Daily Archives: January 7, 2021

IBM Provides Harris-Stowe State University with $2M in AI, Cloud Resources for Student Skill Building – HPCwire

Posted: January 7, 2021 at 5:53 am

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 6, 2021 Harris-Stowe State University has announced a multi-million dollar collaboration with IBM on a comprehensive program designed to develop diverse and high demand skill sets that align with industry needs and trends so both students and faculty can develop the skills they need today for the jobs of tomorrow.

IBM and Harris-Stowe State University are building on the need to advance digital skills in education and are dedicated to providing future focused curriculum and educational tools to help train the diverse workforce of tomorrow in fast-growing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, data science, cybersecurity, cloud and quantum.

Harris-Stowe State University is thrilled to collaborate with IBM to provide greater access to skills and training in the tech industry, said Dr. Corey S. Bradford, Sr., president of Harris-Stowe State University. As the world, more than ever relies on the use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to solve grand societal challenges, Harris-Stowe must continue to develop well prepared and ready graduates to join the STEM workforce. This collaboration is yet another example of our commitment to supporting student and faculty development and assisting in preparing students to compete and lead globally.

The collaboration extends IBMs recent investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development with HBCUs across the United States through the IBM Skills Academy and enhanced IBM Academic Initiative.

Equal access to skills and jobs is the key to unlocking economic opportunity and prosperity for diverse populations, said Valinda Scarbro Kennedy, HBCU Program Lead, IBM Global University Programs. As we announced earlier this fall, IBM is deeply committed to helping HBCU students build their skills to better prepare for the future of work. Through this collaboration, Harris-Stowe State University students will have an opportunity to gain modern skills in emerging technologies across hybrid cloud, quantum and AI so they can be better prepared for the future of work in the digital economy.

As part of its multi-year Global University Programs, which include the IBM Academic Initiative and the IBM Skills Academy, IBM is providing more than $100M in assets, faculty training, pre-built and maintained curriculum content, hands on labs, use cases, digital badges and software to participating HBCUs. The IBM Academic Initiative provides access to resources at no-charge for teaching, learning and non-commercial research with recent enhancements including access to guest lectures. The IBM Skills Academy is a comprehensive, integrated program through an education portal designed to create a foundation of diverse and high demand skill sets that directly correlate to what students will need in the workplace. The learning tracks address topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, data science and quantum computing.

IBMs investment in HBCUs like Harris-Stowe State University is part of the companys dedicated work to promote social justice and racial equality by creating equitable, innovative experiences for HBCU students to acquire the necessary skills to help unlock economic opportunity and prosperity.

About IBM

IBM is a global leader in business transformation, serving clients in more than 170 countries around the world with open hybrid cloud and AI technology. For more information, please visit here.

About Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), located in midtown St. Louis offers the most affordable bachelors degree in the state of Missouri. The University is a fully accredited four-year institution with more than 50 majors, minors and certificate programs in education, business and arts and sciences. Harris-Stowes mission is to provide outstanding educational opportunities for individuals seeking a rich and engaging academic experience. HSSUs programs are designed to nurture intellectual curiosity and build authentic skills that prepare students for leadership roles in a global society.

Source: IBM

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IBM Provides Harris-Stowe State University with $2M in AI, Cloud Resources for Student Skill Building - HPCwire

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Photonic processor heralds new computing era | The Engineer The Engineer – The Engineer

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A multinational team of researchers has developed a photonic processor that uses light instead of electronics and could help usher in a new dawn in computing.

Current computing relies on electrical current passed through circuitry on ever-smaller chips, but in recent years this technology has been bumping up against its physical limits.

To facilitate the next generation of computation-hungry technology such as artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, researchers have been searching for new methods to process and store data that circumvent those limits, and photonic processors are the obvious candidate.

Funding boost for UK quantum computing

Featuring scientists from the Universities of Oxford, Mnster, Exeter, Pittsburgh, cole Polytechnique Fdrale (EPFL) and IBM Research Europe, the team developed a new approach and processor architecture.

The photonic prototype essentially combines processing and data storage functionalities onto a single chip so-called in-memory processing, but using light.

Light-based processors for speeding up tasks in the field of machine learning enable complex mathematical tasks to be processed at high speeds and throughputs, said Mnster Universitys Wolfram Pernice, one of the professors who led the research.

This is much faster than conventional chips which rely on electronic data transfer, such as graphic cards or specialised hardware like TPUs [Tensor Processing Unit].

Led by Pernice, the team combined integrated photonic devices with phase-change materials (PCMs) to deliver super-fast, energy-efficient matrix-vector (MV) multiplications. MV multiplications underpin much of modern computing from AI to machine learning and neural network processing and the imperative to carry out such calculations at ever-increasing speeds, but with lower energy consumption, is driving the development of a whole new class of processor chips, so-called tensor processing units (TPUs).

The team developed a new type of photonic TPU capable of carrying out multiple MV multiplications simultaneously and in parallel. This was facilitated by using a chip-based frequency comb as a light source, which enabled the team to use multiple wavelengths of light to do parallel calculations since light has the property of having different colours that do not interfere.

Our study is the first to apply frequency combs in the field of artificially neural networks, said Tobias Kippenberg, Professor at EPFL

The frequency comb provides a variety of optical wavelengths which are processed independently of one another in the same photonic chip.

Described in Nature, the photonic processor is part of a new wave of light-based computing that could fundamentally reshape the digital world and prompt major advances in a range of areas, from AI and neural networks to medical diagnosis.

Our results could have a wide range of applications, said Prof Harish Bhaskaran from the University of Oxford.

A photonic TPU could quickly and efficiently process huge data sets used for medical diagnoses, such as those from CT, MRI and PET scanners.


Photonic processor heralds new computing era | The Engineer The Engineer - The Engineer

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Jordan Peterson – Wikipedia

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Canadian clinical psychologist

Jordan Bernt Peterson (born 12 June 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He began to receive widespread attention in the late 2010s for his views on cultural and political issues.

Born and raised in Alberta, Peterson obtained bachelor's degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Alberta and a PhD in clinical psychology from McGill University. After teaching and research at Harvard University, he returned to Canada in 1998 to join the faculty of psychology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, he published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, which became the basis for many of his subsequent lectures. The book combined information from psychology, mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and neuroscience to analyze systems of belief and meaning.

In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce "gender identity and expression" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.[a] He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics. He subsequently received significant media coverage, attracting both support and criticism.

Peterson's lectures and debatespropagated also through podcasts and YouTubegradually gathered millions of views. He put his clinical practice and teaching duties on hold by 2018, when he published his second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Promoted with a world tour, it became a bestseller in several countries.

Peterson was born on 12 June 1962, in Edmonton, Alberta,[2] and grew up in Fairview, a small town in the northwest of the province.[3] He was the eldest of three children born to Walter and Beverley Peterson. Beverley was a librarian at the Fairview campus of Grande Prairie Regional College, and Walter was a school teacher.[4][5] His middle name is Bernt (, BAIR-nt),[6] after his Norwegian great-grandfather.[7]

In junior high school, Peterson became friends with Rachel Notley and her family. Notley became leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party and 17th premier of Alberta.[8] Peterson joined the New Democratic Party (NDP) from ages 13 to 18.[9][10]

After graduating from Fairview High School in 1979, Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature.[11] He later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982.[9] Afterwards, he took a year off to visit Europe, where he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War; 20th-century European totalitarianism;[11][12] and the works of Carl Jung, Friedrich Nietzsche, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,[4] and Fyodor Dostoevsky.[12] He then returned to the University of Alberta and received a B.A. in psychology in 1984.[13] In 1985, he moved to Montreal to attend McGill University. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology under the supervision of Robert O. Pihl in 1991, and remained as a post-doctoral fellow at McGill's Douglas Hospital until June 1993, working with Pihl and Maurice Dongier.[11][14]

From July 1993 to June 1998,[1] Peterson lived in Arlington, Massachusetts, while teaching and conducting research at Harvard University as an assistant professor in the psychology department. During his time at Harvard, he studied aggression arising from drug and alcohol abuse and supervised a number of unconventional thesis proposals.[9] Two former PhD students, Shelley Carson, a psychologist and teacher from Harvard, and author Gregg Hurwitz, recalled that Peterson's lectures were already highly admired by the students.[15] He returned to Canada in July 1998 and eventually became a full professor at the University of Toronto.[1][13][16]

Peterson's areas of study and research are in the fields of psychopharmacology, abnormal, neuro, clinical, personality, social, industrial and organizational,[1] religious, ideological,[11] political, and creativity psychology.[17] Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers[18] and has been cited almost 8,000 times as of mid-2017.[19][20]

For most of his career, Peterson maintained a clinical practice, seeing about 20 people a week. He has been active on social media, and in September 2016 he released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16.[8][21][22] As a result of new projects, he decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017[23] and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.[5][24]

Regarding the topic of religion and God, Bret Weinstein moderated a debate between Peterson and Sam Harris at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver in June 2018. In July, the two debated the subject again, this time moderated by Douglas Murray, at the 3Arena in Dublin and The O2 Arena in London.[25][26] In April 2019, Peterson debated Slavoj iek at the Sony Centre in Toronto over happiness under capitalism versus Marxism.[27][28]

In 1999, Routledge published Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, in which Peterson describes a comprehensive theory about how people construct meaning, form beliefs, and make narratives. The book, which took Peterson 13 years to complete, draws concepts from various fields including mythology, religion, literature, philosophy, and psychology, in accordance to the modern scientific understanding of how the brain functions.[9][29][30][31][32][33]

