Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Obama's executive orders would require federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change, and would make it harder for federal contractors to discourage union activities. Also, Biden announced that the first meeting of a task force that would "bring together those Cabinet members who have the greatest impact on the well-being of the middle class" would be on February 27 in Philadelphia. This task force will examine various issues, such as health care and college opportunities, and will aim at "restoring the balance in the workplace." The task force will be led by Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist writing on the impact of Obama's stimulus plan. And according to Biden, the first meeting will focus on "green jobs, those jobs that pay well, can’t be outsourced and will help us move toward a cleaner, more self-sufficient energy future.”
President Obama claims that there is no need for conflict between workers and employers, and that American business and industry can be "lean and mean", and competitive in the global marketplace. Vice President Biden claims that by helping out the middle class, the administration can help out the poor; and "by the way, the wealthy do better as well. Everyone does better."
The Republican National Committee chose Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland to be the chairman. The election took six ballots before he could get the 85 votes needed to win. He won with 91 votes out of 165, defeating Katon Dawson, the South Carolina Republican chairman. During the election Dawson faced many concerns such as reinforce the notion that Republicans are becoming a Southern regional party and to help ease these concerns he stopped going to his all white country club. One of the things Steele had going for him was that he was one of the two non-members of the committee running. Steele stated that "it’s time for something completely different and we’re going to bring it to them. We’re going to bring this party to every corner, to every boardroom, to every neighborhood, to every community. And we’re going to say to friend and foe alike, ‘we want you to be a part of us, we want you to be with us and for those of you who are going to obstruct, get ready to be knocked over.’ " Ken Blackwell, another African American running for the position pulled out of the race after the fourth ballot with only 15 votes. “Obviously, the winds of change are blowing at the R.N.C.,” Mike Duncan said. The election showed the party's desire for a clean break from the former President who withdrew after the third ballot. He got 41 votes on the third ballot which was 11 votes short of the 52 he got on the first ballot. Chip Saltsman of Tennessee also run, but he distributed a CD with a song called “Barack the Magic Negro” which caused concern. He dropped out on the eve of the contest after apparently failing to qualify for the ballot.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
There were certain moments in the day where Blagojevich reflected on his political life, talking about his guilt towards his family. He called his political life a "personal Greek tragedy", saying how he saw his circumstances, but still loved his job. He claims that his biggest error was the friends he chose.
One of the most important parts of the bill was letting states use federal money to provide health insurance to children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants. Currently, legal immigrants are barred from Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance program for five years after they enter the United States.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Al Gore urged lawmakers to act quickly on Obama’s stimulus package. This package contains billions of dollars in alternative energy investments. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Commitee that this new spending proposed by Obama will begin to quickly reduce pollutants blamed for global warming. The plan will invest in energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy smart grid and the move to clean cars. Gore says, “These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten our economic recovery, while strengthening our national security and beginning to solve the climate crisis.” Gore was challenged by some Republican members of the committee. They wanted him to "endorse nuclear power as a clean alternative to coal and to endorse returning to the public all revenues from a carbon reduction regime." I think it's great that Obama is taking action to help the environment with these investments. Hopefully these investments will lead to a positive change in the environment.
However, another interesting fact from the impeachment trial is that the prosecution only called six of its thirteen scheduled witnesses. The prosecution claimed that they didn't want repetitive testimonies, yet some of the senators are a little unsettled by this. Getting rid of half of the witnesses speeds up the trial, but also withholds information that may be important in a trial as massive as this; therefore making the trial look politically motivated. How do you guys think eliminating half the witnesses will affect the trial?
After Bush left office, Geron Cooporation of Menlo park won approval to treat patients with stem cell research for the first time. If Obama sticks to his pledges on stem cells, this research and maybe even cures will continue.
Scientists are hoping that the cells drawn from approved embryotic cells will be injected into humans and hopefully stimulate the growth of new cells that will replace damaged tissue, muscles, and nerves.
