I suspect the reason for such a diverse crowd has something to do with their sense of human spirituality: We are all God’s children and, therefore, in our most important aspect, we are alike.
The view is consistent with the world’s religions.
The Old Testament states that we are made in God’s image. The thought of each person as an imago Dei, an image of the divine, suggests spiritual equality even regarding what many see as the biggest difference in human beings, between men and women. That understanding of the Old Testament account of creation – that all human beings are spiritual equals – was put forth by Augustine 1,600 years ago.
As many scholars have pointed out, Augustine’s understanding of spiritual equality is found in Islam: ‘I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; you proceed one from another . . .’ (Quran 3:195) Galatians 3:28, one of the passages in the New Testament that guides my ethics classes, says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus.’ Hinduism says that ‘the atman is the brahman and the brahman is the atman.’ (The self is the divine and the divine is the self.) Perhaps that is what Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, had in mind when he referred to ‘the dignity and sanctity of every individual’ 11 years ago.
The most appropriate response, therefore, to people who are ‘different’ may be a loving acceptance of another creature of God. Skin color, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, sex and other temporal differences are less important than the spiritual identity of being human.
I dare say that peace and harmony would be likely to occur on Earth if people were to see in other people beings like themselves, namely, children of God.
We may be diverse, but in our spirituality, we are alike. Ashley and Kevin know that; their guests will celebrate together.
By , Indianapolis Star 09/29/2012, Page B03
. Richard McGowan teaches ethics at Butler University and lives in Indianapolis.]]>
Among events that come to mind are the floods of 2008 and the March tornadoes that swept through Southern Indiana. For the latter, thousands of Hoosiers responded within the first week (and are still going strong), showing their love for their fellow Hoosiers by picking up rubble and rebuilding homes and businesses.
The same kind of love for neighbors presented itself in the aftermath of the summer slaughter of Sikhs in Milwaukee.
Hoosiers rallied behind their Sikh brothers and sisters, sharing their love for their neighbors and the expressions of good will from their own faith backgrounds.
Though it was 51 years ago when President John F. Kennedy urged Americans, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,’ the acts of service to tornado victims and the outpouring of good will to our Sikh brothers show that his message still resonates. When Kennedy spoke of a love for the country we share that is exemplified by service, he delivered a message that transcended political and religious boundaries.
We know it transcends because service and volunteerism happen every day beyond times of conspicuous need. We should never forget the time, sacrifice and love Hoosiers share every day when you see a volunteer in your local hospital, food bank, shelter, victims assistance facility, local school, blood drive, YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, or someone undertaking valuable service projects through Kiwanis, Rotary or any of the other great civic organizations.
Why do people step forward to serve? In Indiana, it is evident that people love their fellow Hoosiers and want to get involved in something bigger than themselves.
Great faiths give that gift to many, and offer it to all. The rewards are plentiful.
Recognizing these integral contributions to communities, Gov. Mitch Daniels created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) in 2005. The first of the OFBCI’s twin pillar missions is to connect faith-based organizations and nonprofits with state agencies that have opportunities to partner in meeting human needs. The second is to lift up service and volunteerism as a cultural attainment.
The OFBCI invites you to join in as we work to lift the spirit and culture of service and volunteerism. This year’s effort includes a partnership with The Polis Center’s SAVI Community Information System to host the premier event for faith-based groups and nonprofits seeking to do even greater good: the Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building.
The conference will be at the Marten House in Indianapolis, and the OFBCI encourages you to get more information available at www.savi.org/conference.
Complementing the conference, Daniels has invited his agency heads to meet directly with faith leaders from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Sikhism, as well as nonprofit leadership at his Human Needs Summit. As times are tough and budgets get tighter, especially budgets dependent on funds from Washington, we should prepare to serve together as never before. Faith groups offer something government cannot, but both state and faith have a common purpose in mitigating suffering, healing lives and helping families in need. Partnering with those already disposed to serve only makes sense.
As we look around our communities, we must recognize that there are Hoosiers in need and that some are our neighbors. Resist the temptation to look the other way by saying, ‘Someone else, like government, will take care of them.’ Get involved and serve something bigger than self. For more information, please visit in.gov/ofbci/ volunteer.
