Saturday, May 22, 2010

Whoo Blog

Howdy kids,
Of course you are welcome to keep reading the blog, but FYI no new posts/comments will be accepted for grading purposes, so I suspect it will be mostly defunct until the fall. Have a great summer!
-- Mr. Silton

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stocks dive, Dow off 376 on world economic worries

The stocks have taken a big dip on the charts recently. There have been fears growing about Europe's debt crisis could spread around the world. The U.S. economic recover can be undermined. The Dow Jones Industrial average has fallen about 376 points, this was the biggest point drop since February of 2009. There have been showings of losses for 2010. Interest rates have fallen sharply in the Treasury market. Also the number of unemployment has increased in the past week or so.

I believe that the stock market will always do this. It will always drop and rise; however, sometimes there may be reasons to it but hopefully it will rise again. Lets hope that this drop in the market isn't so dramatic.

Malik Shehade

Stealing Picasso

An obvious professional thief stole five paintings worth more than $100 million in a museum in Paris. Art by Picasso and Matisse were taken in an overnight heist Thursday at the Paris modern art museum because of a broken alarm system. The alarm system was reported broken for awhile and employees said they where waiting for replacement part for the system. This is crazy and i wish there was more information on this. It makes you think of the movies and men in all black tip toeing threw an all but empty museum.

Unjust iranian imprisonment

While three American hikers were treking threw Iran's Iraq's scenic mountainous northern Kurdish region. They where accused of spying and entering Iran illegally on the border of Iraq. The mothers of these Berkley studtent's are hart broken and distraught b/c it is possible that there sons might have too go to one of the worst prisons in Iran. In my own personal belife i think that the court systems in Iraq could have done a much better job investigateing this so called crime.

US Stands Alone in Ban Against Gays in Military

During a recent congressional hearing on the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell," policy, countries from around the world testified to how little openly gay people in their military affected the morale of their units. The Canadian Army, the Royal Dutch Army, and even the British Royal Navy, all took turns criticizing "the Land of the Free" for banning another equality. The countries stated that by allowing gays in their military they have "better retention of qualified soldiers and sailors in key positions", "more volunteers to choose from", and "because gays and lesbians are less likely to become parents, they tend to stay in the military longer." They also stated that there was absolutely no evidence that homosexuals did not get along with any other members. There seems to be no reason behind keeping gays from their natural right to serve in the U.S. military.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Technology vs. Government

The linked article popped up on my Google news feed and it brought a few ideas to my mind. It's about a federal judge in San Fransisco who sided with an anonymous online avatar named Stokklerk who apparently posted on a blog criticizing chief executive, George Jensen. Criticism happens all over the internet in blogs and threads and this case wasn't much different from any other about online comments.

What got me thinking was what would happen to the United States if the reverse of the decision had happened. What if the federal courts decided that the internet needed to be watched and supervised? Sure it goes against the first amendment and the right to speak, but in a time of facebook, twitter, and texting the world is drastically changing. Its a pretty far-off thought, but it would scare me if our country became a less free country because technology allows us to network to whoever we want and say whatever we please and thus needs to be monitored. Who knows what can happen in the near future, Maybe not going as far as losing our freedom of speech, but perhaps our government would requre all our comments to be posted behind a known and track-able screen name? Like I said, its a whacky scenario, and for the time being I'm grateful to be able to type a blog post like this and at least have the option to be anonymous.

4.5-magnitude quake strikes Southern California

Last night there was a 4.5 earthquake in southern California. It was about 18 miles west of El Centro, California. Scientist say that it struck 6.3 miles deep. It was an aftershock from a 7.2 earthquake on April, 4 near Baja California.(2 killed, 100 injured). There has been lots of earthquakes lately and I think that there might just be one even bigger pretty soon. Lets hope that it doesn't happen and hope that these earthquakes stop pretty soon.

