The Upside Down Campus Protester

One common denominator characterizes almost all unrest on college campuses: the demands to create more “-studies” courses (black, Latino, feminist, gay, etc.) and thus to hire more -studies professors.

An empiricist from Mars might observe that the chief beneficiaries of the protests are -studies academics. They alone will win more jobs and classes, which otherwise few students wish to attend and from which fewer gain any factual knowledge, written and oral speaking skills, or improvement in inductive thinking.

A good leftist would cite conflict of interest: the more -studies professors egg on students to protest for more -studies professors, the more their friends, students, and mentors profit. Or is it more insidious: students also want more -studies courses to ensure more gut classes with easy As to inflate GPAs and free up more time to hit the gym and the local protest? So far there are few demands to make the physics department more diverse or to hire more engineering professors.

If some right-wing nut wished to harm leftist students and wanted to ensure that they stay indebted, leave college poorly prepared, and do not impress future employers, then he would likely advocate for the curtailment of traditional history, language, science, math courses and their faculty, and the expansion of more -studies courses and professors.

Who pays unnecessary administrators—other than students and the federal government that ensures their frequently defaulted loans? Screaming that the Constitution is racist is not the same thing as explaining the 10th Amendment’s Reserve Clause, in the way that damning old white texts does not mean one has first read Plato’s Republic or Augustine’s The City of God and found it unfair.

picture: cheap formal dressesForget the Poor?

Another irony. Note how class never really becomes an issue to campus class warriors.

If it were, campus demands would include:

1) Part-time teachers should receive equal pay for equal work, instead of receiving far less compensation for teaching the same class with the same credentials.

2) Stop administrative bloat and return more scarce education dollars for teaching students rather than creating czarist fiefdoms for academic careerists.

3) Spread the wealth among rich and poor campuses: set a cap at $5 billion on tax-free endowments; anything over that amount would be subject to for-profit tax codes regarding donations and spending. Why should Princeton have more tax-free dollars than, say, Morgan State? Are its privileged alumni and donor base to perpetuate their privilege on the public dime? Even professional sports teams treat wealthy franchises one way, and poorer counterparts quite another. Why are campuses more reactionary and adverse to spreading the wealth than Major League Baseball or the NBA?

4) Predicate affirmative action on class considerations. Why would one assume that a multimillionaire kid like Jonathan Butler who led the Missouri hunger strike faces more hardship than does a poor kid from Appalachia or a South Korean immigrant?

5) Stop building pricey bourgeoisie distractions like Club Med heated swimming pools, hipster rock-climbing walls, and 5th Avenue Fitness-style workout stations, when zero-sum money could be far better spent on more Chicano reading rooms, more black safe spaces, and more soup kitchens on campus.

Left Versus Liberal

Student protesters are furious at liberal faculty and administrators. There are few conservative faculty, statistically speaking, on college campuses. Apparently liberal appeasement is what infuriates students.

And why not? Reading an administrator’s cave-in letter elicits the same sort of contempt shown Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain from those each had tried so hard to appease. Hitler said he admired Stalin, who destroyed him far more than Chamberlain (who empowered him).

It is not very brave to sit down in the office of an invertebrate president. The real enemy logically should be at NASCAR races and NRA shows. Why not disrupt the recreation of supposed rednecks to remind them of their racism, sexism, and homophobia? Why not go to Donald Trump rallies en masse to remind the reprobate audiences of their embedded privilege?

Leftists tweaking liberals is kid’s play. The real adult would swarm the entry gate at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, mob the Cody Stampede Rodeo, and shut down a Branson concert in the Ozarks.

Adults or Children?

Students need to decide whether they are ten or twenty. One cannot be both infantile and mature as the situation demands. If one in four women are truly sexually assaulted on campus, then why not end co-ed dorms, the incubator of date rape? Dress codes for both men and women might discourage callous sexuality and cruel hook-ups. In this regard, the treasured Middle Eastern Studies department or the local black Muslim mosque might offer some empirical advice about the separation of the sexes and proper female attire, in a nonjudgmental manner of course.

If African-American students want more segregated black safe spaces and theme houses, then stop blaming administrators, and demand that students be categorized by race and housed in dormitories accordingly. To remove the odor of apartheid and segregation, we could use Orwellian language to expand the idea of “theme” houses: the Africana Row, the European Village, the Asian Neighborhood, and on and on. Do we want “white meditation rooms” or “Asian sanctuary plazas” or “Latino reflection gardens”?

How strange that students damn frat predators on campus and racist attitudes that ignore disparate impact, then head to 1940s-like Saturday football games. Don’t they know that statistically the football and basketball teams commit an inordinate percentage of campus sexual assaults, and hardly reflect proportional representation, while completely ignoring disparate impact?

Georgetown basketball and Missouri football refuse entirely to insist on racially diverse teams, and minority outreach and mentoring (Asian centers, Latino forwards, gay quarterbacks, female placekickers, etc.). Adults who want to change the world are not children who watch football on Saturdays and say nothing about the unapologetic sexism and racism on the field.

Why not forbid bourgeoisie (and infantile) campus distractions that six year olds obsess over—not mature revolutionaries who are changing the universe? Ban videogames on campuses. No real man or woman dresses up in silly preteen Halloween costumes. Only kids chant “I know you are, but what am I?” slogans. Teenagers, not adults, pose for selfies.

And why the agonizing self-confessionals about being traumatized, hurt, marginalized, and depressed by inequality and unfairness? Are they Coward Lions and Straw Scarecrows, or grim pike men in the phalanxes of hope and change?

Students, as gallant revolutionaries, should be prepared for premodern challenges in the manner of Mao’s Long March or Che’s Bolivian ordeals. Changing America is not part-time buzz in between flights back to the cushy basement of mom and dad. The true revolutionaries see nothing “hurtful.” They laugh at the absence of safe spaces. They guffaw at micro-aggressions. And they ignore trigger warnings. Instead, they welcome struggle and enjoy confrontations that toughen them up for the full-time, life-long sacrifices for the masses.

