Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Texting Becoming an Issue

We are teenagers.. and most of us text constantly. I know that I use texting as a basic way of communicating with someone I am not with at the moment. Texting is beginning to become a problem though as,"The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation. " There has not been enough time passed yet to conduct experiments linking to health issues, but there are other problems at hand. Teens especially stay up late at night wasting much needed hours of sleep, and text during school despite school codes. This in turn is causing teens to have falling grades and be sleep deprived. Who knows what is going to come of this recent study, but it seems to have created awareness of the issue of over texting.

US Govenment holding majority of GM Stock

The US Government has provided over 50 billion dollars to general motors, and now with GM looking at declaring bankruptcy by this coming Monday the US is faced with holding over 70% of GM's stock during the restructuring. What I see as a possible issue with this is that employees of General Motors may blame the government for closing factories and laying off workers. Although GM insists that the Government will have no involvement other than holding stocks within the company; and that GM managers will be in charge of renegotiating contracts and selecting product lines. What reaction do you think employees will have to the government involvement?

Maddow Calls Out Obama On His "Prolonged Detention" Policies

A different view to Obama's prolonged detention plan. How we can put people away for something they might do in the future... check it out


Prop. 8 Court Ruling

As much as it depresses me to say this, I certainly agree with the ruling of the California Supreme Court that Proposition 8 was a legal proposition under CA law. I wish that the court had had the power to strike down Prop. 8 and return California to those ever so brief times of marriage equality, but by following proper judicial protocol and ruling on the case on its specific merits (whether the subject matter qualified as a proposition), not on the moral feelings of the court.

Seems to me this ruling might even help the marriage equality movement in the long run, as some charges of morality-based judicial activism may no longer hold water...

For those of you who, for some reason, have the desire to read any or all of the decision in its entirety, the document is here

Monday, May 25, 2009

Saving others through Autopsies of the fallen

I found this to be an interesting article about how the US started doing autopsies on fallen soldiers. The US has done over 3,000 autopsies more than any other nation and the findings have been life saving. Not only has the US learned about enhancing war equipment, but also the US has been able to make medical advances. An example of this is lengthening the tube to help air get into a collapsed lung;after autopsies researchers found that over 50% of soldiers could die from a collapsed lung simply because the tube was too short to reach the lung.

I am glad the US started doing autopsies of soldiers we have been able to learn a lot and enhance our armed forces. Do you think this should be done? Or should soldiers be left at peace after defending our nation?

"A Blatant Violation of International Law"- Obama

President Obama declared Monday that the United States and US allies would “stand up” to North Korea; after North Korea set off what looks to be its second nuclear bomb testing. Obama acted quickly working with allies to come up with an international remark to the bombing. North Korea has become too much of a threat with nuclear weapons at hand and they have a proven capability to set of a nuclear weapon. Obama says this is, “a blatant violation of international law” and something needs to happen to stop this. Opinions? What should be done to stop North Korea? Are nuclear weapons really a realistic issue?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Resume Immigration Talks with Cuba

The Bush Administration suspended immigration talks with Cuban dictatorship in 2004, but now President Obama wants to re-open for talks with Cuba; hoping to discuss safe and legal migration for Cubans to the US. Cuba has been problematic in not allowing Cuban citizens to retain exit permits in order to leave the country, even though Cuban citizens have been able to get visas and jobs within the United States. Obama wants to solve this issue and start a safe immigration to the US, and the immigration should help Cuba as well “The administration is missing opportunities to make real change in Cuba by not conditioning this type of opportunity on the regime acting to stop denying its citizens exit visas and charging exorbitant amounts of those whom they chose to let exit,” says Sen. Robert Menendez.Do you agree with Menendez? Do you think this is a good idea, to start Immigration talks again?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Emissions Political Cartoon

This cartoon is about Obama’s recent emissions standards of 35 mpg. I thought it would be a good addition after the article posted on the new emissions standards a few days ago.

