Monthly Archives: September 2011

Please Help Save Troy Davis!!

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http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/e/16711680/wshh4KiEt782FuXKHhh6

In less than 6 hours, a man – likely innocent of charges – is scheduled to be put to death. Troy Davis was convicted of killing an off duty police officer in the 80s. Since then, witnesses have recanted and evidence has come to support his innocence. But in cases such as this – the powers that be refuse to admit possible error. Their pride, positions and ego allow for possibly innocent people to be killed.

For years I have wavered about the death penalty. I will no longer. First there was the Memphis 3 who were released a few months ago after long imprisonments and the planned execution of one of the men. Now, this. Our legal system is far too corrupt, fail-able and erroneous to accept this great risk.

Please read what you can about the case and form your own opinion. If your heart aches like mine does, please call these numbers and help save this man.

To call the Parole Board who could reconsider, call 00 1-404-656-0693 or 00 1-404-656-5651

Thank you.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/as-troy-davis-execution-1185593.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/14/troy-davis-death-penalty-lynching

http://theweek.com/article/index/219466/troy-davis-is-georgia-going-to-execute-an-innocent-man

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Enter OOHP’s Snowdance Festival – Patch

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Has your sense of humor been ignored? Have you stopped sending Christmas cards to your creativity? Is the keyboard sick of being used merely for Facebook updates? Then perhaps you need to recharge, dust off your funny bone and enter Over Our Head Players’ Snowdancecompetition.

Whether comedy writing is a daily occurrence or something you have always contemplated – this is the perfect opportunity to create, spread laughter and possibly win a few buckaroos.

The following were participants from last year who proudly accepted prizes:

3rd Place went to George Sauer of Dedham, Massachusetts for Jock Itch.

2nd Place went to David Field of Palisades, California for Sticky Buns.

The 2011 $300 First Place Best in Snow award went to Mary Tompsett from Racine for Granny and the Little Man.

I asked Mary how she felt about participating in and winning last year’s event.

“I had a blast writing the script, and winning was a huge thrill. I’ve been writing a humor column for several years (carried in several places) but Granny and the Little Man was my first stage script,” Mary goes on to describe her winning comedy, “In it, an elderly woman is babysitting her great-grand baby and receives a call from a telephone surveyor. She completely misunderstands what the survey is about, so her answers are way off base in response to questions about condom use!”

As you can see, you need not put on your prude hat and chastity belt while writing your Snowdance entry. Well, unless of course that is the look you are going for…and if so, good luck with that. OOHP’s Snowdance is a laid back, no holds barred operation with a fairly simple goal.

“One of our goals with Snowdance is to bring America’s comedy pulse to the shores of Lake Michigan, offering a diverse experience for our audience that represents the most current theatrical trends,” explains OOHP’s Artistic Director, Rich Smith, who has lead the production since its inception 8 years ago.

What is Snowdance exactly? It is a 10 Minute Comedy Festival which is showcased to the public more than 20 times during the entire run which will be January 27th – February 26th this year. The production is preformed by the OOHP Snowdance ensemble at Sixth Street Theatre in Downtown Racine. After each performance, audience members will vote for their favorite 10 minute comedy. Three winning playwrights will be determined and announced at the end of the production immediately following the last performance. For full rules and further explanation, see HERE.

So, no matter your age, no matter your sex…whether you are from Kansasville or Kansas City if you know how to make ’em laugh its time to roll up your sleeves and start your knee slappin’ masterpiece.

For more information, visit the OOHP’s WEBSITE or call 262.632.6802.

My Name is Heather and I May Be a Racist – Patch

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On Opening Night at the Wisconsin State Fair, a large group – some say hundreds – of African American boys and girls physically attacked random, white, fair-goers. This was a full on riot clearly fueled by race. It is scary, sick and intolerable. These kids need to be brought up on hate crime charges and their parents need to be held equally as responsible.

What else is scary, sick and intolerable is the verbiage that has exploded all over the internet within the past 24 hours, even here on our Patch. It is as though there has been this entire section of people who have been just waiting for something like this to happen so they could jump up and scream “See!! I told ya so!!” There seems to be a huge percentage of our population who suddenly feel a sense of relief as their racist views are now – in their mind – justified not only to others, but more importantly, to themselves.

