Archives for March 2013

Resurrection…and why what you say should match what you do.

Today, Easter Sunday, is the day when many around the world celebrate resurrection, the miraculous return to life of Jesus Christ. Whether or not one is a believer, the story is interesting and presents many lessons from which we can learn about the power of change and belief. Like many people, I enjoy finding a lesson in stories; learning from events in others’ lives fosters growth and development.… [Read more]

Keep Religion in Schools

I’m a HUGE supporter of the separation of church and state. Huge.

But as a public school teacher, that doesn’t mean I can’t teach about religion. It just means I can’t tell my students that one or any religion is the RIGHT religion.

As a high school American literature teacher, it is absolutely impossible for me to teach any of the books in my curriculum without my students having some working knowledge of the Bible.… [Read more]

When will we be paid?

This week’s “Say It In Song” pick feels appropriate in light of recent news about the continued battle for fairness for workers. Though “When Will We Be Paid, by the Staple Singers, was released shortly after the Civil Rights Movement, the lyrics are just as applicable today – especially when taken in the context of the ongoing fight for workers’ rights.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Will The New Pope Stick to His Vow of Poverty?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

A bunch of us nuns were chewing the fat on a Tuesday recently and taking bets on who could give up what and, well, things got a little heated and things were said by some sisters to other sisters (honestly, I can’t even tell us apart anymore), but, anyway, a lot of rosaries were thrown in spirited emphasis, and that yielded up some bruised feelings as well as a bunch of crucifix-shaped forehead dents, so anyway, anyway, we did a convent huddle and decided that we would abide by whatever advice you give us to keep the peace.… [Read more]

Thanks, Environmental Protection Agency!

Today, the Environmental Defense Fund relayed some information that should make all of us breathe a little easier:

The EPA has just announced historic new standards to reduce soot, smog and other dangerous pollution that spews from the tailpipes of our cars and trucks.

With every breath, these standards will deliver cleaner, healthier air to the lungs of millions of Americans, producing billions of dollars of public health benefits every year.[Read more]

Fairness and Equality

The other day, I listened to a priest talk about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. As he spoke, I started to think about what it really means to be a Christian and a human being in America today.

By no means am I a religious person, but the philosophy of Jesus of Nazareth has always been one of my guiding lights.… [Read more]

Paid Sick Leave: Approved.

A few days ago, the issue of earned sick days for workers was in the news. Its was noted that, for example, more than a million residents of New York who do not have paid sick days and that suffering an illness means losing out on a pay check at best and a job at worst. … [Read more]

The Preventable Tragedy of Jessica Upshaw

When the news wires revealed that a Mississippi Republican state representative apparently shot herself to death Sunday, the hurried rush to look for possible scandal was tempered with the restraint passed on to current day scribes by journalists before us,

I am a political columnist. That means I’m one of the writers inhabiting the great Washington swamp chronicling the food chain in action. … [Read more]

Common (Core Educational Standards) for a Reason

I’m really not sure how much the non-teacher public know about the Common Core State Standards Initiative that has been brewing over the past few years and has gone into effect this school year.

The idea behind the Common Core is that instead of every state making up their own public school standards and benchmarks for grades K-12 and then giving their own state test to check on the progress of those standards, all the states will have the same…ahem…COMMON…set of standards for each grade level.… [Read more]

The Myth of “Traditional” Marriage — Part One

Our culture and our time blind us all to some extent—some more than others, yet no one is exempt. Often we assume that the ways things are now and in this particular culture is how humans have always behaved throughout the globe. Many speak as if humans always organized within and understood the concept of centralized nation-states, that capitalism was always the dominant economic societal structure, that marriage was always a romantic relationship between a consenting adult male and a consenting adult woman.… [Read more]