By Jim Huston
Jim Huston is the director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for the state of Indiana.
copies from the Indianapolis Star 09/29/2012, Page B03]]>
Wired magazine reported last week that public schools in Estonia are establishing a program for teaching first graders — and kids in all other grades — how to do computer programming. Wired said that the curriculum was created “because of the difficulty Estonian companies face in hiring programmers. Estonia has a burgeoning tech industry thanks in part to the success of Skype, which was developed in Estonia in 2003.”
The news from Estonia prompted The Guardian newspaper of London to publish an online poll asking its readers: “Children aged 7 to 16 are being given the opportunity to learn how to code in schools in Estonia, should U.K. school children be taught programming as part of their school day?” It’s fascinating to read about all this while visiting Shanghai, whose public school system in 2010 beat the rest of the world in math, science and reading in the global PISA exam of 15-year-olds. Will the Chinese respond by teaching programming to preschoolers?
All of this made me think Obama should stop using the phrase — first minted by Bill Clinton in 1992 — that if you just “work hard and play by the rules” you should expect that the American system will deliver you a decent life and a chance for your children to have a better one. That mantra really resonates with me and, I am sure, with many voters. There is just one problem: It’s out of date.
The truth is, if you want a decent job that will lead to a decent life today you have to work harder, regularly reinvent yourself, obtain at least some form of postsecondary education, make sure that you’re engaged in lifelong learning and play by the rules. That’s not a bumper sticker, but we terribly mislead people by saying otherwise.
Why? Because when Clinton first employed his phrase in 1992, the Internet was just emerging, virtually no one had e-mail and the cold war was just ending. In other words, we were still living in a closed system, a world of walls, which were just starting to come down. It was a world before Nafta and the full merger of globalization and the information technology revolution, a world in which unions and blue-collar manufacturing were still relatively strong, and where America could still write a lot of the rules that people played by.
That world is gone. It is now a more open system. Technology and globalization are wiping out lower-skilled jobs faster, while steadily raising the skill level required for new jobs. More than ever now, lifelong learning is the key to getting into, and staying in, the middle class.
There is a quote attributed to the futurist Alvin Toffler that captures this new reality: In the future “illiteracy will not be defined by those who cannot read and write, but by those who cannot learn and relearn.” Any form of standing still is deadly.
I covered the Republican convention, and I was impressed in watching my Times colleagues at how much their jobs have changed. Here’s what a reporter does in a typical day: report, file for the Web edition, file for The International Herald Tribune, tweet, update for the Web edition, report more, track other people’s tweets, do a Web-video spot and then write the story for the print paper. You want to be a Times reporter today? That’s your day. You have to work harder and smarter and develop new skills faster.
Van Ton-Quinlivan, the vice chancellor for work force and economic development at the California Community Colleges System, explained to me the four basic skill sets out there today. The first are people who are “ready now.” That’s people with exactly the right skills an employer is looking for at the right time. Employers will give the local labor market and schools the first chance at providing those people, but if they are not available they’ll go the “shortest distance to find them,” she said, and today that could be anywhere in the world. Companies who can’t find “ready now” will look for “ready soon,” people who, with limited training and on-the-job experience, can fit right in. If they can’t find those, some will hire “work ready.” These are people with two or four years of postsecondary education who can be trained, but companies have shrinking budgets for that now and want public schools to do it. Last are the growing legions of the “far from ready,” people who dropped out or have only a high school diploma. Their prospects for a decent job are small, even if they are ready to “work hard and play by the rules.”
Which is why if we ever get another stimulus it has to focus, in part, on getting more people more education. The unemployment rate today is 4.1 percent for people with four years of college, 6.6 percent for those with two years, 8.8 percent for high school graduates, and 12.0 percent for dropouts.
That’s why I prefer the new mantra floated by Clinton at the Democratic convention, (which Obama has tried to fund): “We have to prepare more Americans for the new jobs that are being created in a world fueled by new technology. That’s why investments in our people” — in more community colleges, Pell grants and vocational-training classes — “are more important than ever.”
