Friday, December 18, 2009

there comes a time...

And so I begin to wrap up my last post of the year. It has been an interesting one, a short one to be sure, but interesting. I enjoyed writing what I have so far and of course look forward to continuing next year but I think I will take a break for the holidays. I think this calls for a little check up on the world today. In one sense, it’s like the whole world has come to a quiet reprieve for the holidays, a time to wind down and wind up for another year.

Something I have noticed recently is a more pronounced emphasis on Global Warming, or shall I say Global Climate Change. It’s not that it had never been an issue, it just seems like in the last couple months it has become a huge deal, where everyone is getting more interested as of late. Some of the world’s super powers had a meeting the other day to make an agreement on the greenhouse gas emissions of the world, nothings legal yet, but they have promised to meet a certain goal and it seems to bode well for now. I am not one who fully believes in Global Warming, or really I should say I am not one to get hyped up about it. I do believe that it is there, and I do believe that we should be looking to find better ways to do things, healthier, better stewards of what we have, but I also know that the world goes through seasons and patterns and it seems like there are enough scandals and hype in the media about Global Warming that no one really knows the true state and it seems to get exaggerated most of the time. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy but I think we have a lot more to learn before we declare that the world is going to end soon.

Well gang, that’s it for this year,


Kelsey Conner

Thursday, December 17, 2009

jingle bells, jingle bells,
jingle all the way
Oh what fun it is to ride
in a one horse open sleigh

However much I may try to keep my posts focused, I will always tend to turn toward the thing I am looking to the most. So this post is dedicated to purely indulging myself, letting me get it out. So in this case, I’m going to talk about Christmas break… Well really it’s just about a week that work shuts down and I couldn’t really go in even if I wanted to. It makes me so excited to be able to sleep in, to not have to worry about what time I need to get up and going. The past few days I have over slept 5/5 days… that’s bad. When you need to be somewhere at seven, and you don’t get up until six forty, that’s bad. Only three more work days, and to weekends and we are there. I will finally be able to relax and enjoy the scenery. It seems as if I can actually here Christmas bells ringing in my ears, I’m so excited to have time. Time just to relax, to get something done, to prepare for the coming black stretch, the time when there are no breaks or days off, its all busy, the same ol’ same ol’ – nothing changes, I do the same thing day in and day out- and unfortunately those days are coming quickly, faster and faster and faster. I don’t know if I could make my point any clearer.☺ And so, I am heading back to the present back to where I am, not on holiday. I hope for all of you, that your immediate future will hold the most wonderful times of your year, that your days may be merry and bright, and I wish you a merry Christmas!

Signing off,

History of America...

Occasionally I get these urges to think about our history, to want to go back in time, to when our nation was young, and to really think about everything that people have sacrificed for our nation. This week I’ve been thinking about the civil war, no thanks to school, and especially the sacrifices made, not just in war, but in peace. During the civil war we discover people like Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman, all these people, especially women, who made a way for others. I think that as a nation we get too caught up in where we are now, the wars we are fighting now, that we forget about the lessons learned in past wars, the things we wish we knew before we got ourselves into a war we wish we weren’t in. So I put together a little something to hopefully give hope to those who are feeling a little ‘lost at sea’ right now to remember that even in war there are people helping to further peace.

Civil Heroes
Five women heroes of the Civil War you should know about
By Kelsey Conner

People who gave of themselves, not for themselves

1. Clara Barton
Clara Barton is known as one of the most influential people in the Civil War. As a woman she set a standard that women are capable of helping wounded soldiers. She founded an agency to transport supplies to the front of the battle.

2. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was a runaway slave from Maryland who helped lead many slaves to freedom at her own risk. She was called the ‘Moses’ of her people. She was even a federal spy during the civil war in South Carolina, and a even a nurse. She arranged for other runaway slaves to assist her in the Underground Railroad and to be scouts for confederate camps to report to the Union.

3. Harriet Beecher Stowe
Known almost exclusively for her publication of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin—It raised a lot of support from the North as it spoke out against slavery. After its publication in 1851 she traveled all around the Union speaking against slavery.

4. Mary Edwards Walker
Out of the 1.8 million women veterans, Mary Walker was the only one to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor for her work during the Civil War. She joined a joined the tiny number of women doctors in the nation when she graduated from the eclectic Syracuse Medical College, the nation's first medical school and one which accepted women and men on an equal basis. She served as an army doctor in the Civil war.

5. Lucretia Coffin Mott
Mott was known as an inaugurator of the women’s civil rights. She fought mightily for women’s equality and was often offended by the obvious injustices between men and women. As an ardent abolitionist she held a position in the Underground Railroad and traveled around the country speaking against slavery.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

year 2

As the New Year rolls around President Obama starts his next term in office and he is just one step closer to being either re-elected or... not. It’s kind of a tossup right now. There are enough people who are unhappy with his work, and yet many people are obsessed with him. I personally have no idea. Right now I wouldn't be surprised if he is re-elected but there are still 3 more years and I could definitely see that changing, especially when people examine his money management.

The new health care plan will cost our nation a lot of money and we don’t even know if it will work. Unfortunately we can’t really afford any of that, yet we still are going through with it. I don’t really know if I like or dislike the plan, but I do know it is a huge issue that will affect everyone in the nation and it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. I am kind of disappointed that we couldn’t come up with something a little more versatile, so that the rest of the nation does not have to pay for everyone else’s heath care. I mean, I think we should all help each other but, it doesn’t really make sense to save money by spending more money on something that will affect only a minority, something that could be handled better with, perhaps another sort of plan requiring less of everyone else.

