Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
About 150 students spread out over desks and floors. Some gave fiery speeches and sang protest songs, while also pleading for calm. Pizza and sandwiches were handed out between chants of, “Real pain, real action!”
This is truly untenable. I'm shocked that history is still repeating itself. We should know better. And that's what is sad: we still don't know. There are still people out there who are psychos. For crying out loud, we have one of the best presidents: OBAMA. And he is African American.
Why is still going on? When are some people going to learn?
Friday, February 26, 2010
Georgia Right to Life has now adopted a new campaign strategy: convince minorities that they are under attack from groups like Planned Parenthood. Georgia Right to Life has been targeting minority schools and churches to try to persuade the largely black community of Atlanta that abortion is actually "genocide." Using evidence that states a large percentage of the number of abortions done in the country are on minority women, they try to make the claim that pro-choice groups are specifically enticing black women to get the procedure as part of a larger conspiracy against the black community of the United States. Unfortunately, their plan seems to be working. The articles quotes a sophomore from Atlanta who states that she was pro-choice until she saw Georgia Right to Life's film. Now, she says that she would keep her child, even if she does not want to, to fight against the conspiracy. If she were to get pregnant in high school, this girl states that she would keep the child to support the higher cause of protecting the black population of America against Genocide. She would have to support this child, while also trying do well in school, and one of the two responsibilities would suffer. Planned Parenthood was created to give women a second chance at living the life they want. If the pregnancy was planned, then the woman would have no reason to abort the child, and no pro-choice group would tell her to do so. It seems to me that all this talk of genocide by pro-life groups is created by the current pro-choice government. But really, would Obama actively try to kill off the African American community?
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Well, now we know how scarcity plays into the system. But seriously, a million dollars...even though scarcity helps explain the price of the comic book, I think it's still out of whack. Buy a house for crying out loud and help the housing market. Buy a car, clothes, or food.
People spend waaaay too much money on wants/luxuries. Here is a look at the American Life people.
"Last month the state came one step closer to building this mammoth project when it won over $2 billion in stimulus money from the federal government. " However, on the downside the expected cost of building such a train is estimated to around $40-50 billion. Ouch!
Well, considering where California is with its budget, I think the dream will remain a dream. I'm not being pessimistic. I'm just being pragmatic.
For more information on how and where the money is expected to come from, click enclosed link.
If California raises enough money to start this project, that would be a bonus because we are looking at hundreds of people needed to help build the bullet train. JOBS JOBS JOBS!!!! Let's get the cycle flowing and this time, in the right direction.
Really? Firing all the teachers because of that just seems absurd. A total of 93 people were fired (inluding the principal).
This school is the lowest performing school in Rhode Island. But I believe that even that does not justify a complete shut down of the school. What will happen to the teachers? The students?
The government is trying its best to help reboot the economy but so far, with these problems on the side, I think that our government's efforts are just going to waste. We all need to do something. The state of Rhode Island should not have done that. But I guess with the budget cuts, it had no option. U.S. is at an impasse.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Is the new improvement in fuel cells what we need to start looking beyond fossil fuels? Maybe this will be an incentive for other large companies to invest in smaller green companies, such as Bloom. We need to take a serious look at where we are heading with our pollution and create a better option that will make sense, both environmentally and economically.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
If we consider this a war, then why are we still competing?
The media has exaggerated our presence in the country compared to past wars because of it's decreasing popularity. Our presence in Iraq isn't necessarily a war, it's an attempt at fixing a big mess we've created by overthrowing the government, which was arguably necessary. We're calling this a "War on Terror" to try to unite the country by making it seem like we have a clear mission in the Middle East, even though most of it is trying to convince ourselves and the rest of the world that we will remain global superpowers. The Olympics give countries a sense of patriotism and pride in a time that it's fairly obviously needed. People are losing faith in the government because of the failing economy, and are looking to find a new reason to love their country.
Klein commented, "if you actually tell people what's in the health-care reform bill, then it becomes quite popular." Why is it so hard for many of us to do the background information to make our own decisions. Many of us rely on our peers or role models to help come to a conclusion. Maybe it has to do with the fact that media is misleading us with the information they are giving us. Passing out polls that are not questioned correctly, or made clear can change the public view on a subject. One of the huge issues we have today as americans is making our own choices and not being influences by others. "The quality of information that the public has routine access to is simply too low"(Klein).
