Columns 2016

Mainstreaming children

My heart broke a little with every word I read about the recent move by the school district to mainstream children with significant behavioral problems into regular classrooms. My heart broke for the parents who wanted to protect their children from a disruptive school atmosphere and those parents who wanted their child to get a chance at making it in a regular setting.

There are no winners or losers in this scenario. Parents on both side of the issue have valid points to make and valid concerns to express. I have worked with children who end up in special classes Continue reading →

Columns 2016

Christmas memories

On snowy gray days, reminiscing becomes a way to warm you inside and out. Right now, my dogs are sleeping around me. My birds are chirping to the classical music playing for them… ok, maybe parrots don’t exactly chirp but they do their best. And I find myself remembering so many Christmases of the past.

As usual, we will have a white Christmas here. We rarely had them in Atlantic City. If we did have snow, mom just got mad because then the drive to Philly to be with family for Christmas dinner would become scary.

Not that it bothered Continue reading →

Columns 2016

So many lives lost

Alaska has lost a whole lot in the past couple of weeks. We lost four lives in a plane crash. We lost one life to unspeakable cruelty. And we will probably lose four more lives to prison. Not exactly the run up to Christmas that we were all hoping for

Those who died in the plane crash are mourned for all the potential that has been lost through something that Alaskans do everyday – getting on a small plane to get from here to there. In the back of our heads, we know that these accidents happen. Every time we Continue reading →

Columns 2016

A holiday message

Black Friday is over and we are now fully engaged in the orgy of shopping that has become our holiday season. When we emerge from our shopping stupor around January 2 and see the credit card bills, we might not think those gifts were as much fun as they were when we were buying them. But if you take just a moment to actually honor the spirit of the season, you might find a way to make at least some of those gifts as palatable after the holidays as before.

Yes, this is my annual pitch for everyone to try Continue reading →

Columns 2016

Amid the horror, there is reason for hope

Visiting Birkenau and Auschwitz is not something you do on vacation for fun. You do it to bear witness to the millions who died there for no other reason than believing in the wrong god, having the wrong skin color, or loving the wrong person. Wrong, in this context, was defined by the people in power and had nothing to do with any real ethical or moral standards.

It is hard to walk through these death camps and not feel the terror that seems to permeate the very stones of the ground. It is virtually impossible to stand at the Continue reading →

Columns 2016

They didn’t think it could happen in Germany either

It took more than a generation after World War II for Germany to teach its children its role in World War II. Now, acknowledgement of the horrors it perpetrated is openly discussed and confronted.

For me, the moment of truth came when I visited a concentration camp/prison in Germany called Terezin. It was not a death camp. There were no ovens, no smell of human flesh burning ever filled the air. But it was a place of great evil where people whose only crime was being Jewish lived as abused animals before being sent to die.

When the camp was Continue reading →

Columns 2016

Going into the future together

Here’s what we all need to remember. This is America and we are all Americans. And while I will be the first to say that I will never call the DayGlo man president, I will always respect America and the system we use to transfer power every four years. Real Americans do not use violence to overthrow their government, no matter how angry or anguished they are by any given election result. We are not some Third World country that changes power with bloodshed. We do it the American way.

It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this Continue reading →

Columns 2016

It doesn’t matter how rich, thin or beautiful you are

It’s been a bizarre election season. Nothing about it is familiar or normal. We’re having conversations in presidential debates about genitalia size, female bodily functions, emails that seem to go on forever – and now Anthony Weiner rears his ugly head, becoming what I consider the cherry atop this disgusting ice cream sundae.

Wiener, as we all sadly realize now, is a very troubled individual with an obscene obsession with his genitalia. His wife finally left him after he sent photos of said genitalia to what must be some of the saddest and loneliest women on the planet while his Continue reading →

Columns 2016

Hey, Evangelicals, here’s an idea

One of the most puzzling features of the current campaign for me is how evangelical Christians can stick with Trump. On the surface, he would seem to be everything they rail against – multiple marriages, mistresses, talking about women as though they were merely pieces of meat for his delectation – how does anyone put these together with Christian values and come up positive for Trump?

The answer, as best I can tell, is that for some evangelicals, there is really only one issue in this campaign that matters. That issue is the Supreme Court and who will get to Continue reading →

Columns 2016

Hoisted on his own petard

There’s an old phrase – hoisted on your own petard – which I can remember my mother quoting in my childhood every time I did something she warned me not to do and it went bad.

The quote comes from Shakespeare and, since mom was briefly an English teacher, she loved those quotes. For sure it was not something often said by any other members of our extended family. They usually used Italian phrases when yelling at us and then refused to translate what they’d just said. Didn’t matter though. We knew from the tone just how much trouble we Continue reading →