According to Peterson, his main goal was to examine why individuals and groups alike participate in social conflict, exploring the reasoning and motivation individuals take to support their belief systems (i.e. ideological identification)[9] that eventually result in killing and pathological atrocities such as the Gulag, the Auschwitz concentration camp, and the Rwandan genocide.[9][32][33] Placing great importance to Jungian archetypes in the book,[15] Peterson says that an "analysis of the world's religious ideas might allow us to describe our essential morality and eventually develop a universal system of morality."[33]

In 2004, a 13-part TV miniseries based on Peterson's book aired on TVOntario.[4][13][34]

In January 2018, Penguin Random House published Peterson's second book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, in which abstract ethical principles about life are provided in a more accessible style than his previous Maps of Meaning.[15][23][35] The book topped best-selling lists in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the US, and the United Kingdom.[36][37][38] As of January 2019, Peterson is working on a sequel to 12 Rules for Life.[39]

To promote the book, Peterson went on a world tour.[40][41][42]

An article published in 2020 in the International Journal of Jungian Studies, entitled Carl Jung, John Layard and Jordan Peterson: Assessing Theories of Human Social Evolution and Their Implications for Analytical Psychology', offers a sustained critique of Petersons thought as outlined in 12 Rules for Life.[43] In this critique it is claimed that Peterson fails to take account of research in paleoanthropology, evolutionary anthropology and ethnographic studies of egalitarian societies. Such societies, which are believed to represent the ancient forager adaptation of H. sapiens, are both matrilineal and lacking in social hierarchy. The author argues that a major sociocultural transformation occurred from this ancient adaptive complex with the onset of agriculture giving rise to modern patrilineal and hierarchical cultures. This view contrasts with Petersons which postulates modern social and economic structures are an outgrowth of the hierarchical impulses of our premammalian, mammalian and primate ancestors. This led the author to conclude that Peterson seems to have projected his own cultural biases back into the deep past.[44]

Peterson's third book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, is scheduled for release by Penguin Random House Canada on 2 March 2021.[45] On 23 November 2020, the company held an internal town hall where many employees criticized the decision to publish the book.[46]

In 2013, Peterson began recording his lectures for his two classes ("Personality and Its Transformations" and "Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief")[47] and uploading them to YouTube. His YouTube channel has gathered more than 1.8 million subscribers and his videos have received more than 65 million views as of August 2018.[22][48]

In January 2017, using funds received on Patreon after he became embroiled in the Bill C-16 controversy in September 2016, Peterson hired a production team to film his psychology lectures at the University of Toronto. His funding through the crowdfunding website has increased significantly, from $1,000 per month in August 2016 to $14,000 by January 2017; more than $50,000 by July 2017; and over $80,000 by May 2018.[8][22][49][50] In December 2018, Peterson decided to delete his Patreon account after the platform's banning of political personalities who Patreon said violated their rules on hate speech.[51][52] Following this, Peterson and Dave Rubin announced the creation of a new, free speech-oriented social networking and crowdfunding platform.[53] This alternative had a limited release under the name Thinkspot later in 2019, and remained in beta testing as of December 2019.[54]

Peterson has appeared on many podcasts, conversational series, as well other online shows.[48][55] In December 2016, Peterson started The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast.[56] In March 2019, the podcast joined the Westwood One network with Peterson's daughter as a co-host on some episodes.[57] Peterson defended engineer James Damore after he was fired from Google for writing Google's Ideological Echo Chamber.[35]

In May 2017, Peterson began The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories,[58] a series of live theatre lectures, also published as podcasts, in which he analyzes archetypal narratives in Book of Genesis as patterns of behavior ostensibly vital for personal, social and cultural stability.[35] In October 2020, Peterson announced plans for a lecture series on the Book of Exodus and the Book of Proverbs.[59]

In March 2019, Peterson had his invitation of a visiting fellowship at Cambridge University rescinded. He had previously said the fellowship would give him "the opportunity to talk to religious experts of all types for a couple of months", and that the new lectures would have been on Book of Exodus.[60] A spokesperson for the University said there was "no place" for anyone who could not uphold the "inclusive environment" of the university.[61] After a week, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope explained that it was due to a photograph with a man wearing an Islamophobic shirt.[62] The Cambridge University Students' Union released a statement of relief, considering the invitation "a political act tolegitimise figures such as Peterson" and that his work and views are not "representative of the student body".[63] Peterson called the decision a "deeply unfortunate...error of judgement" and expressed regret that the Divinity Faculty had submitted to an "ill-informed, ignorant and ideologically-addled mob".[64][65]

In 2005, Peterson and his colleagues set up a for-profit company to provide and produce a writing therapy program with a series of online writing exercises.[66] Titled the "Self-Authoring Suite",[4] it includes the Past Authoring Program (a guided autobiography); two Present Authoring Programs, which allow the participant to analyze their personality faults and virtues in terms of the Big Five personality model; and the Future Authoring Program, which guides participants through the process of planning their desired futures. The latter program was used with McGill University undergraduates on academic probation to improve their grades, as well as since 2011 at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.[67][68]

The programs were developed partially from research by James W. Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin and Gary Latham at the Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto.[15] Peterson's co-authored 2015 study showed significant reduction in ethnic and gender-group differences in performance, especially among ethnic minority male students.[68][69] According to Peterson, more than 10,000 students have used the program as of January 2017, with drop-out rates decreasing by 25% and GPAs rising by 20%.[4]

Peterson has characterized himself politically as a "classic British liberal",[12][70][71] and as a "traditionalist".[72] However, he has stated that he is commonly mistaken to be right-wing.[48] Yoram Hazony wrote in The Wall Street Journal that "[t]he startling success of his elevated arguments for the importance of order has made him the most significant conservative thinker to appear in the English-speaking world in a generation."[73]

The New York Times described Peterson as "conservative-leaning",[74] while The Washington Post described him as "conservative".[75] Nathan J. Robinson of Current Affairs opines that Peterson has been seen "as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected."[76]

Peterson's critiques of political correctness range over issues such as postmodernism, postmodern feminism, white privilege, cultural appropriation, and environmentalism.[55] His social media presence has magnified the impact of these views; Simona Chiose of The Globe and Mail noted that "few University of Toronto professors in the humanities and social sciences have enjoyed the global name recognition Prof. Peterson has won."[22] Writing in the National Post, Chris Selley said that Peterson's opponents had "underestimated the fury being inspired by modern preoccupations like white privilege and cultural appropriation, and by the marginalization, shouting down or outright cancellation of other viewpoints in polite society's institutions",[77] while Tim Lott stated, in The Spectator, that Peterson became "an outspoken critic of mainstream academia".[12]

According to his studyconducted with one of his students, Christine Brophyof the relationship between political belief and personality, political correctness exists in two types: "PC-egalitarianism" and "PC-authoritarianism", which is a manifestation of "offense sensitivity".[78] Jason McBride claims that Peterson places classical liberals in the first type, and so-called social justice warriors, who he says "weaponize compassion", in the latter.[4][11] The study also found an overlap between PC-authoritarians and right-wing authoritarians.[78]

Peterson claims that universities are largely responsible for a wave of political correctness that has appeared in North America and Europe,[22] saying that he had watched the rise of political correctness on campuses since the early 1990s. Peterson believes the humanities have become corrupt and less reliant on science, in particular sociology. He contends that "proper culture" has been undermined by "post-modernism and neo-Marxism."[12]

Peterson says that "disciplines like women's studies should be defunded", advising freshman students to avoid subjects like sociology, anthropology, English literature, ethnic studies, and racial studies, as well as other fields of study that he believes are corrupted by "post-modern neo-Marxists".[79][80][81] He believes these fields to propagate cult-like behaviour and safe-spaces, under the pretense of academic inquiry.[80][79] Peterson had proposed a website using artificial intelligence to identify ideologization in specific courses, but postponed the project in November 2017 as "it might add excessively to current polarization".[82][83]

He has repeatedly stated his opposition to identity politics, stating that it is practiced on both sides of the political divide: "[t]he left plays them on behalf of the oppressed, let's say, and the right tends to play them on behalf of nationalism and ethnic pride". He considers both "equally dangerous", saying that what should be emphasized, instead, is individual focus and personal responsibility.[84] He has also been prominent in the debate about cultural appropriation, stating that the concept promotes self-censorship in society and journalism.[85]

Peterson's perspectives on the influence of postmodernism on North American humanities departments have been compared to the Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, including his use of "Cultural Marxism" and "postmodernism" as interchangeable terms and his take of postmodern philosophy as an offshoot or expression of "neo-Marxism".[36][86][87][88][89]

Several writers have associated Peterson with the so-called "intellectual dark web", including journalist Bari Weiss, who included Peterson in the 2018 New York Times article that first popularized the term.[90][91][92][93][94]

On 27 September 2016, Peterson released the first installment of a three-part lecture video series, entitled "Professor against political correctness: Part I: Fear and the Law".[8][95][21] In the video, he stated that he would not use the preferred gender pronouns of students and faculty, saying it fell under compelled speech, and announced his objection to the Canadian government's Bill C-16, which proposed to add "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and to similarly expand the definitions of promoting genocide and publicly inciting hatred in the hate speech laws in Canada.[a][96][95][97]

Peterson stated that his objection to the bill was based on potential free-speech implications if the Criminal Code were amended, claiming he could then be prosecuted under provincial human-rights laws if he refuses to call a transgender student or faculty member by the individual's preferred pronoun.[98][99] Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments, paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code, would make it possible for employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed "directly or indirectly" as offensive, "whether intentionally or unintentionally".[98] According to law professor Brenda Cossman and others, this interpretation of C-16 is mistaken, and the law does not criminalize misuse of pronouns.[99][100][101][102]