Malik Shehade

Samaritan House Offers a Hand

In the midst of our current economic crisis, Samaritan House plays superman by continually saving the financially burdened. With millions having lost their jobs, or suffered a sharp drop in their earnings, savings accounts have been drained, and the ability to pay rent has been lost. Homelessness statistics have reached levels paralleling those from the Great Depression, but the ability of the government's bank account to provide a "safety net" for our population is not the same as it once was. While Obama puts forth his stimulus package, the question remains "who deserves money the most?" Our government has figured that by distributing dollars into grants for smaller regions local government can figure out who needs it most. Samaritan House is one of the social service agencies that receives government funding. It's goal to help struggling families was highlighted by the New York Times, for its work specifically in San Mateo. The new building distributes upwards of 500 meals a day, and provides medical and dental insurance for jobless families. They also fill out countless amounts of paperwork for the homeless prevention program. While government funding is a huge source of their income, Samaritan House survives on generous donations from the public. Around this time they struggle to continue to support the community with lulls in donations. It is our responsibility to fund for these struggling agencies or should the government give larger amounts of funding to aid the economically challenged population?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Civil rights group file challenge to Arizona immigration law

A lawsuit was filed for the Arizona Immigration Laws. It concerned civil rights and how this possibly is violating their rights. The Immigration laws can lead to racial profiling because an officer can ask for legal residence of the U.S. and it was based on suspicion, however; they amended the law to if one has been arrested then they could check. Critics believe that it will lead to racial profiling.

I believe that the Arizona Immigration Laws are violating many peoples civil rights. Also, i think that the critics are right that it will lead to racial profiling because cops are just like that. Also, another problem that could possibly happen is that they accuse the wrong people of being immigrants and it can lead to a big issue.

Malik Shehade

US officials testify before senate committee on gulf spill

As the oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spread out rapidly, the US senate committee is questioning Janet Napolitano of the Homeland Security and Admiral Peter Neffenger of the Coast Guard about the government's response to the spill. The oil spill, located approximately 40 miles from the coast of Louisiana, is the worst in US history.

Progress is being made towards clearing the oil from the ocean and the company whose oil rig blew up has been able to use a pipe to bring the leaking oil out from the water. The oil, which is leaking out of the broken well, is flowing out at 200,000 gallons per day. If nothing is done about this environmental disaster, the oil will continue to leak and spread towards our southern coastline.

In response to the Senate's questions, Janet Napolitano said, "The federal government will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that BP stops the leaks, contains the spill, and mitigates the spill's impact on the environment, the economy, and public health,"

After acknowledging that the government's efforts were limited, Admiral Peter Neffenger went on to saying that even after training, the Coast Guard is still unable to control an oil spill of this size. Also, BP has given money to states whose coasts will be affected by the oil spill and to the small businesses hurt by the spill. Hopefully, the government's methods of removing the oil will prove to be effective and the oil will be removed from the water.


This article might be of particular interest to Jewish students. It opens with an examination of how younger Jewish Americans are less inclined to support Israel than previous generations, and proceeds to argue that the "Jewish establishment" has failed to see the forest for the trees, in general.

How Necessary is College

As graduation approaches us all, and our fellow classmates seem to have college fever, I look on the few of my peers whom are not so stoked about where they are going next year. While junior colleges seem to have a bad rep, and trade schools are hardly ever an option, I began to wonder the true benefit of a degree from a 4-year school. I stumbled upon this article and found its argument quite compelling. How many friends do you know that simply became part of the college process "just cuz" and base their application process on the pressures of our modern day culture. Our school, our parents, even our friends emphasize the necessity of attending a prestigious college. It's the favored subject at lunch, and the go-to question adults use for that annoying small talk: "So where are you headed next year?!". In this article Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder blames the cultural notion of “credential inflation” for the stream of unqualified students into four-year colleges. Vedder says his research has found that the number of new jobs requiring college degrees is less than the number of college graduates. So is it worth it for us all to be sucked into the idea that it is necessary for us to survive only with a degree. Vedder also makes sure to mention the huge debt students find themselves in once graduation time comes around. The average student debt load in 2008 was $23,200 — a nearly $5,000 increase over five years. He also mentions that "two-thirds of all students graduating from four-year schools owe money on student loans". With unemployment rates for college students doubling over the past few years, their seems little incentive to pursue further education when looking at the big picture. However, our government encourages success in college. Margaret Spelling, the federal education secretary under George Bush, says that "it is crucial to the success of our country and to us as individuals to graduate more students from college". In essence, this article weighs both sides of the argument without taking biased. Yet, I am subject to the "the social acceptance that comes with that accomplishment". How does everyone else feel? College: Necessary or not?

hopped into science

My article is about how a new species of animal was found in the Foja mountains of Indonesia when herpetologist Paul Oliver spotted a frog sitting on a bag of rice inside at his scientific campsite. It turned out to be an unknown type of long-nosed frog that he dubbed Pinocchio. I think it's crazy that a brand new species of animal was found by accident and even more so inside of the camp site instead of on expedition.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Housing Optimists Are "Not Paying Attention" to the Facts, Says Dean Baker

Sorry, it wont let me post this blog with the article imbedded into the title so here it is:,^dji,^gspc,xlf,tlt,tbt

I was just browsing the news on yahoo and i saw a headline saying "Expert: Housing optimists wrong", and i thought of what we were talking about and about the video we are currently watching. It's a pretty short article but economist Dean Baker talking about his opinion on our housing situation. Apparently people are saying that housing purchases will rise soon. However, Baker says otherwise. He believes that "...we're going to see a big fall-off in purchases for the rest of 2010 and even into 2011."

