Violence in the Dating Relationship

Posted on 11/18/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

A recent survey indicates that over 30% of young men and women reported emotional, physical, and sexual violence in their dating relationships. This is astounding to me and the survey does not assign any cause to the survey outcomes.

I will postulate two of the many reasons why this violence is occurring.

First is the breakdown in the family. We have more single heads of household than ever before. The children of these relationships are often witnesses to the causes of the breakdown in the parental relationship: at best, yelling and abusive language; at worst, violence, drug use, etc.

Second, the outside influence of bad music lyrics that glorify drug use, sexual violence, physical violence, and hate speech have become pseudo institutional teachers of right and wrong. When the family fails to teach, the street steps in.

The behavior is clear...over a third of dating relationships include violence. The survey also indicates that the violence goes both ways, women against men and men against women. So what do we learn?

There is little we can do to restore the broken families in America, but we can stop the outside influence of offending music lyrics. While this won’t stop all violence, it is a concrete action we can take to protect our children.

If we reduce the economic benefit of this vile music, we can help our children grow up in a less violent world. A simple action by the many will go a long way to protect the few.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities

Posted on 11/11/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

The Constitution of the United States grants its citizens certain rights as have been defined from time to time. The first is set forth in the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The other twenty six Amendments  contain other rights but this editorial will restrict itself to the First Amendment rights.

The Rights guaranteed in the Constitution separate America from other countries where these rights don’t exist. We honor the men and women who have given their lives protecting our freedoms, and we grant these rights to non-citizens residing in America. A terrorist bent on killing Americans has the same set of rights as do we all, and they use those rights against us.

Congress and the states have granted Privileges to our citizens and continue to pass laws that impact those privileges. The privilege to drive an automobile, to a basic education, to marry, to pilot a plane, to use government owned airways, to broadcast TV and Radio and so on are privileges. Congress and the states can limit or modify these privileges at any time in accordance with the Constitution.

Responsibilities are different. They come in many flavors, but examples such as child labor laws, laws affecting human trafficking, protecting the homeless, providing health care to those who cannot afford it, and providing foods stamps to the less economically enabled are part of our social-economic fabric.

I have talked to twenty plus "Gen Y"ers regarding the THF and the children we serve. I was dumbfounded by the overwhelming feeling that Freedom of Expression over-weighed the need to protect our children. Even with Academic (scientific) evidence, they stood their ground and wanted unfettered freedom of speech to prevail for the small minority of musicians who violate the THF review criteria.

It is my view that this is a narcissistic view and an example of the “I want it, and I want it now” attitude. As a society, we must work together, not to limit our rights but to use our rights to convince those who would harm our children to back off.

This small minority of artists have the right to write and sing whatever they feel moves them. The THF recognizes that and accords them that right. BUT, as responsible members of society, we want to limit the money made by this small minority and work with them to stop offensive lyrics.

We can, and do, limit the broadcast of offending music, a privilege. Now we must unite together and take responsibility for protecting our children during their formative years. We will see more violence and killings on a day-to-day basis and, unfortunately, the mega violent actions of deranged individuals. We can take a step forward together and stop the offending artists. That is what the Town Hall Foundation is all about; protecting our children, not limiting Freedom of Speech.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Use of the "N" Word

Posted on 11/04/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

By way of background, the N-word and all derivatives that are used have been considered hate speech for decades and it’s taken decades to eradicate its use. That eradication is now in jeopardy. There has been a movement in the music industry to use the N-word in a black-on-black environment as a term deemed acceptable, possibly even a term of endearment. There has not been a universal acceptance in this position, but music lyrics are littered with the term. This littering opens the possibility that this language can become normative to anyone of any race listening to the lyrics. It would be a sad day.

In a case that gave a legal airing to the debate over use of the N-word among blacks, a federal jury rejected a black manager’s argument that it was a term of love and endearment when he aimed it at a black employee.

The case against Rob Carmona and the employment agency he founded, STRIVE East Harlem, hinged on what some see as a complex double standard surrounding the word: It’s a degrading slur when uttered by whites but can be used at times with impunity among blacks.