The series of videos drew criticism from transgender activists, faculty, and labour unions; critics accused Peterson of "helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive" and of "fundamentally mischaracterising" the law.[103][8] Protests erupted on campus, some including violence, and the controversy attracted international media attention.[104][105][106] When asked in September 2016 if he would comply with the request of a student to use a preferred pronoun, Peterson said "it would depend on how they asked me. If I could detect that there was a chip on their shoulder, or that they were [asking me] with political motives, then I would probably say no. If I could have a conversation like the one we're having now, I could probably meet them on an equal level."[106] Two months later, the National Post published an op-ed by Peterson in which he elaborated on his opposition to the bill, saying that gender-neutral singular pronouns were "at the vanguard of a post-modern, radical leftist ideology that I detest, and which is, in my professional opinion, frighteningly similar to the Marxist doctrines that killed at least 100 million people in the 20th century."[107]

In response to the controversy, academic administrators at the University of Toronto sent Peterson two letters of warning, one noting that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation, and the other adding that his refusal to use the preferred personal pronouns of students and faculty upon request could constitute discrimination. Peterson speculated that these warning letters were leading up to formal disciplinary action against him, but in December the university assured him he would retain his professorship, and in January 2017 he returned to teach his psychology class at the University of Toronto.[8][108]

In February 2017, Maxime Bernier, candidate for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, stated that he had shifted his position on Bill C-16, from support to opposition, after meeting with Peterson and discussing it.[109] Peterson's analysis of the bill was also frequently cited by senators who were opposed to its passage.[110] In April 2017, Peterson was denied a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant for the first time in his career, which he interpreted as retaliation for his statements regarding Bill C-16.[19] However, a media-relations adviser for SSHRC said, "Committees assess only the information contained in the application."[111] In response, Rebel News launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on Peterson's behalf,[112] raising C$195,000 by its end on 6 May, equivalent to over two years of research funding.[113] In May 2017, as one of 24 witnesses who were invited to speak about the bill, Peterson spoke against Bill C-16 at a Canadian Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs hearing.[110]

In November 2017, Lindsay Shepherd, the teaching assistant of a Wilfrid Laurier University first-year communications course, was censured by her professors for showing, during a classroom discussion about pronouns, a segment of The Agenda in which Peterson debates Bill C-16 with another professor.[114][115][116] The reasons given for the censure included the clip creating a "toxic climate", being compared to a "speech by Hitler",[10] and being itself in violation of Bill C-16.[117] The censure was later withdrawn and both the professors and the university formally apologized.[118][119][120] The events were cited by Peterson, as well as several newspaper editorial boards[121][122][123] and national newspaper columnists,[124][125][126][127] as illustrative of the suppression of free speech on university campuses. In June 2018, Peterson filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against Wilfrid Laurier University, arguing that three staff members of the university had maliciously defamed him by making negative comments about him behind closed doors.[128] As of September2018,[update] Wilfrid Laurier had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it was ironic for a purported advocate of free speech to attempt to curtail free speech.[129]

Peterson has argued that there is an ongoing "crisis of masculinity" and "backlash against masculinity" in which the "masculine spirit is under assault."[3][130][131][132] He has argued that the left characterises the existing societal hierarchy as an "oppressive patriarchy" but "dont want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence."[3] He has said men without partners are likely to become violent, and has noted that male violence is reduced in societies in which monogamy is a social norm.[3][130] He has attributed the rise of Donald Trump and far-right European politicians to what he says is a negative reaction to a push to "feminize" men, saying "If men are pushed too hard to feminize they will become more and more interested in harsh, fascist political ideology."[133] He attracted considerable attention over a 2018 Channel 4 interview in which he clashed with interviewer Cathy Newman on the topic of the gender pay gap.[134][135] He disputed the contention that the disparity was solely due to sexual discrimination.[135][136][137]

Peterson married Tammy Roberts in 1989;[8] the couple have a daughter, Mikhaila, and a son, Julian.[4][8]

In a 2017 interview, Peterson was asked if he was a Christian; he responded, "I suppose the most straight-forward answer to that is yes."[138] When asked if he believes in God, Peterson responded: "I think the proper response to that is No, but I'm afraid He might exist."[23] Writing for The Spectator, Tim Lott said Peterson draws inspiration from Jung's philosophy of religion and holds views similar to the Christian existentialism of Sren Kierkegaard and Paul Tillich. Lott also said that Peterson has respect for Taoism, as it views nature as a struggle between order and chaos and posits life would be meaningless without this duality.[12]

Starting around 2000, Peterson began collecting Soviet-era paintings.[10] The paintings are displayed in his house as a reminder of the relationship between totalitarian propaganda and art, and as examples of how idealistic visions can become totalitarian oppression and horror.[15][24] In 2016, Peterson became an honorary member of the extended family of Charles Joseph, a Kwakwakawakw artist, and was given the name Alestalagie ('Great Seeker').[10][139]

In 2016, Peterson had a severe autoimmune reaction to food and was prescribed clonazepam.[140] In late 2016, he went on a strict diet consisting only of meat and some vegetables, in an attempt to control his severe depression and the effects of an autoimmune disorder including psoriasis and uveitis.[5][72] In mid-2018, he stopped eating vegetables, and continued eating only beef (carnivore diet).[141]

In April 2019, his prescribed dosage of clonazepam was increased to deal with the anxiety he was experiencing as a result of his wife's cancer diagnosis.[142][143][144] Starting several months later, he made various attempts to lessen his intake, or stop taking the drug altogether, but experienced "horrific" benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, including akathisia,[145] described by his daughter as "incredible, endless, irresistible restlessness, bordering on panic".[146][142] According to his daughter, Peterson and his family were unable to find doctors in North America who were willing to accommodate their treatment desires, so in January 2020, Peterson, his daughter and her husband flew to Moscow, Russia for treatment.[147] Doctors there diagnosed Peterson with pneumonia in both lungs upon arrival, and he was put into a medically induced coma for eight days. Peterson spent four weeks in the intensive care unit, during which time he allegedly exhibited a temporary loss of motor skills.[142]

Several months after his treatment in Russia, Peterson and his family moved to Belgrade, Serbia for further treatment.[140] In June 2020, Peterson made his first public appearance in over a year, when he appeared on his daughter's podcast, recorded in Belgrade.[140] He said that he was "back to my regular self", other than feeling fatigue, and was cautiously optimistic about his prospects.[140] He also said that he wanted to warn people about the dangers of long-term use of benzodiazepines (the class of drugs that includes clonazepam).[140] In August 2020, his daughter announced that her father had contracted COVID-19 during his hospital stay in Serbia.[148] Two months later, Peterson posted a YouTube video to inform that he had returned home and aims to resume work in the near future.[59]

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Jordan Peterson - Wikipedia

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How Jordan Peterson Broke His Most Important Rule (For Life)

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Jordan Peterson. (Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images)

Its genuinely tragic what happened to Jordan Peterson.

The Canadian psychology professor first rose to fame by railing against the liberal obsession with identity that shaped the culture wars of 2016, and subsequently became so polarizing (and popular) that his self-help book, 12 Rules For Life, sold over three million copies worldwide.

Peterson offered solid advice for angry, isolated young men; he promoted the idea of personal responsibility, discipline and self-confidence. The problem was that his positive messaging was often accompanied by his other beliefs, some of which were simply old-fashioned conservative ideals, repackaged, and some were really quite strange. Harmful, even.

Despite marketing himself as an intellectual who wasnt afraid to ask tough questions, Peterson would often blurt out seriously unscientific and outlandish claims, most famously, his strange fixation on lobsters, and the supposed similarity between crustaceans and humankind, which he used to justify the existence of unjust hierarchies.

Its a bit like pointing to a bee hive, and claiming that the insect's success makes a compelling argument to restore the monarchy.

Eventually, Peterson started to hang out with race realist Stefan Molyneux (so much for rejecting identity politics) and began to promote his daughters eye-wateringly stupid diet, which consists solely of beef, salt and water (sounds like a great way to develop scurvy).

Months into his all-beef diet, Peterson claimed that ingesting any substance other than beef would cause him serious psychological and physical harm; he even claimed that a single glass of apple cider caused him to stay awake for a full month, and filled him with an overwhelming sense of impending doom (Im not kidding).

Peterson ended up becoming addicted to anti-anxiety medication after personal tragedy struck, and suffered all sorts of horrendous health complications - its still not clear if he ever really recovered.

Now, Peterson is back, and he is about to release another self-help book, titled, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. Which seems incredibly hypocritical, considering his big rule, one that he consistently touted while public speaking, which reads:

"Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world."

This rule always bothered me, a lot. Its the kind of thing that sounds innocuous on the surface - after all, whats wrong with practicing what you preach? Surely, there are plenty of obnoxious activists who could use that advice.

But the way Peterson promoted this rule wasnt meant to encourage - he was essentially telling activists to be quiet, to accept the worlds structural injustices, because they were imperfect and didnt clean their rooms, or whatever.

That rule functions as a cudgel, to crush the idealism of young people. And its a rule that has no basis in reality - historical heroes like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. had plenty of personal problems too.

And so, quite frankly, does Peterson.

Ironically, having a messy personal life doesnt mean that Petersons emphasis on personal improvement, on finding meaning through responsibility, isnt worth listening to. That is undeniably good advice.