My view of the government health care plan is tied to Regina Herzlinger’s as she refutes the plan, but embraces some sort of plan, with as little government intervention as possible. According to her, we should be able to have a consumer based health insurance, but have it backed by the government. Their job should be to regulate the system, but not force how they provide care, let the consumer demand their own care.

Over all, I think we have a long ways to go, and Obama has an even longer way I think. He has a lot to do, to learn yet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Most Wonderful Tme of the Year

"To know that once you decide to look at life outside of the narrow
limits of just your world and start to understand that you can make a difference
in very simple ways - in volunteering and all the way up to bigger world

Susan Sarandon

More and more, my topics seem to be straying from the theme posted at the top of my blog, however, I really cannot think of much that currently has much to do with politics, etc. But I am remembering the first post I ever posted, the one about the title, "red fish, blue fish, one fish, two fish." I couldn't think of a topic to write about but I began to think about the meaning of my blog- people, so I decided talking about the holiday season is not necessarily off topic, it is something that affects people all over the world and can make a huge difference in people's lives. And so, I will begin my journey on the human interest side of the world.
This time of the year is when we all hunker down in our holes to hibernate with family and friends, enjoying the cold winter air and the beautiful sparkling snow, not often thinking much about the people who maybe don’t have the same opportunities we do, especially here in America. Even our poorest are not as poor as the rest of the worlds poor. If you even own a car, not to mention two or three, you are automatically in the top ten or fifteen percent wealthiest people in the world. Although I say that we may not think of others this is not entirely true, the Christmas season is actually one of the most giving. It’s one of the times we actually do think of other people. I guess what I mean is, that although we drop our change in those bright red Salvation Army Buckets almost as soon as we hear the bells ringing in our ears, we still have a tendency to not really fully understand the privileges we really do have.
Unfortunately I am one of these thoughtless people who tend to drop a few pennies in the bucket, or donate my clothes to my local Goodwill, and yet, I still never really think about what I could do. What do I specifically have to help people out? Maybe nothing really, but it seems that we all have to have something to give, not money or our old clothes, but what about our time? our talents? These are the things I seem to hoard over the holidays. Although I may not really see myself as talented, maybe someone else does, maybe they are the ones who might actually think I am funny. Or maybe they are the ones who would enjoy beating me in chess. Who knows? I guess I will just have to find out…
I guess that’s all I really have to say for right now. I’m not really sure what I was trying to say, maybe that we all have something more to give than spare change. I hope that we all find somewhere to give, give more than we’ve been giving. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet at a shelter somewhere…

Here's some info from my local hospital about volunteering:

There are many reasons why St. Luke's Hospital has such a strong corps of volunteers. Some volunteer because they meet new friends and feel connected to the community. Others want to be connected to a healthcare environment to explore careers and learn new skills. Many find fulfillment in giving of their expertise for the good of others.
For more than 50 years, St. Luke's Hospital has attracted volunteers from all walks of life. There is room for more volunteers ages 14 years and up. Contact us to find out how you can join the St. Luke's Hospital volunteer program.
Who Volunteers?

  • High School and College Students
  • Adults of all ages and walks of life
  • Couples
  • Families
  • Those seeking on-the-job experience - a perfect "building block" on any resume or a good start to a career in healthcare.
  • Those seeking careers in healthcare - great experience before you declare a major in the field.
  • Retirees - stay active and share your knowledge, compassion and experience.

For additional information, please call 319/369-7213.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

blustery blizzards

SNOW, SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!! Ahhh, this has been a blustery week of blowing wind chills far below zero, and snow falling faster than you could possibly comprehend. The first morning the blizzard hit here in the Midwest, I woke up to text messages from friends announcing the cancellation of school! However much I respect the school system, also respect my snow days and this has been a week to remember. As we are now heading onto day 3 of no school, I find that I have more time than I could possibly imagine. I have time to go sledding even though the wind makes it an arctic adventure just to make it outside. I helped shovel and snow blow our driveway to find that by the time you finish and have reached the end of the drive the snow has practically covered it again and you know that in just a few short hours you will have to come back out and do it all over again. I made cookies with a friend, which were devoured faster than it took to make them. I even ate all three meals on these wonderful "free days". But I know that you do not want to hear about my ramblings about what I did on my snow days, so now I will get to the point- The blizzard, reaching dumping snow on 12 states, and touching 42 of the 50, has been a rare moment, forcing America to slow down and stay inside with family. It has been noted that the blizzard has caused 17 deaths, almost all of them related to car accidents, the results of NOT staying inside. Today on the worst day of the blizzard, my whole family was home. I went sledding with friends down the street, and in all I never strayed far from my house and got around entirely on foot. It was almost a dream-like state that I walked down the deserted streets taking my little brother the the closest sledding hill, noting the crisp white snow sparkling in the sun beginning to peek through snow laden clouds. And I realized, that this is how it used to be, in the "good ol' days." It felt old fashioned, but it was a blast. No one was out, it was simply quiet and serene, no one out or running around, simply peaceful, with plenty of time and no place to go. It actually reminded me of an essay I read for class the other day. It was by Oscar Wilde in his essay Impressions of America. He said:
"...everybody seems in a hurry to catch a train. This is not a state of things which is favourable to poetry or romance. Had Romeo or Juliet been in a constant state of anxiety about trains, or had their been agitated by the question of return-tickets, Shakespeare could not have given us those lovely balcony scenes which are so full of poetry and pathos."
And so I remembered as I was walking down the quiet, quaint street that he was right. America is always in a hurry, constantly trying to get somewhere. This was something that actually struck me as funny- this blizzard was like natures way of forcing us to slow down and stay with our family, and apparently those who didn't, were killed.
And so I leave you now, hopefully with quiet thoughts in your head, and warm hot chocolate in your stomach, thinking about the fast approaching holiday. Speaking of holidays, that reminds me, heres another happy thought for your head, next week is our last week until Christmas break, at least for me. This day just keeps getting better...