What do you guys think? Is there any chance of housing property values to increase anytime soon?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Save the environment please!

What was up with the weather today? it's still raining and freezing cold in the beginning of May?! It's almost summer! If you ask anyone they will say that all these affects that we are feeling are due to global warming. I guess all the harm that we are causing to the environment is catching up to us.

On Monday, the UN warned that life-sustaining natural environments were likely to become irreversible due to all the extensive damage we have caused the environment. Deforestation, pollution and over-exploitation have caused irreversible damage to the productive capacity of vunerable ecosystems such as rain forests, lakes, and coral reefs.

"As a result of the degradation, the world is moving closer to several "tipping points" beyond which some ecosystems that play a part in natural processes such as climate or the food chain may be permanently damaged, a United Nations report said."

Now that's scary! We have been nurtured by the earth and everything it provides for us, but we have done nothing but hurt the Earth. It's obvious that we would feel the effects sooner or later. How do you guys feel about the environment? Do you think we are moving towards cleaner energy fast enough? Are we dedicating enough time and resources on trying to change our oil dependency?

5 dead as tornadoes rip through Southern Plains

Again there is more news about another natural disaster causing havoc on another city. Tornados have devastated Southern Plains in Oklahoma. These tornadoes have killed 5 people and injured many more. Reporters say that this storm is part of a "violent weather system that also spawned twisters in Kansas and that forecasters had been predicting since last week." More than 37,000 houses and businesses have lost power.

Even thought the bad weather had been predicted and citizens have already been forewarned, still many people have been affected. Tv broadcasters had spent an entire day on storm coverage. It's scary how powerful the forces of weather are. Is there more the government can do to protect its citizens from the dangers of these natural disasters?

Greece's financial crisis can affect the USA

Not only is the U.S. in a financial crisis but so in Greece! In Greece the government is cutting a teachers salary of $27,300 by about 5,300 and also the government is going to raise the value of added tax on a a lot of purchased items by at least 23%. And how all of this is going to affect the U.S. is how Europe's debt crisis is going to affect American stores. It will make some of the U.S. corporations to raise money by stock market investors. So the Obama administration is going to have to find a way of creating more jobs by doubling the amount of U.S. exports. In Europe they had a bid to try and stop the "Aegean Flu" from spreading and to support their currency. So on Sunday European leaders announced that they made a deal with the "International Monetary Fund" to have as much as 750 billion euros ($995 billion) to go towards loans and to other financing. The U.S. is all apart of these loans because the U.S. banks hold about 16.5 billion in loans to all of the Greek borrowers. Even though American banks hold 10 times more than that amount. So how this could be a bad thing for the U.S. is if the Europeans have a huge amount of losses on the Greek loans than it could make it harder for the U.S. to get credit if Europe's banks lose money because of Greek losses. So commercial paper (corporate borrowing) for the U.S. is about 30%. An affect from the crisis for the Europeans at least the euro has fallen more than 11% against the U.S. dollar, so that makes Europe products less expensive. Also on the positive side for the U.S. is that for the U.S. Treasury securities it is making Uncle Sam cheaper to borrow so now the U.S. can get cheaper loans for 3o years at rate of 4.28%! So it looks really bad for Greece right now do.. Do you think this is really going to affect the U.S. in a positive or negative way what do you think?