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Form, function and the feminine

The first design show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts since “Nordic Cool” in 2004, “Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today” forges a connection among female designers, artists and craftspeople in the mid-20th century with those working today. ¶ Part of the appeal of the show, featuring more than 40 artists and organized by the Museum of Arts and Design, is celebrating the revival of the clean lines and bold designs of the mid-century that came from shows such as “Mad Men” (an opening event was called “Mod Women”). ¶ But it also shows the ingenuity of women shuttled into weaving or textile classes instead of the art and sculpture they initially wanted to study — and the new horizons created by contemporary artists sometimes working in the traditions of their forebears. ¶ “The timing of this exhibit is good, with the new Renwick Gallery opening,” says Susan Fisher Sterling, director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. In both cases, the lines drawn between fine art and craft seem to be diminishing. ¶ Here’s a look at some of the featured work in “Pathmakers” by mid-century artists and those working today. And one artist, who lived to 105, spanned both categories in her remarkable 87-year career.

One of the most influential designers of the post-World War II era was a Hungarian-born woman who also worked in Germany and the Soviet Union before moving to New York, where her elegant, modernist designs for dinnerware were forward enough to have her featured in a 1946 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

A ceramicist who first thought modernist design too cold, Eva Zeisel added human touches to the flowing curves of her work, such that the title of her vivid, colorful ceramic room divider from 1957 points it out: “Belly Button Room Divider.”

Zeisel’s designs set a tone for modern elegance and are known for their function and beauty. Accordingly, her work is featured in museums as well as in the catalogue of Crate and Barrel. Zeisel also had one of the longest careers of any designer; she died in 2011 at the age of 105.

In addition to her Cloverwear from 1947, “Pathmakers” also features pendant lamp prototypes she designed more than 60 years later — in 2008, at the age of 102.

picture: yellow formal dressesRuth Asawa’s fondest dream growing up in California was to become an art teacher. Among the obstacles to that goal was her imprisonment with her family at two different Japanese American internment camps during World War II. In one of them, she graduated from high school. Discrimination followed her to Wisconsin, where she couldn’t get the required teaching practice to complete her degree at Milwaukee State Teachers College.

She went instead to Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where she began her experiments with wire sculpture, eventually becoming known for crocheted abstract forms in wire that often held other forms inside them. The sculpture in this 1952 Imogen Cunningham photograph may well be the one on display in the exhibit.

As influential as she was with her pieces in the 1950s, she became more famous in her adopted home of San Francisco for several public fountains she designed and particularly for her work in arts programs for children. A public arts high school she helped found was renamed the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in her honor in 2010, three years before her death at 87.

One of the leading designers at the celebrated Finnish firm Marimekko, Vuokko Eskolin-Nurmesniemi was responsible for many of the company’s most memorable designs, from the striped Jokapoika men’s shirt in 1956 to the pop-art-style dots that followed.

By the time she began creating her circle dresses, she had started her own company, Vuokko Oy, in 1964, where she continued to produce distinctive and influential designs. The circle dresses, which hang in circular pieces of cloth with vivid graphic designs, are meant to bestow dynamic energy on the wearer.

Her husband, designer Antti Nurmesniemi, died in 2003, but Eskolin-Nurmesniemi continues to design for her second company, Vuokko Nurmesniemi Oy, which she opened in 1990. She’s one of the few designers in the ­mid-century portion of the “Pathmakers” exhibit still working. The best fashion advice she was ever given, she told the Marimekko Web site: “You don’t need to do what others do.”

It was the painter Oskar Kokoschka who dissuaded a young Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann from being a painter in Berlin. But she went to art school anyway, eventually going to the Bauhaus, where, unable to get into a glass workshop with her future husband, Josef Albers, she went into textiles instead. When Nazi pressure closed the Bauhaus, Phillip Johnson invited the Albers to Black Mountain College in North Carolina to teach.

Her weavings gained enough renown that she was invited to show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949. In the 1960s she shifted to lithography and screen printing. Like her husband, who was concerned with color theory, she brought her patterns into various hues, as with her “Meander” series in 1970, seen in blue, red, orange and yellow. She died in 1994 at age 94 and was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, in the state where the couple had lived since 1949.

Their work continues through the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, built in Bethany, Conn., with funds acquired from the restitution of her family property in the former East Berlin.

A 1950 volume found in a used-book store, “A Handweaver’s Pattern Book,” inspired the exhibit’s biggest installation, a room of 40 colorful contemporary wall hangings. Each has the kind of intricate patterns one might find in weaving, but they have been done instead by Magic Marker on silk. The stitches are courtesy of a punch-card stencil, and the entire installation is topped by a series of handmade ceramic beads suspended by thread in front of each panel.

That the work is even up on the wall is significant for Apfelbaum; the native of Abington, Pa., who has lived and worked in New York since 1978, first became known for a series of fallen paintings — dyed velvet works scattered along the floor.

“For me,” she once said, “light, color and tactility go hand in hand.”

The team consists of three women who met while studying industrial design at Stockholm’s School of Arts, Crafts and Design. Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken and Anna Lindgren made their name at a design fair where their carpet and fabric patterns were designed by slithering snakes and rats. But they have since moved on from what they called “design by animals.”

Their furniture and light designs challenge conventions. They were asked by the German firm Axor to reimagine shower equipment, so in addition to the simple functionality of the fixtures, they also displayed all the parts usually hidden behind walls, including copper piping, valves, couplings and funnels, creating a sculptural presence.

If there’s a single item to embody women and design in “Pathmakers,” it may be this large sculpture of what looks to be a huge high-heeled shoe crashing into a block of steel. Finished in sleek, glittery automotive paint in lipstick red, it seems to be making a statement about women running into a wall. Or perhaps it is saying they can design and construct anything — including this example of contemporary furniture that is meant to provoke as well as be practical.

Like several women in the “Pathmakers” exhibit, Beer, who grew up in rural Maine, studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., as a metalsmithing major. At 37, the youngest artist in the show, Beer lives and works in Manchester, N.H.