Thomas Friedman is a New York Time op-ed columnist. This article was fist published on 8SEP12 and again in the IBJ on 15SEP12]]>
Obama did not simply happen to encounter a lot of people on the far left fringe during his life. As he spells out in his book, he actively sought out such people. There is no hint of the slightest curiosity on his part about other visions of the world.
As Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School has pointed out, Obama made no effort to take part in the marketplace of ideas with other faculty members when he was teaching a law course there. What would be the point, if he already knew the truth?
This would be a remarkable position to take, even for a learned scholar who had already spent decades canvassing a vast amount of information and views on many subjects. But Obama was already doctrinaire at a very early age—and ill-informed or misinformed on both history and economics.
His statement in “Dreams from My Father” about how white men went to Africa to “drag away the conquered in chains” betrays his ignorance of African history.
The era of the Atlantic slave trade and the era of European conquests across the continent of Africa were different eras. During the era of the Atlantic slave trade, most of Africa was ruled by Africans, who sold some of their slaves to white men.
European conquests in Africa had to wait until Europeans found some way to survive lethal African diseases, to which they lacked resistance. Only after medical science learned to deal with these diseases could the era of European conquests spread across sub-Saharan Africa. But the Atlantic slave trade was over by then.
There was no reason why Barack Obama had to know this. But there was also no reason for him to be shooting off his mouth without knowing what he was talking about.
When Obama wrote that many people “had been enslaved only because of the color of their skin,” he was repeating a common piece of gross misinformation. For thousands of years, people enslaved other people of the same race as themselves, whether in Europe, Asia, Africa or the Western Hemisphere.
Europeans enslaved other Europeans for centuries before the first African was brought in bondage to the Western Hemisphere. The very word “slave” is derived from the name of a European people once widely held in bondage, the Slavs.
As for economics, Obama thought that Indonesians would be worse off after Europeans came in, used up their natural resources and then left them too poor to continue the modern way of life to which they had become accustomed, or to resume their previous way of life, after their previous skills had atrophied.
This fear of European “exploitation” prevailed widely in the Third World in the middle of the 20th century. But, by the late 20th century, the falseness of that view had been demonstrated so plainly and so often, in countries around the world, that even socialist and communist governments began opening their economies to foreign investments. This often led to rising economic growth rates that lifted millions of people out of poverty.
Barack Obama is one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. When he burst upon the national political scene as a presidential candidate in 2008, even some conservatives were impressed by his confidence.
But confident ignorance is one of the most dangerous qualities in a leader of a nation. If he has the rhetorical skills to inspire the same confidence in himself by others, then you have the ingredients for national disaster.•
• Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.]]>
p>Although Carole and I have been fortunate to have crisscrossed the country a few times in our 24 years of traveling together, we have never been able to check off the Pine Tree State from our travel wish-list. We shouldn’t have waited so long. The scenery and wilderness was as beautiful as any we’ve seen AND we were able to check off another “Southport” from our list as well.
This Town of Southport encompasses a 6 sq. mi. island that juts out into the Atlantic from a rocky coast of coves and inlets. It’s usually up to ten degrees cooler here than on the mainland and this holiday was a refreshing respite from the Midwest, oven-like heat of late June. The island is connected by a small swing-bridge to the community of Boothbay Harbor and if you love lighthouses, this is the Southport is for you! The island boasts views of four of them from its seven-mile continuous perimeter drive.
A continuously thriving fishing and ship-building village, the Town first incorporated as Townshend in 1842 then changed its name to Southport in 1850. It has long maintained its local population of about 700 locals who regale those who join them to enjoy and preserve the large unspoiled and thickly wooded island. Meander past pointed firs and birches and then peer through the cattails beyond the old “salt pond” for a glimpse of the icy Sheepscot River.
We stayed in Boothbay Harbor at one of the many attractive B&B’s although there are plenty of other Inn’s, campgrounds and small resorts in the area to suit most any preference. If you’re not one for shopping or antiquing, bicycling or hiking is enjoyed by many. And if you haven’t tried a sailing excursion, Southport is a good place to try out your sea legs. During an afternoon lunch, we watched 20 or so life-jacketed youngsters learning to sail at the Southport Yacht Club in Cozy Cove. How quaint is that!
