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Tag: thanksgiving

Gratitude And Grace, Even Now

In the throes of a global pandemic that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and will kill many more, it may be difficult to summon gratitude this Thanksgiving. Our sorrow and frustration are only intensified by a government that seems indifferent to the suffering and exacerbates suspicion and ill will at every opportunity.

And yet, on this day, even as the grim daily toll continues, we have many reasons — indeed, millions — to feel thankful. Personally, I am forever obliged to the friends and family who have helped me and mine stay safe this year.

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Atlas Urging Americans To Visit Elderly Since Holiday 'May Be Their Final One’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump's highly controversial COVID-19 advisor, Dr. Scott Atlas, is urging Americans to visit their elderly family members for Thanksgiving because it may be their final one. Atlas warns against isolation despite the coronavirus pandemic's near-exponential explosion.

"This kind of isolation is one of the unspoken tragedies of the elderly who are now being told don't see your family at Thanksgiving," Atlas, a radiologist, not an epidemiologist, told Fox News Monday evening, as Media Matters reported.

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On Thanksgiving, Celebrate Agriculture — Not Agribusiness

In December 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came tantalizingly close to getting the U.S. Senate to reject Earl Butz, then-President Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture.

A coalition of grassroots farmers, consumers and scrappy public interest organizations (such as the Agribusiness Accountability Project that Susan DeMarco and I then headed) teamed up with some gutsy, unabashedly progressive senators to undertake the almost-impossible challenge of defeating the Cabinet nominee of a president who'd just been elected in a landslide.

The 51-44 Senate vote was so close because we were able to expose Butz as ... well, as butt-ugly — a shameless flack for big food corporations that gouge farmers and consumers alike. We brought the abusive power of corporate agribusiness into the public consciousness for the first time, but we had won only a moral victory, since there he was, ensconced in the seat of power. It horrified us that Nixon had been able to squeeze Butz into that seat, yet it turned out to be a blessing.

An arrogant, brusque, narrow-minded and dogmatic agricultural economist, Butz had risen to prominence in the small — but politically powerful — world of agriculture by devoting himself to the corporate takeover of the global food economy. He was dean of agriculture at Purdue University but also a paid board member of Ralston Purina and other agribusiness giants. In these roles, he openly promoted the preeminence of middleman food manufacturers over family farmers, whom he disdained.

"Agriculture is no longer a way of life," he infamously barked at them. "It's a business." He callously instructed farmers to "get big or get out" — and he then proceeded to shove tens of thousands of them out by promoting an export-based, conglomerated, industrialized, globalized, heavily subsidized, corporate-run food economy. "Adapt," he warned farmers, "or die." The ruination of farms and rural communities, Butz added, "releases people to do something useful in our society."

The whirling horror of Butz, however, spun off a blessing, which is that innovative, freethinking, populist-minded and rebellious small farmers and food artisans practically threw up at the resulting Twinkieization of America's food. They were sickened that nature's own rich contribution to human culture was being turned into just another plasticized product of corporate profiteers. "The central problem with modern industrial agriculture ... (is) not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste, and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all. More fundamentally, it has no soul," said Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist and former farm boy from Yamhill, Oregon. Rather than accept that, they threw themselves into creating and sustaining a viable, democratic alternative. The "good food" rebellion has since sprouted, spread and blossomed from coast to coast.

This transformative grassroots movement rebuts old Earl's insistence that agriculture is nothing but a business. It most certainly is a business, but it's a good business — literally producing goodness — because it's "a way of life" for enterprising, very hardworking people who practice the art and science of cooperating with Mother Nature, rather than always trying to overwhelm her. These farmers don't want to be massive or make a killing; they want to farm and make delicious, healthy food products that help enrich the whole community.

This spirit was summed up in one simple word by a sustainable farmer in Ohio, who was asked what he'd be if he wasn't a farmer. He replied, "Disappointed." To farmers like these, food embodies our full "culture" — a word that is, after all, sculpted right into "agriculture" and is essential to its organic meaning.

Although agriculture has forestalled the total takeover of our food by crass agribusiness, the corporate powers and their political hirelings continue to press for the elimination of the food rebels and, ultimately, to impose the Butzian vision of complete corporatization. This is one of the most important populist struggles occurring in our society. It's literally a fight for control of our dinner, and it certainly deserves a major focus as you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

To find small-scale farmers, artisans, farmers markets and other resources in your area for everything from organic tomatoes to pastured turkey, visit the LocalHarvest website.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

On Thanksgiving, Please Choose Love (And Caution)

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year.

It's a holiday with none of the pressures of Christmas. I cook a lot of food and give a lot of hugs. Nothing makes me happier than our house full of the people I love.

This preamble is brought to you by a columnist who wants you and those you love to be here for next year's Thanksgiving.

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Danziger: Family Separation

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

The Holiday Aftermath: How To Reset Your Workout

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and you know what that means: Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, pie, sweet potatoes, and every other delicious, carb-heavy food you can imagine. However, that’s not always the most exciting prospect if you’re on a diet. If after Thanksgiving you find yourself sluggish and struggling to get back to your normal healthy diet, here are a few exercise tips that can get you back on track.

The hard part: getting started

Ultimately, when it comes down to it, the hardest part of getting back into the swing of things after a big holiday is getting your momentum back. Disruptions to your normal routine make it easy to put off working out again, especially if you generally live a fairly sedentary lifestyle. There’s no shame in struggling to stay active; in fact, around 28.0% of Americans, or 80.2 million people, aged six and older are physically inactive. The best way to get past this is to pick a day and do some sort of exercise – it doesn’t have to be much, it just has to be enough to get you off the couch. From there, you can use these methods to stay moving more frequently.

