I've Always Liked This Guy....

Suddenly a man, out of breath, but still smiling and friendly, tapped me on my shoulder and said, "Ma'am, here are your keys." It was Al Gore, former vice president of the United States. Mr. Gore had gotten off his machine behind me, picked up my keys, handed them to me and then resumed his workout.

It was nothing more than a kind gesture, but at that moment Mr. Gore's act represented all that I yearned for - acceptance and acknowledgment.

Read it all here:


Answers to Questions

There has been a lot of chatter on the various Oshkosh blogs about a run in I had recently. I thought I'd answer any questions here.

I, personally, did something stupid. I regret it, I own up to it. I paid my fine and co-operated throughout the process. I sincerely apologize to anyone who was affected.

I learned two things from this experience. The first is that my personal actions have consequences that reverberate farther than I knew – I will remember this for the future.

Second, I learned that local politics have become too poisoned. It is because of personal stands that I previously took that this story was pushed.

While I am proud of these past stands on my individual issues, I admit that I may have been shrill. I pledge to stay involved with pushing issues I feel important to Oshkosh, Wisconsin and on; I, however, hope to do so in a more polite manner in the future.

I hope that Oshkosh, from here on out, can be a place where everyone is welcomed into the political process. And that issues can be debated in a forthright and polite manner.

If there is anyone affected by my personal actions, who has further questions, feel free to contact me directly.


The Way Things Look From Abroad....

I don't know if any of you know this, but I was an exchange student - I lived for a year in Ghent, Belgium (thanks Rotary!). I recently received the following email from my Host-Father, asking some questions, I have excerpted it below:


While sitting in the plane last Saturday, I read the International Herald Tribune of 18-19th June and read a small news clip as follows:


MADISON, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a ban on the so-called morning-after pill on state college campuses, a restriction that would be the first in the United States if approved. (AP)"


Jef, what is happening in Wisconsin? Do your people want unwanted pregnancies and possible abortions as a consequence...

You know, the Belgian Government is making access to the morning after pill as easy as possible for the girls and women in need... We, as far as I know, don't have that culture yet of putting condoms , etc discretely for sale at school level. But here they only have to go to the pharmacist.

Jef, what is the rational behind this decision: is it a return of fundamentalism or is there a more pragmatic reason?


As I mentioned when I originally posted the story... Is this what Wisconsin wants to be first in the nation/world on?

How will these moves by the legislature look to outside interests looking to move their families or their businesses here?

Some background, my host-Father is an international agriculture consultant, his wife a published historian and volunteer for Catholic charities and causes. They are not considered left-wing in any matter. They are reasonable people.

The sort of people that should read about Wisconsin in the International Herald-Tribune and think, "that is a place I'd like to visit." Not the people we should be chasing away.


2 Great Articles about the War (and the War at Home)

First from Bob Hebert:

It has become clearer than ever that Americans do not want to fight George W. Bush's tragically misguided war in Iraq.

You can still find plenty of folks arguing that we have to stay the course, or even raise the stakes by sending more troops to the war zone. But from the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were unwilling to send their own children off to fight.

It's easy to be macho when you have nothing at risk. The hawks want the war to be fought with other people's children, while their own children go safely off to college, or to the mall. The number of influential American officials who have children in uniform in Iraq is minuscule.

What hasn't changed is the fact that the vast majority of the parents who support the war do not want their children to fight it. A woman in the affluent New York suburb of Ridgewood, N.J., who has a daughter in high school and a younger son, said: "I would not want my children to go. If there wasn't a war it would be different. I support the war and I think we need to be there. But it's not going well. It's becoming like Vietnam. It's a very bad situation. But we can't leave."

The Bush crowd may be bellicose, but for most Americans the biggest contribution to the war effort is a bumper sticker that says "support our troops," and maybe a belligerent call to a talk radio station.

The home-front "warriors" who find it so easy to give the thumbs up to war endanger the truly valorous men and women who are actually willing to put on a uniform, pick up a weapon and place their lives on the line.

The president and these home-front warriors got us into this war and now they don't know how to get us out. Nor do they have a satisfactory answer to the important ethical question: how do you justify sending other people's children off to fight while keeping a cloak of protection around your own kids?

If the United States had a draft (for which there is no political sentiment), its warriors would be drawn from a much wider swath of the population, and political leaders would think much longer and harder before committing the country to war.


And then from our own James A. Genisio:

I know how to greatly increase volunteers for the military. If the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna, or even one of them would volunteer for the military, volunteer to fight terror in Iraq, volunteer to establish democracy in Iraq, many others would follow. Imagine if we watched President Bush and the first lady saying goodbye to their patriotic children, Barbara and Jenna, as they went off in uniform to risk their lives for what their father and mother tell us is a great cause. What an inspiration! What an example! What a glorious day that would be.