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

“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?

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

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

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

“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

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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‘Coming out’ again: The Real MainStream brighter, better, and reinvented

Read about how The Real MainStream is reworking itself to better serve Iowa and Illinois. Whenever I run across one of my keepsake copies of the first 13 editions of The Real MainStream, published before the current worldwide pandemic, I feel awash in memories and sensations. “We’ll never give up the handshake!” joked a customer and I in early March. Mere days later, he and dozens of others in our circulation area announced they were saying “no” to not only handshakes, but all in-store traffic for a few months.  Back…

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Love Letter to my Black Queer People

I see you. Every time I sit down to write this column, to put into words all the tender spots in my heart, I feel this extreme tiredness. The kind of tiredness that, even in 90-degree heat, sinks you right back under the covers. I keep thinking about all the eyes that will see it. All the non-Black hearts that will try to connect with the love I intend only to go to you, my Black queer people. All the non-Black minds that will dissect and analyze all the words…

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