Fireworks lit up the sky Sunday night as the news spread across the nation. The man who instigated the death of thousands Americans had been killed by the U.S. Military.
Since then, I’ve heard a variety of reactions. From shouts of celebration to tears of joy, most have been happy that a murder had been brought to justice.
However, some cannot bring themselves to be happy that someone has been killed. They believe that by killing this man, we have committed the same crime he committed towards us. Thus, they believe, we should not be rejoicing when we are guilty of committing the same crime.
A counter argument to that way of thinking has been that the murdering of thousands of innocent people is very different than the killing of a murderer. I have heard the killing of Bin Laden referred to a “self-defense.” Those who believe this pose the question: “what is stopping a man who has no problem killing mothers, fathers, and thousands of other innocent people, from doing the same thing again.”
Regardless of whether people are happy, or not, I think it is important to remember that most who are happy are not rejoicing in the death itself. It is bigger than that. It is bigger than the death of one man. It represents good overcoming evil and the preservation of freedom.
As Michelle Obama spoke about the soldiers who killed Lin Laden, she said that they were risking their lives to ensure that freedom prevailed. It is a victory. The mission that the United States began ten years ago, has finally ended.
So, whether Americans are joyful, sorrowful, or indifferent, about the death of Lin Laden, I believe we can all agree on one thing: we are grateful for freedom. We do not take for granted the lives given by the United States military to preserve our freedom.
To me, this is just another representation of the cost of freedom.
For a girl who grew up right next to a cattle farm, I recently realized how little I knew about the cattle business.
After talking with my grandpa on Easter, I learned that the cattle business is even more interesting and intricate than I thought. My grandpa has been in the cattle farming business for many years and could tell me anything I wanted to know. I realized I had a lot to learn.
Davey Walker, my grandpa, said this year is a good one for Missouri cattle farmers. He says the price of beef is going up. But why?
Well, one of the reasons is that there are simply less cattle in Missouri today. The demand for beef is high but the supply is low. Simple supply and demand rules say that as demand increases, supply decreases. And price goes up.
The Walker farm is a cow-calf operation. Simply put, they
raise cattle simply to make more cattle. They have about 300 head of cattle
that remain on the 800 acres of land. When they have calves, the calves are
sold to be grown into bigger cattle to be butchered. From Walker farm, the
cattle go to another farm where they are fed on grass. Then the same cattle are
sold to the feedlots, where they are fattened up to be butchered.
Davey said that in previous years he might sell a calf for $600 but this year, it could be up to $900.
Another reason for this boost in cattle prices is the increase in exports. The United States is doing very well in the export of beef – another good thing for Missouri cattlemen.
However, the increase in the price of beef may not be as beneficial for some farmer than others. Farmers who gain-feed their cattle (the stage just before butchering) are spending more on gain this year because the price of corn is going up. Unfortunately, the extra money they’re making on their cattle is probably being spent on the extra cost of gain.
Clearly, the cattle business in more complex than one might think. Not only that, but the cattle business and farming in general is something that affects everyone- well, everyone that eats, that is.
Now that Barak Obama has officially announced his candidacy for re-election, people are asking the question who will he run against?
Democrats and Republicans alike had been wondering who would emerge as the GOP contender even weeks before Obama’s announcement. Now, after two weeks, the Right’s candidate is still a mystery.
At this point, all voters can do is speculate. From the recent Donald Trump appearance to the still standing Sarah Palin, folks are throwing out names of conservatives left and right.
Still on the radar is Gov. Mike Huckabee. Some conservatives that like his morals and traditional values hope he ends up with the nominee. But some feel like this talk show hosting bass player had his shot during the last presidential primary and he will not get a second chance in 2012.
Michele Bachmann, Representative from Minnesota has emerged as an up-and-coming Republican woman. Some see her as a strong, articulate, intelligent woman and a likely candidate for president 2012, or at least as VP. However, some have either not heard of her at all, or feel as if she is too inexperienced. I’ve even heard the argument against her simply because she is a woman – some feel the nation isn’t ready for a woman president.
Tim Pawlenty, also from Minnesota, is viewed as a possible contender by some Republicans and Democrats. This former Minnesota has came up from the cracks. While some view him positively, some say they do not know much about him. If Pawlenty is going after the nomination, it seems he is going to have to be more forthcoming with his intentions than he is currently.