But the notion that only those with neat and tidy personal lives are allowed to criticize the world, is dangerous nonsense.

Just like the idea of a human living solely on beef, salt, and water.

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How Jordan Peterson Broke His Most Important Rule (For Life)

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Staff at Jordan Peterson’s publisher protest new book …

Posted: at 5:52 am

The announcement of a new book from Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, the self-styled professor against political correctness, has prompted dozens of complaints from staff at his publisher in Canada, according to a report.

Vices story on Tuesday said that the announcement of Petersons forthcoming Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, a follow-up to his global bestseller 12 Rules for Life, prompted several staff at Penguin Random House Canada (PRH Canada) to confront management. Petersons views on subjects including transgender rights, gender and race have been controversial. Last year, Cambridge University rescinded its offer of a visiting fellowship to Peterson following criticism from faculty and students. Also in 2019, 12 Rules for Life was temporarily pulled from sale in a New Zealand book chain after the terrorist attack on a Christchurch mosque, over perceived links between Petersons fanbase and Islamophobia.

At a PRH Canada town hall meeting on Monday, one employee told Vice, people were crying about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives. PRH Canadas diversity and inclusion committee reportedly received at least 70 anonymous messages about Petersons book from staff, with only a couple in favour of the decision to publish.

In response, PRH Canada told Vice that it immediately held the forum after announcing its plans to publish Beyond Order and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback.

The publishers statement said: Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.

Petersons daughter Mikhaila tweeted a link to the Vice article. How to improve business in 2 steps: Step 1: identify crying adults. Step 2: fire, she wrote. If you dont think adults willing to cry to get their way in a workplace is a problem youre clearly not in charge of many people.

Petersons Beyond Order, which is due out in March, promises to deliver 12 more lifesaving principles for resisting the exhausting toll that our desire to order the world inevitably takes.

In a time when the human will increasingly imposes itself over every sphere of life from our social structures to our emotional states Peterson warns that too much security is dangerous, says the publisher. Whats more, he offers strategies for overcoming the cultural, scientific, and psychological forces causing us to tend toward tyranny, and teaches us how to rely instead on our instinct to find meaning and purpose, even and especially when we find ourselves powerless.

The Guardian understands that no staff at PRH in the UK have complained about the decision to publish Peterson again.

The protests in Canada over Petersons book follow Hachettes decision to drop Woody Allens memoir after a staff walkout, and reports that staff at JK Rowlings publisher in the UK were told they could not refuse to work on her new childrens book The Ickabog because they disagreed with her views on transgender rights.

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How dangerous is Jordan B Peterson, the rightwing …

Posted: at 5:52 am

The Canadian psychology professor and culture warrior Jordan B Peterson could not have hoped for better publicity than his recent encounter with Cathy Newman on Channel 4 News. The more Newman inaccurately paraphrased his beliefs and betrayed her irritation, the better Peterson came across. The whole performance, which has since been viewed more than 6m times on YouTube and was described by excitable Fox News host Tucker Carlson as one of the great interviews of all time, bolstered Petersons preferred image as the coolly rational man of science facing down the hysteria of political correctness. As he told Newman in his distinctive, constricted voice, which he has compared to that of Kermit the Frog: I choose my words very, very carefully.

The confrontation has worked wonders for Peterson. His new book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos has become a runaway bestseller in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, Germany and France, making him the public intellectual du jour. Peterson is not just another troll, narcissist or blowhard whose arguments are fatally compromised by bad faith, petulance, intellectual laziness and blatant bigotry. It is harder to argue with someone who believes what he says and knows what he is talking about or at least conveys that impression. No wonder every scourge of political correctness, from the Spectator to InfoWars, is aflutter over the 55-year-old professor who appears to bring heavyweight intellectual armature to standard complaints about social-justice warriors and snowflakes. They think he could be the culture wars Weapon X.

Despite his appetite for self-promotion, Peterson claims to be a reluctant star. In a sensible world, I would have got my 15 minutes of fame, he told the Ottawa Citizen last year. I feel like Im surfing a giant wave and it could come crashing down and wipe me out, or I could ride it and continue. All of those options are equally possible.

Two years ago, he was a popular professor at the University of Toronto and a practising clinical psychologist who offered self-improvement exercises on YouTube. He published his first book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, in 1999 and appeared in Malcolm Gladwells bestseller David and Goliath, talking about the character traits of successful entrepreneurs. The tough-love, stern-dad strand of his work is represented in 12 Rules for Life, which fetes strength, discipline and honour.

His ballooning celebrity and wealth, however, began elsewhere, with a three-part YouTube series in September 2016 called Professor Against Political Correctness. Peterson was troubled by two developments: a federal amendment to add gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act; and his universitys plans for mandatory anti-bias training. Starting from there, he railed against Marxism, human rights organisations, HR departments and an underground apparatus of radical left political motivations forcing gender-neutral pronouns on him.

This more verbose, distinctly Canadian version of Howard Beales mad as hell monologue in Network had an explosive effect. A few days later, a video of student protesters disrupting one of Petersons lectures enhanced his reputation as a doughty truth-teller. I hit a hornets nest at the most propitious time, he later reflected.

Indeed he did. Camille Paglia anointed him the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan. Economist Tyler Cowen said Peterson is currently the most influential public intellectual in the western world. For rightwing commentator Melanie Phillips, he is a kind of secular prophet in an era of lobotomised conformism. He is also adored by figures on the so-called alt-light (basically the alt-right without the sieg heils and the white ethnostate), including Mike Cernovich, Gavin McInnes and Paul Joseph Watson. His earnings from crowdfunding drives on Patreon and YouTube hits (his lectures and debates have been viewed almost 40m times), now dwarf his academic salary.

Not everybody is persuaded that Peterson is a thinker of substance, however. Last November, fellow University of Toronto professor Ira Wells called him the professor of piffle a YouTube star rather than a credible intellectual. Tabatha Southey, a columnist for the Canadian magazine Macleans, designated him the stupid mans smart person.

Petersons secret sauce is to provide an academic veneer to a lot of old-school rightwing cant, including the notion that most academia is corrupt and evil, and banal self-help patter, says Southey. Hes very much a cult thing, in every regard. I think hes a goof, which does not mean hes not dangerous.

One person who has crossed swords with Peterson declined my interview request, having experienced floods of hate mail

So, what does Peterson actually believe? He bills himself as a classic British liberal whose focus is the psychology of belief. Much of what he says is familiar: marginalised groups are infantilised by a culture of victimhood and offence-taking; political correctness threatens freedom of thought and speech; ideological orthodoxy undermines individual responsibility. You can read this stuff any day of the week and perhaps agree with some of it. However, Peterson goes further, into its most paranoid territory. His bete noire is what he calls postmodern neo-Marxism or cultural Marxism. In a nutshell: having failed to win the economic argument, Marxists decided to infiltrate the education system and undermine western values with vicious, untenable and anti-human ideas, such as identity politics, that will pave the road to totalitarianism.

Peterson studied political science and psychology, but he weaves several more disciplines evolutionary biology, anthropology, sociology, history, literature, religious studies into his grand theory. Rather than promoting blatant bigotry, like the far right, he claims that concepts fundamental to social-justice movements, such as the existence of patriarchy and other forms of structural oppression, are treacherous illusions, and that he can prove this with science. Hence: The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory. Islamophobia is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons. White privilege is a Marxist lie. Believing that gender identity is subjective is as bad as claiming that the world is flat. Unsurprisingly, he was an early supporter of James Damore, the engineer fired by Google for his memo Googles Ideological Echo Chamber.

Cathy Newman was wrong to call Peterson a provocateur, as if he were just Milo Yiannopoulos with a PhD. He is a true believer. Peterson is old enough to remember the political correctness wars of the early 90s, when conservatives such as Allan Bloom and Roger Kimball warned that campus speech codes and demands to diversify the canon were putting the US on the slippery slope to Maoism, and mainstream journalists found the counterintuitive twist what if progressives are the real fascists? too juicy to resist. Their alarmist rhetoric now seems ridiculous. Those campus battles did not lead to the Gulag. But Petersons theories hark back to that episode.

Peterson was also shaped by the cold war; he was obsessed as a young man with the power of rigid ideology to make ordinary people do terrible things. He collects Soviet realist paintings, in a know-your-enemy way, and named his first child Mikhaila, after Mikhail Gorbachev. In Professor Against Political Correctness, he says: I know something about the way authoritarian and totalitarian states develop and I cant help but think that I am seeing a fair bit of that right now.

In many ways, Peterson is an old-fashioned conservative who mourns the decline of religious faith and the traditional family, but he uses of-the-moment tactics. His YouTube gospel resonates with young white men who feel alienated by the jargon of social-justice discourse and crave an empowering theory of the world in which they are not the designated oppressors. Many are intellectually curious. On Amazon, Petersons readers seek out his favourite thinkers: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Solzhenitsyn, Jung. His long, dense video lectures require commitment. He combines the roles of erudite professor, self-help guru and street-fighting scourge of the social-justice warrior: the missing link between Steven Pinker, Dale Carnegie and Gamergate. On Reddit, fans testify that Peterson changed, or even saved, their lives. His recent sold-out lectures in London had the atmosphere of revival meetings.

Such intense adoration can turn nasty. His more extreme supporters have abused, harassed and doxxed (maliciously published the personal information of) several of his critics. One person who has crossed swords with Peterson politely declined my request for an interview, having experienced floods of hatemail, including physical threats. Newman received so much abuse that Peterson asked his fans to back off, albeit while suggesting the scale had been exaggerated. His fans are relentless, says Southey. They have contacted me, repeatedly, on just about every platform possible.

