2016: The Year of Reckoning!

2016 was an odd year, full of surprises, and joys, and some disappointments. We want what we need, but sometimes we get what we do not deserve. Where do we travel from here, together, as a nation — while split apart at the inseams of belief, shredded in the threads of faith, and torn asunder by the warp and woof of radicalized empathy?

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The Nebraska Abolitionist: When Slave Owners Won the Day

When I was in sixth grade in Nebraska — around the time Alex Haley’s ovaricRoots” novel was making its debut in the world conversation about America’s shameful treatment of slaves — our teacher, who was Lily-white born and bred and a staunch conservative from Oklahoma, decided to hold a “historical” debate with a bunch of 11-year-olds on the topic of abolition.

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Raising Cynical Children in an Idealized World

Ideally, we want to raise caring and tender children who rightfully grow into wise and smart adults.  Unfortunately, the way into adulthood is, and always had been, fraught with predators and disappointment and liars.  We prefer to pretend these evil elements are not among us — and within us — and the ability for adults to repress inherent danger in the spinning world is what particularly places children in a purposeful peril.

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Donny vs. Derrick: Big Brother 16 Brands Your Morality

It’s that time of year again — to lament the downfall and the displeasure in how the most recent incarnation of CBS’ Big Brother “reality” television show is, once again, unfolding before us — and the thing that bites me today is the sort of person CBS lures onto the show to live an exposed life 24/7 for 90 days.

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No Pension for You

It has always been a fascination when I read about pensions — especially forced pension payments from those who are made to pay as a requirement of their continued employment, with some paying over $800 a month into State “pension” coffers — and how those workers are demonized by the Far Right who believe public servants and private pensioners are somehow taking advantage of those who do not pay into a pension program. Pensions are not payoffs or welfare. Pensions are earned investment money entrusted to public or private equity.

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Opposites End in a Vacuum of Ashes: Quantifying Human Compatibility

Five Thirty Eight is a new website that uses data quantification to make qualitative evaluations of our human lives.  A recent article concerning people really only wanting to date themselves captured my attention.

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Cracking the Fiery Core: We are Not What We Have

How many of us live to be defined by our possessions?  How many of us find value only in what we have achieved and won and coveted?  I wrote about this nagging issue of human governance on November 22, 2006 — “Worthy of History: Only Expensive Things Survive” —

The perversion of the historical accuracy of how our ancestors lived, and how we currently live, is created by preserving only expensive possessions — tokens, icons, valuables – and in the purposeful construction of indestructible architectural monuments used by the privileged few.

History is skewed by this preservation technique because it only pretends to tell future generations how people actually lived. When we visit museums we are only seeing what the powerful majority of the culture of that time deemed important enough to save and pass down.

We only get to know what they thought was worth saving and inevitably those things are the expensive, the pretty, the unique and the tokens of the wealthy. Even pioneer and Native American museum dioramas are idealized with hardy items and the most beautiful things. The ordinary is forsaken for the power of the inherent value in the preservation of the perceived best.

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