Friday, April 25, 2008

Obama's Reverend

I recently read an article about how Obama's reverend to his church felt unjustifiably accused. He said that the sound bites were not what the whole speach was about and how he is someone who will speak out against the goverment. But is it too late for Obama. Did this man hurt his chances of winning the primary and even the presidency? The GOP in North Carolina is going be running anti Obama commercials of him with his reverend. Will Obama being connected with this church and pastor hurt him is the big question becasue he was apart of the church for such a long time and he never spoke out against what they said. So either he truely believes it or he just was to lazy to change churches. I feel that if he does win the democratic primary, the republicans will rip him up for this and it will hurt him in some states.

Genetic Discrimination?

I recently saw an article about legislation that just passed through the Senate that would ban genetic discrimination. I'm not exactly sure what genetic discrimination entails but i think that is good to know that our rights are being protected before concerns even arise about the intrusiveness of this new technology. The article reminded me a lot of the movie
Gattaca, a science fiction flick about genetic diagnosis. It really amazes me that actual science is catching up to our science-fiction movies.
Genetic testing holds great promise with its ability to help diagnose and foresee medical problems much earlier so i found it hard to believe that insurance companies would actually oppose the practice because they might have to pay many claims to people who were previously thought to be healthy. Isn't saving lives and making progress in the field of science and medicine more important than the profits of insurance companies?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Charities are needing charity...

I don't know if anyone has noticed or anything, but there has been just a teeny little rise in gas prices that has been creeping up and up and up the past few years.  Along with these rising fuel prices, cost of living has also increased.  However, people's salaries have not kept up with these fast-paced increases.  This trend does not help with charities either.  In order to have a charity, people must donate.  Due to these factors, there is more need (and more people who need) and less donations.  The Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Goodwill aren't just for the homeless.  Volunteers at these locations have all agreed that more and more working class people are needing these services.  The trouble is...there isn't enough to go around, with donations low and all.  Food donations are low too because of strong agricultural exports.  "Donations of canned goods are down 35 percent from last year; dairy and frozen meat donations are down by 26 percent."  "The federal government donated $242 million in surplus food to food banks, soup kitchens and emergency shelters in 2003. Last year, it donated $58 million in surplus food to the same places."  Congress is looking at a farm bill to increase aid to food banks...but really??  How much will that help with everything else sky-rocketing??  What to do...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Race to the White House

Here we are almost 4 months into the primaries now, and we still dont have two candidates for the president. With Hilary winning Pennsylvania today, it puts here back in the race. With 780 delegates still to be handed out, Obama is only leading by 138. Since February 12, Obama has had the lead in the primaries, but has not been able to put it away and run off with it. Obama since then has been able to expand his lead, but the door is open for Clinton to swoop in there and take the driver seat. This race probably wont end until the final primary on June 3. But it still might not be finished and might after to be decided at the Convention. The one thing though that Hilary has on Obama is more superdelgates which could help here out if it goes to the convention. Then on the complete opposite side, the republican primary has been over for a while having McCain winning the Republican side after blewing past the competition. Does this democratic race help people get excited in politics again because it has been so close, but will it hurt the democrats later on in the general election which McCain has been able to get ready for and not had to deal with others for awhile now?


Both Clinton and Obama, in an effort to court working-class voters, have spoken out against NAFTA ( a free trade agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada):
"The summit was overshadowed by Tuesday's Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary race between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who have threatened to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA or renegotiate it to push for more protections for workers and the environment.

With fears about job security already being fanned by downturns in the economy, trade has become a key issue of the presidential election. Bush argued that NAFTA has fostered prosperity in all three countries and that Clinton and Obama are wrongly using anti-trade messages to lure working class voters. Free-trade opponents say expanded international trade helps businesses, but threatens U.S. jobs and keeps wages from growing.

Bush warned that without NAFTA, migratory pressure from Mexico would be worse."

My question is, does NAFTA threaten the economic prosperity and independence of the US? However, I think the long term health of the global economy is more important than appeasing some undecided workers in Appalachia. Ultimately the US does have a lot to gain from thriving markets and close ties to neighboring nations and that should take priority over some upset Americans. Eventually, environmental and worker's rights issues must be addressed in NAFTA and in future trade agreements but that is no reason to pull out of an agreement that has raised trade between the 3 nations from $290 billion to $1 trillion since 1994.

It may just be a conspiracy theory but i heard somewhere that NAFTA would eventually evolve into a union a lot like the EU between the US, Mexico, and Canada with a common currency called the amero. Is this plausible?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yearning for Zion...

As many people already know, recently, police got a phone call from "a 16 year-old girl who was pregnant and being sexually abused by her middle-aged husband" on April 3rd.  This phone call came from the small town of Eldorado, Texas from an isolated Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints sect on the Yearning for Zion ranch.  Police investigated the polygamist religious group's site and found 416 children, none of whom had defined parents.  No child could identify one mother or father, but pointed to many.  Court and state officials are trying to sort out how these isolated children can be housed and cared for in the outside world without anymore shock or trauma from the whole case.  They believe it will also be hard to trace the children's parents and family lines because of the girls 15 years or younger who have interrelated blood lines.  The other main question is, how old were these women when they gave birth?  It is illegal in the state of Texas for a girl under 16 to marry, even with her parents' consent.  What do you think will be the outcome of the whole ordeal?? How do you think officials will/should handle case??