Peterson's audience includes Christian conservatives, atheist libertarians, centrist pundits and neo-Nazis

While Peterson does not endorse such attacks, his intellectual machismo does not exactly deter them. He calls ideas he disagrees with silly, ridiculous, absurd, insane. He describes debate as combat on the battleground of ideas and hints at physical violence, too. If youre talking to a man who wouldnt fight with you under any circumstances whatsoever, then youre talking to someone for whom you have absolutely no respect, he told Paglia last year, adding that it is harder to deal with crazy women because he cannot hit them. His fans post videos with titles such as Jordan Peterson DESTROY [sic] Transgender Professor and Those 7 Times Jordan Peterson Went Beast Mode. In debate, as in life, Peterson believes in winners and losers.

How does one effectively debate a man who seems obsessed with telling his adoring followers that there is a secret cabal of postmodern neo-Marxists hellbent on destroying western civilisation and that their campus LGBTQ group is part of it? says Southey. Theres never going to be a point where he says: You know what? Youre right, I was talking out of my ass back there. Its very much about him attempting to dominate the conversation.

Petersons constellation of beliefs attracts a heterogeneous audience that includes Christian conservatives, atheist libertarians, centrist pundits and neo-Nazis. This staunch anti-authoritarian also has a striking habit of demonising the left while downplaying dangers from the right. After the 2016 US election, Peterson described Trump as a liberal and a moderate, no more of a demagogue than Reagan. In as much as Trump voters are intolerant, Peterson claims, it is the lefts fault for sacrificing the working class on the altar of identity politics. Because his contempt for identity politics includes what he calls the pathology of racial pride, he does not fully endorse the far right, but he flirts with their memes and overlaps with them on many issues.

Its true that hes not a white nationalist, says David Neiwert, the Pacific Northwest correspondent for the Southern Poverty Law Center and the author of Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. But hes buttressing his narrative with pseudo-facts, many of them created for the explicit purpose of promoting white nationalism, especially the whole notion of cultural Marxism. The arc of radicalisation often passes through these more moderate ideologues.

The difference is that this individual has a title and profession that lend a certain illusory credibility, says Cara Tierney, an artist and part-time professor who protested against Petersons appearance at Ottawas National Gallery last year. Its very theatrical and shrewdly exploits platforms that thrive on spectacle, controversy, fear and prejudice. The threat is not so much what [Petersons] beliefs are, but how they detract from more critical, informed and, frankly, interesting conversations.

Consider the media firestorm last November over Lindsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Ontarios Wilfrid Laurier University, who was reprimanded for showing students a clip of Peterson debating gender pronouns. Her supervising professor compared it to neutrally playing a speech by Hitler, before backing down and apologising publicly. The widely reported controversy sent 12 Rules for Life racing back up the Amazon charts, leading Peterson to tweet: Apparently being compared to Hitler now constitutes publicity.

Yet Petersons commitment to unfettered free speech is questionable. Once you believe in a powerful and malign conspiracy, you start to justify extreme measures. Last July, he announced plans to launch a website that would help students and parents identify and avoid corrupt courses with postmodern content. Within five years, he hoped, this would starve postmodern neo-Marxist cult classes into oblivion. Peterson shelved the plan after a backlash, acknowledging that it might add excessively to current polarisation. Who could have predicted that blacklisting fellow professors might exacerbate polarisation? Apparently not the most influential public intellectual in the western world.

The key to Petersons appeal is also his greatest weakness. He wants to be the man who knows everything and can explain everything, without qualification or error. On Channel 4 News, he posed as an impregnable rock of hard evidence and common sense. But his arguments are riddled with conspiracy theories and crude distortions of subjects, including postmodernism, gender identity and Canadian law, that lie outside his field of expertise. Therefore, there is no need to caricature his ideas in order to challenge them. Even so, his critics will have their work cut out: Petersons wave is unlikely to come crashing down any time soon.

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Optimism alone isn’t the answer to our problems – Campaign US

Posted: at 5:52 am

It feels rather surreal to be saying hello to January 2021, still lacking the usual celebratory punctuations of Christmas and New Year, and with last year's painful wounds, having barely scabbed over, now freshly ripped open once again.

Our events industry is decimated. The hospitality sector is gasping for air and the supporting infrastructure for both, left on the side-lines. The Westminster governance seems illogical and confused - and the data upon which they build their twisting direction has been dubiously calculated, widely disputed, and at times found wholly inaccurate.

It's been a very hard time to be running a business or to be employed or furloughed, not knowing what the future holds, and now things are set to get much worse.

So how do we now deal with this practically and psychologically? I've observed on social channels, people seem to be meeting this over-extended hiatus with something close to blind optimism.

You've probably seen similar platitudinal posts on "staying positive", and "this will all be over soon" and "now the vaccines are here" etc. Optimism is useful, but rather counterintuitively is not the best strategy for dealing with crisis or indeed tyranny. To face down the dragon, so to speak, we need to employ more than optimistic hope.

The atrocities of the twentieth century taught us that measured stoicism can be a better approach to crisis.

James Stockdale, the US Navy admiral, and longest surviving Vietnam prisoner of war veteran, has some good advice to offer: Stockwell was tortured daily for seven years to the point where he could no longer walk. He suffered unspeakably at the hands of the camp guards, but managed to survive, while many others perished in much less time.

In what has become known as the Stockdale paradox from his conversations with Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Collins asked Stockdale which prisoners didn't make it out of Vietnam.

Stockdale replied:"Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart. This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end - which you can never afford to lose - with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

So one should paradoxically believe fully in realising one's aims eventually, whilst staring into the brutal reality of what one faces daily, dealing squarely with hardship, in order to survive. Collins goes on to extrapolate that whilst living this paradox, one can acquire a balance of stoicism, belief and strategy enough to overcome most situations. I think this paradox may aid our industry much in 2021.

We will eventually get back to relative normality, but we all need to adapt and overcome the immediate challenges that we still face.

For individuals this might mean finding work elsewhere in the interim. It means that to constantly apply for jobs in sectors that are shrinking is a fool's errand. If no one is playing: change the game. There is honour in adaptation, and character is to be found in how one deals with the short term, to rise again in the long.

In the summer, I was buoyed to read on LinkedIn about a former team member from years ago, who decided to start a gardening service while she was between roles. I thought to myself, that's really impressive - she has what it takes. It took me back to when I was unemployed in my twenties, and instead of signing on, I worked for a removals company with a gang of Eastern European lads and we quickly became firm friends. For about eight months I had the best time, and I will always cherish that experience, as it helped shape me mentally and physically!

For agency and business owners in the events, experiential and hospitality space this year will mean diversification and adaptation on a grand scale in order to make the economic sunrise on the horizon.

Hard decisions still need to be made, and many more jobs will be lost when furloughing ends. I believe that bosses should openly talk to employees now so that people understand this fact. To be prepared is half the victory after all. Whatever the action taken, and whatever the toil needs to be suffered - we must not lose our resolve, nor our fight. So how do we prepare our minds for this?

Nietzsche famously said, "He who has a 'why' to live for, can bear almost any 'how'." And as we face more challenges as an industry, and more damaging economic policy, it becomes more important to orientate our minds in the most advantageous way. So, finding one's "why" is not just important, but paramount.

Another philosopher and survivor of the war camps of last century, author Viktor Frankl, in his book Man's Search for Meaning, laid out three main areas for finding meaning in life.

Firstly, a great love or relationship is in of itself enough to live a meaningful life.

Secondly, a vocation or job that one truly believes in.

And thirdly, and perhaps the option that everyone has a shot at presently, is that one may find life's meaning in the pursuit of overcoming adversity and suffering itself. So to allow myself to be momentarily optimistic, if only for irony: at least we all now have plenty of stone upon which to sharpen our spiritual swords!

Frankl's work has been developed further by the somewhat controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson who nets everything down to one meta theme: responsibility. And of responsibility, his most important substrate is to speak one's truth, especially to tyranny. Perhaps something to keep in mind for this year.

Maybe our collective responsibility as an industry, is to become more active ourselves, and also support the groups and individuals that already speak on our behalf, some of which I have listed below. There are also some links for those seeking help and support on a personal level too. If this is you - don't wait, please call a number today. You are not alone.

So I hope these great figures' lessons and teachings helps people in some small way, and here's to wishing everyone a better year ahead, eventually. I warmly welcome your comments.

Chris Dawson is founder of Ted Experience and Ted Staffing.

Forgotten Ltd - support for small business owners and their employees

HospitalityNet Covid-19 survival guide for the hospitality industry

Silent Nights

The Self Space



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Optimism alone isn't the answer to our problems - Campaign US

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H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Peterson heats up late to carry Hanover past Quincy – The Patriot Ledger

Posted: at 5:52 am

Eric McHugh|The Patriot Ledger

HANOVER Before the game, Hanover High boys basketball coach Nick Hannigan was giving thumbnail scouting reports on his starting lineup. When he got to Jake Peterson, he noted that while the 6-4 sophomore had come off the bench as a freshmanlast winter, "We're hoping that he can step in and fill a bigger scorer's role this year."

So far, so good.

Peterson led the Hawks in scoring in Tuesday night's 39-37, season-opening win over Patriot League rival Quincy. If his total was modest (13 points), the bulk of it came in crunch time when Hanover needed it most.

The hosts mustered only 10 fourth-quarter points, and Peterson had eight of them all in a row over the final 5:50, including a tiebreaking 3-pointer with under a minute left that stood up as the game-winning shot.