I will admit that I am not sure if I would sweat it more if a group of black men were walking in my direction as opposed to a group of white men. I am not certain that I wouldn’t picture a black woman when someone speaks of a welfare mom on Jacato. What I do know is that I hold stereotypes and prejudices within me. It is not something that is easy to realize or admit. But I believe that is exactly what we need to start doing. Because until you recognize and validate that an issue exists, only then can you help create change.

Since the election of President Obama, I have seen a new wave of racism online. And I believe it is primarily isolated to the internet due to the simple safety of anonymity. The whole birther nonsense was a glaring example of that, yet that group denied having an ounce of racial motivation. Maybe they are not consciously aware of it.

Those voicing their opinions on the State Fair insanity are using language reminiscent of 1960s Birmingham. And I often hear the argument that black people should “get over” slavery already. But have white people gotten over it? Some times it seems we have progressed very little.

When I was in 6th and 7th grade I often walked home by myself. I was usually the only white girl in sight. I was called many “whitey” like names, as well as other insults. I was hit, kicked, had things thrown at me. It was torture to go to school sometimes knowing what was waiting for me. I would try to tell the teachers and principals, but they often seemed too afraid to take action. This was in the 80s.

At the end of 8th grade, there was an incident I will never forget. There was a group of Hispanic boys speaking Spanish. We were in a large group at a local restaurant after our 8th grade graduation dance. The boys seemed to be taunting in some way and laughing, but we could not understand them. I was a little drunk on playing adult for the night and must have thought I was pretty smart. I yelled over to the boys something I remember my father saying when I was little, “You got off the boat, now speak the language.” I think when I said it I knew it was wrong, but didn’t really understand why.

When I think back to that moment, I still cannot be at ease with myself knowing I acted so ignorantly, embarrassingly and disrespectfully. I was a bigot. And getting picked on and tormented those years walking home was no excuse for what I said that night. Part of the reason, maybe, but not an excuse. What happened to me made it no more acceptable.

We live in this society of perpetual hate. With this political climate, it is only getting thicker. And until we admit to ourselves that race is indeed playing a role in this – the hate will eventually be our downfall. The attacks at the State Fair were spurred by hate, and the talk today is spurred by that very same hate.

How many black families live in Wind Point? How many white families live on Jacato? Poverty is a significant cause for the gap. Poverty breeds crime, lack of education, drug and alcohol use, unwanted pregnancies and it is that proverbial cycle over and over and over …

We cannot claim to understand something we have never lived. Take a kid who grew up with maybe one meal a day, one parent who was never around, went to school at a young age always feeling less than. We cannot tell that kid, “Hey, get over it and move on.” Many of us consider it a hardship to have only one family car or no air conditioning. People stricken with poverty – REAL poverty – is not something many of us truly understand. And climbing out of that hole is certainly not something about which we should lecture.

So why are so many African Americans beneath the poverty level? Can it really be coincidence? No. There is a systematic pathology which exists and creates this level of being beat down from birth. And that creates anger and hate which climbs up through the generations. And while we are indeed progressing, becoming more accepting of one another, opening our minds and hearts, we are still tainted with that which has seeped into who we are. All of us. Black and white.

I do not forgive or condone terrorism. But I also recognize that perhaps if we didn’t bomb every other country, we may not be as hated. The Wisconsin State Fair was basically the site of a terrorist attack – fueled by hate and without regard for consequence. Disgusting and inexcusable. But just because there isn’t an excuse doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason. There is always a reason.

So what you have is a sub section of the African American community whose parents have given up for whatever reason. They have grown up with anger and hate and the need to be hard as nails. And we have a sub section of the Caucasian community who act as if they are tolerant and color blind. Yet at family picnics or anonymously online they show their true embedded feelings. I am not talking about extremists like the KKK or skin heads. I am talking about your neighbor, your brother … you.

Of course everything is fluid. Meaning, there are many white people who don’t have a single thought toward race; it’s never a consideration in their mind. And of course there are many black people who are not angry, did not grow up in a difficult life and who do not blame white people. These are not the people who need to fix this. It is the other 90% of the population.

It is time we start to become honest about these prejudicial flaws that many of us carry with us and use to make our choices in life. I think only then can we begin a dialogue, begin an understanding and begin to dissolve some of the ignorance-based decisions, verbiage, anger, hate, blame and fears.

