Caroline Casey: Looking past limits

Activist Caroline Casey tells the story of her extraordinary life, starting with a revelation (no spoilers). In a talk that challenges perceptions, Casey asks us all to move beyond the limits we may think we have.

via Caroline Casey: Looking past limits – YouTube.

The Mindset List: 2016

Beloit College in Wisconsin posted this on their blog; a ‘paradigm inventory’ of what the college class of 2016 really is about:

This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree. They have never needed an actual airline “ticket,” a set of bound encyclopedias, or Romper Room. Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1994, are probably the most tribal generation in history and they despise being separated from contact with friends. They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives, and can carry school books–those that are not on their e-Readers–in backpacks that roll.

The class of 2016 was born the year of the professional baseball strike and the last year for NFL football in Los Angeles. They have spent much of their lives helping their parents understand that you don’t take pictures on “film” and that CDs and DVDs are not “tapes.” Those parents have been able to review the crime statistics for the colleges their children have applied to and then pop an Aleve as needed. In these students’ lifetimes, with MP3 players and iPods, they seldom listen to the car radio. A quarter of the entering students already have suffered some hearing loss. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride, authors of The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal (John Wiley and Sons), it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. It quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation. Mindset List websites at and, as well as the Mediasite webcast and their Facebook page receive more than a million visits annually.

For those who cannot comprehend that it has been 18 years since this year’s entering college students were born, they should recognize that the next four years will go even faster, confirming the authors’ belief that “generation gaps have always needed glue.” Get the list here: The Mindset List: 2016 List.

College students spending less time studying [but it costs more!]

Parents [and students] ponder this:

Over the past half-century, the amount of time college students actually study – read, write, and otherwise prepare for class – has dwindled from 24 hours a week to about 15, survey data show.

And that invites a question: Has college become too easy?

Ashley Dixon, a sophomore at George Mason University, anticipated more work in college than in high school. Instead, she has less. In a typical week, Dixon spends 18 hours in classes and another 12 in study. All told, college course work occupies 30 hours of her week. Dixon is a full-time student, but college, for her, is a part-time job.

“I was expecting it to be a lot harder,’’ said Dixon, 20. “I thought I was going to be miserable, trying to get good grades. And I do get good grades, and I’m not working very hard.’’

Declining study time is a discomfiting truth about the vaunted US higher-education system. The trend is generating debate over how much students really learn, even as colleges raise tuition every year.

Some critics say colleges and their students have grown lazy. Today’s collegiate culture, they say, rewards students with high grades for minimal effort and distracts them with athletics, clubs, and climbing walls on campuses that increasingly resemble resorts.

Academic leaders counter that students are as busy as ever but that their attention is consumed in part by jobs they take to help make ends meet.” Get more here: College students spending less time studying – Nation – The Boston Globe.

Now, consider this:

Why It Doesn’t Matter What People Think

One of the hardest aspects of making positive changes in your life is dealing with other people. Mainly your family, friends, and colleagues who believe that, because they’re in your life, they have a say in what you do and that their opinion should always be considered.

But when it comes to YOU and YOUR life, YOU are the only person whose opinion matters.

If you make the choice to create positive changes, FOR YOURSELF, that is all that matters. You don’t need anyone’s approval, validation, or support, and most of the time, you really should avoid it.” Get more here: Why It Doesn’t Matter What People Think « Positively Positive.

Open Your Mind… or you may miss something

Open Mind (album)

Kristin Barton Cuthriell writes:

Often, people come into counseling because something in their lives is not working for them. They may be depressed. They may have anxiety. Their marriage may be falling apart. Maybe they have been grieving old wounds for years, and they just can’t find joy in life. Teenagers may be rebelling. People feel stuck in dead-end jobs. Addictions are impacting the family. People have lost the ability to let life in.

People want help. They want to feel better. Some, come in with an open mind and are ready to look at things in new ways; do things in new ways. They are ready to change. Others, however, resist change, no matter how bad they feel. They continue to do the same thing over and over again, bringing them the same undesirable results.

We are creatures of habit. We often resist change and stay with the status quo no matter how miserable we feel. We avoid doing something different.

