Monday, October 24, 2005

Crashes & School Boards

My apologies for being slow to update. I've been catching up on the posts (thank you lots!!!! to you who keep the dialogue going!).

This morning I was in a car accident. Waiting to merge onto a busy highway, I was rear-ended by a gentleman who probably had other goals for his commute. In that string of unconscious calculations one makes while driving, he saw the traffic opening up, my brakelights go off -- and assumed I was accelerating. So he stepped on the gas. Smack. Because I was only inching forward, getting ready to punch the pedal of our 10-year old Corolla, which is more turtle than hare. I know its limits.

So now I hurt. My head throbs. My back is stiff (thank goodness for insurance). The gentleman and I exchanged numbers, inspected bumpers, called our agents. Chalk it up to the price of driving.

It occurred to me that some of the blips on this blog are similar. Bumpers get dented, but no one is seriously injured. Let's hope so, anyway. We can chalk it up to the price of talking.

TOPIC TWO: Yesterday I heard from two ex OALC members who are concerned because of the school board elections in Battle Ground. Apparently there are two candidates from the OALC who are on the November ballot. One source said that they were handpicked by the preachers.

This astounded me, because I've never known the OALC to get involved politically. Can they, legally? Don't they risk losing their tax-exempt status?

In any case, someone needs to tell the voters that the candidates' church actively preaches against (and prohibits for their own children) music, athletics and art, all programs funded by the district. The candidates should share with the voters just what they intend to do when conflicts arise between their personal beliefs and the boards' commitment to serve all the children of BG.

Weigh in, please.

(Just remember to buckle up first.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kalevala: Dream of the Salmon Maiden

Today while baking cookies with my daugher and her friend (small, noisy princesses in tulle and taffeta), I popped in a new CD, borrowed from the library. The girls dropped their icing spoons, ran into the dining room and began to dance. It was a sight. They begged me to play the first track over and over again. It is called "Salmon Dance" bt Ruth MacKenzie. Follow the link above to learn more about her and to hear some music clips.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Secretly Sami

A reader recently provided this link (above) to an essay by James Kurtti, who reports that many Finns have Sami blood.

I'm looking forward to seeing this exhibit:
The Sami Reindeer People of Alaska
Friday, Oct. 7, 2005 to Sunday, Nov. 13, 2005
Nordic Museum, Seattle


This traveling exhibit honors the Sami reindeer herders who came from Norway in 1894 and 1898 to teach reindeer herding subsistence skills to the Yup’ik and Inupiaq Peoples of Alaska at the bidding of the United States Government. Included are items such as a Sami Lavvu (traditional tent), vintage photographs of herders, Sami tools, household items, men’s and women’s hats, and writings documenting the arrival of the herders, settlements and the Reindeer Act. This exhibition is coordinated by the Saami Baiki Foundation with guidance from other experts.


Some of the reindeer who were shipped to Seattle (en route to Alaska) met their end in Woodland Park, where our zoo is now located.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Morality

Lively discussion lately! (Thanks for keeping it civil.) What accounts for our differences in determining what is ethical?

According to psychologist Carol Gilligan, women and men process moral decisions differently, with women reasoning from an ethos of care, and men from an ethos of justice. Some folks think that ethnic groups and even nations can be similarly divided along these lines.

Above is a link to a fascinating article about the latest cognitive science on morality.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Finland Diary

Robert G. Kaiser, in an interactive diary in The Washington Post, has some interesting observations about Finland. He says "for a patriotic American like me, the Finns present a difficult challenge: If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can't we treat our citizens as well as the Finns treat theirs?" I look forward to reading his diary entries and the blogger comments.

Here is an excerpt of his interview with Finnish philosopher Pekka Himanen:

Q. American society is divided on a number of contentious issues. Can you tell us briefly what the situation is in Finland in regard to:

* Abortion?

A. The Finnish view is that women have a right to decide on their bodies. There's no controversy on abortion.

* Euthanasia?

A. Passive euthanasia--that is, not keeping people alive hopelessly--would be acceptable to many Finns. Active euthanasia would be more divisive.

* Prayer in schools, and the separation of church and state generally? Does religion play any role in public life?

A. No prayer in school. Finnish politicians don't refer to religion. You would never hear a Finnish politician say "God bless Finland." Finns want these things to be separated.

*The teaching of evolution or creationism in the schools?

A. All schools teach the evolution theory, the Christian theory of creation is naturally also taught but not as an alternative to science but rather as an allegorical story.

* Gay marriage, and gay soldiers in your military?

A. Gays can marry but not in the church. They don't yet have all the same rights as heterosexuals do. No issue on gay soldiers.

* The death penalty?

A. Finland is strongly against death penalty, which is not part of our system.

* Gun control? Can citizens own rifles? Pistols?

A. We don't think that owning a gun is a constitutional right or that it would have something to do with individual's freedom. The Finnish thinking is that the number of guns is linked to having a more violent society. But you can own guns on certain conditions, for example, for hunting, which is quite popular in the countryside.

* Immigration. Do you have immigration? From where? How are immigrants treated? Do foreigners seek to become citizens of Finland? Is that possible?

A. We have immigration in relatively small numbers so compared to the US Finland is a very homogeneous society, which I think is a limitation. Immigrants can become citizens of Finland but here our attitudes should get much more open.