"After a slow start, I knew I had to contribute to the team," Peterson said. "Late down the stretch I had to shoot the ball."

"Huge," Hannigan said of Peterson's contribution. "He was a freshman last year, played some good minutes, but was strictly kind of a catch-and-shoot kid. He's been asked to do a lot more this year, and I think a little bit of jitters got to him (in the first half). Once he settled in and hit his first three (in the second quarter), he was much more in his comfort zone."

Peterson's fourth-quarter surge went this way:

A 3-pointer from the right wing totie it at 34-34 with 5:50 left.

Two free throws to knot it upagain at 36-36 with 2:08 remaining.

A three from the left wingin transition to put the Hawks ahead for good, 39-36, with :52 left.

"That one he hit down the stretch was immense," Hannigan said of the final trey. "I'm over here yelling, 'Attack the rim! Attack the rim!' and he just made me look silly. I couldn't have asked for more."

Quincy (0-2) got a game-high 16 points from senior guard Dyllan Lopes, a co-captain. No other President hit double figures in points, but coach Dave Parry noted that it was a big improvement on a 61-41 season-opening loss to Plymouth North.

"The kids keep working hard each and every day," Parry said. "It'd be nice to hit a couple of shots when we needed them, but I credit Hanover for that. They played some very good defense to force us into a few bad shots. But (overall) I saw a lot of improvement. Very happy with what I saw from our team tonight."

Quincy was at a size disadvantage but compensated by frustrating Hanover with a zone defense. The Hawks spent most of the first half glued to the perimeter; they had just two two-point baskets by halftime.

"We've been trying to work on it a lot," Parry said. "That's kind of becoming our identity right now."

Said Peterson: "Definitely early in the game we couldn't get anything (going) inside; we were just shooting threes. But later on we figured some stuff out. We had to get in the paint. We weren't doing that in the first half and we did it in the second half."

Hanover had five 2-point baskets in the third quarter after some halftime adjustments.

"Hats off to them,they play a great 1-2-2 zone," Hannigan said of Quincy. "In a normal year when we had more time to prepare we probably could have attacked it a little better. That's on me as the coach.But I thought our kids responded in the second half. We ran a little more of our motion stuff, got the kids moving, got the zone moving, and I just think it opened up a little more. Plus, our guards started attacking north-south rather than east-west."

Turnabout being fair play and all, Hanover switched toa zone defense late, and it seemed to stall Quincy's offense, although Parry said he might have miscalculated by trying to milk the clock.

"We typically are a man-to-man team," Hannigan said. "We put in our zone but we haven't really practiced it that much. We knew who their shooters are; we wanted to change the pace a little bit because they were getting to the rim pretty easily. We wanted to keep them off the free-throw line. We said we were going to do it for a possession or two, but it was working so we stayed with it."

Both teams missed free throws in the final minute, but Hanover hung on to get the win. The Hawks had made deep playoff runs for three straight seasons, including winning the 2016-17 Division 3 state championship, before graduation losses forced them to settlefor an 11-10 campaign in Div. 2 last winter.

With three returning senior starters point guard Ian Kirby, guard Patrick Mullane and 6-4 forward Andrew Rocci (already committed to Div. 3 Hartwick College) to pair with Peterson and 6-5 center Jack Bromberg, Hanover has high hopes for a bounce-back season.

Quincy, too, is looking to take a step forward after missing the MIAA playoffs last winter for the first time in 10 years. The Presidents won't get to start a new streak this season since there are no MIAA playoffs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Parry likes his group, which is headlined by Lopes and fellow senior co-captain Kaan Yavuz.

It also includes rugged 6-3 senior forward Jorden Edge, junior forward Coleman Ross and senior swingman Will Cook, plus junior Joe Manton, junior Jordan Davis and promising freshman Caleb Parsons-Gomes off the bench.

"The kids work hard," Parry said. "It's just that the familiarity that we're used to isn't there yet because of the lack of an offseason. The kids have been real troupers about it, and I'm ecstatic that they're showing up each day to practice (with the right attitude). Hopefully, that will translate into a few wins for us."


H.S. BOYS BASKETBALL: Peterson heats up late to carry Hanover past Quincy - The Patriot Ledger

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Cardinals 2021 Jobs in Question – Revenge of the Birds

Posted: at 5:51 am

I wrote this piece last week and elected to wait until after the Rams game to post it.

In a recent virtual Q & A with the Arizona sports media, the Cardinals LG Justin Pugh opined that if the Cardinals do not win this week, guys could lose their jobs.

As one might expect, Pugh said that its the nature of the business in the NFL.

What looms ambiguously about Pughs job comments is whether he was talking about front office people, coaches or players - or all three.

Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to open a discussion about what Cardinals jobs in 2021 may be in question. I will chime in with my thoughts, and then its your turn. I am fascinated with what you think in some of each of the cases.

GM Steve Keim

I believe that as long as Klff Kingsbury s the head coach, Steve Keims job is safe.

Keim made the trade of the year when he acquired All Pro WR DeAndre Hopkins while being able to move on from RB David Johnsons lucrative contract.

The frustration that many Cardinals fans have with Steve Keim, however, is tied to numerous draft picks that have not been or currently are not producing, to miscasting or whiffing on first round picks such as Deone Buchannon, Robert Nkemdiche and Haason Reddick (Isaiah Simmons yet to be determined), to holding on too long to aging veterans and not getting value in return, to failing to address key team weaknesses at the trading deadline (some argue and perhaps rightfully so that Keim is saving the majority of his chips for 2021 which is the 3rd year of the Kingsbury/Murray plan, but its been tantalizing to think what an upgrade at CB, DT and another addition at RB could have done to help the teams chances this year), and finally, to enabling a culture where veteran starters can underachieve without any fear of being taken out of the lineup.

On the flip side, Steve Keim deserves a ton of credit for a number of his back end of the roster and undrafted free agent signings. Keim has hit a number of home runs in this aspect of his job such as claiming Charles Washington and Justin Murray off waivers, signing Dan Arnold off of the Saints practice squad and finding CFA gems such as Dennis Gardeck, Trent Sherfield and Zeke Turner.

The biggest question and doubt that I have is related to the manner in which Keim kowtows to veterans and thus enables a dysfunctional culture where special favors and double standards are permitted for Keims pet players. Because of this and the way he handicaps his head coaches, I do not believe that Steve Keim will ever take a Cardinals team to the Super Bowl. The culture under his leadership will not permit it.

HC/OC Kliff Kingsbury

One could argue that Kliffs development of Kyler Murray (2019 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year , 4 tome NFC Offensive Player of the Week and one of the three 2020 Pro Bowl QBs in the NFC (along with Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson) is enough in itself to warrant his return.

That-plus the team has been highly competitive in virtually ever game this season, while improving its win totals from 5 to 8. The team in Week 17 still had a chance to make the playoffs as one of the three wild cards in the NFC.

Kingsbury takes the blame for the teams shortcomings which has made him an easy target for those who question his play calling and game/clock management. Plus, his team is largely undisciplined. This season the Cardinals led the NFL in penalties, some of which cost the team potential wins-and ultimately a wild card berth..

There is one scenario (at least that I can imagine) where Kingsbury is replaced as head coach and that is if Michael Bidwill and Steve Keim want to get in the hunt for the Bills OC Brian Daboll. The success that Daboll (from the Bill Belichick tree) has had in maximizing the Bills talents on offense has made him one of the most attractive HC candidates this off-season.

There are three things that pop out about a potential match for Daboll in Arizona. One is that Bidwill and Keim may be very apt to believe that Daboll would be a potentially more promising hire than Bruce Arians in that Dabollls offense caters to a mobile QB and it incorporates more of todays modern offensive trends.

Two is, Daboll might be very excited to come into a situation where he would inherit the Pro Bowl combination of NFC Pro Bowlers QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins, which would be an auspicious transition from having to move on from AFC Pro Bowlers QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs. In other words, in comparison to the other teams that will be interested in Brian Daboll, the Cardinals might be the most attractive to an offensive guru like him.

Thirdly, there could be a strong belief that Steve Keim could thrive working with a head coach like Brian Dabioll the way he did with Bruce Arians. Keim has been serving as a mentor to Kliff Kingsbury - but with Daboll - Dabolls NFL experience and league-wide connections could be used very much to Keims and the Cardinals advantage.

There could be a scenario where Bidwill, Keim and Daboll would be happy to keep Kliff Kingsbury on as the QB coach and assistant OC. This would likely mean that Kingsbury would have to agree to a pay cut of some sort, but he would still be in a position to keep developing Kyler Murray and to keep improving his own stock for another head coaching or offensive coordinators job down the road.

This wild card scenario with Brian Daboll may be a moot point if Michael Bidwill cannot afford to hire another new head coach. But if he can, he could liken this move to drafting Kyler Murray number one when Josh Rosen was already on the roster.

DC Vance Joseph

The fact that the Cardinals have split this year with the Seahawks and 49ers works well in Vance Josephs favor.

However, if his defense does not perform well versus the Rams this week, especially in light of the absence of 3-4 of their most important skill players on offense, it would mean that in 4 tries in defending Sean McVays offense, despite other teams leaving blueprints on tape as to how to defend their bread and butter plays, it would prolong the question of whether Vance Joseph can give the Cardinals the best chance to compete for NFC West titles.

