Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Last week ABC news brought to light problems with the Green Energy Loans program the Obama administration set up 2 years ago. It seems that the loans meant to creat green jobs for americans by giving money to companies to create electric sports cars. That sounds great but it seems one of the companies, namely Fisker, has in these past 2 years only designed and built one model of car, the karma seen at right, in Finland. Understandably many people are angered by this recent development and now Republicans in congress have started calling for a large scale probe of the loans which are already being looked over due to one a loan recipient, Solyndra, declared bankruptcy.
The legend at the bottom highlights the best aspects of this visual --see "extra information" "chance for failure" and "lobbying opportunity." There are a lot of input points, and a lot of veto points. Those characteristics have positive and negative impacts on both Congress's ability to write quality legislation and its ability to fulfill its representative function in our republic.
The color coding and width of this graphic make it unwieldy for me to use in class, but it is worth a download and a closer look.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
After 40 years of dictatorship in
Resistance fighters have been battling against Qadafi’s reign since February of 2011. Qadafi forces seemed to have the upper hand, but after American and European began air strikes on March 19, the resistance began taking control. Qadafi has been wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity since June 27. Along with being responsible for the torture and prosecution of thousands of Libyans, Qadafi was also known for several other violent acts of terrorism around the globe including the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 that killed 270.
Now that Qadafi had been eliminated, what role should the
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Children are easy targets for the cartels because they are less suspicious and easier to manipulate with less money. Texas officials have joined the U.S. Customs and Border Protection program called "Operation Detour" which works to inform children and parents of the danger these drug cartels pose. They go to schools and community centers where they can meet directly with students, parents, and other members of the community. Do you think this is enough to keep children in Texas safe? Should the government be more involved in this issue?
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Since Obama's Jobs bill failed to get the votes it needed in the Senate to go to the floor on Tuesday, the democrats are utilizing their backup plan - break the bill up into smaller legislations and pass it along. Given that many of the singular components mirror legislations Republicans have historically voted in favor of, the Democrats are essentially pressuring the Republicans to either pass the smaller pieces of the Jobs Act or clearly explain themselves to their districts why they didn't support them. It's just really messy and everybody's pointing fingers.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) accused President Obama of "running around the country campaigning on a bill that he knows won't pass".
President Obama himself called out the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for impeding efforts to get the Jobs Act to the floor for a vote. "I'd like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain exactly in this job bill what he does not believe in", the president said.
Gary Jacobson, a poly-sci professor at UCSD, pointed out that the Republicans really "have no incentive to decrease unemployment before the next election", which is the reason so many of them voted against the Jobs Act. Honestly, I think this theory holds a lot of truth. If the unemployment rate remained high, just think of all the chances the GOP will get to criticize the Democrats, especially President Obama, in the upcoming primaries and election.
Honestly, I just think this overinflated partisanship is really affecting the pace at which work is actually being done and changes are actually being made by our government.
Obviously, this seemingly lengthy and complicated process is not boosting Americans' willingness to take on solar technologies.
Meanwhile, at a public high school in San Mateo, California, we got our own solar panels installed within a matter of months. Let's all take a moment here and recognize that we're essentially more efficient than top council of the United States. Good job Aragon.
The Senate just passed a bill (65 to 35) that "would allow any 'fundamentally misaligned' currency to be labelled a subsidy to countervailing duties." Which essentially means that an undervalued currency could be labeled as an illegal subsidy. Anyone else confused?
This quote is from an article that emphasizes the impacts of current bankruptcy filings may decrease consumer and investor confidence, and acknowledging all sorts of factors that helped or not helped the failing businesses cope.
"In fact, predicting a bankruptcy wave at all is a tricky task, experts say. It could depend on several unknowns: how much money banks and other institutions are willing to lend troubled companies, whether the economy lands in a double-dip recession and what happens in the European debt crisis.
The sovereign debt crisis in Europe could be the most important X factor. Even the experts who say that a bankruptcy crisis is not coming because current low interest rates make it easy for companies to get cash to finance their way out of trouble, say that the euro zone's problems could trigger defaults here. "It is possible that one or two sovereign debt defaults would increase the pressure we'd feel in the US credit market. Then we might see an environment like we had in 2008," said Peter Fitzsimmons, president for North America for turnaround advisory firm AlixPartners LLP.
