American Made Messenger Bags by LexiWynn

My Timbuk2 laptop bag was made in China. I’m not sure of any bags that are made in USA until now…

LexiWynn Bags are made in Illinois. They’re running a cool Kickstarter campaign to help launch their new label.

Tell me what you’re favorite beer is the comments for a chance to win one of their cool Koozies. You’ll also be entered to win if you RT my upcoming tweet, or share my facebook post. The winner will be randomly selected.

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“We’re talking about Autism.”

(Our boy Griffin)

For the past six months, every waking hour and some of our dreamtime ones, too, have been dominated by what you’re about to read. It’s important to write about stuff like this. That’s why I’m so glad my wife Annie chose to put her thoughts, feelings, and our journey down in words.

 

“It’s a boy!”

Kelsey and I had been in the ultrasound room for maybe five minutes when the tech announced with certainty the gender of our second child. We looked at each other and smiled. Coming into this, we were both fairly indifferent as to what we were having — we already had a daughter who we were over the moon about,…

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Rubio’s Drink Heard Around the World

The last five years I’ve been making a real effort to become more civically engaged. As I’ve said before, once you become a parent you have less time to change the world, but more of a reason. So last night, after Annie and I watched Grey’s Anatomy on our DVR, I switched over to catch the middle of Senator Rubio’s rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union. (Don’t worry I DVRed the SOTU and will watch it later or just read it. All the politics without the applause and awkward facial expressions of the VP and Speaker of the House.)

That’s when I saw this.

Annie was asleep and I had to wake her up. I was rolling with…

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Pope’s don’t quit

In 2001, I attended a service at the Vatican hosted by Pope John Paul II. (Every Tuesday he was at the Vatican, he conducted a service open to a general audience.) The thing I remember most is just how feeble the man was, how much effort every word and step took, and because of that effort how much more each one inspired the crowd. Despite the pain, the Pope didn’t quit. He never did.

He was shot and didn’t quit. Instead he visited his attempted assassin in prison. In 2001, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and suffered from severe osteoarthritis. He didn’t quit. He “poped” for another four years.

This is what puzzles me about Pope Benedict saying that his strength “has deteriorated…to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

A Pope hasn’t retired in 600 years. There’s more to this story than the Catholic Church is telling the public.

Somewhere Dan Brown is writing a future bestseller involving the Pope’s Butler stealing documents and the Pope resigning less than a year later.

In honor of the Pope hanging up his mitre, I dusted off this piece I wrote in 2005 about seeing Pope John Paull II in person.

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The Next Big Thing

Cathy Day, champion of literary citizenship, English professor at Ball State, author of Circus in Winter and Comeback Season, and my fellow committee member of the Midwest Writers Workshop, tagged me in the Next Big Thing Blog Hop.

Here’s Cathy’s post answering the questions about her work in progress.

And here’s mine…

 

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

Where Am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy

 

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Ever look at your banana and wonder who picked it?

In 2009 the USDA began requiring Country of Origin Labeling on food. I couldn’t believe how global our diet had become. Today, the United State’s imports 86% of its seafood, 50% of its fruit, and 18% of its vegetables. I…

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God Made a Factory Farmer

I wasn’t the only one to see the disconnect in Dodge’s “God Made a Farmer” commercial. Funny or Die made God Made A Factory Farmer. You have to watch it. It would be funnier if it weren’t all so true. (Thanks to Micahel O’Donnell for pointing this out.)

Latino rights group Cuentame fixed the “white washing” issue in the ad. There are six million migrant workers in the U.S. and there are only about 3 million “farmers.”

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God made farmers, man made ways to exploit them

God made a farmer to care for his lands, animals, feed His people, and, according to the Super Bowl commercial, to drive a Dodge Ram truck. It was one of the most talked about commercials of the evening, attempting to strike the chord in all of us that Mitt Romney (or any other politician) tries to strike when he wears a Carhartt jacket.

We are a nation of farmers a few generations removed from the fields. But today only 1% of Americans are actually farmers. We revere the image of farmers on TV commercials and in campaign speeches. The truth is there are 1 billion farmers on earth and 60% of them live in poverty.

In the past year I’ve worked alongside banana farmers in Costa Rica,…

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After more than a decade, Boy Scouts still need more time

From the New York Times:

The Boy Scouts said in a statement e-mailed to reporters that it had received “an outpouring of feedback from the American public” over the proposed change.

“It reinforces how deeply people care about scouting and how passionate they are about the organization,” the statement said. “After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review.”

Dithering is not leadership either.

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Boy Scouts Showing Lack of Leadership

When the Boy Scouts of America doubled down on their policies to discriminate against gay scouts and leaders, I announced I was going to turn in my Eagle Scout awards.

The decision wasn’t made lightly. Scouts helped give me the confidence and independence to travel around the world alone as an author and journalist gathering stories. But Scouts also gave me the moral compass to stand up and act against injustice.

I promised my former troop leader that I would call Boy Scouts Of America’s national office to talk with them about how they reached their decision before I made my final decision to mail my awards.

That call went something like this:

“My name is Kelsey Timmerman. I’m an Eagle Scout. I…

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