Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arab Emirates Aim to Limit Dubai Crisis in Pledge to Banks

On Monday, The United Arab Emirates helped calm calm financial markets Monday with its pledge to lend money to banks operating in Dubai to prevent a run on its banks, and financial turmoil that some fear could spread globally.They did this to prevent a "crisis of confidence" that froze credit markets last year and brought the global economy to the brink of failure.Many leaders around the world have been watching the market for signs of that fears are spreading or are being contained. Early signs though, have been positive. Asian markets in their first hours were up more than 2 percent on Monday morning.While Dubai is not big enough to set off financial repercussions outside the Middle East, the main fear is that investors could flee risky markets all at once in search of safer havens for their money. These fears have been reduced after the United States anounced a huge bank bailout.On the contrary, other analysts believe that promised funds to help Dubai banks might not be enough to keep anxiety from jumping to other countries and institutions.

The United Arab Emirates actions, I feel, are very smart. I agree that they should help DUbai so to prevent any damage their owns banks. I think that other groups should help dubai to prevent further crisis. Although, in Asia, things are looking positive I think we should still not get over confident like last year to prevent yet another recession.

A party both united and divided

Many republicans agree in their staunch opposition to efforts by by President Obama and Democrats to enact major health-care legislation, but a new Washington Post poll also reveals deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party's leadership as well as ideological and generational differences that may prove big obstacles to the party's plans for reclaiming power. There is broad frustration among Republican voters about the party's direction, detachment from its congressional representatives and a schism over its priorities.In the Washington Post's own poll, fewer than half of the republicans say that the party is going in the right direction.A third tell that the republican representatives in Congress are not focusing on the parties core values.It has also been found that the republican party does not a clear leader.Recent polls have found that people give different answers to who is the leader. In a recent Republican governors Association meeting, party officials told that not having a leader is the not main issue, but it is more important for the party to resist Obama's domestic agenda. Overall Republicans are divided amongst themselves.

I think this is bad news for the Republican party. Personally I feel that it is very important for a party to have a specific leader. That leader then could help guide the party in a positive direction. A party cannot be as efffective if its own members are divided.

Somalian Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker Bound for the U.S.

The M/V Maran Centaurus, a 300,000-ton tanker, was commandeered about 600 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles, on its way to New Orleans, Louisiana from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia by Somalian Pirates

Attacks in the region have significantly increased this year, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors shipping crimes. But successful attacks have gone down as a result of a strong presence of international monitors. From January 1 through September 30, pirates worldwide mounted 306 attacks, compared with 293 in all of 2008, it said. More than half of this year's attacks were carried out by suspected Somali pirates off the east coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, a major shipping route between Yemen and Somalia.

Though there seems to be more international monitors, the attacks have increased. I think the Somalian government should crack down on their piracy problems because over half these crimes were carried out by Somali pirates.

Iran vows to expand its nuclear program

It was announced that Iran's government, Tehran,will expand their nuclear program by building ten new sites to enrich Uranium. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad states that within two months, five nuclear weapons will be made. This announcement came directly following a censure of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Organization over the Islamic Republic's refusal to stop enriching Uranium. White house press secretary said that, if Iran's plan are true, then it "would be yet another serious violation of Iran's clear obligations under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself." There have also been signs of growing hostilities toward the west, as Iran's own parliament has asked that President Ahmadinejad reduce ties withe IAEA. This could limit the agency's access to Iran's nuclear sites. Iran, though, only claims to be enriching Uranium for Energy purposes.

If the Iranian President's statement is found to be true then I think it would be a huge shock. THey would be going directly against regulations by the U.N. and other agencies. Also the fact that they are showing increasing hostilities towards the Western powers increases my uneasiness.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Belief Causes Ten Thousand African Albinos to Hide

There's this crazy belief that albino body parts have magical powers, where a complete dismembered set of limbs and body parts could be sold for $75,000. Since 2007, 44 albinos have been killed in Tanzania and 14 others have been slain in Burundi, sparking widespread fear among albinos in East Africa, causing over 10,000 of them to go into hiding.

African albinos endure insults, discrimination and segregation throughout their lives. They also have a high risk of contracting skin cancer in a region where many jobs are outdoors. Because many people used to believe albinism was a mental retardation, parents didn't take them to school, forcing them into these menial jobs.

This is absolutely disgusting to me. I feel like the U.N. needs to take action on this immediately. This is such an atrocity.

At This School, It’s Marijuana in Every Class

In most colleges, Marijuana is not studied in depth, but In Michigan, Med Grow Cannabis College's curriculum focuses mainly on Marijuana. This college is Michigan's new medical marijuana program. Nick Tennant, the founder of the college believes that “This state needs jobs, and we think medical marijuana can stimulate the state economy with hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars,”. The six-week, $485 primer on medical marijuana is a cross between an agricultural extension class covering the growing cycle, nutrients and light requirements (“It’s harvest time when half the trichomes have turned amber and half are white”) and a gathering of serious potheads, sharing stories of their best highs (“Smoke that and you are ... medicated!”).There is only one required reading for the college, “Marijuana Horticulture: The Indoor/Outdoor Medical Grower’s Bible” by Jorge Cervantes. Even though Medical Marijuana is legal in Michigan state law, students are still paranoid. They did not want their names or photographs taken nor did some of the instructors. Michigan's program is different that California's. California's has been around for a while and has grown into big business. Michigan's program is more representative of what is happening in other states that have legalized marijuana. Because the program is in its initial stages, many gray areas in the law have not been tested. This has created uneasiness for some of the students.

I feel that it is good that this college has been opened. I personally feel that medical marijuana should be legalized for some of its health benefits. I am not sure about the effectiveness of the program though because it is so new and I am sure there is going to be trouble with the law later on. I also do not think that the this college will effectively stimulate the Michigan economy by millions of dollars.

Four relatives slain during Fla. Thanksgiving gathering

Two days ago, on Thanksgiving, in Florida, a man opened fired on his family. This occurred after they had dinner. The man killed his pregnant sister, 6 year old cousin, and two other relatives before he got into his car and drove away. This man is also accused of kill his pregnant sister's twin as well as another aunt. Police are still searching for this suspect. The police have reported that there was "ongoing resentment" in the family which was probably the likely cause of this incident. The police department has even enlisted the U.S. MArshalls to help find the suspect. One of the victims was the neighbor's son. He was supposed to perform in the Nutcracker the next day.

There have been so many killings in the news, but this one stands out. The fact that the suspect killed people on Thanksgiving is terrible. I'm not sure how killing your families is justified or killing anyone. I am also surprised that the police have not caught the suspect yet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

White House Crashers (just less funny and without owen wilson)

So, I'm actually surprised no one posted this before since this happened like last week. Reality TV hopefuls. Candidates for Bravo's "new" show Real Housewives of D.C. Michaele and Tareq Salahi attend last Tuesday's dinner on the White House South Lawn for the prime minister of India and were not on the guest list.

Secret Service spokesman Jim Mackin said officers at the checkpoint had a clipboard with names of the invited guests. Even though the Salahis names weren't on it, they were allowed to proceed. It's unclear what they said to get through, but federal law makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify statements on matters within the federal government's jurisdiction. The couple is currently facing a series of civil lawsuits.

This has drawn a lot of attention to the secret service and the president's safety. Though the couple went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, it still puts the president at risk. This has gotten a lot of media coverage so I thought I should do a post on this. What do you guys think of this situation?

On a side note, there's gonna be another Real Housewives series?!?!?!

Stocks slump as news of Dubai debt crisis sinks in

Recently reported, the Dow Jones industrial average closes down 154 points, this is an improvement compared to previous losses. Although the Dow Jones improves, the recent economic crisis in Dubai negatively effects the world economy.Dubai announced that it would freeze its debt repayments. THis has caused the many world stocks to go down. Although the Dow jone's index improved, many of the other major United Sates' indexes have plummeted. Stocks in Hong Kong's Hang seng fell 4.8%, and Japan's Nikkei fell 2.9%.Meanwhile, In Europe, stocks in France, Germany, and England have gone up 1%. The United States were closed on Thanksgiving so today will show how Wall street reacts to this. Dubai announced on Wednesday that it would freeze its own debt repayments in order to restructure Dubai World, its biggest investment holding company. The chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee says that they have everything under control despite evidence against that. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said that "This is a sensible business decision", adding that Dubai's economic fundamentals are sound and ensure it will remain an attractive regional market.Although the sheik stated this, Dubai's creditors, along with most of the global banking and financial community, seem to disagree.,0,3567649.story

I dont know how the Shiek of Dubai can say that they have everything under control if they froze their own debt repayments. I think that the United States markets will suffer from this because Dubai is avoiding repaying their debts. The longer they do not repay, the longer it will negatively effect the world economy. As told in the article, the rising economies in Hong Kong and Japan are being negatively effected. Also Dubai's own creditors believe that the Sheik, in fact, does not have everything "under control".

