Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Thirty three lawsuits were filed against various telecommunication companies by customers that had accused the companies of violating the customer's first amendment right. The case was brought into question because in 2008 Congress passed laws that included protection from legal liability for telecommunications companies that "allegedly helped the U.S. spy on Americans without warrants."
"In its unanimous ruling, the court noted comments made by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the legal immunity’s role in helping the government gather intelligence." Furthermore, in the past, government lawyers have argued that in stopping such cases, that "defending the program in court would jeopardize national security."
What do you all think of this? Do you think it was right for the courts to rule this law constitutional? Or, do you think by allowing this law to be constitutional, that we create a whole series of loop holes in our laws that our government can't afford to have?
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Obviously, it makes sense that people in Congress would on average make more than the average American. How else would they plan on getting money to run for election and campaign? But, do you think that this big financial gap still allows Congress to stay in touch with the "average Joe?" Or, do you think that the wealth gap can never allow Congress to accurately represent American citizens?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
All of this extra spending can help boost our economy by consumers spending more than their incomes. Also, because of a decrease in the unemployment rate, consumers have increased confidence and are more likely to borrow.
However, spending by credit cards is a very risky move for our economy. If consumers spend more than they can handle, it can cause a significant increase in American debt which contributed to the first financial crisis in 2008. The article even goes on to say that "about 6 percent of consumers, or 14 million Americans, are still paying off credit card bills from last Christmas."
So, my question to you all, is it better that Americans are spending more on Christmas this year than they did last year? Or, do you think the fact they're spending on credit is significantly more dangerous and thus will actually harm our economy more than help it?
The debate sparked when the rapper posted a video (see url below) on YouTube, where he announced that “324 kids at this school have made a decision for Jesus Christ.” Many have scrutinized this event because of its immense religious advocacy. And, as we all know, there have been Supreme Court cases that have officially banned religion in schools. However, at the same time, the government has had to decide at what point are we repressing a student's religious rights.
Other battles over religious similar to this one have occurred recently, especially in southern regions. So my question to you all is do you think that schools should completely ban religious practices in schools. Or, do you think that by doing so, schools will violate a student's right to the first amendment?
Monday, December 26, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Apparently, many of the signatures that Gingrich had were invalid, which is why many candidates get more than twice the amount of signatures needed. Gingrich is now hoping to use a write-in campaign, but Virginia does not allow write-ins for its primaries. Both Mitt Romney and Ron Paul were able to get enough signatures for Virginia, meaning they'll be the ones competing.
Now, if Virginia changes to allow write-ins, this would not be much of a problem, but it still highlights a type of failure on Gingrich's campaign, to not even get on the ballot.
What do you guys think? Is this an honest mistake, or should a candidate be more serious? Also, how do you think it will affect the outcome of other caucuses, and just his presidential campaign in general?
According to this article, it seems that the trade borders between China and North Korea opened up quickly after Kim Jong's death, partially due to N. Korea's dependence on China, but also perhaps as a sign to come, to be less isolationist? Though people have been told to grieve his death, the slogan is to 'Turn grief to strength,' and most people have been more focused to business and economy.
The article talks about how Kim Jong il's song Kim Jong un is now the new leader, he is still mostly a figurehead, and the country is ruled more by his relatives, like his aunt's husband, Jong Song Thaek. The hope is that, people like Jong Song Thaek, who oversaw the establishment of special economic zones and ties with China, will bring his policies in with the new change in leadership.
What do you guys think? Do you think that Kim Jong il's death marks a change in North Korea's foreign and economic policy? Or do you think that, once his son, Kim Jong un, regains power, he'll revert back to his father's ways?
Friday, December 23, 2011
The proposed law, signed by Gov. Nikkie Haely in May, would require voters wishing to vote in person to present one of five forms of photo identification. The current law does not require a photo ID. The stated intention in changing the current law was to reduce the amount of voter fraud caused by impersonation of another voter.