This is probably my most commented piece on Patch yet. 83 comments thus far. For story and comments, see HERE

Racism: Alive and Well in Wisconsin – Patch

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I spent a large part of last weekend reading the responses to my commentary regarding the tragic events which took place at the State Fair and the subsequent racist reactions. A large group of young black boys and girls randomly attacked white fair goers on August 4. It was defined as a mob attack and, in all essence, created a riot. It was clearly racially motivated and a very inexcusable crime.

It was then, and is now, my belief that these youth need to be charged and punished for not only their attacks but also for hate crimes.

I feel that the assaults themselves left little room for debate since the acts were provable and witnessed by many. What happened was wrong, criminal and awful. That wasn’t up for argument.

What developed after the attacks, however, did leave me questioning and disappointed in those not involved with the occurrences that day. From monkey jokes on Facebook to slavery comments on various blogs, it became apparent to me that racism was not a left over residual remaining only with skin heads and red necks. Racism exists in most of us and permeates much deeper than I thought.

Most of the highly offensive comments were promptly deleted by Patch Editors. Thank goodness. But many of us were still able to see them at the time they were posted. There were those who suggested we go back to the days of slavery. There were some who claimed that African Americans had less intelligent genetics. And there were others who couldn’t wait to unholster their guns and let loose on anyone giving the mere appearance of a threat. Many of the messages displayed on that editorial made my stomach churn. And while the black community may be embarrassed and disgusted by the events at the State Fair – I am embarrassed and disgusted by the words of my white neighbors.

Woven throughout the extremist responses and level headed dialogue were questions which I believe many people may have but are too afraid to ask.

Why do these youth stomp on everything their ancestors worked so hard to achieve?

Why, in a country which claims to promote equality, do we have segregated groups such as the Congressional Black Caucus, National Association of Black Journalists or black fraternities and sororities?

If poverty is a cause for these behaviors and statistics, why is it not as prevalent in other poor communities around the world?

Where are the parents and why are they not parenting?

I am not educated in this field and, as a white woman, I do not have the experience to answer these questions. So I called Sarah Park, Manager of UW-Parkside‘s Diversity Program, hoping she could shed some light on this complicated dynamic.

“Poverty clearly plays a role. But poverty is so complex & multi- dimensional in and of itself. And then to add all the dimensions of racism on top of that is very complicated and do not end with a right or wrong answer,” Sarah shares her personal thoughts on the matter.

Of course, there are so many factors that come into play when delving into these social issues. Life for a single, African American, middle aged, healthy woman will be vastly different from a married, Asian, unhealthy and elderly man. Point being, even if I was equipped to answer the above questions, doing so in a single article would be impossible.

What I can say with all certainty is that honesty must be the absolute first step in making things better. Until we can be completely honest with one another – and feel safe doing so – we will not be able to have a true dialogue and without that, no progress will truly be made.

“Know thyself. Being aware of one’s own attitudes, beliefs, cultural values, and biases is important in understanding the complexities of systemic and institutional biases and discrimination,” Park added.

Park’s father was shot, the victim of a hate crime. She decided at a young age that she would make it her goal to be a part of the solution, overcoming a bad experience by turning the hate into something positive. She believes we – each individual citizen – can all play a role and take action for the safety of one another. After witnessing the events surrounding her father’s shooting, she knew she would do what she could to keep this from happening to other young people and families, which is how she ended up being an educator.

As a white person, I need to recognize white privilege in our society. I have always known that white people simply have it easier. But I never before gave much thought or notice to the little details of this paradigm in every day life.

Peggy McIntosh, author of Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, takes a good look at how white privilege plays a role in just about every aspect of life.

“I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious,” she writes. “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.”

When we buy a box of flesh colored band-aids, the packaging doesn’t state “caucasian flesh.” Studies on race tell of children who overwhelmingly and subconsciously pick the white doll over the black doll. There are deep-seeded beliefs and norms we all have stored away and never considered.

These are the kinds of things I need to think about when I wonder why statistics are the way they are, why stereotypes are the way they are and why it doesn’t seem to change. I also need to ask myself, “What am I doing to improve society?”

The message I am trying to deliver to you today with this followup isn’t a single stamped idea. It is a request for those who recognize certain behaviors and thoughts to become honest with themselves and others. It is a realization that there are simply some people in this world, state and community whose minds cannot be changed. It is a declaration of my hope that one day we can freely speak to those unlike ourselves without fear. It is a warning that until things start to change, we may be facing a new wave of hate that will soon be dangerous for everyone.

I don’t know it all. You don’t know it all. And we don’t know it all. But that shouldn’t stop us from learning from each other. Reflection, honesty, dialogue, acceptance, empathy and peace. In that order. It is up to me. It is up to you.