More Benefits For Same-Sex Couples

A majority of the media attention is placed on whether same sex couples can get married. However, there has been significant progress in granting same sex couples health and other benefits in courtrooms and legislature. In Congress last week, a House committee approved legislation that would provide benefits, including health insurance, retirement and disability, to same-sex partners of federal employees. (read more about specific examples in the link embedding in the title.) Even one of the most prominent opponents of same-sex marriage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has shown willingness to support rights outside of marriage, by backing a Salt Lake City law prohibiting housing and employment discrimination against gays. However, voters in Maine repealed the state law that allowed same sex couples to wed.

It's enlightening to see that we've made progress in gay rights. However, I don't understand why so many people want to prohibit an official marriage. In Washington state, voters recently endorsed an "everything but marriage" bill that expands domestic partnership rights to lesbians, gays and unmarried elderly couples. See, I don't understand the point of that at all. It seems so strange that 57 percent of Americans oppose granting same-sex marriages legal status, but the same poll found that 67 percent would grant them access to health insurance and other benefits. Would anybody from this ten percent care to explain to me this?

Black Friday (you knew there was gonna be a post on this!)

Well it's too early to tell, even though Black Friday is almost half over, but stores seem to be doing better then expected. Many Best Buys reported larger crowds then last year, with one manager reporting that people "A year ago, they were focused on what they needed." However, considering that unemployment is at 10.2%, the good news is that the retail industry is heading into the Christmas selling period with more practical goods on their shelves that reflect shoppers' new psyche. However, many analysts expect that total holiday sales will be at best about even from a year ago.

Several large retailers, including Walmart and many Old Navy locations, opened on Thanksgiving, hoping to make the most of the extra hours. Especially after the death of a Wal-Mart employee last year, they also did this to prevent the mad 5 am morning rush.

Black Friday gets its name because it traditionally was the day when huge crowds would push stores into "the black," or profitability. But the weekend doesn't necessarily predict spending for the rest of the season, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of annual sales and profits for many stores. Still, retailers closely study buying patterns to get into shoppers' mindset such as what kinds of items they're buying and what deals are luring them.

Dollar Falls Against the Japanese Yen

Yesterday, the Wallstreet Journal reported that the United States dollar is falling to the Japanese Yen. They said that the United States dollar is now worth only 85 yen now. The Japanese finance minister "hinted" that if the situation continues they would be taking stronger action. The article does not explain though what kind of action, but I believe that it'll be for their benefit. Also, although the US dollar has been losing ground in Asia, it has rebounded recently.

It is bad news for United states citizens if the power of the US dollar continues to drop. That means that things in other countries will be more expensive for us to buy. I remember going to Japan three years ago and the the US dollar was worth 100 yen.. since then that number has dropped significantly. I also recall that this past summer, in Japan when I went, the US dollar was already losing significant ground. It was worth roughly 90 yen or so.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taliban Leader says U.S. is in Defeat

In a transcript of the message posted Wednesday on the Afghan jihadi online magazine Al-Somod, the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said "You and your allies are facing an absolute defeat, and nothing will change that even if you send more troops, no matter what your strategies are, because the logic of force will have no impact on the mujahedeen and you will never be able to control the Afghan people by physical force or by your satanic hypocrisy."

In March, the president ordered more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. This really scares me. Are we just fighting a losing battle? Do you think sending more troops to will help? Or was this message just sent to manipulate and scare the American people? How seriously do you think the government will or should react to this message? It's pretty frightening.

China Will Join The United States in Attending the U.N. Climate-Change Summit

Good news from China! Their Premier Wen Jiabao will attend a major U.N. climate-change summit in Denmark, December 7-18. This is a great demonstration of the Chinese government showing serious concerns about the environment, as they have also proposed cutting emissions to 40-45% in 2020, compared to their 2005 levels. Symbolically, this also shows that the Chinese government is will cooperate with the international community.

President Barack announced yesterday that he will also be attending this summit. Obama is prepared to set a goal of reducing emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels over the next decade and reducing U.S. emissions by 83 percent by 2050. However, the United States is the only industrialized country that hasn't yet given the UNFCCC a proposal for cutting carbon emissions. To read more about this,

Next month's climate talks aim to strike a deal on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 pact that has legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The United States never ratified it, though more than 200 nations did.

I think this is a great step for the United States and especially China. The pollution is terrible in China, as I and many of you saw during the band trip. I think this trip will help get the Senate to pass the climate change bill. Internationally, I think the more, and bigger countries that make a commitment to improve environmentally, it will help other, more poor countries reach their goals. It might also put more pressure on other countries to be more active in environmental issues. However, Greenpeace is criticizing the president for going only at the begginning of the summit, since he will be in Norway to accept his Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, calling it a "photo-opp." I think it would be really hard for the preident to attend an 11 day conference. I don't think he is wrong to go at the begginning. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wal-Mart Domininance Challenged?

Amazon attempts to challenge the all mighty retail chain Wal-Mart this holiday season. This all started when Amazon went head to head with matching the low prices of Wal-Mart of new books and DVDs. This price war set a precedent for the dropping of prices of all types of things, ranging from Easy Bake Ovens, to Xboxes, to cell phones.

However, the war between them is more than about price alone. The future and new technology play a huge role in this battle. Though online retailing is onyl 4% of retail sales, it is rapid spreading, it did not suffer as much from the economy, and access to online shopping is faster and easier to access. There is still the factor of instant gratification that offline shopping provides. However, Amazon now has same day shipping.

Do you think Wal-Mart should be seriously concened? How wise is it that prices are already so low before Black Friday? How will it hurt the economy, or do you think it's a good thing? How has online shopping revolusionized the retailing industry? Do you think the easiness to compare for the best prices is going to help or hurt our economy at all? To read more, the link is embedded in the title.

-Sandy Chen

Obama Afghan Plan to Be Announced After Thanksgiving

As most of you know, the United States has been involved in conflict with Afghanistan. It has been going on for a while now and no end has been in site. Bur recently Obama announced that he would be introducing a plan that will "finish the job" in Afghanistan. His plan will focus on military, diplomatic, and civilian initiatives. Obama explained that the previous plan in Afghanistan did not have full funding and strategy. Obama also believes that the general public will be supportive of his plan. Obama also stressed that this problem should be solved not only by the United States, but the whole world.

Again I do not know how to link the link the cool way so just c/p it =]...,0,6845795.story

It is good to hear that Obama is planning to change the current plans in afghanistan, but i am not sure that it will be effective. I am sure that there have been many past plans that have failed and on top of that, I am not sure that this plan will gain support. Due to the Iraq war I think many people want the soldiers to be sent home right now. Overall, I personally do not think that this plan will be any more effective than past plans.

Monday, November 23, 2009

January Elections in Iraq POSTPONED!

Bad news coming from Iraq, conflict between the Shiite Muslim and Kurdish people over an election will likely postpone the election to February. This conflict violates Iraq's own constitution as well as jeopardizes Obama's own vow, to bring the U.S's troops back home by August 2010. This violates the Iraqi constitution because the Shiite Muslim and Kurdish legislators actually teamed up with one another to take seats away from the Sunnis. Although these actions may be put the constitutionality in question, these leaders do not seem concerned at all. One scary point that a Kurdish legislator stated was, "Nobody's applying the constitution anyways, we are in a mess now so it doesnt make much of a difference." This just furthers expresses the sectarian conflicts that could push Iraq into Civil war.

Here's the link.. i forget how to do the cool way so yea just c/p it.,0,4278351.story

I feel that the Shiite and Kurdish people's choice of teaming up against the Sunni is a very unwise one. They already know that if further conflicts against each sect could provoke a civil war. Also this is makes all the efforts of the U.S. seem wasteful. Many of the the soldiers have been there for a while now, and it seems that the Iraqis dont wanna fix their problem. The fact that the legislator said that they do not even follow their own constitution is scary.

Taylor Swift wins 5 Awards at AMAs, Michael Jackson Wins 4 Awards Posthumously

At tonight's AMAs, Michael Jackson won 4 awards including favorite male pop/rock artist, favorite male Soul/R&B artist, and his album "Number Ones" won favorite album in the pop/rock category and the Soul/R&B category. Taylor Swift, however, surpassed Jackson winning 5 awards at the AMAs. Swift, who was not there to receive her awards in person stated via satellite that "Music has never been ultimately about competition. To even be mentioned in a category with Michael Jackson, who we will miss and love forever, is an unimaginable honor." In his lifetime, Jackson has won 23 AMA awards.