Following a recent fellowship at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, she is designing an aeronautics-inspired public art piece that will be unveiled in Arlington in late 2016.

Hella Jongerius, “Knots & Beads Curtain,” 2015 (original design ca. 2013); Hand-knotted cotton rope, porcelain beads, powder-coated steel, and metal sleeves, 129 15/16 x 203 ⅛ in. Courtesy of JongeriusLab BV. (Frank Oudeman)

The Dutch-born designer Hella Jongerius, who has lived and worked in Berlin since 2008, led the team that was chosen in 2011 to redesign the Delegates’ Lounge at the U.N. headquarters in New York; architect Rem Koolhaas was among her collaborators. In doing so, she succeeded ­mid­century designer Dorothy Liebes (also in the show), who had a hand in the original designs in the building in 1952. In addition to Jongerius’s sleek modular sofas and innovative desks, which seem affixed with helmets, her biggest design was the “Knots & Bead Curtain,” which covers the large window of the lounge overlooking the East River.

The exhibition features a replica of the one-of-a-kind curtain, commissioned by the Museum of Arts and Design. The ceramic beads reflect a historic craft of the Netherlands, and the knots harken back to fisheries there. The irregular sizes of each indicate the human hand.

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The Ecstasy of Donald Trump

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina—All politicians, if they are any good at their craft, know the truth about human nature.

Donald Trump is very good, and he knows it better than most.

Trump stands alone on a long platform, surrounded by a rapturous throng. Below and behind him—sitting on bleachers and standing on the floor—they fill this city’s cavernous, yellow-beige convention center by the thousands. As Trump will shortly point out, there are a lot of other Republican presidential candidates, but none of them get crowds anything like this.

Trump raises an orange-pink hand like a waiter holding a tray. “They are not coming in from Syria,” he says. “We’re sending them back!” The crowd surges, whistles, cheers. “So many bad things are happening—they have sections of Paris where the police are afraid to go,” he continues. “Look at Belgium, the whole place is closed down! We can’t let it happen here, folks.”

Four months into his crazed foray into presidential politics, Trump is still winning this thing. And what could once be dismissed as a larkish piece of political performance art has seemingly turned into something darker. Pundits, even conservative ones, say that Trump resembles a fascist. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris, which some hoped would expose Trump’s shallowness, have instead strengthened him by intensifying people’s anger and fear. Trump has falsely claimed that thousands of Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks from rooftops in New Jersey; he has declined to rule out a national database of Muslims. The other day, a reporter asked Trump if the things he was proposing weren’t just like what the Nazis did to the Jews. Trump replied, “You tell me.”

picture: bridesmaid dresses onlineSome observers still think Trump’s support might be soft. Trump has dipped in the polls a couple of times, after a listless debate performance, for example. Perhaps the people who first glommed on to his celebrity got bored and drifted away. But if so, they didn’t find anybody else they liked. And they came back. And now, they are not leaving.

“I have got my mind made up, pretty much so,” says Michael Barnhill, a 67-year-old factory supervisor with a leathery complexion and yellow teeth. “The fact is, politicians have not done anything for our country in a lot of years.”

These people are not confused. They are sticking with Trump, the only candidate who gets it, who is man enough to show the enemy who’s boss.

Barnhill is wearing a button he just bought from a vender outside the convention center. It says “TRUMP 2016: FINALLY SOMEONE WITH BALLS.”

They seem so nice, your friends and neighbors. Your fellow Americans.

“In today’s time, if I’m a white person who’s proud to be white, I’m a racist,” says 44-year-old Kevin Stubbs, a land surveyor who shared his Marlboro Reds with an African American T-shirt vender on the way in. “Yet a minority can say that.”

“I do not feel safe,” says his fiancee, Loree Ballenberger, 42. “People are coming in across the border, and we have no idea where they are coming from.” She recently called her congressman to urge him to vote for a bill limiting Syrian refugees.

“I remember seeing Muslims around the world celebrating after 9/11,” says Chip Matthews, a 63-year-old retired carpentry teacher in glasses with tinted lenses. So what if it was the Mideast and not New Jersey? “The basic point, I think, is true,” he says.

“I look at the pictures of those refugees and they all look like able-bodied young men, 18 to 30 years old,” says his wife, Patrice Matthews, a 62-year-old retired school-district worker. Matthews doesn’t see why we have to be the ones to help these people. “It’s their country—they need to take it back,” she says.

I hear versions of the point about able-bodied young men from five different people. I hear, over and over again, that illegal immigration is the biggest problem we face. Almost everyone says their second-choice candidate is Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas; many express a wish that he and Trump would run on the same ticket.

Barnhill, the man with the “balls” button, says, “Like he says, people have got to abide by the law. And unfortunately, a lot of minorities don’t.”

Jay Alter, a 49-year-old computer programmer in a tweed blazer, is here with his 15-year-old son. “Just because he thinks illegal immigrants and terrorists should be deported doesn’t make him a racist,” he says. “He’s calling it as it is. You’ll never see CNN do that.”

“I grew up in Northern Virginia. I’m a big Washington Redskins fan for decades,” says 68-year-old Mike Long, a Navy vet and former defense contractor. “But all of a sudden you can’t say that anymore because it’s racist? It’s bullshit!”

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Ask the expert: Tips on varying your style ‘uniform’

Q: I love wearing one style of shirt, and in fact own three of them. What do you suggest I do to downplay my self-imposed uniform?

A: There’s nothing wrong with a uniform. International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde wears a suit, silk scarf and pearl earrings practically every day. Vogue editor Anna Wintour is virtually always in a sheath dress. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer loves cardigans with dresses, and designer Vera Wang lives in leggings and black tees. Stylish and powerful women the world over rely on uniforms to simplify their lives and define their personal styles.

Mixing up your accents will keep your personal uniform from feeling stagnant. Be sure to rotate in different necklaces, earrings and belts when you wear your favorite shirts, and try to bring some prints into play once in a while with scarves or patterned skirts.

Layering is also helpful, so try blazers, jackets and cardigans in various eye-catching colors. If you can layer the shirts under V-necked sweaters or sleeveless dresses, give that a whirl, too.