Simple Walking Test-- Tell You Your Mortality Rate

I thought this was interesting….
A simple test of:
Exercise/ walking- measures your “cardiorespiratory fitness, or how well your heart, lungs, muscles, and blood vessels work together to use oxygen and produce energy.”During the test administered by ones physician one either walks or runs on a treadmill and the inclines change along with the speed of the treadmill. A doctor can then rate how well ones cardiovascular system is and how that can relate to your death.
This test then can determine if you are at higher risk of losing you life within the next couple of years compared with your age group. Cardiovascular fitness is now linked to most causes of illness/dying. Do you believe this? Can a simple walking test really tell me if I am going to die before the rest of people my age depending on the fitness of my cardiovascular system?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

World Economies Plummet

There has been a recent plunge of world economies. I recommend that reading this article:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Abortion Speech at Notre Dame


On Sunday May 17 Obama made a commencement address at Notre Dame on abortion. Obama did not speak of taking sides but rather spoke of, “open hearts, open minds, and fair-minded words;” to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and support women who keep their child. Still many protesters waited outside campus shouting “baby killer” and speaking out against having a pro-choice advocate speak at a Catholic Institution. Was the decision to have President Obama speak of abortion at a Catholic school ok? And was this just a typical protest? Thoughts anyone?

Senate Refuses to Allow Closing of Gitmo

Today, the Senate decided to disallow the releasing of prisoners Guantanamo. The decision was based on the desire for a firm plan on what to do with the detainees once they shut down the prison. It is a completely understandable stance that the Senate Democrats are taking. There needs to be a 100% clear plan on what to do with these potentially dangerous individuals. Obama has also stated that he plans on presenting detainee policy this Thursday.

Also, I read that the Senate won't be able to remove the detainees until Sep. 30th. It was stated that government doesn't have any spare money to transport them. So, Sep. 30th is when they will be removed, simply because the government needs to get some money to spend on it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

End to a 25 Year Civil War- May 19, 2009

In Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared the end to a raging twenty five year civil war against a terrorist group called the Tamil Tiger Rebels. The rebel group was founded by Velupillai Prabhakaran, and is well known for woman suicide attacks and suicide belts. The group is considered a terrorist threat in thirty two countries, and is responsible for the assassination of two world leaders. The long reign of the group has now ended as of Tuesday May 19, 2009, as the body of Prabhakaran was found. . “The rebels have fought for an independent state for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka since July 1983. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 people have died during the quarter century of fighting.” Rajapaksa has declared tomorrow Wednesday May 20, 2009 a national holiday for Sri Lanka, and now needs to get back to work housing thousands who fled during the rebel attacks this past week.

Has anyone heard about this recently on the news? It simply amazes me that a war can be going on for over two decades and get so little attention in other countries until something drastic happens such as ending a civil war, and defeating one of many terrorist groups. Thoughts anyone?

Obama’s New Car Emissions Standards

Obama is tuning into the world’s major pollution problem by implementing new fuel efficiency standards that will start to take effect in 2012. These new standards show the rest of the nation how tough California’s program already is. Obama is hoping to create cars that are more fuel efficient and over forty percent cleaner than cars on the road today. By 2016 Obama wishes to have the average fuel efficiency of cars at 35.5 miles per gallon; as of today the national average for cars fuel efficiency is 25 miles per gallon.

This is a drastic change that will alter not only our environment but also the auto industry. Car companies will have to put millions into the development of new cars. Is this really the right thing to do when our auto industry is already hurting with a recession? Or do you think that now is the time to act to start saving our environment?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Resource Blessing

Here's a NYT article sure to drive Nelson crazy with cognitive dissonance: Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson. Discuss amongst yourselves. This is complementary to my resource curse lesson which will be finished tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Recently, 14 opposition party members were imprisoned in Zimbabwe. Today they were freed on bail. Reading this article, I wonder why the U.S. isn't helping Zimbabwe in any effective way. Perhaps it is because we have spread ourselves thin in the middle east. But the other main reason, I would say, is that the U.S. has no interest in anything Zimbabwe has to offer. Our country heads over into the Middle East with little initial political opposition because we know that the region has oil to offer. We won't go to help the Zimbabwean people simply because they have nothing to offer us. The typical American idea of an exchange is for one person to do one thing and they can expect a return. I, perhaps being a little radical on this topic, encourage the shifting of this idea to not expecting a gift back. Let us help others not for an immediate payment back, but to give from the goodness of our hearts. The greed behind political decisions is disturbing, it needs to change. Any thoughts of my opinion? I'm not sure that it is completely developed into my firm belief, but it is just what I have been thinking about recently.