High School Bomber

Over this past weekend on Saturday, the parents of a senior of a South Carolina high school reported their son to the cops after discovering the materials necesary to create a bombs. He had not created it yet, but according to him it would only take him minutes to put it all together. I was just wondering how safe schools really are when kids are able to access these things very easily. I know we have secure the building drills every so often, but if someone had a bomb like this kid was going do, how would we fare. It seems very scary how anyone could get this items and that it could be used anywhere.

Pennsylvania Shmensylvania

On the eve of the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania, I wonder, is this really a decisive battle between Obama and Clinton or will the duo continue to heckle each other until the convention in June? Media outlets continue to disagree about ow important the PA primary really is but in my opinion, the winner of tomorrow's primary will not win the candidacy. If anyone has any theories or predictions it would be interesting to see how the class thinks this one will play out. Will Obama stage a come from behind victory in PA and all but lock up the nomination for his party? Will Hillary trounce Barack as the polls suggest and take some momentum going into the primaries in Indiana in North Carolina?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Border Controversy

I recently read about a story near the American-Mexican border which seemed a little controversy to me. Two men were patrolling the border when they observed a Mexican man illegally passing from Mexico to America transporting drugs. The men pulled out there firearms and shot. The men took the drug trafficker into custody. What happen was the men who took the drug trafficker got into trouble. The men were not legally allowed to fire there weapons. The government then were going to allow the drug trafficker off just to testify against the two men who fired there weapons. Does anyone think that this is American justice? I thought we were trying to prevent illegal immigrants? I also thought the U.S disliked drugs...Hmmmm.

Bruce Springsteen Endorses Obama

Rock star Bruce Springsteen endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president Wednesday, saying "he speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years."

In a letter addressed to friends and fans posted his Web site, Springsteen said he believes Obama is the best candidate to undo "the terrible damage done over the past eight years."

"He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next president," the letter said. "He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit. A place where '...nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.' "

Do such celebrities make a difference in elections such as this one? Do celebrities use the elections to further there own careers and put themselves in the spotlight?

Visited Barack's Occidental College

I thought this was interesting because I visited Occidental this past weekend, where Barack Obama attended college. The school administration referred to him as "Barry" Obama. Doesn't this seem a little like Barack was americanized there? Also the administration has a program which allows 15 students to attend United Nation conferences which meant they would be the only undergraduates there, which Barack Obama attended. To become a Senator or a successful politician do you guys think it matters whether you go to a school with such limited special opportunities?

Interest Rates Drop

The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by three-quarters of a point, resulting in two months of Fed's most aggressive action in 25 years, to battle a spreading credit crisis. Wall Street loved it, bursting to its biggest gain in five years. The strong Fed action seemed to convince investors, at least temporarily, that the central bank will do anything it can to keep the country out of a steep recession. The reduction triggered announcements from commercial banks that they were cutting their prime lending rate from 6 percent to 5.25 percent . This rate is the benchmark for millions of business and consumer loans. Can this drop of interest rates and boosting stock market end or prevent the recession? Can this spur spending in the general public?

Obama Hates on Bush

Democrat Barack Obama, who often argues that John McCain is the same as President Bush, said Sunday that the Republican presidential candidate would be better for the country than Bush has been.

"You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain," Obama said to cheers from a rowdy crowd in central Pennsylvania. Then he said: "And all three of us would be better than George Bush."

"But what you have to ask yourself is who has the chance to actually really change things in a fundamental way so that 10 years from now or 20 years from now you can look back and you can say, boy, we really moved in a new direction and we put the country on a better path," Obama added as he wrapped up an event at Reading High School

Obama was trying to argue that he is the better choice over Democratic rival Hilary Clinton in Tuesday's primary in Pennsylvania. But the Illinois Senator ended up mixing in praise for McCain at the same time — and giving Clinton an opening to criticize. Does this comment by Senator Obama make him look soft and kind of endorsing McCain? Are all the candidates actually better than President Bush?

Ruling on Home Schooling

Parents of an estimated 166,000 children in California are eagerly awaiting a state appellate court ruling on whether they have a constitutional right to home-school their children without a teaching credential. That question sprouted unexpectedly on Feb. 28, when a panel of three judges ruled that parents or tutors of children who are home-schooled must be certified by the state, basing their ruling on a rarely enforced state education law. Few parents knew the law existed. Parents of an estimated 166,000 children in California are eagerly awaiting a state appellate court ruling on whether they have a constitutional right to home-school their children without a teaching credential. The court's ruling threatens to send back to the classroom those children who now spend their days studying math, Spanish or the Bible in the comfort of their living rooms. Do you think that parents without teaching credentials should be able to teach their kids at home? If the courts ruled that it is required to be certified, "99.5 percent of families wouldn't qualify." Can we really trust parents to teach their kids the right material that other schools are teaching?