We must stop and think about what we are doing. We must ask ourselves if what we are doing is working for us. We need to remember that if we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten.

Let go of always being right.

Let go of thinking that there is only one way to do something.

If it is not working for you, try something different.

Be open to suggestions.

Open your mind… or you may miss something.” via Open Your Mind… or you may miss something.

One of the tools I use to keep my mind open is this quote: Nietszche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” I agree with Kristin! Let go of always being right — it’s a terrible burden to bear and you’ll feel much better when you put it down… :-D

The 10 Best (Worst) Political Ads Of The Year

Campaigns, super PACs, and everyone else have churned out ads by the minute this election cycle. Here are some of the strangest.

Jeff Barth: “Why Jeff Barth For Congress?”

Despite this nearly five-minute opus, Barth did not win his primary race to take on Republican Kristi Noem for South Dakota’s lone congressional seat.

Herman Cain: “Now is the time for action!”

The Mark Block smoking ad.

Roland Sledge: “Electric Fences”

In an unusual ad featuring a man urinating on an electric fence, Sledge lays out his pitch to become Texas’ Railroad Commissioner.

Ron Gould: “Straight Shooter”

Gould, a candidate for Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, shot Obamacare to bits in his ad.

View Entire List › via The 10 Best (Worst) Political Ads Of The Year.

Congress votes for independence; This Day in History — 7/2/1776

Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jeffe...
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of independence (1776) were all of British descent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress, assembled in Philadelphia, formally adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.

The resolution had originally been presented to Congress on June 7, but it soon became clear that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina were as yet unwilling to declare independence, though they would likely be ready to vote in favor of a break with England in due course. Thus, Congress agreed to delay the vote on Lees Resolution until July 1. In the intervening period, Congress appointed a committee to draft a formal declaration of independence. Its members were John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, well-known to be the best writer of the group, was selected to be the primary author of the document, which was presented to Congress for review on June 28, 1776.

On July 1, 1776, debate on the Lee Resolution resumed as planned, with a majority of the delegates favoring the resolution. Congress thought it of the utmost importance that independence be unanimously proclaimed. To ensure this, they delayed the final vote until July 2, when 12 colonial delegations voted in favor of it, with the New York delegates abstaining, unsure of how their constituents would wish them to vote. John Adams wrote that July 2 would be celebrated as the most memorable epoch in the history of America. Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jeffersons edited Declaration of Independence was adopted.” via Congress votes for independence — This Day in History — 7/2/1776.

How Do You Relate to a Gay Family Member?

This is a tough issue for me brought on by an upcoming event in our family. My gay brother-in-law is getting joined in a civil union — sorry, but I can’t quite bring myself to use the word ‘married’ yet — and we have been invited to the reception, not the ceremony. I have mixed feelings about this event;  I don’t know if I can really ‘celebrate’ it but I’m thinking about going to support my wife. In the past, I would have refused to attend on principle but as a recovering conservative Christianliving in the gray‘ I am considering input from all sides. Recently, John Piper posted this Christian conservative perspective on relating to gay family members…

Is there hope for a relationship with a family member who is not a believer and is in a same-sex relationship, and who knows your Christian position?

Yes. One story went like this. An adult sister-in-law was in a lesbian relationship and would bring her partner to all the wider family functions when she was invited. She knew her brother-in-law’s position. Not only was she sinning to be involved sexually this way, but her very soul was in danger of eternal judgment if she did not repent. She knew that’s what he thought.

At first she was very angry and, no matter how kind or gracious or caring the Christian couple tried to be, this sister-in-law saw them as homophobic and bigoted. She assumed she was not loved and let that define the relationship.

Then one day the brother-in-law asked her: Are you able to love me in spite of my views that you think are so wrong? Yes, she said. Then, why, he asked, will you not give us the same courtesy and assume that we might be able to love you in spite of your wrong views?

Remarkably, this actually made a difference. She apologized for pushing them away, and for assuming they could not love while disapproving of her ways.

Perhaps this might help others open the hearts of relatives to their genuine care.” via How Do You Relate to a Gay Family Member? – Desiring God.

