Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Surrendering to fear itself

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 11:40 AM

John Krull
  • John Krull

Now we know.

I've always wondered about shameful moments in American history, such as the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. We imprisoned people without trials simply on the basis of who their ancestors were.

We betrayed not just basic principles of our law but the very core of the American Revolution, the bedrock belief that government cannot exercise arbitrary, unchecked authority. Why did we – we Americans who vow to defend freedom – do this?

Because we were scared. And that fear prompted us to deny what Abraham Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."

We're in a similar panic now, so frightened by the attacks in Paris that we once again are willing to suspend our commitments to both compassion and the rule of law by banning refugees from horror-plagued Syria.

That is why the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, says he would force all Muslims in the United States to carry special identification cards. Trump is either unaware or doesn't care that his proposal echoes the Nazis' approach to German Jews in the 1930s.

That is why the Republican governor from New Jersey (and presidential candidate) Chris Christie says he would ban even small children as refugees.

And that is why our governor, Mike Pence, turned away a family that had been waiting in Jordan for three years to come to the United States. They were supposed to seek sanctuary in Indiana, but, after Pence's refusal, instead found it in Connecticut.

That prompted Connecticut's governor, Democrat Dan Malloy, to deliver a stern rebuke. Malloy accused Pence of being intolerant and blind to moral responsibilities.

"This is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring surrounded by homophobes," Malloy said of Pence. "So I'm not surprised by anything the governor does."

Malloy's criticism was mild compared to that from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

Cohen said the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum presents a Profile in Courage award on an annual basis. He suggested that there also ought to be a Profile in Cowardice award – and he nominated Pence as the first recipient.

"Pence is the Republican governor of Indiana," Cohen wrote. "He was born in Columbus, Indiana, on June 7, 1959, apparently without a spine."

Cohen correctly noted that the United States is scheduled to accept fewer than 200 Syrian refugees this year – most of them women and children and all of whom have been vetted and investigated for years.

Pence has responded to the criticism with another inarticulate national television appearance – this time on CNN – and a strange op-ed column in which he asserts that Indiana will continue to offer refuge to those people who really don't need refuge and help to those souls who really don't need help.

The Trumps, the Christies and the Pences love to speak pieties about freedom but their real measure is much more basic: Be afraid. Be very afraid. Be so afraid that you stop thinking. And that is exactly what our enemies want.

We call ISIS a terrorist organization because its goal is to create terror – and, led by the Trumps, Christies and Pences, we are surrendering to terror. They want to make this a war between the Muslim and non-Muslim world – and, led by the Trumps, Christies and Pences, we are helping them divide the world along precisely that line.

Our fear just makes them stronger.

A man who became America's first Republican president once said that America cannot claim to be devoted to freedom if we are willing to honor our founding principles in some cases and ignore them when the going gets hard.

Such as when we're scared.

Abraham Lincoln said, "When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some other country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, without the base alloy of hypocrisy."

It's always interesting to speculate on what our breaking points might be – what might lead us to surrender that which we love and profess to honor.

Now we know.

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Why Indiana banned Syrian refugees

Posted on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 11:33 AM

By Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana

Both the United States and Indiana have proud traditions of welcoming individuals and families who seek the safety and refuge that all Americans find within our borders. I believe we have a responsibility as the beacon of freedom in the world to welcome those into our communities who seek asylum in the land of opportunity.

In September, President Obama announced plans to increase by 10,000 the number of refugees entering the United States from Syria. As we consider admitting additional refugees from Syria into Indiana, my highest duty and first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of the people of our state.

Last month, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, testified before Congress that there were "certain the data available to us..." regarding the Syrian refugee program and noted the "risk associated of bringing anybody in...from a conflict zone" like Syria. Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, echoed a similar concern that the United States would not "know a whole lot about the Syrians that come forth" in the refugee process.

One of the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks in Paris exploited the European Union's refugee system to gain entrance to France. In the wake of this terrorist attack and the concerns expressed by our federal security agencies, last week I directed all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana until the federal government implements proper security measures. Hoosiers should know that the resettlement process for those seeking asylum in Indiana will continue for all non-Syrian refugees.

Indiana is not alone in making this decision. A bipartisan majority of governors from around the country have made a similar decision. The House of Representatives passed, on a strong bipartisan basis, legislation that would ensure Syrian refugees are properly screened. Hoosiers are rightfully concerned about their safety and security, and I encourage the Senate to move swiftly on this legislation. In the meantime, lawmakers would be wise to follow our own Sen. Dan Coats' proposal and consider additional humanitarian aid that would allow the United States and our international partners to serve displaced persons near their home country.

I am deeply moved by the plight of those seeking to escape threats of violence for a better life in a place like Indiana, as are so many compassionate Hoosiers. Thousands of refugees have escaped some of the darkest places in the world and now call Indiana home.

In recent years, we've welcomed Burmese refugees, among numerous others, from places within Africa, Cuba, Iran and Iraq. As a member of Congress, I cosponsored legislation that would help bring vulnerable asylum-seeking Iraqi refugees to the United States in an expedited fashion and voted in support of a law that would increase the number of Iraqi and Afghan interpreters that supported our armed forces in those conflicts.

Indiana and the United States must continue to serve as a safe harbor for refugees from around the world; however, unless and until the federal government addresses the security gaps acknowledged by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security with regard to refugees from Syria, as governor I will continue to put the safety and security of Hoosiers first.

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#NUVOpop: Dark Bridget Returns!