Oil Spill Gulf of Mexico

So last week the massive oil spill was the worst rig explosion in decades that is continuing to spread. A lot of questions are being asked about the safety procedures and environmental response plans of BP and Transocean (contractor drilling the well). According to the Huffington Post reportedly said that BP and Transocean and tons of other people that work in the oil industry have said to oppose new safety regulations that was proposed last year by a federal agency that oversees offshore drilling. Now new regulations that the industry has been attacked on with tons of letters sent to the agency showing how many accidents have happened due to rigs in the past five years. One of the letters sent to the agency was that a lawsuit was filed by a wife of one of the 11 oil workers saying that the companies violated "numerous statutes and regulations" that was issued by the federal agencies. Now members of congress are getting involved and they are demanding answers from the agencies and companies also the administration officials have also started to investigate the incident. The investigation is still going on and until it is complete how are we suppose to know if this "rule" could of prevented this whole oil spill. But if the investigation goes all the way through hopefully it will make oil rig operations safer.
*Posted last week but didn't show up .. i know late sorry

States decide not to create insurance pools for uninsured

Throughout the nation 18 governors who are mostly Republican have decided to create temporary high risk insurance pools for the people that are in pre-existing conditions that are uninsured all because of the new health reform law that allocates a total of $5 billion to the states for the new plans. The new plan will run through all the way until Janunary 1, 2014. The Republican governors have decided to leave it up to the Obama administration. The Obama administration say that this funding is insufficient and is going to force the states to fund their own money once the money will run out. The Texas governor Rick Perry commented on this issue saying that, " I do not believe the aggressive implementation and the lack of assurances on financial solvency of the program are in the best interest of Texas taxpayers, families, patients or health care providers." Texas also has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation at about 25% , and Texas is also one of the 35 states that is already operating the high-risk pool. Also 29 states said that they would partake in this plan. And for the other states against the usage of the federal funds a high risk pool will be put into place by the Federal government. So my question is do you think that regardless of the states decision do you think it will help people afford insurance through the high risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions?
*Also meant to be posted last week!

Cal Protestors Stage Hunger Strike due to Immigration Law

On Monday at the California Hall about 25 people started a hunger strike to the UC officials trying to denounce the Arizona Immigration bill that was passed last week. These strikers plan to starve themselves but can only drink water. The hungry strikers said that they plan to camp out in front of the building up to a week or until they get a response from UC Berkley Chancellor Robert and other officials. These strikers are going to wait until officials respond to them so they can denounce Arizona sounds really reasonable, right? In Berkley there are more than 100 supporters that are gathering around carrying signs reading "Hungry for Justice" and "Down with SB 1070" These UC Berkley students are also demanding that the campus administration will drop all the student conduct charges against activist, and also ending layoffs of low-wage employees and rehire already laid off union workers. Also students are asking to rehire laid off janitors and to make the campus a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. For these strikers it is going to be a long starving week! So what do you think? Do you think their efforts will make a difference or are they just waisting their times? How do you feel about the bill of Arizona do you agree with it or disagree?
*This initially was suppose to be posted last week sorry!

Obama chooses Elena Kagan for Supreme Court

Obama recently picked Elena Kagan for Supreme Court to replace John Paul Stevens (who is retiring). This is a key step in making his influence on the judiciary system set in stone.

If Kagan would to become a member of the supreme court justices, this would be the first time in history a Protestant was not a judge on the supreme court. She got her law degree from Harvard University and served as dean of the Harvard Law school. Kagan also was apart of the Clinton administration as associate White House counsel. Kagan served as solicitor general since April 2009 and is the administration's top lawyer before the Supreme Court and has argued several high-profile cases. The solicitor general is the person who represents the supreme court and determines the legal position of the U.S. supreme court. They also file amicus curiae briefs in the Federal government. She has liberal beliefs and has worked to prevent military recruitment from coming to Harvard because of their "don't ask don't tell" policy of gays in the military.

The fact that she has never been a judge before can be very risky. Although, based on her resume it sound like she has spent a lot of time dealing with legal questions and working with the supreme court. Also, she has a "relatively short paper trail compared to other Supreme Court nominees." She will appears to be a very intellectual woman and can have a lot to offer.

I just realized Ellery made a post about the same topic, sorry!

California tourism expected to rise 3% this year

Good news for California's damaged economy, the state's Travel and Tourism commission predicted a 3% rise in tourism for 2010. This will be about a 5% rise over 2009. This means that about $92 million will we spent on food, lodging, and other expenses.

According to Commission head Caroline Beteta, there is greater consumer confidence in the economy and therefore traveling will continue on an upward rise. This data is based on a survey conducted by a Pennsylvania company's analysis of national economic data, unemployment rates and other factors.

Many of the tourists are expected to some from South Korea, China and Australia.