Finally, tweak how the shirt is worn: Scrunch the sleeves, pop the collar, wear it tucked sometimes and untucked others. Minor changes can make a big visual difference.

itemproppicture: formal dresses brisbaneQ: I would love to know where to find good jeans for curvy women … and not “mom jeans.” Yes, I know that high-waisted jeans are popular, but they won’t look good on this real mom.

A: I’m a longtime fan of the tummy-flattening properties of high-rise jeans (if your top’s untucked, no one will know!), but I realize the style isn’t for everyone. Midrise jeans have near universal appeal and work for a wide variety of figure shapes. Most premium denim brands such as Paige, Joe’s Jeans and J Brand offer midrise styles, but if you can’t imagine shelling out $200 for jeans try Kut From the Kloth, Liverpool Jeans and Mavi. All three are a bit more affordable, and midrise is their staple. Find them online or at Nordstrom, Evereve, Macy’s or Corset Styling.

If you need a curvy cut specifically, then Old Navy, Gap, Lee and Levi’s all offer styles that are more generous in the hips and seat, but nip in at the waist to prevent gapping. This group is also more budget-friendly, and all four brands offer plus, petite and tall sizes.

Finally, I must put in a plug for thrifted denim. Buying off the rack means you can’t tell if the jeans will sag and stretch or shrink in the wash. Secondhand denim has settled into its final configuration, so what you see in the fitting-room mirror is what you get.

Q: Is it silly to keep clothes that are too big or too small, just in case you need them again?

A: Not at all! Bodies change and weight shifts, so hanging onto a few key pieces that don’t fit can be a lifesaver. Especially for Minnesotans, who often pack on a few winter pounds before slimming down for summer. I personally wear a range of at least three sizes during any given year.

I do recommend keeping clothing that doesn’t fit somewhere other than your closet. In the basement, under-bed storage, anywhere that’s safe but out of sight. This is key if looking at those clothes makes you feel upset or disappointed or as though your body is somehow inferior. Clothes that fit another iteration of you can be brought back into rotation as needed, but shouldn’t become a daily reminder of the size you once wore.

Dress for your today body. Let yourself look fabulous right now, just as you are.

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Broncos mailbag: Peyton and Brock … but mostly Peyton

Each Tuesday during Denver Broncos’ season, our Broncos Insider Mike Klis will answer questions pulled from the Broncos Mailbag.

Say we decide to extend Brock, does he get one of those ridiculous QB contracts or some kind of incentive-laden deal given the small sample plate of work we will have of him? Bertrand Lewis

Bertrand—It’s impossible to project Osweiler’s contract value after one start.

But not after two. His agent, Jimmy Sexton, can begin by using contractual comparisons to Matt Flynn after he left Green Bay for free agency and Seattle in 2012, and Matt Schaub after he was traded from Atlanta to Houston in 2007.

Flynn sat for four years behind Aaron Rodgers, had one impressive game in defeat against the New England in 2010, then a 6 touchdown, 480-yard game in a 45-41 win against Detroit in 2011, and wound up with signing a nice deal with Seattle that paid him $8 million in 2012 and $6.25 million in 2013.

He got beat out from the jump by a third-round rookie named Russell Wilson so while Flynn set a nice financial comparison for Osweiler, he otherwise did him no favors.

Schaub had a very good game against New England, again in defeat, in 2005, and one more nice game in 2006 for the Falcons in relief of Michael Vick and parlayed that into a new contract with the Houston Texans that paid him $13 million over his first two years.

The NFL salary cap was $109 million in 2007 and $120.6 million in 2012 but has since catapulted so that it is projected to come in around $157 million next season as Osweiler becomes a free agent.

Staying with Flynn and Schaub, Osweiler’s money game is this Sunday against New England. I’ll stop there before offering projections on his value. Let’s see what he does Sunday night against the Pats first.

635839762726760067-manning-osweiler.jpgpicture: red carpet dressesIf the Broncos win – and I think they will – then Osweiler moves alongside Von Miller as general manager John Elway’s top offseason priority.

A question to ask all the way from Peru, IN (Hardcore Broncos fan) Why is national sports media want to twist information whether Peyton wants to play in 2016 or beyond for Broncos or elsewhere if it’s not coming directly from him? What are your personal thoughts on hearing this ridiculous rumor? I just hope Denver media have better respect for Manning and the Broncos compared to those who are coming from National outlets. Nouri M. Marrakchi

Nouri – The report was delivered by Mike Florio, who is a giant in the NFL media industry. He primarily gathers reports from others and re-blogs with his own commentary on the website Pro Football Talk.

His gig as an NFL Insider on NBC’s Sunday Night Football has raised his profile to gargantuan proportions. He has gathered his sources over the years.

I was surprised by the report. Let me preface this by saying I do know when Peyton Manning first signed his five-year, $96 million deal with the Broncos in 2012, his plan was to complete that contract. Prior to the 2014 season, he went on record with me saying his goal was to complete the contract.

When in March of this season he took a pay cut from $19 million to $15 million for the 2015 season, but left his non-guaranteed $19 million salary intact for 2016, his intention was to play two more years. He said as much during an offseason press conference back on April 28 when asked if he was looking at this season as his farewell tour: ”I wouldn’t call it that. That’s not how I see it.”

However, recent events have clearly thrown Manning a curveball. He has not responded well to injuries as he has in the past. Injuries are negatively affecting his performance. Which is what happens to aging players.

After he slumped in the second half of last season, Manning did contemplate retirement. He wasn’t thinking that way through seven games last season when he had 22 touchdowns against 3 interceptions. At that point it was clear he could play for 2 ½ more years.

But his second-half slump last season did cause some personal reflection. He will do so again after this season.

But I don’t think he’ll give it much thought until then.

Since his April presser, Manning has brushed off such inquiries about his future. He almost always dismisses big-picture, deep-thought questions. He compartmentalizes like no one else this side of Bill Belichick.

