Posts with Category Mad World

Suffering in the shame of silence after another mass shooting

Another mass shooting and I’m left feeling the same–ashamed.

As I wrote about the Syrian refugee crisis, empathy should be our default setting, and it’s where my heart and mind go every time I hear news like that of the mass shooting in San Bernardino or [insert the most recent mass shooting].

What if that were my son, daughter, wife, brother, sister, mom, or dad gunned down simply for showing up to work or to school or to church that day?

My daughter is in first grade and several times a year the school has active shooter drills. They don’t call them that. She just knows to hide in the corner or in the bathroom and be really quiet.

What if that weren’t…

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I see my son dead on a beach: How I think about the Syrian refugee crisis

A few things have shaped the way I see the Syrian refugee crisis. I thought I would share them:

#1: The photo of the boy on the beach

The pictures of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi lifeless on the beach have haunted me for months. You should see them. They are here.

I can barely handle seeing the photos. I see them and I see my own son, which is terrifying and exactly how we should see the world. I see the shirt I helped him put on, the shoes we bought him. When confronted with a harsh reality, we should see ourselves and our family members in the mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters impacted by that reality.

Empathy should be a our default setting.

When I look at the Syrian refugees, I think about what…

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A Liberal on Lazy Liberalism & Faux Outrage

I’m no anthropologist, but I like to think that my degree in anthropology has instilled a certain level of cultural sensitivity and empathy that fuels my work. That’s why I was shocked to receive an email that painted me as anything but culturally sensitive.

By holding up my Jingle These Christmas Boxers, I was sexual harassing the entire audience.

By saying, “the worst thing isn’t that we live in a world where child labor exists, but in a world where a mother who loves her child just as much as your mom loves you and my mom loves me sends that child off to work for the day because they have to earn an income,” I’m offending any audience members who don’t have mothers or mothers who loves…

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Should firefighters stand in the street and ask for money? (Criticizing the Fill the Boot Campaign)

First, before you start hating me, let me say that I’m amazed by the risk firefighters face and the courage with which they face it. Even Grizzly bears and great whites are afraid of fire. That makes firefighters, who jump into a blazing building, braver than grizzlies and great whites!

(Photo: I took this photo of a firefighter in the street “filling the boot” in my hometown.)

A woman who has an office in the same building I have an office would not be with us any longer if not for the action and courage of local firefighters. Firefighters miraculously rescued her and her husband from a horrible home fire in the middle of the…

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Chris Christie told the wrong heckler to “sit down and shut up”

If you’ve read my book WHERE AM I WEARING? you remember Jim Keady. He spent a month in Indonesia living with the workers at a Nike factory. That was in 1997. To this day, Jim still travels back to Indonesia. Recently he was deported from Indonesia for joining a labor rally. He stands with workers and through his work with Team Sweat educates high school and college students about global workers’ rights.

Jim stands for what he believes in. He does not sit down, nor does he shut up.

Yesterday Jim attended a press conference in which Governor Chris Christie was talking about the progress that had been made in Jim’s childhood neighborhood since Hurricane Sandy hit two years ago. Jim held up a sign that read: “Get Sandy Families Back in Their Homes / Finish the Job.”

In the wake of the hurricane, I remember following Jim’s efforts. Someone needed help with the disaster that was their homes and Jim would show up with a crew of volunteers. Eventually the city gave him his own dump truck to drive around and help people recover what they could of their possessions and discard what was unsalvageable. He took off an entire month and did this.

When Christie took to the mic, Jim held up his sign and began to ask him why only 20% of the $1.1 Billion set aside for families impacted by Sandy had been spent. Jim didn’t have a mic, but he had a voice. He kept talking. And eventually Christie shouted him down:

(From Bloomberg)…“somebody like you doesn’t know a damn thing about what you’re talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here. I’ve been here when the cameras aren’t here buddy, and done the work.” Christie went on to tell Keady that “I’m glad you had your day to show off” and now, “turn around, get your 15 minutes of fame, and then maybe take your jacket off, roll up your sleeves and do something for the people of this state.”

There is a time to vote. There is a time to sit and listen. But there is also a time to stand and speak. (My thoughts on Standing Up here). Jim stood.

I honestly don’t know the intricacies of the Sandy recovery efforts, but I do know one thing: Chris Christie told the wrong guy to sit down and shut up.

Here’s Jim speaking out on MSNBC:

Below you can read what I wrote about Jim in WHERE AM I WEARING

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Fatal diagnosis leaves young newly wed asking important questions

You’ve probably seen this video below of Brittany Maynard talking about her decision to end her own life after her fatal diagnosis. I wanted to highlight something she said that one asks themselves when facing death:

“What’s important to you? What do you care about? What matters?”

And her answer:

“Pursue that. Forget the rest.”

Brittany is choosing to spend more time with family and friends, and to travel to as many places she wants to see as she can.

Brittany is scheduled to die on November 1st.

Family. Friends. Travel. That’s what matters to Brittany. She doesn’t say that she wants to spend more time at work finishing a big project or buy a brand new corvette with her retirement money she’ll no longer need. Those things don’t matter to her….

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Are perfect attendance awards stupid?

Harper is home sick today from Kindergarten.  This is her first ever missed day of school. She had a good run . . .  for a month. Looks like she won’t be the Cal Ripken of Royerton elementary.

Anyhow, all of this got me thinking about awards for perfect attendance. 

A perfect attendance award means:

a) a kid or employee was never sick;


b) they were sick, likely multiple times, and exposed the other students and their co-workers to their germs.

Never being sick is highly unlikely so that means awarding perfect attendance is encouraging the spread of germs in schools and the work place. And that seems kind of stupid, doesn’t it?

I could be wrong. In high school, before I had sinus surgery, I missed a lot of school. So…

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Gay Married in Indiana for 7 hours

Last week I attended a wedding  wearing a sweat-soaked T-shirt with a winking turd on it.  However, my apparel was unremarkable compared to the event itself: Two men in Indiana were getting legally married.

Same-sex marriage was was made legal by a court ruling on June 25th by Judge Richard L. Young.  On June 27th, my good friend J.R. Jamison was marrying his husband Cory.  They’ve actually been married longer than Annie and I have, but they wanted to make it official in the eyes of the State of Indiana and the federal government. Like many same-sex couples, they rushed to get married, fearing an emergency stay would be put in place by Indiana’s attorney general. 

It wasn’t my intention to…

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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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