Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thoughts on Writing

I wonder how often a writer looks for pointers on the Internet, but soon realizes that they wasted time they could have just used for writing.

I know that I am guilty of wasting time searching for inspiration, but never finding it, and only ending up feeling regret for such a waste of time.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good websites and blogs that will inspire any writer, but my point is that as a writer you should be writing more and worry about inspiration later.

A good day for me is meet my word count. My word count includes my blog entries, and post on the website The Spoof (this link will take you to my profile). I feel that just writing is better than spending all day looking for something to write. I also find that writing about funny subjects also helps me write about serious subjects.

It isn't easy to always meet my word count, because I try for two thousand words a day, but I feel that it is realistic if I set about three hours aside a day for writing.

I don't know what most writers do in a day when it comes to word count, and I don't always believe what other authors say about word count, because an author of any worth is good at lying.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Poetry Mourning

I have found myself filled with a new kind obsession with poetry, something I haven't experienced since high school.

Why poetry? I think it has to do with the fact I am trying to understand my grandmother's death. She was 83, and diabetic, but her death still came as a shock. I guess I never thought she would die.

My grandmother was always a little dark, and I blame that on her German upbringing. She had no problem talking about death. I never liked the subject and liked to tell her that she wouldn't die. A loud laugh came from her every time.

I can't say that I have written anything worthy of memorializing my grandmother, but my search for something that might do her justice has lead me to a nice website. This site offers a lot to the poet who might be struggling to find the right word or would like some good poetry to read.

I also went through some of my old textbooks from my college days, but those books only offered me a nice distraction from the task at hand.

This poem I write for my grandmother won't be read in a church, because her funeral has now passed, but it will be read in the open air of the cemetery.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

English Major

What is an English major to do in this economy, or even any economy? I don't know. I guess that is why I started this blog. I want a place to put my writing, and maybe inform while doing it.

I picked English as my major because I was seduced by the well written sentence, and lured in by the stories of gainfully employed writers.

I also picked English because I have opinions and wanted to learn how to write a better argument, so someday I could grace the pages of the local newspapers.

You might say why didn't you just become a journalism major if you wanted to write copy for the local newspaper?

I would tell that I love and loved reading the classics, and needed to get credits for my passion. I also wanted to take advantage of the great professors that were in the English department. Two of them were award winning writers, and I couldn't say that about the professors in the journalism program.

English might seem like a waste of major, considering the tight the job market, and large number of unemployed right now. And I knew that an English major wasn't going to get a lot of fancy jobs, but I wanted to learn from the best people on campus, and at that time it was the English department.

Business majors will probably make more money over their lifetime, and nursing majors will probably make more money, but how many hours will they have to work? Will they be happy?

It is hard to say what the future will hold for this English major? I know college debt to be repaid is on the top of the list, but the debt was sure worth it.

Sticking to Your Message

How to stay on topic is something that seems easy, but is hard to do when you feel passionate about a subject. It is easy to stray from the topic when you are most passionate about defending it.

I like to listen to talk radio, because I find the bias to be so obvious, but yet so funny. The kings of bias in my opinion have to be Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Sean Hanity is pushing for limited government that doesn't tax him. He keeps arguing about how Reagan's tax cuts lead to more revenue for the government, but neglects to mention the fact that Reagan's tax cuts lead to the largest increase in the national debt.

Rush Limbaugh just relies on name calling instead of honest debate when it comes to any issue that he disagrees with, so he doesn't have to know his stuff, because he relies on tactics a student might encounter while playing on the school playground. I understand he has the need to be heard, and is very popular. Why is he popular?

Rush Limbaugh seems to be popular because he has a base that doesn't like to accept facts and they seem to agree with him. It is rare to hear someone call his show and disagree with him, probably a controlled thing that his producer does to make it sound like everyone agrees with Rush.

It is interesting to listen to these shows with an open mind. I try to listen to their message. I just can't. I know what it is like to be unemployed. I know what it is like to search for a job and discover that there are over 100 candidates applying for the same position.