See article and comments HERE

Quest for a Better Quest – Patch

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It is no secret that Governor Scott Walker and the like pray at the alter of privatization. Their actions this past year have been a blatant attempt to guide our state into a completely privatized region. Schools are at the top of their list, but educators are typically smart and tough so that fight won’t be an easy one.

One area Walker is in a hurry to privatize is Wisconsin’s FoodShare Program. He would prefer private businesses be in charge of determining eligibility, conducting their own fraud investigations and regulating the program. This would all be done for profit. I think the mortgage debacle proved what corporations will do to make a buck on the backs of the poor and the ignorant.

But none of us can deny the rampant fraud and waste in the food stamp program. Every couple of weeks a new story is reported, shedding light upon yet another scam. Whether it is the plethera of convenient stores illegally accepting Quest cards for unapproved items such as beer or cigarettes to recipients selling their benefits on Facebook, countless tax dollars are being used inappropriately. Recently, nine Milwaukee County employees were suspected of stealing nearly $300,000 from the program during the past five years.

Something clearly needs to be done.

Even though these cases of fraud have been uncovered and even though Walker approved more funding for an expanded audit of FoodShare, very little is being done. Food stamp fraud for retailers is not a punishable crime and not one has gone to jail for their offenses.

Instead of pouring even more tax monies into a leaky program and its oversight, why not make some fundamental changes that could benefit everyone? My proposal may not be perfect or full of logistical detail, but it is an idea nonetheless.

Right now, federal tax dollars are given to the state for benefits in the form of a Quest Card each month. On this card remains a balance for which to buy a long list of approved food products. This process passes through too many hands with too little accountability. Throwing in another hand – the new private business looking to make a profit – will only muddy things further.

I would love to see that money go to farmers who agree to use a certain portion of their farm to grow food for local food facilities. There are a ton of unused, virtually abandoned buildings all over Racine. These locations could be modestly restored to become FoodShare Shopping Markets. These markets would carry healthy, locally grown, raised or processed food, like canned fruit and pickles. Instead of giving program recipients an allocation of funds for which to be responsible, beneficiaries would be able to shop these markets for free.

Obviously, being in Wisconsin, we cannot grow year round. To help pay for more expensive necessities like meat and fruit and vegetables in the off season, a small tax could be placed on fast food.

A few weeks ago while writing my commentary on McDonald’s french fries, I was reminded of a conversation a few years back with Representative Robin Vos (R-Rochester). I contacted him about my thoughts on a fast food tax after reading an article about Detroit instituting such a tax. He said it would be hurting the poorest of society because those are the people who purchase fast food the most.

This logic never sat right with me. The GOP is fine dictating plenty aspects of our lives but he was worried about the accessibility of a Big Mac? Fast food is not a necessity. Nutritious food is. If a Super Giant Valu Meal is ten cents more so that a family can have fresh fruit – well, I cannot comprehend any argument against that.

So, as I see it, here a list of potential benefits of my idea:

  • Make use of empty, eye sore buildings across the area;
  • Save money on investigations, committees and audits;
  • Eliminate the middle men who often cannot be trusted;
  • Provide high-quality, locally grown fruit and vegetables that can only improve lives and in turn, our communities; and
  • Keep farmers in business.

Maybe there are aspects I am overlooking which would make this idea less realistic. I am quite sure there is more to it than what I have briefly outlined. But is this idea any less reasonable than allowing more opportunity for corruption, greed and instability?

Seriously, tell me … I wanna know … how do ya like them apples?

See article and comments HERE

I’m Rubber You’re Glue – Patch

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In high school, I began building my soapbox as well as developing my need to loudly oppose all the injustices of the world and the cafeteria.

I was sent to the principal’s office for colorfully (cough) defending gay rights to my History teacher who was also an ex-priest. I annoyed the lunch ladies when I refused to eat from styrofoam trays. And I penned a vehement protest to the school paper when student congress held an actual “popularity contest” complete with ballots and tallies. I suppose some things really do stick with ya.

My soapbox is tattered and sometimes I fall off with my aging balance, but I still keep it close. Now, I try to pick my battles, however. This is a practice of which I was not aware those 20+ years ago. I have also learned that in a world of political and social polar opposites, it is crucial to maintain several principles, allowing for a much more peaceful existence. Again, sometimes I fall off, but I can typically recoup without too much damage. So far, anyway.