With the debate about stem cells, how long will this research actually take place?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Yet, even with his impeachment trial happening, he spent Monday and today on every television show possible proclaiming his innocence and condemning politics and his impeachment unfair. He claims this because the impeachment process bars him from calling in witnesses that he wants to bring in. It just seems a bit ridiculous that instead of focusing on the impeachment trial, as he should be doing, he is on almost every television talk show blaming others for his predicament when there is clear evidence that he is guilty to various degrees. I feel that, as a politician, Governor (not that he will be for long) Blagojevich should be handling this whole impeachment trial more professionally. And as to Blagojevich's complaints, I agree with Illinois State Representative Jack D. Franks that "an impeachment process is not a criminal trial,...It’s not a civil trial. It’s a question of whether he can continue to lead or not.”
here's the link to a video of his interview with the Associated Press:
Ty Inc., the company that makes Beanie Babies, made two dolls named Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia. A spokeswoman for the company claims that “there’s nothing on the girls that refers to the Obama girls" and that “It would not be fair to say they are exact replications of these girls.” The company says this despite the fact that the two dolls, Sweet Sasha and Marvelous Malia, are slender brown skinned and brown eyed dolls that look like the 7 and 10 year old daughters who have just moved into the White House. In a statement that Michelle Obama's press secretary made, she said “We feel it is inappropriate to use young, private citizens for marketing purposes.” I can understand why Michelle Obama would not like how they have made dolls resembling her daughters. This just shows how much Sasha and Malia have been exposed to the public during the election process. I think the company should just admit that these dolls are made to be Sasha and Malia, since the dolls have the same names and resemble them. It can't be a coincidence. Do you think the company should be allowed to make dolls that resemble the Obama daughters and do you think it's appropriate?
Palin continues to be a player on the national political stage. Gov. Sarah Palin unveiled a website for her new political action committee, SarahPac. It's a group that will “make it possible for Gov. Palin to continue to be a strong voice for energy independence and reform." Donations will “allow Gov. Palin to help and find creative solutions for America’s most pressing problems.” In the “Who is behind SarahPac” section, it says that the committee’s “supporters are Republicans, Democrats, Independents and those unaffiliated with any political party.” The list of supporters are not posted yet on the website. Since it's a PAC, it will support candidates for office. Do you think Palin created this PAC for funding so she could be a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012? I can't picture Palin being our future president.
Susan Solomon, a researcher at NOAA, said in a statement that absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans and release of heat from the oceans - the one process acting to cool the Earth and the other to warm it - will "work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than 1,000 years."
Carbon dioxide is absorbed into the ocean very slowly because it takes longer for surface water to be replaced with deeper level waters to absorb more gas.
Even if other greehouse gases were to be eliminated carbon dioxide would still make up half of the polution.
Heat absorbed by the ocean is released very slowly, contributing to global warming even if the concentration of greenhouse gases should decline. This is a discovery of a wake up call where people should be acting even quicker to stop this global pollution. Time is running out and soon the earth would be too.
Monday, January 26, 2009
This is interesting, yet not surprising. As the economy gets worse and unemployment falls, the steady paycheck, benefits and training offered by the military is very appealing. However, the economy alone is not accountable; the recent decline in violence in Iraq has also been a factor. In addition, the G. I. Bill will significantly expand education benefits (service members who spend at least three years on active duty can attend any public college at government expense or apply the payment toward tuition at a private university.) Recruiters now have a much less stressful job (although usually they must talk to 150 people before finding one person who meets military qualifications and is interested). Now, they can even start being more selective in their recruitments.
The Illinois Senate has convened Blagojevich's impeachment trial to decide if he will be removed from office. He is charged for trying to sell Obama's senate seat. Blagojevich refuses to take part in the trial. He says that the rules are so biased that he can't present a defense. Today he has made several TV appearances to proclaim his innocence. In an interview on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, Blagojevich says that he is not given the chance to have "due process to bring witnesses and to defend himself." He also says, "I did nothing wrong. And if I did something wrong, I would have resigned." And during the conversation he also mentions, "Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence?" Sawyer read specific quotes from the taped conversations of Blagojevich : "I've got this thing and it's bleeping golden and I'm just not giving it up for bleeping nothing. I'm not going to do it and can always use it. I can parachute me in there...Therefore, I can drive a hard bargain. If I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll take the Senate seat myself. It's a bleeping valuable thing. You just don't give it away for nothing." Blagojevich claims that taped conversations are snippets of conversation taken out of context. I don't see how his taped conversation could be taken out of context. It sounds like he's trying to sell the seat for money. Even if Blagojevich did bring in witnesses, I don't think it would help him because people are probably already convinced that he did it. I think his reputation would be ruined even if he is not removed from office.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Regents voted to limit enrollment next fall to help cope with an ongoing budget crisis plaguing both UC and the state. The regents, meeting through a teleconference, also agreed to freeze salaries of 285 top administrators and senior managers. UC already has about 11,000 students for whom it gets no state funding - creating a $122 million shortfall. Cutting freshmen admissions would save $20 million. curtailed enrollment meant that about 150 black students might not get in, he noted that community college transfers next fall would increase by 500 systemwide - to a total of 13,223 - producing a better racial, ethnic and class mix. There will be 2,300 fewer freshmen this year enrolled in the UC schools in fall 2009. one third of these students in the UC system are going to be made up of community college transfers. It looks like we all will have to be working as hard as ever senior year to make the cuts. It seems like they are encouraging students to go the community college route anyway which may not only save money for the school but for students' families as well. A wise desicion?