A few others who seem to be possibilities for the Republican tickets are Mitt Romney, Newt Ginrich, and Mitch Daniels.
For now, folks can only continue to guess as to whom the Right will bring to the table.
As the weather heats up outside the capitol, so does the
state legislature. The spring 2011 session is drawing to an end and things are
beginning to move faster this week than they have previously.
People are bustling about the halls, high school bands are
performing in the sunshine on the steps of the capitol, and elementary school
groups are visiting the house and senate chambers.
Not only are Missouri’s citizens causing excitement at the capitol but lawmakers are also energized as bills are discussed, passed, and signed.
Today, Governor Nixon signed the first bill of the session. This bill, HB 163, restored federal unemployment benefits, an issue affected by a filibuster earlier in the session. The House gave final approval to a bill that changes dog-breeding regulations. The Senate is discussing top topics like Missouri’s redistricting plan and the new nuclear power plant construction in Missouri.
As you can tell, it is a busy time here in the state capitol and
it’s the best time to be a reporter.
It’s exciting to see people rushing from here to there in hopes of
catching a glimpse of the making of a new law. It’s exhilarating to hear
senators and representatives passionately debate issues they hope to pass this
session, fighting so that another year does not pass before action is taken.
From now until the end of the semester, I plan to experience as much of the capitol’s excitement as possible.
The wedding bells are ringing for Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The buzz about what’s going down on April 29th is everywhere. Katie Couric is flying to London to cover it, Americans are setting their T-VOs, and students are asking professors to be dismissed from class. On the other hand, some folks are asking, “the Royal what?” and wondering why people care. From what I can tell, folks are either overwhelmingly excited about the event or could not care less about the young couple’s marriage.
After all, why should we care? Not only is the Prince and his bride-to-be an ocean away from us, but they are also doing something that thousands of people do everyday. To many, the Royal wedding is nothing but gossip. They’d say it is a waste of television news airtime and newspaper column space. Some would rather be hearing real news: national debt, Obama’s re-election announcement, healthcare … anything but the Royal Wedding.
However, perhaps this event is a breath of fresh air. Many think that this event is fun, and what’s wrong with a little fun, anyway?! After all, who doesn’t like a good wedding? Prince William and Miss Middleton will be vowing their lives to each other and if the nation can watch the rest of their lives, why shouldn’t they watch this very momentous moment?
Me? Well, I’m not particularly interested in the wedding. I probably won’t get up at 5am to watch the coverage or start following Kate on Twitter. Admittedly, I’ll read the headlines on April 30th and maybe even “like” a few statuses that mention the wedding. However, I don’t blame people who are incredibly interested. If you want to watch it, watch it. If you want to talk about it, talk about it. If you don’t, don’t.
As you might imagine, this got people (both those opposed and in favor) fired up. And, I believe, rightfully so.
When writing this story, I talked to many teachers, administrators, and legislators, and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed. Everyone I spoke with was passionate about their work and provided me with valuable information about the subject.
Former teachers spoke about what it would mean for a teacher to lose their tenure rights. Administrators talked about the difficulties of eliminating a tenured teacher who is not longer performing well as an educator.
Another hot topic of the bill was that it would cause teachers to be evaluated based on their student's progress.
It was interesting to see the differing opinions even among teachers. As I spoke with administrators, I was intrigued by the diversity of their thoughts as well.Without the captivating thoughts and ideas of the people who are directly effected by what is happening, the story would be dead, lifeless, nothing.
In journalism school, they always stress the concept that news is about people- not bills or city ordinances. Though it seems like a simple concept, sometimes I get caught up in the pieces of paper involved rather than the people whom are affected.
This idea was very clear in this story. The news was not about a bill or a politician, but rather about the Missourian's whom it affects. It was great to have the chance to intact with a variety of people and see the way this affects real people.
Let the three-generation discussion begin.
Springfield, the closest "large" city to my hometown of one-thousand people, is trying to decide whether or not to ban smoking in public places- i.e. restaurants, stores, etc.
My grandma, more commonly known as Nanny, is completely and totally set on the idea that it's not any of the government's business where a person can smoke. Actually, Nanny is "totally and completely" set on how she thinks about anything. To say she isn't afraid to speak her mind is a major understatement. And that anti-smoke law is no exception. Nanny isn't an avid smoker by any means. In fact, I don't think she knows many smokers at all. She just really likes her personal liberty, she says.
