Problems are not hard to find, but there’s also much good in the world if we look for it. In the spirit of this Thanksgiving season, let’s do that for a change.
In Iraq and Syria, ISIS is all but defeated. After taunting the world with their cruelty and barbarism, the jihadists have lost one city after another. When Iraqi and American-led coalition forces last week retook the city of Rahway, ISIS was left with only isolated rural areas in that country, and Syria is in a similar situation. Remember that black-clad spokesman who would threaten the world and then behead an unfortunate victim, all captured on video? He’s long dead, and the fighters that remain are now surrendering.
The defeat of ISIS is liberating Iraqis and Syrians from that horrible group. Meanwhile, millions worldwide are being freed from another type of bondage. In 1990, 1.9 billion people lived in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day, according to MDG Monitor, published by various United Nations agencies. In 2015, that number had been more than cut in half, to 836 million. That’s more than a billion fewer people, even as the world population has grown. In 1990, nearly half of all people in developing nations lived in extreme poverty. By 2015, that figure had been reduced to 14 percent. Continue reading Be thankful, because it’s not all bad→
After 2,310 days in foster care and 24 caseworkers, Chase Bailey was adopted Jan. 10 by a mom who had insisted that the only way she would ever adopt a child was if Jesus descended from heaven and told her to do so.
Dawn Bailey and her husband, Brad, had two daughters out of the home and a third who was a pre-teenager, and they could see the empty nest in the distance. Then three friends over a weekend sent her a link to 15-year-old Chase’s story, told by KTHV’s Dawn Scott in one of her regular “A Place to Call Home” features about children waiting to be adopted.
After the Arkansas Razorbacks’ field goal kicker – a college kid, let’s please remember – missed two chip shot field goals against TCU Saturday, Coach Bret Bielema said, “We’ll go for it every time, or we have to find a new kicker.”
If the first option is the case, the Hogs wouldn’t be plowing new ground. At Pulaski Academy high school in Little Rock, they’ve been going for it every time on fourth down – regardless of field position – for years, and won six state championships.
Head Coach Kevin Kelley created his unorthodox style after reading books about human nature and mathematics and deciding that the rewards of having four downs to make 10 yards outweighed the risks of not punting. That same analysis led him to try an onside kick on most kickoffs, giving his team a chance to recover the ball, rather than kicking it downfield.
Kelley doesn’t even punt when backed against his own end zone, where failure means giving the other team the ball yards from a touchdown. His analysis of college teams found a punt from that position would give the other team great field position that would likely lead to a touchdown anyway, so you might as well try to keep the ball.
Kelley’s style and success have made him somewhat famous in the sports world. Pulaski Academy is a nationally known program whose game with Louisiana’s Parkway High School was televised on ESPNU Sept. 15.
You’d think other coaches would want to copy him, and they do listen to him. But coaching is a risk-averse profession with limited job security. One coach told him he could be fired if a fourth down attempt in his own territory failed and he lost the game, whereas his job is safe if he loses that same game playing conventionally. Continue reading How to be fearless on fourth down→
Given time and nothing else to do, sometimes men will say a lot.
As we waited in the August sun for our children to take their driving tests, a fellow dad told me about his daughter who works at night and had phoned him after another establishment had been robbed. He said he had told her, if threatened, to shoot the assailant and call him. It would be OK because there would be “one less black.”
I think I checked to make sure I’d heard him right, and he repeated it. He then quickly added, “I’m not a racist, but …” and explained that news reports about crimes usually involve blacks and Hispanics.