Monthly Archives: September 2006

Apology List – Sorries to the People in My Life

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A few months ago I started a Thank You list to the people in my life I have wanted to thank. Well, I have decided that I would also like to make an apology list. This will be slow going but I would like to start off with one apology that has been nagging me for about 10 years. I will use the same type of format as I did with the Thank Yous.
 
Dan Skvarka – Now, this like I said has been bothering me for many many years. He probably doesnt even remember me – let alone the conversation. But I have to get it off my chest. We were both servers at The Chancery about 10-11 years ago. One night after our shifts we were in the bar having a drink. My parents had just moved about an hour away and I said to him, "I miss my mom."  Right as the words left my mouth I remembered that his mother had died just a couple years prior in an auto crash.  I instantly felt like crawling into a deep hole and vomiting. He just replied, "Yea, me too." He wasn’t snotty, mean, didn’t try to make me feel bad at all…he just had a grin and said ‘Yea, me too’.  I have carried this stupid comment around with me for so long. And I would like to apologize for being thoughtless and not thinking before speaking. I am sorry, Dan.
 
 
Kevin Nuernberger – You treated me so well. Much better than I deserved at the time. You were a true friend. Very caring. And I took that for granted. I did always appreciate it, but I didn’t give back to what I was getting. I let our friendship slip away and I will forever be ashamed and saddened for that. You were and I am sure ARE a wonderful guy. I hope every person that comes across your path realizes that and shows you the way I should have. I am sorry, Kevin.
 
 
Stephanie Nichols, Kimmer (cannot for the life of me remember you last name and I apologize for that too!), Paige Putning-Kuypers, Wendy Christensen – I was an irresponsible roommate. I did not pay my bills on time. I was in my own little world. I went through a few years when I was completely living outside of reality. I was self centered and childish and lazy. I feel a lot of shame for the way I lived during that time in my life. I am sorry guys.
 
 
Nancy Burke – I blew up at you a number of times when I was upset, hurt or disagreed with you.  I should have acted composed and thought before speaking. I said some disrespectful things to you. I am sorry, Nancy.
 
 
To a girl whose name I no longer know (I was recently told her married name is now Heidi Johnson) – While working for a confidential employer I did something that was unethical, against the rules, and just plain insensitive. I shared information with another person and I have always felt horrible about it. You called me out on it one night in a bar and even though I apologized I always wish I had a chance to show you that I am really not that mean, insensitive person I am sure you thought me to be (and had every right to). This was many many years ago, but I do wish I remembered your name so you can get the apology you deserve. I am so sorry.
 
Carin (Spang) Keland –  We were great friends in middle school and into high school. I cherished you and our friendship more than I am sure you ever realized. And yet, my stupid, selfish, teenage self allowed my poor actions to interfere with our friendship. I hurt you and I am not sure if I ever truly apologized. I really am sorry. I am sorry you were betrayed. I am sorry I caused you pain. And I am sorry I took our friendship away. I always miss it – and you –  dearly. I think my parents miss you the most LOL!!
 
Like I said – this is a work in progress and there are MANY more (unfortunatly) to come…
 
God, this post is going to make me sound like a horrid person. But I really want to take accountability for things I have done to hurt people. I want to apologize. This is the best way I know how.
 
 
 
 
 

Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – A Review

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Yesterday I saw the movie Little Miss Sunshine. And I cannot be any clearer in saying that this is now one of my most favorite films ever. I can be quite critical and do not use the term ‘favorite’ loosely. Another one of my most loved movies also happens to star Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets. And this reminded me a lot of that – not the story or the characters, but the feeling it left inside.

 

Little Miss Sunshine displays a wonderful ensemble cast.

 

 

Abigail Breslin

….

Olive Hoover

Greg Kinnear

….

Richard Hoover

Paul Dano

….

Dwayne Hoover

Alan Arkin

….

Grandpa Edwin Hoover

Toni Collette

….

Sheryl Hoover

Steve Carell

….

Frank Hoover

 

 

I can tell you that I haven’t left a theatre feeling this way in many years. In fact, I haven’t FELT this way in many years. Through out the entire movie I would weave in and out of crying and laughter as though I were on an emotional loom. The all too familiar sense of the ‘dysfunctional’ family brought me into the story as though these actors were simply a part of the everyday family that we see in the stores, live next door to, and have in our own homes. The problems may be different, the issues and personalities certainly vary…but really, like it or not, this is an American family. The so-called ‘normal’ family simply does not exist.