The health care bill passed in the House would have repealed this, but the one in the Senate would not have.
Today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said:
"At its core, health reform is all about ensuring that American families and businesses have more choices, benefit from more competition and have greater control over their own health care," Gibbs said.
"Repealing this exemption is an important part of that effort. Today, there are no rules outlawing bid rigging, price fixing and other insurance company practices that will drive up health care costs and often drive up their own profits as well."
Advocates of the repeal argue that the current exemption has allowed health care companies to divide the country into "local monopolies"
Opponents of the repeal, however, point to the state regulations still must follow. They believe that a complete repeal is unnecessary.
Obama's plan also calls for the secretary of Health and Human Services to work with a seven-member board made up of doctors, economists and consumer and insurance representatives to review the recent premium hikes.
I'm pretty undecided on this issue, and I don't have a lot of background information. Will this really make a huge difference in health care? I agree that insurers shouldn't be exempt from antitrust laws, but I don't really understand the difference this would make. Would premiums drastically go down? What do you think? Will this make a big difference on the insurance market? Is it just Obama's latest battle against privatized health care?
Monday, February 22, 2010
In a close women's curling match where Canada won 5-4 over Denmark, Danish Madeliene Dupont blamed the aggressive Canadian fans when she missed two potentially game-winning shots.
Curling is a sport that apparently requires intense concentration and the ability to hear your teammates. Dupont was practically in tears after 6,000 Canadian fans began stomping and making deafening noise. The noise was obviously intended to distract Dupont.
I understand such noise in sports such as basketball, hockey, and football, where the noise of the crowd is normal and expected by the players. But curling is tame sport, like golf, where it is the polite thing to be quiet, and only cheer when the players are finished. Even a Canadian curler agreed that the fans were loud, but excused their behavior based on the fact they "don't know the game." I think it's a lame excuse. They were obviously quiet when it was Canada's turn.
As an obnoxiously loud fan myself, I understand Canada's pride and desire for their home team to win. But I also find it embarrassing in a sport such as curling, where it is not appropriate. They're the hosts, and they should know better. Save it for the hockey rinks.
I think this is an excellent way to (hopefully) begin some bipartisan efforts in congress. I'm tired of hearing both sides criticize one another, and optimistic about Brown's choice. I hope it sets the stage for more compromise in Washington. Obama called it a "major step forward" and has also promised to continue to incorporate Republicans into the creation of the bill.
The job creation bill proposes a $15 billion package of tax cuts and highway spending. It's also a good example of Keynesian economics, (government intervention during an economic crisis), on a more nerdy note!
-Credit card ssuers can no longer randomely increase intrest rates and fees on existing balances
-Intrest cannotbe charged when debt is paied on time
-Issuers must get the signature of a parent or guardian when extending a card to a consumer under the age of 21
There are more rules to this and are taking efffect slowly since monday. Witht these new rules I bealive that people will have an eaiser time staying out of debt and having a positive ways with there oveer all credit score.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
However, a comprehensive study that updates existing studies on openly gay service members in Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa and other countries, holds the belief that gay soldiers do not cause a disruption. The study, “Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer,” was conducted by the Palm Center of UC Santa Barbara.
The report found that there were no increased instances of harassment, none of the countries had to install separate facilities, and that transition was speedy and uneventful.
However, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2012, said that he continued to support “don’t ask, don’t tell” because “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Um, ignorance much?
In California, lawmakers are now trying to establish the same sort of system for known animal abusers. The proposal was made by State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez, and is the latest law in California to guarantee new rights to animals. The effort is also one of the only bipartisan efforts in the CA state government.
Many of you may remember California's Proposition 2, which gave hens, calves and pigs more room in their crates or cages. CA has also passed laws outlawing cruelty towards dairy cows for more efficient milking.
Under the proposed law, any person convicted of a felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s offense.
Something interesting mentioned in the article was a quote from a representative of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
“We know there’s a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence,” said Stephan Otto, the group’s director of legislative affairs. “Presumably if we’re able to track animal abusers and be able to know where they live, there will be less opportunity where those vulnerable to them would be near them.”
I'm not sure this is a necessary for people to avoid when looking for a house, but I do think it's a new way to investigate possible employees. I find anyone willing to abuse a helpless animal absolutely disgusting and feel like they should pay an outrageous price. As an animal lover, I find it appropriate to list sex offenders and animal abusers in the same category. However, I can understand how some may think this is harsh.
