Pull Up A Chair…

‘Tis the season.

No, not that one.  The bowl full o’ jelly man isn’t due for a few more months.

It’s apple season.  That joyous time of year when I start craving spiced cider and apple crisps and spending time with my family at a u-pick-em orchard.

Funny how with each change of the seasons, some expectation or anticipation shifts inside us.  Suddenly, the mornings are ever so slightly crisper here, and that means we’re on that downhill slide toward actual Fall.

With it?  Comes warm soups and crusty bread.  Or pumpkin pie with just the right amount of ginger balanced against the spicy kick of ground cloves.  

And that sugar maple several blocks up the street?  It’s going to burst into flame-colored leaves that will last for weeks on end if we are lucky and get a little more rain this week.  Not to mention football season.

Ahhhhh…gotta love it.

Anyone else getting an apple crisp craving right about now?  Pull up a chair… (more…)

Sesame Street: Tackling Tough Economic Times Together

Sesame Street has always been out in front of issues that kids want and need to talk about, but that parents might think are above their heads.

I can recall watching the show as a kid and picking up cues about racial tolerance and how bigotry can hurt someone’s feelings. Or giving to others instead of being greedy. What loss feels like after a loved one passes away (YouTube).

Or how it is our differences which make each of us the special person we are…even little furry monsters.

After Katrina, there was an episode where Big Bird lost his nest in a hurricane.  The Sesame Street community came together to help him rebuild. 

For parents and educators? There was a whole curriculum program put together to help teach children to cope with weathering a fierce storm in their own lives.  It was brilliantly done.

So, when I heard that the Children’s Television Workshop had a special in the works on the economy and its impact on families, I had to find a copy to view. 

Above is a promo clip for "Families Stand Together," which aired on most PBS stations nationally on September 9th. If you missed it, you can view the whole episode here.

And you should, because it is wonderful.

As they move from table to table and story to story, Roker and Roberts ask how each family is coping and celebrate their ability to put togetherness before material things. Even so, the series of mini-docs will make an adult viewer swallow hard more than once. Jobs have been lost, and homes, families that were planned on the foundation of a solid-seeming career now teeter, mothers wipe away tears and proud parents find themselves having to ask for help — financial, psychological — from family and local agencies.

Although the emphasis is kept firmly on the importance of love and careful planning, "Families Stand Together" makes it clear that there is no magic wand, no fairy-tale ending in sight. These hard times are real and must be endured, sacrifice is required, and comfort comes not from a sudden windfall but from knowing that many have, and are, going through the same sort of thing.

This is the way to convey not only a sense of compassion and caring, but also to foster a sense of community that is sorely needed as so many folks struggle to get by.

dday recently examined the new census data, and it is absolutely devastating:

The U.S. Census Bureau has just announced that the poverty rate for 2008 was 13.2%. This means the number of people in poverty has increased by about 2.5 million, to 39.8 million. To give you some perspective, 2.5 million is more than the number of people who live in Detroit and San Francisco combined.

The only way that any of this gets better is if we all pull together and help each other through it. Poverty is an issue that needs broader discussion, especially as more and more families with children are forced to tighten their belts even further. (more…)


How Fragile We Are

So many lives lost.

So many dreams shattered.

So many families with empty arms.

So many loved ones with aching hearts.

Still.

How fragile we all are.  How much stronger we all are together.

In memoriam. Requiescant in pace.


SCOTUS: Citizens United Brings Out The Core Belief Splits From The Bench

The full transcript from yesterday’s Citizens United arguments has been released by SCOTUS. SCOTUSblog has links to both the transcript and the tape of oral argument, made available from PBS Newshour. Depending on the outcome of the case, there could be a reversal of laws which sought to balance speech rights against a compelling interest to prevent public corruption that go all the way back to Taft-Hartley and beyond.

SCOTUS: Citzens United To Be Re-Argued Today

The Citizens United case will be re-argued today before SCOTUS. As Robert Barnes put it, this is yet another test of stare decisis in a period where that hallowed doctrine has been repeatedly tested since Justice Roberts took the helm. And, more precisely, it “raises new ones about the boldness of a court that has moved to the right with the addition of Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.”

Poverty From Rising Medical Costs Hard To Swallow For Nation’s Elderly

Meanwhile, how the other half lives still isn’t pretty: The National Academy of Science’s formula, which is gaining credibility with public officials including some in the Obama administration, would put the poverty rate for Americans 65 and over at 18.6 percent, or 6.8 million people, compared with 9.7 percent, or 3.6 million people, under the existing measure.

Fantasy Grudge Match Gets More Press? Reality Bites Education Needs

Continuing to open yap and insert ass, the random wingnutty Obama school speech idiocy continues:After reading the text on Monday, even Jim Greer, the Florida Republican Party chairman who last week accused the president of seeking to use the speech to foist “socialist ideology” on schoolchildren, said he could find nothing to criticize in its text.

Teach Our Children Well

Because I thought we could all use a little beautiful music.

Kathy Mattea and Suzzy Bogguss sing “Teach Your Children Well.”

Just a beautiful version.

Enjoy!

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