 

And what was so heartbreakingly wonderful about the Hoovers were that through each failure and setback, the love was still there and was touchingly visible. And that is exactly what it all comes down to…the love. Just about member in this family through the duration of the film experienced some type of failure or let down. But just as in life, they stood again – even proudly, loved one another, and moved on.

 

As I explained earlier, this movie was the Space Mountain of theatrical emotion. One moment I would be crying and the next, hysterically cracking up. And then there were those opportunities of experiencing my favorite – happy tears. Ah, so many happy tears in this movie.

 

The very end of the movie has to be one of the best endings of all time. I was crying while I was laughing almost uncontrollably. My cheeks actually hurt. What a fabulous experience.

 

This movie is full of humor – some dark, some not so dark. This movie is full of real life substance – to which so many of us can relate.  It is almost tangible how honest, authentic, and genuine this story comes across.  I have not seen anything like it in a long, long time. And I am begging filmmakers out there – please, we need more of this.

 

And to all of those who made this movie possible – thank you thank you thank you.

 

 

 

(links provided by IMDB.com)

Bunk Rules for Primary Voting

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Here is the link to the online letter in The Milwaukee Journal:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20060920/ai_n16735485

 

To the Editor:

 

I would like to know the reason behind the primary voting process that insists you chose one party and you can only vote one party.  I think that this country being so divided into these groups “Republican” vs. “Democrat”; “Red” vs. “Blue”…it doesn’t help build a united government or society. I understand that some of the party’s ideals are vastly different. But a person shouldn’t have to choose sides. I have been known to vote for both Democratic and Republican candidates in my time. And though it doesn’t happen often, I feel we should have that choice in primary elections as well. If a person happens to be pulling for a particular candidate on the Democratic side and also pulling for a particular Republican candidate, they should be able to vote for both of those people.

 

I personally vote for the individual candidate and never for a party. Usually my votes tend to go Democratic because my priority issues are typically shared by that party. However, I look at each candidate, their personal stance on the issues, their history, and then I make my choice.  I believe that this partisan run government causes more troubles and takes away from the issues that need to be dealt with and solved.

 

Can we not just get rid of the Red or Blue masks and simply vote for the right person for the job?

Remembering My Dad – Nine Years Later

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Nine years ago today my father passed away. He was 46. I was 23. I miss him constantly even though I did not spend the time I should have with him when he was here. A deep regret I will always have trouble facing.

 

Last night I had a dream about him. Unfortunately and surprisingly I do not dream about him all that often.  I wish I did as I like to pretend those dreams are actually ‘visits’.  I don’t remember last night’s dream all that well. I only remember him being there and I think I was cooking for him, which I never got to do in life.  I also was staying at his and my step mother’s home. I remember I was waking up – in my dream and I couldn’t figure out where I was or how I got there. I then realized I was at my dad’s and that he must have carried me to bed when I fell asleep. That is all I remember.

 

Saturday was his birthday and today is the anniversary of his death. Obviously, an emotional week as I seem to be extra sensitive during these times for some reason.  My family doesn’t quite understand it. They see it as just another day. I do not.

 

Anyway, I love you dad. Visit me often. More often! I miss you so much. And I hope you watch over your grand daughters. I am sure you love them just as they would have loved you.

Another Reason to Vote Lehman!!

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When I sent out the written interviews to the Democratic candidates vieing for Paul Ryan’s seat in Congress, I decided to send it to John Lehman (who is running for WI State Senate) and Corey Mason (running for Assembly position) just to see how they would respond to the questions.
 
While I have not yet received a response from Mason. I did receive a hand written letter from Lehman only 2 days after sending him the questionaire. He said that while he did not have time to complete the questionaire due to time constraints, he was sending me literature that should answer most of my questions. He also gave me his HOME phone number if I were to have anything further I would like to ask him or speak with him about. How many politicians would give out their home numbers willy nilly??
 
I believe this speaks volumns about Lehman. He has always been quick to respond to my letters. And is a genuine man and leader.
 
My vote will most certainly be for him in this election.
 
And I will let you know if I receive a response from Mason.