Even when Manning was throwing four touchdowns and 400 yards nearly every game in 2013, he never talked about the pace he was on to set records. He would only review the last game and give his thoughts about the next game.

By going about it one day at a time, one game at a time, he wound up breaking all those records in 2013.

The Manning I know would not give serious thought about next year or the possibility of playing for another team in 2016. But it’s not like we meet for beers once a week.

Florio felt strongly enough about his information to go with the report. I’m not dismissing the possibility Manning will play next year, even if it’s for another team. It’s not the way I’d bet, but I don’t think Manning has given it serious thought one way or the other.

I’ll ask Manning about it this week, but I was told he was insulted by the report. He arranged to see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina to check out his plantar fasciitis in his left foot because he wants to help the Broncos this year.

Do you find it immature of Peyton Manning not congratulating or making any comment on Brock’s first NFL win? I thought Peyton was a classier act than that. Lisa Thomas

Lisa – Manning did congratulate Osweiler. Manning is a class act.

It’s incredible all these sidebar stories on Manning. They are all so irrelevant. Whether or not Manning congratulates Osweiler (he did) is irrelevant. Whether or not Manning travelled to Chicago (he didn’t) is irrelevant. Whether or not Manning plays next year, and for another team, as of today, is irrelevant.

All that’s relevant is Manning didn’t play against the Bears and Osweiler did. It’s relevant that Osweiler is starting this week against the Patriots. It’s also relevant whether or not Manning dresses as Osweiler’s backup for the game. He may.

All that other stuff is gossip. We all know gossip is fascinating. It generates a great business. But it has no bearing on whether the Broncos win the Super Bowl this season.

What’s the actual status and healthy ceiling on Manning? Is he injured to the point that it explains his performance this year? The KC game was far worse but the trend has been poor this year. When healthy, what is his actual ability like? Could he steer the team to a title? Delieep Rao

Delieep – I remember reading something about Chris Evert after she finished her great tennis career. She said as you get older, you can still play great, you just can’t do it as often.

That’s what happened to Manning when he was healthy this year. He was great against Green Bay. He was great in the second half against Indianapolis. He was great in the final 2 minute drive at Kansas City. He just wasn’t playing to his standard of excellence as often.

When a team makes a midseason switch to a quarterback who had never played before, that team is on a week-by-week basis. Right now, this is Osweiler’s team. He will be the one charged with leading the Broncos to the title.

Unless things change.

Why are the Broncos still trying to force Peyton Manning to run an offense that does not cater to his strengths as a player? I understand that there was a need to have more focus on the running game and taking some pressure off of Peyton’s arm this season but they are taking away the ONLY thing that has made Peyton Manning one of the best quarterbacks in history– his mind. Peyton’s biggest strength has always come before the ball is snapped, the ability to read the defense and make them react to his call, he has never been an amazing athlete but he has been an amazing football player. Is there just too much ego in the organization to admit failure with the scheme and talent mismatch or are the people in charge really blind to the facts? It is Peyton’s final run why won’t they let him do what he is best at? Samuel Potter

Sam – One reason why I think it’s possible Manning does come back for another year is because there is reason to believe his struggles this year are not because he’s too old to play at 39, but that his skill set – call it at the line, read the defense from the shotgun, spread ’em out with three or four receivers and pass, pass, pass – doesn’t marry well with Gary Kubiak’s offense of huddling up, run the play that’s called, take the snap from directly under center, run the ball first, play-action pass off the run.

I do think if Manning was still running Adam Gase’s no-huddle offense, he’d be playing better. But Kubiak, and John Elway, believe the Broncos have to run the ball more efficiently in order to win the Super Bowl. Manning’s way got the Broncos to the promise land, but they didn’t hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

I know sports aren’t what they used to be, but the coach still rules. The player follows the coach’s rules.

Kubiak has adjusted for his quarterback. Manning has adjusted for his coach. I would even suggest it went well despite Manning’s stats. The team started 7-0 and is 8-2 now.

Our right tackle was being beat badly contributing to offensive problems, are they still sticking with Michael Schofield? Myron Bosch

Myron – Actually, Schofield has been one of the Broncos’ most pleasant surprises this year. Yes, there have been some growing pains. Yes, he had a tough day against Justin Houston and the Kansas City Chiefs – as most of the Broncos’ offensive linemen did.

But Schofield is blossoming into a very good run blocker. And his pass protection is improving.

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Las Vegas Christmas shows are warm and fuzzy — with swordplay

Like Neon Las Vegas on Facebook:By Mike Weatherford

Las Vegas Review-Journal

You have your Grinch and your Scrooge. And now you have your bastard son of King Arthur, who really knows how to turn over a punch bowl. When patricide is the goal of his sword-swinging, short-changing your clerk and stealing toys don’t seem like such big deals after all.

But Christmas was a younger tradition in King Arthur’s day, and so it is with Las Vegas shows. If ”King Arthur’s Tournament” wants to become ” ‘Twas the Knight” for a month it’s welcome — mayhem and all — on the Strip, where a traditional December dip in tourism usually leaves the holiday-themed activity to the suburbs.

Over the years, though, a few shows have figured out ways to warm up to the season efficiently. Makeovers with enough changes to put us in the spirit yet stay on a budget somewhere between Scrooge and Saturnalia.

Here’s a rundown, starting with the newest and most unusual:

” ‘Twas the Knight”

It doesn’t snow much in the desert, unless you have Merlin the magician to help with the white stuff. That’s just one of the changes to the Excalibur’s medieval action show from Wednesday through Dec. 28.

”Basically, it’s the existing show with a really nice, spirited holiday flavor,” director Philip Shelburne says. ”There’s some hope this can become somewhat of a tradition and that we can change it up by the season,” the way theme parks get Halloween and Christmas makeovers.

1004109330_nv_lvrj_tk.jpgpicture: formal dresses sydneyShelburne collaborated with veteran cast members and local actor Sean Critchfield to rewrite the show within structural limits. ”Things are inserted throughout,” he says. ”We had to be careful of where we inserted changes, just due to the practicality of this type of show. It’s not like we can cut a scene and put something else in. There’s a lot of ripple effect.”