While people may hold their judgments about Michael Jackson's personal life, the contributions he made to pop culture are undeniable. To award him posthumously, in my opinion, is a very honorable and respectable move for someone who helped shape and change pop culture. Hopefully his legacy as an entertainer will continue.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Global Warming's Impacts Have Sped Up, Worsened Since Kyoto

The world has talked about global warming for years, but now it is worse than ever. The climate change has worsened and accelerated beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back in 1997. Both Greenland and Antarctice have lost trillions of tons of ice. In addition, glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa are shrinking at an alarming rate. Consequentially, the world's oceans have risen by about an inch and a half. Originally, the polar bear was the symbol of global warming, but now fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire strands of North American pine forests are in danger or being extinct. Apparently, the effects of greenhouse gases are more powerful and are happening sooner than predicted. The increase in temperates around the world are affecting the entire world and ecosystem. More than 37 million acres of Canadian and U.S. pine forests ahve been damaged by beetles that don't die in warmer winters. The United States, China, and India are the three largest greenhouse gas emitters. We need to work to reduce this before it is too late. If a drastic change isn't made soon, at this rate, millions of species will be gone along with glaciers and the fresh water supply. What can you do personally to help reduce your carbon footprint? and your thoughts of global warming?
Heres the article:

Genetic Testing Reveals Devastating Illness

Charles Sabine was a war correspondent with NBC for 25 years. He covered many conflicts around the world including the Rwanda genocide and the Indian Ocean tsunamis. He even earned an Emmy during his television career. However, four years ago, his life changed. Sabine decided to get tested for Huntington's disease, a disease that runs in his family. In fact his father and brother both had it and it is deadly and incurable. Sabine had a 50-50 chance of having the gene for this disease and he in fact did inherit it. This disease slowly but surely destroys a person's nervous system. First a person loses the ability to walk normally and then the ability to speak.

At first Sabine did not want to get tested, because he did not want to know his fate. He knew that if they did have the Huntington's gene, he would die in a similar way to his father and soon his brother. However, Sabine did decide to getthe test and when he got the results saying he had the disease, he kept it from family and friends for three years. About a year and a half ago, he and his wife made a risky decision to have a child. Luckily for him, his 17 month old daughter did not inherit the deadly gene. Now, Sabine is working to raise awareness about Huntington's disease. This disease afflicts about 30,000 individuals in the country and their friends and family. He wants to do his part and talk about his personal struggle publically before he no longer can. "He now works tirelessly to get word out about Huntington's disease, giving lectures around the world, drumming up research dollars, and volunteering for genetic studies and other research."

This is such a sad story, but I really admire Sabine for accepting his fate and wanting to help others by possibly finding a cure. He has said, " People like me are valuable because we can be the guinea pigs for the future." He is not blaming anyone but making the best of his situation. The technology that we have today amazes as well. Although it is a simple blood test that can determine if someone has Huntington's disease, years ago, that wasn't possible. It is such a weird thought that you can determine your fate and know how you are going to die by going to get a blood test. One day Sabine did not know his future, but the next, he basically knew how the rest of his life was going to play out. "She buried [my father] with this disease, and she's now going to bury my brother and then me, most probably," he says of his mother. My heart goes out to Sabine and his family and friends. If there was a chance that you could inherit Huntington's disease, would you want to get tested or would you rather wait and let the disease happen if it happens? This is basically saying, would you want to know the fate of the rest of your life?

you can check out the article here:

Friday, November 20, 2009

After Fort Hood, Soldiers Still Willing to Deploy

Only 2 weeks after the tragic shootings at Fort Hood, 8 of the mental specialists wounded by Hasan are now ready and willing to deploy. 14 other Mental Health Reservists have volunteered to fill the vacancies. Recently, the U.S. Army decided to deploy more psychologists to help soldiers cope mentally with all the severe war conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I applaud this kind of resilience from these soldiers. It truly shows how dedicated some of the troops are to our country. These are the actions that make me grateful for the soldiers fighting for us. Hopefully, shootings like the one at Fort Hood never happen again as these soldiers are the last people to deserve that sort of hostility.

Swine Flu hits Peak in North America

According to global health officials, the H1N1 virus has appeared to hit a peak in Western Europe and parts of the U.S. Quest diagnostics analyzed 142,000 flu tests and found a decline in the virus since October 27th. The decline is much greater than expected this time of year, however, it doesn't mean the flu has completely gone away. The World Health Organization stated that countries in the east such as Norway, Georgia, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Israel, are all seeing sharp increases in the number of flu cases. Also the flu pandemic is known to hit several peaks, as in 1957, when flu cases surged in the autumn, then declined for a while, and surged again in January. Health officials are now looking to see if the H1N1 is mutating into a drug resistant form. In Wales there were 5 reported cases of people infected with H1N1 who were resistant to Tamiflu. However, 4 of the patients have other factors that affected their immune systems. Authorities are just hoping that this won't be like last years breakout of H1N1, which became resistant to Tamiflu.

Well it seems like Swine Flu is still a very serious problem in the world, but it is beginning to make small steps towards going away. Hopefully this decline continues, spreads to the Eastern countries as well, and authorities find some way to contain the drug resistant strain.
Here is the link:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lincecum Wins 2nd Straight Cy Young

Well, it looks like the Bay Area's Sports Teams are getting their fair share of attention this week. Today, All-Star Pitcher of the San Francisco Giants Tim Lincecum won his 2nd straight Cy Young award for the National League. The Cy Young is an award given to the top pitchers in Major League Baseball each season, one given to a pitcher in the American League, the other in the National League. Lincecum narrowly won the award as there was only a 10 point difference between him and the 3rd place winner. This season, Lincecum racked up 15 wins and 7 losses, had an ERA of 2.48, and led the NL with 261 strikeouts. He and the rest of the Giants, surprised the MLB this year as they almost qualified for an NL wildcard spot in the playoffs. Today was also Lincecum's first public appearance since his recent arrest for possession of marijuana on Oct. 30th. During today's press conference, he stated "I know that as a professional athlete I have a responsibility to conduct myself appropriately both on and off the field. I certainly have learned a valuable lesson through all of this and I promise to do better in the future." For Lincecum and the Giants, the future seems bright, provided that Lincecum cleans up his personal life.

For all the baseball fans out there, the link to the article is embedded in the title.

Vilified New Mexico soccer player breaks her silence

A New Mexico soccer player made national headlines as a result of her dirty play in a conference tournament game. Her made an apology for her violent hair pulling, punching, kicking, and elbowing against her BYU opponents. She claims that her violent acts, which were caught on camera, were "not her" and she doesn't know why she acted this way. This girl is complaining that male soccer players are that violent and that she is getting a lot of attention, (over 6 million views on youtube) because she is a woman. She argues taht if she was a male, this story would not have even been in the news.

I saw the video of her horific actions and I was disgusted. She purposely tried to hurt her BYU opponents during the game. In addition, the referees never saw her do those things, so she got away with it. However, the cameras did capture her unsportsmanlike conduct. I am actually glad that the cameras caught her doing those things because I think she needs to learn a major lesson. I think it is ridiculous that she claims what was caught on video was "not her". What do you mean? Of course it was you and you probably do those things in every game you play. I do agree with her that this story was broadcasted a lot more because she is a woman, however it is still wrong. Her actions are still not justified. I am glad to know that BYU still ended up winning despite her outrageous actions.
Check it out!

New Moon: Twilight Saga

That's right I said it. New Moon is officially in theaters tomorrow, November 20th, 2009. Critics are calling this movie the most anticipated movie of the year. For those of you who don't know what New Moon is, check out the trailer.

This saga mostly captures the attention of the females of the world, but I'm sure there are many Twilight and New Moon male fans out there. This movie is so huge that many people are going to see the 12:01 am showing later this evening. In fact, tickets for the midnight showing are sold out! this movie is going to be making a HUGE amount of money. Are you a fan? Are the movie theaters going to be taking your money?

10 most dangerous toys

Today posted the 10 most dangerous toys of 2009. some of these include a foam rocket launcher, children's book Batman and Wolverine action figures. A pogo board, "Curious George" counting book, a doll with a mini nursery and toy musical instruments also made the list. Thgese are dangerous because they could cause serious eye or head injuries, choking or children can strangle themselves. To me, these tots listed above dont seem that dangerous but in fact, there were 19 toy-related deaths in the United States last year and about 235,300 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.