While state concerns are noted and deemed legitimate,the current voting law already addresses these problems with voter identification.
South Carolina can and may appeal this decision to the US District Court in Washington but untill then "the submitted change continues to be legally unenforceable."
NAACP named this state as one of the 14 that passed laws restrcting voting or voter resgistration process in ways that it says disproportionately impacts minorities. In the NAACP report, it is claimed that such restrcitive laws "assault Americans' voting rights.
The report, released December 5, calls the laws "coordinated efforts to suppress the growing voting strength of communities of color, the poor, the elderly, the disabled, and the young."
Haley slams the decision as "outrageous" in a statement provided to The State newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.
What is your opinion? Do you think that this law is preventing voting fraud? or is it violating and assaulting our American rights?
He is suing Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM for neglecting to prevent the underwear bomber from boarding Flight 253 on Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta.
Airlines have declined to comment on the court case.
According to records, the incident started when a loud noise was heard in the back of the plane and a man was engulfed in a fireball. The man remained expressionless while his body was consumed by the inferno.
Four passengers restrained him and helped put out the fire and was escorted to the first class section of the plane
Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab pleaded guilty to trying to blow up the airplane and is facing life in jail.
US officials accuse al Qaeda was behind the bombing attempt.
Does this man have the right to sue the airlines for something like this?
Monday, December 19, 2011
Above is a video explaining this bill. There's not much I can say there that the video doesn't cover. Its pretty simple to understand and also tells of the dangers that this bill poses to websites that are widely used today (eg. facebook, youtube, spotify, etc.) Anything that contains content under copyright is going to be shut down and taken down.
Does this violate any of our constitutional rights? Should the government be allowed to pass something like this?
Below is a two part video by Colbert elaborating on this bill as well. He also brings on two experts one for and one against SOPA to talk about their sides of the argument.
This is a video explaining this act, the later part of this video is an opinion on this act. This act allows domestic terrorist investigations to be carried out by the military. This allows people to be thrown into jail without due process and is an obvious violation to our constitutional rights. Yet somehow, this bill PASSED THROUGH CONGRESS WITH A SHOCKING MAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE. House passed the bill 283 to 136, and the senate 86 to 13. How a piece of legislation so blatantly violating our rights passed through Congress is beyond my ability to explain. For further information, read the link below.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
But the bill only lasts for two months.
Some politicians are criticizing the Senate's inability to approve a year long bill saying it is a "failure for the American people." The House of Representatives will begin debating the legislation next week but the passage of it is questionable because the Republicans in the House have been trying to use the payroll tax cut as a way to pass construction for Keystone XL. Obama has threatened to veto the bill if those provisions are included.
Do you believe that the bipartisan approval of the bill in the Senate, even if it only extends for a brief period of time, is a success?
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Since 2008, unemployment benefits have been extended eight times, costing taxpayers around $185 billion dollars. Now, however, Congress is debating whether or not to extend unemployment benefits once again, which would cost another $44 billion.
Some economists say that by lengthening unemployment benefits, unemployment is kept high due to the safety net that is provided to the people.
"That's because people can afford to be choosier about taking jobs when they are receiving a regular check. Others may have dropped out of the labor market -- to go back to school, for instance -- but don't because they want to keep collecting a check."
However, the unemployed and supporters argue that unemployment remains high due to the difficulty in finding and maintaining a job.
Do you think that extending unemployment benefits contributes to the high rate of unemployment? Should unemployment benefits be extended for another year?
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Because Medicare is an entitlement program, attempts to reform it are extremely risky politically and are difficult to pass. Capping Medicare spending would likely increase costs for beneficiaries with the traditional program and encourage people to turn to private companies. What are your thoughts about the proposition and how it will be received in Congress?
This is Beyonce's second accusation of plagiarism this year. In May, her performance of "Run the World" at the Billboard Music awards appeared to have choreography taken by choreographer Lorella Cuccarini. Beyonce admitted that Cuccarini inspired her.