But 38-year-old Brandi Johnson told jurors that being black didn’t make it any less hurtful when Carmona repeatedly targeted her with the slur during a March 2012 tirade about inappropriate workplace attire and unprofessional behavior. “I was offended. I was hurt. I felt degraded. I felt disrespected. I was embarrassed,” Johnson testified.

Her lawyer, Marjorie M. Sharpe, said she hoped the case sent a strong message to those who “have tried to take the sting out of the N-word. … It’s the most offensive word in the English language.”

Ms. Sharpe went on to say, “When you use the word nigger to an African-American, no matter how many alternative definitions that you may try to substitute with the word nigger, that is not different than calling a Hispanic by the worst possible word you can call a Hispanic, calling a homosexual male the worst possible word that you can call a homosexual male.”

So, to those in the music industry who continue to use the N-Word and all of its derivatives, let’s agree to stop that now. The Town Hall Foundation will review song lyrics and when the N-Word is used, we will report it as Hate Speech.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Dancing With Molly

Posted on 10/28/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

In a recent Madonna concert, she asked her audience, “How many in this crowd have seen Molly?” She is joined by other performing artists like Rick Ross, Miley Cyrus, and Kanye West, all who have used the word Molly in their lyrics. So what is Molly?

Molly is the street name for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA for short. It was invented in the early part of the twentieth century and was initially used as a diet drug. By the 70’s, it was being used by the medical profession for mental illness. Today the drug is being tested for post-traumatic stress syndrome and for anxiety in terminal cancer patients. So why all the commotion about Molly?

Molly is one of the most popular illegal drugs in the nightclub scene. Dr. Meika Roberson of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York describes the use of Molly: “The early signs of intoxication going toward overdose of MDMA, or Molly, is going to be high heart rate, high respiratory rate and high blood pressure,” she said. “So if you're in a club scene, you're not feeling any of that.”

The deaths of two young adults and the hospitalization of others following a massive electronic music festival in New York City —which was subsequently shut down by city officials — has reignited fears over the use of “Molly,” which is the suspected cause of the deaths.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Molly can be taken orally in powder, tablet or capsule form. The effects, which include a sense of increased energy, euphoria and empathy, can last from three to six hours after ingestion, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

So what is the take-away from this week’s editorial: Molly is a dangerous drug. The use of Molly has been glamorized in lyrics by various artists. This has got to stop. The Town Hall Foundation will call out any set of lyrics that extol the use of this dangerous drug.

That’s the message for today, more coming.

Thrill Kill in Oklahoma

Posted on 10/21/2013 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

An Australian visitor was shot and killed in Oklahoma by three teens. Chris Lane was targeted, followed, and shot in the back by the trio. One of the killers had tweeted just days before the shooting, "With my n****s when it's time to start taken life's" -- a line from the Chief Keef song, "I Don't Like." James Edwards Jr., the alleged shooter, was an avid fan of the artist, Chief Keef, and acted out according to the lyrics he believed were reality.

One of the teens was quoted as saying, “We were bored and didn't have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody” and went on to commit the Thrill Kill. What level of depravity does it take to carry out such a heinous crime and who or what institution would teach our youth that this behavior is acceptable.

The father of the killer was quoted as saying his son must be innocent because his son told him, “He didn’t have nothing to do with it.” And being a good father, he believed his son. The implication is that the father was not the source of Thrill Kill lesson. So who do we look to as the dominant force behind this crime of violence?

Just go back to the artist, Chief Keef. His lyrics are full of hate lessons, encouragement to commit violence, encouragement to use drugs and to commit violent sexual acts. There is little mystery here. Those in the Music Industry who support Chief Keef and others who write lyrics encouraging violence, hate, demeaning sexual conduct, and drug use must stand accountable--in part--for this violent crime.

The government has done study after study and test after test and has developed techniques for brainwashing their enemies. When our children are allowed to listen to music with offensive lyrics, we should not be surprised that they, too, have become brainwashed.

For us, the mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, and grandmothers to stand by and allow this to continue is to put a portion of the blame on us. Let’s stand up and unite against this unacceptable behavior by those in the music industry who pollute the minds of our children.

That’s the message for today, more coming.