Obama to the Left? Most of this country is numb to the power of rhetoric!

If there was one consistent media message about the Obama inauguration ceremony, it was the idea that he was announcing a clear shift to the left. But coverage failed to provide much background on the president’s actual policies, which would have challenged that impression.

The inclusion of climate change was treated as a particularly big deal, given that inaugural addresses seldom dwell on policy. “Speech Gives Climate Goals Center Stage” read one headline in the next day’s New York Times (1/22/13). But that story, and much of the media commentary on his climate comments, failed to even mention the Keystone XL pipeline, currently under State Department review.

It is hard to fathom how meaningful action on climate change would be possible if Keystone were approved, but the White House has not spoken out in opposition to the pipeline (Nation.com, 1/22/13). Leaving out Obama’s most important upcoming climate policy decision when covering his climate agenda is a media failure.

For more on this story, visit: Obama to the Left? — FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting.

Secret Ingredient for Success | NYTimes.com

… No one’s idea of a good time is to take a brutal assessment of their animating assumptions and to acknowledge that those may have contributed to their failure. It’s easy to find pat ways to explain why the world has not adequately rewarded our efforts. But what we learned from conversation with high achievers is that challenging our assumptions, objectives, at times even our goals, may sometimes push us further than we thought possible.

For more on this story, visit: Secret Ingredient for Success – NYTimes.com.

Once Columbus | Voices for Creative Nonviolence

I love Columbus Day. Each year I recall the simple song I learned as a child about the man who “discovered” America. I still recall the innocent boy whose imagination was taken by the story of adventure and discovery.

In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

On Columbus Day, I reflect on the facts of that fateful discovery. Hispaniola at the time of Columbus’ arrival was home to as many as 300,000 people. On seeing the Arawak people Columbus wrote in his journal, “At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes, and very handsome. Their eyes are large and very beautiful.” In the same entry he wrote, “It appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and would be good servants and I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion.” Columbus kidnapped up to 25 people, although only 7 or 8 survived the journey back to Spain. By 1496 it is estimated that one third of the population had been killed or taken as slaves. In 1592 fewer than 200 Indigenous people remained. By 1555, none survived.

I realize every lie and distortion i hold of my country began in that classroom all those years ago

For more on this story, visit: Once Columbus | Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Amy Goodman: Romney Has a Jobs Plan … for China | Truthdig

ed: I’ve often thought that there are too many products with “Made in China” stickers on them. I think one reason China’s economy is so good is that they make most of our stuff. Clothes we buy at most clothing stores, toys at most toy stores, at least the big box stores, just about everything at Michael’s craft store is made in China, as is most everthing in Walmart and Target. Is America soon going to be Made in China? Amy Goodman has her own take on this below ….

By Amy Goodman

Freeport, Ill., is the site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. On Aug. 27, 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated there in their campaign for Illinois’ seat in the U.S. Senate. Lincoln lost that race, but the Freeport debate set the stage for his eventual defeat of Douglas in the presidential election of 1860, and thus the Civil War. Today, as the African-American president of the United States prepares to debate the candidate from the party of Lincoln, workers in Freeport are staging a protest, hoping to put their plight into the center of the national debate this election season.

A group of workers from Sensata Technologies have set up their tents in a protest encampment across the road from the plant where many of them have spent their adult lives working. Sensata makes high-tech sensors for automobiles, including the sensors that help automatic transmissions run safely. Sensata Technologies recently bought the plant from Honeywell, and promptly told the more than 170 workers there that their jobs and all the plant’s equipment would be shipped to China.

For more on this story, visit: Amy Goodman: Romney Has a Jobs Plan … for China – Truthdig.

I wish church services had titles: Anger, forgiveness, love, and war

by Christopher Zurcher

On attending the church service at Church of the Redeemer, Aug. 12, 2012.

Church of the Redeemer, on Whitney Avenue in New Haven, recently changed the message on the sign on front to read "Show Love," inspired by the teachings and preachings of three-month interim pastor Kevin Ewing.
Church of the Redeemer, on Whitney Avenue in New Haven, recently changed the message on the sign on front to read “Show Love,” inspired by the teachings and preachings of three-month interim pastor Kevin Ewing.

What a powerful service. I began to become aware of today’s theme during the children’s message by Courtney Mason – anger and forgiveness and, of course, love. The message followed “Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer,” a hymn ultimately, I think, about God delivering or “guiding” his people to safety through the desert, or “barren land,” regardless of their sins, regardless of how they felt after having been led across the desert.

Now this country is in its own deserts, particularly, for this rant, the mineral-rich Afghanistan.

The message, delivered eloquently by Courtney, was about anger and how it is human to have it, but ungodly to have too much of it.

Following, eventually, was Interim Pastor the Rev. Kevin Ewing’s message, echoing, again, the “too much anger” message. Ephesians 4:25-5:2:

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The hymn of preparation was #503, “O Savior, Let me walk with thee,” a poem written by Washington Gladden for a devotional column published in his magazine “Sunday Afternoon” in 1879. Gladden was an outspoken minister and writer on social-justice issues, who served churches in New York, Massachusetts and Ohio. He never intended for the poem to be converted into a hymn. But what a fitting hymn and even more fitting a writer to have written the preparation hymn for Kevin’s sermon that followed.

I wish church services had titles that hinted toward their themes. I guess during times of Lent and Easter and Christmas, they inevitably have themes. Today’s theme emerged slowly, gracefully, powerfully.

A grandmother happened to come in after the service began and sat in front of me. She had prayer requests for Ron Paul and for her grandson, who just received a college scholarship. Her requests made the message more poignant than it would have been for a number of reasons.

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