmmakers, and over its 40 years has figured prominently in the careers of many Academy members,” said Dawn Hudson, Academy CEO.  “We are excited to celebrate this milestone by preserving the Festival’s history and its far-reaching cultural influence.”

Telluride Film Festival recently donated all media and ephemera related to the Festival to the Academy for preservation and to avail future generations of its important place in film history.

“The Academy Celebrates the Show” is an installation featuring photographs, documents, video footage and other treasures from the Academy’s newly acquired Telluride Film Festival Special Collection.  A companion exhibit, “Alternate Telluride,” at the Backlot, will showcase a selection of letters from notable filmmakers who – for one reason or another – could not attend, making for a fascinating glimpse into Tellurides that might have been.
The Academy, which has been supporting the Festival for eleven years, is sponsoring the Festival’s signature Noon Seminars series and will also present the following special programs from its collections:
“Telluride Film Festival has chosen the Academy as the guardian of its treasured collection so that these important media assets can serve future generations, education and research,” commented festival executive director, Julie Huntsinger.  “This special exhibition that AMPAS has curated is a wonderful glimpse into the Festival’s past 40 years. We are proud of our long-standing relationship and thank them for their enthusiasm in celebrating this exceptional year and for their generous and continued support.” 
Read more ...