Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Jersey Judge States Gay Marriage Should be Legal



On Friday, September 27, a New Jersey State judge ruled that same-sex couples should have legal rights to marriage starting on October 21. Since 2007, the New Jersey has recognized gay marriages under civil unions, which did not grant these couples the same federal rights.  A year ago, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, vetoed a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in New Jersey. This past June, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages should be recognized by the federal government's benefits agencies, but not civil marriages. So, the New Jersey judge stated that limiting same-sex couples in New Jersey to civil marriages is unconstitutional. According to CNN, ruling may be appealed and go to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

How influential do you think this case will be in regards to legalizing gay marriage? What do you think the outcome of this case will be? How do you think this ruling or potential appeal will affect the rest of the country? Any other thoughts?

Government Shutdown is Approaching Faster as Congress Continues to Disagree


As Congress continues to debate over ObamaCare, a government shutdown seems to be approaching quickly. (For those of you who want more information about shutdowns, CNN gives a brief description of how a government shutdown will affect Americans). The majority Republican House wants to pass a bill to delay Obama's Affordable Care Act for a year, however, the largely Democratic Senate, will most likely not pass that bill, which could play a role, along with the debt crisis, in causing a government shutdown. According to The New York Times, as the debate to pass the bill to delay Obama's Health Care Laws continued, it ultimately came down to two options for Republicans: vote for the bill to delay the health care laws and cause a shutdown or accept the Senate's bill and potentially face a Republican backlash. This past weekend, House Speaker, John Boehner, decided to accept the bill to delay the health care laws, making a government shutdown even more realistic.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Boehner made the right decision? How do you think a shutdown will affect Americans' daily lives? Do you see any potential solutions to prevent a government shutdown?

Friday, September 27, 2013

You Are What You Eat, King.

Guys, guys, come look! There's a catfight!

It's cute, really. Two politicians no one really wants to listen to both making a fuss about more things people don't really want to listen to. They think we care, bless their little hearts. If you read my post earlier, you already know that Ted Cruz needs to shut the heck up. But I'm adding a new name to the list of people who need to get over themselves: Peter King. 

Maybe mommy never loved him and that's why he needs so much attention. Recently King has come out trashing Ted Cruz and his followers saying that they have been plaguing his office with "vile" and "obscene" phone calls.  I'm not sure why he's so offended. After all, we know there is nothing more vile or obscene than what goes on behind a politician's closed doors.  But King justifies his little hissy fit with an even BETTER reason: 

""I have young women, women interns, full-timers, in their late teens, early 20s, and they get these phone calls."

What?! Heaven forbid the legal-age probably not virgin women hear some obscene words! Someone save their pre-suffrage era and unequal little souls! They are much to fragile to be hearing such things! Hearing insults and inappropriate language is NEVER part of taking a job working for the government! Oh Lord! 

Once again, Shut up. 

And also, I'm not a "WOMAN'S RIGHTS HEAR MY OVARIES ROAR" feminist,
But don't insult women who KNOWINGLY took this job knowing it might not always be rainbows by using them as an excuse and an attack against a Senator that everyone is already bored of talking about anyway. K thanks. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

iOS 7 Making People Sick



When Apple's most recent software update, iOS 7, was released last week, millions of users rushed to update their devices. The new iOS program includes vibrant colors and animations. According to Apple, these features were added to create a more enjoyable and pleasing experience with vibrant color coordination and the dimensional appearance. However, just after days of using the new software, many people are complaining that the supposedly delightful animations are actually making people sick. ABC News reports that people have experienced nausea, dizziness, headaches, and motion sickness. Many of the people ABC News interviewed mentioned that they wished for a "downgrade" for the iOS software or they are hesitant to update their Apple devices because it is making their devices insufficient.

I have yet to experience any sickness from using Apple's iOS 7, however I do think that this is an issue for Apple because one of their main goals with the new software was to make it attractive to prospective and current buyers, yet if it is creating illnesses, then it could force people to buy other products. I think this will hurt Apple as they begin to sell their new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c because people will not want to invest in a product that they cannot use to its full potential. What are your thoughts? Have you experienced similar sicknesses from using iOS 7? How do you think these reports will affect Apple?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Not Cynical, I'm Hipster

"Everybody is stupid and no one understands me." Except...
This beautifully sassy article I stumbled upon today. My heart leaps and twirls with joy, and I think I'm in love. Here's a few excerpts, just to get a taste of the sweet, dripping sarcasm:

"Political discourse in America has reached levels of douchebaggery previously only theorized about but never observed..."

"Do you think Americans are basically sweaty, waddling butter vessels who deserve to have their corn syrup taken away?"

Granted, rated PG-13 for strong language, the article is called "4 Things We Should Remember When Arguing About Politics," and despite its crude and almost childish sense of humor the article is, well, great! And this is coming from someone who gets the most indignant and downright recalcitrant attitude when asked to even CONSIDER a differing opinion (though I'm getting better...at keeping my mouth shut at least). The article lists four main points in such a way that even opinionated and stubborn you-know-whats like me have to chuckle and nod their heads. 

1. There are intelligent, well-thought-out arguments on ever side of (almost) any issue

2. You don't NEED to have an opinion

3. No one ever changed their mind from being yelled at

and, finally...

4. We're all just humans, man. 

Not exactly educational in a political sense, but as far as ethical arguments go? It might help ya keep your head on straight. Might be more important for some than the rest (cough cough *points at self*) but a fun read none the less....so actually CLICK this link. Like, READ IT. It's a good laugh, and an even better soup for the cynic's soul.

Shut up, Ted Cruz



Well, well, well. Someone who likes the sound of their own voice more than I do. Obviously, I have my opinions. But for once, someone has me beat on the obnoxious scale. Ted Cruz, this one's for you, babe. Senator Ted Cruz just today finished a 21 hour argument against funding Obamacare. Read that one more time; dont' worry, it's not a typo. TWENTY-ONE HOURS. As in three hours less than a whole day. As in three school days back to back with no break. Twenty. One. Hours. Plot twist! Senator Cruz is a Texan! Just kidding, that's not a plot twist at all. Maybe Cruz has heard the same mature and totally original political slanders I've been hearing recently. Didn't you guys here? Obama is actually a communist and he's got a secret plan to turn us all into mindless, socialist robots. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. STUPID. Honestly, everyone needs to stop talking, not just Ted Cruz. None of you (political gossipers and big-headed, overpaid Congressmen, not you my lovely fellow students) have anything good to say. It's repetitive. It's vague. It's lies. I hate liars. How about we work on FIXING our country's issues and not having affairs in office and then maybe, JUST MAYBE, you'll actually have something worth listening to. Until then, I. Don't. Care.

Ciao.

(...but really, 21 hours?! #icant)

http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/25/opinion/borger-cruz-spectacle/index.html?hpt=po_c1

I Wrote the Constitution


Here's something surprising....NOT! Americans abusing the flexibility and vagueness of the Constitution to fit their own selfish needs. An article on Fox news says gun enthusiasts are now molesting the wording of the Second Amendment to make it read that every American is actually GUARANTEED the individual right to own a gun.

Isn't that cute?
Hi! Welcome to America! Privacy? An honest government? Of course not! But you can have your own gun (: Yes, yes, this country hasn't gone downhill or lost its moral and ethical compass at all. In fact, I was thinking, guys. That whole freedom of speech and press thing...I was thinking that, I could use my freedom of speech to tell you all that your opinion doesn't matter and that I call the shots now. Oh, what? That's a dictatorship? That violates your Constitutional rights? Really? Because it's right in line with mine...

See the dilemma?

Look, I'm all for being whatever. Gun enthusiasts get excited about guns, just like I get excited about Ed Westwick and Chinese food. Whatever. I'm not judging gun enthusiasts for wanting to be able to shoot stuff (just kidding, I totally am. Calm down over there, Jim Bequette). However, I am judging those who manipulate the Constitution and the written rights of others to match their own SELFISH idea of the American dream. YOU PEOPLE. I AM JUDGING YOU HARD. There's a special place in hell for you guys, and it's right next to me.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/09/25/senate-website-gets-2nd-amendment-wrong-critics-say/

Tragedy in Kenya


This past week, the Al-Qaeda affiliated militant group, Al-Shabab, invaded a mall in Nairobi, Kenya. This militant group through grenades and fired at civilians in the mall, killing 67 civilians and military officials. According to BBC, the militant group reported on twitter that they held 137 hostages that were killed by forced chemical leaks, however the government did not confirm this and has told people to ignore these posts. Many people are still trapped inside the mall or unaccounted for, so the police force is working to find these civilians and to move them to safety. The video above is a clip of a police officer helping a family move to safety. Today, Kenya began their three day mourning for all the people who were injured and killed in the attacks. It has been reported that the reason for the attack is that Al-Shabab threatened an attack, if Kenya did not remove troops from Somalia. Al-Shabab's goal is to create an Islamic state in Somalia. Personally, I think that the US should tighten domestic security, but other than that keep their distance to prevent getting tangled in another foreign conflict.

 How do you think the US should respond?

When is the Right Time for an Immigration Reform?


Since the past Presidential Election in 2012, some Republican leaders have been trying to create an immigration reform to help increase the number of Hispanic votes for their party because in the previous election, Obama captured the majority of the Hispanic Votes. In 2012 city councilman, Brad Bailey, worked with Florida's Senator, Marco Rubio, a Tea Party Republican, to create a bill that would facilitate the process for immigrants to become citizens, increase the number of visas for workers, and increase security on the United States-Mexico border. This bill passed in the Senate, however, it  did not pass in the majority Republican House because many Republicans do not support the idea of having an immigration reform. As time goes on, these leaders looking to pass this bill notice that they need to try and pass this bill sooner than later in order to gain Hispanic votes for the next election. However, this proposal keeps getting pushed back due to other important issues, such as Obamacare, Syria, and the debt ceiling. I think that the Republicans should focus on passing this bill because it will help gain Hispanic voters, which is their primary goal. I also think that this bill is time sensitive, just as the other issues, so Congress should settle this issue soon.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it is necessary for the Republican party to push for this immigration reform to increase their number of Hispanic votes? Also, do you think that this bill should continue being pushed back, or do you think it should be settled sooner than later for the election?

Senator McConnell Takes a Step Back



Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the Republican minority leader in the Senate. He has been known to take on leadership positions especially for budget and economic crises and discussions. However, many congressmen have noticed that McConnell is suddenly quiet and almost completely detached from the discussions. Both Republican and Democratic congressmen have noticed the newly subdued senator and think that it leaves the Democrats "without a bargaining partner" (New York Times). They argue that his absence is one of the main reasons why Congress is having a hard time finding a solution for current budget issues according to the New York Times. Many people believe that he is staying “behind the scenes” due to the upcoming election, as his Tea Party Opponent, Matt Bevin, is increasing in popularity in Kentucky. 

I can see McConnell's motives in keeping quiet because he does not want to do anything that may completely hurt his election, howerver, I think that staying quiet is ultimately worse because it will slow down congress in passing important measures. Do you think that McConnell’s actions will benefit or hurt his chances at re-election? Also, how do you think this will affect the current issues in congress, like health care reforms and budget cuts?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Dinner With the Foote's

Not really an informational post, more just an interesting little rant that came up at dinner.
So apparently Stanford Hospital is going to establish their own HMO because the majority of their employees are getting healthcare through Kaiser. Now, on this topic, my mother said something along the lines of..
"Stanford needs to take care of their own people before they start to worry about fixing everybody else...and maybe the United States needs to think that way to."
What? Help our own impoverished and struggling people before going overseas to help everyone else with their problems? What? The U.S. has a hero complex? What? What?

What do you think?
Should we be fixing things here instead of spending time and effort overseas?
Or are we doing more good than harm?
Does the U.S. have a hero complex? Do you think our founding and our roots make us ENTITLED to this complex? (Ugh...I hate that word. Entitled. No one is entitled to ANYTHING. We all evolved from bacteria. Grow up.)

Anyway, discuss.

NOBODY TALK TO HILLARY!!!

   Even with elections seemingly forever away (1,042 days to be exact), people are already freaking out over the return of the horrid...the fearful...the ruthless...
HILLARY CLINTON!!!! (cue dramatic music)
When asked about his wife's political intentions, it seems good ol' faithful Bill had some other ideas of what HE had in mind for Hillary. Hinting that Hil would choose to be a grandmother over president ANYDAY, which must be accurate because I'm pretty sure we could all agree that Bill Clinton has better family values than anyone and he definitely knows what his wife wants and needs and is in no way intimidated by her success (if you did not catch my dripping sarcasm over the internet, I'm sorry. Satiric font has not been invented yet).
But no matter. Elections are eons away. For now, we can just sit back and watch Obama run back in forth in this cat and mouse game called politics.
Until 2016 Hillary.........(maybe)

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57604292/bill-clinton-on-the-question-thats-best-not-to-ask-his-wife/

Health Care Bullies Children


    An apparent "glitch" in the health care law might cost families thousands in family plans, as well as cause over 500,000 children to go without health care according to some analysts. Congress could fix the problem, but after a recent decision to strip funding from the law (thanks, House. Deep down, we're sure your intentions are good BUT...), fixing the problem seems highly unlikely meaning that your child's cough might suddenly be a big deal. "Affordable" health care was defined as 9.5% of a person's income...but that's for the person ALONE. Not their family and whatever swarm of little ones they spawned and have running around with pneumonia or swine flu or whatever else floats around these days. Granted, it's not a parent or guardian's fault a child gets sick, but nor should it be the government's job to enact nationwide healthcare (I thought citizen well-being was under state power?). Anyway, you can bet mommy and daddy will suddenly care a lot more about healthcare reform if suddenly little Johnny isn't covered anymore. We'll see what happens.

What do you think? Healthcare nationwide? Or state specific...

OR based on need? Should Bill Gates have the same healthcare as Octomom?

Hmm...
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/23/aca-family-glitch-issues/2804017/

Sunday, September 22, 2013

All Players United: Grassroots Change




Look at the wristband; you can see APU

A group of college athletes have started an organization known as All Players United, or APU, whose goal is to "protest the NCAA's treatment of athletes on issues ranging from concussions to compensation." This weekend, the athletes of 3 universities wore the letters of their organization while playing in their respective games. This televised and really got people interested in this movement. I think that it is very important for these athletes to fight for their rights, and it shows us that if you want something done, do it yourself. These students have effectively started a grassroots organization that could change the course of collegiate athletics.

This organization has even sprouted talk about a player union for college athletes. This would allow them to have representation, and therefore have a better chance to express their opinions. This is a huge step forward for the NCAA athletes and I hope that they keep fighting and receive some fairer rules. Is this the best way to go about requesting change? Why has it taken so long for something like this to happen?

ESPN
CNN
USA Today

Friday, September 20, 2013

Government Shutdown Imminent?


Today, the fight over Obamacare has created quite a big dilemma for Congress. The House voted to defund Obamacare, for the 42nd time according to CNN. This time is different. The House has created a situation where unless the Senate passes the law as well, we very well might see a government shutdown. This would occur on September 30th if the government can not agree upon a spending resolution, which would in turn, spark debate for raising the debt ceiling.

Obviously, Obama does not support this bill, but he even went as far as to call the House Republicans out on focusing on the politics of the matter and not the people. They want to do anything they can to stop Obamacare and make Obama look bad that they are willing to risk a shutdown of the government. Do the Representatives that passed this bill think that this threat will push the Senate to follow in their footsteps? Is there any other explanation? 



Huffington Post

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Who Needs Food Anyways? Oh Wait...



Today the House of Representatives passed a bill that would cut the aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, by roughly $40 billion dollars in the next decade. Although there is really no way this will pass the majority Democrat Senate, it does raise the question of "Do we really need this many people on food stamps?" The supporters of this bill suggest that they are only closing loopholes and restricting people who should not get help anyways, but this seems to be unfair. Currently, there are about 48 million people that utilize food stamps, a number that has been generally increasing since their creation (Look at graph above). Those people who "shouldn't" be receiving food stamps constitute a large enough number to where this cut will definitely make a difference.

Are people taking advantage of the system or is hunger in America really as widespread as the numbers suggest? If it is really such a big problem then why are so many people unwilling to acknowledge it? And on the off-chance that people actually need the food stamps, having millions more people starve is not going to look good for this bill, or for the people that passed it for that matter. It seems like way too big of a risk for me, what do you think?

CNN
Business Week
USA Today

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Brand New Look.. or Not: Apple's Release of iOS 7




Apple released its new operating system today named iOS 7. I'm guessing that most of you have at least heard of the iPhone and its new updates like the iPhone 5s and 5c. If not, then here you go. The release of the new software has been accepted with open arms, unlike the releases of the new versions of the iPhone mentioned earlier (This is seen by the 2% bump in Apple stock today and the roughly 5% drop after the iPhone release explained in the Apple Stock article). 

I found it very interesting that the new iOS 7 looked eerily familiar. (I have recently switched from being an iPhone user to being an Android user, one of, if not the biggest competitor to Apple as far as phone software goes). Well I just happened to notice that the new Apple software looks almost identical to the Android software that I am running. An easy comparison is the lock screen picture above. It has become difficult to even tell them apart. Do you think that this shows that Google (producer of Android) and Apple are coming to an agreement on the best way to layout a phone? Also, how influential do you think the capitalistic nature of this competition between giants will be to the average person? Because as I see it, there are a LOT of people turning to smartphones and now it is even harder to choose.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NSA Spies on Brazilian President? How the Brazilians Responded


   Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will not travel to the United States for a state visit over allegations of U.S. spying.

As you can see, we have another blog post about the NSA. Sorry guys, but this was one that I just couldn't pass up. The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has cancelled her upcoming meeting with Obama due to alleged spying by the NSA. Although it is only an allegation, this does definitely hurt the United States and their battle for more trade with Brazil, especially the oil company Petrobas. As stated in the CNN and NY Times articles, Brazil is a huge player in the economy of the Americas and also trades a lot with China. I would just like to know what was so important to the NSA that they would even allow for the possibility for such an allegation. Do you think that the NSA may learn its lesson with this event or will it continue to spy on well.. everyone?

Another interesting factoid that I came across while researching this event was the Brazilian response. As told in the Business Insider article, a group of Brazilian hackers responded with a message to who they thought was the NSA, but turned out to be NASA. This little misstep created quite a chuckle for many following this story. Who knew one letter could make such a big difference? It is interesting to think about the fact that not only are the citizens of the United States tired of the NSA's spying, but it has even spread to our peers on a national scale.







Monday, September 16, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. Sparks Media Frenzy


CNN article
NY Times article
Washington Post article

If you haven't already heard, there has been a mass shooting in the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. Thirteen people are confirmed killed, including the gunman, Aaron Alexis, a Navy reservist. The video attached does a great job of explaining the play by play of this sorrowful day. Currently, the FBI is searching for evidence and conclusions regarding the matter and Mayor Vincent Gray stated "We don't have any reason at this stage to suspect terrorism, but certainly it has not been ruled out." Since 9/11, it seems like every crime committed is at first linked to terrorism; is this becoming an hackneyed thought or should we always suspect terrorism?

On another vein, I think it is interesting to look at the media's profound effect on the spread of the information. This horrific murder scene with at least 13 dead has gone viral. Do you think that the media's, especially the internet's, ability to bring people together during this tough time is a positive or does it get unaffected people riled up over something completely unrelated to them. If you want to stay up to date with the events as they happen, be sure to check out the Live Blog by the Washington Post.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Library Without Books

I just thought this was interesting.

A library opened today in Texas, but it doesn't contain any physical books. Instead, it has e-books, e-readers, computers, and iPads.

This video explains the concept:




The library will have an annual budget of $1.2 million, which will cover the costs of about 10,000 new e-books each year.

What do you think of this new concept? Many other libraries have instituted new technology and "e-" features. Do you think they will eventually become entirely bookless?