Advice: For christmas shopping, if there is more than 1 or 2 warnings on the label, avoid the toy all together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Young girl caught between a shooting in the Bronx

On Monday afternoon in the Bronx, Carvett Gentles fired 6 shots into a bodega across the street from where he was standing, targeting 19 year old Tyrone Creighton. One of the bullets hit Creighton, puncturing his lung, and another hit Vada Vasquez in the back of her head leaving her in a medically induced coma. Soon after, Gentles was arrested for carrying a firearm and attempted murder and made a full confession to authorities. Piecing together the crime, Authorities state that there were 4 other people with Gentles during the shooting, including Rohan Francis, 18; Cleve Smith, 20, Clivie Smith, 19, ; and Dwayne Taylor, 23,. All four of them had extensive arrest records except Gentles. The motive behind the shooting is believed to be in retaliation after Tyrone Creighton's brothers, both incarcerated, beat up a person in prison. Before the shooting, the 5 confronted Creighton and one of them pulled out a gun, but Creighton quickly fled to hiding. The gun was soon passed down to Gentles who fired 6 shots. Now Vada Vasquez, a 15 year old girl who loved music, lies in critical condition.

To me, this story has gang violence written all over. Gentles, probably caught in some initiation scheme, was most likely pressured into the shooting, seeing as how the rest of the people had previous arrests except for him. His actions wounded two people, one of them, a completely innocent girl who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now Gentles faces criminal charges, and Vasquez is fighting for her life. With gang violence, no one wins, yet it still goes on all over the world. I know authorities are constantly working to put an end to it, but is there really a way to fully extinguish it? Think about this, it would be nice to know what you guys think.

US ship repels pirates with guns and sound blasts

Today was the second pirate attack in seven months on a U.S. vessel. This problem has been going on for years and ships are increasingly hiring armed security teams to thwart hijackings. Impoverished Somalis are increasing their attacks hoping for money multimillion-dollar paydays from successful hijackings. The pirates usually board ships from lifeboats or motorboats, just force to take over the large vessels. They often have rifles and guns, but that is enough to overpower the crew, until more recently. Many ships now have new defenses and hopefully this will help to decrease the number of hijackings. The last time the US ship was hijacked, the Somali pirates took the captain hostage and held him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. The U.S. Navy SEAL sharpshooters have to go rescue the captain, killing three pirates in the process. Apparently, it is not uncommon for ships to be attacked more than once, especially when traveling through trouble spots. So far his year, there have been 206 attacks, surpassing the 293 incidents from 2008. As of right now, the Somali pirates hold 11 ships and 254 crew. Theses attacks are driven by the large number of Somali people who are suffering from poverty and hunger. The U.S. is calling for intensified efforts to combat piracy and warning against paying ransom. More ships traveling near Somalia are using armed guards but still make up only about 20 percent of the total, and most of these are American ships.
I believe the United States should definitely increase efforts to combat piracy. The ships should not be in danger by Somali pirates. The ships and companies lose millions if not billions of dollars from hijackings. This is hurting the economy all around the world. So much money and goods could be saved. Arming ships and being prepared is much easier and simpler than to risk getting hijacked and held ransom. I think that once the pirates realize more and more ships and being guarded and armed, they will back off, hopefully decreasing the number of attacks. Therefore, perhaps the U.S. and other countries only need to scare the Somali pirates off to teach them a lesson. I would feel much safer too if I was on a ship and it was armed. Isn't it better to be ready for an attack, then to not be ready and just risk being hijacked? I understand that the Somali pirates are hijacking ships as a way for them to survive, but it is hurting everyone else and instilling fear as well. Should it be required for all ships to have a better defensive system? I'm sure this would cost a lot more money though...your thoughts?

Costco Nixes Coke Products Over Pricing Dispute

The wholesale club store, Costco, is have pricing disputes with the Coca-cola Company. There is a lot of tension as there retailer and product makers argue over prices. Costco wants to lower the prices of their items because of the recession. It wants its customers to be able to buy the items they need especially as it is becoming the holiday season. Costco sells items in bulk, which is just what people need to holiday parties etc. The Coca-Cola Company is working hard to maintain profit margins while meeting retailer demands. Until this price issue is resolved, Costco is not going to remove products like Coke and Diet Coke from store shelves, but it does not plan to restock them.

I would hope these two companies solve their problem quickly. I believe that there is a mutual interest and a valuable one too. We are in a recession, and the price of food and beverages does become an issue for many. However, I see both sides of the argument. Obviously, customers want lower prices and would support Costco. No one wants to pay more money for something than they have to. I think people would argue that Coca-cola is a huge company and they can afford to decrease the price of their sodas by a little bit. In addition, the company wouldn't want to lose a ton of business from all of the Costcos nationwide over a small price problem. However, from Coca-Cola's point of view, they would probably say that they are in a recession too. The company doesn't want to lose money either by decreasing the price of Coke products in all of the Costcos. They would probably argue that by them losing money, their stock values will go down, thereby hurting the economy even more. This could possibly lead to a longer recession. This is an argument that will need to be fixed soon. Who will win? what do you guys think?

32% Increase in UC Fees

(Link to the story embedded in title)
For those of you seniors who are planning on attending a U.C. next year, be prepared to pay more. Today, the UC Regents finance committee voted to recommend a 32 percent student fee increase, raising the annual price of a UC education to $10,302. This increase has been implemented to make up the $535 million dollar funding gap created by reduced state funding and inflation. As soon as next semester, students will see an incremental increase of 15% in their tuition. The decision by the regents was not welcomed warmly by students. Protests broke out in all the UC campuses, and at UCLA, where the meeting was held, UC riot police arrested 14 people. At UC Berkeley, 1,000 students and faculty members protested in Sproul Plaza. For students, many will struggle even more to pay for their tuition and some may have to drop out. While students with a family income less than $70,000 will have their tuition waived, the increase is still significant for everyone else. The regents acknowledged the effect on students from this fee increase and were reluctant to vote on it, but stated it was necessary to close the funding gap.

As a high school senior with one sibling in college and two siblings who are juniors in high school, I am seriously considering attending a U.C. as its tuition is low enough so that my parents can afford to pay for both my education and the education of my brothers. However, now even a U.C. might be out of reach financially. I feel like this increase could have been avoided if the government did a better job managing its education funds. California has one of the largest public university systems in the nation, and cutting funds from them impacts thousands of students. Instead of reducing the funds to the U.C., the state should have looked to other departments to save money as education is important for the future. California has one of the strongest public university systems, but with the budget cuts to the CSUs and now the U.C.s, things seem to be declining. Hopefully this increase isn't permanent and we will see tuition return to normal soon. What are your thoughts and opinions on this?

The truth about energy drinks

Are Energy drinks really a good idea?

The five most common/unhealthiest energy drinks in the United States are:
1.Sobe Energy Adrenaline Rush
2.AMP Energy
3.Red Bull
4. Starbuck Double Shot and Coffee
5. 5-hour Energy

I want to explain about Sobe energy Adrenaline Rush. It is by far the worst energy drink out there. It has 260 calories, 66 g sugars, and 152 mg caffeine. It has natual compounds that are needed for metabolism but it doesnt help with energy. However, that sugar contents is ridiculous and will set you up for a major sugar crash later. This drink has caused problems in human's health like in St Josephs hospital in arizona, three people had seizures after drinking approximately two 24-ounce energy drinks in a short period of time. Also, most people are already consuming too much energy, which is why there’s an obesity problem. A lot of times, it is the fact the people have too much sugar in their systems and that is why they are tired.. not because they don't have enough. Think about it.

My advice would be to limit yourself to one drink! if you need energy, go ahead and get a non sweetened drink like black coffee or even water. There are so many subsitutes for energy drinks that are much healthier than these.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Palin angered by 'sexist' Newsweek cover

Sarah Palin is angered by a "sexist" Newsweek cover and she blasted the "out-of-context" cover. The cover was from the August 2009 issue that featured Palin in short runner's shorts. She was promoting health and fitness as a runner,and is arguing that Newsweek is using her article on running to "contemplate her relevance as a political figure."
This is what she stated, "The choice of photo for the cover of this week's Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this "news" magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant. The Runner's World magazine one-page profile for which this photo was taken was all about health and fitness -- a subject to which I am devoted and which is critically important to this nation. The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw attention -- even if out of context."

Some liberals aplaud Newsweek for the cover, while many conservatives were outraged. The conservatives are arguing that Newsweek is portraying liberal women as "heroes for the next generation" and conservative women are being portrayed as "nuts and dopey." I dont' think it is fair for Newsweek to "take the picture out-of-context." It appears that Palin was only trying to promote health eating habits and exercise in a country known for being obese. Newsweek is an obviously bias magazine and it appears taht they are trying to hurt Palin's image.However,looking at the cover some more.. I really don't think the picture is that bad...maybe it is in the political world? Your thoughts?