‘Living in the gray’ is a new experience for me prompted by meditation on the word ‘right’. Nietszche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.I’ve had to let go of a lot of the need to be right in my life and I think have made great progress, but I have to admit there are some things about what Piper says that resonate with me and I’m wondering for myself what is ‘right’ in this situation as a Christian, an American and as a person ‘related’ to another person by marriage…

First of all, I have a problem with any person, community or group that demands tolerance but does not grant it in return and I believe respect for diversity should include respect for Christians, too. 16 years ago at my son’s baptism, my brother-in-law told my wife that he wanted to kill my infant son so that he wouldn’t grow up as a Christian Conservative like us. Something like that is hard to forget. Amends were not made, but forgiveness was given on our side. We have affirmed our love for him despite his cruel remark and his sexual orientation but I don’t feel we receive the same courtesy; or I don’t anyway — I shouldn’t speak for my wife…

On a broader level, I don’t know how I feel about civil unions as an American citizen or if I should just ‘get over it’. The human rights campaign says this about DOMA — the Defense of Marriage Act passed under the Clinton Administration:

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law.  This law discriminates in two important ways.  First, Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples.  Second, Section 3 of the law carves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations, and rulings applicable to all other married people—thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections. ” via Respect for Marriage Act | Human Rights Campaign.

The Wikipedia says

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Pub.L. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419, enacted September 21, 1996, 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C) is a United States federal law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Under the law, no U.S. state or political subdivision is required to recognize a same-sex marriage treated as a marriage in another state. Section 3 of DOMA codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriage for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Clinton and key legislators have changed their views and advocated DOMA’s repeal. The Obama administration announced in 2011 that it had determined that Section 3 was unconstitutional and, though it would continue to enforce the law, it would no longer defend it in court. In response, the House of Representatives undertook the defense of the law on behalf of the federal government in place of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Section 3 of the DOMA has been found unconstitutional in a California bankruptcy case, a California class action suit on the part of public employees, several federal district court judges in three circuit court jurisdictions, and by a unanimous United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit three-judge panel.” via Defense of Marriage Act – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I wanted to get Focus on the Family’s perspective on DOMA, but the results have been skewed by anti-DOMA bloggers touting Senator Al Franken’s ‘demolition’ of their perspective. More of the anti-tolerance I referred to in ‘first of all’? The ultra-conservative Christian website Stand up for the Truth! frames the debate this way:

President Obama has opened up an issue that will divide the church in this nation—and for that I thank him.  For too long many Christian leaders and individuals have been able to tap dance around the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.  We must use this opportunity to find out where our church leaders stand on this issue and then act accordingly.

God provides us choices.  He has given us free will to choose the paths for our lives.  I believe He is now allowing a choice that will define the future of American Christianity, giving it a choice to return to Him, or fall deep into apostasy.  The sheep are being separated from the goats.  Quite frankly I am excited that this issue is now front and center.  Hopefully, once and for all, Christian leaders will have to take a stand—a stand that will clearly define what they believe about the Word of God.  Insist that your pastor and church leadership make a clear, concise statement on this issue and how we as Christians should interact with the homosexual community.

If you think we can just stick our heads in the sand and sit this battle out, you are in for a rude awakening.  The battle is on us if we wish it or not—and how we react as Christians will say a lot.” via Gay Marriage: Seperating the Sheep From the Goats | Stand Up for the Truth.

My jury is still out and I’m looking for input. I’m going to forward this post to a couple of people whose opinions I respect and ask them to weigh in in the comments below. You, of course, are welcome to do the same…

Here’s What You Can Do!

Terri Cole has an amazing post over at The Daily Love today. She writes:

Are you wasting your energy, youth and beauty focusing on things you cannot change? Thinking too much about situations where you have no control or experiences that have already happened? Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in what’s happening in the world and political systems, in what the neighbors are doing and in the mistakes we’ve made, that we lose focus on what we CAN DO right here, right now to help make our lives and those around us better.