I just don't think these mega rich pundits get it. There message of hate is harmful to the land we live in and want to see get better.

Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh aren't the only bad guys out there preaching hate of anything liberal. But they are the two loudest voices right now on the radio.

I will continue to listen to talk radio, because it is always entertaining.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What Feeds Your Muse?

How do you edit your writing?

I love to read a good piece of writing before I edit my own work. This practice gets me in the mindset of seeing what works in published writing.

I don't think it is easy for a writer to see what is wrong with their own work. It takes years to get to the point that dissecting and repairing becomes a skill they can count on when needed. Sure, some writers can do it sooner than others, but they are the lottery winners of the writing world.

For me, the true battle is making sure that I am not preaching with my stories. I love to write about the moral decay of society. I don't necessarily believe moral decay is real, but I find books that deal with subject interest me the most.

Their are other subjects that interest me, like secularism and atheism. I also try to make sense of Glenn Beck's following, and why people listen to talk radio? I us my writing to wonder about what happens to societies that rely on hate speech and their effects on society.

As a writer it is easy to avoid subjects that aren't going to get published, but a true writer needs to find what really matters to them and write about it. I believe writers owe that to society to write about the truth, even if it means not getting published by a major publishing company. I honestly believe people thirst for the truth, but can't really find it as easily as they can find the lies.

It is interesting to see where a simple piece of writing can take you.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Painful Runs

I did a two mile run this past weekend. It was very painful, but I finished under 20 minutes, so I can't complain--I didn't run in almost four months.

My friend and I have a serious competition going, and the past I never failed to be a little bit more motivated than I was this time. It was also the first time that my friend beat me. We did about eight runs in the past, so I still have bragging rights, in a way.

I now know that overconfidence is very painful. My bedroom is on the second floor. Monday morning was very painful for me, and I had to walk down the stairs sideways so that I wouldn't tumble down them. My legs were so tight and sore that I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so foolish and didn't try to get a few runs in before Saturday's run.

I am a fan of history, and I believed that since I used to crush my friend, well, this time would just beat him by a little. I really should have listened to him when he said that he was running about twice a week. Sure, he was running on a treadmill, but he was still running. I should have listened to my wife when she said I should go for a run. I should have listened to my little voice telling me I needed to go running.

It isn't easy to lose, but I didn't train because I was too confident. It is a lesson that at my age I should know is a painful lesson. I know how my body responds to training runs and adding extra miles. I know how my body responds to adding some speed training, my body isn't a fan. I also know that over the last couple years I haven't run as much and so I added a few extra pounds. Weight I lost years ago, but sadly put back on over the past two years.

Weight gains were the reason I took up running. Racing against my friend gave us both a little extra motivation to run more than would have done on our own. The weight gains have also slowed me down to the point that I am running at speeds that I ran when I first started running.

This week I started running on the treadmill, and I have run 1.5 miles everyday, because this is about as far as I can run without feeling really winded.

I do realize that running on a treadmill isn't the same as running outside, but I do run at 1.5% incline to help take away some of the advantages of running on a treadmill. The treadmill is nice for trying to get back in shape because it isn't as hard on the legs like running on the road.

I have a treadmill and wasn't using it. I know that is sad, but I wonder how many people have treadmills and don't use it. I also have a trainer for my bike and hardly use it. I have the equipment to help me stay in shape, but it is just a matter of using it.

The point I am trying to make is that a person can find a lot of reasons for not doing something, but the truth is that even a doing a little bit will help you avoid the real painful outcomes in the end.

Mike Hastings Stuck in Neutral

A journalist job is to print the truth, and hopefully their editor will have the guts to print what the journalist finds out. Mike Hastings will no longer be an embed journalist in Afghanistan. It appears he won't be returning to the front line because he wrote down what General McChrystal said about the president.

Leaks seem to be a big issue when it comes to the war in Afghanistan, and the war effort will only be hampered by more reports of generals and other officers bashing the president.