Last Wednesday, the Obama Administration held a secret meeting to set the US Nuclear Policy for the next 5-10 years. Many believed it would test Obama's "sincerity and determination." They were meeting to "finalize the administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)" which is due to Congress by March 1. There were many in attendance including "secretaries of defense, state, energy, and the national security advisor as well as top military and intelligence officials." The treaty has now moved passed the Senate, where it was voted down ten years ago. Biden has also made clear his priorities when he stated, "We have long relied on nuclear weapons to deter potential adversaries. Now, as our technology improves, we are developing non-nuclear ways to accomplish that same objective." To read more on Biden and US Nuclear Weapon here is the link
As the nation to have created the first nuclear weapons, the first to use them, we should be the first to rid them. We are moving into a new age, an age in which we must face our creation and put an end to it before it puts an end to us.
Recently, the Obama Administration has been working on a new front against childhood obesity. The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have continued to push for new technology that can help create a fun incentive for children to work out while playing games in a social network online. 31 experts were at a meeting earlier this month to "offer their knowledge and experience related to game design, entertainment technology, social media, and skill contests." Basically, they are having a contest in order to bring together the best ideas out there that will create an addicting game that convinces children to work out.
Also, Michelle Obama has been working on her "Let's Move" campaign across
Although many of us live in neighborhoods that have farmer's markets, grocery stores, and other forms of accessing healthy foods, many individuals are stuck eating foods high in saturated fats with nothing to balance out their diets. We need to make a change fast if we want to prevent the exponential growth of obesity.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
You may recognize Gingrich from the video we watched in class (I'm forgetting the name...but it was about him and Clinton) He's the former Speaker of the House and a real name in conservative politics.
When I first read the article about CPAC that I posted earlier this week, I saw Gingrich's name and thought he would be a front runner in the "straw poll" (mentioned by Sarah). However, as skewed as the results may be (by Tea Party activists or the lack of people that actually voted), Gingrich did pretty poorly.
Something interesting about Five Thirty Eight's post was how they counted Gingrich's professionalism as a weakness. Tom Schaller (author of the post) writes of Gingrich's speech at CPAC, "In little more than a half hour, Gingrich managed to reference the Judiciary Act of 1802, Camus’ The Plague, Orwell’s 1984, Hayek’s notions of centralized planning, and John Paul II. I was waiting for him to announced that copies of the speech's footnotes would be available in the lobby." Gingrich is obviously well educated, and it always suprises me how badly Americans react to this. How is that we go for the good ol' boy rather than the scholar? I mean, George W. Bush, really?
Regardless, I agree with the blog that Gingrich could present a challenge to Obama. And he certainly has the experience and track record to rival all the other potential nominees.
Alexa Gonzalez, a seventh-grader in New York, simply scrawled "I love my friends Abby and Faith. Lex was here 2/1/10 :)" on her desk in school, and was handcuffed in front of friends and teachers and escorted to the police station.
When I first read this article, I thought it was a joke. There's no way that I could ever imagine something like this happening at any middle school or Aragon. What's the legal criteria for this? Apparently, this is yet another example of the "zero tolerance" policy taken a few steps too far in schools. And it isn't the first time, the article cites several other instances where the police were called in situations that could have easily been handled by the teacher or the school's administration.
The "zero tolerance" policy is basically when automatic punishment is imposed when a rule is broken. It's intention is to stop unwanted behavior right away, and it leaves no room for exceptions.
I understand this policy in terms of students drinking, fighting, using drugs, or harassing one another. But isn't this way too far? I mean, calling the police because a seventh grader is doodling on desks? Is this just teachers and admins being lazy and not wanting to deal with discipline? She didn't even use profanity or hate language. Also, isn't it a complete waste of time to make police officers involved? Shouldn't they be directing their money and time to more important things that are bigger threats to our security? What are your thoughts?
Friday, February 19, 2010
Today, the President plans to announce a $1.5 billion funding plan for “states where the average prices for homes have fallen more than 20 percent from their peak.” It so happens to be that the two states that will be highly affected by this funding are two states that appear to have a close election coming up in November 2010. The President is attempting to demonstrate his emphasis on the current economy especially during a two-state Western state swing that comes as he’s trying to bolster the chances of Democrats in November’s elections” Colorado an Nevada’s employment rate is still far lower than the national average but it is clear that their housing foreclosures are running high. With the elections coming up soon, Obama wants to give hope to the individuals in the states and protect the congressional spots. Although it is important for him and his administration to help fundraise to keep democrats in Congress, I think it is important to focus on other issues that affect more than just a few states. The unemployment rate in those two states is far lower than the average, so why not work on those who have no source of funding?