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM

11/25 Dark Bridget Returns! from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

Happy Thanksgiving! It's the time of the year where people are thankful for the most important thing of all... comics! And this week there's a LOT to be thankful about. The final arc to Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns saga, a new Jupiter's Circle series, the Archie comics are back AND, if that's not enough, we have a new issue of Saga.


So let's get started with my top picks for the week!


Dark Knight 3: The Master Race #1
Obviously this is at the top of my list. The Dark Knight Returns was one of the first Batman comics I ever read. After that, I was hooked.
If you are unfamiliar with the series, here's a brief synopsis. Batman has been retired for years because the government sucks that's why. But Gotham is falling. The city needs a hero. So Batman puts on the cowl once again to save his city from a vicious gang called the Mutants with the help of his new Robin.. a spunky red head named Carrie Kelley! There's also the return of the Joker AND the most epic Batman and Superman fight ever. The DKR is the inspiration for Batman Vs. Superman movie (which is why Batman's symbol looks "weird and fat"). There's also an animated film about it, if you don't feel like reading things.
There was a sequel to the DKR that was all about the world's greatest superheroes being forced to work for the government. Most people say that it bombed (it wasn't that bad, guys, come on). Now, in it's final arc, the dark, gritty and super old Batman returns to go against... the master race! There's a fantastic creative team behind this series (Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert) plus there are 53 variant covers for the first issue! 

Jacked #1
Another new Vertigo title from a few Vertigo veterans from Preacher and Hellblazer! This one is about a neurotic man who starts taking pills to boost energy and focus. Normal every day American stuff right? Well it turns out these pills give him super strength and a lot of other funky powers! Not so normal American stuff. But the pills come with a side effect... they're SUPER addictive and that's when things start to get hairy. It's a super hero story for a modern age!

Jupiter's Circle VOL. 2 #1
Jupiter's Circle is the sequel to the prequel of Jupiter's Legacy (which is about the sons and daughters of the world's greatest super heroes) and it's written by Mark Millar! Jupiter's Circle follows the early adventures and dramas of the world's first super heroes. It's like Mad Men meets Justice League. It's amazing. The last story arc ended with a bang so we're back to see how our heroes are faring. 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur is the comic you've been dreaming about. Meet  Lunella, the preteen super genius! She's just an ordinary really smart girl trying to live a normal life despite her Inhuman genes. Fortunately for her, living a normal life is not in the cards! The Devil Dinosaur gets transported from another time period to our present time and forms an unlikely bond with our hero Lunella! 

Ringside #1
Wrestling fans rejoice! Here's the comic for you! This story is about all the dramas that happen inside and outside of the ring! It's all about the wrestlers and the suits that run the show. 

**If you're in the mood to read another good wrestling comic, I highly recommend the Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven graphic novel that came out last week. You get
 Andre's back story plus you get to see how wrestling became the huge sensation it is today! 


Saga #31
Saga is back with it's 6th story arc! So the last story arc ended with a bunch of people dying and heart shattering all over the place as Hazel and Klara were taken away from everyone she loves! In this first issue she'll have to deal with the greatest adventure of her life that will shape her entire life.... kindergarten! 

Archie #4
So since Saga is back, that means we have to say goodbye to Fiona Staples and welcome Annie Wu (Black Canary) to Riverdale! In this issue we FINALLY get to see what the lipstick incident was all about! Plus there's a special bromance brewing between Moose and Dilton! 

Jughead #2
Jughead is back in his second issue! The PE teacher has been replaced by a crazy  tough-as-nails teacher! And that's bad because Jughead will have to be active and the only thing Jughead is active about is eating three cheeseburgers in 30 seconds. What's our Juggie to do??

Best. Week, Ever. Next week looks just as promising. From the ANAD lineup, we have All New X-Men, Red Wolf and Totally Awesome Hulk hitting stands! There's also a new Batman event called the Robin War starting and Harley's Little Black Book begins as well (plus there are some really awesome, exclusive bagged variant covers).

So Happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it! If you're in Indianapolis, Downtown Comics will be having a huge Black Friday sale! Plus, it's Small Business Saturday which means all the local comic shops are doing something special for it. There are exclusive covers that you can only get at local comic shops that Saturday!

So those are just a few more reasons why you should visit your local comic shop this weekend! 

I will see you next week to talk about comics! 

**CLICK HERE for the full release list! 
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Sunday, November 22, 2015

#NUVOpop: JAM PACKED Secret Farts

Posted By on Sun, Nov 22, 2015 at 3:06 PM

11/22 JAM PACKED Secret Farts from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

**DISCLAIMER: There is no jam in this episode. Sorry.

So it's been a while guys! I've been letting the Secret Wars stuff build up so I have a lot to talk about, so sorry for the delay! Plus I've barely had time to even read them so there's that too. But I'm here so don't be sad anymore!

There's been a lot of junk going down on Battleworld. The final battle is starting and lots of mini series are ending. The only titles left are Ultimate End and the main Secret Wars title. So let's go over what happened these last few weeks!

Secret Wars #7
So here it is! We waited like 5 months for.. this. So basically what happens is the beginning of the final war. Some of Doom's generals are turning on him and Maximus the Mad is leading his army to attack Doom's castle! (Maximus is an Inhuman and he's part of the Cabal). Black Panther and Namor are breaking the Shield wall so that Black Panther can lead an army of zombies to mess with Doom. 

So yeah. Things are getting crazy up in here?

Secret Wars Guide
It's literally what it sounds like- it's a guide book to the Secret Wars universe. So in case you ever wanted to know important information such as what's up with the Spider-verse or the history of Volcana, then this is for you!