  • Learn the benefit of agreeing to disagree – Oh what a difficult struggle but one which can save you from vein-popping stress. If you know your uncle just returned from tailgating at a Sarah Palin rally – chances are, he won’t read a link from your favorite progressive website. Save the email and save the sweat.
  • Keep some conversations off limits – I know you really want to discuss the exciting revelations you just absorbed from Fox News. You are brimming with the need to share via your very next phone call. I get that. But it’s your daughter calling and she works for Move On. So, move on.
  • Try some objectivity – a big part of the problem with our hostile political climate is the refusal to objectively hear out the views of another. Often taking the time to listen to Charlie Sykes instead of Ed Schultz may allow you to gain perspective. You will likely continue to disagree with this perspective – but you will become more aware and perhaps see the possibility of solution more clearly.
  • Realize fundamental differences – Wow. Talk about a tough one. The Casey Anthony trial was phenomenally popular because we are fascinated by creatures we do not understand. How a mother could do that to her gorgeous child – it was like watching Gorillas in the Mist. Liberals and conservatives are diametrically, fundamentally different. Now, certainly, there are degrees of belief and no two of either group is the same. But we need to recognize that we will never truly understand what it is like to think in such a strange way.
  • Skin thickening isn’t just for calluses anymore – Just because you are referred to as ignorant or stupid or irrelevant does not mean that you are. Your beliefs are valid. We may think it is stupid for a dog to chase it’s tail, but if you try to stop him, you may get bit. Just leave him be – he will eventually tire out and you’ll have a cute video for YouTube. Remember that, typically, the individuals who are quickest to insult are the ones most insecure with their own capabilities.
  • Online arguing is like cutting your tongue on the cake knife – It hurts like a mother, but the frosting still tastes sweet. Sharing your opinions and even a healthy debate has its merits. Nothing will evolve without dialogue. But keep in mind that you are not selling your convictions to the person with whom you are disputing. You are promoting your views to the silent readers – the majority – who chose not to bicker with virtual strangers.

It is important to stand up and fight for our beliefs. It is imperative to speak up when we feel it is necessary. But we cannot continue to let it divide us to the point where there is no room for objectivity, reason and civility. What I see everyday in online forums, what I see pass through my inbox, what I hear on cable “news” programs – it is a deterioration of basic, mutual respect. We behave as though we must hate those who view the world differently.

Nothing can be accomplished in our government because all possibility of compromise, discussion and open mindedness has been abandoned. Being a liberal, I naturally want to blame this on my political enemies. I need to fight that desire. All I can do is stick to what I believe to be right, repair my soapbox when needed and leave myself open to opportunities for growth. Join me?

Disclaimer: When I started this piece, I was furious. I had just been called ignorant, was pummeled with anti-liberal rhetoric and realized certain relationships in my life would likely change. I have lost some “friends” and had some fall outs with relatives since the Madison protests. This has made me very angry and sad. But not enough to forego what I know to be right. When I began writing this morning I wanted to lash out through the screen and show these people just how ignorant I am not. I wanted to bullet point all their mistakes and hypocrisy. But I suddenly realized that besides believing I am on the side of good, I wasn’t acting any differently from those who made me peeved. Sometimes the view from the high road is more peaceful than you’d think.

See article and comments HERE

“Where Are the Jobs, Paul Ryan??”

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At the Racine and Kenosha offices of Congressman Paul Ryan, things were a little louder and busier than usual on Aug 24.

Wisconsin Jobs Now is an coalition of local groups, faith organizations and neighborhood associations that want to bring jobs to Wisconsin. With megaphones and signs, group members gathered outside Ryan’s Racine office today.

“I have seen what good people and persistence can do,” said Diana Valencia, a member of the group. “The sudden drastic cuts have been such a blow to us. We need living wage jobs for citizens and we need training and education so we have people to fill those positions.”

Valencia is the Recruitment Coordinator for the GED/HSED Program with the City of Racine’s Park and Recreation Department, which helps adults earn their diplomas in order to make them more employable. The state has gutted funding for this program and also reduced Valencia’s work hours to 32 per week.

“These aren’t just 18 to 20 year olds who partied and didn’t graduate. These are 40-year-olds who find themselves having to search for employment in a different trade after 20 years of working at the same job,” Valencia stated.

