Texas is no place for hate

Brothers and sisters, we are gathered here this evening in this great state, where the stars shine bright, to declare that there is no place for hate in Texas. (Preach it!)

Recently we've seen examples where fear has led to hate and turned into violence, from the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, to assaults on students, verbal or physical -- even driving them to commit suicide.

In Corpus Christi, a freshman high school student who had been bullied for years committed suicide in the spring. Another killed himself recently in El Paso. Just this week, a teen lesbian couple was found shot in a south Texas park.

These incidents bring attention to the dismal statistic that suicide is the third leading cause of death of Texans between the ages of 10 and 24. For too long school officials, and the public in general, have turned a blind eye to school-yard bullying by "wolf packs". There's no place for hate in Texas schools. (Never!)

Sensational stories focus on the overt violence in our society, but only touch on the underlying attitudes and beliefs that lead to hatred. To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, there's no place for physical violence or for the internal violence of the spirit. It's not enough to refuse to do violence to your neighbor, you must refuse to hate him or her as well. Can I get an 'amen'? (Amen!)

Hatred and violence come in many forms, not just physical. They often take the form of destruction of another person's reputation due to differences in political views, cultural heritage or lifestyle choices.

Recently, the hard-won rights of women have been under attack by politicians (usually male) who claim they are better informed to make decisions about another's body. But, do they really want to "war" on women? Doubtful. More likely, they have forgotten that people are ...... MORE Page 2>

“Could a greater miacle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instance?" -- Henry David Thoreau

More bad news for Texas schools

After the recent state primary, several legislative leaders with years of experience in Texas school finance, were trounced.

Now, not only is the school system imperiled by lack of funding from the Legislature, many of the leaders will no longer be present. We need to save Texas schools.

The state's education was one of the reasons that the Texas economy was able to grow during past decades - with an educated work. However, with recent cut backs in funding and a legislature that seems unwilling (or uncaring) about the problem, Texas schools may see the kind of decline that has happened in California.

JC Penny's stands firm with gay families

Recently JC Penny came under attack by right-wing groups for hiring Elen DeGeneres, who is openly gay. Many companies might have buckled under this pressure, but Penny took a different tack - to respond with candor and look for new ways to support "alternative families". Rarely do such mainstream companies move forward in this way.

For Father's Day, Penny is running ads that highlight gay fathers and their children. This in on the heal of a similar ad that ran on Mother's Day. Penney CEO Ron Johnson told Yahoo Finance he wouldn't back down. "My sense is America has moved beyond that issue," Johnson said. Kudos.


As Texas goes...

During the past few decades there has been a shift in U.S. economic and political power to Texas as the state's population has steadily grown. Political and social observers are beginning to notice that "As Texas goes, so does the nation."

Author Gail Collin's new book offers to the rest of America what we Texans already know. "Texas runs everything. Why, then, is it so cranky? Is it because of its long string of well-funded but terrible presidential contenders?," she questions. She goes on to predict, "We’ve got a super-big state with a young citizenry and a very high birth rate. You have to figure that by 2050, the entire United States will have a distinctly Texas cast."

An interesting read for any citizen of the huge scrappy Lone Star State.

Texas death penalty questioned

As greatter evidence piles up about injustices in the texas penal system, more voices are speaking out against the death penalty.

The case of Steven Staley brings attention to a tragedy to involves a murdered victim and a mentally unstable man. The question now is what benefit can come from a death penalty for a man who should stay behind bars and receive treatment (perhaps for the rest of his life. The question is also about what part of "thou shalt not kill" that Texans subscribe to.


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News from around the world

Anti-war protester confronts Blair at tribunal
- Reuters

Syria massacre: On the ground in Qubair
- BBC News

Kikuyu, Kalenjin Elders Adopt Peace Accord
- AllAfrica.com

Suicides rising among troops who invaded Iraq and Afghanistan
- NY Daily News

Commentaries & Opinions
Support the Mothers - Charlie Jackson
We called it "Armistace Day" - Margret Hofmann
A Valentine to Newlyweds Separated by Their Country - Susan Van Haitsma
Pain of Iraq never ends - Charlie Jackson
Congress, Accomplices to War - Charlie Jackson
Karl and Muqtada - Charlie Jackson
Progress Slow to Come to Iraq - Charlie Jackson
CodePink: Making the world stop and look
Against War? Stop Buying It! - Andy McKenna

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