Monday, December 7, 2009

As the Christmas season comes upon us, many of us reflect on the progress we have made, and the pieces we have put back together this year. Our nation, though very similar to how it was last Christmas, had changed. We have taken a couple steps forward and a couple steps back, but at least we have done something, at least we have gone somewhere. This is my favorite time of the year. Last night my family and I put up our Christmas tree, and we had our first snow that stayed on the ground, so waking up this morning I was greeted by sparkling white snow. Tomorrow we are under a blizzard watch and we might just be lucky enough to have a school cancellation by Wednesday. But these are all my personal reasons, the reasons I love Christmas.
As a nation, we now know when our troops in Iraq are coming home, and we know when more will be leaving us, some never to come back, to go to Afghanistan. We also know that the Olympics are not going to be in America for a while, and we know that our President is almost coming upon re-election. But these again are just a few things, the littlest things really, the things that hardly break the surface.
All though these things are all relating to our country, there is more to Christmas. It is a time for family and friends, however cliché that may sound, and it is a time of re-birth, hopefully not just for individuals but also for our nation. We want to be remembered as the nation that brought people together, not tears them apart, and we want to be the people, people admire, not despise. I hope that we will all remember that this year.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Presidents Address to the Nation

Haven't Blogged in a while, but I hope to pick that up again now...

The presidents address to the nation on Tuesday, was a huge step in the progress of our nation. It brought a sense of finality to the Iraq War, and a sense of victory to the War in Afghanistan. As you can see from the beginning of his speech I posted above, he relates the war back to its origins, the 9/11 attacks. In doing so, I think he garnered the support of all those who still feel the pain they felt on that first day. He basically cornered the nation into an emotional sense that if they don't support the war, they don't care about what happened to them. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, this happened even to me, it just makes me chuckle a little to listen to the beginning of this speech and know right away that he was going to send more troops. Immediately he started to justifyhis decision, even before he announced it. But I do agree with his decision. The only way you could bring finality and a closure to the war, is to send in troops and finish what we started. I think this is a major downfall of the American people. We never want to finish what we start once it begins to get tough, once it begins to cost us something.
Unfortunately it is a bad character reference on our part, but hopefully we will continue to have the opportunity to fix it. In order for that to happen though, we all need to realize our mistakes. However much the president, or his cabinet or our congressmen want to fix it, the American people are the ultimate deciders, the ones who give the go ahead, and I think that most Americans haven’t realized what’s going on yet, and they probably wont until it is thrown right back in our faces.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NOVEMBER 1st. However much people hate to say it, the year is closing. Already it feels like the new year for most of us. At work we must close down our expense accounts and reset our charge numbers, it's all very complex, but for the most part it just means that the two- thousand- and- nine fiscal year is over. Already as we set up our new accounts, e-mails are being sent out saying, "don't forget to charge time for this account... etc, the year is over" they even call it two- thousand- and- ten already!! I personally enjoy the new year. Especially at this time of year. You're looking ahead to a new year and what you can see is a pleasant holiday season and the start of a new year. Its all very exciting. This is my favorite time of year, everything is preparing itself for the hardest time of year, although also the most restorative time of year if you ask me. Its the time with family and friends that people are always looking forward to, and I guess even if you don't look forward to spending time with the family, its still good for you. Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away, and Christmas will be here before you know it, and Auld Lang Sine will be ringing in your ears in two short months. As the year closes and we look back, hopefully all we see is another hopeful year ahead. It still seems so fast for me. Things just seem to keep going faster and faster. I'm not really sure when it will slow down, probably never. O well, I'm sure I will get over that soon enough. Well anyway, that was just something that I felt like everybody should know, because, hey, who doesn't like the holidays?? besides all you crazy people out there who have no life, not like I'm judging or anything...