Ruth Bradley, Mike Hebert, and Jeff Thomas

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I sent a short interview to all of the Democratic candidates who are running to defeat incumbent Paul Ryan (R) for the office of Wisconsin‘s 1st District US Congressional seat.  I decided to send out this mini-interview when I could find little information about how the candidates feel about the REAL issues – not just their name, age, and occupation.

I had sent the same interview to all candidates at the same time. Below is the response I received from Ruth Bradley.

Heather, due to time restraint I am suggesting you read the congressional candidate article in the Kenosha News dated 9-5-06, I believe it will answer most if not all your questions. Thank you. Ruth Bradley.

 

Mike Hebert has not responded at all thus far. But I should mention that his was sent via snail mail since I could find no email address for him.

And Jeff Thomas as well has sent no response what so ever.

 

The following are short "Bios" from the Racine Journal Times regarding these candidates:

Ruth SantaCruz Bradley

Age: 72

Slogan: "Faith for the Future"

Political heroes, role models: President Harry S. Truman and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Occupation: Retired from Veterans Administration as a radiology and X-ray technician; works as a part-time x-ray technologist in an orthopedic surgeon’s office.

Government experience: Served on the board of the Kenosha County Democratic Party; never had the time, until she retired, to run for public office.

Address; family; time in district: 7614 2nd Ave., Kenosha; married, one son, two grandsons; since 1973.

 

Mike Hebert

Age: 49

Slogan: "We the People"

Political heroes, role models: Former U.S. Sen. William Proxmire and former U.S. Rep. Les Aspin.

Occupation: 31 years as a union machinist for Ocean Spray in Kenosha. Now does inventory work.

Government experience: Never held or run for public office before.

Address; family; time in district: 1204 69th St., Kenosha; single, no children; born in Michigan, raised in Kenosha.

 

Jeff Thomas

Age: 66

Slogan: "Healthcare for All Americans"

Political heroes, role models: (The late U.S. Sen.) Paul Wellstone.

Occupation: Retired orthopedic surgeon; works part-time providing free medical care at his Well Stone Free Clinic in Janesville.

Government experience: Served on Janesville School Board from 1977-89; Janesville City Council from 1992-96. This will be his seventh run for the 1st District Congressional seat.

Address; family; time in district: 417 Waveland Road, Janesville; divorced, three children and seven grandchildren; lifetime resident.

 

Don Hall’s Hopes to Win Primary for US Congress Seat

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The following is a short "Bio" from the Racine Journal Times:

Don Hall

Age: 49

Slogan: None; Just, "Don for Congress."

Political heroes, role models: Honest to God, I always liked President Bill Clinton. If anything, I see myself as a Clinton Democrat.

Occupation: Manages group homes for adults with mental disabilities.

Government experience: Never held or run for public office before.

Address; family; time in district: 5135 W. Memorial Drive, Elkhorn; since 1990; married, three sons.

I sent a short interview to all of the Democratic candidates who are running to defeat incumbant Paul Ryan (R) for the office of Wisconsin’s 1st District US Congressional seat.  I decided to send out this mini-interview when I could find little information about how the candidates feel about the REAL issues – not just their name, age, and occupation. Don Hall’s interview is below….

 

What is the one big reason that spurred your entering this political race?

The lack of a serious race in the past years. This district is about 50/50. There is no reason Mr. Ryan should be winning 60/40 but for the lack of a serious challenger.

What are the five major changes you would like to see take place in this state and /or country?

Regulate the credit card industry.

Reform Bankruptcy reform.

Cut Tax breaks and subsidies to the Oil Industry. Let them pay for their own R&D.

End the genocide in Darfur, and a global commitment to end genocide, by any mean neccesary, in the 21st Century

What do you love most about Wisconsin?

Autumn. October. Picking apples from orchards, my kids are growing up and I’m really gonna miss trick or treating door-to-door. Maple trees changing color. I like looking up and seeing a real treehouse that my kids built. I like swimming in a lake, rather than a public pool. I liked the gardens that I grew. I loved training for marathons and triathlons just by going out my front door and running/biking for miles. I love small towns like Milton, that still have a gas station on the corner. That still look like small towns in the thirties. Small towns like my grandmother lived in. I wish libraries were still named after towns, instead of donors.

