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Columns

  • First days met with great anticipation for area

    I once worked for a newspaper in a county where the distrust from the community was obvious. There were two competing community newspapers, and I think public officials feared that we would try to sensationalize the news in order to sell papers. Even though that never happened — at least not at the paper where I worked — the attitude was prevalent, and since reporters must work with the public in order to do their jobs effectively, the situation was often unpleasant.

  • Strikes, protests, moral integrity vs self-preservation

    Picket lines of the discontent seem common these days. But there’s a difference between those who keep the assembly line from running and those who take issue with the way things are run. A strike and a protest, are comprised of those who don’t agree. So what’s the difference?

  • Are we crazy? Feedback is requested for ideas

    One highlight of my job is the opportunity to teach children about our system of government. I teach mostly fourth-graders, but have also tried other levels. We begin with why people moved to America and end with examples of Representative Democracy at every level of governance. They learn that they have a voice in how government runs, and they should use it. We have a good time.

  • What America needs for some new people among us

    This December time of gift-preparing and gift-giving also includes a focus on persons who have to migrate to another country. Certainly our Christian and Jewish communities have this focus.

    One group of people “on the run” are workers in this country here without legal documents. This number has grown greatly in recent years, and what to do about it seems to have become a new deadly “third rail” in U.S. leadership selection this cycle.

  • Only one month until Christmas - are you ready?

    Wow!

    A glance at the calendar today will show there is only one month left before Christmas.

    I remember when that seemed like a lifetime to wait. As kids, Christmas seemed like it took forever to arrive. But as an adult, I’m finding that the holidays kind of sneak up on you when you least suspect them.

  • December 2007 is a time to grow in generosity

    December is a very special season for various faith communities. Our general U.S. society puts a big focus on giving gifts (with more than one motivation, granted).

    I have been thinking about this 2007 season. It seems like a very special one with unique urgency entailed this time.

    It seems we are called to think about gift giving and its root generosity in whole new ways. The caller: the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change!

  • Has the idea of the American dream died?

    We’re not who we think we are.

    The American self-image is suffused with the golden glow of opportunity. We think of the United States as a land of unlimited possibility, not so much a classless society but as a place where class is mutable — a place where brains, energy and ambition are what counts, not the circumstances of one’s birth. But three new studies suggest that Horatio Alger doesn’t live here anymore.

  • Send a message, throw the rascals out

    Americans should remind their elected representatives and senators that we do not have the parliamentary system in this country.

    Under that system, which the Founding Fathers rejected, the executive branch is chosen from the majority party in the legislature or, if there is no majority, from a coalition of parties. The Founding Fathers were wise to reject this system, because for one thing it makes the majority party virtually a dictatorship.

  • Sometimes our biggest hungers aren't for food

    Last November someone wrote me a letter — no return address, no signature. I’ve been holding on to it all year, reading it every so often.

    It’s a heartbreaking letter and I hadn’t known how to respond to it. I’m not sure I do now, but I feel compelled to tell this woman’s story. Maybe by sharing it the letter writer will find some peace or happiness or whatever it is that she needs most.

  • Thanksgiving memories are meant to share

    How accurate the story all of us learned in school about the Pilgrims and Native Americans is, I cannot be certain because I was not there and neither was anyone I know. But as far as I do know Thanksgiving is a holiday that began as a celebration of two cultures sharing their resources. Throughout the years the tradition of sharing a meal and giving thanks for all that we have received during years past has remained. What a wonderful lesson for us all to take part in each year. To stop and remember to be thankful for the food we eat and the air we breathe.