Secret Wars TOO!
Okay, this is probably the best thing to come out of Secret Wars. This is a collection of short comics mocking the entire series and basically admitting that they don't know where this is going. There's a short where Jonathan Hickman tries to 
come up with an ending for the event but fails and a lot of other fun stuff. You get to see a naked Old Man Logan beating up a tiger and many other random stories.

It makes me feel a little better about this whole fiasco.

House of M #4
Magneto leads the human rebels to take down Quicksilver and Namor. Everyone is
 scrambling to get Magneto's powers back so he can end this war and become the king again. Wiccan tries to restore his power but cannot so he goes to rescue his mother from the Atlantians so that she can. Magneto, Quicksilver and Namor have one final show down and it looks like all is lost when suddenly Magneto's powers are restored! He kills Namor and allows the human rebels their freedom. The land of Genosha is back in one piece and harmony is restored!

Hail to the king, baby.

Infinity Gauntlet #5
So Thanos killed the mother with the soul stone (although technically her soul is just trapped in the stone). Now it's a race to find the reality stone! The Guardians fight the gigantic bug thing and Thanos is fighting a future evrsion of himself. The Nova family reaches the stone first and soon it's a fight against Thanos! Thanos proves that he is more powerful than they are and soon it's Anwen against Thanos. Thanos promises her that her family will be safe as long as she gives him the stone. She agrees... but IT'S A TRAP!!!! She created a death stone from the reality stone and it kills Thanos. Now Anwen has all the stones and she used them to rescue her mother..

(It was a real tear jerker. I cried only a little)

Squadron Sinister #4

Battle of the century! Hyperion VS. Nighthawk! And it's like they tore a page right out of the Dark Knight  Returns.... mmhm. Anyway, so Nighthawk kills Hyperion to gain control over Utopia. Meanwhile, the Nutopians are rising so that they can free the area from the Squadron Sinister. Right before Nighthawk is about to fight the Nutopians, the Thors come to arrest him! Warrior Woman spoke to Doom and told him what was going on in the domain. Doom finds him guilty and sends him to the Shield where he fights Ultrons now. Back in Utopia, the Nutopians try to help the citizens but they preferred the Squadron to their new heroes....

Thors #4
Rune Thor and Destroyer Thor are basically corrupt cops. Rune Thor had been killing Jane Fosters because they all knew the truth about Battleworld. Mighty Thor and Ultimate Thor fought them for a while... until OUR Thor came to talk to all the Thors about the lies of Doom! She leads them into battle (see Secret Wars #7) and Ultimate Thor reveals that he knows who she is. 

It ends with the world being set back to normal and Ultimate Thors hammer landing on Earth..

Where Monsters Dwell #5
Karl Kaufman rebuilds the Phantom Eagle! Clemmie Franklin-Cox confronts him and tells him her back story. After telling him her story and certain the plane will break down, she lets him leave.. But Karl makes it and the Phantom Eagle flies again! But then it gets caught in a storm and Karl crashes on an island... the Island of Dung where his bride-to-be from issue one is waiting for him! So now Karl can live happily(?) with his wife and child that he had previously abandoned! 


More ANAD titles hit the past few weeks as well! None of them tell what happened on Battleworld, so don't worry about spoilers! Old Man Logan is part of the Extraordinary X-Men and it appears that the Ultimate Universe and Earth-616 are now connected forever so there's that!

So that's pretty much it! This might be it for a while.. Secret Wars #8 doesn't come out any time in the near foreseeable future, so.... yeah. The only issues left in this event are Secret Wars #8 and #9 and the final issue of Ultimate End.

I'll see you Wednesdays tho! So there's that!

Enjoy the new line up! 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The art of learning how to think

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Michael Leppert
  • Michael Leppert
I have had a thought-provocative stretch these last few days. I have been engaged with the Indiana State Board of Education recently as it reviewed a proposal to recommend changes to the high school diplomas offered by all of the state’s schools. Not surprisingly, the board is struggling with the desire to raise the performance of our students regarding readiness to go to college or enter the workforce. The discussion of how to accomplish this has been centered on the addition of math classes to the curriculum. The board was in a place where adding math was the only suggestion on the table this week, and the deadline for decision making was upon them.

Ironically, simple math dictates that by adding more math we will have to subtract something else to make room for it. Fine arts programs and instruction immediately becomes that target.

This same dilemma presented itself in the 1995 film, Mr. Holland’s Opus. In the movie, the title character tells the school board in response to their similar spot that “you people are willing to create a generation of children that will not have the ability to think or create or listen.” Because these skills are the critical things we learn from exposure to the arts.

My wife and I and several thousand of our closest friends were at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to see Stevie Wonder in concert. During the show, he took a break between songs to encourage us to tell all of our politicians to help our troubled children find their way through our commitment to education in the arts. The iconic musician simply said “give them something constructive to do.”

I worry that education policy makers believe that pumping the most data possible into our children is the best way to produce a smarter person. I emphatically disagree with that strategy. In life after school, finding answers to questions of who, what when and where are easy to find. It’s the adult answers to the questions of “how” and “why” that separate successful people from the pack.

I am in the middle of my career. (Those who know me can insert old man jokes here.) But I have been successful and know a long list of other successful business people across an array of professions. There is no question that the most successful professional adults, are those with the best ideas. Ideas come from thinking. Not data.