What is your opinion on the following issues and how would you or did you vote if these have or would come up for a vote:

Concealed Carry :

Same Sex Marriage Ban: Against. Gay men and women work in this country, own businesses, pay more than their share of taxes, and contribute to our culture. Nobody has ever torn up a check by a gay man or woman because of their sexuality. Any church has a right to refuse the sacrement of marriage. But as citizens of this country gay men and women have every right to walk into a county clerks office and enter into a contract of marriage or civil union.

Abortion: Pro-choice.

Legalization of Marijuana:

Alternate Fuel:

How do you feel about the War in Iraq/Afghanistan? What are your thoughts on the best way for the removal of troops?

1. Re-build the infrastructure( electricity, sewers. clean water). Give people jobs and get their economy going and they will be less willing to join militias.

2. Get the militias out of the police force.

3. Protect innocent lives. People are being kidnapped, tortured with electric drills and left in the streets. The administration is 3 years too late in securing Baghdad.

Do you have ideas for a solution to the healthcare problems in our society?

We will have universal health care in the 21st Century. Its matter of will and the will of Congress to turn the corner away from market based and employer insured health care.

 

If you felt very strongly about a particular issue – would you vote against the majority of your party? In other words, to you, are the issues or the Democratic Party your priority?

My 1st loyalty is too my district. The 1st is demographically split, almost 50-50 Dem and Rep.

I would vote against the Party, if a significant number of people in my district (even Republicans) would be hurt by that vote.

Who do you feel is the best hopeful for the Democratic candidate in the next presidential election?

I think more Democrats should come out with big ideas. Like John Edwards, who feels that we can end poverty in 30 years, or Al, who still thinks we have time to restore our environment.

I miss Al.

 

If you could hand pick our next president, who would it be and why?

See above.

 

Lastly, why do you feel Paul Ryan needs to be removed from his position?

Mr. Ryan is what I refer to as a "Think-Tank Republican". He returned to his home town, well funded to run for an open seat. His opinions were fully formed before he ran and haven’t altered in his years as Congressman for Southern Wisconsin. He could be from Indiana, S.Dakota, or Wisconsin and you wouldn’t know the difference. Think-tank Republicans always seem to be able to present themselves as moderates when they come back to their districts.

But his first loyalty has always been to the RNC. And his voting record in just another rubber stamp for the Administration.

Steve Herr’s Vie for US Congressional Seat

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The following is a short "Bio" from the Racine Journal Times

Steve Herr

Age: 49

Slogan: "Forward Together"

Political heroes, role models: George McGovern, Howard Dean and President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Occupation: Owner, Glacier State Distribution Services; hobby farmer.

Government experience: Never held or run for public office before.

Address; family; time in district: 7918 60th St., Kenosha; spends weekends on his farm in Brodhead; married, three children; since 1989.

I sent a short interview to all of the Democratic candidates who are running to defeat incumbant Paul Ryan (R) for the office of Wisconsin’s 1st District US Congressional seat.  So far, Candidate Steve Herr is the first and only to respond to my questions. I decided to send out this mini-interview when I could find little information about how the candidates feel about the REAL issues – not just their name, age, and occupation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has officially endorsed Herr for this race. His interview is below…. 

 

 

What is the one big reason that spurred your entering this political race? 

 

This is my service to my country.  I originally go the idea when I volunteered for a campaign while in high school.  My candidate didn’t win, but it gave me the idea that I could serve my country with ideas and leadership.  I had toyed with the idea the last couple of elections, and I finally decided this is the year because I see the country is headed so badly down the wrong track.

 

What are the five major changes you would like to see take place in this state and /or country? 

 

1. Public funding of campaigns.  My business has bid on state road salt contracts.  After the first winter, one of my competitors had an employee, from Kansas, send a $500 contribution to Governor Thompson, and then qa few weeks later, they sent a letter to DoT suggesting some changes to the road salt specifications – that of course didn’t cost them any money, but effectively made it very difficult for me to compete.  The worst part was that the contribution came 6 months AFTER the 1994 election.  As a result of that specification change, I estimate the state now spends $2 or 3 million more than is should for road salt.  That’s just road salt – think about all the other things the state buys.  Public funding of campaigns will be very cost effective. 

 

2. Switch to renewable fuels and increase conservation.  I’ve always been a strong supporter of the environment, and the benefits of moving to alternative fuels are tremendous – balance of trade, reducing our military costs in the middle east, and making us more competitive as oil prices rise. 

 

3. A unified health care system that covers all people.  Every person, from the Wal-Mart clerk to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is worthy of decent medical care. 

