Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Urban Chicken movie coming from Mother Earth News

I'm a fan of urban chickens as pets, and so you can tell I like the idea of this movie.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bullying from a different context (this post needs a better title)

The impact of bullying is significant in understanding the concept of privilege.  Too often the concept of "privilege" is felt by some as just another tool with which others will bully them.  That accounts for a significant sector of those who resist some types of initiatives aimed at creating acceptance and tolerance.

The class aspect of discrimination is well documented (though some insist that in America it is not a matter of class but of social strata instead, quibbling over words).  Many issues appear to be an extension of class issues. That is why there is such a conflict over affirmative action being tied to economic status -- I knew millionaires sons and the children of academics benefiting from affirmative action, the lead plaintiffs in the famous case out of Texas that attacked affirmative action were trailer park types -- the poor rather than the children of privilege, seeking not to be excluded from the table to benefit others who were wealthier, of a higher class, than they were.

Of course I've also known those who truly were appropriate beneficiaries, kids from the barrio who were the first in their families to graduate from grade school, none the less medical school.  But, like all social constructs, if not guarded against, it becomes merely another tool of class oppression.

The appearance aspect of discrimination is also an area that is being appreciated more and ore.  One can treat many types of discrimination as just proxies for appearance.  Tall, strong, thin, young, good looking and articulate people are seen as attractive and have advantages when compared against the short, weak, fat, old and ugly.  You can even measure the economic impact of each factor. The weakness to this approach is that treating various conditions as shades of ugly is insulting.

Yet the math is straightforward.  On social dating sites, one can calculate how much in income a man must have to make up for every inch of missing height or every degree or shade of skin color off the optimum.  Dating sites provide a wealth of information that matches issues of wealth, height, age, appearance, neurological challenge and just about every other factor that discrimination is felt in.

Once you start factoring in the issues of class and appearance in discrimination (and in combating it), you can cover most of the emotional triggers, reasons for resistance and issues that arise.  However, there is one set left that has resisted analysis -- or at least meaningful analysis.

If you treat that resistance as resistance to being bullied, and put it in the context of the people who are resisting (almost all of whom are targets for various types of bullying), it makes sense.  It also paves the way for addressing the issues in a way that does not generate the same resistance.

Anyway, that is a lot of text for such a small insight, but one I just had in dealing with people who were not resistant to the concept of tolerance and acceptance initiatives, but who were resisting the application.  They felt excluded and bullied by the way the approach was handled, and were very receptive to an approach that did not trigger those feelings and emotions.  Night and day to see how effective a diversity initiative was that did not trigger those feelings in people.

An interesting article on why current thinking on sex is wrong

While we don’t dispute that these patterns play out in many parts of the modern world, we don’t see them as elements of human nature so much as adaptations to social conditions—many of which were introduced with the advent of agriculture no more than ten thousand years ago. These behaviors and predilections are not biologically programmed traits of our species; they are evidence of the human brain’s flexibility and the creative potential of community.

Talking about the standard narrative of why people act like they do.

I don't agree with all the conclusions, but the explanation of why various current narratives are wrong makes a lot of sense.

We are often much too certain. You can tell I've been reading again. ;)

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not

Friday, October 15, 2010

Texas Republicans in the news

I read a blog post about how someone couldn't date a Republican, and I thought this video of a North Texas Republican, in front of an audience of North Texas Republicans, was well worth watching.

Though it made sense why she would not date one of these guys -- they are all either gay or married.

But still, people to be proud of.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We can't all be Lennika Johnson

My daughter has a friend, Lennika Johnson, who is engaged to be married, so I thought following up on my "We can't all be Jack Green" post, I'd post about Lennika.

I first noticed her when the Laurel group had a musical number.  The president assumed that the audience would want to hear it based on the social popularity of the girls.  She did not even include some of them in on the practices.  Think of what they were doing as a three person solo, with the others as back up singers.

Of course the "popular" girls had voices that would qualify as "nice."  You know what I mean. Anemic, untrained, ok for part of a choir.  Lennika, on the other hand, had (and has) a professional quality voice.  But, when they had the number, you couldn't tell.  Instead, the group sounded really, really, really good.  Someone, on the fly, was doing transparent support and fill, making everyone sound better without calling attention to themselves.

I've heard lots of people just outclass the people they are singing with.  Or support, but the support was better than the lead.  This was selfless and clean.  Probably the best I've ever heard or seen.  When faced with people who had excluded her and did not deserve it, she did her best to make them sound better without drawing any attention to herself.  If you did not know music and the singers, you would have missed what happened.

I was impressed, it is the thing that sticks out in my mind the most about her.  It is so rare to see people willing to let others shine, to support a group, to not take the easy revenge, who have more self control than ego.