These accusations remind me of our "Cheating Culture" reading from earlier this semester. What role do you believe Beyonce's plagiarisms, or other forms of cheating by celebrities, play in reinforcing a culture of unethical behavior?
South Carolina and Texas have both recently tried to voting requirements that would ask all voters to present government-issued IDs at polling places. However, 25% of African-Americans and 19% of Latinos do not meet the requirement.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I'm not going to lie--I laughed really, really hard when I read this. However, rejecting donations from redheads is still discrimination against a particular group of people; just as much as if the director were to replace "redheads" with "blacks" or "gays" or "asians." From a business perspective, do you think that it is alright to exclude a certain group of people if it means meeting the public's demand?
This article goes back to the discussion over whether or not California is too democratic. While direct initiatives can get new laws passed more quickly and give the public more power, they also allow new laws, such as prop 13, to get passed which, as evidenced by this article, have substantial consequences. Governor Brown is calling for more democracy to fix the current budget crisis by asking the voters, and not the legislature, to fix the crisis. Do you believe that the public is willing/able to fix it? Or do you think the budget crisis should be dealt with primarily by the legislature?
"TransCanada (), the company that wants to build the pipeline, says Keystone would create 20,000 'direct' jobs. That includes 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 jobs making stuff like pump houses and the pipe itself.
It also projects nearly 120,000 'indirect' jobs -- think restaurant workers and hotel employees to support the construction."
While this project does have the potential to create more jobs, there is a downside as well. Firstly, TransCanada reports that only around 100 permanent jobs will be created by this project. Furthermore, there are environmental issues that could arise with this new pipeline.
"jobs could also be lost due to crop failures or other events associated with higher pollution levels the oil sands would bring. And it said more oil would mean a decline in green jobs."
Furthermore, "one study from Cornell University said the pipeline could actually lead to a decline in jobs in the long run. One reason is that the pipeline would lead to higher fuel prices in the Midwest, the study said, and that would slow consumer spending and cost jobs."
So do you think this project will actually help? Or will it simply cost more jobs than it will create? Is this project worth it?
Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
They have various apps such as soundboards, or apps that could instantly stream his brain fart that was on live television, or for the more serious viewers, an actual app to catch up and follow whats happening with his campaign to be President of the United States.
There are many spoofs,apps, or even . . . wait what was the third one? With many types of things like these surfacing on the web, I believe that people are starting to believe that Rick Perry is a joke, running for President. It seems that the some of current media is just finding ways to portray him as the person people wouldn't want as president, or makes a joke out of the things he does.
How do you think Apps, spoofs, and other things hate related on Rick Perry are affecting his support for president? Could things like these play a major role in the demise of his hopes of being the primary Republican presidential candidate?
To me, its amazing how easy it was for the secretary to trust a vegetable. I mean honestly, a vegetable? It was as if the secretary had just given the vegetable a key to city hall, trusting him with it. He hadn't even considered the fact that the vegetable could just sugar coat it and tell him what he wants to hear and later on will go against his/her own word.
(This part is a real question) What are your thoughts on how the American government intervenes with foreign affairs now a day? How could a Vice President or even a secretary trust a leader from a foreign nation? What factors go into that decision of trust? How could they be trusted in the future?
So what do you think? Will Romney's status as a wealthy businessman, which he seems to openly flaunt, hurt his appeal to voters?
Lowes, the popular home improvement store, pulled its advertising from the show in response to the disapproval of a group called the Florida Family Association. The organization complained that All American Muslim was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."
"Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views," the company's statement said. "As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance."
Lowes' actions have sparked outrage from, well, basically everyone who doesn't agree that all Muslims are terrorists. Senator Ted Lieu of Southern California has been particularly vocal in expressing his disapproval, going so far as to consider consider calling for a boycott of the store. The senator has also suggested that legislative action needs to be taken.
