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Adoption is hard. It shouldn’t be.

When I was just a little guy, there would often be an additional child hanging around our home. We weren’t a wealthy family by financial measures, but that didn’t stop my parents from fostering children in need of a home, often for indeterminate periods of time. You could say the “pro-life” thing for my family wasn’t just a political position, but a belief in action.

These little ones might stay with our family for a few weeks, others stayed for many months. Babies, teenagers, teen mothers, etc. To this day, when my mother decorates the house for Christmas, visitors find photos of babies in ceramic ornaments on our Christmas Tree. I’m not sure of the exact number, but I feel like at least five or six of these ornaments show up every year. These ornaments are somewhat sacred in our home. “Oh, who’s that? That is one of our sweet foster children from years ago.”

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The Gender Wage Gap and the problem for Feminism

Recently, President Obama referenced the so-called “Wage Gap” during his State of the Union speech. And whether or not you like it, there’s good reason. It’s a popular topic for those pursuing total fairness in America (and globally).

The challenge the White House currently faces with this issue is that it’s incredibly difficult to pin down exactly why it appears that women consistently make less money than men. Despite continuing to play a larger role as a percentage of the workforce and leading men in attending college, graduating with an associates or bachelors degree, MA, Professional or Doctorate degrees, the belief within the Obama Administration is that women continue to make considerably less money than men.

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Be the NashvilleNext Mayor!

The NashvilleNext movement is moving forward, and there is a new way to get involved. And it’s happening right now.

Here’s a note from the folks running the show about the events happening this week through the end of the month.

Community input at public meetings around the city this month will help decide what our city should focus on as we create a plan for Metro Nashville’s future. Conversations in South Nashville and Madison this week have gotten the process started – join us at one or more of the events listed below and share what you would do if you were the “NashvilleNext Mayor.”

Childcare and snacks are provided!

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Please consider attending one of these events if you can. It’s a great opportunity for Nashvillians to get involved, assuming you want to or care about  the future of our fair city.

Seriously though, give it a thought! I’m planning to try and hit the Thursday event this week.

American Ignorance, or why civil liberties matter

America celebrated July 4th this past Thursday.

Let freedom ring, right? The above video was taken July 4th in Murfreesboro, TN at a DUI Checkpoint.

People may argue for hours about whether or not refusing to roll down a window any further was justification for the actions by law enforcement in the video. That’s not the point of this conversation.

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Southern art for a southern soul

This is a post about being southern, appreciating clever design, and the Old Try. Enjoy.

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For many years I had personal concerns about having been born and raised in the south, and more specifically Tennessee.

Considering the following:

  • Race relations: this obviously includes slavery, native American injustices (not limited to the Trail of Tears), the Civil War, MLK’s assassination, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Dred Scott v. Sanford, that we even needed the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, and many more…
  • Dixie: Confederate flags, the KKK, “The South will rise again”, etc.
  • Rednecks: both the stereotype and reality of a “backwoods” southern people
  • Slang and slow talk: possessing an accent that absolutely identifies me as southern
  • Other southern things: a love for old country and bluegrass, mom’s biscuits and fried chicken, honeysuckle, seersucker, linen, etc.

Due to most of the above, I actively worked to avoid mentioning my southern roots.

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“Nashville loves Nashville”… or does it?

The City of Nashville commissioned a survey of Nashvillians, asking them their opinion on how the city was doing. This “Issues Survey” is a part of the NashvilleNEXT initiative that endeavors to help prepare for the next 25 years for our growing mini-metropolis.

The results can be found here. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what was included, excluded, what you would want to see more detail on, and any other questions you have. I’m a huge nerd for the data, so I already have a few in mind, but I wanted to hear from other Nashvillians to see what they thought about the results of this survey. There are some really interesting results in this data.

Play along with me and let’s talk about what this says about our fair city, “it-city” status aside. Here are a few initial questions you might consider asking of yourself:

  1. Do the results accurately reflect the Nashville I live in? If so, why? If not, why?
  2. Which category results surprised you most? Which category fit right into your thoughts about where Nashville is?
  3. If you could break down the data (or “drill-down”) somehow, how would you want to see it (Age, Gender, Race, Income, Zip/Neighborhood, etc.)?
  4. Which question is missing from the survey? Is there an issue that was ignored?

Update: 4/10/2013

Here are some additional background reports on issues affecting Nashville, including Poverty, Homelessness, Children/Youth, Education, and much more.

Society has to be better than the individual…

“Society has to be better than the individual…”

This quote comes courtesy of the film Ides of March, a political drama released in 2011 starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Evan Rachel Wood. The story follows a campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for President in a non-descript election year. As a true political nerd, I really enjoyed it.

This quote has lingered in my memory since I first saw the film. Every now and then, I bring it up when discussing national issues where one individuals actions would make us worse as a society. In particular, one story I read late this past week reminded me of this quote and its meaning for me and my personally held values.

Story: A young man in Cleveland, OH on trial for the murder of three high school students in February of 2012 was awaiting sentencing for his actions. Sadly, this is not a new story. But we can talk about youth, gun violence, and specifically school shootings another time… What made this particular story so chilling is a shirt the murderer wore, and the statement he made directly to the families of those he killed. While I won’t repeat it here, you can find it in the link above. Suffice to say it’s vulgar and heartbreaking at the same time.

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