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Check Yourself

AP/Yahoo News

Tonight’s presidential debate is going to debut a new feature:  many media outlets will provide live “fact-checking” during the proceedings.  This means that for the first time in debate history, whether or not a statement is statistically correct will be revealed during the event… as opposed to the days and weeks afterwards.

While this means that percentages and estimates will be difficult to fabricate on the spot (as many conversational statistics are) it also means that both teams will begin preparation for the debates by making sure that their assertions are justifiable and verifiable, not merely anecdotal or opinion.

Their words are likely to be more carefully crafted and their statements less dramatic.

While radio and television brought an immediacy to the fact checking of previous debates, the lack of ability to immediately interact with fact-checkers meant that a person identifying a discrepancy between an assertion and a verifiable statistic also needed access to a national publishing outlet to make the discrepancy known.

With the advent of digital publishing, and interactive media, the day of immediate accountability appears to have arrived.  There is a strong possibility that this could be the most “guarded” debate in history.


Blazing Spaghetti Bread

The Spaghetti Factory is one of my guilty pleasures.  I know that it’s not high-quality Italian food, but it’s better, faster, cheaper, and more fun than the majority of its competitors.  I say more fun because for some reason the folks behind Portland’s world-famous purveyor of pasta decided that they needed to build doors big enough to allow Hagrid entrance to their establishment.  Where else can you get to eat spaghetti and feel like you are visiting the set of “The Hobbit”?

I like to order salad with the creamy pesto, an iced tea, the Mizithra cheese or the meat sauce with zesty sausage, and finish it off with a rock hard scoop of spumoni.  For my money there’s only one problem with a visit to the Spaghetti Factory.

The Bread Course.

Now it’s not that the freshly baked loaf they bring to your table isn’t delicious.  It’s just that there’s absolutely no way to eat it.  The Spag Fac’s Achilles heel is delivered alongside your steaming bread and garlic butter.

It’s the world’s dullest knife.


The Price Tag Of Honor

There is a long history of racial hurt in the world.  This week, soccer fans from Russia and Poland clashed after their teams played to a 1-1 tie.  The fighting wasn’t about sport, it was about the generational anger that has grown out of Russia’s history of oppression over the Poles.

In America we often see race as a White Vs. Black issue,
yet prejudice sees more than just two colors globally.

I believe that our oversimplification of racial issues demonstrates a self-centered approach to societal justice; we tend to believe that our racial issues are the biggest.

Our selfish oversimplification of prejudice also leaks into our responses to racial clashes doesn’t it?  Too often we make equality the responsibility of the oppressed, asserting that things will change for the better when people begin to “stand up for themselves”.  But when we narrow our focus onto simplistic answers we often set ourselves up for failure.

For instance, we often talk about the beauty of living in a “colorblind society”, a culture where race makes no difference because we simply refuse to acknowledge our differences.  Instead of treating others the way that we would like to be treated, we hope to treat them as if they actually are “the same as us.” But doesn’t this type of thinking lead to a watering-down of humanity for the sake of a stale homogeny born from denial?

Can there truly be racial and cultural equity when each person is called to give up their cultural or personal history?

I’ve learned from my own personal failures that human reconciliation, between people of any color, actually begins as we acknowledge our responsibility to stand up for the rights of others.

In much the same way, the reconciliation of people groups begins when people are willing to acknowledge the unique and beautiful differences in one another, and then make efforts to honor them with their words and actions.

When we won’t do this, don’t we leave marginalized or oppressed groups to stand up for themselves?


What if the key to justice isn’t expecting that others stand up for their rights?


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