Election Reform – June 21st – Antonia Lewis

Americas system of electing representatives is the costliest and in many ways one of the least efficient electoral systems in the world. Electoral reform should be one of Congresses highest priorities. http://www.thenation.com/blog/172385/election-reform-should-be-top-priority-new-congress#

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Racism by Antonia Lewis Feb 26th

Some questions to consider:

  • What is “race” anyway? Different people mean different things.
  • Compare racism with tribalism.
  • What everyday things can we do to combat racism around us?
  • We can honestly examine our own feelings in an attempt to see life from other people’s perspective, both the “racist” and the victim. Can we attempt an empathetic attitude?
  • What about reverse racism? Does that exist? How does it manifest itself? And why?

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Charter Schools Feb. 15 by Becky Callison and Gayland Hokanson.

To begin – there are good and bad charter schools – the same goes for public schools. Key factors that drive both are good teachers, manageable class sizes, oversight  from local school boards and parents.
There are many dimensions to this topic. Horror stories coming out of public schools involving unruly students terrorizing teachers and class rooms have recently been in the news. Most parents will not tolerate situations like this. Options available are to work with school boards and administration to first identify the problems and then take action. If satisfactory results aren’t forthcoming then parents with financial means can elect to chose the private school option. But charter schools may be another option. Continue reading
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The lack of empathy Jan. 8th Antonia Lewis

“Consider what happens inside us when we view the suffering of others. When we experience physical pain or emotional distress ourselves, a neural circuit becomes activated (anterior cingulate cortex—or ACC–and insula). Neuroscientific research shows this same circuit gets activated when we see others suffer pain or emotional distress. So seeing the suffering of others causes us to suffer as well.” Continue reading

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Your New Years Resolution to Exercise Jan. 4th Happy New Year!

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape. The big question is what is the best exercise program for us. As we get older, some types may not be advisable. We tend to break things and get sore easier than we did when younger. Walking is always a good exercise. Jean Carley at ninety likes dancing. I went to the Dollar Tree on River Rd today and they have exercise DVD’s for a dollar that look pretty good. There are Tai Chi classes which help with restoring balance. Chi Gong exercises restore health. Continue reading

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Gender Identity Dec. 21 Florence Rigby

Understanding gender identity involves concepts from biology, psychology, anthropology, legal, political and religious issues. All of these aspects are worth discussing.

Two major aspects of gender identity can be expressed as a person’s own personal gender identity  Vs. the gender identity attributed to the individual by others.  Gender identities may be defined as Male, Female, or Other (please explain*).  As part of the definition of gender identity we need to  include “Gender Role Related behavior”  which varies across cultures and time and Sexual Orientation which can include preferences for males, females, both males and females, children, animals, and fetishes (such as shoes and other inanimate objects.) Continue reading

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Tribalism Dec. 11

The world today is extremely divided. In the Middle East, people associate more with their religion, culture, and tribe more than they do with their nation. Most of the people in Iraq see themselves as Sunni, or Shiite, as Arab, or Persian, or Kurdish or Yazidi. The same is true in other countries there.  Even in countries like Spain the Basque and Catalan associate more with their distinct cultures than they do with the nation. Continue reading

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