When Quacks Duck the Facts and Other Waterfowl Puns

Firstly, I hope that one and all had a safe holiday season and a Happy New Year. I spent some time up North with my parents for Thanksgiving and Chanukah, followed by a week-long vacation in the Caribbean, and then laid low for a few weeks at home around Christmas and New Year’s.

I know this story has been played back and forth for a while now, but living in Louisiana and seeing the new season of Duck Dynasty has begun as planned, I thought a light first post of the year might address the Phil Robertson “scandal.” (Did it have a name, by the way? Robertsongate? Ducknado?)

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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

It has been fascinating to watch the president’s dogged determination to push his healthcare legislation. He’s wed himself to a bit of policy that he hopes will be his legacy, for better or worse. He has been unable to strongarm many of his more socialized ideas and philosophies through Congress, and has chosen this to be the crowning point of his administration.

But, now that the health exchanges have rolled out, there have been some interesting developments. President Obama may get his healthcare legacy after all, but not in the way he expected.

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You Need To Get Out More…No, Really.

I know it has been a while since this blog was updated. On one hand, I have been incredibly busy at work – we’re in the middle of our grant season, I’ve been going on site visits with nonprofits, there have been several events, and I was in Albuquerque for a conference a few weeks ago. On the other hand, I admit I only really enjoy writing about topics that people are willing to discuss.

Let me explain: last week I was watching two good friends fight via that great medium of conflict, Facebook. They eventually wound up unfriending one another over the argument. It honestly didn’t bother me incredibly: I was the sole catalyst for their connection and they had only known one another for a few months, though I’ve known both of them for several years. But watching the argument and seeing how each side was positioning, I realized that the argument would inevitably be without a winner. Both parties were accusing rather than discussing, and essentially repeating their position over and over to one another.

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The Privilege of Right

Today the U.S. experienced another dreadful gun-related tragedy, this time in the Naval Yard in Washington, DC. They are reporting that thirteen people, including a shooter (and there may have been more than one), were killed when Aaron Alexis opened fire from above.

My sincerest, and most heart-felt prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded, and with the people who witnessed the disaster that will face the inevitable after-effects of crises.

Mass gun violence is growing, it seems, and as weapons technology increases, incidents become more catastrophic. However, is this all attributed simply to gun technology? Is this all because of mental health support crumbling? I would argue that it also has to do with an erosion of the concept of “right.”

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How About We…

Today should not be about divisiveness. It should not use Patriot Day as an excuse to push a personal set of beliefs or an agenda. It should not be an “I told you so” or a list of why you are right and everyone else is wrong. It should not be about terror and insecurity. It should not be about violence, about war, or about destruction. It should not draw the painful nostalgia of remembering “a simpler time.” It should not mock a stereotype or perpetuate petty one-upping.

Today should be about unity. It should be about love and hope and the future. It should remember those hundreds of people that ran towards and even into the World Trade Center after it was hit to help, and about those hundreds upon thousands that cried and prayed and opened their arms for strangers. It should be about honoring those that knew their own lives to be lost, but kept struggling in the hopes of being able to save just one more person. It should be about those that spent their last moments calling to reassure their loved ones, to express love. It should be an opportunity to call those people that you may have overlooked lately – it happens, we all get busy.

Today should be about thinking of whatever you call that thing you believe in: Nature, Science, Energy, God. It should be about hope for the future. It should be appreciations of how far we’ve come. It should be about determination that our future path will continue to improve, that the sun will come out, even if the clouds currently fill your sky.

Never forget. But never let hatred in your heart for those that oppose you outweigh love for the many more beautiful, bittersweet things in this world.

Back Within The Boundaries

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the National World War II Museum in New Orleans for work. It’s a terrific museum, and they have some really exciting plans for future exhibits – if you can make the trip, I highly recommend going. I especially recommend seeing the film Beyond All Boundaries while you’re there; it’s a production that you truly experience rather than simply watch.

However, two conversations were also had that reconfirmed in my mind why museums like this play such an important role in our culture. The first came in the form of a talk about the museum’s founding. When the museum opened, many were skeptical whether there would be a draw to come to a museum about WWII. The only people they thought would come to see such exhibits were veterans, and WWII veterans are becoming fewer and fewer. The second came in a chat with a docent, who revealed that a guest had once said that he was a pacifist and that he thought the museum was “sick” and “glorified war.”

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Dear Panera Bread Company.

I only really started looking into the ag world since moving to Louisiana and meeting up with a fellow Wellesley woman that runs a farm down here. It can be such a fascinating and beautiful industry. I’ve spoken to people in the industry about this, but I would be interested in hearing people’s thoughts.

The Adventures of Dairy Carrie... I think I Need a Drink!

Dear Panera Bread Company,

You’ve lost a customer. Now most people wouldn’t offer to help someone out that they don’t like but I am going to be the bigger person here and give you a heads up.

On Friday I stopped into one of your stores to grab a bite to eat after spending the morning at the Dane County Fair watching the hard working 4H and FFA kids showing their dairy cattle. My mother-in-law was along for the ride and since the line was long and she needed time to pick out her sandwich before getting to the counter I grabbed one of your handy menus from a stand. That’s where I found this…

Panera Bread Menu

“All natural” and “Antibiotic free” chicken. Well Ok…. What exactly does that mean? I mean allchicken must meet the standards that the USDA has in place for antibiotic withholding, regardless of production practices.

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When healthy eating becomes unhealthy obsession

When healthy eating becomes unhealthy obsession

This is an interesting article I read last night. Eating healthy and watching for unnecessary sugars, processing, and chemicals is all wonderful, and we should concentrate on nutrition as well as exercise and mental health to attack the obesity epidemic that plagues our nation and is increasingly becoming global, but near-disordered obsession with “health food” is becoming normal in many places.

Scandal and the Twenty-Four Hour News Cycle

Does this affect his ability to administer?

This is the first question I ask whenever a scandal erupts around a particular public servant. Of course, the nuances are more complicated than that, but honestly, that’s all that goes into my assessment of the person as regards keeping office. Time and again we discover personal indiscretions and “bad behavior” from past leaders that are still considered great, and still achieved phenomenal things for our nation and our world. So where is the line?

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Missing The Forest For The Trees

This past July 4 weekend, the city of Chicago saw a staggering seventy-two shootings. However, very few people were talking about this violence. The nation continued to focus on George Zimmerman’s trial, Ariel Castro’s abductions, and Aaron Hernandez’s possible murder charges.

Now part of this is the troubling national attitude that “Well, that’s just Chicago,” which shows a dismissive, apathetic attitude that is a problem in and of itself. However, George Zimmerman, Ariel Castro, and Aaron Hernandez: these are all names, they all have faces, and people have all read their background. You can focus on a linear (if not transparent) story line and attribute a single cause-and-effect outcome to them. The concept of “seventy-two shootings” just becomes a statistic, not a collection of stories about people with lives just as complicated, just as real as the faces we see on the television. For many, the number just loses its meaning and becomes a less tangible problem than the straightforward, “ Single Person A harmed Single/Multiple Person(s) B, and we have to figure out how to react and respond.”

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