Thursday, July 29, 2010

16 and Pregnant? Nah. How about 16 and Plantation Owner - Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

Oh my goodness! I am not even halfway through Founding Mothers, and I have already read so many fascinating stories about the women during the American revolution. Where to begin? Let's start from the beginning...

The first woman, or I guess I should say girl, the author Cokie Roberts introduces is Eliza Pinckney. Around 1734, her father had to leave to join his regiment in Antigua in fighting the war against Spain. So he left her, a 16 year old girl, in charge of their 3 South Carolina plantations, her sick mother, and all the children.

Phew! That's a lot for a teenager to handle! But she proved that she was up for the challenge.

"I have the business of three plantations to transact, which requires much writing and more business and fatigue of other sorts than you can imagine. But least you should imagine it too burdensome to a girl at my early time of life, give me leave to answer you: I assure you I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father, and by rising very early I find I can go through much business."

Man, I admire her already! But not only did she just run three plantations, she did a heck of a job at it too. She realized that rice was basically the only cash crop making South Carolina money, and she was determined to find another way to make the colony prosperous. She predicted (and was eventually right!) that growing indigo would become a lucrative business.

It took a lot of hard work, trial and error, and years until her indigo experiment worked. She was finally able to harvest enough plants and distributed the seeds to other planters so that indigo would make South Carolina an exclusive hub for indigo and thereby an important colony with more power. England snatched up the indigo and paid South Carolinians in bounty for it.

So here is a girl who not only had an extreme amount of responsibility for her age, but she went above and beyond the call of duty, for herself and her colony, and showed wisdom beyond her years.

And that's my two cents.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

¿El Fin de los Toreros?


Just today, Barcelona and its region of Catalonia banned bullfighting. This is the first region in the mainland of Spain to abolish the long time tradition and hallmark of Spanish culture.

But this has been a critical issue in Spain for a long time, as opponents of bullfighting cry animal cruelty. When I was in Spain, I never attended a bullfight, and if I go back, I don't think I ever will. I just don't understand what is entertaining about watching an animal being tortured and eventually killed. Plus it seems even more disturbing to have tons of people watching in a ring and cheering as the bull dies. It all comes across as barbaric.

But everyone in Spain that I talked to was against bullfighting, especially the youth. The only main argument for bullfighting is tradition. It has become such a part of the culture, that many, especially older people, have a hard time letting it go.

When I was reading this article, nothing really surprised me about what they were reporting. Everything that is unfolding with this issue is so true to Spain. Bullfighting has always been a problem, Barcelona has always been the most independent region, and there has always been tension between the youth and the elderly.

The region of Catalonia, where Barcelona is situated, is the most unique region and distinct in Spain. People there call themselves Catalans first, and Spaniards second. They even speak their own dialect of Spanish called Catalan. So some are saying this bullfight ban is more than just to save animals, but a political push as well. Could it be another step for Barcelona to gain more independence from the rest of Spain?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the rest of Spain: how the rest of the Spanish public will receive the ban, and if other Spanish cities will follow suit. Some say if anything, Madrid and Seville will definitely keep bullfighting around, as it is the most popular and culturally significant in those two cities.

So is this the end of the bullfighters? I certainly hope so.

And that's my two cents.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History



A few weeks ago I was watching Glenn Beck, and every Friday in the summer he does a segment called "Founding Fridays" where he focuses on a topic about the founding of our nation.

So on this particular day he focused not on the Founding Fathers, but the Founding Mothers. Most of our knowledge of important women during the Revolutionary period begins with Betsy Ross (which doesn't really even count, because that story is mainly a folktale now) and Abigail Adams and Martha Washington...

...and it ends there.

Little is taught in the history books of the women who sacrificed and fought for America's independence too. They supported their husbands and made their own mark as well. During Glenn's Beck show, he told numerous stories of the women who showed immense courage and conviction for our new nation.

I was so intrigued by these women's lives that I decided to start a little project this summer! (frankly beause I knew I'd NEVER actually do it during the school year) I am going to learn more about these great women by reading Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts, and I will talk about some of the stories I find most interesting on here (because if I don't post it somewhere then I'll never actually do it ha).

So I am going to start a series on my blog post called "Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History." Be looking out for entries in this new series!

