Posts with Category Mad World

A brief rant on Garrison Keillor and the Writers’ Almanac (Yes, I’m that much of an NPR nerd)

Every time I hear the Writers’ Almanac on NPR I’m left frustrated.

I am a fan of the short program. How many places can you be exposed to all of the following items in just a few minutes?

  • poetry! In Nature! That isn’t a limerick!
  • learn that George Plimpton took down RFK’s assassin.
  • That it’s the birthday of the Apple II computer. Today’s Mac’s come with one million times more memory!
  • That Adam Smith, the Wealth of Nations “Invisible Hand of capitalism” guy was raised by gypsies and he believed in taxes!

And all of that and more was in a single episode.

So yes, I’m a fan until the very end. By that I mean, it’s the end of the…

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Australian woman uses her vagina to knit

This is the actual first sentence of a piece on TIME Magazine’s site:

There’s one kind of knitted good that you probably won’t find on Etsy: the kind that comes out a human vagina.

I’ve looked for the origins of clothing around the world, but, I have to admit, I never imagined clothes would originate THERE. And by there I mean vagina.

I’m not sure this is art that I get.  Because I don’t get this at all.  She just stuffs the yarn up there regardless of the time of month and pulls the strands out to knit.  She still knits with her hands.  She just uses her vagina for yarn spool storage.  I don’t see the art, beauty, or vaginal respect that this is intended to inspire.

If you’re still curious,…

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When child labor is necessary

Some folks think that child labor is the greatest evil we face. We don’t want kids making our clothes or farming our chocolate.

Child labor makes headlines; hunger doesn’t.

AllAfrica reports that students in rural Zimbabwe are dropping out of school because they don’t have enough to eat and need to work to earn money to buy food. Young boys are leaving school to work in illegal gold mines.

When you live in a region where 25% of deaths of children under the age of five are related to nutritional deficiencies, food is more important than school.

Before we take a stand against child labor, we need to take a stand against extreme poverty. …

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Powerful video of Congo refugees fleeing war zone

The soft face of the child ducks for cover as a tank fires and missiles launch. You can almost see the innocence leaving his eyes for good and fear taking its place. Awful.

But this is happening and this is always happening somewhere in the world.

Watch this five minute video and think of what it must be like to grab all that’s important and keep walking until the fear of death is far behind.

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The State of the American Healthcare system: Paying Cash for Kids & Cancer

Paying Cash for Kids

“Hi, my name is Kelsey Timmerman. How much does it cost to have a kid at your hospital? I’ll pay cash. ”

This is the state of the American medical system today. Patients are forced to approach the birth of a child like they would shopping for a used car. That’s exactly how it felt, and that’s exactly how an expecting mother described her similar experience shopping for hospitals recently to the New York Times:

“I feel like I’m in a used-car lot.”

Like the woman featured in the story, we had insurance, just not insurance that covered maternity expenses. Of course, we didn’t realize that we didn’t have maternity coverage until after my wife Annie was pregnant with our second child.

We had different insurance for the birth…

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Moore Community Mightier Than the Storm

In the age of social media, many of us feel like we need to publicly address disasters and tragedies, as if we’re the President and PR department wrapped into one online presence. I don’t normally address such tragedies unless I have some connection to it or something to add, which I do, regarding the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma…

The tornado was expected. Maybe not the day or the location, but everyone knew it was coming, and that more will come.

I drove right through Moore last month on my way to speak at the University of Oklahoma in Norman (10 miles south of Moore). There are three things that folks love in the area: the Oklahoma Sooners, The Thunder (the NBA basketball team), and watching the weather. …

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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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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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