Since 1998: Love, hate during Coralville resident’s Matthew Shepard pilgrimage

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The bar where Matthew Shepard’s murderers lured him to his death was called The Fireside Bar & Lounge. By the time I visited it during a spontaneous roadtrip to Laramie, Wyo., in 2012, the bar had been closed and empty for many years. I could see through one glass panel and was surprised by how small it was.  Compared to images I had conjured of Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney lurking in the shadowy background as they planned their attack on Matthew, this was absurd. I realized Matthew’s attackers couldn’t…

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Our ‘box full of darkness’ reminds us that after destruction comes rebirth

In the summer of 2018, I trained as a death midwife/doula and home funeral guide. In July 2019, a few months after my cat Henry died and I accompanied him through the process, I began working at a crematory for pets. I never would have thought of this profession for myself. But it has become clear, this is the career I am perhaps most suited for. Death can be sad and devastating, but it has taught me many things. Death can involve pain, suffering, violence and sorrow so profound it…

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Find many more voices through the new National News Feed, Self-Publish pages

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We often say this publication represents voices not often heard. Now, thanks to two new features, The Real MainStream will represent many, many, MANY more voices less heard. Most urgently, we now offer a National News Feed. In this contentious, confusing and sometimes chaotic information world, this new feature is an essential tool. Updated several times a day, the National News Feed contains curated links to some of today’s best intersectional, LGBTQ-identified, compassionate news, feature and thought pieces. The Feed is conveniently arranged in topics of broad interest that reflect…

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New “TRM Behind the Scenes” blog is an homage to advocacy journalism

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“There are two forms of courage in this world,” writes author Jeff Brown. “One demands that we jump into action with our armor on. The other demands that we strip ourselves bare-naked and surrender. Bravery is a curious thing.” Systemic racism, unequal health access, transgender violence, misogyny, climate change, animal welfare …. many battles remain to be fought, and we’ll be there.  But this new feature I’m sharing today is about the latter: stripping down, revealing, and surrendering. This is our new blog titled “TRM: Behind the Scenes.” It’s a…

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Electoral College must go, but what should take its place?

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Soon, we’ll be seeing a lot of posts and articles about getting rid of the Electoral College. We’ll hear a lot about the idea of “one (hu)man, one vote,”  and proposals to use the national popular vote to determine the president.  We’ll hear people point to examples when the Electoral College result differed from the national vote (Trump/Clinton 2016), or to Wyoming’s three electoral votes, as justification for dismantling the Electoral College. The “one human, one vote” solution is popular, but it has many problems. The first is an assumption…

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Return to COVID-shaped school year swells the “mental load” of parents, caretakers

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Around the dark cloud of this pandemic has been this big silver lining: my “mental load” got a break. To moms, the phrase “mental load” is familiar: it’s the “mental work, the organizing, list-making and planning, that you do to manage your life, and that of those dependent on you,” writes Leah Ruppaner for ABC News. She also describes the mental load as “like a phantom — felt by many, but, without the language to describe it, very difficult to discuss.” For months, I didn’t have to think about my…

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Wingspan: progressive, educational, fun and beautiful

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Wingspan is one of my favorite board games, for almost more reasons than I can mention. This is a game that puts you in the role of a bird enthusiast who is trying to obtain the bird food you need to attract birds to their appropriate habitats. Wingspan helped raise money to fight the Australian wildfires. That’s actually how I learned it was available, after seeing it only on back order for months. For everyone who signed up to receive notice of Wingspan’s “early release” second expansion, called Oceania, Stonemaier Games donated $1…

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August Tarotscope: Take a cue from MTV and the cards, and “get real,” for real

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“It’s time to stop being polite and start getting real…. WITH OURSELVES.” You may recognize this as one of the many key slogans of MTV’s “The Real World”. It’s a phrase that resonates for a reason: because it’s time. Time to hear your own thoughts and connect with your whole, authentic self. Time to cut out external influences. Time to realize that we are all part of something larger than ourselves — and what is happening around each of us right now is bigger than any of us could have…

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Home-schooling: tips from a parent who started a year ago

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Interest in home-schooling has blown up during the coronavirus crisis, as an increasing number of families take their children’s education into their own hands instead of waiting for districts to decide whether or not to reopen, and how. Doing so can cost up to $1,800 annually per child, reports Time4learning.com in Kiplinger’s. Nevertheless, a new study shows that home-schooling is at least on the minds of 80 percent of parents out there. Abby Schwartz, who has been home-schooling three of her four children for more than a year, thought she…

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