And that's my two cents.

Monday, July 26, 2010

America Now - Friends and Neighbors



Last night I was watching Dateline, and Ann Curry did an entire segment on how hard the Great Recession has hit some Americans. It was called "America Now-Friends and Neighbors." For nine months she followed a community in southeastern Ohio.

The segment follows an owner of a food pantry and her struggle to keep the pantry up and running, especially as people visiting fod pantries has jumped 30%. Desperate for help, as people wait in line they write notes to the President on empty plates, a symbol for their hunger, asking him to help them out. Eventually over 1200 plates were sent straight to the White House.

It also follows several families in the area. One man has worked for 10 companies that went under and cannot find a job, an extended family of 14 people all have to live in a house together, and another family lives in a camper without running water.

None of them can find jobs. And all of them are barely getting by, just trying to feed their children, as they go hungry.

And the saddest part is these stories are just a dime a dozen.

Did you know that 40 million Americans are now living in poverty? And that means 1 in 5 children are living in poverty?

I sure didn't, and that blew me away.

These are conditions we expect in poorer, less fortunate countries, but not in the wealthiest country in the world...

... not in America.

Poverty is right in our backyard now. Literally. The University of Virginia Health System went to Wise, Virginia for a free health clinic last weekend. It's called a Remote Access Medical clinic, and thousands of people waited in line and even camped in tents in the parking lot to receive free medical care. Wise county has unemployment rates and poverty levels well above the national average. Most of the people in Wise do not have health insurance, and last year 6,000 people were treated and over $2 million of aid was given. You can read more about it here.

The stereotypes that people say about people in poverty and on welfare simply are not true. These people aren't just living off of welfare checks, being lazy, and having 25 kids so they can continue to live on the government's dime. They are working hard every day, trying to find jobs that simply aren't there. Most of them are trained in manufacturing and construction, live in low income areas where they couldn't afford to go to college, and all of their labor jobs have been outsourced to other countries.

I would REALLY encourage you to check out Ann Curry's segment America Now - Friends and Neighbors. The site has the Dateline episode posted there, as well as the full text from the show if you just want to skim through it. There are also personal pictures taken by Curry and ways you can help.

If you go to just one of the several articles/websites I post on this blog, this Dateline episode should be it.

And that's my two cents.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Washington Post Silent on Black Panther Case

As news of the Black Panther voter intimidation case unraveled, the Washington Post apparently decided to simply not report on it.

As a recap: the Black Panthers on election day stood outside of a Philadelphia polling place and threatened people with brandishing sticks to vote for Obama. When they were prosecuted, only one of them was punished, and even that was just a slap on the wrist - he couldn't come within 100 yards of a Philadelphia polling place for a few years.

Please.

So after readers complained to the ombudsman FOR MONTHS about not reporting on the case, the ombudsman scolded his own newspaper for neglecting the topic, and the Post finally issued a full length news article about the Black Panthers.

Many people are now accusing the Post of a double standard. Critics of the Black Panther case say that the only reason people such as J.Christian Adams are fighting for a harsher prosecution is purely partisan politics.

This is just simply not the case. Since when is the right to have a fair and equal voting process only a Republican issue?

Adams spoke out, to the media and the US Commission Civil Rights, that the Justice Department was showing favor to the defendants because they were black, as if trying show reversal racism.

But in the case of the Post not reporting the issue, it should not matter that this has become the conservative fight (even though I really don't understand why), or that it is a possible issue of reverse racism, or even if it's a partisan fight (which I really don't believe it is) - the important thing is that it is an issue. It is a story. And a newspaper's job is to report stories of interest and importance to it's readers. Many other newspapers and news organizations felt it was worth reporting except for the Washington Post.

See this is why I get frustrated when people complain about Fox News, calling them out for being too conservative. They're absolutely right - Fox News is conservative, and I'm not going to act like they aren't unbiased. Journalism is supposed to be unbiased, but really, what newspaper is nowadays? Fox News just reports about more issues that are of interest to the conservative audience. It was the first to pick up on the Black Panther case, and if Fox News doesn't report about these issues, then who will?

Obviously not the Washington Post.

