“No Easy Decision” by MTV.

MTV is airing a new program called “No Easy Decision” that features a former cast member from “16 and Pregnant” who decides whether or not to have an abortion.
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The program is drawing national attention because abortion is not usually presented on television and of course it is an extremely volatile subject especially where I live in the “Bible Belt.”

A young black woman named Markai, who was on an earlier episode of the teen pregnancy show and is already the mother of one child, becomes pregnant again. The special aired on December 28 at 11:30 p.m. and will follow Markai through her emotional decision of whether to have her baby.
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I believe the country may finally see more about abortion decisions and even more about the abortion process itself than they may have ever seen anywhere before. And judging by the news coverage of the program this week it is forcing a serious dialogue.

The “16 and Pregnant” program has been a ratings bonanza for MTV and many Hollywood and media blogs have focused on that fact, saying the decision to concentrate on abortion may be an attempt to snag more.
But when reality television meets teen pregnancy, has MYV gone too far?

I don’t think so, I believe the program shows that today’s society and its views are a far cry from the days when pregnant teens were packed up and sent away. Just a few decades ago, early pregnancy was seen as a stain on a family that was often elaborately hidden. All of us from that generation know a story or two of girls who went away to live with family elsewhere.

Here is MTV’s stance on the matter

“‘MTV has a long history of reflecting the lives of our viewers with
 compelling reality stories,’ Tony DiSanto, MTV’s president of
 programming, said in a statement. ‘16 & Pregnant’ follows the journey of six young women going through an immensely life-changing experience at such a young age. Each episode tells a new, unique story and shows the real-life challenges they face from dealing with family and friends to school and finances as new mothers. This is the real secret life of an American teenager.”

Of course this “true life” style of docudrama, not a manufactured situation, could make an uncomfortable time in their lives unbearable.

Some Pro-Life advocates point out that the show’s website only links to pro-abortion groups, including the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, which promotes sexual education over abstinence, and the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

On the other hand, it is encouraging to have a show discuss pregnancy in an honest and open manner.

Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told reporters that she applauded the idea. “The stories in ’16 & Pregnant’ are full of hope, heartbreak,and real-life consequences and should be a must viewing for teens nationwide.”

If it’s as honest and supportive as she seems to think, perhaps it will be a constructive addition to the conversation.

What do you think?

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Toro

My daughter Ally found Toro after a hurricane down in Destin, Florida…obviously lost.
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He is unusual…he walks on a leash with the cat, although he is over 150 pounds he is gentle…he had a chip in his neck but we could never track the owners and no agency would take him because of his breed.

My recommendation for cutest Xanga pet…

Duran Duran’s 13th album, “All You Need is Now”

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I am very eager to see how Duran Duran’s new album does. I worked with Simon LeBon a bit in the studio in Japan in the mid 90’s and never doubted how truly talented he was as both a singer and songwriter.

To move forward, sometimes you have to go backward. That was the guiding principle that helped members of DuranDuran recapture the spirit of their early days on their 13th studio album, All You Need is Now, which debuted at No. 2 this week on iTunes’ album download chart .

“Most bands have difficult second-album syndrome. Not us, we had difficult third-album syndrome,” says lead singer Simon LeBon, referring to 1983’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger. “So this album is the sequel to Rio that never happened.”

“What’s great about Duran Duran is that they don’t get complacent,” says Rolling Stone critic Rob Sheffield, author of the recent memoir Talking to Girls About Duran Duran. “For their new album, they forged ahead by returning to their classic sound. This is classic Duran Duran. They’ll keep old fans and make new ones.”

Reviving that early sound was a long time coming. “Our last album (2007’s Red Carpet Massacre, which sold about 71,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan) was underwhelming,” says Taylor, 50. “We worked with Timbaland, and we yielded to that hip-hop style of production. We came out feeling like we’d surrendered our personalities. We were hijacked by the remix.”

The various group members all have had some success with side projects: Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor recorded one album as Arcadia in 1985, while John Taylor and Andy Taylor formed The Power Station, a group that included Robert Palmer.

Now it’s 2010, and core members Le Bon, Rhodes and John and Roger Taylor say they’re feeling confident about a return to greatness with the new album. “We’re Duran Duran! Remember us?” Le Bon says. “We’re the ultimate party band, we got you dancing. And now we’ve got something to make your Christmas go off with a bang.”
Jer and Duran Duran
Night out in Tokyo with the band. They actually practiced their old songs using Karaoke the night before their first Japan show.
Simon Lucioa, me
Backstage at Tokyo International Forum.

Portland, Oregon’s Streetcars

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While America lost much of its love for streetcars as public transportation during the 1960s, a few cities have kept the romance burning. The heart of San Francisco includes its nearly 140-year-old electric cable car system. In New Orleans, the location for Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” many tourists are drawn by the picturesque St. Charles Avenue Line.

The Obama administration recently offered some U.S. cities a piece of a $130 million federal fund for streetcar projects aimed at reducing traffic congestion, cutting pollution and reliance on foreign oil, and creating jobs.

Transit systems in Dallas, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Charlotte, North Carolina, are slated to share grants from the Federal Transit Administration’s Urban Circulator program.

In my old home town of Portland, Oregon the city paid incentives to businesses to build along the streetcar line. Streetcars transformed a “blighted warehouse district into a vibrant area of shops, grocery stores, restaurants and apartments that provide entertainment and employment. I love the feel of downtown Portland.
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Some believe that there’s nothing streetcars can do that buses can’t do better, faster, safer and for far less money even though a single light-rail train can hold more passengers than a bus, a bus route can move more passengers per hour than any light-rail line.

Portland’s system attracts about 12,000 daily riders at an average ticket cost of $1.47. Its creators credit it with $3.5 billion in surrounding development, including shops, restaurants and 10,000 new housing units.

Also, streetcars that run on either hydro or coal-generated electricity spit out less greenhouse gases per passenger mile than diesel buses.

Riding public transportation in Portland is quick, easy and enjoyable. It’s absolutely easier than driving, and streetcar operators go out of their way to be helpful.

But is it faster than driving? If you count the time from point A to B, it is slower to ride the streetcar but if you factor in time to find a place to park and the cost of parking, it is more convenient and cheaper to ride the streetcar.