The other issue is the war in Afghanistan isn't going the way it should, and some of that could be because McChrystal's rules of engagement that seemed to protect the Taliban more than his own soldiers. A fact that he wasn't a popular general because of his policies only seemed to get more attention after his Rolling Stone article.

Mike Hastings may have stepped over some imaginary line when he published General McChrystal's comments, but was he doing it as a way to save the lives of American soldiers or as a way to make a name for himself?

The article gave Hastings's media recognition, but it also caused him to lose his job in Afghanistan because the people in charge can't trust him.

It does appear that Hastings' is casualty of timing. If WikiLeaks hadn't published secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, maybe Hastings would still be an embed journalist.

The United States seems to be fighting a PR war in Afghanistan, and can't afford stories that show generals dislike for a policy or that the United States doesn't trust the corrupt Afghanistan government.

Hastings did what he thought was right, and maybe he shouldn't be shocked that he won't be going back to the front lines. It does appear that some fear he might print more secret talks or print something about what he sees in the front lines. It is censorship because Hastings isn't afraid to tell the truth, and now he won't get a chance to report what is going on in Afghanistan right now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Does Scott Really Care About What Really Matters.

Scott Walker was on the campaign trail this past weekend, because he needed to campaign for governor. He stayed around Milwaukee just long enough to sign the paperwork to declare Milwaukee a disaster area. Click on the link and watch the coverage from Channel 12 Milwaukee, Scott Walker

Thursday, July 22, 2010


There are a lot of good books that don't get published right away or never get published due to the fact a publisher doesn't have the money to sell it or they don't like it. Sure, some authors get published again because their past successes give them a free pass; even though the author's current books are just rehashed plots from their previous successes.

Amazon has given a lot of authors the chance to be published by allowing them to self-publish. This is an option in the past that cost the author a good chunk of their own money, but now Amazon is allowing the author to upload their novel, for a small cost to the author, onto Amazon's so the novel can be bought by people that own a Kindle.

It does appear that some people in the publishing business are worried about what self-publishing will flood the market with a lot of bad novels. You can read about this on  The Rejector blog.

But the Kindle is really allowing an author to get a little money for a story that they worked hard to write. If it is bad or good, depending on who reads it, doesn't mean that it shouldn't have a chance to be published.

The author being allowed to publish on Amazon or on other e-reader platforms opens the writer up to more opinions and should lead to the author becoming a better writer. An author on Amazon does receive feedback on their stories. The feedback isn't unlike the feedback an author receives in workshops and from friends, and the feedback might not be from an overworked editor, but it is still observations from people that enjoy reading.

My personal feeling is that workshops are one of the most overrated parts of creative writing. Just sit in and listen to one, if you get a chance. The author submits a writing sample to the group so the group can review and tell the author what is good and bad about it, and in theory it sounds like a great idea. The problem is that most people in the group seem to hold back because they don't want to hurt the writer's feelings.

Self-publishing authors can receive better feedback back the person giving the feedback isn't hindered by a desire to protect the writer's feelings.

It might take years to see if self-publishing will cause a major book publishers to change the way they do business, but it is nice to see that Amazon and other e-reader publishers have found a way to cut the cost of publishing a book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Russ Feingold Voting No, Is He Right?

Is Russ Feingold doing the right thing by voting against the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Bill?

"It doesn't do the job, and I'm not going to be part of a basically defrauding the American people into thinking it does," said Feingold. 

His stance is going against his party's hopes of passing the bill, but it also shows that Feingold is also willing to vote against his party when his vote means the difference between a bill passing or not passing.

The reform bill isn't progressive enough because the bill doesn't deal with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and doesn't protect consumers from car dealerships. 

The bill is a start in the right direction, but it isn't good enough for Russ Feingold. In the past, Russ Feingold voted against repealing the Glass-Steagall law and he voted against giving Wall Street bailout funds. He wants to see more regulations put on Wall Street and he is willing to vote against a bill that doesn't really doesn't fix the problem and only creates a bigger tax burden--thanks to Senator Scott Brown getting his way.

You can read the highlights of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and see if Russ is making the right choice. 