Race Barriers Collapse Amid Recession

(Link to the story embedded in title)
Henry County, a suburb not too far from Atlanta, is beginning to see its racial tensions disappear. After the recession struck, both blacks and white have faced severe conditions of poverty, forcing them both to find ways to survive. As described in the article, "Blacks and whites have encountered one another in increasing numbers recently in the crowded waiting rooms of the welfare office and at the food pantry, where many of both races have ventured for the first time. Struggling black-owned businesses are attracting the attention of white patrons. Neighbors are commiserating across racial lines." As both blacks and whites must resort to government services they now encounter one another more often. Because of this, the once visible racial tensions in this county are now disappearing. Such as Denese Rodgers, "the county director of social services, who is white, has held several lunch meetings at A J’s Turkey Grill, owned by Diane Walker, a black woman, in hopes of helping business." Ultimately, the recession has helped balance some of the racial differences.
I have mixed emotions to this story. In light of all the negative news we see regarding the recession, it is nice to see that there is something positive resulting from it. Yet this also scares me too. The fact that it took a deep economic recession to erase this racism reveals how prejudiced humans can be at times. The racial barriers had not disappeared until recently, and required a recession that left 49% of whites unemployed and 48% of blacks unemployed. This truly says something about how racist people can be at times. But then again, at least it is changing now in Henry County, and we have made considerable progress since the 1960s on putting behind our racial tensions as we recently elected the first African American President.

Better not cough: Santas lobby for swine flu shots

"Forget cookies and milk. Santa wants the swine flu vaccine."

It is that time of year again. Little kids flooding the malls waiting in line to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. They are going to be whispering their wish list into Santa's ear as they sit on his lap and bring their little germs, coughs, and sniffles. As a result, many of the nation's Santas want to be given priority for the swine flu vaccine. However this is not the only reason. There has been research done that suggests obesity could be a risk factor in getting swine flu. It is estimated that about two-thirds of all American Santas are overweight and about a third are morbidly obese.

Health concerns are raised because some research has suggested that obesity could be a risk factor. A high proportion of those who have gotten severely ill from swine flu have been obese or extremely obese but it could also be due to the fact that obese or overweight people tend to have asthma and other conditions that make them more susceptible.

The Santas of the nation don't want little kids to go without seeing Santa, so many Santas are going to be going gloveless this year so that they can use hand sanitizer after each little kid they meet. In addition, the president of a group called Santa America is suggesting that the Santas encourage children to use hand sanitizer as well without turning the Santa experience into a hygiene lecture. He says, " If we take this really seriously, and I think we should because people are dying, it wouldn't be inappropriate to say this is a year maybe we shouldn't do these mass gatherings."

This is a smart move for the Santas all over the United States. Swine flu is still a huge concern and everyone needs to take precaution. If I was a Santa Clause in some mall, I would be worried about getting swine flu as well. These Santas are trying to make the Santa experience a good one while trying to prevent themselves from getting sick. In addition, this article stated that one mall have hand sanitizer readily available to use after seeing Santa, but no one opted to use it after their visit. Everyone needs to take precaution. Germs can live on your hands for two to eight hours. I and with the Santas of the nation when I say that I agree! Santas should get the swine flu vaccine. If a Santa has swine flu, or the beginning stages, he could pass it along to all of the little kids who come to tell him their wish. I highly doubt parents would want that for their Christmas present...Happy Early Holidays!

America's Healthiest and Unhealthiest States

I found this on and it really interested me.

"This annual ranking, published by the United Health Foundation, looks at 22 indicators of health, including everything from how many children receive recommended vaccinations, to obesity and smoking rates, to cancer deaths. (Insurer UnitedHealth Group funds the foundation.) Scores for each state are determined by gathering data from a variety of government and nongovernmental databases and then calculating how much each state is better or worse than the national average for each measure."

The top 5 healthiest states are
1. Vermont
2. Utah
3. Massachusetts
4. Hawaii
5. New Hampshire

I noticed that there was no west coast states on the top 10 list either. California is the twenty-third healthiest states in America out of 50.

The 5 most unhealthy states were
46. South Carolina
47. Louisiana
48. Alambama
49. Oklahoma
50. Mississippi

These all are in the south which made me think about how much of an impact that location has on people's health.

But i have to wonder why the west coast is so low on the list?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Soldier mom refuses deployment to care for her son

Alexis Hutchinson, an army cook and a single mother, refused deployment to Afghanistan in order to care for her son. Originally, she had planned to leave her son in the care of her mother, Angelique Hughes, but her mother could not do it after being overwhelmed with taking care of other relatives and her own personal issues. As a result, Hutchinson could not get on her flight to Afghanistan, and stayed home to take care of her son. After authorities found out, Hutchinson was imprisoned for a while, and her child was put in foster care. Shortly after, Hutchinson was released and united with her son again. Officials are now investigating the case, but no charges have been filed yet. While the army requires all single parents to have a plan for dependent children upon deployment, Hutchinson originally planned to have her mother take care of her son before things fell through. Her mother tried telling her daughter's commanders they needed more time to find someone else to take care of the child, but her deployment schedule never changed.

This is quite a dilemma for Hutchinson, torn between her family and her job. What do you think is more important in this situation, serving one's country? or caring for one's family? Should charges be filed? Is it justifiable? I feel like family is more important because her child is an infant, and I believe that as a mother, she must do her best to make sure her son is taken care of, regardless of the consequences. However, we must remember that she still has a duty as a soldier to follow orders and protect the country.
(link to the story embedded in the title)

Obama Pushed China to Stop Censoring Internet

Obama is spending the week in China touring places such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, but he is also sitting down with Chinese leader Hu Jintao in Beijing to talk trade, climate change, economics, and censorship and internet access in the country of 1.3 billion. Obama is discussing his belief that together with China, both countries can solve world problems. He talked about embracing China's rise, not standing in its way. He then when on to talk about the benefits of individual freedoms in a country known for limiting them. China's government blocks about 250 million internet users from using websites such as facebook and twitter. Obama then said, " I'm a big supporter of non-censorship and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free internet-or unrestricted internet access- is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable."

I agree with Obama. I do believe a country is stronger when information flows freely and is accessible. In addition, people have the right to know what is going on in the world. I don't think it is fair for the Chinese government to block information especially if it could help the country and the world as a whole. Why does China block social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter? I don't find either of them harmful or something that the Chinese government needs to prevent the Chinese from using. Together the United States and China can lead the world to improvements like for the climate and economy. They are two of the most powerful countries and others will follow with change if the the U.S. and China go first. I think it is a smart move for Obama to want to work with China since it are a rising power and in the next decade or so China is going to have an even larger influence on everything in the world. It is better to be with than against a powerful nation. The younger generations are going to be controlling the world in the upcoming years. It is better for them to be informed and ready to take on the world. Your thoughts?

6 Year old Girl Killed in Street Race Crash

The San Mateo Coroner's office has identified the 6 year old girl who was killed in a street race crash Friday, as Lisa Xavier of Menlo Park. Xavier and her mother were hit by a car who ran a red light. After their car was hit, they were taken immediately to the Stanford hospital where Xavier died the next afternoon and her mother is still in grave condition. The driver of the car that ran the red light then exited his car, got into the other car involved in the street race, and sped away. The person of interest in this case is Shannon Fox, 24, of East Palo Alto, and police are still trying to locate him.
It is really sad that a little girl was killed as a result of a stupid street race. Her life was just in the beginning stages and now it is over. Street racing is a huge problem. Many lives are lost as a result of street racing and hit-and-run accidents. This accident is just one case of many out there. Are a few minutes, even seconds, of speeding down a road worth risking your or another person's live? I guess street racing cannot be stopped since it occurs on freeways, busy streets, remote areas, in the early hours of the morning, etc in all different places and cops cannot get to every street race. However, what is the point of it? Is it the bragging rights, thrill, or risk factor that causes people to do street racing? I think that it is so irresponsible and plain stupid. A street racer is not just risking his or her own life, but putting others in danger. Not to mention it is illegal...But those are just my thoughts. What are yours?

