Author: winter b

Morning Feature: Digging Deeper: Slavery at the Super Bowl?

Change.org sent me a disturbing email, claiming thousands of children would be brought to Dallas as sex slaves during the Super Bowl. I had to dig deeper. (More) The Tuesday Digging Deeper Morning Feature surveys an ongoing news topic through multiple sources to invite in-depth conversation. Please check back over the coming days for additional comments. Today’s Digging Deeper explores reports that the Super Bowl is venue for sex slavery. From Change.org’s website: The trafficking of children for sale at the Super Bowl is well documented. Texas Attorney General [Greg] Abbott is taking a stand and has prepared a task force to identify and respond to traffickers who plan to sell children at the Super Bowl. However, it is not enough to expect law enforcement and victim advocates to bear the entire burden of responding to this issue, which is expected to include many victims. In support of the efforts of the task force, we are requesting the Super Bowl Host Committee embrace a proactive approach with community members by endorsing the “I’m Not buying It” campaign, which would raise awareness and deter the buying of children during the Super Bowl. Apparently the Super Bowl Host Committee isn’t interested. I guess I can understand why they wouldn’t want to get involved in efforts to publicize this problem, but their job is to organize the event. That includes helping coordinate vehicle...

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Furthermore! – Peddling fear

It’s not just for governments and media anymore. The peddling of fear has become so epidemic I drove two salespeople off the other day with the words, “I refuse to live in fear.” What were they selling? The product matters less than that they were selling fear. Ugly fear. Fear of my neighbors’ kids. They appeared to represent General Electric. I won’t say that GE came up with this brilliant marketing plan. Chances are it was devised by some local genius. But maybe not. Worse, they weren’t the only solicitors I’ve had at my door trying to sell the same thing: “Be afraid, be very afraid.” The approach seemed reasonable enough. “We were doing some work for the X family down the street. Do you know them?” Of course I know them. What’s more, Mr. X is president of both our HOA and our CDD (Community Development District, a local taxing entity). A very nice guy, though I don’t always agree with him. My first thought was, “Gee, Mr. X probably wouldn’t be happy that you’re using his name since our neighborhood is clearly posted No soliciting.” And he’s at least partly responsible for that rule. But I’ve heard this approach so often: We were working at your neighbor’s down the street… Yeah, okay. Then comes the fear sell: “Were you aware they had a break-in?” Of course I...

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Midday Matinee – International travel, random musings

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Well, they’d have to be random, wouldn’t they, since I’m nursing yet another cold, can’t get warm, and think I left my brain somewhere between Frankfurt and Charlotte. I filed a baggage claim for it, but haven’t heard anything yet. Flying over the Atlantic has become one of those trials by fire. Nine hours in a tube with too many people and a cabin staff that disappears except for required “hydration” rounds with juice and water. You do get dehydrated. The water made my stomach turn over, the juice was forbidden because I’m diabetic. So I asked for a Diet Coke. Nope. Come to the back of the plane to get one. Well, my balance isn’t great. So my daughter went back to get it for me and had to argue with the attendant. Argue. They sure didn’t want to let go of that coke. You try to maintain sanity by paying an outrageous price for headphones that don’t work well and watching movies on a screen so small it would make an iPad look huge. So I’m squeezed into the toothpaste tube they call an airplane these days. But honestly, if you talk to foks around you, life can get interesting. For example, this really huge guy sat at...

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Morning Feature: Digging Deeper into the Green Revolution

The Green Revolution has been heralded for a century, and with some cause. Adding nitrous fertilizer to the soil increased yields and reduced starvation. It’s also poisoning our air and water. (More) The Tuesday Digging Deeper Morning Feature surveys an ongoing news topic through multiple sources to invite in-depth conversation. Please check back over the coming days for additional comments. This week’s Digging Deeper topic is about the pros and cons of fertilizer-based farming. As a progressive, this is an issue that causes me qualms of conscience. I don’t want to see people starve. At the same time I don’t want us to dig ourselves farther into climate change than we’ve already come. From Scientific American: One hundred years ago […], a laboratory experiment at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany set the stage for the Green Revolution. Chemist Fritz Haber placed a sheet of osmium in a steel chamber, pumped in a mix of nitrogen and hydrogen gases, and cranked up the heat and pressure. Then, out flowed ammonia, the elusive raw material for producing synthetic fertilizer. It was the eureka moment scientists had been pursuing for a decade: Haber managed to create the necessary conditions to transform nitrogen gas, abundant in the atmosphere but useless for life, into a digestible form. At long last, poor soil could yield crops. At long last it was no longer necessary...

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Furthermore! – Who is worthless?

My daughter has been seriously ill this past year, has suffered through a lot of bad things, but even as the saga continues, she looks like a winner to me. So why does she feel worthless? (More) When I was a young mother, I didn’t work for seven years. I stayed home to give my children the kind of upbringing I wanted them to have. I didn’t want to leave their moral development in the hands of other people, I didn’t want them to slip through the cracks in the caring of someone who cared less than I about their health and well-being. I wanted to be there to guide them at least until they were in school full-time. I was lucky to be able to make that decision. A lot of moms can’t. But the whole time, I felt worthless because I wasn’t “contributing” to the family. And by contributing, I mean making money. I didn’t help the budget. I didn’t add to the coffers. With time the sense of worthlessness began to eat away at me until I developed agoraphobia. When out with other people, I shrank because I was just a stay-at-home mom, while they had careers and did important things. I’m long since past that, but my memory of those days has been jogged by my daughter’s recent illness. She was always a go-getter, one...

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