I have a son in college. We shopped around for his school of choice, and he had great options on his list. The most memorable sales pitch I got during that process was from a school that told me “we won’t teach your son what to think, we will teach him how to think.” Sold.

And that is what makes an education special. When I was young, school was the only place to get answers to many of my questions. My parents had a set of encyclopedias in the house that me and my siblings wore out as well. It was just data. It seemed like lots of data. In today’s world, finding data is no longer the challenge. And like economic theory would show, the lack of scarcity of something is what drives down its price. Or in this case, it’s value.

So what am I suggesting? I want to see us double down on our commitment to the arts. It is the simplest way for large groups of educators to teach large groups of students how to create, reason, innovate, and listen. I’m sure there are other ways, but long division is quite a bit further down on my list.

The night before the Stevie Wonder show, I was lucky enough to attend “Waiting and Watching” an art display at the Harrison Center for the Arts by my favorite painter, Kyle Ragsdale. He is also the curator at the Center, and it is about 500 yards from my house, so I see his work often. I have never been drawn to paintings before, but I find myself staring at his work for some reason. Searching for that reason is an exercise my mind needs.

It is that kind of exercise that all of us can use. Learning this exercise has happened on accident many times to many people who are smarter than I am. Creating these “accidents” is what I want from an education system, and we know how to do that. We do it through teaching music, painting, sculpting. We do it through teaching languages. And we do it by teaching the circumstances of why and how these works were created.

I read a recent interview Ragsdale gave. He said, “My mom had heard that if you give a child a blank paper instead of coloring books, it would make your child more creative.” That kind of creativity is the source of newer and better ideas for our communities.

The State Board of Education called a timeout on the adding of more math to our graduation requirements this week. I am glad they did. Maybe in the meantime, we can give our kids a bunch of blank paper instead.
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#NUVOpop: Bridgie Deadly

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 10:03 AM

11/18 Bridgie Deadly from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

PRETTY DEADLY IS BACK EVERYONE. What is Pretty Deadly, you ask? Well don't you worry your *chuckle* pretty little head, I will inform you about the beautiful series you've been missing out on! 

PLUS I will tell you about all the other new and awesome titles that came out this week!


Pretty Deadly #6
Pretty Deadly is a series by Kelly Sue Deconnick. It follows the bloody adventures of Death Face Ginny, the daughter of death, in a western setting! It's like Preacher, Sandman and East of West all rolled into one book. The art is dreamy and breath taking and Deconnick spins one heck of a yarn about a battle against Death! The series took A VERY VERY VERY LONG break and now it's back for it's sixth issue! Our main characters are back in a new century facing new challenges and dangers! 

**PS. There's a super cool Valkyries variant cover for this issue. What are the Valkyries? "They're a force to be reckoned with."

Huck #1
First off, let's just get this out of the way, it's by Mark Millar so we already know it's gold. Second, it's already been signed for a movie, and that was BEFORE it was released! Third, it's a great story plus it's full of heart (even if it's basically a story about Superman; sorry not sorry). Huck follows a boy in a small town who can do extraordinary things... impossible things, even. The people in town gladly keep his secret, but when money is offered, how long will they keep his secret?

Batman Europa #1
ROAD TRIP TIME! Pack your bags guys; this is literally the best road trip you will ever go on! There's a virus that possibly does not have a cure so who does Batman ask for help? Only the maker of one of the toughest viruses Batman has ever had to face- the Joker! So now the Joker and Batman are going on a road trip across Europe but something tells me that this trip won't be all Cheetos and mix tapes..

Spider-Woman #1
Spider-Woman is back! She's the most kick butt spider person ever. In her last series, she teamed up with Ben Urich and the former villain Porcupine to save the world! Now, with their help, she's going to tackle... mother hood??? You read that read! Jessica Drew is a pregnant super heroine and in this new series she will be tackling her greatest challenge yet... maternity leave! 
Oh the horror...

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1
The Eternal Warrior is a superhero from Valiant who is the world's deadliest and greatest soldier (sorry, Captain America). He has shaped the world throughout the years with his sword. Now, he's stuck on an alien planet. But this world is NOTHING like Earth. It's hostile, cruel and unforgiving. But I'm sure he can handle it, right?



Secret Wars Too (one shot)
Are you tired of Secret Wars? Are you kind of worn out from Secret Wars but still enjoy it? Do you like funny junk? Well you should read this! It's about the Beyonders and all sorts of stupid stuff. It's really great. Its a one shot. It will also cure mid-week blues (actually it might be able to cure any kind of "blues" but probably not?) 

Just read it okay. Look at the cover. It's drawn by Chip Zdarsky. It's hilarious. 

Red Thorn #1
Another new title from Vertigo! This one has a lot of Scottish gods and mythologies coming to life! There's a girl whose drawings come to life. There's also a demi-god who is planning his big prison escape across town from her! If you like Fables and Sandman and mythologies and great stories, you should check this one out! 

Vader Down #1
A NEW CROSS OVER SERIES FROM STAR WARS. This month we are truly blessed- new Star Wars trailers to tide us over until December 17th AND a super cool cross over event! Darth Vader has been trapped on a planet where he must face off against the Rebel Fleet on HIS OWN. Now we will know the true power of the dark side! Watch as everyone prepares to attack Vader- Luke, Leia, Han and MORE. Plus more Droids that you could ever imagine. It crosses over between the main Star Wars series and the Darth Vader series!

Ugh there was so much out this week. The new Thor started and Ms. Marvel is back and there's just a lot happening okay? Just watch the video, please? I couldn't write about it all. And sorry for being weird in it; I was super tired.