Focusing on that over which you have no control (the past, the state of the world and the drama of other people’s lives… to name a few) is a common cause of stress. This type of thinking makes us feel powerless, leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression, which are all key players in the game of stress. I could go on and on about the myriad of the side effects from stress, but you can check them out for yourself while we focus on what you CAN DO to switch your thinking from what you should have done to what you will do now.

This week, I want to challenge you to pay attention to what thoughts are taking up real estate in your mind. When you are ruminating about people and situations over which you have no control, jot down a quick line about the issue at hand. Over the course of the week, what patterns are you discovering? What is the content of your predominant thoughts? How do they make you feel?

Now make a plan to Do Something. If it’s politics that sets you into a tailspin, volunteer for a political campaign, get to know the issues, VOTE. If it’s an ethical or world issue (e.g. animal welfare, bullying, the environment, researching/living with/preventing/curing a particular disease), volunteer for an organization focusing on that particular agenda.

Now, to the biggie…. How often are you ruminating about the past? When you find yourself living anywhere but in the present moment, ask yourself why you are still holding onto the past incident or regret. Try to break down what really happened. Once you have established the facts around the scenario, dial into what you are meant to learn from the experience and use that information to inform your decisions now.

Remaining in a state of frustrated helplessness takes a toll – physically and emotionally. You can relieve stress and feel more empowered by getting into action. Being part of the solution, instead of stressing about the problem, will contribute to your ability to build a more peaceful and productive life. You have the power to change your life and your perspective. Do not give that power to politicians, lawmakers, your neighbors or anyone else. Most of these people you do not even know, so why be dominated by their choices? And the ones you do know most likely do not want to have power over your thoughts and feelings. Keep your side of the street clean and use your special talents to make life better. Interestingly enough, you will make others’ better in the process.

Share your thoughts and comments with us. Let’s start a rich dialogue with the focus on what is possible rather than what is wrong. I am curious to see what changes you notice physically and mentally when you become aware of your thoughts and flip the script.

I hope you have a meaningful week, filled with positive action, and, as always, take care of you.

Source: Here’s What You Can Do!

Financial Statistics That’ll Shock You

Visual Loop via Financial Statistics That’ll Shock You.

…on Taxes

The New Yorker – Cartoon of the day. For more from this week’s….

Photo of the Year?

Photo of the Year Candidate – By Kathryn Jean Lopez – The Corner – National Review Online.

4 Predictions for the Future of Politics and Social Media

Show me a modern political candidate who doesn’t understand television, and I’ll show you a loser.When TV became the dominant medium for Americans to consume news and entertainment, political candidates could no longer be successful without looking polished in televised debates, appearing on talk shows and spending big on commercials.Like the television boom of the 1960s, we are standing on the precipice of a big shift in how public figures are perceived and how campaigns are conducted. Our frontier is social media, and its impact on mainstream political culture is coming on fast.While my colleagues have been making their predictions about what’s on the tech and social media horizon in 2011, there will be no major U.S. elections next year. Here, we’ll be postulating about social media’s impact on the more long-term future of American civics.

You can read the rest of the article here if you’d like: 4 Predictions for the Future of Politics and Social Media.

How media is changing politics [or vice versa]

“If you want to get elected in the US, you need media.

When TV was king, the secret to media was money. If you have money, you can reach the masses. The best way to get money is to make powerful interests happy, so they’ll give you money you can use to reach the masses and get re-elected.

Now, though…When attention is scarce and there are many choices, media costs something other than money. It costs interesting. If you are angry or remarkable or an outlier, you’re interesting, and your idea can spread. People who are dull and merely aligned with powerful interests have a harder time earning attention, because money isn’t sufficient.

Thus, as media moves from TV-driven to attention-driven, we’re going to see more outliers, more renegades and more angry people driving agendas and getting elected. I figure this will continue until other voices earn enough permission from the electorate to coordinate getting out the vote, communicating through private channels like email and creating tribes of people to spread the word. (And they need to learn not to waste this permission hassling their supporters for money).

Mass media is dying, and it appears that mass politicians are endangered as well.” Source: Seth’s Blog: How media changes politics

While this wisdom make take decades to reach Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District, Seth Godin gets it…

Campaigns not buying social media

This is an alternate crop of an image already ...
Image via Wikipedia

How effective new media can be for candidates looking to convert an online presence to a victory on Election Day, however, is still a subject for debate.