Golden State Warriors Trade Stephen Jackson to Charlotte Bobcats

For those of you who are Bay Area Sports Fans who haven't already heard, the Warriors have traded their forward Stephen Jackson to the Charlotte Bobcats. Here is the story. Stephen Jackson, along with Point Guard Acie Law, has been traded to Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Guard Raja Bell and Forward Vladimir Radmanovic. If you haven't been following the Warriors, Jackson began demanding a trade this past offseason after being frustrated with the Warriors' decline these past two seasons. His demands have gotten so loud that he has gotten into arguments with his coach, fined by the NBA, and even suspended for 2 games during the preseason. Now he's gotten his wish.
Obviously, Jackson has the right to demand a trade if he's not happy with the current situation, but here's what bothers me. Stephen Jackson was named team captain of the Warriors and was their leading scorer last year. If there was anyone who could help bring them out of their decline in the first place, it would have been him. Instead, he goes off and gets traded. Especially for someone who was once a captain, he should have some allegiance to his team and stick it out with them through the tough times. So here are my questions for you guys. Do you agree with Jackson's decision? If you were him what would you do? When things get tough, do you try work it through, or find an escape? Playing in Charlotte will probably turn out to be a better situation for Jackson in terms of playing time and money. As a fan, I admit I am biased on this whole situation, so it'd be nice to see what you guys think.
For those of you following the Warriors, it has been tough watching them these past two years since their playoff run in 2007. Even with Jackson still on the team, it would take A LOT to bring them out of the hole they're in now, but now that Jackson's gone, that hole has only gotten deeper.

In South Korea, Nation stops for huge exam

This thursday was the National college entrance exam for the students of South Korea. 700,000 students took a nine hour test which will determine whether r not they get into college. It is similar to the SAT we take here in the United States, but students can only take this test once and if they do not pass, they do not go to college.

This test is so important that airplanes were not permitted flying above any testing location in fear of distracting the students. Work days for parents also start an hour later so the parents can get their children to the testing ste without getting stuck in traffic which can make them late.

should a test be allowed to determine one's future?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Lalala Love and Joy!

Possibly the greatest dance video ever made:


And fish, can't forget the fish. Gotta love 'em fish. They are the greatest ever.

The Pendulum Swings


Recently, a senator brought up an amendment that called for a prohibition in "the use of federal subsidies to pay for insurance that covers abortion, except in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is threatened. " The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi agreed on this amendment. But many people are trying to keep that language out of the overall final healthcare bill. Democrats have been attempting to avoid the subject of abortion in the Senate for a long time. Republicans, on the other hand, are most likely going to bring up this amendment/subject as much as they can so that anti-abortion reforms will be passed.

As of now, there are millions of Catholic swing voters that voted Democratic in 2008. The democrats just might lose these voters in 2010 ff the debate expands and if the democrats are clearly arguing for abortion rights.

Good game.

Microsoft bans roughly 1 million xbox players as they were caught downloading a pirated game. Not only is this an xbox live ban, Microsoft implemented a hardware ban meaning your xbox console will NEVER be able to play xbox live... ever.

I'm sure there are many of you guys out there who play xbox and download pirated games as well. Who doesn't? Just simply uninstall your game and buy the game. If you can't do that, don't play it. Just don't complain to me when you get banned.

Moon Has Water!

A NASA spacecraft was intentionally crashed into the Cabeus crater, found on the permanently shadowed side of the moon, on October 9. At first, it was unclear whether there was water when they hit, but with analysis, NASA has found that with the crash flew up about 25 gallons of water vapor and ice. This finding may provide some lead in finding out more about how the solar system was like at its earlier stages as well as the history of the moon.
What does this mean for us directly? I'm not entirely sure, but maybe in the future when the Earth is used up, we can go fly off in our space ships to live on the moon.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

Facebook More Like Moneybook

Facebook has become a potentially large platform for other websites to make money off of. Ever played farmville and see the "add farm coins & cash option"? Well quite a bit of people play those facebook games and actually pay for extra benefits. And those guys that created the game are making big bucks. When it's someone's birthday and you go on their wall, ever see the "gifts" thing pop out?
Facebook is becoming a huge enterprise and will probably be used as a site that involves micropayment. A lot of sites already incorporate facebook onto their own pages. After all, facebook is still a public domain. Things can be done without one knowing it. People might be able to fish out some information that others don't want leaked out.
That being said, BE CAREFUL.

Obama Takes a Step Forward

Obama and Mevdvedev have agreed to make a new treaty that was based off START, a nuclear reduction treaty signed by Gorbachev and Bush Sr. In this new movement, each nation would reduce its warhead count to about 1500. If this is successful, Obama should be praised and it would look good on his administration, which hasn't been looking so hot. Another good thing about this is that if Russia and the United States could collaborate on this issue, there might be a new perspective to the Iran issue. Furthermore, Obama is going to talk to leaders of nations, such as Burma, that are heavily anti-democratic. This goes against the US tradition of isolationism. In some ways, this is good. But this is huge political risk. At home, conservatives are probably going to heavily mouth off Obama for doing such a thing. People might perceive him as weak, questioning that activity. However, no other president has spoken to leaders like this so you have to give the president some slack. If something good happens, kudos to Obama. If something bad happens, then his administration is doing pretty bad. Results, results, results.

But, "[o]ne definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome."
I think this quote is pretty true for just about everything that we've done and, personally, what I've done.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How Long You Live Is In Your Genes

The scientists who discovered the structure of telomeres and their function were recognized by being awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Telomeres are short pieces of DNA that coat the outer edges of chromosomes to prevent the chromosome from being degraded. Every time our cells divide, the telomeres begin to erode away and when the telomeres become too short, the cell ceases to divide and the cells simply begin to age. This suggests why organs begin failing in older people as they age.
Now that's the background of what a telomere is. A scientist team went out to test the questions of whether people who live longer have longer telomeres, and if they have gene sequences that code for telomerase, the enzyme that creates telomere, which results in their longer telomeres. They found that indeed, people who live longer tend to have longer telomeres and that they do indeed have gene sequences that code for this telomerase. So we know that some people have longer telomeres and it may be because they have gene sequences that code for telomerase. So what do we get from knowing this? Knowing that some people are more advantageous and virtually stay younger for a longer time may lead to research that could lead to that fabled "fountain of youth." Now that might come with mixed feelings, but we should look forward to the products that could result before this "fountain of youth." With research, we may be able to figure out a way to develop a medicine that effectively increases the length of our telomeres and prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease and other age related diseases. Or even before that, we may be able to find a way to produce an anti-skin aging lotion that actually works. Whatever happens, I think that this research will lead to some great things, as long as someone doesn't try to go immortal.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

Protest Gun Ban by Bringing Gun to Community Center

A man challenged the Seattle gun ban in public spaces by carrying a pistol in a holster under his black jacket into a community center. His supposed purpose was to trigger a lawsuit against the gun ban. The man, Bob Warden, sent an email to the city of Seattle and the media, announcing his intentions beforehand to let everyone know what he was doing and for what purpose.
With this announcement beforehand of what he was going to do, I would have thought this to be something pretty big. I thought that this man was serious about what he believed in and that he was going to stand for his rights. However, I watched the video embedded in the article that was a little over a minute long, and, well, he didn't do much. He was in the building for less than a minute, he did not seem to express any real emotion, he just cooperated and left the building almost as soon as he got in. Personally, I think this was a complete fail of a protest, but who knows, maybe this little one minute of action will trigger some city wide protest on the gun ban.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

UC A Raise in Fees

The UCs are raising their fees in their graduate programs. Well apparently they just broke their own policy of keeping their prices lower than competing institutions, yet the UC officials are aware of the violation they committed. What was even more shocking to read was that "[s]ome schools would exempt existing students, meaning the fees would apply only to incoming students." According to those officials, this is the cause of the financial crisis. Tuition fees rose ever since the government cut more than $800million in UC budget since last year. However, many students are not satisfied with the increasingly expensive fees. After all, which student would love to pay more for a lower variety of course offerings? Jessica Luk, a graduate student at one of the UCs, said that this might be an attempt in "privatizing the cost of education."

Who knows what will happen to the economy in the future; however, for those people that are looking to attend UCs as graduates, start saving up money.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Bigger the Better?

Toyota is producing a new hybrid car (most likely a station wagon or an SUV) with a bigger and better battery. This lithium-ion battery is supposedly more powerful than the nickel-metal battery from previous models. It is estimated to be approximately $22,000 USD. Such creations increase competitions between car companies. Since efficiency is a hot topic when it comes to automobiles, many companies will and have been trying to improve the number of sales by improving the efficiency of vehicles. In some ways, this is pretty good. After all, they're all trying to make boost their own company's image by increasing their own cars' worth. And that worth comes from cars with better efficiency.

Now that there might be a possiblity that there be an SUV hybrid, would more people buy these? I'm not a fan of big cars myself, but it might be an option to consider.

Sarah Palin at it again.