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Starting next fall, dozens of public schools in eight different states will be pioneering a new program that involves “board exams” taken at the end of 10th grade. If students pass their tests, they can receive their high school diploma 2 years early and proceed to enroll in community college. Students interested in enrolling in a more selective college can choose to continue their high school coursework. The program, which was designed by the National Center on Education and the Economy, is based off similar systems seen in nations such as Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore. The program was introduced as a means to combat the fact that a staggering amount of students have to take remedial courses upon entering college. It aims to prepare students more effectively for college work and provide a kind of “goal” for high school coursework. The exams will hopefully provide a source of motivation for students to master their course material.
In many ways, this new program is similar to already existing early college programs, such as Middle College (at CSM). However, the significant difference is that this new program allows students to actually graduate a full two years early. Students who pass the board exams will not need to continue with any high school classes during what would have been their junior and senior years.
I have mixed feelings about this program. On the one hand, I feel like it is a proactive way to cutback on the number of students who require remedial courses. The fact that over a million college freshman take remedial courses each year is absolutely ridiculous! But, I feel that there are some definite flaws with the idea of the board exams. I think that one of the benefits of a typical high school education is that it forces you to take a well-rounded (in terms of subjects) course load all four years. High school is important for establishing proficiency in a variety of subject areas. With this new program, students will not have to take all the traditional classes. I think that students might actually end up having more trouble in college than before because they missed out their final two years of high school.
The Republicans are on the upswing now as Obama's approval has been rating dropping, several veteran congressional Democrats have announced they will retire at the end of the year and Brown took a historically liberal seat in Massachusetts. They are certainly embracing their new "underdog" status as it seems to have ignited a fiery opposition and fervor to end up on top. But many of their speeches contained relatively no new information, just reiterations of their classic platform: lowering taxes, no mercy towards terrorism, and small business interests.
However, I think something interesting to note was that of the 10,000 attendees somewhere from 60-80 percent were under 30. I think this should definitely be a wake up call for Democrats. Perhaps the conference was purposefully skewed (likely) in order to seem appealing to younger voters, but the Democrats should definitely fight for the younger crowd. The sign that younger voters might be heading towards the right is rather surprising, but then again, I'm not sure if this conference is very accurate.
Another point of interest was the Republican's response to the Tea Party movement, or the "grassroots" conservatism that sprung out of certain policy issues and gridlock in Washington last year. The party does not associate itself with the Republican party, but followers overwhelmingly vote right. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, warned against aligning their party with the Tea Party. "The Republican Party should not attempt to co-opt the tea parties," Boehner said. "I think that's the dumbest thing in the world. What we will do, as long as I'm the leader, is respect them, listen to them, and walk amongst them. The other party will never, ever do that." However, Marco Rubio, a challenger for the Florida Senate seat, encouraged Republicans to "embrace" the Tea Party.
On a side note,
"The CPAC conference wraps up Saturday with the much-anticipated straw poll, seen as an indicator of the top GOP contenders for the 2012 presidential election.
The choices on the ballot this year are Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Paul, Pawlenty, Pence, Romney, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, and a slot for "Other.""So what do you think? Are Republicans really on the rise, or just trying to pump up their supporters? Should the Democrats be scared of the under-30 percentage? Should the GOP embrace the Tea Party? What do you think of the top GOP contenders?
It's a huge shame for the company, and I'm glad that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, has decided to appear in front of Congress (see link in title for more details). Apparently, he tried to first send the North American cheif in place of himself (which I think is ridiculous). After all, the US is probably Toyota's biggest market, and are most affected by these recalls. After talking about government's role in the economy in Econ this week, I think the House oversight committee's request for Toyada is a good example of positive government oversight. I'm glad they're stepping in on behalf of the people. Especially since it's been speculated that much of the evidence of the malfunctioning cars was covered up. On the local news about a week ago, they had a person go undercover to the Toyota dealsership. Even two days after the recall, Toyota was still trying to sell the cars that were defected! Toyota has always been known as a very reliable car company, and have been tremendously failing at dealing with this crisis.