Pick an activity you like

When most people think of exercise, they think of it as a hassle or a boring part of their day they don’t want to do. Instead, try to pick an activity you already know you enjoy and make it into your daily workout. Are you a sports fan? Instead of watching your favorite game on TV, get involved in the action yourself. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to see benefits – simply playing tennis for fun, for example, can burn around 169 calories in 30 minutes for a woman, and 208 calories in 30 minutes for an average man. Many gyms offer indoor spaces for you to practice your favorite sport, so pick an activity and get to it.

Take advantage of chores

Not much of a sports fan? There are still plenty of opportunities for you to tackle two chores in one by incorporating exercise into your other daily to-dos. Try to stay moving while cleaning up around the house, or take a few more trips up and down the stairs instead of carrying everything in one go. If you’ve got a household pet, try taking them on more frequent walks. Most dogs benefit from daily aerobic exercise and a 30-minute walk, and your own fitness goals can benefit as well.

Have fun with it

Finally, one of the easiest ways to get back into the swing of working out is to make it as fun as possible. The more enjoyable you find exercise, the more likely you are to keep at it, even on days where you might feel a bit tired. Set goals and reward yourself for hitting them. On top of that, try adding something you enjoy to your normal workout routine, like listening to music. Listening to music while exercising can actually improve work out performance by 15%. Maybe invite a friend or two and turn your work-out routine into a group activity. The more ways you can make exercise enjoyable, the likelier it is you’ll be able to get back to it after the holidays.

Thanksgiving can throw a serious wrench into anyone’s diet and exercise plans, and if you’re not careful, these bad habits can set you up for a struggle going into the new year. Instead, make use of these tips to crush your fitness goals as 2019 draws to a close.

#EndorseThis: Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Delivers Musical Message To Bigots

The cast of Hairspray wowed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade audience with a special performance of “You Can’t Stop The Beat,” starring Ariana Grande. Its anti-bigotry message of unstoppable social progress seems especially apt as we consider what may lie ahead for our country today.

Thanksgiving Starts With Gratitude

The day before Thanksgiving, I woke up at 5 a.m. and bolted out of bed to get a head start on a day full of preparations.

That plan derailed in the time it took me to turn on the shower and brush my hair before sticking my hand under the running water.

Ice-cold.

“Oh, no,” I said. “No, no, no.”

Immediately, our dog, Franklin, was at my side, his tail slapping my calf in solidarity. Adventure was ours.

We ran down two flights of stairs to the basement, where I watched in horror as he started splashing around in the pool of gurgling water. Each time I yelled Franklin’s name, he ran over to me and licked my hand dangling at my side: “No kidding, Mom. This sucks. But: Water!”

I slid out of my slippers and went into the rising tide, wading to the water heater. It was also cold to the touch.

My husband says there’s nothing quite like awakening to the sound of his wife’s curdling wail from the bowels of our home. Being a morning person — this time, I note that with admiration — he immediately volunteered to soak up the water with virtually every bath towel in the house. I shut off the water valves and made the emergency call to the plumber.

I needed to do something while I waited for help to arrive. It was only after I started to wash my hair in the kitchen sink — don’t judge — that I realized how much I had needed this blessed reminder masquerading as a mini-crisis.

Seeing the tips of my wet hair swishing across the bottom of the sink summoned such a strong memory from my childhood. When my sisters and I were little, my mother used to line us up in the kitchen and then stand on a step stool to wash our hair, one tangled head at a time.

Mom has been gone for 17 years, but I could hear her laughing approval as I stood up and shivered, my hair dripping down my back. One never leaves the house with dirty hair. For the first time since election night, I felt the tingle of gratitude working its way up my spine.

“A believer is one who can remain loyal to life no matter what,” Thomas Moore, a psychotherapist and former Catholic monk, wrote in his book “The Soul’s Religion.”

For me, that loyalty to life is renewed every time I remember to list — sometimes mentally, sometimes with pen to paper — all that I am grateful for. There is so much, and none of it has to do with water heaters. I needed to remember that.

Like millions of other Americans, I am worried about the future of our country under President Donald Trump. I have felt overwhelmed at times by the sad emails and notes from readers and strangers’ pleas for assurance in public places.

The latter has really thrown me. I’ve been a columnist for 14 years. I’m married to a U.S. senator. We’re sometimes recognized, especially when we’re out and about in Cleveland, and people often want to talk about what’s on their minds. Our rule for our marriage is that when we’re out in public, we belong to the public. But these encounters in the past couple of weeks rival nothing I’ve ever experienced — in number and degree.

Three days after the election, a man approached me at a gas station and, without introduction, said: “My mother is inconsolable about this election. What do I tell her?” During intermission at a play in downtown Cleveland, a woman recognized me and began to cry. “We’re going to be OK, right?” she said, holding her arms open for a hug. “Please tell me we’re going to be OK.”

I know from social media that some love to dismiss such responses to this election as theatrics. “They’re overreacting,” they say. “Get over it.” Their favorite retort: “We survived Barack Obama.” The false equivalence of media coverage has become the language of daily discourse.

We have hot water again, and I have to admit that Franklin looks a little cleaner after his basement swim. Later that same morning, I stood at the bread counter at the grocery and exchanged stuffing recipes with a woman I do not know. It felt normal and real, and it was exactly what I needed.

I am grateful to be tethered to this world. I am loyal to life, still.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.