Friday, October 30, 2009


As the recession has begun to take a turn for the better, things are still not as great as we would like. Even though the stock market has climbed up almost to its previous glory, the market is still under its effects. The most notable symptom, I think, are colleges. College in general is going up. The price is going up, the attendance is going up, everything. College has just suddenly become a huge deal. Not that people didn't already know how important it was, but with the recession and the job market being so poor, everybody is looking to expand their horizons so they may be exempt from the growing group of people without a job. Attendance at Community Colleges has gone up forty percent in the last year, while state College attendance has stayed flat. This is incredible, just for the record. It has been just recently that college has become practically mandatory for student leaving high school. Now if you don't, your chances for a job are extremely slim. For employers, this is an incredible opportunity. They have the chance for talented quality workers. They have the best opportunity to take their time deciding to who to pick - who has the best education, who has the most experience, etc... It's best time for them. However, this is not so great a time for the employee, those of us who don't just get to pick and choose, at this point we take what we can get. Anyway, back to colleges. Tuition has been climbing recently. Not enough to really make people worry, but enough to raise awareness that things will get worse before they are better. The important thing to remember is that college is important to everyone concerned. It helps the new graduated get a job, it helps the employer find quality workers, and it helps society grow to have the most profitable community.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

grandmothers house

Well here's another off topic blog, but I'm just so excited for this that I just need to let it out. Thanksgiving is just a measly twenty-nine days away, and for us educated people, Thanksgiving break is even sooner, a mere twenty-five days away. Now to some of you, this may still seem rather long, but let me make it more understandable- we have three weeks until Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving break, we have three more weeks (well maybe closer to four) until Christmas break. Now that seems feasible! For those of you who don’t remember waiting for this most wonderful time of the year, only so because there’s no school, let me give you a refresher course: 1) school gets really boring and kind of hard after about the third week so your pretty much counting down from there. 2) When in school, you have little memory of what is often called “free time”. 3) If you don’t count down until your holiday breaks, you get bored, and you feel like you’re going to die if school doesn’t end anytime soon.

Because I’m in such a holiday spirit, I wrote you a poem, one I know you’ll love once you hear it.

(Just kidding its actually pretty bad I just felt like rhyming)

Of course there are the Scrooges that still say bah-humbug,

and grandma still tries for that big’ol bear hug

There are aunts and some uncles with cousins galore

That gallop and wrestle all over the floor

But the stories of old

The ones that have always been told

Still make us believe that the holiday spirit

Makes us always want to hear it

That Thanksgiving and Christmas

Will always want to wish us

Special time with our loved ones

And still some not so much

Weather they live in a shoe

Or live in a hutch.

Anyway, that’s that, just a little tid-bit of some facts about Thanksgiving/Christmas break

Sunday, October 25, 2009


IOWA.... The Iowa-Michigan state game last night was quite the cardio exercise for some people. When it looked like all was lost for the Hawkeyes perfect record in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeye spirit prevailed. Hawks scored a last minute touchdown the end the game 15 -13. At the end of the game I almost felt sorry for MSU. Being a Hawkeye fan, my heart was pounding in those last few seconds when it looked like we would lose, but the relief that flooded me when we won...? that was spectacular. As the camera roved over the MSU fans, to see their face, it was pretty close to heart breaking. They looked like they didn't even know what had hit them. It was practically for sure that they were going to win and when the hawks just slid one in there, they were totally bereft. Maybe it was because what they were experiencing was exactly what we Hawkeye fans were just going through that I was able to sympathize with them. I felt really sorry that they were just so… lost. . When the camera stayed on a young man for five minutes it just showed him standing there, his hands on his head, totally shocked that they had lost. I almost felt really, really sorry for him. But I didn’t. I with held. I was ecstatic that our team was now eight and O, on its way to a bowl, hopefully the Rose Bowl. I really don’t know what more to say. I am overjoyed. Ricki Stanzi totally just let it rip last night. Although it seemed like he hadn’t contributed that much, In the end he found just the right opportunity to bring it home. If I was a Hawkeye football player right now, I don’t have a clue about what I would be thinking right now, all I’d know was that we had won… something like OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH….. just playing over and over again in my head.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

heck-no techno

I know this does not have much to do with my general blog theme, but I can’t help writing about something I’m so excited about: Barnes & Noble came out with the nook® on Tuesday, October 20, 2009. If you have ever heard of the Kindle® by Amazon it’s pretty much the same thing, although it does have its advantages. In my opinion the nook is way cooler just because it uses touch technology instead of conventional buttons, as well as it has a color screen with cover flow for you to browse books by their cover. Other advantages are that is has a memory SD card slot for you to store over 17,500 extra books, which the kindle does not have. Barnes & Noble also has a much larger selection of e-books( 1 million) compared to Amazon (350,000), and some of them are free, depending on the book. The one thing that gives Amazon’s Kindle an advantage is its text to speech technology allowing it to turn any book into an audio book. The nook is capable of storing audio books, and is compatible as an mp3 player; it just can not convert books to audio.
Overall I think the nook has a much more sleek design than the Kindle and it can connect to Wi-Fi in the Barnes and Noble store where you can read any e-book for free, just like you could if you were looking at a real book. It takes seconds to download any book and they are relatively cheap- much cheaper than a printed book. The nook’s tag price is also cheaper than the Kindle, not much but it is cheaper. Amazon’s Kindle is currently selling at $279, while the nook is going for about $259. Over all I think the nook® has its advantages over the Kindle®, but the Kindler® also has some features that put the nook® to shame.