You can also read a blog post on The Nation about Feingold's fight to get more reforms put in the bill. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Trade Season

With the summer trade deadline coming up next week, the Russians are looking to trade Igor V. Sutyagin for Anna Chapman.

Sutyagin was a Russian scientist before he was convicted by the Russians to 14 years for espionage.

Anna Chapman is the sultry Russian spy who was arrested last week on charges of spying for Russia.

Twenty-one years since the last trade between Russia and the United States, and a lot has changed since those days of suspicion. The Russians aren’t looking to crush the United States, and the United States isn’t using the Russians as a way to increase defense spending.

The breaking point is that Anna Chapman really doesn’t know too many secrets about United States because she was too busy getting drunk to do what she was suppose to do. You can’t blame the woman for liking the lifestyle that didn’t require her to be suspicious of every person she came in contact with and every car that passed her.

Sutyagin would be a great pick up for the United States, because his nuclear weapons specialty could help bolster an already strong United States team. It is reported that he is already familiar with the United States nuclear program, so he could start right away.

But the trade will also help the strained relationship between the two countries. The relationship used to include way too much distrust of the other, spending too much time trying to destroy the other, and a lot of lying about what they were really doing in secret locations.

When a relationship between two super powers is allowed to fester for too many years a lot of countries seek counseling from the United Nations, but right now the United Nations isn’t' interested in the trade. They didn’t stop any blockbuster trades during the Cold War, and it doesn’t look like they block any trades now.

The relationship did show some signs of life while Bill Clinton was president. Clinton did his best not to offend the Russians, and helped the Russians dismantle weapons of mass destruction in former countries of the Soviet Union.

Clinton also showed great patience when dealing with a drunken Yeltsin. A skill that could have strained the already shaky relationship between the two countries, but Clinton used it as a chance to show the true character of the United States, and that is that the United States will always be there for you.

The relationship between the two countries soured when Bush became president. It started when Vladimir Putin and his wife came to the White House to meet President Bush for the first time. Bush hugged Mrs. Putin and whispered something into her ear that made her blush.

The incident angered Putin to the point that he reverted back to his old KGB days and ordered a new wave of Russian spies be sent to the United States.

Obama did promise to change the way Washington did business, and by trading Anna Chapman to the Russians for Igor V. Sutyagin would be a big change from Bush policies that only seemed to anger allies and enemies alike.     

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ten Signs Your Date Is a Spy

It is hard enough to find the right person to spend the rest of your life with, but it just became harder to do just that, because now you have to worry about that person being a Russian spy.

Here are some sure sings your date is a Russian spy:

1. They are always asking about American foreign policy. Sure, the date might like your opinion on foreign policies, but odd are he or she is a spy.

2. They always pay cash for everything. Most Americans use a debt or credit card to pay for everything. In fact, if you see someone using cash, odds are you should report them as being a spy. You should always use caution when around these cash carrying people.

3. They never complain about taxes. A true American complains about taxes and how much they lose off their checks.

4. They are always looking around the room. It could be that they just don’t like you, so use your own judgment on this one.

5. They wear a shirt that says ‘I Heart Marxist.” The person might also go to a liberal university, so they could be slightly confused about why democracies are far superior over Marxist regimes. Don’t try to argue with them over this point, because that could lead them to leave you with the bill.

6. They stop listening to you when you tell them that you don’t work for the government and don’t have government clearance. The date could be a huge X-Files fan and might hope you could answer some questions they had about strange lights they see in the night sky. It is important to ask them why they want to know, because they might also be shy.

7. They drive a Toyota. True Americans don’t drive Toyotas because they would have bought into all the fears that come with driving a Toyota.

8. They speak with a Russian accent, even though they claim they were born in Minnesota. Don’t look at them as if they were liars, because this will only make them mad.

9. They laugh at your jokes—enough said.

10. They don’t know the state capital of North Dakota is Bismarck. Most Americans know the answer, but if they don’t you could always ask them what the state capital of Rhode Island.