When staff at Ryan’s office was asked for a statement, they handed out a press release, but Conor Sweeney, a spokesperson for Congressman Ryan, did agree to a short phone interview.

Read the rest of the story HERE

The Unknown Grandpa – Patch

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Sometimes in life you can be shaped and affected by people without even realizing it. This revelation came to me today as I was writing my grandfather’s obituary. I didn’t know him well and our relationship was fairly non-existent, but as it turns out – something about him rubbed off on me anyway. Who knew being an opinionated loud mouth was genetic?

Back in the 1970s and 80s, you could rarely open The Racine Journal Times without seeing my grandfather’s name in the Opinion section. He was kind of locally “famous” for his letters. J. E. (Jack Edmund) Byrd always had something to say and he wanted everyone to hear it. Hmm…sounds just a tad familiar. My mother has a scrapbook of many of these letters and I look forward to reading them.

My grandfather never showed much interest in getting to know my brother and I. And when we were kids, he moved out east. He and my grandma were divorced and she was very much a permanent pillar in our lives. But he was never much of a kid person. Later in life our estrangement could be equally blamed on me. I never reached out and often felt annoyed by things he would say.

As it often happens with the death of a family member, you realize too late how much that person could have brought to your life with just a little effort. Although he was quite eccentric and a little obnoxious – he was an encyclopedia of information. He could have taught me much about books, vitamins, our ancestry, history and Racine circa ‘olden days’. I saddens me to realize all of the knowledge he took with him – knowledge I may never have.

Though I was not close with my grandfather and his passing isn’t effecting me the way other deaths have, I still feel a sense of loss. Mostly I feel the sadness for my mother who now considers herself somewhat of an orphan. I too lost my father and can relate to the odd and heavyhearted feelings she is having. Regardless of the relationship, losing a parent is life shaking. My heart is with my mom and I hope she knows how much I love her.

Less Education Equals Higher Unemployment – Patch

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Imagine your house on fire. The walls crumbling, smoke fills the hallways and it is becoming more difficult to escape. You see your landlord standing there with a phone and a fire extinguisher but he won’t let you use them. Instead, the home burns to the ground and the landlord kicks you out for not doing enough to save it. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

Economists and employers are reporting with all certainty that a major cause employment in our country and state is not improving is because of “structural unemployment” and an increasingly widening skill gap.

Economist Lakshman Achuthan says, “The issue is many workers looking for jobs lack the skills for the positions available. It’s a condition known as ‘structural unemployment’.”

With 14 million Americans out of work, it seems to me that cutting job training and education is like withholding the fire extinguisher. Our economy is in the toilet for several reasons and training and education could help resolve much of it.

When people are out of work they are not spending money, being taxed but are likely collecting entitlements. There is more crime, poor health and foreclosed mortgages.  Unemployment effects us all immeasurably – even those who still bring home a paycheck.

Half of unemployed Americans have been so for more than 6 months.  And nearly one third of those have been unemployed for over a year. It is obvious that the longer someone is without a job, the less employable they become. So not only do these workers have a lack of skills for which to enter into a new field, but their chances decrease with each passing day.

Read the rest of the story HERE

Remembering 9/11: An Experience We All Share – Patch

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Laying on the bathroom floor with my cheek against the cool tile and tears pooling beneath my face, I had been throwing up for hours and the crying was incessant. I had no idea what was wrong. I didn’t have a fever or a cough. I didn’t eat anything strange or drink too heavily. But for some reason, I could not stop the nausea or the emotional dread. This was nothing I ever felt before – this intense combination of physical and mental malaise. This is how I spent the day and night of September 10, 2001.

I finally decided to call the doctor and make an appointment for the next morning. I was quite certain that pregnancy was not the issue, but I was out of ideas. Scheduled to work in the morning on the northern-most side of Menominee Falls, I let my boss know I would be late.

Getting ready that day was not an easy feat. I was still in this psychological place of impending doom. My stomach was in knots and my eyes were sore from the constant stream of tears, but I was able to get myself together and headed to the clinic.

Driving across town, I listened to Bob and Brian on the radio. It was a typical show of sarcastic banter, until … it wasn’t. Suddenly there was a quiet and confused mumbling and then they made that unforgettable announcement. One of the DJs shared the news that one of the World Trade Center Towers was hit by an airplane. What a terrible accident, I gasped to myself. I didn’t have time to consider the devastation when the same shocked voice relayed that the other tower had also been hit. This was no accident.

Read the rest of the story HERE