So what do you think? Was Lowe's justified in its actions? Is legislative action or a boycott needed?
If you want to read the SF Chronicle on Lowe's action, check out the link attached to this posts title.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Perry, dressed as a good ol' country boy, stands in a pretty little patch of trees, staring earnestly into the camera. If he could just have kept his mouth shut, the image alone could have garnered him some much needed support. Instead, Perry decides to say that, "You know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas." He also uses the phrases "Obama's war on religion" and "liberal attacks on our religious heritage." Oh yeah, the ad is also titled "Strong." Wanna know why? Because faith is what is needed to make America "strong again."
Now, I personally thought the ad was a joke when I first saw it. But its not. I agree that the U.S. can be overly PC sometimes (like how Aragon High School in California faced controversy due to the religious connotation behind the Christmas tree is set up in its center court), but every statement made in this ad was incredibly offensive. There is a lot that I could say about why this ad makes me hate Perry, but I think the main reason is that every word he says is so very genuine. He truly believes in what is saying. Why else would he commit political suicide by using this ad?
Do you agree that this ad could be his downfall?
I personally found the ad, and its message, "She didn't want to do it, but she couldn't say no," to be overly shocking. What do you think? Was the Liquor and Control Board within its right to repeal the ad?
Thursday, December 8, 2011
"Iran hacking into the drone is as likely as an Ayatollah standing on a mountain-top and using thought waves to bring it down," Lewis, a former Reagan administration official now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Yahoo News by email Monday. "The most likely explanation is that it crashed on its own."
(Link to article: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/envoy/cyber-experts-pentagon-skeptical-iran-brought-down-u-205358251.html;_ylt=AkExI0QkKcTCz_POW7RDd9_yWed_;_ylu=X3oDMTFkNWJ1MDBuBG1pdANCbG9nIEJvZHkEcG9zAzMEc2VjA01lZGlhQmxvZ0JvZHlBc3NlbWJseQ--;_ylg=X3oDMTNicWxwcnRmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDYTAxYzU5YzAtMGQ2YS0zN2I0LTkxYjItOTc3OWFiOTdlYzQ3BHBzdGNhdANvcmlnaW5hbHN8dGhlZW52b3kEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdlBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3#more-5901)
As embarrassing as it has been for the Pentagon to lose such a valuable piece of technology, they were further humiliated when Iran's Press TV broadcasted a tour of a very intact US spy drone. Iran, which has been complaining for a while that such drones are invasive and violate its sovereignty, now seems to be getting some revenge.
Here's a yahoo news article that give a more detailed description.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The question, which some have considered a dig at Mitt Romney, created controversy when it appeared on a sample ballot. The questioned concerned whether or not corporations qualify as people, as Romney has previously declared.
"We weren't trying to embarrass Mitt Romney," Matt Moore, the party's executive director told Yahoo News. "It was a question proposed by Stephen Colbert, who was a potential donor to the party, and it didn't work out. It won't appear on the ballot."
Do you think that the question should still be debated? Colbert apparently does, as he is now negotiating with South Carolina Democrats to include the measure on their presidential ballot.
If you have not heard the story, here's a quick little timeline:
1. McClain goes home for his grandpa's funeral
2. McClain goes to a party with his friend, Jerradius Wilingham.
3. McClain beats up Rishard Tapscott at the party. Then shoots a gun next to his head after forcing him to beg for his life.
4. McClain is arrested on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges.
5. McClains gun permit (which he took out hours before the assault) is revoked. But it turns out that he had already lost the gun. Oops.
6. McCain plays three days after the assault.
So what do you think? Should McClain have been allowed to play? Here's a couple of links if you want to read more. The first mostly defends McClain, and the second is slightly less forgiving.
You know how you all loved that alien movie that came out last year? The one with all the blue people that sort of ripped off Pocahontas? Well, there's good news! We are now just that much closer to a real life Pandora! NASA announced just this Monday the discovery of a planet a lot like Earth, one that could possibly support life forms.