My best friend and Nanny agree on this matter. Amanda, a fiery, curly-headed blonde, was not afraid to voice her very strong opinion (But then again, when is she afraid to voice her opinion?). "It should be up the the individual business," she stated. "If they want to increase their business by allowing people to work, they should be able to." Amanda, isn't a smoker either, but in her opinion businesses should be able to make this choice, not the government.
My Mom, was not so quick to make a decision. She says doesn't want to breathe in other people's smoke, and neither does anyone else, probably. However, being a small business owner, she also understands the want and need to be able to make her own decisions for her own business. After engaging in conversation, posing questions, and challenging Amanda and Nanny's views, Mom also decided it's not the government's job to regulate this. She admitted that she'd like to be the a part of the "discontinuation of smoking, not the continuation," but not at the expense of personal liberty, she said.
In the end, Mom, Amanda, and Nanny all agreed.
Well. Until we started talking about the seat-belt requirement law. But that's another story.
On Wednesday, the halls of the capitol were packed. People from all corners of the state crowded around two Senate committee hearing rooms over an hour before the hearing began. So, what was the hot topic?
Nuclear energy. But more importantly, how to pay for it.
There are many complex factors involved with this subject. But essentially, two bills were being discussed. One: a bill that would allow Ameren Missouri obtain an early site permit to begin construction on a new nuclear power plant. This would mean that rates for energy consumers would rise, before the construction process has begun. And two: a bill that would allow the early site permit but also add employees to the Office of Public Council that would advocate on the ratepayers' side should the project require too much money from them.
When I got to the hearing room at 3:00pm (note: the hearing began at 4:00pm), people lined the halls. I decided to talk to some people while I was waiting for the doors to open.
The first group I talked to was four citizens from around mid-Missouri. There were a few from Columbia and a few from Fulton. They shared with me why they supported the building of a nuclear power plant. In short, they believed it would bring jobs to Missourians in need of work. They also supported the idea of having a longer lasting renewable energy supply.
Another group of people were not opposed to the building project itself but rather, how Ameren should go about gaining the funds. They felt that the ratepayers should not be responsible for it. They felt that stockholders and investors should take the responsibility.
It was exciting to see Missourians so animate about this issue.
And it remained an exciting topic into late hours of the night. As large company CEOs, city council members, and average citizens came together to speak out, I was reminded about the functionality of our legislative body. It's great to see people from across Missouri come to help make decisions that impact our entire state.
As Abraham Lincoln envisioned, it was a true example of our government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Man, Dr. Dorian is hilarious and Dorian + Dr. Cox are even better.
Here's what happened at the Capitol this week:
On Monday I worked on my enterprise story with Kyle. We did some interviews, lined up some interviews, did research, read lots of bills, and tried to plan out how we want the stories to be structured. It was a productive day. However, I am a little worried because we still have so much to do and so little time to get it done. It's due next Wednesday. So, I'd like to have a rough draft done by Monday. We may need to come in an extra day to make sure we don't have to end up producing something that isn't very good.
Today was more eventful than Monday. I got to the Capitol at 8am to cover a hearing about teacher tenure. It was a good hearing. Witnesses were there to speak both for and against the elimination of teacher tenure. This was my first time to be to a hearing at which witnesses spoke. It was great to see the people of Missouri advocating for their cause to legislatures.
Anyways, it was a very helpful hearing for our enterprise story.
At 10:30, we went to our interview with Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. We had set up the interview on Monday, but I was still glad that we had gotten a space in his busy schedule. Kinder answered the questions well and provided us with solid answers that will help tell our story once we get to that part.
At 11:30 we had scheduled an interview with Rep. Nasheed. She wasn't feeling well so we didn't get to speak with her for very long. However, we re-scheduled for Monday. She is a very passionate person and I'm excited about being able to speak with her.
Later in the day, I was told to cover a House Disabilities Committee hearing at 2:00pm. It was the first introduction to a bill that would prevent the state from taking children out of their parent's simply because the parents are disabled. Witnesses came to this meeting too. I enjoyed listening to the voice of the people rather than just the legislators.
Not only was this a long hearing, but it also took me longer than usual to finish this story. I was frustrated that I was working slowly and was worried that because I was spending so much time on this story, that I was neglecting the work I needed to be getting done on my enterprise. I was also frustrated that I seemed to not be able to grasp a good angle and making it exciting and newsworthy. I'm just hoping this is something I can improve on, I know that I'm going to try.