music to my ears

In America nothing is sweeter than the sound of a melody floating through the air, or in some cases the sound of some hard core screamo. In the land of the free, music is probably one of the most unified things we can identify with. Everybody listens to music. Now that is pretty much where it ends. After that people will argue on the genre, the artist, the musicians, the lyrics, the song itself, all the way down to which radio station, or what type of headphones provide the best sound, or even what brand of mp3 player. All the time its music, music, music.
Music in America really is a great thing. As a nation we all enjoy listening to music- country or rock, pop or screamo, oldies or techno, we all have our preferences. Music is a great unifier. Something that allows us to express ourselves as individuals, yet connect with each other as a whole. We idolize music artists. We stand in line for them to sign our heads, or pay hundreds of dollars to get standing room at one of their concerts. We have some of the best music schools in the world and orchestras and artists to match. Some of the most universally renowned musicians come from America. Maybe it’s not all a good thing (think Brittany Spears) but everybody does know who she is. Or Michael Jackson, all over the world his albums are some of the most popular ever for his creative lyrics and sound effects.
Music is probably also one of our greatest downfalls. Teachers can’t keep kids from using them in class and kids often have them blaring loud enough to blow out their eardrums in three uses. i-pods are one of the most commonly stolen items in schools and locker rooms. As a nation we adore music. We have songs about our country and songs about religion. We have songs to represent ourselves individually and as a unit. Music is America.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

bringin' home the bacon

As jobs become scarcer, people are getting a little anxious. The stock market reached 10,000 points this past week. This is about where it was before it dropped. I heard reported on the news this week that reaching 10,000 on the way up was a lot more fun than when we hit it on the way down. Now just looking at a picture this feels great. We have recovered. We reached where we were pre-stock crash. The only problem is we are here post-crash. We may have recovered financially but I think it will be a while until we really start feeling the effects. I think just as the affects of the crash were late in coming, I think the relief and the affects of the recovery will be just as late if not much later. This however is no comfort, as many people continue to feel the effects. Jobs are basically obsolete, houses are not selling, and loans are a practical luxury. To some of us the crash has not really affected us. You might even think that is already over. You don’t really feel like it has hit you. I know I feel like that sometimes. Then I have to remember to look around. I bet every single person can think of at least one person who has been affected. I know I can. Think of someone who has either lost their job, taken a pay cut, lost most of their hours, or who have been moved to part time. People are searching frantically for jobs. Unemployment benefits are reduced and finding money to take care of expenses is a hassle. This is an especially difficult time with the swine flu going around. If you don’t have an income it is hard to pay medical bills, especially if you need some sort of anti-viral medication. Another major factor is that the holiday season is coming up and if you don’t see a future income I can understand how it would be easy not to see a happy future holiday season.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


What is a monopoly? A monopoly is a company that has the entire control over a certain product, brand, market, area, or even another company. Like one of our favorite games- Monopoly, where the whole idea of the game is to gain control of ALL the other properties.
Monopolies are the basis of America. We live off monopolies. Think about it. We have McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Pepsico®, and Mars®. We think we get all sorts of different brands. We think we are drinking Gatorade, but did you know Gatorade is owned by Quaker Oats? and did you know that Quaker oats is owned by Pepsico? Bet not. The charts at the bottom of the post are helpful in understanding a few of the huge companies in our nation. Now so far I've only stated a fact: that our country has a lot of monopolies. To elaborate on that point I have to say that it can be a good or a bad thing. A good thing is that it is better for the economy, in I some ways. Its great that we can have a huge multi billion dollar company that can help employ people and enable people to have a huge source of money flowing through the economy. The bad thing for the economy is that it monopolizes all the business. It is much harder for an upstart company to gain a market and clientele when it is all going to the monopoly. It is also bad for the consumer because this means that the product is totally controlled by the company, meaning the consumer has to pay pretty much whatever the company charges. They might also not get the kind a service or quality they want if all they get is what's available. As Americans you would think that there would be less monopolies. More monopolies = less choice. That is something that Americans hate. To us, the more choice the better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

oink oink!

As the swine flu vaccinations begin to arrive, the seasonal flu vaccines are becoming scarce. Because the companies that usually manufacture the seasonal flu vaccines have switched to making swine flu vaccines. Now of course this is great, the swine flu vaccine has arrived in several states, but the amount is so minimal that states are limiting it to health care providers and pregnant women.
Schools are getting emptied out by the bucket load. The Obama administration has requested that schools stay open except for three reasons. One, most of the kids affected are special needs. Two, large numbers of kids and staff are absent or sick. And three, Kids are still coming to school when they are sick causing the bug to travel faster. However, this does not make the number of kids out any fewer. Some schools are already up to 20 percent absent due to H1N1 and some rates are much higher. Teachers are concerned about the flu spreading, but don't want to interrupt their lesson plans. Students however, will take any days off they can get, but I believe they are still cautious about having to make them up in the summer time.
Health advisors are saying to stay home if you are feeling a little under the weather at all. They are trying to keep the spreading of H1N1 to a minimum. Some symptoms of swine flu include a fever of 100.4F or higher and two or more of the following-
  • unusual tiredness,
  • headache,
  • runny nose,
  • sore throat,
  • shortness of breath or cough,
  • loss of appetite,
  • aching muscles,
  • diarrhoea or vomiting.
Most cases of Swine flu have been mild, although it is the serious cases that have health officials worried.

I am even getting surprised at how quickly it has spread. It doesn't even seem like it is supposed to be where I live. I remember before it even got here and I was thinking it would really only be in the big cities and states. I was wrong. It has spread all over and almost every state is affected by it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'll take a a 'peace' of that prize...