Scientists have been searching for years for a planet in what is called the "Goldilocks Zone," meaning that it is not too hot nor too cold to eliminate the possibility of liquid water. The planet, named Kepler 22b after the spacecraft that discovered it, is a balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit and circles a star very much like our own sun. There are some differences though, Kepler 22b is more than twice the size of Earth and has 75 fewer days per year than we do.
The Kepler spacecraft has discovered 2,326 possibly habitable planets which can't be classified as real planets until it is confirmed that they aren't just stars, or asteroids, or technological mistakes. The planets are detected by the darkness that occurs when they pass in front of their stars.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Republicans in North Carolina made the boundaries of districts work in their favor, but people have complained that one of the districts goes through 19 different counties and twists around way too much. This convoluted boundary brings it's perimeter to be 1,319 miles long.
Utah says that districts should be grouped according to the needs of the people. Salt Lake County is a huge metropolitan city, and is interested in expanding its transportation system and protecting its watershed, but its neighbors have other desires. Rural areas surrounding the city want to focus on more highway money and fewer restrictions on use of federal land. The Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Peter Corroon, wanted the districts shaped according to the city being in the center and the rural areas all around. Republicans who drew the district lines preferred "pizza-slice-shaped" districts that each contain a part of the city plus rural areas. Utah is mostly a Republican state, but Salt Lake County has the highest concentration of Democrats. Corroon stated, "We asked for a doughnut hole, we expected a pizza, and instead we got a plate of scrambled eggs." Representation is based on population, but shouldn't it also take into account the types of areas?
Democrats who drew the map in Illinois by creating urban districts that included small parts of Republican suburbs. This gives Democrats an advantage and diminishes the amount of say the overruled Republicans have in their districts.
Representatives are supposed to represent the needs of the people from their district, but what happens when the needs are completely unrelated?
Saturday, December 3, 2011
"I am suspending my presidential campaign because of the continued distraction, the continued hurt caused on me and my family"
The media definitely played a big role in pressuring Cain to do this. It created a "cloud of doubt" over whether or not people wanted to support him after all the accusations. Those who did still support him seemed disappointed at his announcement, but I do not think he would have been successful if he stayed in the running for the Republican nomination considering how his ratings were dropping.
However, this is not the last we will see of Cain. "I am not going to be silenced and I'm not going away." He still plans on continuing to advocate his platform and endorse another Republican candidate.
While Cain's popularity has surely fallen, candidate Newt Gingrich's ratings have risen and has overtaken Mitt Romney in some opinion polls.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
About four months ago, American Warren Weinstein was kidnapped by gunmen. He was living in Pakistan directing an American firm that advises Pakistani business.
Now, al-Qaeda says it is still holding him hostage. Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri says, "Just as the Americans detain whomever they suspect may be connected to al-Qaeda or the Taliban even in the slightest of ways, we have detained this man who has been involved with US aid to Pakistan since the 1970s." He also stated that Weinstein will be freed if the US follows several demands:
1. US stops air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.
2. release al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects worldwide
Should our government intervene and try and free the hostage? Or comply with Zawahiri's requests? Thoughts?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
People can put up their belongings, from power drills to cars, onto internet sites for others to borrow at a price depending on the amount of time borrowed.
If enough people are participating in this, doesn't that mean that the demand for new goods will fall? Won't this have a negative effect on our economy?
Federal law says it is illegal, but some state laws say otherwise.
This sounds like a problem where national and state powers are in conflict. The supremacy clause in our Constitution states that national law is supreme to all others, however, this has not proven to be valid in this case. Should the federal government alter the law? It seems to create confusion among the people. Washington's governor stated, "In the midst of all the chaos we have patients who really either feel like they’re criminals or may be engaged in some criminal activity." There seems to be a blurred line between the power of the federal government's law and those of state governments.