I think this is very good news. Hopefully the tourism will continue on an upward slope. I believe the state of California should also do everything it can to invest in tourism so there will be more incentive for more people to come. In LA, for example, I think the city should try and do something about all the homeless. This process will take time and money but it will do a lot of good in the long run.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Federal Reserve opens credit line to Europe

Europe's economic situation is in crisis and they are scared that their will spread to other countries. Greece is already very close to having their economy fall apart. In addition to our Federal Reserve, other banks such as the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, and the Swiss National Bank and the Bank of Japan also are involved in the dollar swap effort.

"The crisis has pushed up demand for the U.S. dollar and has sharply weakened the value of the euro, the currency used by 16 European countries. Eurozone ministers and the IMF this weekend approved a $140 billion rescue package of loans to Greece for the next three years to keep it from imploding."

So even though we are in a recession, we are supposed to bail out Europe?

Kagan chosen by Obama

Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be nominated by Barack Obama for a Supreme Court position to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. This will be the first time in history that the Court will have three female justices. Justice Kagan will be the youngest judge in the Court at 50 years old. This will allow Obama's ideas to stay within the court for a long while.

She is the first female dean at Harvard Law School, and "the first woman to serve as the top Supreme Court lawyer for any administration." Her ability to bring people with differing view points was the thing that stood out to Obama. However, her law experience compared to other candidates is very thin. It is guaranteed that she will be questioned about this at her hearing. So her next step is to win the Senate hearing. Democrats currently have 59 votes so Kagan has a higher chance of becoming a Justice.

What do you guys think about Obama's nomination? Do you think that her experience is too little?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The U.S. gains 290,000 jobs in April

April's job report is the best its been in about 4 years! This is a great sign of recovery in the U.S. economy. This results were much better then anticipated by economists which were expecting about 187,000 new jobs. So far, the job market has been on an upward slope since the beginning of 2010 with 573,000 new jobs. This has been a result of previously discouraged job seekers who dropped out the market but came back to work. Also, about 2/3 of the industry has been adding jobs instead of cutting them.

Despite this upward slope of jobs, this is not making much a dent in the 8.4 million lost jobs between 2008 and 2009. Although, I still find this upward slope a great sign that the economy is finally improving.

Male birthcontrol?!

"The pill", which was released 50 years ago, allowed women to take control of their bodies in a whole new way. There is all kinds of methods to prevented unwanted pregnancies from everything to the patch to the pill and even taking a shot. This forces women to alter their bodies chemistry and risk potentially dangerous side effects... but what about men?

Scientists from around the world have been working on methods for male birth control. Even though a male pregnancy prevention pill is still around 5 to 10 years away from being on the market, the results are promising. There is also talk of a "spray on condom" which has been in testing since 2007.

In birth control for women, hormones are used to make the brain think that the women is pregnant and turns off egg production. Although, since males do not get their period this would be much more difficult to do. The pill for males uses a combination of testosterone and progestin and shuts down signals from the brain to the testes.

I believe that a birth control method for males is due. Although, it seams like the side effects for males because of the birth control could potentially be much more dangerous and harmful. Also, since the pill has been around for so long, it is probably developed enough to work properly and have little side effects... even though that varies person to person. I also believe that it is the woman's responsibility to take care of their bodies and prevent any unwanted pregnancies and if woman really care about that then they should not put the responsibility on anyone else... since the man isn't the one who would have the baby.

Another interesting fact is that most women would definitely trust their partners to take the pill.

So, what do you think? How successful could the male contraceptive be? And potentially how harmful could be it for the male body? Should males even have the pressure put on them to take birth control?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fall in the Wall Street

Today, a computerized sell off caused a huge panic in the Wall Street. Dow Jones was down 1000 points, close to 10% of its value, in about 30 minutes. This could have been one of the most bumpy days in Wall Street history. However, this big mistake hasn't been linked to a culprit yet. It is unclear what actually caused the disturbance. Investigators say that i might have been caused by a trader who accidentally put in an order to sell $16 billion instead of $16 million. But it is still unclear. To settle everything, NASDAQ issued a statement saying that they were going to cancel all transactions and trades between the times 2:40 p.m. and 3.

Investigators also found that the initial fall in stocks were aided by computerized trading. When the computers recognized a dip in stocks, they automatically sold.

"'I think the machines just took over. There's not a lot of human interaction," said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group. "We've known that automated trading can run away from you, and I think that's what we saw happen today.'"

