#363 – Dick Bernard: The Tyranny of "Circles"

Back in the 1990s I participated in a workshop in which one of the activities was to identify the “circles” of which I was a part. It was surprising to learn how many circles, and thus associations, I really had. These circles would include groups like “family”, “church”, “work”, “political party” and on and on […]

#362 – Dick Bernard: The Challenge of Change, and "Spin"

Back in the 1970s, when overhead projectors were the way of conveying information, and handouts were the takeaway record from attending a meeting, I once attended a meeting where the below handout left, and stuck, with me. (Click on it to enlarge.) The premise of the handout is very simple and timeless: change is not […]

#361 – Dick Bernard: Atlas Shrugged Part I

I went to Atlas Shrugged on Monday afternoon at a local theatre. My only certain prediction: Part III of this apparent three part made-for-the-theater movie will be released just in time to attempt to influence the 2012 election. This is a hard-edged propaganda film. It is pretty hard to make ruthless Capitalist Captains of Industry […]

#360 – Dick Bernard: Returning to the Eighth Grade

April 15 we were invited to an event at Friendly Hills Middle School in Mendota Heights MN. “Telling the Story of WWII and the Holocaust” was the event: “An Interdisciplinary Project between Language Arts & Social Studies” involving eighth graders in five classes at the school, each of whom had worked on a particular project […]

#359 – Dick Bernard: Teachers and Teaching – searching for "truth"

April 11, 2011, found me in a hotel near Bernalillo NM. The hotel offered complimentary newspapers, and as I usually do I picked up the local paper, in this case the Albuquerque Journal. Front page, front and center, was a “Beyond the Classroom” story about teacher Kathleen Cox, and her 12 year old student, Elizabeth, […]

#358 – Dick Bernard: Averting a shutdown. A tiny bit of optimism.

April 7 I was at committee meeting unrelated to politics or political parties, and my colleague sitting next to me showed me a book he was reading, which he felt was a must-read for anyone interested in politics. The book: “Winner Take All Politics” by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. I have yet to pick […]

#357 – Dick Bernard: Lurching towards catastrophe

My opinion: some kind of agreement will be cobbled together to avoid a partial government shutdown tomorrow. That won’t solve the problem, only delay what seems inevitable: the gradual but inexorable slide of the U.S. to at minimum mediocrity. As a society we are “doing stupid”, as a Forrest Gump might say. You don’t translate […]

#356 – Dick Bernard: Bottineau Jig, Untold Tales of Early Minnesota

Two sold-out performances of Bottineau Jig, Untold Tales of Early Minnesota, attested to the interest in Dance Revels Moving History’s interpretation of the life and times of legendary Pierre Bottineau. The program was performed at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, Friday and Saturday evening, April 1 and 2. The production was a creation of Jane Peck […]

#355 – Dick Bernard: The Public "Lambs to the Slaughter"

Today’s Wall Street Journal had a very clear front page headline (click on photos to enlarge them). The essentials are easily read: “Medicare”; “under the age of 55”; “cut government spending”…. The aim, of course, is not at all to “cut spending”. Rather, it is to cut government control of that spending, so as to […]

#354 – Dick Bernard: In support of a Lobbyist (and scarcely anyone else)

In the previous days post, I related the apparently close professional relationship between a lobbyist and a legislator. The post brought a couple of angry responses via personal e-mail. In not terribly delicate terms, one demanded to know the name of the lobbyist; the other described the behavior of the two parties to the conversation […]