Opponents vote that the propostion is not valid because:
1. It eliminated "inalienable rights," those protected by the Declaration of Rights in the opening clause of the state Constitution, without a compelling reason.
2. It violated the constitutional separation of powers by stripping the courts of their authority to protect a minority group from discrimination.
Proposition supporters argue:
1. Restoring traditional marriage, and giving the right to domestic partners
The court has also heard from 63 organizations and individuals with an array of written arguments on legal, social and religious issues related to the case, about two-thirds of them opposing Prop. 8. The fight continues for equality in all sexual orientations and hopefully prop. 8 supporters will win their battle.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Today, President Obama issued an executive order to halt the torture of suspects, close down the Guantanamo detention center, ban secret CIA prisons overseas and fight terrorism "in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals." According to the order, Guantanamo will be closed within a year.
I think this is a good idea. It is wrong to keep men without charges. Some horrible things have been done to the men in the Guantanamo prison camp. There are accounts of torturing and abusing the prisoners to get info from them. Some have even been waterboarded, a technique that creates the sensation of drowning.
Interestingly, 48% of Americans want Guantanamo to remain open. There are questions that remain unanswered. Where will these men go? Will they return home with even more resentment and kill even more Americans? Yes, closing Guantanamo will restore moral authority, but will it strengthen national security? These policy changes will jeopardize U.S. ability to get intelligence about terrorist plans or to prevent attacks. Obama, however, is certain that the nation's security is strengthened — not weakened — when the U.S. adheres to "core standards of conduct", saying "We don't torture".
So far, it seems Obama has been focusing alot on foreign policy.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
We all know what happened yesterday with the oath. Just to be sure, President Barack Obama decided to take the oath again. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the oath to Obama, this time without the worldwide crowd. It took place in the White House Map Room in front of a small group of reporters. This time, it was done without any problems. Although Obama has still been president since noon on Inauguration Day, it was done just as "an abundance of caution", says White House councel, Greg Craig. This was a rare do-ever; only two other previous presidents have repeated the oath (for the same reasons): Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
In his inauguration speech, President Obama promised he would get to work quickly, and that's just what he did. Last night, Obama danced with Michelle Obama past midnight. Still, he was ready to work early this morning. Obama and his wife began their day at a prayer service that is traditional for the first business day of a new administration. Upon entering the Oval Office, he found a good luck note left there by George W. Bush, as has been the tradition. Then, he quickly began his efforts to revive the economy, starting with breaking with many of Bush's policies. Here are some of the few issues that were on Obama's agenda today:
Obama's schedule for the day included separate sessions on the economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- He summoned top military officials to the White House to chart a new course in Iraq and began to engage in Middle East diplomacy.
- He issued new ethics rules for his administration and hosted a reception at the presidential mansion for 200 inauguration volunteers and guests selected by an Internet lottery
- Aides circulated a draft of an executive order that would close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year and halt all war crimes trials in the meantime. Obama will supposedly be signing this on Thursday.
- The Senate confirmed Hilary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state after a one-day delay forced by Republicans (94-2)
So far, seven Cabinet members have been confirmed as well as the top two officials at the Office of Management and Budget
- Lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits than under any administration in history.. the restrictions include a ban on gifts by lobbyists to anyone serving in the administration
- He also imposed a pay freeze for about 100 White House aides who earn $100,000 or more
Obama has a lot on his shoulders and he knows that the task ahead is not an easy one. For a president, busy days like this one are simply the norm. As we learned in class, the best time to propose new ideas and bills is at the beginning of the term, during his honeymoon period, when his relationship with Congress, the public, and the media is good. Obama is already working hard, but when will his honeymoon period wear off?
