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Last Week's Column-Sister leaves impression in heart [Mar. 13th, 2007|04:45 pm]

Published in The Daily Beacon,Monday, March 5, 2007

“Hey, brother!”

For many years, I received this cheerful greeting every time I entered the home of my sister, Sandy Adcox. Although she was nearly eighteen years my senior, the love and closeness we shared only grew stronger as we got older. Sadly, she is no longer with us. As we approach the third anniversary of her passing, I would like to use this column to both share some memories and to somehow offer a small tribute to this wonderful lady.

We often read books and hear stories about great people of the past and the great legacies they left behind. In this case, however, I watched a legacy being built every day right before my eyes, a legacy of kindness, unselfishness and laughter. I could always count on Sandy being a constant in my life, through good times and bad. She was a true role model to me in every sense of the word.

Nowhere was Sandy’s heart seen more vividly than in her work with children and teens. This was especially clear in her devotion to her own children, Jennifer, Stephanie and Jordan, as well as the countless others she touched as a school teacher and guidance counselor. Her soothing voice, gentle demeanor and bubbly sense of humor led children to bond with her instantly. As the nursery coordinator at her church, “Ms. Sandy” was well known for her ability to take a crying baby in her arms and watch it calm down almost immediately.

In December, 2000, we received the devastating news that Sandy had been diagnosed with leukemia. The next four years, we saw her fight like a lion. Although she was in and out of remission several times, eventually the battle ended. Sandy died on April 13, 2004.

The amazing thing was that, even when she knew the end was near, she was more concerned about the rest of us than she was about herself. She was always there to reassure us. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our everyday lives that we “don’t have time” for others. However, Sandy always had time for anyone who needed her. That still amazes me. Anytime I went to her needing a kind word or some “big sisterly” advice, she always seemed to know just what to say. Sandy touched countless lives in so many ways. When my time here is over, I hope I have impacted as many people as she has.

I’ll never forget the last day I spent with Sandy. It was the day she left for Houston in a last-ditch effort to save her life. To look at Sandy was heartbreaking. The leukemia, combined with the chemotherapy, had ravaged her body. She had lost her hair and was unable to get around without the aid of a walker. Since her immune system was very weak, I tried to avoid standing too close so that I wouldn’t pass any germs to her. But suddenly, as I walked by her chair, she threw her arms around me and gave me a huge hug, saying, “Brother, I love you very much.” Although it was a very sad day, that is still a memory I’ll cherish forever.

Sandy’s memorial service, which drew over five hundred people, was billed as a “Celebration of Life” rather than a funeral. She had emphatically stated that she did not want it to be a sad occasion and had requested that no one in attendance wear black. Of course, we could not honor the former request, but through all the tears, sharing and memories, I believe she was still looking down with a smile.

It is easy for me to be sad now that she is gone, but although it seems to have passed so quickly, I am so thankful that God allowed this wonderful lady to be a part of my life. The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon summed it up well: “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.”

Heaven only knows how many hearts carry Sandy’s inscription today.

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New Column (a Little Late) [Mar. 3rd, 2007|08:42 pm]

Term Limits Improve Government

Published in The Daily Beacon,Monday, February 26, 2007

Not long ago, I was entering the drive through window of a fast food place, when I saw a bumper sticker which summarized my political philosophy quite well: "Politicians are like diapers. Both need to be changed regularly!" In our own local government, the issue of term limits has been hotly debated in recent months, but the underlying principles are as old as our nation itself. Over and over, human nature has proven to me that every elected official, from the President down to the local school board, should be subject to term limits, period.

Thomas Jefferson observed that "if some termination to the services of the chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life," Unlike the dictators, kings and emperors of other nations, our officials are selected to serve the people, not vise-versa. While most people may enter public service with noble motives, the opiate of political influence often proves difficult to handle. Like no other institution, politics has repeatedly proven Orwell’s maxim that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The need for term limits has been recognized throughout our nation’s history, starting with President George Washington. Although Washington’s decision to serve no more than two terms was primarily due to health concerns, it set a model followed by all subsequent presidents until Franklin Roosevelt broke the tradition by being elected four times. This prompted the newly elected Republican Congress to amend the Constitution to prevent the presidency from evolving into a dictatorship. The result of their efforts was the Twenty-second Amendment.

Although term limits is generally thought of as a conservative issue, that has not always been the case. As President Ronald Reagan’s second term was coming to an end, some Republican lawmakers began to push for a repeal of the 22nd amendment so that he could seek a third term. It was later, during the administration of George H.W. Bush that the GOP again picked up the term limits gauntlet. The elder Bush was a strong advocate for expanding term limits to Congress. In the Republican Revolution of 1994, the issue was a key part of the “Contract with America.” Not surprising, however, the issue eventually faded after the Republicans were the party in power.

This was unfortunate. The fact is that term limits address the concerns of both conservatives who are concerned about the government getting too big, as well as liberals who want a more level playing field. This is why people of both parties would be well served to study the issue more carefully. Such an effort would help to clear the path for new faces and fresh ideas to emerge as never before.