Click here for the full release list! 

**ALSO SO SO SO SORRY for the Secret Farts delay. I haven't even gotten half way through last week's reads. It's been crazy busy lately but I promise I'll have it up this Sunday! Pinky swears. 
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After Paris, a path forward

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 7:30 AM

John Krull
  • John Krull

As the stories and images from the horror and madness in Paris filled TV screens and dominated newspaper front pages, I sat in a room and talked with Muslim Hoosiers.

We talked on Saturday, the day after terrorists launched a series of attacks on the City of Light, murdering nearly 130 people and wounding at least another 350. Even as the sobs of the grieving still could be heard, ISIS – the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – claimed credit for the atrocities.

My conversation with the Muslim Alliance of Indiana had been scheduled weeks before. I was supposed to moderate a discussion with other media and political professionals about the impact of specific public policy issues on Muslim citizens.

But the suffering in Paris overshadowed – indeed, overwhelmed – that agenda and we dispensed with it.

We became a group of people, puzzled and troubled by the madness of an angry world, sitting in a room, trying to find points of understanding.

The Muslim Hoosiers in the room were as horrified by the brutality in Paris as anyone else. Beneath that horror was something else, a sense of shell shock and resignation that they once again somehow would be blamed or held responsible for actions they deplore.

For acts they consider a betrayal of their faith.

As we talked, their questions began to form a refrain.

How do we get other people to see that we are a religion of peace?

How do we get people to see that we despise terrorism, too?

How do we get our neighbors and fellow citizens to understand that we, too, just want to live our lives, raise our families and do our work?

How? How? How?

We talked about the difficulties of arriving at anything resembling understanding in a social media-dominated world in which everyone shouts and too few people listen. We talked about the angry voices on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere who scream for massive and irrational retaliation – using atomic weapons in the Middle East, slaughtering civilians, including women and children, to "send a message," answering madness with still more madness.

We talked.

More important, we listened.

One man, the anguish in his voice palpable, asked:

How can we get people to realize that these extreme responses are just what the jihadists and extremists want? They want the West to issue blanket and angry condemnations of all Muslims everywhere. They want American leaders to threaten sweeping reprisals. They launch these attacks not just to hurt the people of the West, but to provoke rage in them – because that rage helps the jihadists and extremists recruit new members to their murderous fold.

The answers, even in this age of exploding communications technology, were old ones.

Regardless of the medium or media one uses, we have to find ways to cut through the noise, all the yelling and screaming. We have to find ways to get people to slow down and pay attention. We have to find ways to help people listen, because that's the only way we'll come to understand each other.

Outside that room, elsewhere in the world, people running for president of the United States – people who should know better – threatened to rain Armageddon down on the Muslim world. They pledged to answer horror with horror.

Inside the room, we talked as neighbors should, about our hopes for our children and our community, our desire for an end to strife and a new birth of peace. We talked about the things that link us as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, neighbors, friends and fellow human beings.

We talked.

And we listened.

Then, when the time was up, with handshakes and well wishes all around, we left that room, that quiet place in an otherwise troubled world.

John Krull is director of Franklin College's Pulliam School of Journalism, host of "No Limits" WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

For whom the bell tolls

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 8:39 AM

Watering in the village garden. - DAN GROSSMAN
  • Dan Grossman
  • Watering in the village garden.

When I think of Paris I often think of Niger, West Africa as well. This is where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1990s. French was one of the languages that we learned as volunteers; it was a language employed by the educated class in Niger, a former French colony. I hardly ever spoke French in the village where I served—Hausa was the language spoken there—but I read a number of books in French during the long hot season afternoons when it was possible to do little else. Even in the shade, temperatures were regularly in the 120 degree Fahrenheit range.

The Peace Corps program in Niger was evacuated in 2011 and has yet to return. The evacuation was set in motion after two French aid workers were abducted from a popular restaurant in the capital Niamey. The Frenchmen were subsequently murdered by their captors, associated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghbreb, during a Franco-Nigerien rescue attempt. Peace Corps was prompted by this abduction to remove all remaining volunteers from the country.

MORE by Dan Grossman: We are all Hemingway

I say remaining because the south-central and eastern parts of Niger—including the Maradi region where I served—had already been evacuated because of heightened concern. Al Qaeda wasn’t the only threat. Just south over the border in Nigeria was Maiduguri, the city in which the headquarters of Boko Haram was located. (Boko Haram translates to “western knowledge is forbidden” in the Hausa language). This is the group that made international news when it kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls in 2014 employing some as concubines, some as suicide bombers. And this group has made inroads into Niger as well, attacking and killing dozens in the Diffa region of Niger earlier this year. And in March, CNN reported that Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

The U.S. military is taking this threat seriously, drawing a line in the sand at the Niger/Nigeria border, by training Nigerien military to deal with the Boko Haram threat.

And I probably won’t be visiting Niger anytime soon, even though I’d like to under different circumstances. Let’s just say that I’d prefer to not wind up in one of those beheading videos that are starting to crop up, originating in northeastern Nigeria.

Keep in mind that I’m talking exclusively about the threat of Boko Haram and like-minded groups and not the Nigerien people as a whole. The villagers of Mai Guero, the small village where I served, were the most hospitable people who I’ve ever known. I always felt safe there.

During my Peace Corps service, I lived in a small mudbrick hut partitioned off from the family of my landlord Halilou and his two adolescent wives Hajera and Taure. Until my Hausa comprehension reached a certain level, I wondered what Hajera was always talking about. But then, eventually, I realized that she was gossiping about me.