I finally learned what the real deal is about Maine lobster and clam bakes – well, at least one version of it. You really can’t drive more than a few miles without seeing a roadside stand (think Indiana sweet corn) offering seafood and shellfish. These local eateries are typically small mom & pop diners that harvest the sea and serve up their daily catch to the sightseeing travelers. A cold beer or local glass of wine at an outside picnic tables with bibbed napkins rounded out the tasty experience. We didn’t plan a “foodie” vacation but the fresh seafood was a real highlight. Did I mention that the weather was perfect?
To learn more about our travels to Southport; England, North Carolina, Connecticut, New York or Florida, stay tuned to SouthportMatters.org.]]>
Testruth’s previous appointments, Kevin Bandy and Andrew Harrison we’re told their services were no longer needed in a letter hand delivered by the mayor just before the May 2012 council meeting.
Bandy had served first as a member of the board since 2008 under former mayor Rob Thoman before being appointed in 2011 as Testruth’s Public Safety Director. Bandy’s experience included a career in public service after full-time positions with the fire department, Marion County Sheriff Department, Indianapolis Animal Care & Control, Code Enforcement, environmental protection and corporate security.
Harrison, Testruth’s second BPS appointment in 2012 also served as Security & Safety Director at Brightpoint, North America and is a subject-matter expert in local, national and international security and protection.
The BPS meets the second Saturday of each month at 10AM in the Mayor’s Office at 6901 Derbyshire Rd. This Board is a governing agency of the city specifically created to provide public safety services in Southport for residents and visitors by enforcing laws, administering regulatory programs, managing records, educating the public and managing emergencies, both directly and through interaction with other agencies.
Of course, members are expected to attend each monthly meeting prepared and ready to discuss, propose and advise on all matters of public safety for the citizens of Southport. Special meeting may be called by the mayor or by members of the PS Board should urgent matters of interest to the Board occur between meetings. Members also serve as representatives of the citizens of Southport to the Mayor and Council.
It would be helpful that have professional experience in public safety (police, fire, code enforcement, emergency services or security) but direct nor is immediate experience required. Managerial skills are also helpful but also not required. Any experience as a CEO, CFO or COO is advantageous.
Your decisions and deliberations will set the course of public safety matters in Southport and your neighborhoods. You will address constraints and resources common to all municipal department or projects but focused on fire, police, emergency management and planning.
Not only must one be capable – one must also be willing – and live in within the borders of the city. Recent incivilities in the nation, the state and yes, right here in our own small city have considerably reduced the number of capable individuals who want to step up to volunteer their time. As we rely on volunteers, we must also accept the limitations when those valued volunteers experience the inevitable conflicts with time, family and career. Ask yourself; how willing are you to volunteer your time to help your community? How willing are you to tolerate the slings, arrows and accusations – along with the occasional incivility – for $600 a month, $3 an hour or as a volunteer as you strive to assist your community?
The Ownership Conversation covered elsewhere in this blog is one that focuses on who is responsible for Southport’s future successes or failures as a healthy, thriving community. It asks, “How have I [you] contributed to creating the current reality of Southport’s decline?” I hope that we recognize that placing blame and waiting for someone else to change are defenses against ownership and personal power. Ask yourself, “Am I going to be part of the future solution or, by my inaction, allow Southport to remain mired in the problems of the past?”
Call or eMail Mayor Testruth to tell him of your concerns and interests. Tell him of you are willing to serve on the Safety Board.
This first official meeting of the Southport Redevelopment Commission (SoRDC) was opened by Mayor Testruth and handed to the Commissioners for their internal actions.
Russel McClure was quickly selected as RDC Chairman, Duane Langreck as Vice Chair, Roger Harris as Secretary and Jim Cooney as Treasurer. RDC Member Jim Keller also attended as did Councilor N Schmoll. Rob Bettcher, Larry Tunget, Mary Winslow and I followed along from the public gallery.
Regular monthly meetings were approved for the first Monday of each month. The next meeting scheduled for July 2nd at 7PM and I encourage all to attend. These are not contentious nor political meetings and the decisions by this Commission can truly affect our community.