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Obama's inauguration was one of the biggest-- and certainly most-anticipated -- events in the country's history. It turned out to be a great success. More than 1 million people squeezed into the National Mall.
There was a slip up with the oath, but it is understandable that President Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts were nervous.
Obama's speech has been described as "somber", yet it was also hopeful. He thanked Bush for his service to the nation. He also acknowledged the nation's economic situation, but assured the crowd he would quickly get to work:
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met."
"The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act".
Although he delivered his speech gracefully and powerfully, and I think people expected more.
In addition, several members of Obama's Cabinet were confirmed in the Senate. Hillary Clinton, however, was not one of them. A senator from Texas has been blocking her confirmation. Not to worry, her confirmation will only be delayed a day or two.
The festivities also included prayer (Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, the civil rights leader who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered the benediction), musical performances (including Aretha Franklin, who sang "My Country Tis of Thee"), and the parade.
The weather was freezing, however, and I was much happier watching it on screen.
Tune in tonight to watch Obama go from one Inauguration ball to another.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Obama's inauguaration could cost up to $160 million- the most expensive inauguration in our country's history.
President Bush spent $42.3 million in 2005, and Clinton spent $33 million dollars in 1993.
Why so much?
The surge in spending is partly because of the Obama's decision to open the entire Mall to the public (an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million!)
These costs include security, emergency medical services, transport (about 10,000 charters buses will arrive in Washington with roughly 500,000 riders alone), video and audio access to the ceremony and $700,000 to the Smithsonian Institution for extended museum hours as well as many other things.
I think that it is the security costs associated with the massive event that is driving up the price tag. Obama will need much more security than many of the other Presidents.
Where does this money come from?
Some funding will come from Obama's own fund-raising efforts and from private contributors.
Many of the costs, however, are bourne by the taxpayers, which means that we are paying for this inauguration!
The article says that "The federal government has budgeted $49 million for this year’s inauguration, more than triple what taxpayers spent at Bush’s first inauguration in 2001". Regarding the state of our economy at this point, is this extravagance really excusable?
• Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
• Sen. Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.
• Invocation by the Rev. Rick Warren.
• Musical selection of Aretha Franklin.
• Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
• Musical selection of John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).
• Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.
• Obama gives the inaugural address.
• Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.
• Benediction by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.
• The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters."
After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.
The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.
Later that day, there will be 10 official inaugural balls as well as some unofficial balls.
The day promises to be eventful and exciting, as well as very symbolic for our nation.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I don't know I guess I really just don't like Bush.
Police in Greenfield, California arrested a man on Sunday for planning to sell his 14-year-old daughter’s hand in marriage to her boyfriend for $16,000, 160 cases of beer, 100 cases of soda, 50 cases of Gatorade, two cases of wine, and six cases of meat. Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, 36, was taken into custody after calling the police to report that his daughter’s 18-year-old boyfriend had not lived up to the deal. The would-be groom has been arrested on charges of statutory rape. The father first reported his daughter as a runaway in December after the girl traveled to Mexico with the intended groom, which prompted a police investigation with some unexpected cultural twists.
Police say the family are part of the Trique tribe from Mexico where arranged marriages are still the norm. Reports say that the money would have been used as a dowry and for the wedding celebration. By California law, however, the age of consent is 18, or 16 with parental approval."
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
According to the news reported by White House correspondent, Chuck Todd, Obama is practically loved the majority of the United States. Obama's policy is very much agreed with, but some people like Obama even though they disagree with his politics. Obama's ratings coming into his presidency is higher than both the Bush's ratings at their inauguration several years ago. Polls also show that the majority of the people agree with the bailout plan, but 74% still believe that the recession will continue on for one year or more.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Obama on his policies and politics? Do you think that the bailout plan is good and will the recession cease within a year?
So after Bush finishes his final term and is "evicted" from his White House commode, he will move back to his native Texas. He recently bought a new house in Preston Hollow's, a street in Dallas, Texas.