But every cloud does have it's silver lining, for lack of a better cliche. After years of being in the shadows of Japanese automakers (Honda, Toyota...), I think this whole recall business is going to finally open up the doors for American automakers in our market again. They should be doing everything possible to capitalize on this huge gaff.
It is sort of sad that rational people assume that students need to be hooked like this, but heck, whatever works. The ends justify the means, no? Better than Sammy Hagar, anyway.
h/t: self-evident (which is way over my head most of the time)
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
For those of you that watched the Olympic opening ceremonies, I'm sure you recognized Joe Biden in attendance. The Vancouver police have just reported that there was a security breach that allowed an man with false credentials (i.e. a fake pass created from the internet) to be within a few yards of Vice President Joe Biden. Although the event resulted in no harm to Biden and the man was unarmed, it signals yet another failure of security. The man was able to get through several airport security-esque checkpoints with completely fabricated identification.
Considering the state dinner crashers and now this, is there something wrong with the way Obama and Biden are being protected? I mean, people are making it look pretty easy to get close to them. It certainly makes me wonder if there have been other breaches that have gone unnoticed. Does this happen with many administrations but it's just more publicized now? What are your thoughts?
I'm a little confused about why America keeps listening to what Sarah Palin has to say, but I found this tidbit interesting. Apparently the popular cartoon show "Family Guy" featured a character with down syndrome in their latest episode. Palin found it especially offensive, as it was an obvious dig towards herself and her family when the character proclaimed that her mother was the "former governor of Alaska."
At first, I saw why Palin would find this offensive. Mental and physical disabilities are extremely touchy. However, after watching the clip of the show and the AP video, I'm starting feel like Palin is overreacting. She isn't the only one to be made fun of by the often borderline-inappropriate show. And the "joke" was literally two seconds of the entire show. I didn't find it particularly funny or necessary, but I also don't think Palin should really be focusing her attention on fighting this. Is she just looking for things to criticize these days? What do you think? (p.s. it makes a lot more sense if you watch the short video in the link)
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In a push for widespread participation, advertising for the 2010 census was produced in more languages than ever: 28. The budget for the 2010 census was larger than previous census budgets, allowing for high-profile advertising opportunities like the Superbowl. Read more here.
There have also been efforts to include illegal immigrants in the 2010 census. Says this article, "In October, census officials said they would not ask the Department of Homeland Security to suspend immigration raids during the census period, reversing a policy from 2000, when an immigration moratorium was observed. But census officials say there is no change in a longstanding policy that they do not share identity data with the Department of Homeland Security or any other agency." Essentially, and rightly so, everyone should feel that they can safely respond to the census.
Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio has taken an odd approach to the issue of illegal immigrants and the census. His staunch support of excluding undocumented immigrants from the census could hurt the state in which he is currently seeking office; Florida could stand to gain a Congressional seat by including more of its inhabitants in the census. According to this post at the Huffington Post, "Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution clearly states that representatives should be apportioned according to a count of 'the whole number of persons in each state.' This includes non-voters, non-citizens and yes, undocumented immigrants." Aside from potentially hurting his state (loss of federal funding and a potential Congressional seat), Rubio's "voter's rights" argument for excluding undocumented immigrants is pretty much crushed by the text of the Constitution.
One final bit of census drama here. Basically, there's controversy as to whether prison inmates count as residents of the place where they are in prison (the status quo) or as residents of where they lived prior to imprisonment. Counting prisoners in the former way "inflates the population of the mostly white, rural towns that have the prisons." Prisoners are generally not representative of the population of the communities in which they are held; does this unfairly take away potential federal funding from prisoners' former neighborhoods? Keep in mind that "the places prisoners come from and the places where they are bunked share a lot in common, such as poverty and unemployment. They also share a hunger for the good schools and jobs that political power brings." Do prisoners count as residents of the city in which they physically reside, albeit unwillingly?
Any thoughts on the census in general?
I am sure those of you who watched the woman's snowboard cross the last Winter Olympics recall an incident in the final round. Lindsey Jacobellis, representing the
This year, Lindsey came out ready for revenge. And once again she failed to win gold, let alone make it to the metal round. She lost control and hit a gate off of a jump and was automatically disqualified. Similar to many other Olympians, Jacobellis just did not have luck on her side. Do the Olympics really demonstrate who the greatest winter athletes are in the world? Do not get me wrong, everyone at the Olympics is very talented, but could the medalist just be the ones with the lucky run?