In doing a series of stories about small, local businesses, one of the ones I focused on was Ten Thousand Villages. Ten Thousand Villages (there are 100 stores nationwide) contracts with Third World artisans and offers them, not sub-standard, but rather “fair” prices for their products. In “caring for the earth,” Ten Thousand Villages often contracts with artisans who use locally sourced, recycled and renewable resources. Ten Thousand Villages is non-profit, and also often contracts with the disabled, women, “…and others often excluded from the global economy.” The store manager noted that the organization provides 50% of the purchase price up-front to artisans for materials, and such — because often these people can’t get small business loans from their local banks. What’s more, the other 50% is paid when the product is complete — whether it sells, or not. Note: Our administration’s global trade policies, in part, would embody this kind of ethos, simply because it makes ethical/spiritual sense.
I just interviewed a local Scoutmaster for a newspaper article about his troop. His standard sound byte is: “We put the outing in scouting.” He said once a month, the troop goes camping as one, of many, scouting activities. He said it’s good to regularly get kids “…off screens and out into nature.” I agree. During our travels, we met with David Orr, who was the head of Oberlin College’s Environmental Science Department at the time, and also an author. Among a number of books, he wrote: Earth in the Balance. He said many kids, and adults, these days, have developed “bio-phobia.” And, often, the closest they get to nature are things like: The Weather Channel. Our position paper on the environment is a structured set of strategies revolving around emphasizing the importance of nature, in all it’s dimensions.
I just did a newspaper article about a local community center that puts on an annual Thanksgiving Dinner event. Attendance this year, according to the director, broke all kinds of records. The director surmised ‘inflation creep,’ number one, is attributable, to the rise in attendance. And two, after all the Covid lockdowns/restrictions the past two years in this country, she said people simply like “…getting out again.” In fact, she continued, the laughter, the smiles, the conversations in general at the tables, were quite poignant to her. And on a contemporary affairs front, it’s not hard to seen why the protests over stringent (Zero Covid Policy) lockdowns in China are erupting. As president, I would stand with the general populace in China — unlike what the current U.S. administration is doing. Human rights should always trump trade concerns, and so on. Especially if you’re coming at it from a spiritual angle.
If we were, sincerely, ‘talking to God’ as a country: abortion would end; the Marriage Equality Bill currently being pushed in the Senate would fail; the breakdown of the nuclear family would, well, stop breaking down… And I’m just scratching the surface. Incidentally, Donald Trump declared to run for president again last night at his Mar-a-Lago resort. He’s not the answer. Biden is not the answer either. That is, if we want the country to align with the things of God across the board. Our campaign, while not perfect, comes way closer to the answer for that. Just sayin’. See…
*Veterans Day. Towns across America are adopting the “Military Banner Project.” And I am totally on board with this project. These men and women were/are willing to make the “ultimate sacrifice.” They should be ‘front and center’ in our communities. As we should be ‘front and center’ in helping them, not only in the service, but when they get out. There are, indeed, some good Veterans programs. But there, most assuredly, needs to be more. One newscaster today said that 17 Veterans take their lives every day now. And some 33,000 Veterans are currently homeless. Our position paper on the Military addresses this in Section 11. Note: We have traveled the country extensively interviewing Veterans in crafting part of the latter position paper.
A TV newscaster last night said that with Mid-terms 2022 now in the rearview mirror (sans, of course, several ongoing “toss-up” races), the Campaign 2024 presidential race now “officially” begins. Huh. I wish someone would have told me that. I’ve been campaigning, on and off, the whole last year, at least. I really need some campaign consultants! LOL. Incidentally, and on a more serious side, our positions spin around: “uncommon common sense.” (You read that right.) And if you ‘read’ our positions, you’ll see what I mean. What’s more, you’ll see that what we propose is pretty much the only hope for America now. Again, seriously. Most everything else coming out of DC at this point is metaphorically synonymous with: REARRANGING DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC!!!
Oregon City Schools Quiz Bowl graphic
I just wrote a two-part newspaper series on high school Quiz Bowl. One of the local faculty advisors here said, yes, part of it is about academic preparedness. But he also said the ‘genius’ of it is that football players, cheerleaders, and students who aren’t either, sit side by side on the team, and can’t help but develop some bonds. They are students, he said, “…who wouldn’t normally mix socially.” This is, systemically, a big part of changing the culture in high schools that will lead to, number one, more camaraderie between diverse students. And two, this will, inevitably, cut down on violence/shootings in the schools. And during our travels, I researched a program at Ohio’s Wilmington College where moderators facilitate weekend encounter groups at local high schools, mixing various clique groups. (Think the movie Breakfast Club, without the detention.) I have plugged in more information about this in our position paper proposing a “U.S. Department of Peace.” (See Section 15, Trust and Resolution)
I recently watched a flurry of debates a couple weeks out from the mid-terms. If there was a common denominator, ‘populace’ mantra in these, it would be a version of this: “I can relate to the everyday working people of our state.” Meanwhile, in a relatively small rural village in the Midwest, I’m taking it (ladder) steps beyond, day in and day out, actually being one of those “…everyday working people.” Enough said. Or, actually, I’ll add this…
I just interviewed a man who has had a solar energy company in the area for the past 13 years. During this time, he’s done some 60 solar installations. These have included: at residences, at businesses, at farms… He said this year, he’s seen a marked increase in demand for these. Why? Well, in part apparently, Putin and OPEC have their respective feet on the brake pedals in regard to oil and natural gas. So, in the face of rising prices, and possible shortages/rolling black outs/and such, people are turning to alternative energy sources — like solar. In doing research for the article, I learned the world has just passed the 10% threshold for solar for the first time. For a look at how our administration would approach energy in general, and alternative sources in specific, see…
At Fatima in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary showed some young children there a vision of an angel with a huge flaming sword. He was about to hurl it toward the earth. As mentioned in the last post, Mary had previously told the children that mankind was tremendously offending God, and this flaming sword deal seemed to be a warning about how dire it all was, and how imminent a major chastisement was (even beyond a looming World War II). With a glance from Our Lady, the angel held back the sword, but bellowed to mankind: “PENANCE, PENANCE, PENANCE…” Now, over 100 years later, virtually everything has gotten exponentially more sinful. And “penance,” except for in a small remnant of people, isn’t anywhere to be found. Popes, during the last century, have said the flaming sword could be what befell Sodom of old, with God sending ‘…fire from the sky.’ Or, well, these same popes have said mankind is fashioning its own ‘sword,’ in the form of nuclear weapons. Don’t look now, but what was reported on in the last post, could be the latter starting to graphically play out. Just sayin’.