Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

There is something very interesting going on tonight


a brief summary: Earth Hour encouraged people to turn-off lights and electrical appliances for an hour, to help combat climate warming. National landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Melbourne's Federation Square were dimmed, as lights were switched-off across the country of Australia, at 8:00 p.m. their time.

The time to turn off your electrical appliances is: 8-9 p.m. TONIGHT, March 29th! (i hope that is the correct day, i completely lost track of days during spring break. that term paper!)

Major participation is planned in 25 cities around the world, on six continents. Four Earth Hour flagship cities in the United States—Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix and San Francisco—are leading the way. Other participating U.S. cities include Denver, Miami and Charlotte. Globally, Copenhagen, Sydney, Manila, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, Dublin and Toronto are among the cities that will be involved.

So... after you read this, turn off your computer!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Operation Chaos

This is relatively old news, but i was reading about the election, and found something that led me to beleive that republicans might not be as nice as we think they are. Rush Limbaugh, a conservative talk show host, is publicizing his scheme to get John McCain elected in the general election. He believes that Barack Obama is by far the stronger candidate, and would therefore present the greatest obstacle to McCain. Now that the Republican nomination has been secured by McCain, Limbaugh is urging people in states with open primaries to vote as a democrat, and cast their vote for Hillary Clinton. Limbaugh believes that if enough Republicans vote for Clinton, she can triumph over Obama, and ultimately lose to McCain, ushering in four more years under a Republican President. What are your opinions? Is this immoral or wrong? Is Limbaugh wrongfully manipulating Democracy in America, or is he just advocating strategic voting? This is good news for Obama supporters though, because it shows that he is seen as the stronger candidate by many people outside of the Democratic party.

Barry Obama

According to Newsweek, for much of his life, the man we know as Barack Obama was called by the nickname Barry. Oh, what a scandal! It was not until he started attending Columbia University that he stopped going by the nickname Barry and began to be called by his formal African name. In my opinion, the press has just run out of things to talk about when it comes to the primaries. Newsweek took an unsignificant, but somewhat interesting fact about Obama, and turned it into the front page story. But as it turns out, much of the story wasnt about the nickname, but simly delved into Obama's past and his personal life, which i feel has no place in American Politics. Do you think that this was a front-page worthy story? In my opinion, there are more important things to report on that the fact that Obama liked to eat "chicken satay, traditional fried rice and meatballs the size of tennis balls."

Marine Gains U.S. Citizenship

After two tours in Iraq, U.S. Marine Cpl. Mario Ramos-Villalta was finally granted citizenship. Ramos-Villalta fled El Salvador's civil war in 1989 with his family as a young boy and lived in the United States for a time, although he was never able to gain citizenship. It was not until he put his life on the line fighting for a country that was not legally his own that he was granted the right to call himself an American. Now that he is finally an American Citizen, he gets the wonderful gift of another tour in the Middle East, this time in Afghanistan. In my opinion, the U.S. government is too strict concerning immigration. It is wrong for someone to have to risk their life before being granted citizenship. However, according to the article, Ramos-Villalta was not at all bitter about his situation, he was completely thrilled. "I finally get to wear the uniform of my country," he remarked. "I don't feel left out." What do you all think? Was it wrong of the U.S. government to deny him citizenship before his service, or do you feel that it was a good way for him to prove his loyalty? Perhaps this is a ploy by the U.S. government to keep American causalties in Iraq low by sending non-U.S. citizens to fight overseas (but i really doubt that).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Who's on the Other Line?

What happens when your computer catches a virus? Do you wait around for the Geek Squad to come? Do you have to pay them? Or do you call the service number? Are you met by an outsourced helper in India, whose real name is Punjab but goes by Billy for his night time computer help job, who guides you step by step to repairing and even improving your computer for free?

The family computer here is becoming more and more laggy and I fear it has caught something. Should my family support the outsourcing of labor to India and get premium service or support the local geeks to repair the computer, or should we call up someone in robotics to cure it for a batch of cookies?

Or I could support the American economy by finally buying my own computer - a MacBook! (5.0 lbs, 1.5 inches by 13.3 inch screen, starts at $1099, with standard 2GB of memory and 2.4 GHz speed)

I think this post is relevant to the world today.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Obama invited ME to dinner

Today at 9:33 a.m., Senator Barack Obama invited me to dinner through facebook. I copied and pasted the e-mail below

Dinner invitation

9:33am Today
Refusing money from PACs and Washington lobbyists makes this campaign different in one very important respect.

We are not beholden to anyone but you.

We've rejected the traditional Washington fundraising strategy -- including countless dinners hosted by lobbyists -- and put our trust in millions of Americans owning a piece of this campaign.

Senator Clinton and Senator McCain have a different approach.

Both have accepted millions from lobbyists and special interests, and both have relied on high dollar donors for the majority of their funding.

This campaign is different, and I'm looking forward to supporters like you joining me for a different kind of fundraising dinner.

If you make a donation in any amount between now and 11:59 pm EDT on Monday, March 31st, you could join me and three other supporters for an intimate dinner for five:

Together we can put an end to pay-for-influence politics.