President Obama received the Nobel Peace prize today. Many say that the prize has been awarded to soon, and the Nobel committee even agrees! They are hoping that this award is more of an encouragement in the direction of peace, rather than to award something he has already done.

I personally think it was a very poor decision, I don't think he has done anything that he deserves it for. It is actually worse for the president I think. It sets the standard extremely high, and it sets the president up for failure. I also think he should not be awarded because he is the president. It is the job of the president to create peace. This president has not done much more than many others to set the tone for peace. It seems nonsensical to reward the very person we expect to set a peaceful tone.

Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, does agree that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was great concern when considering Obama for the award, but was reassured when the Obama administration immediately reassessed the situation, and changed their strategy. Many world leaders commended Obama for his achievement, while others think its premature and much too early to predict how things will go. In his speech, Obama said that he was humbled to be apart of this great community of people, made up of the previous winners. He plans to travel Oslo to accept the prize.

I think that we should be careful of how much we expect of this- I don't think we will know what kind of problem we've got ourselves into. We have put all our faith into one man and one administration. We can't expect everything to change in one term. It will take time. And time, I'm afraid, is running out almost as fast as our money.

"I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results."
Alfred Nobel

Thursday, October 8, 2009

as the world turns...

I decided it was time for a short update of the world today. Whats happening, whats going to happen, what could happen. So, here we go:

War In Afghanistan-
President Obama and his war councilPresident Obama met with his cabinet to discuss the direction we are taking in the War in Afghanistan on Oct. 7. This was the 8th anniversary of the war. He received a request for more troops, up to 40,000, from Gen. McChrystal and is seriously considering sending then, but is concerned about the effects. The war is becoming a growing concern as it drains US resources and kills US soldiers (over 800). It has lasted longer than anyone has imagined.

War in Iraq-
Obama has announced that the war in Iraq will be over by Labor day of next year. This is still unsure however, as even supporters of this are skeptical of the success. I'm not sure if we can effectively leave like this. We don't know when the people will be able to effectively protect themselves and their borders- as mentioned by Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis. There is no way we can just leave them. We worked so hard to free them, we couldn't just get up and walk away.

Swine Flu-
The swine flu pandemic has been sweeping through the nation at an alarming pace. Doctors and Health Officials are scared that people will be too frightened of the unknown to get the vaccination. We have already met the average deaths for a normal flu season, and we it is only October! The flu is targeting children and pregnant women- people don't really know what to do. So many people are unsure of whether or not the drug is safe. Many would rather just take their chances. This really concerns health care providers because they believe by the end of the season so many deaths could have beeen prevented.

Monday, October 5, 2009

so its war....

President Obama is not doing so great with the war.

Just thought I would state the obvious there. It seems that the Pres. is not doing what he promised. He can't really make up his mind on whether or not he should remove the troops. I give him credit though... This is a really hard decision. There is a lot more involved in this than we know. Most people said- "Vote for Obama! He's going to get all the troops home! he will end this silly war!" WRONG! President Obama might have said those things, the people may have believed him, he may even have believed it, but there were some that knew. Naive Obama would get into office and see that there was a little more to this that he knew. Think about it: the president has so much more top secret information than the public, now who do you think is in the best position to make a well informed decision? it may not be the right one, but it definitely is the best he could do with the information that he was given.

Thats one thing that really frustrates me about people. They always think there way is the best. I'm not saying I don't think like that sometimes, but we need to remember that we are not the final expert on everything! we are not always the most informed or the most educated. The people in government, no matter how much we disagree with their decisions, have more education and information than us. That combination is the key to making the best decisions.
Don't get me wrong, I think its important that people regulate the government and keep track of whats going on. Its also important that they question decisions that they make, but its just as important to remember we are not the final authority on the subject.

Its definitely something to think about.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Re: Chicago, 2016

And the winner is...... Rio de Janeiro! The decision was made in Denmark this week that the Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Its disappointing in some ways and a little exciting in others. The exciting part is that the Olympics have never been held in South America and the city is very beautiful and perfect for the season. The disappointing part is that it would have been so fun to have it in Midwest America. To bring people from all around the world to the heart of America and let them see it.

President Obama and Michelle went to Copenhagen themselves to promote their hometowns bid for the 2016 olympic host. They, along with the entire city of chicago were very disappointed that they did not win.

My personal opinion is that there may have been some anti-America sentiment. It seems like other countries gang up on us. The fact that Chicago was so low in the scores says a lot I think. Its like the other countries represented on the Olympic Committee were against the idea of having the Olympics in America. Of course it is only fair that other countries get to host the olypics too, Its just that, well, I don't know. It seems especially worse for some reason. Like the other countries just don't like us having an advantage, or having something they don't. America isn't very popular right now in other countries. It seems best for us just to lay low for a while.

Although I'm disappointed I'm still excited that the Olympics will be held in beautiful Rio, and I'm excited that other countries will have th opportunity to host the games. I can't wait to see how everyone does. And in the mean time, the first Youth Olympics are going to be held in Singapore, 2010. (for ages 14-18)

Well, now I'm really excited. Guess I'll just have to wait with everyone else.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

making some waves...

An 8.0 earthquake was reported 120 miles off the coast of American Somoa today. This is definitely one of the strongest earth quakes we've seen in a long time. At least, the strongest one reported in 2009. At least 180 people have been killed, and that number is still rising.

