Archive for Thursday, January 11, 2007

Newspapers open window on world

January 11, 2007

One of my New Year's resolutions is to read one newspaper each day and since our own Eudora News is a weekly, I find myself trying to keep up by reading the Lawrence Journal-World. I have tried to do this in the past, but my husband has a maddening habit of turning all of the pages inside out for easier reading and sometimes it's just too much work to but the darned thing back together. Nevertheless, I feel I have almost come to know some of the contributors to LJW, and so I've decided to bring some of those bits and pieces to this column this week.

As I write this, gray clouds hover above this first Sunday of 2007 with only a promise of sunshine this afternoon. If Jennifer Shack's long-range weather forecast in a recent Journal-World edition is correct, we will be experiencing a long, wet winter and another blistering summer. Doesn't help that I heard last week on National Public Radio that a 3,000-year-old glacier has separated from its base in Canada and has begun to melt. Global warming, anyone?

In the middle of this bit of bad news a new Web site emerges designed for women of that era called the "boomers" -- the "kids" who are now in their 50s and who are changing many of our preconceived ideas about aging. Cathy Hamilton of the LJW, who is also author, columnist and TV personality; has a new Web site called boomergirl.com. It is designed to target the lady boomers and does so in a most amusing and informative way. Check it out. I think women of all ages will enjoy it.

There was much coverage of former President Gerald Ford's death and burial this past week with prominent dignitaries praising him for his Midwest honesty and integrity. They pointed out that those qualities do not seem to be rampant among our congressmen and women these days. Yet, a long article on Nancy Boyda (one of our new representatives in Congress) and her first day in the House in Washington was a tribute to her grassroots campaign and subsequent election in spite of taking no funds from the Democratic Party. This says that people still admire a person who does it on her own so to speak -- notwithstanding her staff, of course, and the 60 or so family and friends from Kansas who showed up in Washington to serenade her with "Home on the Range" her first day in Congress. We look forward to watching her career as those "good old Midwestern values" emerge during her watch.

The news from Iraq continues to be grim. Now the powers that be are pondering sending more troops.

One of the columnists I have found to be informative and knowledgeable on this subject is Trudy Rubin, whose column appears regularly in the Journal-World. Her take on this situation is always one that is grounded and sensible. She has also managed to change my mind about an immediate exit. Her idea is that the surrounding countries should be invited into the process because of their proximity to Iraq as well as their complicated political stance.

I have gained a lot of background from her columns and am beginning to believe, as she and so many others believe, that the only answer now is to include all parties in diplomatic talks. That sounds like a long and tedious process but then this has been a long and tedious war and if our exit is to work, let's hope it's better planned than our entrance.

Departing from the general news, I've included another New Year's resolution in my goals for 2007 that is based on a thought I heard mentioned at Mass a few weeks ago that has stayed with me into this new year.

Father John at St. John's church in Lawrence, speaking on the Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, reflected on the words attributed to Mary concerning her thoughts about Jesus as a child, which were "and she kept all of these things and pondered them in her heart."

He suggested that what we ponder in our hearts is what we become. If this is true, then disciplining our thoughts from the negative to the positive about persons, places and things might even affect our actions.

This sounds simple -- but as is so often the case -- the simple things are the most difficult to achieve. Consider standing on one foot. Is that simple? OK, now try standing on one foot for more than 10 minutes. That changes things, doesn't it?

I'm not sure how this new idea will work. You will know because many of my unspoken thoughts end up in this column and so often I'm surprised to see them. Happy New Year.

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