We can turn the page in Washington, and it all begins with you.

Thank you for your support,


So I'd like to analyze this a bit for my post today, even though I have no basis for comparison because I don't subscribe/get e-mails from other candidates (which is actually a good idea if you want to see how the candidates treat their supporters differently, like Benji taught me)

1) He uses his first name, he puts the emphasis on our personal relationship. He makes it sound like we are grand old friends, even though we haven't met. He makes me feel special and important! Maybe a good quality, as superficial as it is? He can talk the talk, but that isn't anything new.

2) He takes this opportunity to differentiate himself from the other major candidates. He paints them as part of the "old boys club" - accepting money from dirty sources that could carry over to a dirty presidency. Using this tactic, he makes himself seem much more grassroots, as if he has been completely carried upon the shoulders of real people.. like you and me!

3) It's an incentive to get involved. He offers this super cool opportunity to meet him for a very personal "dinner for five", so it becomes a prize to a game that we all can play! And once we're hooked to play the game (donating however much money you want), we tend to give more, because "what the heck, I love the guy!" Very clever, Barack.

So I guess go donate and win a chance to have dinner with the dude. For the record, I didn't give any money - not because I don't like Barack Obama, but because I am a poor, starving college student.

Sniper Fire

So the other day on the news, I heard about how Hillary Clinton "accidentally" recounted an event wrong. She said that when she went to visit Bosnia with her daughter several years ago, they were shot at and had to run for cover. But the video footage that was filmed that day doesn't show anything of that kind. Hillary and Chelsea were all smiles as they exited the plane and walked off with absolutely no bullets whizzing past their heads. When Clinton was confronted with this evidence, she said that "So I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human, which you know, for some people, is a revelation."
Personally, I think that a person would remember being shot at. An experience like that isn't easily forgotten. So that makes me think: was this "mistake" all a publicity stunt for voters to have their "revelations" and vote for her or did she really make a mistake? What do you guys think?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thank You For Smoking

Back in October of 2006, Dr. Claudia Henschke of Weill Cornell Medical College "jolted the cancer world" because her research "indicated" that
80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through widespread use of CT scans.
This research is significant because it implicitly promotes smoking - a total backwards step for cancer research.

But now... the fine print has been acknowledged.

[the research] had been financed in part by a little-known charity called the Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention & Treatment. A review of tax records by The New York Times shows that the foundation was underwritten almost entirely by $3.6 million in grants from the parent company of the Liggett Group, maker of Liggett Select, Eve, Grand Prix, Quest and Pyramid cigarette brands.

dun dun dun duh.......

The entire credibility of this Dr.
Henschke has been compromised and a "black taint" on her record, as well as of Weill Cornell Medical College.

So... what?
Does where the money come from de-legitimize the research? In this case, where cigarette companies are considered the ultimate dark mark on any medical research, it does.

For reference, here is the article
that I looked at.

There is not much else going on in the world today, except everyone should buy a t-shirt to support Faustine's appeal.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Abortion - What the Heck???

This image was somewhat disconcerting....
For some reason the picture didn't come across clearly. The portrait in the back says "Glorious Founder" and the bottom reads, "Margaret Sanger", who was the leader in woman's contraception for those who forgot. The jar on the receptionist's desk reads "kill a black baby fund"


Food Crisis?

Lately, about 37 countries in the world have been suffering from increasing food prices. I don't think that this increase in price would matter as much if peoples salaries were also increasing, but they're not. People are continually finding it harder to buy staple foods, like miso in Japan, pasta in Italy, and butter in France. Although this isn't really hurting Japan, Italy, and France in a major way (yet), there are poorer countries that are definitely suffering. In Egypt, someone died in a fight over a loaf of bread. Even though that may sound ridiculous, its the result of an increase in the price of food. The chairwoman of China equities for JP Morgan said that the "cause of the problem is a supply-demand imbalance. Demand is very strong. Supply is constrained."
This whole situtation reminds me of the oil crisis going on in the world right now. Here in the U.S., we have seen gas prices skyrocket. And although I haven't really noticed a raise in the cost of food (probably because I'm not paying for my families groceries each week), I'm afraid that it's going to hit us soon or maybe it has already started.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Four U.S. soldiers were killed when their vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device while patrolling a neighborhood in southern Baghdad on Sunday. This event brought the death toll of U.S. soldiers to the grim milestone of 4000. It is somewhat of a coincidence that this event coincided so closely with the five year anniversary of the war, which took place on March 19. As the death toll continues to rise, support of the war across the nation continues to fall. It seems like we are involved in less of an occupation and more of a war, for our troops don’t seem to be making much progress. Whatever it is that we are involved in doesn’t seem to have a clear or easy end in sight. Are you all mostly in support of the war, completely against it, or somewhere in between? What do you think we should do in regard to the rising casualties and the ineffectiveness of current strategies? In my opinion, 4000 deaths is beyond too many, especially when it turned out that the country we were invading didn’t even pose a serious threat to national security.