The American Samoa earthquake was just one day after a 7.6 earthquake in Sumatra. It definitely makes you think about what causes these. I mean we know the physical cause, but why so close? Why do they happen right on top of one another like that? Our world is going through chaos with all these natural disasters. How much more can we take? It's definitely something to think about.

The one plus to this event is that it gives us the opportunity to show how much we care for others. It gives us the opportunity to help them out. The United States has sent the US Navy frigate USS Ingraham, two US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 154th Wing, and 90 members of the Hawaii National Guard. Other nations, such as Australia have also sent help in the search and rescue of many still in the turmoil of the tsunami. This event has also triggered the European Commission to set up a Humanitarian fund with an initial amount of 105,000 Euros to be used through the International Red Cross to assist in the rescue efforts in Samoa.

Although we may be struggling with all these events that test our patience and our durability, its great to know that as a whole world, we can come together and help each other out. I think the way we support each other in time of need says a lot for how far we've come. We really have just started making it habit to help each other in about WWI times. Before that it was really every man for himself. The humanitarian effort put forth on part of other countries to help each other out is great. I really like it. I kind of gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. That your not insignificant or helpless, but that the whole world out there has your back. ( well to some extent :) )

Well, thats all for now!


X marks the spot...

Malcolm X- considered one of the most influential human rights activists of the 20th century on African American rights, he ranks right up there with Martin Luther King Jr.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 19, 1925 as Malcolm Little. (He changed his last name to 'X' later on in life after he became a member of the Nation of Islam.) He was raised in foster homes most of his life, after his dad was murdered and his mom was admitted to a mental hospital. In the 40's he was involved in some hustling and other criminal activities and was sentenced to 8 -10 years in prison. During his imprisonment he became a member of the nation of Islam. He changed his name to 'X' like many other black Muslims of the time because they believed it represented the name of their true African ancestors.

In some sense, Malcolm X was sort of the "anti-Martin L. K." because he spoke against the non-violence teachings, saying African Americans should be able to protect them selves however they can. He also believed in segregation, even going so far as to say that Black people should have their own nation. He was strongly against white people. He believed that they were devils, and that the demise of their race was eminent.

Later in life he married Betty X and had 6 daughters Attallah, Quibilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah Lumumba, and twins Malaak, and Malikah, who were born after Malcolms assassination in 1965.

It is hard to describe your feelings toward Malcolm X. He had the right sentiments, but he was wrong. True, white people are not better that black people, but black people are not better than white people. White people are not devils, and black people are not sovereigns, we are all equal. That was the part the Malcolm X did not understand. He had the wrong vision for the world.

Through it all though he was very influential, and had the ability to mold a whole group of people.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

turmultuous times

Today is the one year anniversary of the 2008 stock market crash. The market dropped a total of 778 points- causing unemployment to go up to 9.8%! As a nation, we are in a crisis and I don't think anyone is prepared for the year to come- It will only get worse before it gets better according to economists today. People are finding it much more difficult to find work and are taking anything they can get. I personally don't feel that affected by it, but I know I am. Little things, like the price on bread and milk stay pretty much the same: people are consuming that just as much as ever, But other things such as housing prices, car insurance, all those less stable, "extra" things are just getting worse. You cant get a loan, you can't get a house, you cant even get a job. I of course, am no expert but I do know that we need to raise the value of our dollar, especially in Europe. We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world, yet we owe so much money!

I'm hoping the market will be back to normal by at least 2012, which I think is long, but realistic unfortunately. This really frustrates me because it seems like our nation can't fix anything! We continue to spend money that we don't have. If we could work on getting out of debt, then we could really start fixing our problems (which there are many of ).

Reading about Alexander Hamilton, the father of our national debt, as he has been affectionately dubbed, we learn that he created the national debt on purpose, yes, thats right... on purpose. He believed that the more people the government owes money to, the more it would unite the people- the more personal a stake they would have in the success, or failure, of the new republic. Of course it worked, its just that for all his fiscal genius, he didn't think about what it would do to us later.

Oh well, thats too much for me to dwell on right now.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicago, 2016

2016: the date for the next summer Olympics is ready, but we just don't know where it will be. A few cities have made it to the finals, Chicago being one of them. I don't really know why I'm writing about this other than the fact that it would be amazing! It is just what America needs to raise the bar on what others think of us. It would bring everyone to the heart of America - the Midwest.

The finalists for 2016 are Tokyo, Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, and Madrid. I think the two most likely to get it would be Rio, because they have never had an Olympics in S. America, and Chicago because, well, just because I think it would be a good place to have it.

The Olympic committee is meeting in Copenhagen Denmark Oct. 2 to decide on the final city. President Obama will be meeting them there to promote his hometown.

The modern Olympic games started in 1796, in revolutionary France. This was very significant because it introduced the metric system into sports. Other than these obvious historic facts, the Olympic games have always been important because of how they connect the countries and keep them tied together. No matter whats going on in the world the countries always get together to enjoy and compete in the Olympics. For example: during WWII Hitler even came and competed with the countries he was fighting against. To be included in the Olympics is to be accepted into the "clan". It's also significant to see who gets picked to host the games. It can often show bias(etc...) about who is chosen. The games are a very serious thing among the nations. It is our way of competing, showing out strength without starting a war.

No matter what this is something we can all get together and do together. It will be interesting to see who gets picked to host the games in 2016.