The first change repeat customers will notice is a preshow to set a festive note right away. ”It’s meant to just be kind of like the orchestra warming up. People getting ready for the big event, King Arthur’s holiday tournament,” Shelburne says. It’s a little more interactive than the year-round show as well, he says, with performers venturing into the audience.

The show itself substitutes Christmas-flavored music throughout and has a holiday banquet with new costumes.

Spoiler alert: ”Obviously Mordred comes in and crashes the party and everything has to be put into place,” Shelburne says. ”Merlin pulls it all back into a peaceful, harmonious Christmas spirit.”

But what else would you expect a dude in a white beard to do?

Human Nature

The vocal quartet Human Nature didn’t get a lot of rehearsal time for its Christmas show. Or did it?

As boys in Australia, ”before we were officially a group, we would put a hat out on the street and sing Christmas carols,” Mike Tierney says of the group he started with brother Andrew Tierney and their school friends Phil Burton and Toby Allen.

Pretty soon, ”Shopping centers were asking us to walk around.” And before you knew it, teenage girls were screaming at them. Now grown up and the force behind a Motown-themed show at The Venetian, Human Nature last year trotted out the awful sweaters — granted, as part of a bit — and blended the Motown favorites with songs from its own Christmas album.

Last year’s show paired the quartet with guest singer Robin Meade, HLN’s morning anchor. This year Tierney and singing brother Andrew Tierney had to go scouting. They checked out the short-lived ”Baz” at Mandalay Bay (celebrating the movies of fellow Australian Baz Luhrmann) and were so knocked out by singer Ruby Lewis they asked her to be their Christmas guest.

”We caught her just in time,” Tierney says, because Lewis is Broadway-bound to star in Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway show ”Paramour” next spring. ”Ruby makes it feel like a different show,” he adds. ”She can sing anything really,” possibly even the version of ”Let It Snow” the lads do with Aussie pop singer Delta Goodrem on the Australian edition of ”The Christmas Album.”

Tierney says the group will soon announce some news about its future on the Strip; both a new casino home and new format for the show are possibilities. If the holiday show turns out to be a short tradition at The Venetian, it may still generate fond memories. Let’s just say Merlin isn’t the only wizard who can make it snow.

But he can’t make the sweaters go away. ”We’re doing a battery check,” Tierney says with a laugh.

”Legends in Concert”

Compared to figuring out how to blend swordplay and holiday cheer, this one’s a breeze. ”Legends” such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley had more than one Christmas album to pick from, and even the Jackson Five had one in 1970. Damian Brantley, Las Vegas’ top Michael impersonator, can always cue it up should he be torn between ”Up on the Rooftop” or ”I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”

The holiday editions of ”Legends” has become a Las Vegas tradition, this year running from Monday through Christmas. It also features tributes to Taylor Swift and Madonna, apparently the closest thing this party has to a Grinch — at least in the eyes of some parents who complained about the Material Girl’s gyrations when a middle school choir joined the show. Nonetheless, school groups do still join select performances, and parents might take comfort in knowing Madonna’s part of the show has become more theatrical and cute, not as saucy.

‘Marriage Can Be Murder’

Swords and guns too? Las Vegas can be a dangerous place to spend the holidays. But it’s still Vegas, a town where even a gut-shot victim in an interactive murder mystery knows the show must go on, as he croons ”Blue Christmas” all the way to his last gasp.

Audiences get asked to figure out who the culprit is among them. And to sing ”Jingle Bells” too, when the D Las Vegas’ dinner show dresses up for the holidays Nov. 30 through Jan. 4, the only show to keep the spirit going past New Year’s Day.

Terry Fator

The jousting show may get the enterprise ribbon, but nobody’s going to steal the Christmas spirit award from Terry Fator. The Mirage headliner has staged ”A Very Terry Christmas” in different permutations for five years now, though we believe each one of them included the joke about a Christmas light outage causing his front yard to simply advertise ”Ho.”

The ace ventriloquist goes all-in to bring back the ”living room” set of the TV specials he grew up watching. And like some of those ’60s stars, he has been at the Christmas thing so long now he actually has material to rotate out — if, like some of us, you noticed, ”Hey, he didn’t use the Bing Crosby puppet” last year.

”I start listening to Christmas music on November 1st,” Fator said in 2013. ”I’m just that guy. I love the season so much, it’s a lot of fun for a month just to get out there and do a big Christmas show.”

However, he is apparently a Thanksgiving guy, too. As in, a guy who doesn’t do the show Thanksgiving weekend. So check out the others and come back for Fator’s show, which opens Nov. 30 and runs through Christmas eve. (However, the guy who usually takes Saturdays off will add shows Dec. 5 and 12).

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Salem Museum moves forward with new leadership

The Salem Museum, with the departure of longtime director John Long, is now under new leadership.

Peggy Shifflett is no stranger to preserving local history. For decades, the retired Radford University professor has studied, collected and taught American folk culture and lore.

“I have all of this knowledge stored up in here,” said Shifflett, tapping her noggin. “I’m having a lot of fun putting my knowledge into practice.”

Shifflett, who holds a doctorate in sociology from Texas A&M University, has come a long way since her childhood days growing up in the Appalachian foothills in a little area known as Hopkins Gap, Virginia. Shifflett, a collector of material culture, as well as oral histories, has chronicled many of her family stories in four books, the first of which is “The Red Flannel Rag.”

Peggy and Annapicture: formal dresses“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Shifflett, who has agreed to serve as acting curator for one calendar year with no financial compensation. “This gives me an opportunity to serve the museum during this time of transition and allows me to put my past education into practice.”

And indeed she is! In addition to a new bi-weekly column for a local weekly paper titled ”Museum Musings,” Shifflett already has the museum’s calendar full of exhibits and programs. The museum’s collection of framed carrier addresses — witty poems written by paper delivery boys as a clever way of asking for a tip (often, their only wage) — will be on display beginning Dec. 1.

