Monday, October 6, 2008

And the winner is...

The first and only vice-presidential debate took place last Thursday night between Sen. Joe Biden, D- Del., and Gov. Sarah Palin, R- Alaska. Palin entered Washington University in St. Louis with lots of doubts and low expectations. She did well. OK, she did better than expected.

Since the debate has ended, there has been much criticism on how both candidates answered the tough questions, and how they handled themselves during the most-watched vice-presidential debate in history. Biden denounced the economic policies that have led to the current financial crisis. He cited exccesive dereguation was the cause. In reality, he voted for deregulation acts in 1999 along with many other Democrats. Interestingly, Biden and the Obama campaign trumpet the idea that McCain is giving oil complanies a $4 billion tax cut. McCain is giving a tax break to all corporations, not just the oil industry.

Palin also had a few sneaky tricks up her sleeve during the debate, twisting some facts. One of her big selling points was the Obama "94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction," according to the Hartford Courant. In fact, this includes repetitive votes and votes to cut taxes for the middle class but raise them for the rich. She also bragged about McCain's influence on changing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's dreadful mortgage policies which led to the failing economy today. Palin, however, neglects to admit that the bill was sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R- Neb., and McCain only supported it after 16 months. He did not do much other than add his name to something that was clearly becoming a problem.

So as far as there being a winner or a loser, I think it's up to each viewer to decide for themself. But I do think this was one of the more interesting debates in recent history. For now, this is an interesting take on the debate from 'Saturday Night Live.'" />

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin's rape kit controversy

As if Gov. Sarah Palin's --the Republican vice presidential candidate -- view on global warming wasn't scary enough, I've come across another story about her putting that to shame. When Palin was mayor of small-town Wasilla, Alaska, she charged rape victims for rape kits, which contains devices to help extract evidence from women after being assaulted.

The kits could have cost up to $1,000 for victims. Sen. Joe Biden drafted the 1994 Violence Against Women Act which would prohibit states charging for rape kits from receiving federal grant money. Interestingly enough, Sen. McCain voted against the initiative.

Gov. Palin's camps has kept mum on the controversy only to say Palin supports the protection of women against sexual assault. While she was mayor of Wasilla, Eric Croft, a Democratic representative at the time proposed a law requiring the state to provide rape kits free of charge to all assault victims. He met extreme resistance from Wasilla's Police Chief Charlie Fannon because of dissatisfaction the extra money for kits would hurt the town's budget.

There is no definite evidence to show that Palin knew this was happening, but considering how vocal Fannon was against free rape kits and that she was the mayor of the town, it's inconceivable to me that she had no idea.

"I find it hard to believe that for six months a small town, a police chief, would lead the fight against a statewide piece of legislation receiving unanimous support and the mayor not know about it," Croft said to

I find it absolutely frightening that Palin would support charging rape victims for help. For a woman who prides herself on morals and values, shouldn't this be at the top of the list? How can a woman in office not fight for other women who have had one of the most horrific experiences? This is completely outrageous. My dislike and fear of Sarah Palin just continues to grow more and more-- and this story certainly does not help.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Economy tanks... again

I don't think I can ever try to accurately explain economics in any way, shape or form. The market crash of last week is the worst to happen in our country since the Depression, leaving banks like Lehman Brothers scrambling to pick up the pieces. After the massive housing crash of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this summer, it seems like the economy continues to worsen each day.

This is putting our presidential hopefuls, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain on the spot to offer their ideas and potential solutions for the crisis. Here's a short rundown on what they're thinking about the grim future of the market.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Zimbabwe leaders (kind of) reach a resolution

Months after Zimbabwe faced an election that provoked fear, intimidation and violence, it seems like an agreement between President Mugabe and opposition lead Morgan Tsvangirai has been reached.

Mugabe has offered a Prime Minister position to Tsvangirai in order to work together in an effort to form a peaceful resolution to the many problems facing Zimbabwe's citizens. The new administration will be a 50/50 combination between the president's and the opposition's political views. Zimbabwe has been suffering from severe famine and violence for the last 20 years, which is what inspired Tsvangirai to work toward a newer government. When Prime Minister Tsvangirai decided to run for president in last June's election, President Mugabe threatened voters who supported Tsvangirai with mutilation and murder. Vote tampering also became a crucial issue with the Zimbabwe election, which was instantly condemned by democratic nations.

