Joseph Lieberman on Families & Children
Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004
In 1998, Lieberman and the former secretary of education, William Bennett, began handing out “Silver Sewer Awards“ to draw attention to the producers of sexually explicit and violent films, music, television programs and video games. Critics were quick to note that Lieberman had stock in some of the organizations he had criticized.
He also pushed for electronic devices that permit the blocking of television programs that parents find offensive, has monitored a system of voluntary ratings to guide children’s television viewing and has denounced rap music with lyrics that celebrate violence & drug use.
The Senators noted that a prime reason kids have such easy access to ultraviolent games is that few leading retailers have policies restricting the sale of ”M“-rated games to minors. They praised Sears and Wards for deciding not to carry ”M“-rated games and asked the other companies to at least adopt standard policies to prevent children from buying potentially harmful games.
The Youth Violence Commission would be composed of religious leaders, and experts in education, family psychology, law enforcement and parenting. Its mandate would be to produce a comprehensive understanding of what forces are turning our children into killers.
We are not seeking censorship but better citizenship. We are appealing to the industry’s conscience, to recognize that you are part of the national community that is endangered by the virus of youth violence, and to work with us to do whatever we can to prevent another Littleton.
If you doubt that, just ask America’s parents about the intimate and frequently unseemly sexual questions their young children have been asking them and discussing since the president’s relationship with Ms. Lewinsky became public seven months ago. I cannot watch the news on television with my 10-year-old daughter anymore.
This, unfortunately, is all-too-familiar territory for America’s families in today’s anything-goes culture, where sexual promiscuity is too often treated as just another lifestyle choice with little risk of adverse consequences.
Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.
To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.
Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.
We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.
A bill to create a 3-year pilot program that makes small, non-profit child care businesses eligible for SBA 504 loans. Amends the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to allow the proceeds of loans made through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to local development companies for plant acquisition, construction, or expansion to be used to assist small, nonprofit child care businesses, provided that: (1) the loan will be used for a sound business purpose approved by the SBA; and (2) each business receiving the assistance meets eligibility requirements applicable to for-profit businesses.
The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by Dr. Pat Robertson to give Christians a voice in government. We represent millions of people of faith and enable them to have a strong, unified voice in the conversation we call democracy.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: I rise today to introduce a bill to help parents protect their children against violent and sexual media. I stand with the parents and children of the Nation, all of whom are being victimized by a culture of violence.
As parents, we monitor the kind of people who interact with our children. If somebody is exposing our children to material we find inappropriate, we remove our children from that person. Yet our children spend more time consuming media than doing anything else but sleeping and attending school. Media culture is like having a stranger in your house, and it exerts a major influence over your children.
This bill would take an important step towards helping parents protect their children against influences they often find to be inappropriate--violent and sexually explicit video games. Quite simply, the bill would put teeth into the video game industry's rating system, which specifies which video games are inappropriate for young people under 17. By fining retailers who do not abide by the ratings system, this bill sends a message that the ratings system is to be taken seriously.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.
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Retiring as of Jan. 2013:
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