It's clearly not just Fox News and conservative agencies showing a bias in what they choose to report - it's the liberal side, like the Washington Post too.

And again, it still baffles me why this has become a conservative issue. Why does it have to be on one party/ideoligical side at all? It's about the right that each citizen has to vote without any intimidation and experience a fair and equal voting process.

What's so political about that?

And that's my two cents.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sometimes you just need a different perspective on life...



I first saw this video in church one time when my pastor showed it, and it's funny but also so true. Sometimes we just got so caught up in our little world, a one-track, straightforward mindset, that we forget to look around us. We don't think outside of the box. Sometimes you just need a different perspective on life, to realize maybe things aren't as bad as they seem, that life will go on - that there is always a solution, and you're never really helpless.

If not, we might just find ourselves stuck on an escalator like these two idiots :p

And that's my two cents.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Its cool when your job makes the nightly news



Last night, ABC 7 World News aired a spot about how social media is revolutionizing politics.

Which is exactly my job!

I work for Harris Media, a political communications firm that handles the social media for candidates running for political office. So I get to help update their Facebook pages, twitter accounts, websites, blog posts, etc. You can check out Harris media by going here.

There is definitely no denying how important, almost "viral" social internet media is becoming in politics. What I love about it is it brings voters closer to the campaign and the candidate. Voters can "tweet" a candidate a question or ask them a question on their facebook, and they can communicate with the campaign! Everything is literally at the voter's fingertips - whether they want to learn about the candidate's stance on certain issues, his voting record, or donate/volunteer to the campaign - it is all just a click away. The opportunities are endless.

So in the spirit of social networking - please go "like" Harris Media if you found this interesting! And yes, of course we have our own facebook page :)

Needless to say, I love my job :)

And that's my two cents.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's Talk About Arizona

It will probably come as no surprise to those who know me that I support the Arizona immigration law. Especially now that the Justice Department is suing Governor Jan Brewer against the law, it is all extremely ironic.

The Arizona law is actually only following federal immigration regulation. In other words, Arizona is just doing what they were told by the federal government, and more importantly, following the letter of the law.

While the fed is focusing all of its time on Arizona, it is ignoring several other local governments who are not complying with federal immigration law. These local governments are telling their police to not cooperate with federal immigration officials.

Why aren't those governments being sued? You can read more here

Arizona is not actually the first place to enact such a law. My hometown, Prince William County, put a similar law into place before Arizona did, and it succeeded. 80% of residents in Prince William County supported the law. The crime rate went down by 38%, and there was a drop in ESL enrollment and the number of uninsured illegals giving birth in the county. You can learn more, by watching this video.

I just don't understand why the federal government is fighting a law that is protecting its own tax-paying, law abiding citizens in order to promote some amnesty, political agenda.

Lastly, shoot outs resulting in numerous people dying near the Mexican-US border have become all too frequent. The drug cartels, human trafficking, and organized crime is wreaking havoc in our country. You can read more here.

So don't tell me we don't need tighter border control.

And that's my two cents.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DC area says, What Recession?

While the rest of the US is struggling in this current recession, my hometown, the greater DC-Metro area, doesn't seem to be feeling its effects.

Ever since Obama expanded the government and hence government jobs, everyone in politics, policy, and government jobs have had strong job security - aka everyone in Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland.

Just look at the stats:
Out of the 15 largest metropolitan areas, DC was the one to lose the fewest number of jobs.
Unemployment in the Washington area was only 6% in May, while the national average was 9.5% - not to mention areas in the Midwest that are experiencing the worst unemployment spikes at 14.7%

Northern Virginia has been called one of the wealthiest, most educated ares in the country, and this current economic disconnect is only increasing DC's gap from the rest of the country.

As a resident of Northern Virignia, I have definitely experienced this. Just go to Fair Oaks Mall or Tysons Corner and you will always find a jammed parking lot and think to yourself, "What recession?"

To read more, go to this article.

And that's my two cents.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Georgetown Cupcake - worth the hype?



Georgetown Cupcake is an extremely popular "cupcakery" in the heart of Georgetown, Washington DC. It has been praised across the board from numerous newspapers and food critics - making it a place for people to gather in hopes of eating delicious cupcakes...

...and wait 40 minutes in line for them.