Chapter 11 filings are picking up, bankruptcy data show. Ten companies with at least $100 million in assets filed for bankruptcy in September, the most since 17 filed in April, which was the busiest month since 2009, according to Bankruptcydata.com"
Another point the article makes is that lenders have shown uncertainty towards lending to troubled companies, and such discernment has been one of the factors towards the increasing numerous bankruptcy filings. It is quite a plausible reason to be sure, but there are rarely such absolutes when it comes to causes to events.
However, another article that does not undermine our situation of numerous bankruptcy filings at all but does seem to present a viable option for investors that may be available in Great Britain, to gain a larger yield than the banks in America. This quote sums it up:
"Foreign banks are tapping investor demand by selling top-rated bonds with yields over benchmarks that are as much as eight times wider than those on US deals. The amount of outstanding bonds packaging US assets such as credit-card bills, auto leases and student loans fell 9 per cent to $1.85 trillion in the first nine months of this year, according to the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, or Sifma."
Although, this relatively new development does not change the fact that most of the European countries do have a problem with the euro system that may have recurring effects on the U.S. sooner or later, as in agreement with another point that the first article I have cited makes. In related news, this other article by telegraph.co.uk that describes the U.S. 's frustration (as well as the Anglo-Saxon states and India) over possibly inadequate implementations of Europe's Grand Plan that seems, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, that
“ 'They clearly have more work to do on strategy and details, ... In financial crises, it is more risky to act gradually and incrementally than to act with bold force.' ”
His proposal to "use the ECB as a guarantor of eurozone sovereign bonds was dismissed out of hand" according to diplomats. If I did not know much about this article's author, I would say that this article's evidence was subtly or borderline biased in favor of American nationalistic opinion and could allow for some more insight on the reasons the other foreign countries and dignitaries reacted the way they have done in terms of interests they have on hand.
Geithner, Great Britain's banks, and those discerning investors letting troubled businesses go all seem to have a common idea in mind: bonds are only credible if we let them be so. So there. I'd welcome anything that proves me wrong so long as it is the truth of the matter, as close as it gets without getting caught up in absolutes.
Ever since NASA's space shuttles were decommissioned we haven't had a way to get into space. There is the option of tagging a ride with the Russian space program and also buying flights on private companies. Well, it looks like NASA is doing the latter. On Thursday Virgin Galactic announced a contract with NASA to shuttle equipment and people up into space. The flight will launch out of New Mexico from Spaceport America with upwards of 1,300 pounds of science equipment.
For those of you that don't know, Virgin Galactic is a commercial space charter. It hopes to launch its first flight into space within a year. Anyone who has $200,000 to spend frivolously can buy a ticket into space and orbit Earth.
I think it was smart of NASA to partner up with Virgin. It's a good way to get around their predicament. Hopefully we can build some new shuttles soon so that this doesn't go on forever though.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
All in all, I hope that something good can come from the protests around the world. Hopefully enough people with good ideas drown out the few with not so good ones.
This article by KTLA news features the background of Jobs and announces that Governor Jerry Brown has declared the 16th of October "Steve Jobs Day".
In his declaration, he claimed that "Jobs embodied the California dream". One can interpret this with skepticism like thinking this is another public-pleasing promotion especially since he limited his word choice to just "California" so perhaps a little political advertisement. A practically cynical statement, but that is what politics may succumb people to do. One can also interpret this with a grateful approach that this man is honored so much to have a day named after him by a Governor of California. Perhaps a solemn majority of people think this way, and that is an equally valid response as any.
Here, the many VIPs, including celebrities, CEOs, and world leaders react to the death of Jobs, under another article by KTLA news.
From what I know of the man of the day myself, I have based on this video of his Stanford 2005 Commencement speech in the apparently hot, sunny outdoors. My English teacher pointed this out to us in class for his plausible points that probably allude to our unit of existentialism. I admit, it was compelling and vivid but I was at very varying degrees of interest to how his morals are so generalized upon society and how many of his ideals actually apply to society or have become trends. Of course, all opinions are open here over a deceased person or otherwise living, polite dissenters should say why the dissent is made.
Today, tens of thousands all over the globe joined in the Occupy protests, rallying against corruption, poverty, corporate domination, government inaction, among numerous other issues.