General discussions evolved and included availability city funds, possible RDC advisors, SoRDC boundaries, possible locations of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts and whether residential areas should be included.
N Schmoll volunteered to report back to the Commission of other similar RDC’s in central Indiana and their meeting dates. It was assumed that McClure and other RDC members could attend other local RDC meetings to learn how those RDC’s function and to build a resource list RDC activities and actions.
Although little was achieved, little could be expected at this initial meeting. At least, it (the RDC) has finally started and has at its disposal so many tools that can dramatically affect the current and future health of our City.
Our current commissioners have the necessary intelligence and apparent passion to do some very good things and my hope and expectation is that they will. Valid concerns have been expressed and include a leadership gap that has yet to be bridged by either Testruth or McClure. Of particular help is Russell’s background as an urban planner. Duane too has extra skills supported by an extended observation and extended viewpoint of our community possibilities. Keller has legislative influence experience in Indiana and probably has the highest view of regional politics. Harris, as a successful and experienced southside realtor will also serve the committee well. Finally, Cooney has had awareness of the benefits of a SoRDC and understands that influence of other local stakeholders in District 1. Jim can bring information associated with Gerdt’s Furniture, the old post office and lumber company properties and particularly an expansion of SUMC.
Kudo’s to Mayor Testruth for driving support necessary to establish the SoRDC. This (so far) is his single most important accomplishment after his inauguration. This Commission cannot proceed on autopilot and considerable effort will be required if it is to avoid the path of Southport’s Main Street Committee.]]>
p align=”left”>120606 (2013) Budget Meeting:
This first meeting to address the 2013 municipal budget was called by Mayor Testruth and properly published through posting of an official notice on the city bulletin board at 6901 Derbyshire Rd. Remarkably, the meeting was not posted on the city’s website.
I can’t remember an organizational meeting like this one that has occurred in Southport over many, many years and believe it is the first of its kind. As presented, it was short but quite informational and set a good tone for future meetings of this nature. It was attended by the Mayor, Clerk-Treasurer (CT) Bossingham, councilors N Schmoll, J Cooney & L Tunget; Police Chief Ellison, RDC Member D Langreck; Public Works Member R Bettcher and Park Board Member C Thoman; only one member of the public (me).
The informational meeting was driven by CT Bossingham and offered in a professional, sincere and engaging manner. An IACT (Indiana Association of Cities and Towns) Power Point presentation (see Just Got Back: IACT Clerk-Treasurers School 30MAY12) was offered to all at the table. Diane appeared to be quite knowledgeable during this superficial review and explained that she was available for any questions. Agenda topics included budgeting theory, budget vocabulary, foundational knowledge, the budget process & calendar and best practices. She also announced a scheduled meeting in early July with Indiana’s Department of Local Government and Finance (DLGF) for one-on-one assistance.
Included in her presentation were definitions of initial appropriations, intra-fund and inter-fund transfers and additional appropriations. General descriptions of the Rainy Day Fund, General (GEN) Fund, Motor Vehicle and Highway (MVH) Fund, Local Roads & Street (LRF) Fund and the Park, Recreation and Events (PRE) Fund were offered.
Also included were descriptions and processes to accomplish of salary ordinances, grant appropriations, cumulative funds and levy appeals. Very brief discussions included the Anniston Drive Improvement Project (ADIP) and the Highway Safety Improvement Project (HSIP).
Bossingham finally presented a skeletal view of the budget process as outlined by IACT and the Indiana League of Municipal Clerk-Treasurers (ILMCT). Many common myths and misperceptions of the municipal budget process were discussed.
Each participant was attentive, some genuinely curious and a few asked pertinent questions. Ellison asked about the propriety of fund transfers, Langreck inquired about the Rainy Day Fund, its potential uses and C Thoman wanted to learn more about past Park Fund expenses. Some in attendance were curiously quiet.
Testruth seemed to expect city departments and boards to build their own budgets, and that’s a good thing. Although such meetings occurred to me, I never quite got around to this good idea. I wish I had used this method and commend Testruth for his approach. It’s good to have this first meeting so early in the annual process.]]>