Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Epistemology: Theory of Truth or Knowledge?

Ever wonder why some people us a big word when a little one will do? I came across the word epistemology and before looking up the meaning felt more than a little disdain for the author. But after learning the true meaning of the word, I understood why it had been used.

Writers, unlike tent-revival preachers, are taught to use as few words as possible. It’s much easier to toss a book aside than it is to get up and walk out of a tent revival. Writers must be succinct. The bloviating speakers aren’t relegated to tent-revivals—they’ve been known to… Continue reading

Flummoxed, Frustrated, but not Fooled

The top 500 companies in America grew their profits last year by 31.7%. Meanwhile, they added only .7% to their workforce. Wal-Mart, the nation’s revenue leader kept their headcount level. Why all of this record growth with little or no addition to the workforce?

Earlier this year the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius case. Hobby Lobby is faced with what some would call a moral dilemma. Hobby Lobby wishes to provide healthcare for their workforce of over 22,000. But they don’t choose to offer coverage for aborticant drugs. Their choice is to either drop… Continue reading

Ethanol’s Impact

Due to my relationship with Stihl, I’m frequently asked about ethanol. I have two responses, one short, the other long. The short answer is, “it can be bad for your small engine.”

“That’s what I thought,” some say. Most ask for further detail, such as, “What do you mean by ‘can’ be bad?” And I explain that if the blend is 10% or less ethanol and the fuel is used within a month or so, then it’s probably okay. I then confuse the issue by adding that even though the fuel pump lists 10% ethanol, some fuel has tested as… Continue reading

The Exponential, Extra Special, Bonus Savings Conundrum

You’ve seen the advertisements touting a savings. And in some cases the savings is “special,” and occasionally “extra special.” Sometimes the ad’s creator, thinking the potential customers are old enough to remember how to do math, will include the percent the item is discounted—“Prices slashed 50%,” or for those who learned math by using a calculator, “Prices reduced-Save $100.”

To save is to keep someone or something safe. Is it possible to save money when making a purchase? If so, what was kept safe? I guess if one arrived at the store and had intended to pay $100 for something… Continue reading

Common Core: Why?

Common Core Standards now control the majority of testing and curriculum of America’s public schools. The architects of common core claim the goal is to increase the career and college readiness of America’s primary school students. Having spent considerable time researching common core, I’m now more perplexed than when I began. Common Core is very vague, which makes the specifics difficult to debate.

The primary reason I’m not a fan of common core has little to do with what’s called for in common core. It’s the common part that has me vexed. Who wants to be common? Education should be… Continue reading

The Debt Threat & Solution

I’ve been boiling maple sap all night. My mind works overtime while tending vats of boiling sap, which is akin to boiling water. One has plenty of time to think while watching water boil for twenty-four hours straight.

The second biggest threat to America is the inability of our government to curb spending. Too often, conversations about deficit spending invariably end up in a blame game. Each President and Congress blames the previous. This isn’t new and it’s unproductive. What is new is the nearness of the proverbial precipice about which America is precariously close. Now there’s a string… Continue reading

Saul Alinsky – Rules for Radicals

This is too important to get wrong.

There’s an email being circulated that aligns President Obama’s agenda with quotes from Saul Alinsky. This email is fraught with errors and weakens the conservative argument, particularly when debating an informed liberal. While President Obama occasionally uses phraseology identical to that of Saul Alinsky, and the President’s tactics seem to align with those taught by Alinsky in his book Rules for Radicals, President Obama is very careful not to openly credit Alinsky.

The following is a link to an on-line copy of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. It’s an interesting book that… Continue reading

It’s Not Always What You Think


A couple of weeks ago I bought a black suit—it was the first suit I’d purchased in maybe two decades.  I also bought a new white shirt, tie, and dress socks but stopped short of new shoes. I’m funny about shoes, one of those rare people that still get them resoled. The new suit, shirt, tie, and socks were for a special event to which Debbie and I had been invited—or so I thought.

We’d been invited to attend the New York Stock Exchange Congressional Medal of Honor Gala. It would be our first trip to New York.… Continue reading

Deficit to Surplus

Don’t you hate it when someone brags about having read an entire book the night before? How could anyone read an entire book in one night, you wonder, or at least I do. Books are to be enjoyed, not gobbled up like last year’s Halloween candy. Fast reading is not a sign of intelligence, or so I say.

Well, here goes. “I read the book From Deficit to Surplus last night. And I had lunch with the author today. “Wow,” you say, or at least I hope you did. More than likely you’re gagging, or worse yet, have exited from… Continue reading

Death of Democracy

On any given day I’ll hear the following two statements.  “There’s no difference between a Democrat or a Republican congressman—that’s why I don’t vote.” And, “Never before has our government been so divided and the two parties so far apart in their views.” Which is it?

Democrats essentially believe that the government is the solution and that bigger government is better. And when Democrats are in control, the government expands and regulates more and more.

Republicans claim that smaller government is better. But during the few years when the Republicans controlled both houses of the 104th congress, government… Continue reading

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