Which is exactly what I did with my friends while we were in DC for the day.

Georgetown Cupcake is so popular that people are willing to wait in line up to an hour for just one of their cupcakes! The line was literally wrapped around the block. People walking around in Georgetown would come up to those of us waiting in line and say, "Really? Those cupcakes are THAT good? You guys are waiting in line for a cupcake!?"

So the experience was definitely fun, to wait in line and be laughed at by passerbys and talk to other people in line - many of who were tourists enjoying the sights of DC - and apparently Georgetown Cupcake had made it onto that prestigious list of places to visit in our nation's capital.

So are the cupcakes really that good?

I was thinking that they must be really good for them to receive all this hype, but I have to say, I was disappointed when I finally bit into what was supposed to be my "40 minutes good delicious morsel of red velvet cupcake." I chose red velvet, because it was apparently what Georgetown Cupcake was known for. While the icing was very good, the cupcake part just tasted like bread and had no flavor to it. My other friends agreed that their cupcakes just tasted like bread too.

Maybe it's a result of mass production, that a once out of this world delicious cupcake fell prey to mainstream popularity which resulted in quick production for more profit. I'm glad I went though, just to see what all the hype was about. But maybe I'm saving you a trip.

Then there is the show that just aired about the cupcakery - called DC Cupcakes on TLC. My best friend and I sat down to watch it, and again, were disappointed in another Georgetown Cupcake production. The scenes looked staged and scripted, and there wasn't enough drama or story to make an interesting plot. Plus the sisters came across as whiny and self-absorbed. I don't know if I'll be tuning in for the next episode.

So the consensus?

Close...but not cigar.

And that's my two cents.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A man got second degree burns from running after his postman on hot concrete? i don't know which part of that to be more concerned about...



So I was watching my local news today and saw this - it's about a 78 year old man in Phoenix who after chasing his postman barefoot on the blacktop got second degree burns!

I don't know which part of this story to be more concerned about...

The fact that it is so crazy hot that he got SECOND DEGREE burns or the fact that he was CHASING his postman.

I just want to know - why are you outside with no shoes on!? And why are you chasing, literally RUNNING after your postman?

And that's my two cents.

And that's my two cents.

Friday, July 16, 2010

All Around Pro-Life Victory

The pro-life cause has recently seen victories in several areas:
1. Litigation
2. Science
3. Public Opinion

1. Litigation

Two laws will soon take effect: the Women's Health Protection Act and the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The first law requires women who want an abortion to be screened for mental wellness and make sure they are not being pressured into an abortion. It also allows women who develop mental/emotional issues after an abortion to file civil lawsuits against abortion clinics that did not do proper pre-screenings. This defeats the idea that an abortion has "positive" effects in its aftermath, as Planned Parenthood suggests. The second law makes it illegal for an abortion to be performed after 20 weeks.

2. Science

The pro-life fight has typically been associated with the religious right, and has typically only been justified for moral reasons. But now scientific research has shown that science does play a role in the pro-life argument, which is why the two laws aforementioned were passed. Science has proven that women do suffer physical and psychological effects post-abortion. It has also proven that it is not WHAT you are aborting, but WHO you are aborting - and that baby can feel pain. The second law recognizes that babies can develop pain receptors as early as 20 weeks.

3. Public Opinion

Finally, abortions are becoming less and less popular. According to a recent Gallup poll, 51% of Americans call themselves "pro-life" - compared to only 33% in 1995. Abortions have also decreased by 25% and 87% of our nation's counties do NOT have abortion facilities. It is clear that the public has strongly responded to the new findings that a fetus can feel pain and a woman can suffer from the loss of an unborn child.

I would really encourage you to read this article - which describes these latest victories in further detail. But if you read any part of the article, I think the part that had the most profound effect on me is where it describes how an abortion is performed:

"There is no doubt that abortion can be painful. A dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion, used from 13 weeks to 24 weeks, involves using forceps to pull the baby into pieces. A saline abortion, the most common technique after 16 weeks, involves injecting a strong salt solution through the mother's abdomen into the baby's sac. The baby then swallows, and is poisoned by, the fluid, which also burns off the outer layer of the baby's skin. Labor begins within 24 hours, and the mother delivers a dead baby."