Legalization of Marijuana and what we can learn from others

A somewhat interesting topic that is popping up lately is this marijuana legalization and taxation issue. Gov. Schwarzenegger has stated that he is open to debate. While this issue may seem kind of like a last resort kind of measure in order to fix the financial state of California, it brings up an interesting idea. Schwarzenegger says that as the debate for marijuana continues, we should look at other places outside of CA that have passed similar laws, and look at how they are doing. I think that this is sort of an underutilized method of reviewing legislation. There are many issues that are discussed that other places have already dealt with one way or the other, and as far as I know, other country's are sort of overlooked as sources of data. One example is the marijuana issue, the article says that Austria has done this, but that they are not so happy with it. Another example would be the issue of low voter turnout. This issue is often talked about as a problem with the political system, but I haven't really heard any kind of talk about somewhat simple fixes for this, such as automatic registration, or even, though rather extreme, mandatory voting. While I don't necessarily support forcing people to vote, (that could backfire just as easily as not) I do think that once our country gets back onto its feet, the actions and laws of foreign countries or states should play a somewhat larger part in decision making.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Interesting Conspiracy Theory- New World Order

Having written my research paper on causes and effects of conspiracy theories, I came across this video. The video displays the typical topics presented by the New World Order conspiracists. I thought of this video after my last post, talking about the grip that the media has on society, in general. Perhaps the theory is a rather radical viewpoint of government, it certainly holds some truth within itself.

The commentator comments on the fact that our society is being bombarded by the media at every moment. Yet, our country's education ratings are plummeting downward. Why? If it is the government's interest to educate the people (public schools), they would educate them correctly. In other words, if the government isn't getting the results that it wants, it should change it's strategy towards education. However, it hasn't made drastic changes.

Though I am writing a post on this widely circulating theory, do not think that I believe in it. I simply think that the theory contains some interesting explanations.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Now that that crazy old flu thing is fading, we can start worrying about some other things!

No, I'm not being weird, I was just trying to make a sarcastic title about that thing that Zach Agoff mentioned. Anyway, we've got lots more to deal with. Who will replace Souter on the supreme court? According to Obama "a pragmatist, not a radical", well that's not too revealing so let's move on. How about... this! This is pretty great


Palin is coming back into our lives. I know I missed her. While I guess it would be pretty cruel to keep her out, I still think it's pretty crazy to have the old dynamic duo back to try and clean up a mess that they definitely helped make. And now Palin has joined the "panel of experts". I would be very interested to have a good interview with some of these GOP guys and ask them some questions. Isn't bringing Palin back into the mix just gonna remind people of the embarrasing interviews and Tina Fey-enacted satires? I'll be surprised if this new Council really does anything at all. To me, it seems like the time to join up with the government and try to make some changes, not make more organizations to complicate the climate.

Media's Grip on Society

It is a curious thing, the effect that the media has on society. The panic that the media can cause over such mediocre topics is nothing less than frightening. Though the panic has died down, the swine flu continues to be one of the biggest stories in the news. Now finding the flu is no worse than the average flu, it is comical that people were so frightened of it. I feel that the media, to get the attention of the people, jump to the worst case scenario without coming to some logical explanation for events. It is apparent with this swine flu panic, people read the newspaper, turn on any news channel, or surf the web and they are bombarded by articles or comments about the flu. Many people find that the media is a trustworthy source, but is it? It has taken over a week for them to come to some conclusion that the flu is not as harmful as they were previously stating. This is because the media is not there to only provide news anymore, it is there to speculate and observe society. As soon as it catches a wiff of something controversial, it pounces; and I feel that this is the case with the whole swine (H1N1) flu panic.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wolves no longer protected in Northern Rockies

Wolves in the Great Lakes region and parts of the Northern Rockies will no longer be apart of the endangered species list this Monday. The delisting of the wolves began with President George W. Bush's administration and was upheld by President Barack Obama after internal review. Wolves are now open for public hunts in a few states after decades of protection. They were placed on the endangered species list in 1974, after being killed through government-sponsored poisoning and hunting in 48 states. Environmental groups plan to sue on the grounds that there are still not enough wolves to ensure the population's longtime survival.

While wolves may be a nuisance to livestock owners, removing them from the endangered species list seems to completely undermine the protection they had received for numerous decades. There are merely about 1,000 wolves in the Northern Rockies. After being previously wiped out due to actions taken by the government, removing wolves from the list hints to a possible repeat of past mistakes.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Biden's remarks about travel seem to have earned him a bit more than just ridicule...

Soon after Biden's remarks on the Today Show, it was announced that he's headed off to Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, and Herzegovina, "meet with the political leadership in all three countries, as well as U.S. officials and military personnel stationed in the region". Actually that was announced the day after. Pretty obviously damage control "banishment", so obvious that it's pretty funny. Just let him head off for a while while we forget about stupid things and by the time he's back we'll be freaking out about something else.