Jonathan goes to State

Our son Jonathan’s high school soccer team made it to the State Championship game this season. They won four games in overtime in the playoffs to get there. It was quite an exciting run and reminiscent of the old Browns “Kardiac Kids,” who won eight games on the last possession. In the newspaper, I started calling Jonathan’s team the “Pulmonary Pirates.” (They lost in the Championship Game, which was played at the Columbus Crew Stadium.) Jonathan, who is a striker, and another boy on the team who plays defense, both were named 2nd Team All-State. Note: This was a trophy the boys won early on this season in an early weekend tournament.

through African eyes

I was reading parts of this book tonight. The first section was about slavery and the accounts are absolutely horrendous. Splitting families, torture, murder… Some 15 million people were displaced and slavery was called, in some circles, “…the trade of hell.” And besides all this, slavery opened the door, incrementally, to European colonization of Africa. And all this has bled down through the generations, without much in the way of equitable tangible amends. Our position paper on “Black Amends,” proposes just that.

Q. energy gluttony A. Lehman’s

My son and I stopped at the now world famous “Lehman’s” the other day. It’s in Kidron, Ohio. They sell everything: “human-powered.” That is, the store is patterned after what would be used, basically, in an Amish household, and on an Amish farm in general. No electricity needed, or wanted. They sell everything you need for a non-electric kitchen, as an example. Our western culture, in fact, in its quest for “convenience” at every level, has, in turn, become tremendously “energy gluttonous” — including in the kitchen. Electric blenders, dicers, slaw cutters… The world’s people, as a collective, have pumped 55 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the skies this last year, the most ever. Part of this emanates from our kitchens and all these electric appliances. Gluttony is a sin. And its time to dial all that back, so to speak, and, just as collectively, start patronizing the “Lehman’s” of the world. For the sake of averting more climate change — and for the sake of saving more souls.

We should all be “master gardeners”

I just interviewed a woman who is a local “master gardener” for a newspaper article. To be a master gardener in Harding County, you have to take 10 continuing education hours of classes on gardening a year, and volunteer for 20 hours, total, in Kenton, Ohio’s “Friendship Garden.” This is a creative series of gardens (started by a non-profit) that includes herb gardens, raised bed gardens, wildflower gardens, an “ABC” garden that has each letter of the alphabet represented with a plant, a child-friendly interactive garden… One of these “Friendship Gardens” should be at the heart of every community. We need to increase our gardening exponentially in this country (in regard to increased sustainability, being more rooted in nature, teaching the next generation the importance of being in touch with natural cycles….). Having a big, centralized town garden like this would, ‘naturally,’ inspire a lot more gardening in a town. Note: This is a scene from the wildflower section of the Kenton Friendship Garden.

Amnesty International interview

I interviewed a representative involved with Ohio Northern University’s Chapter of Amnesty International this week. As one example, he said his chapter was focusing on gun violence in America. He attributed part of the escalation to a commensurate increase in violent media/entertainment. He would be right. What’s more, watching violence increases viewership numbers, and, in turn, increases advertising dollars to those kinds of shows, which, of course, then generates more of those types of shows. So people who watch the violent shows, become, in a very real sense, “accomplices.” Not to mention just watching much of the media violence these days is sin behavior. Period.

Senior “Social Security”

I covered a presentation about our local Crime Victims Services Agency today. It provides court advocacy, counseling, life skill training, and a host of other services. One area that is on the rise is elder abuse, neglect, and so on. To respond to this, they have a “Guardian Program” that connects area volunteers, one-on-one, with an elder person in need. These volunteers advise the senior citizen in regard to housing options, medical options, recreation activity outlets… and more. That is, they also reach out as “friends,” taking the person to, say, dinner, or to a movie, or… The woman running this program said during the presentation today that volunteers are often amazed with how “lonely” some of these senior citizens are. Our platform looks at Social Security as not just a “fund,” but in a multi-dimensional way that would help these seniors feel much more “socially secure” in general in our society. Note: The 4th Commandment is: “Honor your mother and your father.” What’s the bet that you’re carrying out the spirit of this thing if you extend this even further and become a “guardian” to someone else’s mother or father?

mpg… mass pollution gauge

Volkswagen Beetle Buying Guide photo

In the last week, I’ve interviewed two people who have a Volkswagen Beetle and a Smart car, respectively. The Beetle gets 30 mpg, highway. The Smart car gets 45 mpg, highway. Now on this climate change thing… Bernie Sanders, for instance, is decrying “big oil.” Ha! Whose creating the demand for the oil? Uh, us. Our vehicle choices (sans the Beetle/Smart cars) are, oh, not the best. What’s more, our driving habits aren’t either. Read: gluttonous. The reason Sanders isn’t saying that is because he wants your votes, but isn’t necessarily too concerned about your souls. Our transportation policy , based on years of cross country research, is concerned about your souls — not to mention the planet’s longevity. I mean, what kind of parent would want to leave a world of climate chaos to their children?

Village square witness to God

Buckeye Back Road Tour continued… On a campaign stop in Columbus Grove, Ohio, I was met at the village square by, of all things, a “Ten Commandments” display. A majority of the people in Columbus Grove were saying, in essence, that these “laws” were at the heart of their community. Refreshing.

village council politics

I covered a village council meeting the other night for the local newspaper. Some political science class students from Bluffton University were in attendance (as a class assignment). Afterwards, I interviewed one of the students. She said she is from Columbus and had attended several city council meetings there. What struck her most about this small village council meeting was all the nuance and discussion on even the smallest of points. Note: Our platform calls for a shift, with much more power/decision making happening on these local levels — where people are more in touch with he issues they face.

I was in a conversation today with a local banker who said he believed the Federal Reserve lowering the interest rate last week was, indeed, tied to the recent emergence of the “inverted yield curve,” which is often the harbinger of a recession. He said the volatility of the markets tied to the evolving trade war is a major concern. What’s more, and this is not often talked about in economic circles, or at least not talked about enough, is that, yes, there is an extremely low rate of unemployment. However, conversely, this gives a distinct advantage to laborers, who in turn, are often demanding higher wages. While this, indeed, is good for the workers, reciprocally, it sometimes hurts business owners — with this equation also rippling into the economy.