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Do something

“If you’re just talking, you’re whining,” Teddy Roosevelt once said. A great quote. I read it somewhere and wrote it down. But, according to Google, Teddy Roosevelt didn’t say it. Also, according to Google, Teddy Roosevelt did not say: “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.” –Joy

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Welcome autumn

In his book Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury writes, “And, then, quite suddenly, summer was over.” Douglas, one of the boys in the book, remembers: “June dawns, July noons, August evenings over, finished, done and gone forever with only the sense of it all left here in his head.” I remember moments of summer, but I […]

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Good-bye summer

It’s almost autumn. I hope you have had a summer like the one Ray Bradbury describes in his book Dandelion Wine. A summer “where flowers were suns and fiery spots of sky strewn through the woodland. Birds flickered like skipping stones across the vast inverted pond of heaven.” I hope you’ve had a summer with […]

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What we do today

One in three women across the country cannot get abortion care in their state, according to Planned Parenthood. “The rights we have over the next 20 years will be determined by what we do today,” says Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood. “This is the fight we must have.”

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Banning books

Why are books banned? “To foment anxiety and anger with the goal of suppressing free expression in public education,” concludes PEN America, a nonprofit that works to defend and celebrate free expression. “The freedom to read, learn and think continues to be undermined for students.” I read about “restricted reading” in the fall 2023 issue […]

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Women should be quiet

Women, of course, often have not enjoyed anything close to equality, reports Elizabeth Wayland Barber in her book Women’s Work—The First 20,000 Years. Socrates, Barber writes, once asked an Athenian gentleman named Isomachos if he had trained his 14-year-old bride. Yes, the gentleman replied, because the girl was of “good breeding,” and she had spent […]

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Do something!

Catherine Burks-Brooks was 21 in 1961 when she joined a group of Black and white activists riding a bus through the segregated South. At 11, the Black girl had refused to step out of the way to let white pedestrians pass on the sidewalk. As a teenager, she once threw “Colored” sign off a city […]

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White supremacy

Edward Alfred Pollard wrote a book called The Lost Cause Regained in 1868. In his book, he argued: Slavery was lost, but white supremacy could endure if the white South held fast to its commitment to a racial hierarchy. I read about Pollard in Meacham’s book about Abraham Lincoln–And There Was Light. –Joy

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Changing your mind?

Once, when someone accused Abraham Lincoln of changing his mind, Lincoln replied, “Yes, I have, and I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.”

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Goodness is possible

Americans sometimes fall short of their ideals, concludes John Meacham in this book Abraham Lincoln–And There Was Light. “It is a fact of American history that we are not always good, but that goodness is possible. Not universal, not ubiquitous, not inevitable—but possible.”

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