While most protests were quite peaceful, the one in Rome got violent. An anarchist group self-dubbed as the "Black Bloc", donning ski masks, were particularly violent. They torched nearby cars, threw objects at people, shattered windows, and clashed with the police. A total of seventy people were injured (40 of whom are policemen). Of these cases, two men lost their hands due to car explosions. United for Global Change, the main organization behind these protests, said that 951 countries in 82 different countries took part in demonstrations, impelled by the recent OWS protests.
I really hope the worldwide cry for change will motivate governments or corporations to do something about the ever-growing social and economic inequalities, corporate greed, corruption in government, and other similar issues. It's really time for some changes to be made around here.
Friday, October 14, 2011
We've all heard about the Solyndra fiasco, but solar panels seem to be the next big thing in renewable resources. We even spent a whole hour hearing about the wonderful new solar panels at Aragon.
The author is notably a progressive-liberal and probably in other associations as well to keep in mind how he has simplified the political opinion for how the economy turned out not in the public's favor, and also simplified the general focus of American corporate accountants. I may not be in a position to say this, as he was a former executive founder of Cisco, but the evidence of hindsight on the part of Dell's people was probably not entirely on their liability of being accountants. Such underlying factors of their decision to let their supplier manufacture more of their own product could be the heirarchy of the management, or the dissenters were out-numbered or other debilitating reasons.
I acknowledge the possibility that his intentions to simplify political debate about the implied economic decline and to simplify the objective of many American corporate accountants may be to shorten such points because the dissenters of such opinions may not be significant enough to make a difference. However, in reality out of theory those accountants who are exceptions to his opinions do in fact make so much difference that his rationale of replacing those inhumane accountants be replaced with humanitarian ones may in fact be hard to pinpoint the actual "parasite" or "parasites".
This is the article source explaining his views and his reasonable equivalent of financial world peace: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Who-Killed-the-Economy--A-by-Bob-Burnett-111014-656.html?show=votes
Although, it is quite true that the ambition of profitability may overtake certain risks to the public, their workers or themselves in order to acquire short-term profit, this may not be valid for all businesses, but for the most part may be unavoidable. I can see where he is going with all the prideful adjustments companies have made in the name of profit, but accountants have been at this probably for ages and the downfall and inflation and debt can not be pinned down as all their faults. Can it? Probably not, but if so, we might as well point at fingers at the world for being sick, thus doing us all no good until the corrupt ones can be replaced by the responsible people who suddenly show up (whoever those are) and prove the ones pointing fingers right.
Republicans are the main supporters of the bill, saying that it will save the federal government money, and thus the taxpayers. However Democrat counter saying that current laws already "bar any taxpayer money from underwriting abortion procedures." Democrats argue that the law takes rights away from women and Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) says that Republicans are "absolutely misogynists" for even submitting the bill.
Perhaps my favorite comment is by the North Carolina Representative Virginia Foxx (R). Foxx says that the those that are pro-choice are the true misogynists because "fifty percent of the unborn babies being aborted are females." I agree that 50% of babies being aborted are female, after all there is a 50% chance of a child being born female! However I don't agree with the misogynist point. How is misogynistic for women to have the right to chose what happen in their bodies? Also, what happens if the child is male? Is it no longer misogynistic to Foxx?
I absolutely don't agree with the bill. Women are responsible for their bodies and the federal government cannot restrict that. Hopefully the Senate won't pass this bill, and if they do, hopefully Obama will veto it.
Historically, embryonic stems cells are made by injecting the nucleus of a person's adult cell into an enucleated and unfertalized human egg (oocyte). This method, which is essentially cloning, was not very efficient because each patient would require up to a few hundred oocytes for just a small amount successfully extracted ES cells. The most recent advancement was in 2007 when a method was developed that could essentially avoid using oocytes. By injecting special protein factors into an adult cells, these adult cells would eventually revert it back to its embryonic state - at which point ES cells can be extracted (these are called induced pluripotent stem - aka iPS - cells).
This newly discovered method involves keeping the original oocyte nucleus while also injecting another adult nucleus. These oocytes with the two nuclei are much more successful in growth and development; in fact, most have grown into their blastocyst stage (when ES cells are harvested). This new discovery is only relevant for research and not for therapeutic purposes for they have an abnormal number of genomes for proper development.