I think its kind of scary how so much money in stocks is being controlled by machines. Computers only do what they are programed to do; they have no/limited flexibility. If something unexpected happens again like today, robots can't adapt. How do you guys feel about machines taking over? Not just in the stock market but in other businesses and companies.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

United States scored low on motherhood rankings

The United States recently scored low on a survey conducted by campaign group's list of the best countries in the world to be a mother. Many developing countries, such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, placed higher then the United States. Norway came top of the list due to access to contraception, most generous maternity leaves in the world (the U.S.'s is about 6 weeks to 3 months) and the women there are well paid. On the other hand, Afghanistan came bottom of the list because of the high levels of infant deaths, low life expectancy rates of females and worst primary education for women in the world.

Top 10: (Best to worst) Norway, Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Bottom 10: Afghanistan, followed by Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea.

According to Mary Beth Powers, the bottom countries scored low because of lack of skilled birth attendants and difficult to access birth control. These women face the most pregnancies and the most dangerous birth situations which result in newborn and maternal deaths.

The United States got 28th place because of its ungenerous maternity leave policy, maternal morality rate (1/4800- highest of any developed country in the world). It also did not do well on the under-age-five mortality rate which is at 8/1000 per births.

Its funny to me how we are the most wealthy nation in the world but we are too cheap to give mothers the chance to nurture their newborn children. Even Canada has a one year maternity leave!!! I believe too many issues in this country are caused by indifference, ignorance and pure laziness and this study is a perfect example how our country can turn its back to what really matters for the sake of "getting ahead".

Follow-up on the Gulf coast oil spill

I read an article on CNN's website titled "Is oil spill 'Obama's Katrina'?" When I read this I got really upset. The article contained many quotes of people (mostly affected citizens in the area and republicans) claiming that this whole crisis was Obama's fault. They claimed he didn't act quickly enough and that he wasn't doing enough to help fix the problem. My question for you is who's fault is it when a large bureaucracy is involved and mainly the cause of the problem? Is their responsibility to fix the problem or the government's (Obama's) problem to fix it? Also, is it fair to compare this oil spill incident to Bush's Hurricane Katrina incident (are they comparable in how each president responded to the situation?)

Terminator terminates support for offshore drilling

Yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who used to be a "Drill baby drill," withdrew his support for offshore drilling because of what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Before, he was very supportive of expanding offshore drilling and proposed to expand offshore drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara. Even though offshore drill would help California with our $20 billion debt, Gov. Schwarzenegger says he'd rather find another way to make up the money than to risk the chance of endangering the ocean environment.

I guess this is one step towards the right step for cleaner energy. But, it's up to you guys to decide whether you think that he made the right choice. Do you guys think that the risk of another oil rig explosion is really low and should be chanced in order to pay our debt back?

Hollywood "boo-boo"

While CNN Entertainment Senior Producer David Daniel was walking to work today he noticed two workers cleaning off the newest star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was unveiled today at 11:30 am. It was for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the star of "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and more commonly known for staring in Seinfeld. What he noticed as he passed by was that the workers had spelled Julia Luis Dreyfus instead of Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Daniel quickly told the two workers of their mistake, who were then confused what to do. In the end Julia was notified and thought it was hysterical.... and wanted them to leave it as it was. Unfortunately the workers carved out the Luis and replaced it with a filler Louis-for the ceremony and gave the carved out "Luis" to Louis-Dreyfus as a memento.

When I read this article I really didn't know what to think. Should I sympathize the workers for their careless mistake? or should I shake my head at the stupidity of it? Either way, the situation happened and was resolved quickly unlike my previous post about the April 20 oil rig explosion and subsequent spill...

Gulf coast oil spill

On April 20, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon exploration rig not only killed 11 workers, but has rapidly become more of threat than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill incident. At least 1.6 million gallons of crude oil have leaked out into the Gulf coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida so far. Although no one knows for sure how much oil could be possibly leaked out into the ocean and later spread to coastal beaches, marshes, panhandles, etc, a company source confirmed reports that it was tens of millions of barrels.

This frightening amount of oil can severely and permanently hurt fishing companies as well as wildlife in these regions. Pretty much this oil spill is going to affect everyone is that area "the concerns are both environmental and economic. The fishing industry is worried that marine life will die — and that no one will want to buy products from contaminated water anyway. Tourism officials are worried that vacationers won't want to visit oil-tainted beaches. And environmentalists are worried about how the oil will affect the countless birds, coral and mammals in and near the Gulf" (msnbc).

However, what makes matters worse is the weather. Due to storms and windy conditions, clean-up crews from many different cities have not been able to sail out and start containing the spill. In addition experts have used methods such skimming the oil, burning it or dispersing it with chemicals, but have had little success.

