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Opinion: Why 'Doonesbury' gets it wrong
Fredricks supports Texas' abortion law. It's currently being satirized in "Doonesbury" (GoComics.com/doonesbury).
March 15th, 2012
07:46 PM ET

Opinion: Why 'Doonesbury' gets it wrong

Editor's note: Melinda Fredricks is vice chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas and a member of the Texas Federation of Republican Women. In 2008, she was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. In 2003, Perry appointed her to the Texas Medical Board, which licenses and disciplines physicians.  

For an opposing view, please click here.

By Melinda Fredricks, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Despite opponents’ claims to the contrary, the real controversy concerning the newly enacted Texas Sonogram Law is that it took an act of the legislature to give women considering an abortion the information they deserve about this medical procedure.

Nonetheless, Garry Trudeau decided to make some ugly mischaracterizations of the law in his “Doonesbury” comic strip.

If it weren’t for the damage his misinformation could create, many Texans would just laugh at Trudeau’s ignorance. For one thing, he seems to think our legislature is made up of only middle-aged GOP men. The 21 women legislators who voted for the bill take issue with that, I’m certain. And while the bill was passed overwhelmingly by Republicans, without bi-partisanship the bill could not have passed the Texas Senate.

However, Trudeau’s misinformation crossed over into just plain nasty when he characterized the Texas Sonogram Law as rape. Disappointingly, a brilliant and talented woman such as former ABC news anchor Carole Simpson defended him in her recent article on this site.

Simpson’s argument is based on a statement that a vaginal sonogram is necessary in order to obtain the information required by the law to be given to the patient, and she alleges it “may even damage the reproductive organs of women who dare to seek an abortion.” This begs the questions, if a vaginal ultrasound is so dangerous, then why in the world did the FDA approve it, and why does the National Abortion Federation recommend it as a standard of care for some first-trimester medically induced abortions?

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Opinion: 'Doonesbury' strip says Texas' abortion law is rape - I agree
"Doonesbury" is currently focusing on Texas' abortion law. You can view the strip at GoComics.com/doonesbury.
March 15th, 2012
07:41 PM ET

Opinion: 'Doonesbury' strip says Texas' abortion law is rape - I agree

Editor's note: Carole Simpson is the leader-in-residence at Emerson College’s School of Communication in Boston, where she teaches journalism and communications classes. She is the first woman or minority to be the sole moderator of a presidential debate, and chronicled her 40 years as a broadcast journalist in her memoir, "Newslady."

For an opposing view, click here.

By Carole Simpson, Special to CNN

(CNN) – Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau has done it again.  For more than 40 years his comic strip, “Doonesbury” has been criticized for poking fun at presidents, other political figures and government decisions. But his strip is being yanked from some newspapers this week because, for the second time in his career, he has created a storyline that takes on abortion, God forbid.

What prompted Trudeau to invite the wrath of conservative pro-lifers everywhere is the new Texas law, which demeans, demoralizes, and may even damage the reproductive organs of women who dare to seek an abortion.  Passed by the Republican-controlled Texas legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, the law forces a woman who wants an abortion to receive information about her fetus that only can be obtained by a vaginal ultrasound.

During the procedure a doctor inserts a 10-inch sonogram wand into the vagina of a pregnant woman. Then the doctor must show her the image of her fetus and make her listen to the heartbeat.  Then the woman goes home to spend 24 hours considering her decision to abort.  Texas lawmakers wanted to make the procedure so invasive, so painful, and so emotionally devastating that the woman would change her mind.  They hope the woman bears the baby, which may have been conceived through rape or incest, or even if the birth may endanger her life.  It’s a prescription for child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment.

For this week’s “Doonesbury,” Trudeau created a story damning the Texas legislature.  It begins with a Texas woman going to a clinic seeking an abortion.  The nurse tells her:  “The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10” shaming wand.”  WOW.

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Memphis finally to name street after King
More than 900 U.S. cities have streets named after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was slain in Memphis in 1968.
March 15th, 2012
12:49 PM ET

Memphis finally to name street after King

By Joe Sutton, CNN

(CNN) - Forty-four years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of a Memphis hotel, the Tennessee city is overcoming what some call protracted guilt and embarrassment, and naming a street in his honor.

A nearly 1-mile stretch of Linden Avenue will be renamed Dr. M.L. King Jr. Avenue on April 4, the anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination.

The honor has been a long time coming.

More than 900 U.S. cities have streets named after King. The largest concentration is in the South, led by Georgia, which has more than 70 roads named after the Atlanta native, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

But in the city where he died, the omission has been, to many, glaring.

Read the full story

Engage: Shooting death of Trayvon Martin sparks outcry
Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot dead in a gated community in Sanford, Florida around sunset on February 26.
March 15th, 2012
12:00 PM ET

Engage: Shooting death of Trayvon Martin sparks outcry

Engage with news and opinions from around the web about under-reported stories from undercovered communities.

Shooting death of 17-year-old unarmed black youth by white neighborhood captain raises questions, tension in Florida - Orlando Sentinel

Violence Against Women Act center of political debate –The Atlantic 

Profile: 22-year-old golfer Lizette Salas - The New York Times 

Why more American blacks are home schooling –BBC Magazine

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Jobless rate for veterans plunges
Veterans Michael Futch (R) and Logan Remillard (L) register for the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair November 4, 2011.
March 15th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Jobless rate for veterans plunges

Editor's note: Overseas, they fight for freedom. In America, they fight for jobs. “Voters In America: Vets Wanted?” is the first part of a CNN In America documentary series on American voters. Narrated by JR Martinez. Re-airing May 19th at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNN) - More veterans are coming back from war and getting back to work in the civilian job force, thanks to efforts by both employers and the government, as well as the improving economy.

The jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has fallen to 7.6%, well below the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%, and nearly five percentage points below the 12.5% rate for veterans a year ago.

Many employers make it a point to hire vets. Dawn Halfaker, a former military police captain who lost her arm in Iraq in 2004, is among them. She founded her consultancy Halfaker and Associates in 2006, with the intention of hiring wounded warriors like herself.

"I know what it's like to get injured and have your career taken away from you," she said. "So I want to make sure my company is a vehicle to offer opportunities to other warriors."

Read the full story on CNNMoney

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Opinion: Russlynn Ali: 'Stark inequity' in our schools demands attention
A survey done by the Dept. of Education showed that African-American and Latino students receive less resources in school.
March 15th, 2012
08:21 AM ET

Opinion: Russlynn Ali: 'Stark inequity' in our schools demands attention

Editor's note: Russlynn Ali is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.  She was a teacher, an attorney and worked at the Children's Defense Fund, and she has also taught law at the University of Southern California Law Center.  Ali was appointed to the Department of Education by President Barack Obama in 2009.

By Russlynn Ali, Special to CNN

(CNN) – If a society based on the ideal of fundamental equality is to fulfill its promise, it cannot afford to look away when confronted with stark inequity.  Last week, the Department of Education released a trove of data from Part II of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), a self-reported survey of more than 72,000 schools that serve 85 percent of the nation’s students.

The findings demand our attention.

This survey quantified how school resources are distributed in schools and districts; whether in teacher salaries, the assignment of experienced teachers, or access to college and career preparatory coursework like algebra, calculus or gifted and talented programs.  And it showed that African-American and Latino students routinely receive less.

These disparities stand out even more when contrasted with the one area where African-American and Latino students are consistently overrepresented – discipline, including the rates of suspension, expulsion, and in-school arrests.

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Filed under: Black in America • Discrimination • Education • Race • Social justice • What we think