The street however, will soon have a very tight security. The Secret Service will be posted around the street 24/7 and gates will be installed around the perimeter of the street to insure the safety of the ex-president. Although the gates will be funded by Bush himself, the Service is not.
Pictures of his new place: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/1204082bush1.html
Personally, I'd feel honored to have a president living on my street, regardless of how bad/good he was in office. Luckily, none of his rich neighbors had any problems with him making the street a fortress.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Obama's plans include
- Use "our full arsenal of tools" to get credit flowing to consumers and businesses;
- Reform the oversight of the TARP program and other responses to financial crisis;
- Use "smart, aggressive policies" to reduce foreclosures;
- Toughen conditions for recipients of bailout money; and
- Try to attract private capital and speed the end of bailout plans.
For the most part it is alot of common sense, but with some of his own party not for it it might be hard for Obama to get this passed. Unless Republicans agree with this but I am not sure about thier opinion on this idea.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Republicans are worried about losing their influence in the senate because their Majority is in jeopardy. The senator of Ohio is not going to run for re-election in 2010. Ohio is a swing state, so there is no way to tell if the Republicans will get another senator with the same beliefs.
This kind of fore thought is probably seen in politics as something really important, but is losing the majority needed to stop fillibusters that important, with the current issues in economics. Politician's should focus more on the people then worrying about not being able to stop old people talking.
The first sentence in this article on the CNN website is that "President Bush admitted mistakes but defended his accomplishments in the final White House news conference of his presidency Monday." a fair representation of this article. Most people in general always look of only the bad when thinking about the person.
Bush seems to realize that the war in Iraq had it's flaws, not fully willing to call them mistakes but what person in power would willingly do that.
He mentioned his failure in social security as one of his failures as well. He went into the office when there was economic hardship (Nothing to what it is now,) so legislation on cutting taxes seems in my mind unreasonable. Though he tried.
But there is a flip side to this coin. During times of crisis such as Hurricane Katrina the Bush Administration went quickly to those effected by the crisis.
There is no doubt in my mind that President Bush was not the best President of the United States but he was not the worst in my opinion.
With the Benefit of Hindsight, what do you think about the Bush administration?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
This is a sign that we are heading the right direction in protecting the environment. Hopefully, the Obama administration will allot more money to protecting the environment. It's time to put the environment on top of our priority list.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
It's really fascinating that electronic gadgets just keep getting smaller. One can never be "up-to-date" with today's technology. It's like every month, something better, faster, and smaller comes out. It gets really annoying when you hear people, especially whiny spoiled brats, go "Oh mom, I want this NOW!!! Can I have it PLEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAASSSSSEEEE!!!". They don't realize that there are other people out there who don't even know what a cellphone is because they're too poor. I mean there's nothing wrong with wanting to get something new but there should be limits.
With today's recession, I hope people learn to be content with what they have and become thrifty.
Friday, January 9, 2009
I’m really upset about the current situation in the Middle East like most of you. I recall the conversation I had with the atheist friend a long time ago about religion. He believes that religion is the cause of most conflicts in the world. Apparently, his opinion seems to be correct. Isn’t religion supposed to teach people about peace and love? People in the Middle East don’t seem to get it. I know that the conflict in the Middle East has been going on for hundreds of years. It’s surprising that they still haven’t come up with something that will create peace that lasts.
Obama’s inauguration is only a couple of weeks away from now and I’m really looking forward to seeing him take action. Hopefully, Obama will make the right decisions to help resolve this conflict.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Better picture and sound quality!
More advanced wireless services
About 14 percent of U.S. households watch TV over the air exclusively.
This would make cable companies even richer.
$40-70 converter box.
It may not seem like a big deal to many of us, but there are people out there who are panicking because they can’t make the switch to digital tv. Will it be an easy transition? Only time can tell.
Josh (the guy talking most of the video) takes over for a press briefing in place of the normal press secretary.
Last but not least:
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
> Many NASCAR teams have laid off employees, and a few team owners have quit.
> The LPGA Tour has 31 events scheduled for 2009, three fewer than 2008, and about $5.25 million less in prize money than the previous year.
> The PGA Tour lost one 2009 tournament when Ginn sur Mer Classic officials said the event wouldn't be held.
> Frontier Airlines recently ended its sponsorship of the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, the Crush and Colorado Mammoth, all teams owned by Kroenke Sports.