Palin finds a way to stir up political drama in many ways. I guess this time, it was her book, "Going Rogue: An American Life." The article explains this book-- "Palin contends that the McCain campaign stuck her with a $50,000 bill for the cost of her own vetting, botched the announcement of her teenage daughter's pregnancy, outfitted Palin with all those infamous costly ensembles, and shielded her from reporters."

Ever notice how she comes out with another outrageous claim at least every couple weeks? Like a celebrity who goes onto a talk show to talk about how she was molested after her parents are dead and her fame is dwindling.

She's the gift that keeps on giving for media junkies. It's our pop culture and Sarah truely is the barracuda in regards to media culture. Think of her as an idiot savant with a twinkle in her eye and a great pair of legs but lets be real guys, how good could it really be after all that wear and tear?

Afghan war strategy continued.

No, Obama has not come back from his Asia trip and has not come out with an answer yet. But, it seems like the UK is pushing allied troops to add 5,000 more personnel to Afghanistan. Will this pressure Obama to send more troops to Afghanistan? We shall find out.

I just wanted to post this as an update to the Afghanistanian war plan.

Race to the top!

An educational reform stimulus bill has been passed!

Education Secretary Arne Duncan now has $5 billion dollars to spend on education. States have a "race to the top" to win some, or much of the money. In order to get the money, states must show they're committed to improving curriculum standards and assessments. The states with the best proposals toward improving curriculum earns some money. (The money is distributed based on size and population. Because of this, California can earn between $350 to $700 million.)

The application dates are due in January. Lets just hope that California's educational proposal is accepted to help our education!

Car bombing in Pakistan... again.

The title says it all.

Two car bombings occurred early Friday morning (Pakistani time).

One was in front of the national intelligence agency building in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. (Note: The car bombers find a way through one of the most highly guarded areas) This bomb killed at least 7 people and injuring over 30 people. The second car bomb went off 90 minutes later outside a police station in Bannu. This bomb killed 3 and injured 10.

It seems like car bombings in Pakistan aren't ending. Should we really allow this to keep going? Or should we add more troops? hmmm.

As of now, US international interests do not have Pakistan as the number 1 priority, nor should it be the number 1 priority. Where in the priority list does Pakistan lie?

dark CHOCOLATEEEEEEEEEEEEE relieves stress

You know how dark chocolate has those antioxidants that keep us free from cardiovascular disease and other physical diseases?
Well it turns out that dark chocolate might ease your emotional stress as well! This may be of particular interest to high school seniors who are currently taking multiple AP classes and are filling out applications for multiple colleges. Research suggests that dark chocolate lowers the amount of stress hormones in stressed individuals who eat dark chocolate.
No wonder I felt so good that one day.
Now before you all go running to stuff yourselves with dark chocolate...

"The study provides strong evidence that a daily consumption of 40 grams [1.4 ounces] during a period of 2 weeks is sufficient to modify the metabolism of healthy human volunteers,"

Control yourselves!!!!! Too much of anything is bad for you!

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

The Chinese = Lincoln?!

The Chinese government warned Obama to not interact with the Dalai Lama, citing Lincoln in their argument. Without Lincoln, the Confederacy could have seceded permanently and the slaves might not have been free. In large, Lincoln prevented a "split" in America. China relates to this by stating that the Dalai Lama is encouraging Tibetan independance, therefore Obama should not aid those who are trying to secede.

China believes that US-China relations should be kept strong, and any US meetings with the exiled Dalai Lama leader could hinder this relationship.

To prevent another possible war, I think Obama should just stay out of these Chinese-Tibet relations. Using US as a force of "good" can only go so far...

New Day One Entertainment Sales Record

So, as a lot of people already know, the highly anticipated Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was released in North America and the UK on November 10, 2009. In the first 24 hours, the game made $310 million, selling roughly 47 million copies of the game in just those two regions. Modern Warfare 2 sold more copies than the previous record holder Grand Theft Auto IV which made $310 million, selling roughly 36 million copies worldwide. Judging from how many copies of Modern Warfare were sold in just North America and the UK, the sales are probably going to be much higher.

Now besides the new record though, it has come to my attention that the developers of this game, Infinity Ward, may have crossed the line in the making of one of the stages of the game. Now before I talk, if you plan on playing this game and do not want the plot ruined in any way, you should probably stop reading now.

Players are warned beforehand in some stages that may be offensive to some and are given the option to skip levels in the campaign of the game. One of the most notable levels is staged in a local airport. In one of the stages of the game, you may participate as an undercover agent posing as a terrorist in killing unarmed civilians in an airport and fighting against riot police that come to regain control of the situation. However, even if players decide to not participate in the mowing down of civilians with machine guns, the player is also unable to give aid to the citizens.

First person shooters have always been attacked as being too violent, and I personally have been rather nonchalant about it, but I think that Infinity Ward may have crossed the line this time. It's one thing to go around shooting people that are trying to shoot at you, but (although its not real) shooting a bunch of unarmed people that flee from you saddens me. The game allows you to skip these possibly offensive levels, but what are the chances of people skipping levels in a highly anticipated game that they spent $60 on? Most people are going to be playing and experiencing these brutal levels and may possibly be having fun with it due to the intense gameplay features that Call of Duty has become famous for, which I find disturbing.
Although this new game may be very entertaining to play, I do not believe Infinity Ward should have made a stage as brutal and inhumane as this.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

Girl who sneezes 12,000 times a day

A 12 year old girl has doctors baffled about her constant sneezing. She sneezes about 12,000 times a day. She said that she got a cold two weeks ago and ever since has been sneezing about 9 times per minute.

I can't imagine sneezing this much. I hate sneezing. I try not to sneeze as much as I can, so I feel really sorry for this little girl. I attached the video I found to the title. I'm really curious as to what is wrong with her.

Oh wait, we're actually doing something different?!

I mean, who would want to change a FAILING war plan? psh.

Finally, Obama seems like he is attempting to change his Afghan war strategy. Obama has gone through various war options, but will not announce a final decision until he returns from a 9-day trip to Asia. Speculators believe that Obama is leaning towards adding an additional 30,000 troops to speed up the war process.

I am personally excited to hear this news. We might be able to finally leave Afghanistan as a whole and start putting troops back in their homes. This 8 year war needs to end within the next year or else it might just increase military spending. I will definitely be watching the news 9 days from now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hezbollah Criticizes the US


The leader of the Hezbollah recently criticized Obama because the US president did not display much support for the Arab and Islamic world. Well, I don't see many changes. Recently, there was a ship caught transfering weaponry for Hezbollah. That doesn't sounds like peace efforts between Israel and the Arab world. That sounds like hostility to me.

I dug out this article [here] and found it very interesting. It shows the reactions to Obama's speech in Cairo . What interested me the most was that "Sheikh Abdulahi Shekh Abu Yusuf, Moderate Somali Islamist Group Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca," the "Spokesman For Iraqi Government," "Spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas" and "Amr Moussa, Head of the Arab League" all produced optimistic--if not approving--comments about Obama's take on the matter between America and the Muslim world. The thing that was interesting was that all of those people named above seemed to approve Obama's speech and all are part of the Arab World. Other members of the Arab world, including "Ayman Taha, A Hamas Spokesman in the Gaza Strip," "Hassan Fadlallah, Lawmaker for Lebanon's Hezbollah," and surprisinglyyyyyy, "Commentary on (US Broadcaster) FOX News." Okay now, aside from Fox News, the other people mentioned were also a part of Arab world, yet they showed significantly different views than their arab partners. That was June of 2009. What about now? People from the Arab world don't seem very satisfied.

A Safer Black Friday


Last year's Black Friday at Wal-Mart was a disaster. A man was trampled by a rushing crowd. This year, however, should be better since security measures are going to be elevated and employees are going to direct people around. Furthermore, the "National Retail Federation created a comprehensive set of guidelines for crowd control" for the "first time." This is good, I hope.

A quote was brought up, saying that "[n]o matter how seamless and airtight [one] think[s] this is...the unexpected can happen". Shouldn't this be the mentality that is in everyone's mind when they do anything?

Safer Black Friday

Last year a crowd trampled a worker to death at one of the Walmart stores, this year round, Walmart has developed a new plan with the help of experts who have handled crowds at major events such as the SuperBowl and the Olympics. It seems Walmart has gotten really serious about everyone's safety this year round. We should all cooperate.

Stock Markets gains points

Things are starting to look up in the stock market for some. Dow hit it's thirteen month high for the third straight day. Dow Jones Industrial average gained forty four points. Federal reserve officials said that the economic recovery is likely to be muted, and that the central bank would keep interest rates low. Yesterday's ups and downs leave people in confusion, about what to do with their stock investments. For the stock market to continue improvement is for people to remain confident and not take out their investments.