Halilou in the village. - DAN GROSSMAN
  • Dan Grossman
  • Halilou in the village.

Halilou was a strict Muslim and prayed five times a day—more during periods in which the rain wouldn’t fall. Like everybody in the village, he worked as a subsistence farmer, farming millet and sorghum in the meager rains of the one small growing season of the northern Sahel region.

If this crop failed, the villagers starved.

Halilou and I had many conversations about life in the west. Usually it centered on his questions about life in America. He was amazed by the fact that so many African-Americans work as lawyers, doctors, etc. I told him, of course, about racial strife in America. But it was the images of Black success that mattered to him, the images that he saw in the pages of Newsweek that we looked through together.

We even talked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was opposed to any kind of violence associated with that conflict; he made that clear to me. One day I informed him that I was leaving the village for a couple of days to celebrate Passover with some volunteer friends. I used the Hebrew word for Passover, Pesach–which is the same word in Hebrew, Arabic, and Hausa—when I told him where I was going. He smiled, saying “akwai dadi,” meaning, “That’s good.” It had taken me a while to admit my Jewish background to him because, coming into my volunteer service, I was operating on the basis of some unfounded fears.

A couple of months later, Halilou invited me to go to Friday prayers and I went with him.

When I heard news of the attacks in Paris last Friday evening, which left 129 dead and many more injured, I was just getting off work. I scanned Facebook for news from France. I wondered whether one of my Peace Corps volunteer friends, who lives in the French capital, was okay. And soon enough I found, though the Facebook Safety Check app, that he had been marked safe.

This app has come into some controversy. It was not employed the previous day, in the aftermath of two terrorist bombings by ISIS in Lebanon. Combine this with the fact that many Americans are changing their Facebook profile pics to picture the French flag. Now you have grounds for a discussion. Why do deaths in Western countries always matter more in Western media?

Aside from merely exposing prejudices, the Paris bombings also have the potential to bring out the worst of us as a nation. Witness the Muslim-bashing, isolationist pronouncements of Donald Trump and the rest in the wake of it. But to quote 16th Century English poet John Donne, no man is an island.

It would be both ironic and unforgivable at this time if America was to turn its back to Syrian refugees or to build a wall along its borders in the misguided belief that such measures would prevent future attacks. We are, after all, living in a globally wired world where the triggers for terrorist attacks are sent across borders on the internet to like-minded individuals already living in target countries. And we are, after all, reaping the whirlwind that George W. Bush set in motion by invading Iraq.
Anyway, I continue to hope for the best. What else can I do? And I maintain a glimmer of hope that one day I will one day be able to visit Halilou and his family.

But I also recall the ending of John Donne’s poem:

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls
It tolls for thee.

  • Dan Grossman

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We Are All Hemingway

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 5:20 PM

Dan Grossman
  • Dan Grossman

I was struck by Stephanie Dolan's opinion piece "You're not all Hemingway" in NUVO's Nov. 4 edition. But, let's just say, it wasn't in the best possible way. As a frequent contributor to NUVO, I read Dolan's essays from time to time. To keep up with the Joneses, I suppose. She does have a folksy charm about her writing that is often funny, but I think she lost her way with this one.

The thesis of this op-ed seems to be that most of us will never amount to the likes of Obama or Albert Einstein, or Elvis. Therefore we dumb fucks should put our hands over our eyes—and put away our smartphones—when violence explodes before us.

Dolan's example is one ripped from current newsfeeds. You probably recall the story about the white school resource officer who knocked a seated 15-year-old female African-American student to the ground and subsequently dragged her across her classroom in Spring Valley High School in South Carolina back in late October. Other students recorded video of this incident with their smartphones.

Dolan writes:

"The teenagers who recorded Senior Deputy Ben Fields violently subduing a 15-year-old student who refused to comply when she was told to leave her math class didn't waste any time in posting those videos online. There was no thought to the consequences of those postings. There was no second-guessing rash actions. They thought only of the attention they would receive and the ways in which they could insinuate themselves into the issue by having their names attached to this story."

But maybe there was something else going on. Maybe these students wanted to get their eyewitness accounts – recorded in their cellphones—out to the public before the whole affair became a he said/she said type of deal. What's wrong with that?

But according to Dolan, "these people need to sit the hell down and shut the hell up."

I'm wondering if Dolan would have the same point of view if this 15-year-old victim had had her back broken—or been paralyzed as a result of the officer's excessive force. I'm wondering if Dolan had the same response to the shooting of Black motorist Walter Scott by white South Carolina police officer Michael Slager on April 4, 2015. Recall that this incident came to the attention of the public through a bystander recording it by cellphone. I could go on. Suffice to say it's because of the "interwebz" and the fact that "everyone has a voice," through the democratization of technology, that we know about such incidents.

It seems that Dolan believes that internet savvy high school students are somehow in league with Rachel Maddow and other progressive media voices. I don't see it. And her contention that the "liberal media" is always coming down on the side of the "underdog" recalls the red meat thrown out by the likes of Fox News and Dana Loesch to their largely older, white audiences.

And Dolan's contention that the right to have cell phones—and to procreate—should only be awarded to those who pass an intelligence test, recalls the more sordid elements of our nation's past – the eugenics movement, Jim Crow laws – and not in a good way, even if she was saying these things tongue-in-cheek.

But her crowning insult to high school students everywhere – and to her readership as well — is the pithy title of her op-ed: "You're not all Hemingway."