A new exhibit on the newly completed ground level, ”Historical Sailing Ships in America,” is set to open Jan. 2 and will feature handmade model ships and bottle ships. Dates are also being set for workshops during which a guardian and child can learn how to construct a bottle ship together.

Plans are also in the works to host a death and mourning exhibit at the newly acquired Preston Place, said to be the oldest home in Salem.

“Emma Preston, daughter of the house, died suddenly and at a rather young age in 1889,” said the museum’s assistant director, Anna Cory. “We found some of her sister’s mourning dresses and letters that correspond with her death. We thought it would be great to incorporate those items with funerary customs of the day.”

Cory, who has worked with the museum since 2013, has experience as an archivist and has just recently acquired her master’s degree in library and information sciences. Sorting and organizing the Preston papers, found in the attic, has been a special, ongoing project for her – the collection gained attention last year as one of the top 10 endangered artifacts from across the commonwealth.

Historical Society meetings are held the third Monday of each month and highlight a topic of local history flair. January’s meeting welcomes Anne Stuart Beckett, an historic preservation planner who recently finished extensive work at Natural Bridge to create an attractive historic district in addition to completing a grant-funded survey that encompasses the history and land development use of the Natural Bridge Resort. February’s meeting, in celebration of Black History Month, will feature Drs. Donna and Cliff Boyd, Radford University professors who have completed a study comparing the bones of slaves with those of emancipated or free blacks.

Just announced at November’s Monday night meeting, the board unanimously voted to hire Anne Stuart Beckett as part-time interim director. Beckett holds a degree in historic preservation from Mary Washington College and has practiced architectural history in the Roanoke Valley since 1996, first with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in the Roanoke Regional Preservation office and most recently as a private consultant. Of her most recent appointment, Beckett said, “I am thrilled to get back to Salem and work where it all began 19 years ago this month!”

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Models wear dresses made of trash to walk the runway in Des Plaines

ered ball gowns made of scalloped Mariano’s plastic grocery bags and layers of J.K. Rowling book pages hit the catwalk Thursday in Des Plaines at the ninth annual Trashy Fashion Show hosted by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County.

Twenty-five outfits designed by 94 middle school and high school students from 23 communities in the north and northwest suburbs celebrated this year’s theme, ”Heroes of Our Universe” while reusing discarded fabrics and recyclable items into one-of-a-kind wearable works of art. Students came from Niles West, Niles North and Fremd high schools, among others.

Created in 2006 by Mary Allen, recycling and education director at SWANCC, the fashion show, hosted at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, brings awareness to reuse and recycling in an innovative way, attracting 160 guests last week and proving ”one person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.”

The event happens each year around Nov. 15, which is America Recycles Day, organizers said.

Madeline Atkinsonpicture: year 10 formal dresses”I’m very happy with the turnout and the quality of designs we saw,” said Allen, who encourages creative reuse in the show. ”This raised a social consciousness about reuse and recycling, and the designers came through as good environmental stewards.”

Students used found items to create fashion representing such ”heroes” as Martin Luther King Jr., G.I. Jane, Maya Angelou and even the Girl Scouts, with a skirt made of Girl Scout box covers belted with a Girl Scout sash of patches.

Madeline Atkinson, 14, an eighth grader at Barrington Middle School Station Campus, worked with her mother, Jennie, 46, to create a dress celebrating her favorite childhood author, J.K. Rowling, in her design ”Lessons by the Book.”

A mattress cover was used as the base of the dress and angled to create a flouncy ruffle finish at the heels while the outer part of the dress was made exclusively from pages of a Harry Potter book, layered with paper fans for a dramatic effect. An old T-shirt and broach were repurposed to make the choker and the headband was made from poster board, while the clutch purse was made from a book, book pages, buttons and string.

”The process of making the dress is a way to show you can make things out of recycled materials,” said Madeline Atkinson. ”It’s kind of interesting to me and I wanted to do it for fun.”

Her masterpiece took almost four months to create.

”I just love being able to sew with her,” Jennie Atkinson said. ”The freedom of designing your own thing was a fun way to use recycled materials. She loves J.K. Rowling and loved the books.”

Inspired by Vera Wang, who had humble beginnings in the fashion industry, Fremd High School students Allie Nowak and Alyssa Incrocci along with 35 helpers, created ”In Tiers” which resembled a luxurious wedding gown yet it was made of layers upon layers of plastic grocery bags from Mariano’s and Peapod, paper strips, a clear plastic grocery bag, white twist-ties and an old pair of earrings to create a feathery, flowing effect that drew oohs and aahs from the audience.

”That wedding dress, I would wear it,” said Stephanie Katsaros, a guest at the show. ”I need to think this way. It really reminds you that you can repurpose. It’s not waste.”

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Spirit of Detroit Joins Ford Volunteer Corps, Dresses in Ford Blue to Celebrate 10 Years of Building Stronger Communities

Spirit of Detroit sculpture dons Ford Volunteer Corps T-shirt like the one worn to feed the hungry, build homes, help children read and improve communities

Ford Volunteer Corps is celebrating 10 years of community service that has contributed more than one million hours of support in 48 countries around the world

Ford Motor Company’s community contributions include support of America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next week featuring a 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 as the lead vehicle

November 18, 2015 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

Ford Motor Company Fund has enlisted the iconic Spirit of Detroit sculpture to help celebrate 10 years of the Ford Volunteer Corps and symbolize Ford’s continuing commitment to the city.

“We’re honored to see this iconic Detroit symbol wearing the Ford Volunteer Corps T-shirt like the Ford employees who strengthen our community and create a better world.”

The famed 26-foot bronze work of art is today online formal dresses in a blue T-shirt like the one worn by Ford volunteers during more than 8,000 community service projects in Detroit since 2005. Ford employees volunteer year round on a wide range of community service projects that help build homes, feed the hungry, assist veterans in need and teach children to read.

“The Spirit of Detroit embodies the can-do spirit of a great American city and is a source of inspiration for the people of southeast Michigan,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services. “We’re honored to see this iconic Detroit symbol wearing the Ford Volunteer Corps T-shirt like the Ford employees who strengthen our community and create a better world.”