Some will argue that Vance continues to be hampered by his lack of talent at DT, ILB and CB, plus being beset by the injuries to Robert Alford, Chandler Jones and Corey Peters. But, two of Steve Keims biggest UFA signings are ILBs: Jordan Hicks and DeVondre Campbell and both CBs Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick are former 1st round picks with high-end pedigrees. The fact that all four of them are having sub par years is a red flag.

Whats of great concern about Vances defenses are (1) its propensity to lose contain; (2) its marshmallow soft zones and passive/hesitant effort from the CBs and ILBs to force the run and blow up screens; (3) key situations where receivers are wide open due to coverage breakdowns or no perceived man-to-man assignments, particularly on RBs and FBs who are almost always open at will, particularly in the red zone.

Vance deserves high praise for his creative ability to dial up blitzes and QB pressures. However, what may be in question is the overall philosophy of his 34 defense. One may not get the sense that he caters and tweaks his game plans from week to week in order to account for the opponents offensive tendencies - it seems that he is of the school of we do what we do and not from the other school of we are going to try to take away your bread and butter plays to see if you can beat us another way.

Having watched Josephs defense versus the Rams for 3 straight blowout games with Jared Goff breaking contain on bootlegs and waggles without any real perceivable adjustments is infuriating - much like watching Kyle Shanahan score 3 big TDs in the last 3 games (2 wins for SF) on his simple RB swing pass where the RB was never even touched on his romp to the end zone - it makes one wonder just how studious and vigilant Vance Joseph is in watching tape.

This question about film study and game preparation also came to mind when Jordan Hicks said a few days ago about defending the Rams offense, we can watch all the tape in the world, but it comes down to us doing our jobs and executing the defense.

Tough to hear when a few weeks ago it looked like the Cardinals defense hadnt watched any tape of the Rams offense - because they way they gave the Rams everything they wanted.

Lastly, it appears to me that Vances style of 34 defense is for the interior defensive linemen to occupy blockers in order to keep the ILBers clean, which is why we so rarely ever see inside penetration from a Cardinals DTs. This philosophy would look good if the Cardinals ILBs are making tackles at or near the line scrimmage, but the majority of their tackles are 6-10 yards downfield.

This 34 base scheme is passive aggressive.

One might recall Calais Campbell imploring the Cardinals 34 coaches to let the defensive interior lineman be aggressive in an effort to penetrate and bust up plays behind the line of scrimmage. Thats what makes playing the interior fun and exhilarating - rather than being lined up and used as wedges and blocking dummies.

While Steve Keim is apt yet again to think that he didnt give Vance Joseph enough talent on defense, its pretty hard to accept this when a supreme talent like Isaiah Simmons is given only 21 snaps versus the 49ersin Week 16 with the playoffs on the line while Vances defense is giving up over 200 yards of offense to RB Jeff Wilson Jr. alone.

If Vances game plan this week versus McVays offense demonstrates what it takes to try to take away and stifle their bread and butter plays, then that would give the players and fans hope that he has what to takes to give the Cardinals a chance to contend for the division championships. If not, it will be difficult to embrace the thought of him returning as DC.

But, again, history would tell us that Steve Keim is apt to stick with Vance thinking its more of a personnel issue than scheme. The thought of this happening is extremely frustrating.

Assistant Coaches:

WRCs Jerry Sullivan and David Raih-2 years in and only DeAndre Hopkins is having a good season. Something is awry here.

DLC Brentson Buckner-injuries have hurt, no question, but my hunch is that Buck prefers an attack 34 philosophy up front and I get the feeling that he and Vance may be butting heads a little. I could be wrong. Things didn't go well for DLC Chris Achuff last year who was fired at the end of the season. It wouldn't surprise me if Buck asks out or he is let go. But, again, I could be wrong.

ILBC Billy Davis-lets face it, the Cardinals were expecting big things from Jordan Hicks ($10M cap hit) and DeVondre Campbell ($8M salary) and not only have they failed the eye test, they have the PFF grades (49.0 and 45.8 respectively) to prove it. Tanner Vallejo (86.1) and Isaiah Simmons( 60.1) are athletic upgrades, but you couldnt pry the underperforming Hicks and Campbell out of there with a crowbar.

CBC Greg Williams-came with Vance from the Broncos, but the CB play for the Cardinals this year has been a huge disappointment. Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick, former 1st round picks, are like the Hicks and Campbell tandem - not so good on the eye test and they have the PFF grades (54.3 and 51.8) pt prove it. Look at the penalties and how many PI calls this unit has committed: Peterson11. Kirkpatrick-8. Murphy-4; K. Peterson4. And these are obvious penalties due to poor technique. (these stats are before the Rams game)

Existing Players Contracts for 2021 in Question:

DE/OLB Chandler Jones (31)-scheduled 2021 cap hit: $20.8M (dead cap: $5.3M-team would have $15.5M in base salary). This is a tough situation for the Cardinals and Jones in the last year of his 5 year $82M deal. Losing Jones to for the season to the torn bicep was tough, but it also was tough to see Jones be a shade of his old self-only 1 sack and 10 pressures in 5 games. Then the combo of Dennis Gardeck (7 sacks, 18 pressures) and Markus Golden (3 sacks, 33 pressures) picked up the slack. Right now we do not know the severity of Gardecks injury and Markus Golden is a UFA. The Cardinals would love to have Chandler back, but at his age (only 3 players in their 30s are in the leagues top 25 sack leaders this season, Jason Pierre Paul, Brandon Graham and Cameron Jordan with 9.5, 8.0 and 7.5 respectively. Haason Reddick is 3rd in the NFL with 12.5 sacks and is a UFA.

Common sense (leaving emotion out of it) would suggest that the Cardinals would be wise to either restructure Jones to a team friendly extension loaded with incentives - or other-wise try to trade him ($15.5M base salary is all another team would have to pay-the Cardinals have paid him his bonus) because they can use the $15.5M to put the franchise tag on Haason Reddick and try to sign him to a long-term deal. Dennis Gardeck is a RFA whom they could put a 1st round tender on for $4.8M or 2nd round tender for $3.4M.

LG Justin Pugh (31)-2021 cap hit: $11.3M, $7.8M base ($4M dead cap). Do the Cardinals keep Justin Pugh and pay him a base salary of $7.8M? He and D.J. Humphries are one of the highest graded left side of the line tandems in the NFL this season (Humphries-88.0, Pugh-67.4). Last season Pugh had a top 3 pass blocking grade in the NFC at 82.2. This season he is not far off at 76.7. What has hurt his grade are his 8 penalties. Truth is, hes only given up 1 sack and 2 QB hits. Thats why i believe the Cardinals should keep him, because keeping Kyler Murray well protected is the number one priority of the offensive line. Plus, Justin has emerged as a good veteran leader who plays hard every week. Facing Aaron Donald and the Rams active front is a tough task this week. The question is, would the Cardinals be better off eating Pughs $4M in dead cap space and signing G Joe Thuney whose market value according to Sportrac is $13.9M a year?

Final 2020 PFF grades:

Pugh: 64.8 overall, 74.4 pass blocking, 62.7 run blocking, 9 penalties.

Thuney: 74.2 overall, 73.1 pass blocking, 70.2 run blocking, 3 penalties.

Notice that Pugh has the higher pass blocking grade - plus I went and looked up what Thuneys pass blocking grade versus the Rams was this year and it was 39.8. Pughs was 42.7.

The point is - even the highest rated guard on the market is no match for blocking Aaron Donald.

LB Jordan Hicks (29)-2021 cap hit; $9M (dead cap $6M)-Hicks lacks the speed and flexibility to be a 3 down NFL LB. Cards need to find a 3 down player at his position. But, Vance Joseph seems to prefer him over quicker athletes like Isaiah Simmons and Tanner Vallejo.

OLB Devon Kennard-2021 cap hit; $8M ($3.75M dead cap)-hes getting paid starters money, but was not quite a fit at SOLB or WOLB. He will likely want to go to a team where he has a better chance to start. Good edge setter who plays hard. Cards need to trade him (if possible) or let him hit free agency.

CB Robert Alford (32)-2021 cap hit: $9M ($1.5M dead cap)-tough two year stay on IR for Alford and Cards. Time for both to move on.

2021 Unrestricted Free Agents: (rapid fire):

CB Patrick Peterson (31)-he says that he envisions playing at a high level for 3-4 more years. One cant say definitively, however, that PP has played at a high level for the last two years. Not sure if will be able to land a yearly salary in double figures -maybe with BA and Bowles in Tampa Bay. But, it would be good for him to have a change of scenery. It is time for Cardinals to get younger and more physical at CB.

WR Larry Fitzgerald (38)-its been a difficult year for Larry, production-wise in the offense and then in contacting COVID. Larry has always said he wants to go out quietly and this would be the ultimate year to do that. The lower team cap figure next season would make it difficult for the Cardinals to keep Larry at $11.7M. But, if he wants to return and is ok with taking a paycut, then he will be back for his 18th season. Kliff Kingsbury said he would love to hold on to Larry for 3 more years.

RB Kenyan Drake (27)-the odds are that the Cardinals will let KD test free agency. Hes been tough, steady and durable. But, was a little quicker last season.

LB DeVondre Campbell (28)-hasnt sustained his strong play early on in the season and it would seem that the Cardinals believe that Isaiah Simmons is the WILB of the future.

RG J.R. Sweezy (32)-hard worker who plays with passion, but has been an inconsistent performer. It would appear that Justin Murray is on schedule to be the RG next season.

DT Corey Peters (33)-much depends on whether Corey wants to return or retire. If he wants to return, the Cardinals will offer him a contract filled with incentives. Outstanding leader on and off the field.