Now, I'm finally home. I got here about 9:30. I still have an essay to write. I better get at it.
After Scrubs, of course.
Ok. Now. Onto the happenings at the Capitol (By the way: I apologize for spelling Capitol like "Capital" in my earlier blogs. I have since learned the error of my ways).
Monday started out a slow day, as do many Mondays in the Capitol. Before the press conference I was covering in the early afternoon, I worked on my enterprise story a little. I also spent the morning looking at information regarding the issue I would cover, which was about the redistricting of Missouri. I know that sounds pretty boring but it's actually not.
(Quick Side note: "Desperado" = wonderful. By far the best song on the album.)
The results of the 2010 census showed that Mo is not growing in population. So, our Congressional districts will drop from nine to eight. Thus, someone will be out of a job. Luckily, Missouri's people will get a chance to tell lawmakers who they want to kick out, essentially. The Chairs of the House and Senate committees will be going around the state to ask people what they think.
So, to all of my followers (all 2 of them), if you have something to say on the matter - go tell 'em whatcha think.
(Another Eagles side note: "Get over it" is also great. It sends a great message to listeners. Go listen. Really. Go.)
Anyways, later on Monday I went to the Senate. Though the topic I was covering didn't come up (Teacher Tenure) I really enjoyed being in the Senate. I have decided that attending House and Senate sessions is one of my favorite things to do in the Capitol. I really love seeing the process in action. The "officialness" of the way the Senators speak to each other and the organized order of doing things is always impressive to me.
Also, one of the Senator's kids were in chamber with him. They got to run bills up to the podium. They were having lots of fun.
After the Senate, I went back to working on my story about redistricting. I ended leaving at about 8:15pm. Late night. I was also late to my staff meeting at 8:30. Hopefully that won't happen again.
K. Now it's Wednesday. In 28 minutes I'm going to a press conference with the state auditor, Tom Schweich. He's talking about his new plan to audit state departments more closely and efficiently. I don't know too many details, obviously because I haven't been to the conference yet, but if the suspense is killing you, check out my story.
Thanks for reading.
(Eagles update: Now listening to "The Girl From Yesterday." They continue to amaze me.)
Upon arrival to MDN, Alysha gave us all little Valentine's Day card. Very cute...and they were attached to Skittles! Yum!
Anyways, on with the news...
Oh wait. News? There really wasn't much news on Monday. Actually. I went to one hearing for about 10 minutes. (well, 30 minutes if you count the time the committee members took to eat their boxed Panera lunch) They were supposed to talk about the Governor's travel budget. The chairman announced, however, that they would not be doing mark-up on anything today. So, we had to wait until Wednesday for that hearing. Which I did. More on that later.
So. Christi (print reporter working on the same story with whom I really enjoy working) headed back up to the newsroom. Unfortunately, there weren't a whole lot of stories Monday so everyone was working on their enterprise story. I think I already wrote about what mine is about so I won't go into that. I will say, however, that I made some calls and sent some emails to get some insight in the issue. I haven't gotten any sound or anything for that story..that will come later.
Monday ended up being a fairly short day. Then I headed home for a two-hour staff meeting for ResLife. Yay.
Wednesday, today, was a more exciting day. Also, it was Phill's B-day. Unfortunately- I wasn't in the room when he was so I didn't say happy birthday. So, Phill, if you're reading this - happy birthday.
The topic I was supposed to cover on Monday ended up being my story today. I went to the hearing at noon. It was 3 hours long. At about 1:30 I regretting not eating my PB&J before the hearing.
Anyways. The story:
Last week Danielle did a story about the House Appropriations Committee's concern with the Governor's travel Budget. Apparently, Gov. Nixon was not handling his travel budget wisely. Or honestly, for that matter. Well, that's what the skeptics are saying.The Governor's office was supposed to get the details on Nixon's flights and expenses, etc, etc. But. They didn't.
And so. That was my story. Oh, plus the fact that they agreed on a bill that would cut statewide elected official's budget by 5 percent. The bill will have to come before the House Budget Committee before going to the House. So, it still has several more stops before being put into action.
At about 7:15PM I left the capitol. It was a good day. I was glad to have a story :-)