Although BP has their own solution by using 74-ton domes to store contaminated water and oil. They did make these domes ahead of time because seemed inconceivable.

Within a few days, experts have seen the oil spill triple in size and is rapidly spreading.

What can we do to stop/prevent this current incident from happening again in the future(have we learned our lesson yet???) What can we do now? Who is responsible for this crisis? How will it affect our economy in the long run?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Times Square bomb plot suspect arrested.

As you all may of heard of, there was an attempted terrorist attack Saturday night in the heart of Manhattan. The suspect, Faisal Shahzad, bought a Nissan Pathfinder in a Connecticut shopping mall and paid for it in cash. The bomb in the SUV made up of propane tanks, fertilizer and gasoline failed to detonate. Faisal Shahzad, an American Citizen, was arrested in JFK airport while trying to catch a plane to Dubai. Investigators believe that Shazad did not act alone. As a matter of fact, the Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud released a video about 24 hours after the attempted attack claiming that the Taliban are prepared to inflict "painful blows" to all the major U.S. cities. Although, a military official said that there is no credible evidence that the Taliban are responsible for the attack. Kevin Berry, a former bomb squad member, said that the bomb had no known signature linking back to any other terrorist organizations. Also, the article said that bombs linked to the Taliban would have been much better quality. A former agent even called it a Rube Goldberg contraption, which reminded me of physics.

I believe it is extremely heart breaking to have a naturalized American citizen try and inflict so much pain but I am thankful that he was enough of an amateur to not even make the bomb properly. This makes me believe that he was not linked to the terrorist groups. Although, some of the evidence is in favor that there is a tie between them because of the video released so closely after and his attempt to leave the country. I am very curious to see how this all plays out.

So what do you guys think? Is there possibly a terrorist organization forming in our own country? Or is the Taliban responsible for the attempted attack? Or did Shahzad act alone? Will there be more possible attacks in the future? Is there the possibility that Shahzad is innocent?

Bullying kids who are obese

In this article I read, Dr. Julie Lumeng, an assistant research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor said that in her research, being overweight increased the risk of being the target of bullying by 63 percent. Previously, factors such as gender, race and family income levels, played more of a major role in determining whether a kid got bullied or not, but now it seems that it only matters if one is overweight. (I guess being overweight is more noticeable to bullies which can result in harassment and being bullied.)

She also went on to say that "If your child lets you know that he or she is being bullied, your first response should be to validate your child's feelings and let them know that it's not OK for someone to treat them like that" (Lumeng).

I totally agree with Lumeng that the first thing to tell one's child is that getting bullied is "not OK" because they are obese, or of a certian gender, race, or have a certain family income level. The parents as well as the children need to stand up and take action against the bullies and complain to higher authorities that harassment and getting bullied is unacceptable.

I will admit, I have been subject to harassment before and I have harassed others in the past and to this day I still see it happening at school (although we should act mature as seniors). I know you all see it to and may be subject to bullying or being bullied. Either way I want to know: What are some tips you have to help obese people survive against bullying? What are some health tips that can help one loose weight? How should this matter be handled at schools? Is America really becoming an obese nation? Should it be brought up to the national agenda as something we should focus on fixing? Will it have long term affects on our health and possibly affect our healthcare= more taxes?

Here's a picture which I find funny, yet disturbing (it's nothing gross I promise)

Student Loan Forgiveness

Good news everyone! Student Loan Forgiveness is here...but not really.

Many banks and businesses have felt the impact of stimulus packages. While businesses and banks are being saved, it seems as it students are being punished for wanting to earn an education as school tuition continues to grow. So why not implement a stimulus package aimed towards students?!

Even though we may not benefit from this bill for our undergraduate years, we can definitely take advantage of Obama's student loan forgiveness plan. According to this plan, a student would only have to pay 15% of their monthly salary for 10 years or until their debt has been paid off, after college if they find a steady job. If the student's salary isn't high enough, then they don't have to pay. "Under the traditional 10-year plan, a borrower who graduated with $25,000 in student loan debt and whose income is $30,000 a year would pay $288 a month at an interest rate of 6.8 percent, according to the the Department of Education's Web site. Now, the student could opt for payments of $172 a month spread over a longer time." The website says that all loans made on "July 1, 2009" and after will feel the effect of the bill. But this doesn't make sense so i checked up other websites and the date of implementation is July 1, 2014, the year we get our bachelors degrees...hopefully!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070

I'm surprised no one else has posted about this yet... During Friday's lunch, many of our classmates and peers dressed up in all white and put tape over their mouths (Dia de silencio) to protest against the Arizona Immigration Law.