 

4.  Pull out of Iraq – like it or not, unjustified or not, our meddling in the middle east has been like poking a sharp stick in the eye of a pit bull.  Osama bin Laden himself said it was America’s interference in Saudi affairs that led him to do the attack.  Doesn’t justify the murder of 9/11, but that’s what caused it.  We need to eliminate our need for oil so our foreign policy is not driven by oil, this will reduce the likelihood of future terrorist attacks against us.

 

What do you love most about Wisconsin? 

 

That it’s green during the summer.  I grew up in California where everything dries up during the summer and it usually doesn’t rain from May through September.  I really appreciate the seasons here.

 

What is your opinion on the following issues and how would you or did you vote if these have or would come up for a vote:

 

Concealed Carry – I’ve asked a lot of police officers about this – virtually all urban police say they don’t want more guns roaming the streets, virtually all rural police officers say it really doesn’t matter in their environment.  The police in the high crime areas don’t think it will help, so I’ll go with the police on this one.

 

Same Sex Marriage Ban – We seem to be perfectly willing to collect the tax dollars of gays, but shouldn’t they have equivalent rights if we’re going to charge them taxes?  We straights may not understand homosexuality at a gut level, but that is not cause for discrimination.  The Wisconsin amendment is particularly pernicious, in that it also bans equivalent rights for domestic partnerships.  Not everybody wants to get married in the traditional religious/church sense, but if they want to make alternative commitments, we should support those commitments. 

 

If we view marriage as an institution of the churches and religion, and there are some religions that are willing to marry gays, how does the government pick and chose which marriages it will honor with the rights and privileges granted by the government?  If we view marriage as a civil institution of the government, how can the government use what is, in essence, a religious stricture against gay marriage if we are going to maintain a separation of church and state.  Further, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, I still have yet to meet anybody whose leg was broken or pocket was picked by a gay couple who wanted to get married.  My pocket gets picked every few days when I go to the gas pump.  This is an issue the republicans have used to divide our country and garner donations from people they put unreasonable fears into, when there are many more serious issues to be addressed.

 

Abortion – Depending on what question you ask and how you ask it, polls of Americans over the last 30 years show that 45% to 65% support the right of choice.  So we have no consensus that it is wrong.  I am pro-choice pre viability, would support a ban on third trimester abortions by any method as long as there was an exception for the life or health of the mother, or severe deformity of the child.  I do feel there is a loss of respect for life based on the sheer number of abortions done, but I would never be so presumptious to place myself in the shoes of a woman facing that decision and make the decision for her.  Instead, we should be aware that abortions are merely the symptom of the problem of unplanned pregnancies, we should focus on solving that problem by making sure birth control is available to all couples and that our teenagers understand what gets them pregnant and how to prevent it.

 

Legalization of Marijuana – I understand that marijuana is about equivalent to alcohol in terms of its pharmacological effects, but my own observation is that it does tend to be an addiction of habit.  I’m not in favor of legalization for recreational drug use.  As to medical use, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works for certain situations, but we don’t have the double blind experimental data to show it.  We should do those experiments, do it with the synthetic Marinol, and see what the results are and decide from there.

 

Alternate Fuel – Biodiesel has a much greater energy return that ethanol, (about 3 to 1 compared to ethanol’s 1.5 to 1) so we should focus on biodiesel.  However, there aren’t enough acres to supply our fleet.  The only realistic form of fuel that could be in enough supply is hydrogen, I favor building the initial fueling infrastructure (GM says it would cost $15 billion – sounds cheap compared to the cost of another war).

 

How do you feel about the War in Iraq/Afghanistan? What are your thoughts on the best way for the removal of troops? – Afghanistan – we should have sent more resources to find Osama bin Laden.  We also have to apply the lesson of Vietnam and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980’s – you can win against guerillas or an insurgency unless you have the support of the local population.  We may be able to get the information we need to find bin Laden with bread, blankets, and building materials faster than with bullets and bombs.  For Iraq, as any teacher will tell you, if you don’t set a deadline, the assignment won’t get done.  The assignment for the Iraqis is to form a government that can be supported by all, and get their security forces ready to take care of themselves.  I favor setting a 24 month timeline for our withdrawal, and sticking to it.  I would pull them out faster if I don’t see any progress or if the Shiite majority is using us to provide security while they inflict a low grade genocide on the Sunnis.