Ernest Hemingway might best be known for hunting elephants in Africa as for his novels and short stories. But he was also, arguably, the greatest prose stylist of the twentieth century. He wrote in a terse, simple style that recalled his work as a newspaper reporter. In the wake of World War I, a war in which Hemingway served as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross, he wrote A Farewell to Arms. It was a novel in which the devastating costs of that conflict – and the lies that led to it – were laid bare in plain language.

In the novel, his protagonist Lieutenant Frederic Henry talks of the language of that war:

"I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice ... I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity."

I've always been moved by those lines. And I've always been moved by his point here — that the language itself, whether ornate or ordinary, becomes obscene in the service of lies.

And I've often recalled those lines when George W. Bush and his administration led us into war by lying to the American public — manufacturing phrases like "the axis of evil" and "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Such language is meant to subvert the democratic process. To the extent that the internet provides a counterbalance to narratives based on lies — whether it's the narrative about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction or the narrative of liberal media dominance or some other false narrative — I'm all for it.

I'm all for students turning their smartphones towards acts of abuse and uploading for the world to see. I'm all for bystanders filming acts of violence taking place on the streets, whether it's directed at innocent civilians or at the police. I'm all for non-sanctioned raw video contradicting official statements of police departments, school boards, and congressional oversight committees.

No one should ever think that they are too small or too insignificant — or too young — to have a voice. Let everyone have his or her "global mouthpiece."

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#NUVOpop: All New All Different... Shazam??

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 10:13 AM

11/11 All New All Different Shazam?? from Bridget Wilson on Vimeo.

SHAZAM has changed! He's now powered by the slightly terrifying New Gods and honestly they're being a little stingy with their powers, yo.

There's ALSO the wedding of Lois and Clark in this one and it's super sweet, guys. We also have a new Wolverine, an old Hawkeye and a villainous Illuminati team!? Hold on to your butts, guys. It's a crazy week.


DC Presents Lois &Clark (one shot) The 90s was a great decade. Awesome music, Seinfeld was on TV on the reg, a certain amazing comics vlogger was born, and Superman and Lois Lane were an item! So DC is taking us back! They're reprinting the issue where they got married PLUS there are some awesome stories surrounding the world's best couple ever. 

Grab your handkerchiefs, this issue is gonna be a tear jerker.


Carnage #1
I love horror comics and I love the crazy antics of Carnage so this one is definitely one of my top picks. Carnage is back and he's up here murdering everyone! A new police team that's led by Eddie Brock has been assembled and they've trapped him in a mine shaft... Or have they? 

IT'S A TRAP!!!!!!!

The Goddamned #1

So with all the "controversy" surrounding those Starbucks cups, you guys are in the mood for a good Bible story right? Well then fret not, because this is NOTHING like those stories. This is probably closer to what really happened during that time. The story takes place post-Eden and pre-Flood, so it's safe to say the world is a mess. People are doing horrible things to each other and frankly, they're all due for their first Apocalypse.

Slash & Burn #1

Follow the adventures of a female fire fighter and her unique abilities! She takes her job very seriously, but weird things are going down. And she's questioning herself more and more. Is she a fire whisperer or does she actually start the fires??

The Ultimates #1

Probably the best team out there (besides literally any X-Men group). Black Panther! Blue Marvel! Captain Marvel! Ms. America! Spectrum! Only the best cosmic warriors out there, and they're gonna be defending us from.... weird cosmic stuff like GALACTUS (who is in this issue)! 

BONUS YO. (Because there's a lot of good comics out this week)

All New All Different Avengers #1
HERE IT IS. THE MOMENT WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING ON (I might be the only one waiting, tbh). The beautiful and magnificent and super powerful MS. MARVEL is an Avenger!!! (please hold your applause) ALSO ON THIS TEAM... MILES MORALES. You know, only the coolest SPIDER-MAN!!! AUGH.
Also on the team is NOVA and THOR and VISION and IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!

Okay. i'll try to calm down. Anyway, super amazing team line up. And they're gonna..... assemble to save the Earth cause they are Earth's mightiest heroes!

Autumnlands Tooth & Claw #7
SO I love animals. And I especially love animal people. People I'm kinda ehhh about, but ANIMAL PEOPLE are the best.
So Tooth & Claw is all about anthropomorphic beings that live peacefully. The wizards have decided to reach back into time and bring back the great warrior to save them... only the warrior is a human?? There's a bunch of drama and back stabbing and the story WAS SO GOOD.
And now, this is the beginning of it's second story arc. Things have changed and our heroes must now go into hiding! 


No no, I'm not upset about the delays at aaaaaall..

Anyway, next week we have MORE new Marvel titles. Star-Lord, Spiderwoman, Thor AND THE NEW MS. MARVEL SERIES. Plus a new Batman series featuring art by Jim Lee that revolves around a Batman/Joker roadtrip across Europe! The new Mark Millar book hits stands next week, I Hate Fairyland #2 is out AND there's also a graphic novel about Andre the Giant!

I can't wait for next Wednesday to be here. I'll see you Sunday for Secret Farts and next week to talk about all the awesome stuff that's coming out! 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You’re not all Hemingway

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Stephanie Dolan
  • Stephanie Dolan
Nowadays, everyone thinks their opinion matters.

Sure. You’re a person. You’re just as important as the next guy. Which is to say you’re not.

No one is, really.

Obama’s pretty cool. The Pope is kinda awesome. Sure, Hillary is bitchin’. I have that altar to Elvis in my bedroom. But, by and large, your fart in the wind of an outlook is as momentous as the flatulent philosopher sitting next to you.