After Ginger White came forward admitting that she and Herman Cain had an affair for 13 years, many thought that Cain was done as a potential Republican candidate. However, Cain didn't go down that easily.
The main question i have about this article for everyone is: Is it okay for the government to take children away from their parents purely based on the weight of the child?
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
So this isn't so directly political, but it's more than a distant influence on politics!
I've been having a good long think about this picked up and put aside and picked back up over the past few years and have been coming up with absolutely nothing, and not being able to rationalize something by any stretch of my imagination drives me up the wall - so I thought I'd pose a discussion question, both because others' insight certainly helps and it's food for thought.
The question is this: why does prejudice exist as something so strongly that people will act on it?
I figure it's actually quite a good thing to try to understand - not empathize with, of course, but it takes knowledge of how something works to fix it. And everyone does have their -isms, through teaching or unfortunate exposure/lack of positive experience that they've taken as reference for labeling things, but again, not everyone acts on it.
The best I could do was come to the fact that humans are pack animals - perhaps they'll identify "their" people and lash out against those who are most distinctly not among them, which used to be beneficial - a warring tribe complex. But come on now people today are very much unified - though of course we have individual governments, countries, and other such affiliations, we're now very closely linked. Plenty of organizations try for action on a global scale - environmentalism, ending poverty, etc. Technology allows just about any two people to talk who can afford it almost regardless of where they live.
Even if tribal mentality does stand as an excuse there, people trying to make more of themselves through sense of competition between factions, the way prejudices are determined makes no sense, especially within America. Several races, sexual and gender orientations, religions, and what-have-you are mixed about in states, to counties, to cities. You'd think it would be most beneficial for a person to ally with all of those in closest proximity to them - they'd be immediate assets, people to turn to for favors and defense - or at least have a live-and-let-live attitude in regards to them. Why seek conflict? Yet a racist student would generally sooner ally with a person of and biased toward the same race who they will never get to know on a personal level - a politician, person spoken to through telecommunication, whatever scenario please you - than a fellow student of the very same college and with otherwise similar opinions.
What also makes little sense is this - why would a person filter people out with a system of just-about-everyone-is-all-right-unless-they-possess-this-one-little-trait - setting their alarms to go off on detecting some arbitrary detail and judging others on whatever basis they would normally use - instead of looking for one particular or set of common traits they show special favor toward? While bias isn't excellent either, prejudice sets a person up to make enemies where no conflict or challenge exists, and what allies it gets its possessor are on a "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" basis.
This all may be under assumption that humanity gravitates toward harmony - but why wouldn't it? That idea's easier to support than one that suggests humans seek to shorten their own lives - even the idea of the path of least resistance suggests that people are selfish - want to get as much as they can for minimal work - yet ought to imply that they shouldn't seek enemies. Fighting certainly takes work, and risk.
Though perhaps a more Hobbes-esque viewpoint would offer an explanation.
Cain states: "We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people's minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth."
It seems like his campaign has been pretty corrupted, even without any solid evidence that the woman's claim is true. Once an idea is out there, it is difficult to change people's minds.
Should Cain continue with his campaign, even with the low opinions the public thinks of him? Is there any way he would be able to fix his image?
Monday, November 28, 2011
The absolute worst part though was the dangerous display of brinksmanship during the debt ceiling debate earlier this year. For House Republicans to delay raising the limit until several "deadlines" had passed and the Treasury was doing magic with its accounting to find enough money to run the government is ridiculous. What I found most frightening about it though was the talk of a government shutdown and default on our debt. The fact that people would even be discussing possibly letting that happen is terrifying. The U.S. government has never defaulted on a penny of its debt in all of history and for it to do so in 2011 would more than likely create such a panic that it would end the financial system as we know it. Using that as a threat to push through ill-advised spending cuts is irresponsible and I think that the Republican Party will pay for it in the 2012 election.