Sunday, October 27, 2013

Germany's Confidence in America is Declining

Since learning that the United States National Security Agency monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, Germany's interior minister has declared that their confidence in their American allied nation is shaken. He also stated "If the Americans intercepted cell phones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil," and that he wants to know what information the U.S. has. In response, Obama said he too only just found out about this information network and would have stopped them if only he had known. Also, our government has told them that they are only going by the same standard that other nations use to monitor other nations.

Many European nations and citizens have yet to accept or deny the American explanations. I personally think that other nations knew that they were being monitored; I think too that there was a reason for monitoring Germany since we once had to fight against them. Perhaps, they also monitored us and everyone is just reacting with the public's expectations, after all these are all shocking revelations that also mean that civilians are monitored as well. Consider this-the chancellor was monitored for ten years even before she was put in her current post.These may seem like conjectures but I think it's a possible explanation for the politics involved with this scandal. I'm also torn about saying what they did was right or wrong.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Russell Brand on the Revolution

Last night's edition of the UK's BBC Newsnight featured this remarkable with Russell Brand by host Jeremy Paxman.   Brand's explains to a weary-sounding Paxman why he doesn't vote (and never will) and believes a revolution is inevitable.   No matter what you think about his comedy, Brand is certainly not the "trivial man" that Paxman calls him mid-way through the discussion.     


When you have some spare minutes, you might read Brand's piece written during his recent stint guest-editing the New Statesman magazine, "On Revolution: We No Longer Have the Luxury of Tradition."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another school shooting....

Well another just happened school shooting has happened at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada. This happened early in the morning and was only a few brutal minutes. Apparently some middle school student opened fire at two student and wounding them. A teacher was trying to get the gun from the student, but apparently shot the teacher instead after telling him to back up. After all the havoc has occurred, the student committed suicide in the end.  There was no clear motive to the shooting. The student's mother believed to have thought her son was bullied in the past, which could've  caused the shooting to take place. Overall, there has been several school shooting throughout the year and this just adds more fuel over the debate of gun control in this country.

The full article here.

New Sealand


Population: 27 (2002)

Area: 1.544 sq miles (4 km²)

Founded: September 2, 1967

http://sometimesinteresting.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/sealand-1.jpg?w=595

 

Sealand, an old British radar platform from World War 2, is a self-declared micronation that is unfortunately not recognized by the world’s countries. This ship “was a Maunsell Sea Fort constructed by the British military in 1943, and originally given the name HM Fort Roughs. Later it would be renamed Sealand by Major Paddy Roy Bates, who would live there with his family and host a pirate radio station.”

 

This “country” is personally interesting, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be considered for country-ship, the argument may be that they are dependent on other nations. In Europe, I know of two cities that are recognized for being their own countries but are dependent on their neighboring countries. For example, Liechtenstein which used to be one of Germany’s conquered territories but after one of the great world wars, declared itself a country with the main aid of Switzerland, seriously, Switzerland handles their immigration, there’s not even a passport stamp for the country. Dependent on Italy, Vatican City stands by itself as a country of worship. http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23300000/sealand-hetalia-sealand-23387317-1356-768.png

If you’re interested about how I knew most of this information, then I recommend Hetalia. It’s an animation that helps the viewer learn past and current country relationships. Trust me though, it’s not boring, it’s very funny. The show itself is good to watch soley for entertainment. An interesting fact: the characters are all representation of countries based on stereotypes, people all over the world watch this show, however there has only been one country who found the manga adaption of their country insulting, and so they were pulled from the show-Korea.

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Zn7doPGWlJo/TFMtWmFUOJI/AAAAAAAAAHs/b8vRIWp6vTg/s1600/Hetalia-Axis-Powers.jpg


It’s in English and English sub

 


 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Middle schoolers arrested in cyber bullying suicide of classmate






http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PePz2FjEkMQ

Basically what happened was two girls from Florida age 12 and 14 were arrested on felony charged for allegedly harassing 12 year old Rebecca Sedwick at school and then following her online. Sedwick jumped to her death at a cement plant a month ago after being tormented for over a year. The arrests were made after the 14 year old suspect boasted on the internet about the bullying.

We all need to start changing the way we treat each other. I think it starts with family. If you do not have love in your heart, you are unable to mirror it onto another. I agree we live in a structured society that feels bullying is an aggressive way to be the stronger person. Healing needs to take place in a major way across the world if we want to evolve as humans. No more pointing fingers. We need to grow up and start a new otherwise this cycle will continue.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/16/us/felony-charges-for-2-girls-in-suicide-of-bullied-12-year-old-rebecca-sedwick.html?_r=0

What is The Price of Life?

In America the average wait for an organ transplant is 4 to 5 years; however, there are often not enough voluntary donors for everyone to get the vital organ transplants that they  need. In fact many people die while still on the waiting list. There is an alternative, with enough money  vital organs  can be obtained legally in less than 15 days. Thus many people travel to China, and are willing to pay upwards to $70,000 for the vital organ transplants that they need.


The Chinese hospitals seem to be saving lives; however, unlike America, China has no voluntary organ donation system. In fact most Chinese people believe that the body must remain intact after death.  So where are China's limitless supply of organs coming from?  Since the 90's followers of Falun Gong, a religious philosophy that preaches purity of the mind and body, were detained and sent to work camps.
Many of the detained disappeared. While China claims that the organs were taken voluntarily from prisoners who were on death row, China also claims that it's organs come from donors have no history of mental illness, drug abuse, or disease. While most normal criminals are gang members, like Triads who are known to abuse drugs and carry hepatitis, prisoners of conscience like followers of Falun Gong are noted for keeping there bodies pure by not smoking, drinking, and even staying abstinent. In addition, members of Falun Gong who were released due to illness from camps reported being given blood and urine tests among entering the labor camps.

If the dark secret of China's organ harvesting was not disgusting enough recently it seems organ harvesters have become so bold as to target children.

This summer netizens on Sina Weibo were taken aghast when reports emerged that  6 year old Xiao Binbin had his eyes gouged out. Initial reports included that his eyes were found nearby with the corneas missing. Later reports emerged that law enforcement suspected the boys aunt for horrendous crime. As a result she committed scuicide. Many saw her as a scape goat in the case. However with the mass poverty in China and the goverments large rewards for turning in usable organs it is feasible that people could be pushed to such extremes. 
Overall, perhaps the most disturbing detail is that American citizens are still traveling to China for these operations. Alas, does the end really justify the means?

http://e.weibo.com/mediaprofile/h5/text?aid=5029716&uid=2028810631&from=page_media



http://youtu.be/Zwu246JOvJY

Low Fast Food Wages


Researcher at U.C. Berkeley sought that in Texas they have the highest public assistance funding which led to last summer fast-food workers staging protests to raise minimum wage. Instead of $8 an hour, workers are asking for up to $15 an hour. Why are workers asking for a raise? Because those who are working at fast food restaurants are mostly single or married adults who aren't in school. Along with those who are single parents who can't seem to be making enough to pay for the electric bill.

Not only that, low wage fast food also affects hard working teenagers. Teenagers who is risking their free time from school to work for a good pay and get ready for college.

Government Shutdown Affecting College Students

The government shutdown affect everyone in some way. Unfortunately, many student don't know that because politic doesn't interest them. Since the shutdown, federal funding toward graduate and doctoral research programs are being suspend and causing many student and professor to stop their research. The biggest impact since the shutdown will be students applying for grants and loans from the government. Meaning, funding to college and school will be delayed.  This event has also impact military family because money from the government has been temporarily suspended.

I believe that most of the student are able to go to college due to government funding for grants and loans. As the situation is right now, I can see that it will affect many of the seniors applying for grants and loans for college because it is being delayed due to circumstances. Only 138 employees are allowed to working during shutdown for grants and it could be difficult to get answer to questions.


Louisiana's Shopping Chaos in Walmart

After finding out that their EBT cards failed to display credit limits, people went nuts at several Walmart stores in Louisiana, grabbing and tossing whatever they could find to eat and feast in their carts. This was a temporary delay due to a glitch in the computer system. The stores were filled and lined up throughout the entire buildings with people who pushed around tanked carts with foods and snacks. Once the issue was resolved, customers fled and left their brimful carts in order to avoid being caught "stealing." Many people recorded the long lines that filled the stores while others asked different people about their opinions on how these crazy customers acted.

One customer said that the chaos was a normal reaction to the prospect of free food, while another had responded that it was just plain theft. Read the article here .

What do you think about the behavior that the erratic customers brought into these Walmart stores?

Republican Alternative

John Boehner tries to move a bill to reopen government and doesn't have enough votes to pass. The treasury needs the budget compromise to pass by Oct. 17 to meet all of the financial obligations. U.S. treasury bonds have been put on watch for potential downgrade if nation's 16.7 trillion debt ceiling is not raised. The house is trying for a package that suspends the debt until February 7th to eliminate subsidy that will help Congress, their staff, and White House employes buy insurance in the new healthcare system.

Read more here.

iPhone, NSA and You


On September 20, 2013, hundreds of people stood outside the Apple store for the new iPhone. Some even camped the day before the launch. In just a few weeks, 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c were sold. The iPhone 5s featured an new finger print scan which is an alternative unlock system and a way to buy apps. It "stores the finger print data into its processors". Apple even said that the finger prints would not be on iCloud or into their server."Touch ID does not store any images of your fingerprint. It stores only a mathematical representation of your fingerprint."  But this statement is questioned by many people.

An Anonymous video claims that Apple now work with the NSA on Youtube. The touch ID is a way for the NSA to collect your finger print. He/She even claimed that "Apple is hiding the truth that the government controls Apple." "they will invade your privacy and instant locate you". The hackers highlight the fact that AuthenTec, the company behind Apple's fingerprint identification technology, has strong ties to "the most powerful and corrupt Defense Department and Intelligence Community contractors and figures.""

Check out the Anonymous Youtube video

What do you think?

Feds in New Jersey Claim Rabbis Kidnapped and Tortured Husbands

Rabbis’ Are Bad Guys? Are you a Jewish woman looking for a divorce and would like the pleasure of having your husband get tortured? Well then, just have your Rabbi take care of it for you! According to CNN a group of Rabbi Leaders are being accused for kidnapping, torturing and hiring “tough guys” to force husbands to get a divorce. Although most marriages are arranged it’s easy to understand that some women would want a divorce. Especially if the love sparks are nowhere to be found! The fact that the Rabbis have picked up the ways of the mafia is rather freighting. Rabbis are well respected but their actions are a crime even if it’s for the greater good of an un-cherished marriage. These women are miserabe enough to pay a high amount of money to have their husbands beaten and their Rabbais are helping them to accomplish this. Full story here.

Supreme Court: Affirmative Action Returns

In 2003, the University of Michigan Law School's affirmative-action policy was upheld by the Supreme Court. Immediately afterwards, a referendum campaign against the policy in higher education was launched, overwhelmingly approved in 2006, and finally amended in the state constitution of Michigan. As a result, minority enrollment dropped staggeringly low, fueling a federal appeal that ultimately ruled that the referendum itself was discriminatory. On October 15th, the Supreme Court will once again face the issue of affirmative-action but will instead focus on whether voters can ban such programs through a referendum.

 Introduced in the early 1960's, affirmative action was used to combat racial discrimination in the hiring process by giving establishments of education and employment a quota of diversity to uphold and maintain. In a place like Michigan, which is predominantly white— such quotas are helpful in ensuring that minorities are fairly represented. Though the article itself addressed the referendum being constitutional, what must first be discussed is why affirmative action is necessary in the first place.

While reading through a number of people’s opinions, I became acutely aware, once again, of how countless opponents (largely white Americans) view the policy. They believe that through it, they themselves are being discriminated against because, "college admissions should not be determined by skin color". Or that, "I worked hardest, so I should be allowed into the college". 

And by that comment alone, we are able to observe the privilege that minorities just don't have.

See, the goal of affirmative action is not to refuse people on account of race. The idea is to balance the weaknesses in earlier stages of the system that are systemic rather than a deficiency on the part of the student. Minority populations have lower average incomes and are often in school districts with tax bases that are correspondingly weaker. The schools, therefore, have fewer resources and that makes it difficult for a student in that district to assemble a competitive application for a university.

Affirmative action attempts to rectify this by including race as a factor in admissions to try and identify able students who could succeed at the university but would otherwise never be given the chance.


Affirmative action is flawed, but until the educational system can be repaired at its very source, it is the best way to ensure a fair representation. A ruling that the 2006 referendum was unconstitutional would make great progress in returning that same representation or even fueling efforts to make a more efficient system.




The idea is to try to balance at the collegiate level weaknesses in earlier stages of education that are systemic rather than a deficiency on the part of the student.
Additionally, at the college level this sort of intervention is almost too late. The problem is occuring early in the educational system and involves poor distribution of resources and opportunities in primary and secondary education. If those disparities can be addressed, then affirmative action should become unnecessary.

1200 Migrants arrested in Moscow


More than 1200 migrant workers were arrested on Sunday, September 13, 2013, at a wholesale vegetable market. The riot began over a killing of an ethnic Russian man by a Muslim migrant from the North Caucasus. Photo evidence showed that he was killed by an unidentified man that was of "non-Slavic appearance", which led nationalists to believe that the killer was a Muslim migrant.

Immigration was and internal migration were part of the main issues during Moscow's recent mayoral election. With two ambitious sides, conflict was bound to occur. The arrest of 1200 migrant workers expresses the fact that the Russian authorities are cracking down on the issue and handling it as best they could. Although many were arrested, it is only the beginning of the controversial issue. Read more

Monday, October 14, 2013

Government Shutdownn


Are we finally close to a deal between the Republicans and Democrats concerning the shutdown ?

Obamacare Vs. Affordable Care Act

     Unfortunately our society is not well informed about its own governments plans. Today the the big question is,"which is better? 'Obamacare' or 'Affordable Care Act'?" For those of you who dont know, these two plans are the same thing.
    If you hadn't noticed, our government is shutdown. One reason for this is a heated debate on "Obamacare". When the public was interviewed, they ethier chose one or the other not knowing that these are the same.



     Many people do not like "Obamacare" but when asked about the "Afordable Care Act", they loved it. Lack of money towards advertisement  may be a cause for this confusion.
     I believe that the government should continue to have "Obamacare" but should make some reforms to better the plan. I believe that people sould not be forced to have health care. I believe that it should be affordable. Many Americans need to be covered as well as informed about their health. But I firmly believe that the government can not force it on people. If it passes, people without health care can be fined. And after a while the fine rises and costs more than the health care forcing people to buy it anyways. I also believe as well as many others that this is just a legacy that Obama wants to create for HIMSELF.
     One thing i can advise you to do is to keep up with current events and to stay updated with our government.

Plastic to Oil

It is well known that the disposal of plastics is a reoccurring global issue, burning plastic materials generates large amounts of toxins and CO2 into the atmosphere. In 2009, Japan established a company called  Blest which created a small, safe machine that converts several types of plastics back into oil.  Using temperature controlled electric heaters to burn the plastics a released gas can be used to fuel stoves and generators, when refined it can be converted into oil, then you can further process it into gasoline, diesel and kerosene.  Blest already has farms and factories who have switched to these Plastic to Oil machines and have contributed their parts to the cleansing of the Earth and the preservation of life.

Will  Blest eventually become the new accepted way of recycling on a global scale?  Blest hopes to be able to sell these amazing machines for a a more affordable price in the future. The original article was posted in 2009, where are we today and in what dirrecton are we headed? If you would like to see a video about Blest and this revolutionary machine check out the link and video below:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPIHJRIpLRk


Governments Going Guerilla On Peaceful Protests?

Many governments around the world have been using excessive force or unnecessary action when confronted by peaceful protests. Exercising the right to organize and protest peacefully has been infringed upon in the United States, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa and Britain. The report, "Take Back the Streets: Repression and Criminalization Around the World," warns of the increasing infringement on the right to protest, a fundamental democratic right, by the previously listed countries. An example can be seen in a peaceful protest in Canada which was, in a span of 36 hours, broken up with about 1000 people arrested. I find it ridiculous that people can assemble and spew out intolerance towards other races, such as when the KKK gather, but if the issue can actually get the people thinking, the government shuts it down as soon as possible, typically with force. 


Government Shutdown does not affect NCUA.

Shares Insured and NCUA Doors Open, Even If Federal Government Closes.

Chairman Matz Urges Credit Unions to Plan for Members’ Needs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 30, 2013) – A shutdown of the federal government will not halt regular operations of the National Credit Union Administration, and individual accounts will remain insured up to $250,000, the agency announced today.
NCUA Board Chairman Debbie Matz encouraged credit unions to maintain a state of readiness to help their members who may be affected by a potential government shutdown.
“Members will have questions and they will have needs, so credit unions should have plans to respond if Congress does not pass legislation to keep the government running,” Matz said. “Credit unions that serve federal workers and the military have responded before to members’ financial needs resulting from furloughs, reimbursement delays, suspension of government programs or the closing of federal buildings housing branches. They need to prepare to do that once again.”
Currently, federal agencies are funded through Sept. 30. However, as an independent, self-funded agency, NCUA does not rely on congressional appropriations.
In April 2011, NCUA issued guidance through a Letter to Credit Unions, urging federally insured credit unions to take steps in the event of a federal government shutdown, including:
  • Ensure policies provide flexibility to respond to members’ financial needs.
  • Prepare for service interruptions if a shutdown affects access to credit union offices located in federal buildings.
  • Prudently work with affected members, including providing advances to individuals receiving direct deposits from the federal government.
  • Develop contingency plans with respect to participation in government programs that may be affected by a federal government shutdown.
  • Communicate response plans to members, staff and volunteers in a timely manner.
Consistent with safety and soundness, credit unions also may want to consider offering special programs to assist members who need short-term loans, create loans with special terms and rates, or offer payment flexibility.

A Scheme To Reduce Crimes

 A “scheme” was put into place in Manchester, England in which ex-offenders would be employed to clean up areas called ‘grot spots’. This outcome of this scheme was beneficial to say the least.  It resulted in a huge reduction of re-offending rates.  Ex-convicts were employed full-time under the Your Environmental Team (YET) which so far has hired 30 prisoners on 6 month contracts.

 The project was launched four years ago and only 19 per cent of former prisoners who take part in the program went on to commit further crimes, compared to the national average of almost 50 per cent. Tony Lloyd the commissioner of the Greater Manchester Police and Crime syndicate said that “What this project does is help people get normality in their lives – developing the good habits of getting up for a job and showing that they can do it. It helps put a stop to the revolving door of going in and out of prison, helps people better themselves, and that should be applauded."

Gary Conway, a prisoner in this program said “Getting this job has changed my prospects entirely. It’s given me confidence, it’s helped me get a CV together and I’ve been able to demonstrate teamwork. I’m up at 6am every morning, there’s a reason to get up, to go to work. To start a new life for yourself. I don’t know where I would be without the project.” To read more about this article Click Here. 

Immigration Court and Government Shutdown

          Days after the federal government shut down, effects are felt across many agencies. Immigration courts proceedings are largely shut down, too. A lot of immigration has been waiting for years to make their case for a green card. A lot of high hopes are starting to fall apart due to the government shutdown. Even high school seniors, withouth a green card, wonders how they will be able to go to college when they're not even qualified for financial aid. As the shutdown continues, thousands of detained asylum, green card seekers and immigrants are left without these lifelines to legal information.

          Apparently, immigration courts' cases are postponed to a yet unknown date. Rafael Sanchez, who has been waiting for two years for his hearing, the day of his hearing finally arrived, but cancelled because of the shutdown, and if it continues into next week, he will have to wait again. He worries that his daughter, Karina Sanchez, wouldn't be able to go to college because of financial aid issues if he don't get his green card soon. As he said with frustration, "At what point do the politicians think about how many lives are dependent on them?"

Read More

Alternative Energy is Good...But is it Our Highest Priority ?

It is in our best interest to focus some of our attention ( and money ), as a nation, on alternative energy. At this point in time, however, should it be our top priority?

As of last year California has spent $1.6 billion on renewable energy projects, while wide spread budget cuts undermined the funding of arguably more paramount programs such as those supporting public education and child care serveries. It is important that we are mindful of the future, but isn't it just important to keep in m ind the present?

Lady Liberty Leads Legislative Lesson

       When it becomes evident that the government cannot protect it's people, it is the responsibility of the state to step in. Today New York legislature ruled that they dip into the tourism budget in order to reopen the statue of liberty national park. Due to partial government shut down, the park had been closed for 12 days and no end is in site. The author writes "Cuomo said the state stepped in not just for economic reasons, but also for symbolic reasons". It is clear that, even thought the 400 people who have been laid off is prevalent, the reopening of the park serves as a bigger message. The Statue of Liberty is arguably the biggest symbol of democracy and freedom in the world, and the governor hopes that lady liberty can help torch the path to a speedy resolution of the current government shutdown. 


       Hopefully, this action by the state of New York will cause the big shots in DC to be confronted by democracy right in the face and think "wow what are we doing...". And through this mount the eagle of freedom and democracy and ride that thing all the way to compromise like the creators of this country did a countless number of times.

To learn more Click Here

Government Shutdown Causes Veteran Protest

     On Sunday, October 13, 2013, several veterans came out to the World War 2 Memorial on the National Mall to protest. The government shutdown caused the closure of this national memorial.  Afterward, several veterans met in front of the White House to continue their protest. A few politicians met with the veterans to speak publicly about the government shutdown, claiming that Congress is being child-like and selfish. Sarah Palin, one of these speakers, referred to veterans as part of Congress's "political game". 

   Soon after veterans began their protests in front of the White House, U.S. Park Police began to set up a barricade between the White House wall and the protestors. This further angered the protests because, although the government shutdown has caused many organizations and national places to close, the government could still afford to have several police officers secure the public protests.

The article can be found at here.

No Benefits for Veterans

It has been two weeks since the government shutdown and now veterans are being affected as well. The Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki warned that financing veterans would be more difficult as the shutdown continues. Apparently 5.1 million veterans will not receive their compensation checks at November 1st, 433,000 fully disabled vets might not receive payments and 360,000 surviving wives and children of wartime veterans may stop receiving VA money as well.

Not only has this caused veterans to not be able to pay their most basic bills, it could be "life or death" as quoted by Ryan Lamke, an Iraq War veteran diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. He also stated that there has been high suicide rates for veterans and the extra stress could cause people to do the unthinkable.

As a result, The Military Coalition, a group of 33 veterans and military organizations are planning to protest by rallying at the National World War II Memorial Tuesday morning. The organizations want to emphasize the impact that the government shutdown has on veterans and their families.

Click for full story here.

Bosnian mass graves discovered

On a hill in Bosnia the crimes of war are finally being unearthed. Forensic teams have already found more than 150 bodies and hundreds more are expected to be found. Some citizens search for lost survivors and for the truth. Some prisoners return from near by prison camps who state thousands more were killed there. More than 300 are still missing. Many still want closure and other survivors are thankful it is not them in the ground there. Women and children are found in the remains, hopefully bringing the final chapter of this nasty war. Mostly Bosniak muslims and Croats were targeted in 1992. Many were rounded up and taken to prison camps. One prisoner in a camp became the symbol of the war. He survived but others were removed and shot. He has recovered and hopes that all remains are found to pay respects. This grave, one of the largest found in Bosnia, may contain evidence of war crimes and international war crimes investigators are present along with state prosecutors which sealed the location as a crime scene. The grave is huge evidence for ongoing trials and investigations. Witnesses state that during the summer of 1992 thousands were buried there. Thanks to a former Bosnian Serb soldier who led a prosecutor to the site, the secrets may be uncovered. Click for full article here

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Teacher Suspended for showing "Same Love" by Macklemore

Basically, what happened was that a teacher In North Carolina had shown “Same Love” by Macklemore  to his class of 13 year old “pre-pubescent” students. The issue is whether it is school or age appropriate, because there is kissing between men. (The teacher, subject, and lesson plan were not given and this has happened at another school on the same video) For some reason, this has become a continuous debate in politics because of his “bash” against conservatives.
Today, Macklemore finally responded: (from the article so there is speech dialogue)"This level of intolerance and fear is still very active in America, but at times is not completely visible," Macklemore wrote on his website. "This incident is just one of tens of thousands that have happened across the country where schools have exposed a latent homophobia, preventing safe space for all young people to feel confident in being themselves."
He said he wrote the song "not with the expectation that it would cure homophobia and lead to marriage equality across the US (although that'd be awesome).  It was written with the hope that it would facilitate dialogue and through those conversations understanding and empathy would emerge."
“"Same Love" won the 2013 MTV Video Music Award for best hip-hop video with a social message last month.”
I think that this controversy and reprimanding is ridiculous. What people are worried about aren’t the fact if it’s “age-appropriate,” but that it’s two men kissing. No one makes a big deal when watching implied sex in the Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, or any other curriculum based movies; in fact, I read a Lesson Before Dying with a VERY detailed intercourse scene while in Middle School. Also, most kids hit puberty by then there’s nothing “pre” about middle school. I think that this video is in fact very important with what is happening currently. One person can even try to correlate the legalization of gay marriage through pop culture; Macklemore had been released before this decision and can be said to have helped the LGBTQ movement. Actually, my family and I are all Macklemore fans and he is currently my favorite rapper and that’s saying something, because I otherwise hate it. If you would like to see this “controversial” video yourself, click the first link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlVBg7_08n0 (Preview)
By the way Macklemore also performed: Can’t Hold Us and Thrift Shop

Read more on the article: http://www.kcra.com/news/entertainment/Teacher-suspended-for-showing-Same-Love/-/11797084/21907644/-/xp5ttrz/-/index.html#ixzz2f860Qpkg

Terror at Navy Yard


Aaron Alexis, “a former Navy reservist and a current military contractor,” at 8:20 this morning (this post was originally written in Sept) into Washington’s Navy Yard with a semi automatic. Thankfully, our military is treating them in their hospitals “as if they were soldiers wounded in war.” In the end, the suspect had been stopped and died after officials arrived, but it has been confirmed that there were 12, not  ten, people who were killed which included civilians many of which are still being accounted for.
At this point, the reoccurrence of massacres like this happening in America is so often that it’s becoming less uncommon. We hear about it so often: people becoming serial killers for an adrenaline rush, kids killing other kids in their own school, or bothers who came to this country on political asylum who had lived as Americans even receiving a college education at one of the finest institutes-bombing the Boston marathon.
The idea that people who call themselves Americans attack their own country makes me sick and want to cry. Maybe patriotism is slowly dying more and more each day; either way, there’s no way we could justify slaughter.
9/16/13

Saturday, October 12, 2013

China's Ghost Cities

     In class a while ago, we were discussing Marx's view on the Social Contract. How faceless people were just cogs in a working system. We agreed that this view was communist, which therefore turned our attention to China. We briefly referred to China's economy, and the subject of China's 'Ghost Cities' came up. 

     We mentioned how China was building massive city structures, but no one lived in them. It appears that China was hoping to have millions of people from rural towns move into the infrastructures but they were frankly, just too expensive. No one could afford them, so the abandoned cities just sit there deserted or with very few population. It is obvious that anyone will rarely use these facilities for a long time. Yet, China keeps constructing to keep a certain GDP (Gross Domestic Production). 

Here are some videos: 

SBS Dateline (Australian TV) 2011


60 Minutes 2013

Malala Yousafzai

    You may have already heard of Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who has become the symbol for women's right to education in her region and around the world. When the Taliban took over her region of the Swat Valley, they declared that girls would not be able to go to school and get an education. She recalls the Taliban murdering people because they danced or cut their hair. The Taliban bombed their school houses and threw acid in the faces of girl students. Malala and 50,000 other girls risked reading their books in the privacy of their home to continue learning. Under a false name, Malala wrote a diary about her experiences being deprived of her education and sent the diary to BBC. Malala began speaking out through interviews and got a documentary for the New York Times but soon the Taliban began issue death threats to her. On October 9, 2012, Malala was on her school bus when a man boarded the bus and shot Malala in her head. The doctors say that the fact that Malala survived is nothing short of a miracle. Despite becoming deaf in one ear, Malala fully recovered and is still advocating for women's right to education.

    This girl is extremely brave and her story is really incredible. Despite everything she has gone through she is still receiving threats from the Taliban and fighting for girls around the world. She is now living in England where she is safe and attending school. She wants to become a doctor. Since her incident Malala has written a book and has become one of the youngest people ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. To watch the 20/20 documentary or to read more about Malala you can visit
http://abcnews.go.com/International/exclusive-malala-yousafzai-continues-fight-education-year/story?id=20547267

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fukishima is Still Leaking Radiation

Hellooooo guys,

Well, I was wondering through Google, and I stumbled upon an article pertaining to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant leak caused by the tremendous earthquake, tsunami, and the triple meltdowns in Japan 2011. Well, recently the water tanks containing the radioactive water used to cool the fuel rods during this disaster, has been leaking. The radiation levels in Japan have spiked, and radioactive water has been reported to have leaked into the Pacific Ocean, and possibly to the United States.

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has been strongly urged to fix this issue. Japan has been trying to cover up the problem and originally wasn't omitting knowledge of the leakage. They have been procrastinating in doing informing the world of this danger. I am strongly worried as an individual considering how little we actual know about radiation and nuclear power as a whole. Properly insulating these storage tanks should be one of the top priorities in national affairs.

-Tanisha Wilson.

Here are two links to the sites I found the most interesting.

-Pertaining to Radiation in Japan

-Pertaining to Radiation Spreading Across the World

Monday, October 7, 2013

Veto Halts Bill for Jury Duty by Noncitizens in California

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

NY TIMES

           For noncitizens in the United States, people have limits to their rights. Recently in Los Angeles, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Monday. The bill would've made California the first state to allow immigrants who are not citizens to serve on juries. For non citizens living in California, they already have their rights expanded. Mr. Brown signed a law where non citizen immigrants were allowed to get their drivers license. On Saturday, he signed more bills that proposed for stopping local law officers from detaining immigrants and transferring them to federal authorities unless they have committed certain serious crimes. Gov. Brown also agreed in August to let non citizens monitor polls for elections.

         Yet again, on Monday, he vetoed the bill where it led non citizens to have a say in California and in the United States. Many other democrats and immigrant official think it's a mistake of what Mr. Brown did and maybe it is. But what if it isn't?
       
         For limiting people's rights, citizens have more rights than non citizens. By Brown signing the drivers license bill, what's the point of putting a certain limit on their right when they are basically one of us? Brown contradicts himself because he passed all those bills and signed for non citizen and immigrants to have an expanded freedom even thought they aren't citizens. We're the ones who are suppose to have the rights, but if Brown wants to expand their rights, why not pass the jury bill if he passed the poll one? I think that it's okay for non citizens to have certain rights, but if we keep letting things slip, they're gonna become angry and do something about it.

        The article itself was not biased, but gave a good chunk of information and different perspectives on the matter. 
         

Public Opinions of the GOP Since Government Shutdown

http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-government-shutdown-congress-polling-20131007,0,5535514.story

LA Times

In this article, the author, David Lauter, simply conveyed the statistics from polls asking people of their opinions on the way the Republican Party is handling the whole situation with the government shutdown and how they're dealing with the federal budget. Over the last week, public opinion has significantly negatively increased against the GOP's decisions, while opinions over the Obama Administration decisions have not altered greatly.

I feel like there was absolutely no analyzation or opinion from the author on the information given in the article. There should have been more feedback from the author himself on the elicited facts.

I think the article could have been better if the author analyzed the information in his own article and given a more in-depth response or his own opinion of who is to blame for the government shutdown.

Mob Rule: Are we reverting to the lawless way of an 'eye for an eye'?

For those of you who wish to view the original article:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/off-duty-cops-witnessed-alleged-suv-driver-beating/story?id=20488628

Well, folks. Looks like this is another case of violence. They just keep piling up. And what's surprising is our law enforcement is slacking.

If you have no prior knowledge of the facts behind the article, I will briefly sum it up. A man named Lien was driving--with his wife and infant--in his black Range Rover when it appeared a motorcycle gang was swarming him. One motorcyclist collided in a "fenderbender" with the black SUV and eventually, the car slowed down. Another motorcyclist tried to open the driver's door and Lien shot forward, running over one of the motorcyclists. The motorcycle gang pursued Lien to a crowded street, took him out and beat him up. Two passer-by ran up and acted as shields for Lien and the beatings stopped. Both Lien and the run-over motorcyclist are in the hospital.

Now, in this article, it appears there were cops on the scene, off-duty and undercover. They did not get involved in any way to stop the attack on Lien. I understand that maybe the undercover cop had to maintain his cover, but there were off-duty cops on the scene! They should have tried to do something! Just because they are not actively working does not take away the fact that they are cops! Letting this man get attacked as retribution for their hurt friend is not the right thing to do. This is reverting back to "mob rule" where we lynch citizens for an accident. I don't think Lien was too hasty in trying to escape the situation in which it appears he and his family are in danger.

Think about it: if you were on the road and several bikes are boxing you in, what would your first impression be? It wouldn't just be something to disregard. It's a safety hazard! And why would these people be boxing you in in the first place?

Additionally, aren't cops supposed to preserve the peace and to stop people from mangling others in the streets?

Disregarding my personal bias for a moment, a few unanswered questions arise. What are the bikers' impressions on the affair? What are the off-duty cops' opinions? Was it the motorcyclist who opened the driver's door the one responsible for Lien's mad getaway? The article was definitely biased towards Lien and some of these questions were unanswered as a result.

Is this a sign of poor police-officer conduct to come?

A Police State in the Works: The Militarization of the Police Force

It seems to hold true that in the United States we value our police in a biased manner. We want them to be around if any sort of trouble may occur, yet we don't want them to constrict our freedom in such a way that these dutiful servants of the state may turn upon us. The fear of a police state has always been one to frighten the firm believers of liberty, yet once again the government has hidden the continuous militarization of police forces around the country.

The Article on the Guardian

With 4.2 billion dollars in total spent upon military weapons for programs such as SWAT or other Special Force Units, one starts to wonder whether such a maneuver could have possibly been smoother? Once again the funds of this great nation turn towards the military, with massive funding to programs such as CIA, FBI, and NSA that may just add a bit of crippling debt to our already expired debt ceiling. Why do we need this much money to be put into our defense systems? I don't think we are under attack on U.S. soil, and of course one can justify the spending for events such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, but as the article stated this is not only for large cities such as Los Angeles or Boston, but rather small towns as well. In what possible situation may they need high grade military weapons such as a tank within their personnel? I doubt these armored vehicles will come into use any time soon, or the massive amounts of assault weapons that are "lost" or "lent" in the mix. And yes, lost is apparently the case for a district in Indiana that lost a majority of their supplies. But wait, there's more! Once again, the big shocker reappears: our taxes are being spent upon this program! I guess what I meant by "smooth" in the beginning of this paragraph is how the government as usual kept this one on the down low.

But what I'm really trying to get to is this whole idea of militarization. As I look with disappointment upon the millions of Americans who have traded in their security for privacy and not done anything about it, I start to ask myself: is there more?

Yes. Of course there is.  I don't want to be labelled a traitor to this country, for there is some good left, but the United States has never entirely been "the good guy". With a disgruntled population, an exceeding debt ceiling, and even the collapse of our government, one may ask, "will the population ever rebel?" Well no, because things such as the government collapse make us forget about issues such as the NSA, military activity outside of the United States, and this type of funding. If there was an uprising, the government is prepared, and we may enter into a whole new world where our rights and liberties could be just be words written on paper. Sure, it probably wont happen, and I may be insane for assuming so, but could it be so that the United States is just preparing for something? We would be trapped and threatened, and the police force would have the ability to shut us down.

I cannot comprehend why our police forces need such militias. As our founding fathers decided, our military shall stay separate from the police, but for some reason this line has been crossed. Who will the police serve in the end if say something were to occur? The people, or the military?
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