Saturday, September 4, 2010

Walter Visits Campus

Walter and I went to the School of Business's Welcome Back tailgate this afternoon. With his IC bandanna and leash, he was the epitome of school spirit! (While I didn't have on IC gear, I did wear a blue t-shirt!) He enjoyed meeting all the students and eating the scraps that fell on the ground.

Walter in front of IC School of Business

More pictures from the tailgate here!

Quotation of the Day

"The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men's apples and head their cabbages." 

~Cyrano de Bergerac         

Friday, September 3, 2010

If You Aren't Outraged, You Aren't Paying Attention

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
~Albert Einstein

This is so wrong. Did you know that BP segregated liability for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill so that only its subsidy BP Exploration and Production is liable for claims made resulting from the disaster? And that this subsidy is comprised of Gulf coast interests that rely on off-shore drilling? Did you know that BP has spent over $90 million dollars - or over $5 million a week - on advertising since the spill? And that is three times the amount of its advertising budget for the same period in 2009? Did you know that the judge who overturned the Obama Administration's ban on off-shore drilling has extensive ties to and financial interests in the oil and gas industry? You must know by now we don't have the technology to solve leaks in deep-water drilling. At the minimum, drilling should be banned until the technology for repairing the destruction catches up with the technology that causes it.

BP is going to slink away without taking true responsibility for the human, animal, and environmental devastation wrought due to their poor management and atrocious safety culture that led to the disaster. I'd like Bobby Jindal and other proponents of off-shore drilling to have spent a week living on a dinghy in the gulf two months ago. I'd like them to have had to bury the over 5,000 birds, 500 sea turtles, and 80 mammals killed in the wake of the spill. Maybe then they wouldn't be so keen on inviting another disaster to the gulf.

Democracy Now
Citizen Now on BP's Blackmail

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Begin As You Are

A meditation from the great Unitarian minister Forrest Church....

How To Begin (Changing Your Life)

Let me share with you 10 simple hints on beginning—on how to re-boot your spiritual life, if it has become automatic or stale. Getting your soul in shape may lead to awe-inspiring mystical encounters some day. Yet how to begin (or begin anew) isn’t the least bit mystifying. Here are 10 simple thoughts to launch you on your way.
  1. Begin here. How deeply you would long for all the things you take for granted, if suddenly you lost them. So much of what we want we have already, so want what you have. Begin here.
  2. Begin now. You have everything you need. Everything. Plus the bonus of today, one day more than you will have if you wait until tomorrow. Begin now.
  3. Begin as you are. At your fingertips is a treasure trove of memories and dreams. Put one good memory together with one good dream and you are ready to begin. (Good memories are memories that make you feel good about yourself. Good dreams are the stuff of which tomorrow’s good memories are made.) Begin as you are.
  4. Begin by doing what you can. No more, but also no less. Don’t throw yourself against the wall. Walk around it. You can’t do the impossible, but so much is possible. So many of the things you haven’t tried you still can do. To get around the wall, you can set out in either direction—the wall has two ends. The important thing is to start walking. Begin by doing what you can.
  5. Begin with those who are closest to you. They can cheer you on only if you let them. Invite them to give you a hand—bow. And to lend you a hand—ask. And to take your hand—no one can take your hand, if you bury it in your pocket. You say they won’t cheer you on, help you out, or take your hand? Maybe not, but how will you know without asking? Begin by asking.
  6. Begin by turning the page. Today you can open a new chapter of your life. If you are trapped in your story (stuck in place, botching the same old lines), revise the script. Practice a new line or two. When reading a book, we sometimes reach the bottom of a page only to realize we have been glossing its words without registering their meaning. We haven’t been paying attention. We don’t have the faintest idea what we’ve just read. So we go back to the top of the page and try to concentrate. It happens again. Sentences dissolve into words. Words into sounds. The books of our lives are no different. Resist the temptation to wallow over some dark passage until you know exactly what went wrong. You never will. Besides, perfection is not life’s goal. Neither is unnecessary pain. If you are stuck, open a new chapter. Turn the page.
  7. Begin by cleaning up your slate. Don’t erase the past. File it by experience, to keep it handy should you need it. But don’t obsess over it. Ticking off a growing list of grievances gets you nothing from life’s store. As for the things on your "To Do" list that you’ll probably never do, place them under a statute of limitations. When they serve no longer to inspire but only to haunt you, x them off. Not only is there no reason to carry over unnecessary indictments from one day to the next, but you’ll also never reform the things you can about yourself, until you stop trying to reform the things you can’t. Begin by cleaning up your slate.
  8. Begin by looking for new questions, not old answers. Answers close doors. Questions open them. Answers lock us in place. Questions lead us on adventures. Socrates boasted himself the most ignorant man in Athens. Each new insight raised a dozen questions, extending the compass of his ignorance. Yet beyond every ridge he climbed there lay a wider vista. The more questions we have, the farther we can see.
  9. Begin with little regard for where your path may lead. Destinations are overrated. And never what we imagine. Even should we somehow manage to get where we are heading, we won’t end up there. Until life ends, no destination is final. In fact, the best destinations are those we look back upon as new beginnings. Good journeys always continue. So don’t be driven by desire (that empty place within you), never to rest until you reach your goal. Invest your joy in the journey.
  10. Begin in the middle. Our lives will end mid-story, so why not begin there? Don’t wait around for the perfect starting pistol. Or until you are ready. You may never be ready. No reason to wait in the grandstand for some official to guide you to the gate. Jump the fence. Enter the race in the middle. Here. Now. As you are. By doing what you can. With those who are closest to you. By turning the page. Cleaning up your slate. Looking for new questions, not old answers. And with little regard for where your path will lead.
Finally, before you begin, a bonus suggestion—Begin small. Dream possible dreams. Set out to climb a single hill, not every mountain. Soul work needn’t be strenuous to be high impact. You can begin transforming your life with a single phone call. Or by writing a kind letter. Or by opening your blinds to let the sun flood in. Don’t say it’s nothing. It’s everything. For you have now begun.
Source: Original. Rev. Dr. Forrest Church (1948-2009) was Minister of Public Theology at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, New York City. He died on September 24, 2009, following a long illness.
Copyright: Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dalai Lama's Statement on Battery Cages

Photo by the Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States received a statement from the Dalai Lama on the egg industry: “The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing to me and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these animals are treated in industrial food production. I am troubled to learn about the practice of confining egg laying hens in tiny cages. In these cages, birds cannot engage in their natural behaviours, such as spreading their wings, laying eggs in a nesting area, perching, scratching at the ground, even standing on a solid surface. Each hen has less space to live than the very sheet of paper I have written this letter on. Turning these defenseless animals into egg-producing machines with no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our own humanity. Switching to cage free eggs would reduce the suffering of these animals.”

I appreciate the support the Dalai Lama is showing to the hens who are treated so cruelly, but I am undecided on the Dalai Lama himself. I have read articles indicating he eats veal - to me, that is an unforgivable offense. I don't even feel comfortable going to restaurants that have veal on the menu. But I digress. The salmonella scare has turned a necessary eye to one of the many horrors of animal agriculture - battery cages. No being should live in the conditions forced upon these poor creatures. (Don't kid yourself that cage free is any better.) The agricultural interests are so powerful, they've been able to resist inspection for years. It was only in July that the new egg facility inspecting rules were finalized. I'm relieved I don't eat eggs (for so many, many reasons), but if I did, I would be horrified that my food were produced in the conditions at these farms. (Read about some of the violations here.) The answer is simple: go vegan!

Information on Battery Cages

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Quotation of the Day

"We are all entitled to our own opinions, 
but not to our own facts."

~Lawrence W. Sherman      

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Month Has Been Made

One of my students from Organizational Behavior and Management dropped by my office this afternoon. He told me that during his summer job, the concepts we talked about in class really became real to him, and he reflected on the class more than any other he'd had before. With great frankness, he mentioned he was the kind of student who crammed at the last minute and then often forgot about the content, so he was even surprised he retained so much from the course.

What a nice way to begin the semester!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quotation of the Day

"Travelers, there is no path; paths are made by your walking," 

~Antonio Machado      
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