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Blog January 2008

The LAEO Blog – Learn English here daily.

January 31, 2008

   

The last few days in Minnesota have been way below zero. Yesterday it was 41 degrees below zero here. Wow! That’s cold!

January 28, 2008

Barack Obama won the South Carolina primary last Saturday, nearly doubling the number of votes cast for Hillary Clinton. Today he received an endorsement from Ted Kennedy, brother of the late President John F. Kennedy.

What is an endorsement? When someone famous or someone with political power says that you are a good candidate for an elective position, that’s called an endorsement. Endorsements are important because they tell the voters who supports whom, and it makes it easier sometimes for voters to decide on which candidate to support.

In the previous week, John McCain won the South Carolina primary. He has received many endorsements, including one from the Governor of Minnesota (where I live), Tim Pawlenty.

January 25, 2008

There’s a new video on YouTube which I made for making information questions. Go to my channel and do a search on "information questions."

January 23, 2008

I get a lot of email from students who ask me how they can improve their English. My advice is to try to learn English from as many different people as possible, and if you are using the internet, try more than just one website. On my links page, you’ll see links to other websites for learning English. A simple search will turn up some websites as well; however, try the free ones first.

Thanks to the students who sent me photos of themselves in response to my latest email. I think it really helps to build an online community by featuring the pictures of people who visit the website. If you have any videos you can send those as well, or if you have posted a video online and think it’s appropriate for this site, just send me the link.

January 22, 2008

Last night the Democrats had a debate in South Carolina. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards discussed the most important issues in the minds of the voters; however, there was a lot of disagreement and finger-pointing which most voters don’t like to see when they watch a debate. South Carolina Democrats will hold their primary this Saturday. Remember that a primary is an election that is held within a state. Each state has these elections before the general election in November. If you read this blog regulary, I’ll try to provide information about how the political system works in the U.S., especially now during the election season.

January 21, 2008

Today we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in the United States. Public schools were closed, and so were most government offices. On the radio and an on television there were many programs about the contributions that King made to the improvement of civil rights for all Americans. There’s still a lot of work to be done in improving the lives of African Americans and others who have suffered from discrimination and prejudice, but we have come a long way from the 1950s and 1960s when the evidence of racism and injustice was just too much for the American public to tolerate.

discrimination: treatment or consideration of a person based on class or category (skin color, religion, gender, physical ability, age, etc.). Basically this is something that you do, and it’s illegal in the U.S. to discriminate against a person.

prejudice: to have an idea or belief about a person or a group of people that is not based on fact but on opinion. This is something that you believe to be true–an opinion. Although it’s not very nice, prejudice is legal in the U.S. because it’s a belief and you can’t make it illegal to have an unkind thought about someone.

January 18, 2008

I’ve changed the video lessons page. Now, instead of videos made by other people, I’ve put my own videos on there. I will also include videos made by other people, but they will probably go onto a different page. If you find any good videos on YouTube that you think are helpful for yourself or others, please send me the link and maybe I’ll feature it on the website. Or if you’d like to make your own video about yourself and then put it on YouTube, let me know and I can paste it in here somewhere. Isn’t the internet fun?

January 15, 2008

The word "change" is frequently used by candidates for President of the United States. Obama seemed to have coined the word first and now it’s copied repeatedly by all the other candidates. Clearly, the people are speaking. "Change"–whatever form it comes in–will bring us away from the course we’ve taken and towards something that we want to become in the future. Together we all envision this future and hope that the people we elect will take that vision and make it a reality.

We are all keeping our fingers crossed that this next President is going to be a good one–no matter what party he or she comes from.

January 14, 2008

This week my 7:30 class will continue to study the verb "be" and practice making questions and statments. We will also study different occupations (jobs). The 10:00 class will read about and discuss working in an office, and there will be an assortment of activities related to food, such as ordering in a restaurant and making things at home.

January 11, 2008

If you are new to this website, be sure to sign up as a member on the home page. Membership is absolutely free and you may unsubscribe at any time. Perhaps best of all is that you don’t have to use a password or a username every time you come to the site. Just come here as often as possible and tell your friends about the website.

Occasionally, I will check your responses to emails. If I see that you aren’t responding to your email, your free membership will be cancelled–so check your email!

If you could send a picture of yourself for the photos section, that would be greatly appreciated.

January 10, 2008

My 10:00 class has been studying consumerism this last week. What should you think about when you buy something? The obvious considerations are for price and quality. In addition, you should think about the following for any purchase you make: safety, usefulness, country of origin (where its made), environmental impact, and putting it in the trash when it’s no longer good. Let’s take these one at a time.

Safety – Is the product safe? Are there materials in the product, such as lead or mercury, that might make it dangerous to have in your home?

Country of origin – Where was it made? Who did the work? If this is important to you, look at the label before you buy it.

Environmental impact – What is the effect on the environment from this product? Does it use gasoline or electricity wisely? Global warming is real and we all have to think about how our consumption contributes to it.

Putting it in the trash – How easy will it be to throw the product away when you are finished with it? Remember, some electronic appliances, like computers, TVs, rechargeable batteries, and microwave ovens can’t be put directly in your trash. You have to take them to a special place because these products contain harmful substances.

January 8, 2008

New Hampshire holds its primary today. It’s the first primary in the nation. What exactly is a "primary"? It’s a state election for a presidential candidate. The reward for winning a primary is the number of delegates that each state sends to the national conventions that political parties have in the summer before the national election in November. Because Barack Obama won the caucus (which is kind of a like a primary) in Iowa, he will get the support of all the Iowa delegates who go to the Democratic convention in Denver this August. Mike Huckabee won all the delegate support when he won on the Republican side, so those delegates will pledge their allegiance to him in St. Paul during the Republican convention, also in August.

January 7, 2008

For beginning level students, I added the alphabet in English to the blue level section. Even if you aren’t new to English, it might help you. Click here.

January 6, 2008

Last week I had some plumbing problems and had to call a plumber to come to my house. The main sewer line that goes from the house to the street was blocked and raw sewage was backing up into the house. Yuck! The man who arrived was originally from Nairobi, Kenya and is now an American citizen. He did a good job and fixed the problem very quickly.

January 5, 2008

Minnesota, the state in which I live, is going through a bit of a thaw this weekend. The snow and ice are melting everywhere. Thaw. What an interesting word. It’s used to describe melting activity, usually on a large scale. But you can also use it for something that you take out of your freezer. For example: I took the meat out of the freezer so that it could thaw.

A spring thaw

January 4, 2008

Last night Barak Obama was the big winner in the Iowa caucus. This does not mean that he will be the Democratic nominee for President of the U.S., but it will make him the frontrunner among all the other Democrats who are also running. Time for a little vocabulary: frontrunner = the person who takes the lead in a political contest; nominee = the person who is chosen by his party for a political office or position; run = try to get elected.

I’ll try to use my blog this year to give updates on the progress of the election. If any of you who read the blog on a regular basis have questions about how elections in the U.S. work, please email me directly and I can post the answers here.

January 2, 2008

Iowa caucuses are tomorrow. The United States has begun the process of choosing a new President. After tomorrow you will hear a lot about the winner of this contest.

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year! This blog enters its third year, and I hope to have the opportunity to add to it more regularly and make it more interesting. Notice that there are more videos now on the website. You can find them here and on You Tube.

click here to go to 2007

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