 

 

Do you have ideas for a solution to the healthcare problems in our society?

Talked about that above.  I would have employers pay about 25% of health care costs, so they still have an interest in keeping their employees healthy, some from a monthly deductible of $50 to 100, and the balance from general tax revenues.

 

If you felt very strongly about a particular issue – would you vote against the majority of your party? In other words, to you, are the issues or the Democratic Party your priority?

 The issues.  I find party labels to be convenient to indicate my general philosophy, but they don’t dictate my thinking.

 

 

Who do you feel is the best hopeful for the Democratic candidate in the next presidential election?

In terms of the best person, I think Russ Feingold is the guy.  There are some questions as to his electability, but I think he can overcome those concerns.

 

 

If you could hand pick our next president, who would it be and why? 

Feingold.  The man has integrity and smarts.

 

 

Lastly, why do you feel Paul Ryan needs to be removed from his position? 

It’s become clear to me that he is not listening to what his constituents want.  He is not representing us, and the positions he takes are largely to benefit his campaign contributors.

 

 

Scot Ross – Candidate for WI Secretary of State

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Scot Ross for Wisconsin’s Secretary of State – a sign I have yet to grace the lawns of Racine neighborhoods.  Ross verses La Follett is what has been dubbed as the ‘sleeper race’ of this year’s election. Perhaps that is because it doesn’t get much press – at least in this part of the state. Also, many – dare I say – most people likely do not know what Secretary of State actually does. I was one of those people. So I decided to give Mr. Ross a call and simply ask him.

 

He was very open to speaking with me, just a regular Joe with no press pass or credentials. And I was very open with asking him what I wanted to know; not only so I could write about it and inform the public, but for my own voting decisions as well. I personally refuse to base my political voting choices solely on what we see in television commercials or hear on radio ads. They say you cannot believe everything you read and most of that seems to be fluff anyway.  So, this brings me to my conversation with Candidate Scot Ross.

 

Even with my minimal research, it was clear that Voter ID was the issue that Ross held at the top of his priority list.  His main goal is to make sure that elections in the state of Wisconsin are clean and fair.  And he wants that responsibility to be back in the hands of the Secretary of State.  He views requirements such as photo IDs as “impediments to voting that are in place because republicans want to keep people from voting.”  When I questioned whether or not voter fraud truly existed to the extent that we are made to believe, he answered with the question, “Where are the examples?”

 

As Ross pointed out, there are many northern counties where the DMV is open merely one day a week. And for some counties, it is not just a five minute drive.  He stated that issues like this are simply to “create distortion to get what they (republicans) want.”

 

Candidate Ross’ views on Voter ID have been widely discussed.  However, I wanted to ask his opinions on some other topics.

 

While reading through Scot Ross’ website (http://www.rossacrosswisconsin.org/ ) I noticed something that I have not seen on any other candidates’ web sites, a link endorsing A Fair Wisconsin. A Fair Wisconsin is an organization implemented to fight the ban on marital unions for gay and lesbian couples in our state; a ban which will also be up for vote in November.

 

When I asked Scot about his endorsing the organization on his site he was proud to say that he believes he is the only candidate to have that link on their website and that he will personally be voting against the ban.

 

“There may be people who believe in their hearts that same sex marriage is wrong – they have that right. But it is a totally different thing when you are talking about people who are elected officials who are trying to manipulate with people’s rights and people’s lives in order to gain political advantage.”

 

Ross clearly stands by his belief that this ban is a ridiculous distraction that could only compromise the rights of not only the homosexual members of our society, but the heterosexual citizens as well. “It is a bunch of bunk” he exclaimed. “It is right wing politics to get the hard core republicans out to the polls.”

 

Scot Ross will be running against long time incumbent Doug La Follett.  La Follett has held this position for thirty years and according to Ross there couldn’t be a greater difference in terms of results. “I challenge anyone to name three things that he (La Follett) has done as an elected official. I would be embarrassed if I were him.”

 

Ross wants to bring accountability back to this office. He wants the Secretary of state to be more than an elected filing clerk position.  He claims that the authority of the Secretary of State was taken away several years ago, but (La Follett) has not fought to get it back. He will fight for that authority. He will fight for voter’s rights. And he is fighting for your vote in November.