It isn’t always easy to see the signs that your date is a spy, because sometimes their good looks get in the way of such decisions. An attractive date could go a long way to improving your status among your friends, but remember that your status among your friends should is only temporary, because odds are that they know the true you.

Again, please use caution around people that you feel could be a spy, because the person might also be a trained assassin, and that could mean game over for you.

Don’t be surprised if people don’t if people laugh at you, and tell you: “The Cold War is over.”

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where Are the Jobs

The reality of the recession is job losses. Jobs aren't coming back like everyone hoped.

President Obama was in Wisconsin on Wednesday for a town hall meeting. He made it sound like politics as usual by blaming the Republicans for not backing his plans to regulate the financial sector.

The president is right to seek reform for the financial sector--something Republican are fighting.  

Republicans are the opposing party, and have every right to fight the president's plans for reform; even though they really haven't come up with a plan of their own to help fix the problem. 

Republicans don't seem to grasp the idea that they need to act on job creation, and not play politics with the president. They like to use the deficit as a reason for not acting, but under Bush they didn't mind a large deficit  in the budget. 

The reality is jobs aren't being created at the rate to help the economy, and yesterday's job numbers showed that 125,000 jobs were lost in June, but 83,000 private sector jobs were added. 

If jobs aren't added soon enough there is a chance that the recession won't go away. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Russian Spies

The Cold War might be over, but not all aspects of the Cold War seem over. Monday's arrest of 11 people alleged of spying for  Russia on Monday came at a time when the United States and Russia are trying to work together to improve the tense relationship held by the two countries.

The story continues with:

  1. Anna Chapman was denied bail. 
  2. Robert Christopher Metsos disappeared in Cyprus
  3. The spies not really spying by trying to recruit spies.
Why do the Russian need spies? It doesn't really seem clear right now. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mother Night

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1961, looks at how we view reality. What we see is not what always the truth, no matter how real it appears. And the books looks at what evil things can do to a man and his beliefs.

Howard Campbell Jr. is the main character of the novel. He is an American by birth, but moved to Germany before Hitler gained power. He does a lot of evil things while serving Hitler, but is he really serving Hitler or someone else?

The book is told through the eyes of Mr. Campbell, and  Mr. Campbell is a sympathetic character; even though he is an ex-Nazi propagandist.

The book also examines what people feel about themselves when under the control of a brutal regime. Mr. Campbell at times searches for answers, and tries to deny his past. Reality is something that Mr. Campbell can't seem to accept, but he does learn that the old self is still part of the new self, and that fact doesn't change no matter how much he wishes it would change.

The ending of the book doesn't disappoint.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Capital Punishment and Ronnie Gardner

Ronnie Lee Gardner died by firing squad at 12:20 a.m.

There was doubt that Ronnie Lee Gardner killed two men, but did his past mean he should have served life in prison instead of death by firing squad? According to, the United States executed  52 people. This ranked fifth on the list of countries that still use capital punishment. 

Ronnie Lee Gardner shouldn't of died by firing squad. He shouldn't of spent 25 years on death row. He shouldn't be in the news right now. 

Ronnie Lee Gardner's victims families needed to feel justice was served, but executing the person responsible for their pain was not effective therapy for giving them closure. They can claim they felt closure, but they will still be missing their loved ones. 

There is no form of justice that will bring back a loved one from the dead. Revenging a death is not a good practice in any country. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Milwaukee Means to the Whole State of Wisconsin

Living in Milwaukee has it ups and downs, but right now Milwaukee is on one of those downward swings. The city needs help, if only to help it become a place of economic growth.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a piece about college graduates staying Milwaukee and the results of the mass exodus of graduates leaving once they get their diploma.

I think the most striking part of the article is the fact Milwaukee is falling behind on retaining college graduates.
According to the article, the graduates make an important contribution to the safety and growth of the city. But, Milwaukee isn't really retaining many graduates.

The unemployment rate in Milwaukee was 10.5% for March. The number could be lower right now, but even still, that is a very high number for a city that boast two large universities.

Minneapolis was mentioned in the comment section of the article, and the unemployment numbers for Minneapolis in March  was 7.8 % and expected 6.8% unemployed in April.

