Saturday, October 13, 2007

Clinton urges diplomacy with Iran

Hillary Clinton recently said that the Bush administration is making a mistake by cutting off diplomatic contact with the Iran government. She believes that such actions would give the American credibility in the Iran government, and help prevent a possible future blockade of oil to the United States. She also insists that the "the resolution gives an opening to future penalties and 'leverage when we negotiate with them.'"

I think that Clinton is right in this issue. We should try to end the conflicts in the Middle East as soon as possible. We need to bring the troops home and decrease the costly prices for oil. By ending the conflict, the economy would not be in danger of a oil blockade and needless bloodshed would be avoided.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Schwarzeneggar vetoes gay marriage

As the debate over gay marriage rages on throughout the country, the California governor, once again, vetoed a bill for gay marriage. His reasons were that voters and the California Supreme Court should decide the issue, instead of lawmakers. The bill would have defined marriage as a union between two people, not just a man and a woman. Arnold says that he will continue to veto bills involving the issue of gay marriage. Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court will rule on whether the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage violates the Constitution.

I think that Arnold is right in vetoing this bill because gay marriage is such a hot-button issue to so many people. For him to please gay marriage advocates would also be to upset opponents of gay marriage. So, the issue should be left to the voters of California. What irritates me about what our governor did is that he says Californians "should not be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation," even though he just vetoed a bill that would have approved gay marriage. I don't know about you, but I hate hypocritical politicians.


Democrats seeks disapproval of State Department on Iraq

Democrats are demanding that the Bush administration be open about the possibility that the U.S.-backed government in Iraq is corrupt. The Bush administration says that "speaking openly about Iraqi corruption would undermine U.S.-Iraqi relations", but the Democrats do not see the sense of supporting a government that ignored corruption. As Bush asks Congress for an additional $190 billion to pay for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for another year, Democrats are advocating that "it is essential that Congress and the people of the United States know the extent of corruption in the Iraqi government and whether corruption is fueling the insurgency and endangering members of the Unites States Armed Forces," according to New York Times.

This is indeed another twist in the "War on Iraq" saga. These new developments make the war seem even more complicated and gives the Bush administration a bad image. Maybe its time for Bush to step up and suck in some pride and say that the war should be ended immediately.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Relations Sour Between Shiites and Iraq Militia

Lately, several Shiite neighborhoods in Iraq have begun to distance themselves from the Mahdi Army, which happens to be made up of Shiite militants. These Shiite militants have begun to turn on their own while looking for new sources of income. The Mahdi Army is turning into a "band of street thugs without ideology." Although many Shiites originally depended on the Shiites to defend them against Sunnis, Shiites civilians want the militants out of the neighborhoods.

I know the issue of whether or not the U.S. government should pull troops out of Iraq has been brought up a lot. But if Shiites don't even get along with other Shiites, how is the American presence in Iraq helping? Is it ever going to be possible for the U.S. to stop the violence. I don't think so.

"God" put back on flag documents

Recently, the word "God" was allowed back onto flag documents for flags that flew over the United States capitol. Before, the Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, did not not allow the word "God" to be on the certificates because it "violated a policy, set in 2003, banning religious and political expressions on the certificates," according to the San Jose Mercury News. Many people have tried to appeal this policy because they were tired of the government trying to "bar the word God and even the most tacit references to faith from our public institutions."

This dispute brings up an many old questions: To what degree should government and church be separate? Should there be some references to one's faith or should there be none at all? If separated, would it be infringing on one's freedom of speech and religion?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Federal judge puts brakes on illegal immigration crackdown

This Wednesday a federal judge stopped the implementation of new rules that would require businesses to fire employees whose names didn't match their Social Security numbers. Judge Breyer issued this preliminary injunction to stop any penalties until he could finally rule on whether the penalties for the employees are legal, saying that the new rules could hurt businesses and documented workers. This push for a crackdown on illegal immigration was the main focus of President Bush because of Congress's failure to pass an immigration reform policy.

Personally, I am against illegal immigration and strongly encourage tougher border control. The ruling by this judge seems to be very unnecessary and unfair considering it is already illegal for employers to hire undocumented immigrants. I think it is obvious that this judge has personal motives for his decision because these new rules are a good way to punish businesses for the hiring of illegal immigrants and would certainly not hurt documented workers in any way. Why would this judge order this injunction?

Bush Pushes For Changes In "No Child Left Behind"

Bush said that he is willing to take suggestions on changing the "No Child Left Behind" Act as long as the standards are not lowered. He insisted that there would be absolutely "no compromise on the basic principle: Every child must learn to read and do math at, or above, grade level". He and educators of students agreed that schools should map out the individual progress of each student and that schools who miss progress goals by a little should not face the same consequences as those who miss them by a lot. However, to enact these new changes, new funds would be needed, and seeing how the original legislation did not get the funding that was voted on draws fierce opposition from the conservative and liberal wings of Congress. There was a lack of collective funding for the original legislation that made it hard to enforce.

Changes that Bush have listed include :

—Give local leaders more flexibility and resources.

—Offer other educational options to families of children stuck in low-performing schools.

—Increase access to tutoring programs.

—Reward good teachers who improve student achievement in low-income schools.

—Expand access to advanced placement courses.

—Improve math and science instruction.

Shouldn't the government help fund for this program? It makes all these changes that would require even more funding than the original legislation and yet does not have a provision for helping the states with money? All these changes look great on paper, but without proper funding, they are useless and putting the pressure on the states to raise the funds is not a great idea.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

U.S. judge halts Guantanamo transfer

In relation to a post a while back on September 28th called "Guantanamo Suspects" about the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay who were not receiving fair treatment, the Associated Press wrote that a federal judge blocked the Pentagon from transferring a Guantanamo detainee to Tunisia, where he would have been tortured. In this case, it is the first time that a judge has given some kind of rights to a detainee. That right is the right not to be tortured by the Tunisian government.

Well, it's a good thing that someone finally intervened in this situation and put their foot down, which says a lot coming from a federal judge. But why in the world does a judge have to stop the Pentagon from sending a detainee to another country to be tortured? All humans have rights, whether they are terrorist suspects or not. Why does the government think that they can disregard anyone's rights they want to?Although the judge stopped this detainee from getting tortured in another country, shouldn't the judge do more? Shouldn't there be more judges trying to intervene in this situation?

Democrats to unveil wiretapping bill

Democrats want to enact an new draft bill called the "Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007" or RESTORE Act that would allow the United States to conduct surveillance on communications outside the United States, even when the surveillance is conducted on U.S. soil. The bill would also allow the government to do so without a court order. The attorney general and the director of national intelligence would then have the power to ask for a warrant that would let them conduct "surveillance" of foreign targets, or groups of targets if they believe that American communications are at risk. They could do this along as the target is not a U.S. person.

This bill would also replace the "Protect America Act of 2007", which allowed the government to eavesdrop without United States communications without the court's consent. Are all these kinds of legislations actually necessary? Would we benefit from spying on other parts of the world? More importantly, do we actually NEED this?