Some believe that while effective Twitter or Facebook accounts can make candidates more approachable, they also can make politicians into more polarizing figures.

The prime example discussed at the event, titled “Going Viral: How Campaigns Are Using Social Media,” was Sarah Palin, who has the ability to drive a news cycle with a 140-character tweet or drive a policy conversation by tapping out a Facebook note, as she did last year when she wrote of “death panels” during the debate over health care reform.

By tweeting, Palin — who often gets taken to task by the media for making errors in her casual notes to followers — is able to preserve and build support from fans who care more about her approachability than her accuracy. Just last week, Palin accidentally tweeted that John Raese was from Pennslyvania, when he actually is running for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia.

“She’s definitely more likely to be the Republican nominee for president but less likely to actually be president,” said Matthew Hindman, GW assistant professor of media and public affairs.

Read more here:

400 posts redux; Lesson #1

Image representing Alexa as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

This is the first post in what I anticipate will be a 7 part series…

11 months ago, I posted this introspective piece on the results I was getting from blogging…

Yesterday, I passed the 400 post mark. 400 posts over 18 months. Wow! Roughly a post a day for a year and a half. Is that a lot? Is that too little? I really don’t know. What I do know is this — when I use my ‘pass or play’ methodology, traffic to my site increases and my ‘pipeline’ fills…

My good friend [and brother in law] Jim Gilligan has a blog that he’s starting for his life coaching business at EffectiveLiving, LLC. Jim asked me how many posts he should create before he goes ‘live’. I told him a dozen or so is enough to get started but recently I did an experiment and I believe the number at which you start to see good results is closer to 100 over a 3 month period. Here’s a real world case study…

I had neglected my business blog for a little over a year — my passion was politics and I was attempting to leverage my social media skills in the political space. My political blog was ranked most influential in Wisconsin a dozen times earlier this year and my Alexa ranking rose to within the top million sites in the world, but it didn’t get me what I wanted. More business. One year ago today, my business blog, however, had only served up 147 page views for the month. The whole month. Two weeks ago, I got 233 pageviews in a single day and my traffic so far this month is 11 times greater than a year ago [and the month’s not even finished yet]. By the way, the Alexa rank on my blog is currently 338,142. [That was in the US at the time — now my rank is 341,593 global. ed.]. All this as a result of 100 posts over a 3 month period. Pretty good return on investment, I think.

Yesterday, I passed 2,400 posts — 2,000 additional posts — in less than 11 months. What do I think I’ve learned? Here are some more or less random observations…

1. Blogging is the best, fastest, least expensive way to establish a thought leadership position. Period.

The key to thought leadership is having a point of view that is ‘searchable, findable, knowable and shareable‘ as I say in my seminars. There is not better way to do that then frequent reiteration of that point of view on the internet. If you use the right set of tools, it’s easy and fun to do as well…You can read my posts on blogging here, but two of the best I posted within the past week; read ‘Why I blog’ and ‘Confessions of a really new blogger‘ for two different perspectives on why blogging rocks. It is helpful, however, if you have a simple, repeatable process so that you don’t burn out…

There are 6 more lessons that I’ll roll out over the course of the next week or so; be sure to collect all 7…

I love to see my customers succeed…

wvwatchdogKudos to Steven Allen Adams who was recently named the top political blogger in the State of West Virginia by the Washington post…

“Who is the best political reporter in the Mountain State? That would be Steven Allen Adams, of West Virginia Watchdog, according to a Washington Post Top-50 list. We would like to congratulate Steve on a job well done.

“I’m am humbled to be chosen by the Washington Post for this honor,” said Adams. “West Virginia Watchdog is only two-weeks old, so that fact that someone has taken the time to nominate our website and my writing tells me that we’re doing something right. Now I must work to live up to the honor bestowed upon me.”” Source: Washington Post Names West Virginia Watchdog State’s Best Political Reporter

Steven’s West Virginia Watchdog site is proudly powered by e1evation, llc! Special thanks to my team of Heather and Jesse who did all the heavy lifting…

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