What does this story have to do with the rest of the state? Tom Barret and Scott Walker are both from Milwaukee, and they are running for governor. They both claim they are going to create jobs. It sure seems like empty promises, if you look at the number of unemployed in their city, and their lack of job creation.

A New Picture

I wanted to capture the sense of falling coming. I also like the way the birdbath looked something like a shield. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Censoring Helen Thomas

In an ever growing world of political correctness, Helen Thomas was victimized by her own words and prejudices.

Her opinions on Israel were wrong, but she was expressing her opinions. Do we not want our journalist to feel passionate one way or the other on issues? Were her views taken the same way by Palestinians? She was raised by Lebanese immigrants, and it appeared on camera that her biases leaned more towards the Palestinians.

She always had an opinion and just because her opinion was racist doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be given a second chance. People should be allowed to mistakes, and why was the first response the one the involved her resigning from her job.

Sure, Rush Limbaugh lost his job on ESPN when he made racist comments about Donovan McNabb. Rush is still on the air making racist comments. It really doesn’t appear that he learned anything from what he said on ESPN.

Newspapers are sensitive to their advertisers’ worries and the repercussions of comments made by their employees that might cause them lost advertising revenue. But Ms. Thomas was a syndicated columnist that was paid for opinion.

How many people read the opinion section of their newspaper and get offended by the opinions expressed by writers they don’t like. That is why it is called the opinion section and not the news page. People crave opinions, even if they don’t match their own opinions, because if they didn’t there wouldn’t be an opinion section.

It might even appear racist to defend Helen Thomas, because that means taking her side. There really isn’t any side when it comes to freedom of speech. She had the right to her opinion, and because her job was as a journalist she was held to different standards. Would she have lost her job is she was a novelist? It is hard say.

The freedom of speech allows people to speak their mind and express opinions opposite of what is popular or right. People should be allowed to make their own opinions on what is wrong and right.

But, freedom of speech in the past couple decades seems to also come with the limits of speech that is deemed hurtful and contrary to the public good. And this new standard hasn’t allowed the freedom of ideas to be expressed to the intent the amendment. Politically correct speech isn’t free speech but censorship in sheep’s clothing.

Ms Thomas won’t be reporting from the White House, and I am sure in the next couple months her opinions will disappear from the thoughts of most newspaper readers. It is just sad to see someone that did so much for women journalist make comments like she did.

It is also sad to think that “I am sorry” isn’t good enough anymore, and that the best thing for someone like her is to resign her post as an opinionated columnist. Her opinion didn’t do anything to change people’s opinions on the Middle East peace process, but it did make her look foolish.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Environmental Impact

What is the best way to reduce the United States carbon footprint?

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is proof that something important needs to happen in the next couple weeks in terms of the United States Congress passing an energy bill that weans the country from its dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. There top two contenders are cap and trade or cap and dividend, but neither one has the support to pass the Senate.

Cap and trade was gaining strength in Congress, passed in the house last June, but the Senate hasn’t been able to bring it to the floor for a vote. That is because a small group of citizens, mostly Tea Party members, spoke out against it due to the possibility of job losses and increased utility costs.

But cap and trade protesters haven’t taken into account the real impact on the health of workers in mines and on the health of workers drilling for oil. What about the health costs of people living near mines and oil refineries? These costs aren’t mentioned by them because they only care about the cheap price of oil and coal.

West Virginia University did a study in 2008 about the impact of coal mining on the Appalachia economy and the socioeconomic impact of mining. The results showed a decrease in life expectancy of people working and living near coal mines. The study also showed that areas that don’t rely on coal mining do better.

Oil drilling and Oil refineries are also responsible for a wide range of health and environmental impacts that range from increased cancer rates to increased hydrogen sulfide emissions. The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School did a study that highlights the need to move away from using oil as a means of energy.

An oilman from Texas named Thomas Boone Pickens also has a plan called the Pickens Plan that promises to create jobs, modernize electric grids, provide incentives to homeowners and commercial property owners to reduce energy consumption, and switch from oil to natural gas in automobiles. Pickens used United States Energy Information Administration statics that claim natural gas burns cleaner than coal.