The downside of the interwebz is that everyone has a voice. And, I’m sorry, but there are just some people – MOST people – who need to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. Right now, I’m especially focused on “people” under the age of 18, who are sitting in algebra class and live-streaming the drama for the rest of the planet to comment on.

And these little soap operas are only such because now we all get to look into the digital magic eight ball presented by Snapchat and Instagram and pretend that we know what we’re looking at when we see perfect strangers doing and saying things completely on the outside of any imaginable context and to which we have no connection or likely frame of reference.

As if anyone knows what’s really going on until the facts have been fastidiously recorded and all matters have been investigated. There are enough movies that have been made based on secret factual stories behind completely fabricated, publically released news items that make me believe that today’s “news” is at least 84 percent live-action comic book strip.

The teenagers who recorded Senior Deputy Ben Fields violently subduing a 15-year-old student who refused to comply when she was told to leave her math class didn’t waste any time in posting those videos online. There was no thought to the consequences of those postings. There was no second-guessing rash actions. They thought only of the attention they would receive and the ways in which they could insinuate themselves into the issue by having their names attached to this story.

There are now multiple videos circulating online, and all of them begin right on the edge of the “attack”. You don’t see anything up to the point where Fields is poised over the seemingly docile student, ready to strike. Yes, students are complaining. Yes, now that this has become news, there are plenty of people jumping on the bandwagon and wailing about how this deputy is such a monster and should be forever removed from polite society.

This is what comes from giving everyone their own global mouthpiece.

This is also what comes – I believe – from a fairly liberal media always coming down on the side of the “victimized” underdog.

Sure, some people are truly 100 percent guilty. Lock ’em up. Lock ’em down. Throw the switch.

But no one gives a thought to how difficult it now is for many people to receive a fair trial when ONE side of an incident paints them into a corner from the very moment that that incident occurs.

We all have a story. We are all raised to be biased against something or someone as much as we all want to believe about ourselves that we are magnanimous colorblind benefactors of the common man.

NBC News reported that, “The Justice Department and the FBI announced Tuesday they would open their own investigations into whether the girl's civil rights were violated. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is also conducting a separate probe.”

That’s great.

And how many of those investigators have already been tainted by public opinion and cutting-edge high school video editing?

After this week, I’m starting to think that cell phones – as well as the privilege of procreation – should not be bestowed until all parties have passed some kind of basic intelligence test with a required common sense addendum.

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The magnitude of opinion

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 2:00 PM

John Guy
  • John Guy
Like heat, pressure and speed, does opinion have magnitude? Does opinion have character?

For example, does a visitor from North Dakota, sitting next to his friend in Bloomington, have the same intensity, the same degree of unrestricted loyalty and enthusiasm as his host who is an Indiana University alum, former athlete and donor? They both support the Hoosiers, but not with the same magnitude.

Sports is one thing. What about gun control? The arguments favoring methods to restrict distribution of murderous weapons appear intellectual, somewhat low key, and based on experiences in other nations. Wait. Did I say “murderous,” a powerful word? Yes, but the word defines the discussion between firearms used for sport and self-protection compared to arms having a single purpose: to kill human beings. Control advocates want only to keep murderous arms away from criminals, the mentally ill, and radical militias. The intensity of opinion is moderate.

Not so with gun defenders. They rise to glorious levels of constitutional interpretation while arguing vehemently that shootings will stop if any school teacher or pedestrian can instantly withdraw their concealed weapon to stop a threat of violence. They also pull out colorful language to hypothesize that any restriction on guns will ultimately result in an across-the-board ban on all guns everywhere though no person is asking for that. Is it thus fair to say that advocates of gun control have a lower magnitude of temperamental opinion than do defenders of unlimited rights to carry weapons? My view? Absolutely!

Another hot spot in our national conversation is abortion. On one hand, no one advocates abortion. No person conceives in order to abort. No person wants to face the decision. No business entity creates essays, political statements or advertisements declaring that abortion is a good thing. It is not a good thing. Everyone suffers: fathers and mothers, parents, siblings and friends. Still, they want the right to choose. They want the status quo, the right to make a decision to abort and availability of honest and reliable providers. On the opinion magnitude scale, theirs comes in around four.

Not so with opponents. They scream, yell, and pull out false statistics and doctored movies. They state as fact an unprovable theory about when embryos and fetuses experience pain. They protest in public with large signs and loud-speakers. On the opinion magnitude scale of 1-10, their expressions run to 10. If intensity were a game, abortion opponents would win: 10-5.

Persons in the LGBT community ask only for equal rights. They do not make a moral or biological argument that being homosexual is a good thing; they do not promote it as a lifestyle. Instead, they accept themselves, recognize awkwardness that might arise, and try to quietly live their lives in a fair and equitable legal and social context. Magnitude of opinion? Three, maybe four? Their opponents, however, are neither quiet not complacent. Groups campaign to prevent expanding the definition of marriage. Legislators pontificate. Laws and constitutional amendments are introduced. Most shocking of all, a knowledgeable friend tells me that in rural areas of some states, the lives of LGBT persons are constantly in danger. Combining all of the declarations of opponents, the violence of the past and possibly of the present, the magnitude of opinion rises to 10.

Compromise. Compromise. Compromise. That is the heart of peace in the body politic, and compromise is possible only when the magnitudes of opposing opinions are approximately equal, when all sides respect the opinions of others, and balance becomes the watchword of public policy.

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