Personally I think it's a great achievement. When I was interning at a stem cell institute this past summer, I learned cloning and extracting ES cells. It's quite a profound and exciting process. I wish more research would be allowed so this field can really thrive. However, because of the issues concerning illegal sales of oocytes and other ethical dilemmas, the controversies has really stumped growth in certain areas of regenerative medicine.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
What was really interesting is that the federal government doesn't regulate advertisement of pharmaceutical drugs so strictly. Medical marijuana is a "pharmaceutical drug" since it is used to treat glaucoma and other diseases. Though medical marijuana is legal in California, it is illegal under the Federal government. This brings up the idea of federal supremacy. The federal government's laws will always trump those of the states. I guess we will have to see until after the election if the crackdown continues or lets up.
There are quite a few issues brought up today that causes skepticism about the Iran conspiracy plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US and bombings.
|Ambassador Adel Jubeir|
Second, there is no precedent and this plot is very inconsistent with known previous Iranian procedures. Iran has never been linked to an assassination plot or attack against anyone on US soil. Sure they have been accused of attack plots, but they have never been publicly found guilty of any sort of conspiracy on US soil (most likely because they are probably always extra covert and the people will undoubtedly go through tremendous lengths to cover up their tracks). With that said, I think it's very unlikely that they hired an average Iranian-American and administered only one proxy (the Mexican drug cartel) - a non-Muslim one at that - for such an amateurishly-schemed plot.
|Attorney General Holder|
Fourth, the alleged plot is inconstant and has too many loose ends. Nobody is certain on the allegations. Even Attorney General Eric Holder commented that the US government cannot yet firmly accuse the Iranian government of any knowledge on this alleged plot due to a lack of evidence. [Source] Moreover, others have commented that this situation seems like a decoy and distraction away from AG Holder's role and involvement in the notorious "Operation Fast and Furious".
The bottom line: is this a real threat or, according to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, just a distraction our government threw our way?
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Earlier this week, a main force in the al Qaida movement, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed as the result of a drone (here and here). The drone was obviously effective and useful so what's the big deal?
The new free-trade agreements passed by Congress on Oct. 13 are with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. This supposedly going to generate $13 billion from exports (Yay for money!).
Florida state Representative Brad Drake (R) is "tired of being humane." Drake is upset that the execution of Manuel Valle in August took so long. Valle, 61, was sentenced to death 33 years ago for gunning down a police officer. Drake wants the justice system to be more efficient in executions of death row inmates. To do this, Drake has filed a bill in the House of Representatives to allow executions by the electric chair or firing squad in Florida. HB 325 would remove lethal injection as an option for an execution.
Drake's opinion is that electrocution or firing squads would speed up the process of execution so that inmates wouldn't have to wait 33 years like Valle. He has said that he's "sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals," and "In the words of Humphrey Bogart, 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.' I am so tired of being humane to inhumane people." Many states see that death by electrocution and firing squads are inhumane and thus don't utilize it. Some states like Colorado only allow lethal injection as a method of execution. Currently, California uses lethal injection, but allows lethal gas if the inmate requests.
Drake forgets that death row inmates are still human. Though they may have committed unspeakable and atrocious crimes, they still have some rights. According to the eighth amendment, the government cannot use cruel and unusual punishment on criminal. To me, electrocution and firing squad are both cruel and unusual. In the past people have not died from the first round of electrocution, and firing squads have missed and not killed their targets. Inmates are then left to suffer until the final blow is delivered. I hope that HB 325 never makes it out of committee, because this shouldn't even be considered for a law at all.
Last night, it was announced that the US has unearthed a plot by Iranians to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, Adel Al-Jubeir. Two men who are allegedly connected to the case (one of whom is a member of the Quds force, an Iranian special foreign actions unit) were charged in a federal court in New York for conspiring both the assassination and bombing of Israli and Saudi embassies. One of the men, Arbabsiar (left), is an Iranian-American living in Texas. He had traveled to Mexico recently, where he hired a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate Al-Jubeir at the ambassador's favorite DC restaurant. The US has also placed sanctions on five more men who are thought to be overseeing the conduction of the alleged plot.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The article covers the general history of "grass-roots organizations" progress in general and "the establishment" "casually dismiss[es] [protestors] as hippies or rabble". Who is to say that has not been true? Although, I agree that "the establishment" gives off signs when it is scared by posing the protestors under derogatory names. It deliberately expresses an idea that people are either separated by or united under self-interest, and inequality, which is reasonable enough. This doesn't mean that this is the only idea out there that causes these protests, but it is an effervescent one.