Cap and dividend is used in the Cantwell-Collins bill, better known as the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act, which gained corporate support from ExxonMobil and AARP. This bill's goal is to require fuel producers to buy credits at auction and the revenues raised from the auction will be given back to low- and middle-class Americans in the form of rebates. The bill doesn’t deny that utility cost won’t go up in states that rely on coal power, but it does promise help in paying those bills.

Jim Doyle tried to get his Clean Air Job Act passed this April, but couldn’t get it passed due to the lack of support from his own party members. The bill promised to create 15,000 green jobs, but also demanded power companies get 25% of their power from renewable sources by 2025.

Utility bills also seemed to be a sticking pointing in getting the legislation passed. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that utility bills in Wisconsin increased by 39% to 70% since 2001.

It is unlikely that coal and oil will reach a high enough price that companies will look to alternative energies—unless government gets involved. Higher prices in theory should lead to change, but the problem with theory is that it isn’t always right.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Big Sister

“I wanted to do something for my community, and fate stepped in when I spotted a flier at work. It was a Big Brothers and Big Sisters flier, so I took it back to my cubicle and called the number,” Melissa Nelson said.
Melissa Nelson joined Big Brothers and Big Sisters to get a little sister, to help improve her Spanish skills, and to learn about herself. She became a big sister on October 14, 2004 to Hannah Villarreal.
“I did not know what to expect when I became Hannah’s big sister, because I only had a little brother, so it was a new experience for me.” Melissa said. Hannah just turned thirteen, and was an excellent match for Melissa, because Melissa's second language is Spanish. Melissa used Spanish to improve Hannah's English skills, because she was able to explain things to Hannah that she couldn't get from her mom. Hannah's mom doesn't speak English.
Melissa spends a lot of time with Hannah. During the school year, she picks Hannah up from school on Thursdays, and every Saturday she takes Hannah to the library. In the summer, Melissa just picks Hannah up every Saturday, so they can go biking or to the movies.
The friendship also gave Hannah a role model. A friend she could call when struggling in school or just to talk to when she felt like talking. When asked about her big sister, Hannah said, “I was really excited to meet Melissa. She is very nice to me. She bought me a bike for my birthday and took me to see Shrek 4. ”
Melissa also started a savings account for Hannah, with the hopes it will help Hannah pay for college.
"I believe with college will be a reality for Hannah," Melissa said. "I am going to do my best to see her walk across that stage and receive her diploma."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Law and Order

How do you end a show with 20 years of success on NBC? You end it the way you end every episode and that is what the writers of "Law and Order" did last night; you have closure, with only a few questions about what will they do tomorrow.

"Law and Order" used the hour format to highlight how the district attorney's office works with law enforcement. It also used a cast of characters that gave the show a sense of realism.

Lt. Anita Van Burren played S. Epatha Merkerson was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of this season. Merkerson announced that this season would be her final, after 17 years on the show, and the ending was a nice way to say good bye to her.

No, she didn’t get shot or die from her cancer. She received news from her doctor the cancer was gone and she also got engaged. A happy ending for a character that over the years remained stone for her fellow cops to rest their weary hearts upon.

If "Law and Order" doesn’t get picked up by TNT, its last case called to attention the power of teachers’ union, and teachers face in the modern schools. At times, the episode preached more than telling the story, but a little preaching is what a viewer comes to expect from the show.

And the villain was a good New York teacher upset by accusations that ended his career. He is sent to the "Rubber Room" and listens and blogs about the teachers he meets in the room. The blog is also a place for him to warn the public about his plans to make himself famous. Detectives Lupo and Bernard arrived at the school just in time to prevent the disaster.

The final scene also didn’t give any hints that it might be the end for the cast of characters, or did it grab as much media attention as the final episodes of "24" and"Lost"did. "Law and Order" didn't need the hype to get the ratings, because the ratings came with the good stories and interesting characters.