Would term limits be an instant "cure-all?" No, but over a period of time, I do believe we would begin to see a more honest, efficient and accountable government. Gradually, beltway elitists would be replaced by private citizens who knew that they would have to return to the real world and live under the laws they had made.

You might say, "But we already have term limits. They’re called elections!" True enough, but this argument is both overly simplistic and self-defeating. Not only are elections often stacked in favor of the incumbent candidate, they are often decided by uninformed voters who think of elected officials in celebrity terms. How many times are votes cast based on which candidate is taller, better looking or simply has more name recognition?

Although the concept of a “virtuous electorate” is certainly a noble ideal, it is simply not a reality. The potential for these sorts of abuses requires us to put up proper restraints. Term limits are one of these restraints which would bring some much needed “fresh air” to the corridors of power.

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Today's Column [Feb. 19th, 2007|03:59 pm]

Christians No Foes To Progress

Published in The Daily Beacon, Monday, February 19, 2007

Adolf Hitler once remarked that "Once the enemy has been identified, all proof becomes automatic." When society looks for scapegoats, religious groups have always been an easy target. In today’s world, one of the more common pariahs has been the so-called "Christian Right." However, as we will see, this term is often more caricature than reality. Of course, the movement does have its visible spokespersons (Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, Bauer, etc), but when it comes to individual, everyday citizens, the question becomes a bit more complex: Exactly what makes one a part of the "Christian Right?"

Since the majority of Americans profess to be Christian, few would ridicule a person following that faith in their personal lives. On the other hand, many would argue that "It’s OK to be a Christian, just stay out of politics." Of course, if we followed this logic, we would have to repeal both the anti-slavery movement and the civil rights movement, as they were spearheaded by Christian ministers. Still other would argue that the problem is “legislating morality,” but all civil laws, even the speed limit, legislate morality to some degree.

Martin Luther King wisely observed that "The church is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state." Contrary to popular belief, the goal is not to establish a Christian Theocracy in America (a few "Kingdom Now" reconstructionist groups aside). Rather, the conscience Dr. King spoke of is alive and well in the hearts of Christian citizens who desire to follow Jesus’ command to be light to a dark world. Of course, this involves challenging the "status quo," and often it involves being misunderstood and misrepresented.

For example, if simply opposing abortion is such a "fringe" position, then that fringe would include the very founders of the feminist movement. Pioneers such as Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton all saw abortion as an act which devalues human life and in doing so, hinders the progress of women.

The pro-life movement is made up of people from every belief system, including some with no religious belief at all. The underlying concern is that the demeaning of human life is a very dangerous thing. Given the advances in prenatal medical technology, we can detect an unborn child's heartbeat as early as three weeks. Why, then, is it so "extreme" to acknowledge that child's personhood?

Another hot-button issue for Christian conservatives is the "Intelligent Design" debate. It is unfortunate that such a false dichotomy is so often drawn between the worlds of science and faith. Copernicus, Newton, Keplar, Pascal, Mendel, Pasteur and countless other scientific luminaries were Christians. They would no doubt be appalled at the way their beliefs are being ridiculed by supposedly "enlightened" secularists.

Philosophical and theological enquiries are necessary to any discussion about the origin of life. If we take them away, then our only alternative is to define the universe in totally materialistic terms. Again, it is not only Christians who are uncomfortable with this. Consider the following: "The products of pure chance in the random combination of genes is an invitation to nihilism and spiritual poverty...the view that all aspects of reality can be reduced to matter and its various particles is . . . as much a metaphysical position as the view that an organizing intelligence created and controls reality." Interestingly, this quote comes, not from the podium of a Creation Science rally, but rather from a man named Tenzin Gyatso, otherwise known as the 14th Dalai Lama! Do these concerns make him a part of this “radical Christian Right?” Hardly!

Many other issues could be addressed, but these sorts of questions are not going away. Religious faith should not disqualify a person from offering answers to them.

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(no subject) [Feb. 13th, 2007|12:51 am]

I am a struggling filmmaker and help of anykind would be greatly appreciated
I am selling tshirts with a little robot icon on it.
It is to support a movie project that will be broadcast on Youtube.
Here is a sketch of the robo guy
On the front will be the robot guy, on the sleeve your name or any other personalization, and on the back the cast/crew.
It's black.
It'll be no more than $10.

If you are interested, I need your size (adult men's), home address, and payment in the form of a check. Please e-mail this info to annesahn@gmail.com
thanks so much!

Here are some more robo pics for your enjoyment :)

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NCA 2007 [Feb. 10th, 2007|11:28 am]

Anyone going to the NatCom in Chicago this year?

Anyone putting together a panel for online diaries (or blogs, or LJ)? 