After reading that, I hope everyone gives abortion a second thought.

And that's my two cents.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dear Kia Motors, I just don't understand you

video

Dear Kia Motors,

I just don't understand you. I don't understand what hamsters have to do with your new Kia Soul car. Or what possessed you to make the hamsters gangster. I don't think anyone wants to watch furry rodents dance around in Southpole clothes and rap. Plus they're getting their fur all over that nice new leather interior. Now every time I see a Kia car I just think of those weird hamsters and think, "Ew. Now I definitely won't buy that car."

But I guess at the same time, your weird commercials are effective.
1) In a competitve world of Ford, GM, and Chrysler, because of those obnoxious hamsters I now know Kia is out there too.
2) You've even inadvertently getting me to give you free advertising on my blog.

Darn it!

Still...I just. don't. get it.

Confusingly,
Alicia

And that's my two cents

Friday, July 9, 2010

General Accountability Office Warned of an Environmental Disaster...in 1994

There are over 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, despite regulations requiring companies that own these wells to present plans that they are going to reuse or plug up the wells within a year.

This problem has been ignored for decades. No one - not the industry, not the government - is checking to make sure these wells aren't leaking.

Haven't we learned anything from our mistakes?

The BP oil spill was caused by an abandoned well that was being temporarily sealed when it blew on April 20. It has become one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation's history.

Obviously, these temporary abandoned wells, like BP's, are just too dangerous.

And it comes as no surprise that BP owns over 600 of these abandoned wells.

Problems like this have even happened before. The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that other abandoned wells have leaked before - in places such as Louisiana and Texas.

But what is the most surprising is that Congress has actually received warnings that this would happen...

...in 1994.

The General Accountability Office told Congress in 1994 that abandoned wells could cause an environmental disaster. Furthermore, they even asked Congress to investigate the issue, but nothing was done on the matter.

Then in 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency admitted that the plugging up of temporary abandoned wells was not sufficient, and the wells could still leak.

So why wasn't anything being done?

Read this article for the full story.

And that's my two cents.

Friday, July 2, 2010

DOJ Drops Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case

On voting day for the 2008 Presidential election, Black Panthers stood outside of a Philadelphia polling place and coerced people to vote for Obama using threats and intimidation. They were carrying Shabazz brandishing sticks and saying things like, "Now you will know what it is like to be under the black man, cracker."

The Black Panthers were charged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for their actions, because every right of the voter should be protected - including the right to not be intimidated or forced into any decision out of fear.

But these charges were recently dropped! The department said one of the Black Panthers was charged with not being allowed to go to any polling place in Philadelphia for the next three years, which they felt was sufficient punishment.

Well that doesn't sound sufficient to me.

A DOJ attorney recently quit his job in protest of the department dropping the case. He has gone to the media with this story, saying top DOJ officials have been lying under oath about this case. He said this case should have been a no-brainer, easy prosecution.

If this isn't voter intimidation and worthy of prosecution, I don't know what is. It just doesn't get any more obvious than this.

And that's my two cents.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Its Scary What the Government Can Hide...Papers Found at UVA

The other day on his show, Glenn Beck was talking about how it's frightening that the government can hide certain parts of our history by editing important papers and documents.

He was hosting M. Stanton Evans, author of Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator of Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies, who while doing research for his book came across shocking findings that some historical documents had been edited to possibly advance a political agenda.

One of these was a document recording the Yalta Conference with FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. FDR was going to meet with the King of Saudi Arabia, and Stalin asked him if he was going to give the king any concessions, and this was FDR's reply:

"The president replied that there was only one concession he thought he might offer, and that was to give him the 6 million Jews in the United States."

This document was found in the collection of Edward Stettinius who was the Secretary of State at the time of the Yalta conference. And where were these papers found?

At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.

This document shows that FDR was somewhat of anti-semite at the end of his term, but it was also 2 months before his death, and he was also a little "gaga" or crazy, as Evans described him.

The most important fact though, is that Roosevelt's comments were edited out of the official papers. You have to go into the archives to find the truth. Did the government withold information in order to preserve FDR's legacy? Did they keep the truth from the public to advance their political agenda?

It's scary to think that the government can do this...

And that's my two cents.