Wish her well with her engagement, and hope that her young man supports her the way she has been willing to support others

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, David Strathairn, et al. (DVD - 2010)
Watched the movie through netflicks, but many local libraries have it and it is on TV from time to time.  It was inspiring. I had really enjoyed the NPR interviews with her and about her.  Her life shows what you can do even if you are four years old and still have not learned to talk.
It is never too late.
A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism Starring Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir, Dr. Temple Grandin 

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Another grief blog -- another person blogging about their recovery from grief.

Engaging the Other, 5th International Conference Announcement

5th Annual International Conference on
The Power of Compassion

November 19-21, 2010
San Francisco Bay Area (Rohnert Park), Calif.

At a time when polarization is the culprit,
a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary conference addressing fear-based belief systems, negative stereotypes, polarization, enemy images, scapegoating, and artificial barriers of distrust that divide us.

Keynote by Huston Smith

Co-Sponsored by:  Common Bond Institute,
International Humanistic Psychology Association
Sonoma State University

Endorsed by:
an international list of over 100 organizations and universities

An Official Partner and Event of the Charter for Compassionand Parliament of World Religions

Full Conference Details at:
(copy & paste address into your browser)

~ A Conference For Everyone ~
Registration is Open to All

Continuing Education Credits (CECs) available

We Invite You To:
an extraordinary conference examining concepts of "The OTHER" from a universal, cross-cultural perspective to promote a wider public dialogue about images of "Us and Them"
over 55 presenters, facilitators, and visionaries - and hundreds of concerned individuals, to take part in 3 days of authentic dialogue bridging the divide and cultivating our capacity for appreciation of diversity, reconciliation, and respectful engagement.
  > Raise the level, depth, and breadth of public dialogue and awareness on core issues. The conference examines dimensions and dynamics of "The OTHER" on individual and group levels, and considers how enemy identity is formed, perpetuated, and manipulated.  > Identify and compile fundamental questions, dilemmas, and implications for further deep inquiry and examination in an expanding public dialogue, and to challenge embedded negative belief systems that promote adversarial perceptions of the "The Other."  > Tap our shared wisdom, compassion, and responsibility as a community - from the local to the global - in developing practical applications to reduce divisiveness and polarization and promote a shared consciousness of peace.   > Create Networking Opportunities for collaboration  > Formulate findings and products to make available to all. 
AN OUTSTANDING POOL OF OVER 55 PRESENTERS and FACILITATORS addressing concepts of "The Other" from diverse perspectives - including social, cultural, political, psychological, economic, ecological, and spiritual, offering a 3 DAY program of:- Keynote Speakers, - Interactive Plenary Panels, - Concurrent Break-out Sessions of Workshops and interactive Panels, - Daily Facilitated Dialogue breakout Groups to engage concepts and explore practical applications, - Open Space, - Interactive All-conference Experiences, - Video Addresses by Leading Visionaries, - Action Planning, - Morning Yoga Sessions, - Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala Ritual, - Evening Performances, Cultural programs, and Community activities, - Rich Networking and Action Planning - Cross-cultural Community.

"An important, timely dialogue
                        ...everyone needs to be part of "

Program Overview at:

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Welcome to Wheat & Tares

A new blog: -- with some great old bloggers (the crew from Mormon Matters).

Listening to Conference on-Line//Channel Time Warner Channel Advertised was blank

nSigh.  Ever since I sat in a sauna in Wichita Falls and listed to an executive explain how he did not like LDS Conference and wanted to drive it off of cable, I've had concerns about this outfit.

But after spending fifteen minutes today trying to bring up the morning session, I logged onto the internet.

I'm enjoying it now, though it leaves me tempted to occasionally post things, think about live blogging (Alma's disappointment -- I think all parents worry so much) and look forward to Wheat & Tares next week.

Libera - Going Home -- the song I want sung at my funeral.

This is powerful and moving, something I would like sung at my funeral, when I pass.

NIghtmare Grief

It has been a long time since I've had a grief nightmare, where I lived through loss and death and felt overwhelming grief.  Friday night I went through that, needed a couple extra hours of sleep Saturday, which I caught in the afternoon.  No one had ever told me to expect to relive grief in my sleep,  It happens less and less as the years go by, been a couple years since the last time it struck me.

This time I dreamed of a child I've never known who had just died. From when I woke, returned to the nightmare, awoke again, returned, and awoke, it was a long dream.

I know there are worse things.  E.g. the things these posters are going through:
Everyone has their nightmares, I guess.  That leaves each of us to bind up the broken hearted and do what we can for others, each of us in our own place.

As for how we can make such hideous mistakes, go to your local library and get this book through interlibrary loan: