• Miner Queries: Our economy: Who’s left unscathed?

     I spent last Monday evening viewing part of a documentary film called, “American Winter.” This film highlights the plight of middle class families thrust into poverty through a single crisis such as the loss of a job, death of a spouse or a medical emergency. One young father noted he’d had no trouble finding work five years previously. So after losing his job, he called every business in the phone book to ask if they were hiring. He did not get a single “Yes.”

  • The Time Capsule: Six-on-six: A March favorite of the past

     Of six-on-six girls basketball, Donald Kaul once wrote this: “Many girls plunge into premature marriage to escape the boredom of basketball.  This is especially true of guards.”   

  • The Time Capsule: Discovering what’s right and wrong

     Uncle Joe’s frequently given advice was that a person should always do the right thing.  He’d finish the thought by noting that, while this seemed simple, there were times when it was difficult to know what the right thing was.  He believed there’d be a judgment day; a time when we’d stand at a threshold while our good deeds were tallied alongside bad ones. 

    Joe suspected in his case, the final score would be close. He feared the tie-breaker might be one of those decisions that could go either way. 

  • What's Going On: Why a lone gunman makes me feel safer than a nuclear bomb

     It’s in our nature to look upon the past with rose colored glasses.

    We had stronger morals. Kids were smarter. Music was real music. 

    Simply put, the world was a better place. 

  • What's Going On: Finding a balance between safety and living in a bunker

     As a parent, I’m not sure there could be a more terrifying story than the one that came out of Springfield, Mo., last week when 10-year-old Hailey Owens was abducted in broad daylight blocks from her home. 

    I don’t know if it was the sheer randomness of the act, the steely cold calculated violence, or the local connection, but this tragedy struck a chord with me in a similar manner to the terrorist acts of 9-11 and the Sandy Hook school shooting. 

  • Miner Queries: How many ways can we say NO?

     The Keystone XL pipeline has been in the news again. Last week, a judge overturned a law that allowed Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the pipeline route through Nebraska. 

    The decision was a victory for environmentalists concerned about potential devastation to water supplies and land if the pipeline leaks. Existing northern Keystone XL pipeline has already suffered leaks. 

  • The Time Capsule: Democracy: Temporary, doomed for failure?

     Not long ago a letter to the editor appeared on this page, one from a lady who wrote that our country was “going down the drain,” primarily due to a disregard for God and constitution.  

    Andrew Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), formally known as Lord Woodhouselee, would have agreed. Tytler, though, had a somewhat more complex theory regarding just what has been taking place.  

  • The Time Capsule: A lost game equals a ‘Louie’ haircut

    In the town where I grew up was a 50 cent barber. Louie, so one story went, had learned his trade as an apprentice during World War I, shearing the heads of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of young men on their way to France. 

    Whether in this manner or otherwise, he learned one method, one style, and for more than 50 years, never changed.  The only variations were unintentional, brought on by the shakes as he grew older, compounded by misfit eyeglasses purchased from a traveling salesman who also sold Geritol.

  • What's Going On: Beware of evictions, dead friend notices that arrive via email

     I saw the email’s subject line and I instantly felt a tight knot in my stomach:

    “Eviction notice.”

    Oh jeesh, I thought. What have I done? Had I not paid the rent? Why didn’t my landlord at least give me a warning? What’s my wife going to say? Where is my family going to live?

    Then I had a second thought: “Hey dummy, you can’t be evicted. You own your home.”

  • Miner Queries: Shouldn’t work provide the dignity of a living wage?

     As I was flipping through TV channels after church on Super Bowl Sunday, I happened to pause long enough to hear the lead story on PBS’ Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. It was a brief overview of religious groups’ reactions to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, noting mixed responses, especially to his call to raise the minimum wage.