In the article, it is stated that "the protesters are considerably more focused than their critics acknowledge" because of the evidence shown that the banks have returned to patterns that people are convinced were at the heart of the crash of 2008. That may be so due to the actual organizations and labor unions that led their members to join the protest in order to gather extra incentives for the public to become involved with policymaking. If these numbers of inequality between the top 1% of society and everyone else are wrong or exaggerated up, the protestors may be inspired for the wrong reasons. However, there is a long list of things to put into policy and therefore, to be protestable about so the protest could still live and be beneficial in another broader way.
Speaking of organizations for change in general, an honorable mention would be the Tea Party, which has distinguished itself from the Occupy Wall Street protest http://http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-tea-party-occupy-0111011,0,4839479.story.
In the article addressing the shifts to policy from protest, the author really just acknowledges the strategic movements that the Occupy Wall Street protest that give it the potential to become a movement. The only significance that I see from this statement is that the protest has become nationally spread. A possible cause of such understandable, insecure frustrations with the economy being included as an underlying factor in the protest may probably be the policy shifts coming from policymakers. As well as the ideals of the movement itself, I can see it is legitimately relevant as far as the publicity of the protestors show the nation what the protest really wants to support. Of course, the organizational aspect will somehow have a creative output to what the supposedly up and coming movement will focus on in the policy they will suggest to government. I agree that the "maybe"s of the future of the protest are too subtle at this stage, but I also admit that the transition will be quite interesting since the ideals are appealing and impacting nationwide to densely populated places where people could afford to protest.
According to the article, consideration for the Jobs Bill was blocked as it simply did not have ten additional votes. Now with the Democrats left to scramble and pick up pieces here and there, what will happen next.
Brown's decision brings up the constitutionality, specifically about the fourth amendment, of these searches. I do not agree with Brown's decision. Cell phones are property like houses and should need a search warrant to be searched. I also do not understand Brown's defense. Yes, courts, not him, are better suited to resolve the issues on specific cases, but now that warrants aren't needed by law enforcement, how will courts be involved? Though I disagree with Brown, I do understand some of his points of view. If a person has already been arrested, it is because of probable cause, so it should be allowed to search their belongings on them at the time of the arrest. This could include their cell phone. What do you think? Is this or isn't this an infringement on the fourth amendment?
Sunday, October 9, 2011
So how did Cain get this far? Well honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I suppose that Cain's touching background could have something to do with it or maybe he is just sideshow for the other candidates, but if that's the case, then, stated by Matthew Yglesias, "if we need a sideshow to the Perry-Romney race, can’t we just go back to Michele Bachmann?"
Is this constitutional? If the United States Congress did not pass the Dream Act on a national level, Is it possible for a state to pass a simular law? Education is a duty of the state so the state should be able to decide who gets aid from the state for their university. If they are allowed to enter the schools as residents, then they should be able to get aid like other residents.
It is very curious to see Palin take the back seat for once and decide to support others, rather than being the center of attention, and I am not sure how this situation will work out for the other candidates. Palin does have her followers that will jump on the bandwagon of the chosen one, but there's also her notoriety that might scare potential voters away. Will whoever Palin thinks has a "servant's heart" benefit from her backing? Or will her name chained to the chosen candidate's ultimately sink him or her in the end?
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Romney has gained some support after Chris Christie announced that he would not run for the Republican nomination. Many of Christie's donors are now giving to
Info: Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It is highly unlikely that this bill will pass the Congress. Reid conceded to make the surtax be 5.6% and take into effect in 2013, instead of 2012.
This bill is likely to be filibuster. Something needs to be done. The jobs are needed. The tax would help with this. The tax will only effect 330000 households in the United States which really is not that many people considering that the United States has over 300 million people here. It is only affects those who make a million dollars a year which is a large salary.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The largest union in the United States, AFL-CIO, disagrees with the three labor agreements and is holding a protest at the Capitol in Washington DC on Tuesday. Some of the Democrats are aganist this bill but that will not hold up the trade argeements.
These argeements will help both the US carmakers and agricultural exports, but damage the textiles, electronics, and computer makers. They want the trade agreements to be signed on October 13 in connection with the visit of the South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.