Barack Obama and Jill Biden at the Convention


“‘Bye baby,” a mischievous Emmett “Bobo” Till tossed out to the  pretty white woman as he left her family’s small-time grocery store—and then, full of the bravado a fourteen-year-old knows when surrounded by a dozen friends egging hRead full post »

APRIL 28, 2011 9:30PM

How To Raise National Merit Scholars

1. Marry a smart man. (If it is too late for this, then have an affair with a smart man who looks just like your husband).

2. Don’t make your kids join activities they don’t care about, like swim team and Leadership Club, which will take up allRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 12, 2011 9:58PM

Will Virginia Stay in the Union?

va gazette date
Sister Mary Paschal was a rogue. An energetic seventy-something nun,  she ran her early middle school classroom like a laboratory, in stark contrast to the mean and military Mrs. Smolen of the year before. We worked in groups before it was fashionable and made messes and… Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 22, 2011 7:02AM

Winter Interest

Every new gardener enters the universe of flora in the same way: through a narrow path of conspicuous performers. We fall in love with the profusion of color, bright and long-lasting, that annuals provide, and we cover every bare spot with blazing flats of oranges and purples and hot pinks. ThenRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 12:27PM

How We Learn

school bus

We learn what we think about.

Learning is the same thing as thinking (about something) and then remembering (it).

Learning = Thinking + Remembering

The remembering part happens automatically if we spend enough energy on the thinking part. That is, if weRead full post »

JULY 29, 2010 11:53AM

Forbidden Fruit

  blueberries 2

I spent our whole drive to Sunnyside Orchard warning the kids to behave. My own three boys knew all about the cranky old lady behind the counter of the dusty country store, but their friends had never picked blueberries with us and had no idea how withering was theRead full post »

JULY 7, 2010 3:09PM


I am helpless as my Sister wrestles with a Personal Problem. Uncertainty and Pain hover closely, but they can’t quite close out her Shining Grace as she manages the struggle. Her humility and insight move my mind: I change. I want to share my newfound wisdom but can’t for the impactRead full post »

MAY 16, 2010 3:27PM

I Love These Twelve Movies!

Somebody or other seems to have called for our Top Twelve movies. Better late than never! In alphabetical order:


    I don’t know why this movie mesmerizes me. It’s on TV all the time, but I find that if I run into it I have to watch/Read full post »

      My husband and son snuck away to Spring Training this year, shedding their work and school responsibilities along with the dreary March weather of Cleveland, Ohio. Their destination? Sunny Arizona, home of the Cactus League’s nine ballparks where fifteen Major LeaRead full post »


 Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas seems to be under the impression that he achieved his place on the highest judicial body of the United States for reasons having nothing to do with his being black.  Either that or he thinks one set of rules applies to him and another app/Read full post »

MARCH 27, 2010 2:49AM

Lainey's 10 Most Influential Books

OK, y'all talked me into it.  (silkstone's open call)

 These influenced me for various reasons. They are not necessarily my favorites, but they moved me in some way so as to shape who I am today. They are in the order in which I read them.

1. An unremarkable biography… Read full post »

MARCH 16, 2010 7:29PM

Lincoln and Leprechauns

            I wanted to model reading for pleasure. Though this may sound like a scam—getting paid for enjoying a good novel—it’s rather an excellent classroom practice. Library, educational, pediatric, and parenting organizatioRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 29, 2010 10:25AM

On Self-Deception, or Being Ted Haggard


 By November of 2006 Ted Haggard was at his professional peak:  pastor of the humongous New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization of 45,000 churches whose mission is to consolidate the influence of American/Read full post »

  Obama calendar

I’m not a groupie—never have been. I wondered what was wrong with me in high school when friends plastered their bedroom walls with Teen Beat covers of Leif Garrett or screamed their passion for Billy Joel from front-row seats at his concerts. It’s not that I’mRead full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2009 2:20PM

(Invisible Women)

The grievous thrumming in my head sounds like MasterCard’s punch line: Priceless. You know the commercial; it starts with a recitation of expenditures and ends with some heartwarming finding about human relationship, overlaid with that word, “Priceless.”

Except my private punch liRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 26, 2009 7:54PM

Police and Protesters: G-20 Original Video

 This is the fourth of a series of G-20 Summit posts. Here are the firstsecond, and third.

 Here is some original footage of the police and protesters in Pittsburgh. Please decide for yourselves what the atmosphere was like. 

1. The police video was taken in on… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 26, 2009 3:35AM

The G-20 in Retrospect: A Balanced View

          After hoofing it in Pittsburgh for three days, these exhausted reporters (my sister and I) don't feel like writing a post. So we're just dumping our pictures and videos here for you to judge for yourselves. We're big proponents of independent thinking. :)

~&nbs… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009 2:06PM

David and Goliath at the G-20 - updated

Update: Luke Rudkowski, the boy with the bullhorn, was arrested Friday night for failure to disperse. He spent the night in jail.  

 Second Update: See bottom of this post for embedded video from wearchange.org for footage of events leading to Luke's arrest.


bullhorn protester 

 … Read full post »


          Clean energy and green jobs were the themes Wednesday at the rally in Pittsburgh on the eve of the G-20 Summit, the annual meeting of the Group of Twenty world leaders, finance ministers and central bankers. Crackpots were nowhere to be foun… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 8:22PM

Thinky Thoughts

 1. Do other people get a momentary panic when sliding a credit card through the machine at a self-service gas pump, because it says “Slide your card quickly”? I’m always just a little paranoid that IRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2009 10:26PM

Why Didn't the Republicans Stand Up?


When Obama spoke against the disinformation about health care reform, he was particularly vociferous about the bogus claim that there are "panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens." He charged that it was both cynical and irresponsible and, finally, "a lie, plain and si… Read full post »

Our local school system is grappling with the "Obama speech problem," suggesting that perhaps they'll require permission slips for elementary students and leave middle and high school decisions up to the individual teachers. Amidst the droves of crazies in my town who are already storming around… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 9, 2009 10:05PM

A Teenager's Take on Who Owns the News

OK, in a nutshell:

     Connie Shultz, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist (and lovely wife of Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown), wrote about trying to protect newspapers' rights to their reporting. She and a publishing attorney, with the help

Read full post »
APRIL 23, 2009 8:57PM

On Kit Kats and School Bullies

kit kat

 Miss Harp’s kindergarten was full of impulsive boys. As we sat in Morning Meeting going over the weather and calendar, Eduard was in and out of my lap several times, John was turning the globe, Michael was showing off his LeBron James jumps, and Byron had wandered completely out o… Read full post »

     I want to know where I’ve been.

     Yes, yes, I’ve married a fine man,[1] raised three boys, taught English, campaigned for Obama, worked hard in a rigorous graduate program for a degree I’ll likely not benefit from financially, and… Read full post »