Two many suicides

The German Goalkeeper of the team the Hanover 96 committed suicide by stepping in front of a train. His name was Robert Enke. He was thirty-two and was the captain of the team. It was a devastating day for his teammates, his wife, and his fans. His wive said that he left a suicide note and that he was battling with depression for several years, but kept it from the public in fear he would loose their adopted daughter. The full article is attached to the title.

It is so sad when people feel so low that they have to commit suicide. The poor wife and teammates though. It's so much harder to loose someone when they kill themselves then to loose them to natural causes. Don't get me wrong it's hard to loose them either way but to loose them because they didn't feel they had anyway out is really hard to make peace with. My family lost a really good friend to suicide. It took so long to understand and to overcome. We all wondered if we could have done something to help her. The wife of this soccer star did the best she could and I commend her for seeing what was going on and trying to help her husband. This is very unfortunate.

I wanted to post this because it seems like there has been too many suicides in the last few years around our area. And I wanted to draw attention to how much suicides effect families, and friends, and even just people who know you. I think that young kids especially are more at risk to commit suicide because they have so much pressure on them. There is always a way out of whatever problem you have, all anyone has to do is ask for help.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Possible Retaliation by North Korea?

Both South Korean and North Korean troops have been put on high alert after a naval skirmish that occurred off the west coast, a place of frequent disputes possibly due to it being a rich crabbing area, that left a North Korean naval ship almost destroyed. This was the first such engagement between the Koreas in seven years. Both Koreas blame each other for the conflict.
Reports by South Korea claimed that a North Korean patrol boat crossed the border and the South Korean naval ship fired several warning shots, which the North Korean boat responded to by open firing, starting the conflict.
The North Korean military claims that its ship was attacked by a South Korean ship after their ship was returning from checking "an unidentified object."

""It was an intentional provocation by North Korea to draw attention ahead of Obama's trip," said Shin Yul"

"Some analysts said the clash could have been accidental. "

Personally, I believe that North Korea is at fault here, but that is probably because I am biased against North Korea. North Korea has kidnapped US reporters before and tested nuclear weapons even after being warned to stop testing them, so I would not find it surprising if North Korea is trying to provoke the United States once again.
There is an argument that the conflict was merely an accident due to the disputed border of the rich crab fishing area. However, I believe that North Korea is simply using this to keep other nations from suspecting them of anything.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is [Environment]

A lot of critics are attacking Al Gore for his environmental policies and are accusing him for creating green agendas in order to make personal gains. Well, why should he NOT earn anything out of his efforts? After all, he's been pressuring people to be more environmentally aware for "more than 30 years" and says that he is "in a position to put at least some of my money where [his] mouth is." I personally don't disagree. I mean, the state we're in right now is pretty detrimental. Pollution is increasing and natural habitats dying off. Populations are on the rise in many parts of the world. There is a huge crisis that cannot be ignored in my opinion.

I don't understand why there are so many skeptics about environmental issues. It's one thing to be skeptical about the moon landing, but it's another to be skeptical about the environment. I mean, should we just sit back and watch the whole world fall apart, or should we actually do something about it?

Fort Hood Victims may they rest in peace

I attached a link to the title so everyone can see what the love ones, and families had to say about their lost ones. They are very sweet and moving. It is heartbreaking what happened to these families. I hope that they have the strength to get through this and that people are supportive throughout this.

I wanted to post this to give any one a chance just to wish the families the best and say something peaceful or respectful to the ones who lost their lives. These men and woman joined to serve and fight for our country. They were willing to risk their lives, but I don't think they planned to die on their own home ground.

I wish the families the best, and hope that they know that there are many people who are thinking of them. Thank you to the ones who died for committing to serve the country, and willing to die to keep our states free and safe.

Cough Candy Gone Sexual?!

Here is the link.

Once again, here's another watchdog news. Halls Refresh cough candy commercial is found to be sexual more than "wacky." What's disturbing is the age difference between the two roommates, a mid aged lady and a school kid. Also, when you go further into the commercial, the lady's son sees this interaction. Ew, disgusting.

Also, I have gotten all of my articles from the same source -

Recently, we watched a video stating how FOX news isn't really a news channel anymore because of the excessive analysis and rants. Well, it seems like I found another source that we cannot really trust to present the whole picture. Some positive news would be great.

Cell Phones and Cancer

It was recently stated in the last year that cell phones cause cancer, or brain tumors. It has been recommended that people keep the phone away from their bodies and heads as much as possible. It also has been recommended that parents try to keep their children from using cell phones for as long as possible. The longer a person is around the cell phone and keeps it close to you the more risk they have of getting cancer. Studies that looked at cell phone users of ten years and more seemed to be more at risk.

I don't know what to think about this. So many people use cell phones and I have not heard of too many people getting cancer or tumors from it. I'm sure that it is possible, but I'm not sure how risky it is to use a cell phone. The article stated that they test people who have cancer and brain tumors, but they don't test people that do not have brain cancer. They also suggested that they should do a study on a group of people when they start using cell phones and continue to study them over time.

I feel that this is a accurate, and beneficial way to study the risk of cell phones. It would give an accurate result of how risky cell phones actually are to people.

Giraffe Population Coming Back!

In West Africa, the giraffe population is rising again! This just made me really happy so I thought I would share. Link to the article embedded in title.

-Yuzo Yanagitsuru

Monday, November 9, 2009

Screw the Jobs, WE NEED HIPPOS!

It makes me wonder why people use money in certain ways. This article should stir up some debates between environmentalists and the opposition.

Instead of using government money to create more jobs, New Jersey took a sharp left and supported a local Aquarium in Camden with that money. Noting that Camden is one of the poorest city in the nation, spending money on an aquarium will not make the citizens happy.

There is more information about how the government spent money inside Camden in the article (click the title). Read it, it's actually interesting.

I guess I shall make the first comment about this topic to stir some debate up (hopefully). I think the Camden residents would have been happier if more jobs were created. Therefore, New Jersey should have put environmental issues aside, and think about the people. This may sound selfish of me to say, but our nation was created FOR THE PEOPLE. We need to support the PEOPLE before we can support fat hippos. That's my take on it, what do you guys think?

He's my hero.

9 year old Malik Medford pretty much saved him and his brothers lives today.

Jonathan Martin (32) attempted a carjack outside a convenience store in Charleston, West Virginia. In the car were four children, ages 9, 3, 19 months, and 4 months.

The play-by-play is on the article, but for convenience sakes I shall post it here.

"While she was away, Jonathan Martin yanked open the car door, according to police.
'He told me to get out, but I didn't get out,' Malik said in a WCHS-TV interview. He fought back because he feared for the lives of his brothers.
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Embedded video from CNN Video
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Malik pulled the keys out of the ignition and tried to keep them away from the attacker as he struggled with the man.
'He banged my head against the door,' the boy said. But Malik held on to the keys and ran into the store to get help.
The foiled carjacker ran, too. But he tripped in a nearby parking lot and lay there until police arrived, reported WSAZ, another local television station."

What do you guys think about this situation? Would you have done the exact same thing?

Link to Site.

Juvenile life terms

The Supreme court is deciding whether or not sentencing a juvenile to life in prison for a crime less serious than homicide is cruel and unusual punishment. Two Florida convicts both charged as teenagers are being considered in the case (both did not commit homicide, but did do pretty horrible things). The two convicts are now adults...should the justice system give them and others like them a second chance? Go to the link embedded in the title

It's Getting Cold. Is It Goosebumps or...?

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and thousands of people showed up at the ceremony that celebrated the downfall of such a terrible symbol that imprisoned people living behind it. Many important figures, such as former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev, President Obama, and Chancellor Angela Merkel , attended. In this ceremony, 1000 dominoes were knocked down to represent the inevitable and grand fall of the wall. In this monumental celebration, people might get goosebumps or a chill down their spines just by reminiscing such an "epic" event. All of those years of hostility was broken on November 9, 1989. All of those years that people fought for freedom was recognized on November 9, 1989. November 9, 1989 was a birth of a new relation that would forever change foreign relations . Take a moment and think about that struggle and that freedom. Take a moment and think about that end to that cold war struggle.

Struggle still exists despite such grand achievements. In Venezuela and Columbia, there is a conflict that many call another "Cold War." Bitter dispute has occurred for a decade ever since Hugo Chavez became the leader of Venezuela. However, conflicts are on the rise again and it is now extremely hostile at the border of the two countries. Alliances are forming amongst countries in Latin America, and it does NOT look like any peace relations will happen soon. Maybe once in a blue moon.