OLB Markus Golden (30)-at 30, Markus is probably not going to get the big long-term deal hes been hoping for. If the Cardinals trade or release Chandler Jones, then they may offer Markus a contract based on playing time and production incentives. At this point he fits well as nickel pass rusher in a rotation. Hes not a classic 34 WOLB.

OLB Haason Reddick (26)-at the very least the Cardinals will place the transition or franchise tag on Haason. Hes an ideal fit at SOLB.

K Zane Gonzalez (26)-at this point it would be good for both Zane and the Cardinals to go in different directions. His talent will garner him interest elsewhere.

P Andy Lee (39)-still one of the best punters in NFL, particularly on situational punts. If he wants to return, the Cardinals would likely be happy to extend him. Chances are that he may want to retire.

LT Kelvin Beachum (32)-saw that on one pundits list of top free agent tackles, Beachum was #9 on the list. He proved this year that hes just as capable playing RT as LT. If he wants to take a team friendly deal again, the Cardinals would likely welcome him back as a mentor to Josh Jones and swing tackle.

S Chris Banjo (31)-the coaches love him and hes been a solid backup/spot starter and STs player. Chances are good they will re-sign him a little over the veteran minimum.

CB Dre Kirkpatrick (31)-showed some flashes of playmaking ability, but has been largely inconsistent trying to work through some nagging injuries, Cant see the Cardinals re-signing him.

CB Jonathan Joseph (37)-has impressed the staff and his teammates-if he wants to stay for a little above the veteran minimum as a sub package cover man, it might be good to have his leadership, particularly if the Cardinals get younger at the position.

NT Domata Peko (36)-has brought passion and energy at a position of need. As with Jonathan Joseph, if he wants another year to play in the rotation, there might be mutual interest.-probably during camp or during the season if and when the need arises.

QB Brett Hundley (28)-it was surprising to learn that Hundley was beaten out by Chris Streveler for QB2. Streveler has two more years remaining on his contract, thus Brett will likely be looking for a new team in free agency.

RB D.J. Foster (28)-popular STs player who might be interested in another practice squad gig.

G/C Max Garcia (29)-knows the system and has valuable flexibility. Chances are probably pretty strong that he will be re-signed to resume his swing G/C role.

DT Angelo Blackson (28)-has flashed as a penetrator, inside rusher and goal line playmaker. This is guy the team would like to bring back for the rotation. Still on the right side of 30 and could thrive given another year in the system.

DE Josh Mauro (30)-he too flashed early on but then was sidelined by injury. Will probably remain on the contacts list in Steve Keims cellphone in case help is needed again next season.

S Charles Washington (28)-one of the real ST studs in the NFL who played well at safety when he was asked to contribute. Could see a 2-3 year deal for him, with a raise and added incentives.

TE Darrell Daniels (26)-still young and developing-but has been inconsistent. His solid STs play is a plus. Chances are the team will try to re-sign him at the veteran minimum.

LB Tanner Vsllejo-STs stud who made the two biggest downhill tackles of the season in OT of the Seahawks game. Wanted to see how he would do with more snaps-but-I think the Cardinals will make a good push to re-sign him. (his 12 tackles to lead Cardinals in Rams game when he finally got extended snaps was very impressive-he was very good in coverage too).

LB Isaiah Irving (27)-spent year on R, not sure whether hes in the teams plans or not.

Restricted Free Agents:

TE Dan Arnold (26)-has flashed big time ability, but has recently struggled pulling down 50/50 balls and tucking the ball in on his RACs. Lots to build on here. The Cardinals will tender him, perhaps as high as a second round tender.

OLB Kylie Fitts (26)-injuries have prevented him from breaking out this season, but the Cardinals appear to like his potential as an edge rusher and setter. He sticks.

WR Trent Sherfield (25)-one fo the young gunners on STs whom the Cardinals will be happy to keep. This young man could still be a surprise one day as a slot WR.

OLB Dennis Gardeck (27)-a long-term deal might be reached with Dennis Gardeck, if both sides can agree on a reasonable figure. At the very least, Cards will give him 1st or 2nd round tender. This young man is a core player.

S Ezekiel Turner (25)-what a superb year for Zeke on STs. Cards will welcome him back on a tendered contract.

CB Kevin Peterson (27)-played a little better recently after being a PI magnet earlier in season. This one could go either way depending on what the off-season plan at CB is.

2021 Wish List:


QB Kyler Murray

RB Najee Harris (R1, Alabama)

TE Maxx Williams

TE Dan Arnold

LT D.J. Humphries

LG Justin Pugh

C Corey Linsley (UFA GB)

RG Justin Murray

RT Josh Jones

WR DeAndre Hopkins

WR Curtis Samuel (UFA CAR)

WR Tylan Wallace (R3, Oklahoma St.)


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Cardinals 2021 Jobs in Question - Revenge of the Birds

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Giving 2021 A Fighting Chance Requires We All Do What Is Hard – The Federalist

Posted: at 5:51 am

Even before the horrible year that was 2020, New Years Eve celebrations have long been filled with the near-certain expectation that things will definitely get better. Generally speaking, its a fine sentiment. Optimism is good; hope is good; and striving to improve the future from where we are today led us from the cave to the fields, across vast oceans, and into the limitless of outer space.

But nothing magical happens when the calendar year flips over. Theres no unexplained scientific phenomenon that shifts the incalculable number of atoms in our known universe into undaunted forces for good simply because weve reached the conclusion of this years cycle through the Gregorian calendar. Instead, history tells us things can always get worse.

After the stock market crashed in 1929, the Great Depression didnt reach its darkest days until 1933. The 1938 Nazi annexation of Austria was followed by the invasion of Poland in 1939, then the steamrolling of France and near-defeat of Britain in 1940.

Yet while theres no iron-clad guarantee that 2021 will be great, every one of us can contribute to the effort to make a redemptive year a reality.

No government action will make 2021 better than what we just went through in 2020. As with most positive change, any meaningful, lasting shifts in the trajectory of our towns and our nation will stem from individuals choosing to do good.

World events of a grand nature will remain outside our ability to master. Pandemics, wildfires, and unless you live in one of a handful of swing states presidential elections involving more than 158 million votes are things almost entirely beyond our control. Yet, even in the worst of times, we can control how we interact with our fellow Americans, and a shift in the right direction in this regard is one of the simplest albeit difficult steps we can take.

Its within the grasp of each of us, as individuals, to decide if what we both consume and contribute is life-affirming or malevolent, restorative or toxic. In our workplaces, online using social media, with our families, and interacting with total strangers, we are responsible for how we live amongst one another.

In our current rancorous political environment, well have a chance at a better year if we realize most genuine conversations or debates arent best served in a tit-for-tat on Facebook or Twitter but in person over coffee, lunch, or a drink after work.

This doesnt mean surrendering our principles or allowing ourselves to be walked over. It does, however, require we prudently recognize whose minds are open to change, and those who refuse to be unconvinced of what they believe; which arguments may bear fruitful discussion, and those that will only lead to more frustration and anger this country can do without.

Regardless of ones faith, there is wisdom in the instructions given in the Bibles 2 Timothy:

Again I say, dont get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. (2 Timothy 2:23)

As the author of the epistle to Timothy later notes, being honest doesnt mean being needlessly hurtful or tactless, and he reminds us to Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Theres an Aristotelian golden mean between failing to state a necessary truth and being an overly blunt jerk about it.

Similar valuable cautions are given in Titus 3:2 not to slander, to avoid quarreling, and to show true humility to everyone. Later in the chapter, were also reminded it may be best to walk away from those who continue to engage in foolish controversies:

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. (Titus 3:10)

Admittedly, its hard to do, especially in a climate that often mistakenly views the last person who responded in a Facebook fight as the winner or politeness as a sign of weakness. Even so, its one of the few ways to lower the temperature to the point where authentic, amiable exchanges and healthy debates are possible. Well be a better nation in 2021 if Americans take time to ask and reflect, Will this truly make things better? before acting.

Furthermore, giving 2021 a fighting chance will involve constantly checking ones priors at the door. Or, as Jordan Peterson has phrased it, wed do well to Assume that the person you are listening to might know something that you dont.

As more Americans limit their media consumption to voices and opinions they already agree with, ideological and philosophical blindspots pose an increasingly higher risk. Yet rarely are things as simple as either the left or right (antiquated terms to begin with) being absolutely correct or absolutely wrong.

Taking in the views of only a small territory of the political spectrum is one of the contributing factors that led us to a place, never more evident than in 2020, where one half of the country cant even stand being in line next to the other half six feet apart, no less. We dont have to agree, but we have to be able to at least relate to where those we disagree with are coming from. This begins with the humility to acknowledge we may be wrong about something, or, at least, not as correct as we think we are.

Genuine conversation is exploration, articulation, and strategizing, Peterson writes, When youre involved in a genuine conversation, youre listening. This may also require mingling outside a safe, bubbled, friend group, especially if that group is comprised of similarly like-minded folks.

It means not assuming to know the totality of someones beliefs and values based on their stance on a single issue. It means being OK with someone thinking, even acting, in a way we personally disagree with (as long as it doesnt directly infringe on anyones rights to life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness). A tolerance of true intellectual diversity will be a key factor in helping 2021 rebound after the past year.

In what could be the most important New Years resolution we make, by exercising humility, patience, and grace, we can each take responsibility in helping make 2021 the year we all need it to be, one individual choice at a time.

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Giving 2021 A Fighting Chance Requires We All Do What Is Hard - The Federalist

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