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.