 

I asked Mr. Ross if perhaps people in this state are simply apathetic to the world of politics. “I am one of those people who say ‘Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the people; but don’t over estimate their interest in politics’.” He went on to explain, “People have to work a lot harder and a lot longer because republicans are taking their money and giving it to their friends.” (When I asked about these friends he said he was referring to the oil companies, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers to name a few.) He said he completely understands why many people would rather spend time with their families during their off-time than spend it being politically active.  

 

Scot Ross is no stranger to hard work. He grew up with hard working family members and has carried that characteristic with him through the years. At a young 37, Scot has worked for the people and has steadily followed the progressive path to improving our society through democratic values. He has worked side by side with political members for years and has now made the decision to step into the spot light. I have no doubt this will not be the last we hear of Scot Ross. And whether or not he defeats the incumbent in November’s election, his feet will likely be planted in Wisconsin for quite sometime. When I asked him who he viewed as our most hopeful Democratic presidential nominee he answered with a chuckle, “Yea, I’ll keep that to myself. Not me…how about that!?”

Feeling Her Child Vulnerability

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Today Mackenzie starts first grade. I can remember my first day of first grade. I was so nervous – though I was always a nervous child.  I wore a green dress, white tights, and brown Holly Hobby shoes. I had some glue, crayons, and a few pencils in my pencil box.

 

When I received the list of items to buy for Mackenzie’s supplies I nearly fainted. This list was a page long. Once everything was purchased, it almost completely filled a Hefty bag. Unreal. But I guess that goes to show the limited funding schools have these days.

 

I had Mackenzie call her mother on Monday and ask her if we could drop off the supplies either Monday or Tuesday evening. She would be starting school on Friday morning and her mother has her on Thursdays.  I wanted to make sure she had all her belongings for the first day. Her mom did not want us to drop them off for some reason. Instead she said that she would pick them up on Wednesday about 5:30. Certainly, that was fine too.

 

The next day Mackenzie’s mom emailed Charlie and said that in the future he shouldn’t make Mackenzie call to ask things – that it was unfair to her. What? It was a simple questions about school supplies, what kind of fake complaint is that??

 

On Wednesday we sat here and waited…and waited. Charlie called her cell phone several times and she never answered. Finally she called at about 7:15 and said she was running late, could she stop by now. She arrived at about 7:45.

 

Thursday night our phone rings at about 8:15pm.  It was Mackenzie calling from her grandmother’s house.  She asked what bus she is supposed to take home. She was very anxious and was quite obviously seeking the reassurance that everything would go just fine. Charlie asked her why she wasn’t at home. Here, her bedtime is about 7:00-7:30. And even then she seems so tired by the end of the day. She said her mom had her ex boyfriend over and she couldn’t go home yet because he was there. This is the same ex who was living with her and moved out several months ago. Apparently they are still ‘friends’. Anyway, Mackenzie said she still had to take her bath and it was almost 8:30. She also said that she left her back pack at Daycare on Wednesday and didn’t go there Thursday because her aunt took her to Chuck E Cheese instead. So she will LITERALLY have to bring all of her things to school in a garbage bag!

 

When Charlie got off the phone, I just started crying. My chest even ached. I could sense Mackenzie’s anxiety and feelings of a lack of control. She is worried because her life is so chaotic and unstable. She hardly ever calls her father. But I know she did so tonight to get some reassurance. To make sure everything was going to be okay. Because she knows that when she is with us, things are dependable and she doesn’t need to worry. I just wish so much, for her sake, she could have that all the time.

 

I really feel she should be here Monday through Friday every week. She needs that. She is in school fulltime now. She needs consistency and a healthy life – one she can count on.  A six year old should not have to worry if things are going to be taken care of…if SHE is going to be taken care of. It just makes me so sad.

 

If she were my daughter, she would have been tucked into bed after a nice talk about how things are going to happen on her first day. She’d be bathed, fed, and her outfit would be out and hanging for her – ready for the next morning. Her lunch would be made. Her backpack all packed to go.

 

Am I controlling just because I want her to be raised the right way or because I care about her development and her future? Well, then I am controlling – so be it. Shoot me because I care!

 

People tell me that I need to stop caring so much about her and what happens with her. They say I have no way to change anything so worrying about her will only drive me nuts. They say I need to pull away and just let ‘her parents’ worry about it. And if they don’t care, why should I. I really am not sure how to do that. I don’t think I can.