For those of you who do not know what the Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 is, it is a bill that requires officials and agencies of Arizona to enforce the passage of illegal aliens, stopping to hire or soliciting work under specified circumstances, transporting, harboring or concealing unlawful aliens and is largely supported by Senator Russell Pearce and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

This has become a very controversial topic because many people believe that this bill conflicts with their Constitutional rights and racially profiles certain ethnicities, specifically minorities of Latin decent.

I want to know: What do you think of this bill? Does it violate our constitutional rights (why/ not)? How do you get around the process of stopping those who look "'illegal" without stopping those are are legal? How can you have reasonable suspicion when looking at two different people and assume one doesn't have papers? Also, Senator Russell Pearce argues that race is not an ethnicity (If they are illegal, they should be punished, it doesn't matter about race)? What do you guys think? Are illegal aliens really taking away American jobs? Should they be turned away from America if they are trying to make a better life for their kids?

Sorry I have a lot of questions (You don't have to answer them all)

Verizon v. AT&T

There is no link to this post. I have done some research and comparatively both Verizon Wireless and AT&T/Cingular services' plans are the same price, but what I've noticed is that Verizon Wireless has the best customer support as well as best coverage, whereas AT&T/Cingular have cool phones such as the iPhone and useful applications which in my opinion, made up for its lack in service. Although Verizon has the Droid, I have only seen a select few who own one, whereas eveyone these days has the iphone.

Although people have argued that AT&T/Cingular service isn't bad compared to Verizon, I must say they are completely, 100%, wrong. I've used Verizon Wireless for 7 years and have never been in an area where I wasn't covered. Recently I've switched to AT&T/Cingular and it seems I rarely have service, although the iphone is really cool!!

I also want to point out that AT&T/Cingular's contract with Apple is about to expire and starting in the summer of 2010, the iphone will be able to be connected to Verizon services. I regret being impatient, but there is nothing I can now, I'm stuck with AT&T/Cingular for 2 years.

Anyways, I want to know what you guys think about these questions: Will Apple and Verizon's contract hurt AT&T/Cingualar and make Verizon the supreme cell phone company? Will AT&T/Cingular be able to compete with Verizon? and Do you think this loss/gain in competition will affect our economy? (Why/why not)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New UC Admission Policy

Dear bloggers,

I want to personally apologize for not posting anything prior to today. I knowing being preoccupied with other activities is no excuse, but I set a goal to wake up early today (Saturday) and post like crazy so you can comment. Please enjoy!

Just a reminder: Today is the last day to send in your SIR (Statement of Intent to Register) to the college that you would like to attend next year. Coincidentally, this post is about college admissions, specifically in the UC (University of California) system.

Anyways, as we have all heard from college meetings with our counselors, teachers, or college representatives, colleges try and create diverse communities to better represent minority students who have worked hard and achieved the grades and test scores necessary for admission. Despite Proposition 209, which simply states schools can not discriminate against or giving preferential treatment to any individual group in public education on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin there have been an increasing number of hard working minorities who have achieved the grades and test scores necessary to be admitted.

Although the UC system has aimed at increasing student diversity, starting with the freshmen class of 2012, there will be a new policy which will reduce guarantee of freshman admission from the top 12.5 percent to 10 percent of California high school graduates, which means more out of state applicants would be granted admission. The new policy also eliminates the requirement to take subject tests (SAT II's).

The UC Academic Senate has proposed three new stimulation studies all of which do not promote diversity, although UC President Mark Yudof assures that they do (read the article to see the data summaries on these three stimulation studies).

Also, when some of the Academic Senate leaders were questioned about the policy, they said that the new freshmen eligibility and admission policy is about fairness, which would give more high-qualified students the chance to apply to the UC system and receive a full review of their applications. Again, this means more out of state applicants.

What do you (bloggers) think about the new policy, even though it doesn't necessarily apply to your undergraduate years, it may apply to your graduate years, if you so choose to go to grad school. Also, keep in mind that the UC system gets paid approximately $50,000 for out of state applicants who choose to attend their school. In addition, is it fair for the state of California to charge its citizens with high state taxes even though there is a declining rate of California students being admitted to its public universities?

Sorry this post was so long...

-Brian Kawamoto (AKA the wiser one)