Ford Motor Company played a defining role in Detroit’s emergence as the Motor City and continues to invest in programs that advance the city’s economic rebound and prospects for future success. Ford and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, have invested nearly $200 million in southeast Michigan over the past 10 years, including support for education through Blue Oval scholar programs, Driving Skills for Life safety courses and enduring community traditions such as the Ford Fireworks and America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Ford this year is again a prominent supporter of America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Under the theme “Innovation through Performance,” Ford’s presence includes: a 2016 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 and Focus RS as the lead vehicles in the parade; more than 40 F-150 full-size pickup trucks and other vehicles pulling parade floats and carrying VIPs; as well as Ford’s float, which will mark 10 years of the Ford Volunteer Corps and spotlight the future performance vehicles Ford GT and Focus RS.

In recent years Ford’s contributions to improving lives in the Detroit area also include:

A fleet of 18 Ford Mobile Food Pantries at local food banks that are used to collect and distribute food, and have delivered millions of meals.

Ford Resource and Engagement Center in southwest Detroit, a unique community gathering place where neighbors can receive essential services from tax help to food for their families.

Ford Blue Oval Scholarships, Ford STEAM Lab and Ford Freedom Award offer educational opportunities for students to pursue a college degree and reach their full career potential.

Support for local arts and cultural institutions, such as Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theater, Charles H. Wright African American History Museum and Michigan Science Center.

The Ford Volunteer Corps was formed in 2005 by Executive Chairman Bill Ford in response to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami and two hurricanes in the United States. While volunteerism has always been an integral part of Ford Motor Company, creation of the Ford Volunteer Corps unified and expanded the company’s extensive global network of volunteer and community service activities.

Since the Ford Volunteer Corps was founded, more than 250,000 volunteer participants have worked on nearly 11,000 projects in 48 countries, providing more than one million hours of service.

The Ford Volunteer Corps shirt will be on the Spirit of Detroit until Nov. 30.

About Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving. Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Next Generation Learning and other inspiring programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information.

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Woodford County High reaches consensus on dress code

Teachers, parents and administrators came to a consensus Monday night on a compromise dress-code policy for Woodford County High School students.

The school’s decision-making council gave first reading to the revised policy, and the council plans to give final approval at its Dec. 14 meeting. Principal Rob Akers said the new policy will take effect in January for the school’s 1,275 students.

Parents and students began calling for changes in the school’s 11-year-old dress code at the start of classes in August, and the controversy went viral on social media. More than 6,500 people signed an online petition on Change.org seeking to modify what was called an “outdated” dress code, but many of those people didn’t live in Woodford County.

The new dress code includes changes sought by students, including Maggie Sunseri, 16, a junior who produced a documentary in which females alleged gender bias. The documentary had more than 323,300 views on YouTube.

Maggie said Monday that she was satisfied with the new policy.

“I’m really glad we came to a compromise,” Sunseri said. “I think it was a great learning experience. I think it just shows kids that if they’re really passionate about something, they should just go out and make it happen. If they don’t agree with something, then they shouldn’t just sit idly by. They should go out and make positive change.”

Maggie Sunseri, 16, a junior at Woodford County High School, sought changes in the dress code.picture: bridesmaid dressesMaggie said fellow students are “excited that we’re getting a more lenient code.”

I think it just shows kids that if they’re really passionate about something, they should just go out and make it happen.

Maggie Sunseri, student at Woodford County High School

Under the current code, a student must wear a rounded crew-neck shirt or a button-down shirt that may have only the top button open. Shirts must not expose the collarbone. Shorts and skirts must be knee-length or longer.

The new code says, “Necklines shall not droop any lower than the shortest dimension of a credit card (2.125 inches) positioned at the base of the collarbone.”

In addition, “shirts and dresses without sleeves are permitted, but straps must be at least the width of the shortest dimension of a credit card.”

Also, “no tank tops, racer-back tops, halter tops, tube tops, spaghetti straps, etc., are permitted,” the new code says.

Students may wear jeans, khakis, slacks, capris and sweatpants of any color, but they “must be free of any holes, rips or tears that expose the skin or undergarments,” the new code says.

In addition, “leggings and yoga pants are permitted but must be worn with a top, shirt, hoodie or sweater that extends below the fingertips with arms fully extended at the side, in the front and back.”

Skorts, shorts, skirts and dress hemlines must “extend to the shortest dimension of the credit card from the top of the knee.”

Sheer, transparent or semi-transparent materials “are prohibited unless worn over a dress code-appropriate garment,” the new code says.

A student will get a warning for a first offense. Penalties including detention will become more onerous with each successive offense, and a fourth offense will result in suspension.

I think it’s more of a nod to what current fashion is.

Rob Akers, Woodford County High School principal

As under the current code, teachers will not take measurements but will send students to the office, and the principals will make the final decision.

Administrators will not take measurements, either, Akers said. “We’ll have a method for them to be able to self-assess,” he said.

Students will look at themselves in a full-length mirror to make that assessment, Akers said. He said the new policy is viewed as better by all parties, “because it’s seen as a bit of a compromise.”

“I think it’s more of a nod to what current fashion is,” Akers said. “We’re trying to help students and families out a little bit with a compromise. …We listened to our community. We tried to make some adjustments to try to meet them halfway with what they wanted. …We met a lot, probably more than people thought we should, but we did get to a point where we have something we can all live with.”

Stacie Dunn, whose daughter was sent to the school office in August, said she was pleased with the new policy.

“I think it’s a much more realistic dress code,” Dunn said. “I think it allows kids to dress in more modern styles, not just T-shirts and blue jeans.”

Asked what students should learn from the three-month discussion about the dress code, Dunn said they should know that “it’s not okay to follow rules blindly.”

“But it’s also not okay to change the rules the wrong way,” Dunn said. “You’ve got to do it the right way. Maggie’s made a great example of the right way to do this. But if you see something that’s not right and it needs to be changed, then you need to stand up and you need to ask for change.”

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