Stand Up

Eagle Scout returning badge(I’m at the right, attempting to grow into my ears and noes at my 1997 Eagle Scout court of honor)

In case you haven’t heard, I have joined the ever-growing number of Eagle Scouts across the country who are turning in their awards in protest over Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policies.

I first announced my position here on my blog and then I cross-posted over to the Huffington Post. Three days later the Huffington Post approved the post and placed it on their front page for more than a day.

Folks at Talk of the Nation read the post and invited me on. Listen to me chatting with host…

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An Eagle Scout No More: Why I’m sending my badge back to Boy Scouts of America

Adam and I snuggled in the woods beneath our makeshift lean-to. We were 14. We weren’t gay; we were cold. If we were gay, we would have been booted from Scouts, at least according to the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts of America’s national leadership.

We adhered to our own don’t ask don’t tell policy. When our Wilderness Survival merit badge instructor asked us how we survived our night alone in the woods, we left out all the details about spooning and just told him about the structural integrity of our shelter.

Adam and I both went on to become Eagle Scouts.

Now I’m worried about the moral integrity of Boy Scouts of America and whether they can stay relevant and survive in…

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USA Olympic uniforms made in China

TEAM USA uniforms

You can barely press an on button in the last 24 hours and not see someone in Congress complaining that the USA’s Olympic uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren were made in China.

This is grandstanding except when it isn’t

Yes, it’s an election year, but one of the most outspoken members of Congress Senator Sherrod Brown has always been outspoken on this issue. He suggested that Hugo Boss could have designed the uniforms and manufactured them in his home state of Ohio where they have a factory.

I had no idea Hugo Boss had a factory in Ohio. Brown’s point is a good one: Yes, 97% of our clothes are made…

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2012 Common Reading Programs

Winthrop Students receives Where Am I WearingWinthrop Students receives copy of WHERE AM I WEARING?

I am blown away by the amount of schools using WEARING in their common reader programs this year.

In case you are wondering what a common reading program is: They are typically directed at freshmen. Every freshmen gets a copy of the book and participates in discussion sessions about the book in the Fall. Normally they invite the author to speak as well.

From 2008-2011 eights schools have used WEARING as a common reader. This year the following schools are using it (I’ve noted when I’m visiting the campus):

Ball State University – 9/18/12
Texas State – 9/26, 9/27

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The Facing Project: Looking foreword

The Facing Project is really taking off. J.R. Jamison, my co-founder, knows a ton of people who are interested. We’re not just talking in Indiana, but in other countries. We’re not just talking a small group, but campus-wide projects and mayoral commissions. I promised I would follow up my introductory post about the project with the foreword to the initial project we launched in Muncie with the help of TEAMwork for Quality Living. Here it is…

(Oh, one more thing. I’d love it if you liked the Facing Project on Facebook. We’re almost up to 100 likes)

Every Community has a story. What’s yours?

Poverty is a hot button issue in the Muncie and Delaware County communities, as it is nationally, and internationally….

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A parent's apology to couples without kids

Bath time at the Timmerman house

The young couple jokes and laughs over their entrees. She forks him some steak. He spoons her some soup. I imagine delicately slamming their faces into their mashed potatoes. But when our 1-year-old chucks his milk, splattering it everywhere, and our three year-old-starts to cry about us not letting her sit upside down on the table with an elephant (or something), I look at them and apologize.

Maybe they looked at us while we juggled toy cell phones, sippy cups, and outrageous demands, and they thought, “We are SO glad we don’t have any kids,” or maybe they thought our kids were charming…

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The Obamacare Decision

Picture 32

Breaking news (if there is such a thing): The individual mandate in Obamacare stands.

Maybe you’re seething; maybe you’re jumping up and down.

I have no idea what this means for the future of healthcare and I don’t think experts for or against know either.

But here’s what I do know…

We pay $350/month for our health insurance and have an $11,000 deductible.  We don’t have health insurance; we have bankruptcy insurance.

Our premium jumped $30 since last year, despite another year of not even coming close to reaching our deductible.

Last year we paid cash for the birth or our son since we didn’t have maternity coverage. We shopped hospitals first. “Hey, we’re having a kid. What kind of deal can…

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Gay men can't donate blood but former sex tourists can

Questions on blood donor questionnaire:

Have you had sexual contact with someone who has HIV /AIDS or has tested positive for HIV/AIDS?

Have you had sexual contact with a prostitute or someone else who takes money or drugs or other payment for sex?

From 1977 to the present have you received money, drugs, or other payment for sex?

(Males Donors) Have you had sex with another male (even just once)?

Yesterday the local blood center was giving away 2 pints of Baskin Robbins ice cream for 1 pint of blood. Since the average human has 10 pints of blood, that means that I would have to donate 5 times before my body would be coursing with 100% cookies ‘n’ cream.

We all have our dreams.

They didn’t want my blood. But not for any…

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Announcing The Facing Project

(UPDATED: 4/16/13)

The mission of The Facing Project is to help communities tell their own stories.

If you believe in the power of stories, please like The Facing Project fan page.

I believe that each of us needs to put that thing we’re best at, that drives us, that makes us feel alive, that fuels our passions, to the use for our local and global communities. For me this is taking complex issues like sweatshops, the global food system, and poverty and telling the stories of individual people. Suddenly all the stats and bootstraps that we argued about disappear and we are left with the story of an individual who faces the challenges of that…

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Guest Post: Make the road your home for pennies on the mile

I visit students around the country encouraging them to travel. Many of them ask about the cost, after all they say, “We are just poor students.” They think travel is a cruel joke — when you are young and have the knees and time to see the world you don’t have the money, and when you are older you have the money and not the knees for it. I tell them the world is cheaper than they think it is.

I will always welcome others encouraging students to see the world. That’s why I’m happy to introduce you to Everett Pompeii, a student who is traveling the world on less than $8/day. He’s writing a book telling how, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to: Earth. He launched…

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