Deadline for all submissions is the 14th! 
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My First Daily Beacon Column [Feb. 8th, 2007|06:09 pm]

My column debuted in last Monday's edition of the Daily Beacon, and will be appearing biweekly on Mondays. Enjoy!

Blanket Group Labels Inaccurate

Wow, it’s finally here! I would like to begin my first column with a word of thanks to the Beacon staff for giving the old guy a place to share a few thoughts and random ramblings. I hope that the twenty years that I have been a part of the UT community, both as an employee and as a student, have given me some unique perspectives that will provide you with a little food for thought.

I will start with a caveat: If you have an aversion to those right-wing religious fanatics who shove the Bible down people’s throats, then it’s only fair to warn you that I’m one of them. Okay, so that may be a bit of a stretch. While it is true that my political views generally lean right-of-center, I am not a blind partisan. You can be assured that I will not simply be regurgitating Rush Limbaugh’s latest talking points. And no, I won’t really shove a Bible down your throat.

Generally speaking, Evangelical Christians are not just a group of mind-numbed robots that blindly do the bidding of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. We have lives. We have hopes, dreams, joys and sorrows just like all other human beings. And contrary to popular belief, we do know how to think for ourselves. For example, try asking a group of Evangelicals about their opinion on the Iraq war, how to fix the economy or what to do about global warming. You might be pleasantly surprised at the diversity of opinion you would get in response!

My faith will be reflected in my writing, and I make no apologies for that. However, that does not mean that I will simply be giving you a theological treatise every time. To paraphrase T-Bone Burnett, sometimes you write about the Light, and other times you write about what the Light enables you to see. Often, following that Light puts you into categories that defy classification.

This is especially true in regards to politics. For all of the passion and animosity they provoke, "conservative" and "liberal" are actually very ambiguous terms. If you call yourself a conservative, exactly what is it you want to conserve? Historically, it has represented the desire to preserve positive things such as tradition, morality and patriotism. Unfortunately, it has also been used to defend atrocities such as racism, anti-intellectualism and blind allegiance to the status quo.

Similarly, the word "liberalism" bears the undertone of compassion and generosity, which obviously, are wonderful things. Yet even these noble motives can go horribly astray if they are not kept in proper perspective. In his book How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (and Found Inner Peace), journalist Harry Stein sums it up well:
"I, for one, can respect serious souls who continue to believe that liberalism remains the road to an honorable and humane future. But a lot of contemporary liberal dogma is not so much forward looking as based on contempt for the past, including what many of us see as our best traditions and most essential values…”

For these reasons, many Americans (myself included) are finding it more and more difficult to fit in with organized political parties. In several states, voters have been registering as independents almost as often as they have registered as Republicans or Democrats. Perhaps more than ever, the U.S may be positioning for a major paradigm shift in which individual conscience will finally be more important than party labels.

As we sort through these issues, I do not claim that I will be totally objective (no one is), or that I will be an unbiased observer (this is the opinion page, after all). But I do pledge that I will always respect your intelligence, and that I will keep this column free from sensationalism and personal attacks. Honest, thoughtful dialogue is becoming a lost art in today’s world, and if I can make some small contributions to help remedy that, then my work will have been worthwhile. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the journey together!

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(no subject) [Feb. 1st, 2007|12:47 pm]


Hi everyone!  I'm currently a masters student studying Interpersonal at a prominent R1 university.  While I entered the program with the intent of trying to secure a position at another R1 (upon finishing my PhD), I've realized that I'm much more interested in instruction.  Ideally I'd like to teach at a small liberal arts college with few research requirements.  

Therefore, I'm trying to locate a doctoral program with less of a focus on research and more of a focus on instruction.  My problem, of course, is that there are very few people with whom I can discuss this.  I plan on applying to my program's PhD program (as sort of a backup), and so I don't want to consult with my advisor (for fear of it lessening my chances of being accepted).  I'm concerned that I will be passed over for other prospective researchers should they learn that I myself have very little intention of pursuing it.

Ideally I'd like to stay in the Midwest due to family commitments, and funding is extremely important to my decision.  Does anyone here know of any good programs that specialize in instruction/interpersonal/family comm that I might find more suited to my professional interests?

Thanks for reading!!

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iPhone [Jan. 11th, 2007|12:08 pm]
Hey guys, I'm a technological communications class, all about VOIP, mobile tech, online journalism etc etc. Just thought I'd share a trail I created about the Apple iPhone, with pics and stories and some really cool concept sketches

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(no subject) [Jan. 6th, 2007|08:17 pm]

I was looking through a few schools' communcation department websites and the courses that are offered really got me into thinking about majoring in communcation. What kinds of things do people usually end up doing after majoring in communication, other than journalism?
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(no subject) [Dec. 29th, 2006|09:09 pm]

Hi. I am a senior in high school and I am considering majoring in communication. I have little knowledge of the field except that it also relates to journalism, media, and marketing. What other basic things about communication should I know before going into the field? What strengths / skills are good to have as a communication major? Any advice?
Thanks for your help!
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