Archive - Apr 2010

April 29th

Ike

Just found this nice column by an 89-year-old man from Frazee.

Changes, cont.

Webmaster Alec informs me that readers will not have to adjust anything in the next few days. The site will have a new look and a new location somewhere out there in cyber space, but the addresses and bookmarks will all stay the same. Thanks, Alec!

Health care results

It is difficult to see how anybody would actually push to rescind some of the very necessary reforms that insurance companies are implementing even before they are required to under the new law. Health insurance reform was never a radical move and was always about just plain decency. Read the provisions. Which would you do away with?

 

Sand Art

These are fun.

April 28th

Theology

It is unusual for me to find a religious website with which I feel comfortable, but here's one, suggested to me a while back by my cousin Loren.

 

Changes...

In the next few days, this weblog is going to move to a new site. Webmaster Alec has been working hard to make the move seamless. However, this very difficult technical problem may result in some glitches. 

This move is necessitated by a decision of blogger.com to force all of their bloggers to adopt a new format. It is all a bunch of jargon which I don't understand, and am relying on Anne, my cousin and former webmaster, and Alec, our landlord in Tucson and new webmaster, to figure out. 

I am too busy at the nursery to get involved with the details. But stay tuned for further instructions.

 

Satire, cont.

The satire I wrote about the Sioux nickname controversy, a situation about which I don't give a flying rip, has continued to reverberate. 

I found out yesterday that the 13 Towns newspaper in Fosston wrote: "Eric Bergeson's column will not run this week because it contains racial slurs." 

Meanwhile, the reaction in the the Detroit Lakes newspaper shows the value of satire: It flushes out the humorless. Can you imagine, having to announce that satire is satire before the people even read it just so that they aren't exposed for their inability to read critically?

 

April 27th

Leaders

I am still thinking over some of the things I heard yesterday from three of the wonderful speakers we heard.

All three are humanists in the very best sense of the word. When I visited with Ann Bancroft before she went on stage, trying to get a feel for how she wanted to be introduced, it was as if we had known each other for years. She is just a wonderful, warm human being. 

Same with Andy Wells. I spoke with him briefly afterwards in the parking lot. I am telling you, you feel like you're the most important person on earth when you visit with Andy. He is priceless. 

Andy makes millions on an annual basis. Ann Bancroft has attained world-wide fame. But both are humble pie, both respect all human beings, and both focus, not on how they have been treated unjustly in the past, but how they can improve the world. 

I respect this immensely. So much of our present politics focuses on rage, grievance, anger, hate and division. These people offer a better way. 

Andy conceded in his talk that nine out of ten prisoners would not have the ability to become productive workers. "But that doesn't mean I can't help the one-in-ten," he said. 

What good does it do to rail against those who's lives are botched for reasons both in and out of their control? 

What good does it do to get angry at those who simply won't ever be productive or self-sufficient? 

Andy is utterly non-judgemental about all of the prisoners, even those who he frankly admits he will never be able to help. But he is a hard-headed realist. He only helps those he thinks he can help, those who he thinks will be able to help a company in the future. 

Dr. Kathleen Annette told a touching story about taking her 80-something mother to a restaurant in Wisconsin, only to be greeted with a sign on the door which said, "save a Walleye, kill an Indian." Well, the two Indians coming into the restaurant we're fairly accomplished: One was a medical doctor, the other raised a medical doctor. 

"Oh," the bigots say, "they're different. We aren't talking about the good Indians."

Yes, you were. 

It was the generosity of spirit that impressed me about these three people. And it is generosity of spirit that we need right now, not more bitterness, division, finger-pointing and blame.

 

Leadership summit

Today, the Northwest Minnesota Foundation held its annual summit, which this year focused on leadership. I was lucky enough to be the emcee. 

First, I introduced Andy Wells of Wells Technology of Bemidji. I have repeated Andy's story here before, and it is obvious from looking at the website that his story is inspirational. What the website doesn't convey is the incredible generosity of spirit and utter humility Andy displays, both in his speeches and in his business practices. There is not one iota of self-pity or whining in the man, and he has taken his share of hits. 

Later, we heard from Dr. Kathleen Annette, who lives in Bemidji but has been appointed by Obama to be the deputy director of the Indian Health Services. Her talk was inspiring. 

Finally, we listened to polar explorer Ann Bancroft. What a story. I may summarize it in more detail when I get time...

 

April 26th

Charity opportunity

Forget Haiti, the real need is right here in this country! Check out the Q and A section for the theology behind this noble effort!