I'll follow up later-


Sunday, September 27, 2009

"O say can you read..."

Tests, tests, tests.... Do we put too much pressure on our kids to do well in government testing? We have the ITBS, the ITEDS, the ACT and the SAT, the PLAN test, and the PSAT.... we pack these tests into a very short period of time- more than most can handle. Of course they do handle it, many of them very well actually.

In this month of October alone there is the ITEDs-Oct. 6-9 ~ the high school general testing where the government views the Junior year scores. Also for juniors is the PSAT- Oct. 17~ makes them applicants for National Merit Scholars, and finally the ACT- Oct. 24 ~ which allows them into colleges. All these tests are packed in for studying and testing. After a while your eyes are permanently seeing bubble-sheets!

National testing is important for some reasons. It does give a good picture of how are students are doing, but there are definitely more accurate ways of telling.

National tests are so time consuming and boring. Did you know that when your body feels like it is put in an emergency or a stressful situation, it shuts down? It releases adrenaline to give you energy, but it turns off everything else that is taking up extra energy. For example- your digestive system. When you are taking a test that you are unsure of or aren't prepared for (stressed) your body stops digesting food, among other things. Your body needs to be focused and unstressed- we should definitely be looking for alternatives.

I guess I'm just trying to say we shouldn't put so much emphasis on tests that don't give us the best picture of our students abilities. Other options may be a teacher writing up grade and behavior analysis types of papers, using the people around theses students everyday, who know the students, to give them the best picture of their abilities.

Looking from the practical side though, I understand testing is the cheapest and easiest way. It's also the most fair and unfair way to learn about the students. Its fair in the way that every student gets the same test and they get compared to people who took the same test. Its unfair in the way that it is not matched for each individual person.\

With such a capable nation it seems like we could come up with better ideas.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

the epic pandemic

Bird flu, Spanish flu, the flu- we have come up with just about every kind of flu imaginable. And now we are threatened yet again with The Swine Flu.

The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 is one of the most notable and influential flu's ever. During this time it is said at this time that 50 - 100 million people died world wide. In the US alone 675,000 people died due to this flu (195,000 just in the month of October). The disease killed more people than the black plague, and more than all the wars of the 20th century combined!

Throughout the history of America we have been plagued with flus of every kind, with a wide range of outcomes from millions of deaths to a quick and mild out break. Often over the past years the government and health officials have overreacted to "outrageous" cases of flu that have turned out to be nothing serious. But do they have just cause. The Spanish flu really scared everybody! they had no way of stopping it. It just infected so many people it eventually burned itself out. There was one positive outcome of the Spanish flu: scientists began to learn about strains and immunities. From this doctors and officials have begun to take immediate action concerning all possible pandemics.

Now you might be wondering what this all has to do with H1N1, well I'm going to tell you. Many people now are saying that the H1N1 virus will be similar, but I'm not so sure about it. I think that it is good to be cautious, but all the hype everyone's coming up with seems rediculous! We could be in danger of some serious outbreaks, but as long as everone stays home when they're sick and gets treatment ASAP, we'll all be ok.

As for the vaccine... well, lets just say they're working on that. You can only come up with new cures and vaccinations so fast. They have been on this since the beginning and have been working as fast as they can. I'm a little cautious on who should get it though. They are trying to rush daycare kids and pregnant women to get it as fast as they can, but they haven't even fully tested it! it seems rather hasty if you ask me! I don't think its safe if we don't really even know what it will do yet.

"The remedy is worse than the disease."
~Francis Bacon Of Seditions

I'm no expert but its certainly something to think on.



Monday, September 21, 2009

to be, or not to be...

That is the million dollar question. Does our country have morals? Values? Beliefs? Many say yes, many say no. So which is it? How can we tell?

of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.

expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.

founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.

capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.

conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.

virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.

of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character *derived from personal conscience*: moral support.

resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
*taken from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North American)

morals. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 22, 2009, from website:

Well I believe as a country we do have morals. We do value things. Maybe not always the right thing or have the right morals, but we do have a strong sense of right and wrong, justice and bias. Compared to other countries we do have a fair country for the most part. We always have a few that slip through the system, and we always have the corrupt and the conspirators and the terrorists, but our country was founded on checks and balances that keep our government accountable. On a set of religious principles that believe in loving each other, taking care of one another, and following ideals to serve one god together, to be a leader among nations. In the past (and I mean the way, way past) we have been known as an independent people. To trust yourself, to believe in yourself, to have a sense of your own rightness, your own beliefs and values- yet we still keep each other accountable. We still expect each other to follow the laws and to respect the rights of others. No matter how independent we get, the boundaries of our independence are still based on the rights of others. So how can a nation so intent on being their own, being independent, each individual having their own beliefs, be so caught up on helping each other? [I’m not saying its wrong to help others, I’m just playing devils advocate here] WE, the people of the United States of America, who want liberty and justice, who want national healthcare plans for ALL, want to be independent and only looking out for number one. It seems rather contradictory here. The definition itself contradicts the different meanings. In the dictionary definitions number 5, it says that we conform to the rules of right conduct of society. As a nation that is so proud of our morals and our nonconformity, we have a lot to think about.

"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right."
Isaac Asimov
US science fiction novelist & scholar (1920 -1992)

This might be a topic for another time as well… who knows?