With mounting international pressure, President Mugabe reached a reconciliation with Tsvangirai who has long been a supporter of making Zimbabwe a democratic nation by offering him a prime minister position. Prime Minister Tsvangirai wanted to receive monetary help from the United States and England as a way to help starving people throughout the country.

President Mugabe has consistently blamed both countries for the colonization of Zimbabwe. He reasons this is the cause of all devastation that has occurred in the country. Asking westernized countries for help will only bring more problems. He has said only Africa can fix Africa's problems.

Much of the deal has not been released yet, but I am hopeful to hear this news. Working with Prime Minister Tsvangirai will be the first step to a peaceful nation for Zimbabwe. While I'm skeptical of the new administration, this is a far better deal than what was happening only a few months ago.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Anthrax case remains a mystery-- in many ways

Surprisingly it has been a pretty eventful week in news. From Paris Hilton announcing her bid for presidency, thanks to John McCain; to Osama bin Laden's driver being convicted of terror charges; to Brangelina's twins going for $14 million, I've had a lot of choices on what I wanted to write about for this week's post. I think the winner has to be the ever-changing Anthrax case — with more twists and turns than a Telemundo soap opera.

Bruce Ivins, 62, a former Army biowarfare scientist, was about to be indicted with capital murder charges related to the spreading of anthrax in the high-fearing post-9/11 world of 2001 — until he committed suicide. Since then, controversy has surrounded the case over whether the FBI terrorized him or if he legitimately did kill people.

The attacks, during one of the most vulnerable times in U.S. history, were the worst bioterrorism attacks the country has ever. In total, 5 people were killed and 17 injured.

After Ivins' death, pressure mounted against the FBI over how legitimate their evidence really was. After many high-profile slip-ups, the bureau has been facing a lot of doubt, including some from victims' families.

The FBI was forced to open the case this afternoon, in efforts to prove Ivins is the culprit in the seven-year-old case.

But during all this, some insanity has pursued.

For one, the FBI allegedly offers an explanation as to why Ivins would travel from his lab in Bethesda, Maryland to where the virus was mailed in Princeton, New Jersey — sorority girls. Sources say Ivins had an obsession with members of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma since he was dumped by a member of sorority during his days as a student at the University of Cincinnati. Authorities say this is the reasoning for the journey to Princeton, where the letters were mailed less than 100 yards from Kappa Kappa Gamma's center.

But while this does seem to be a rather interesting theory, not many are convinced that Ivins did mastermind the anthrax mailings. They claim the intense investigation drove the former alcoholic to drink again, and later commit suicide with a lethal concoction of Tylenol and codeine.

Ivins apparently had a rapid decline after his children and wife were questioned, and his home searched last November. And skeptics continue to question — how could he have stolen anthrax in front of 10 other colleagues? And why can't investigators pin him to Princeton on the day the disease was mailed?

The FBI's materials will be released this afternoon. I, for one, am very curious about whether Ivins could have done it. Innocent until proven guilty? I'm not sold, yet. I'll update again when information from the case is revealed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

John, who?

I want to begin by promising not to talk politics too much before November, because let's face it — by the time the election comes along, the vast majority of Americans aren't going to want to even hear the names Barack Obama or John McCain. I think I speak for a lot of people out there who felt the primaries got very tiresome after a couple months.

Anyway, this post is going to be my first in which I address the election, like it or not. A "new" story has been picked up by some news venues about how the media is seemingly biased against Sen. McCain.

As Sen. Obama travels over to Iraq to see what is going on with the war and Middle East, all of the main news anchors from CBS, NBC, and ABC are meeting him over there. Sen. McCain recently traveled overseas, but interestingly no famous journalists made a point to meet him in any foreign countries for some friendly discussion.

Statistics are starting to show that Sen. Obama is a bit of a media darling these days.

"Every week [between June 9 and July 13], Obama played an important role in more than two-thirds of the stories. For July 7-13, for example, Obama was a significant presence in 77 percent of the stories, while McCain was in 48 percent, the PEJ [Project For Excellence in Journalism] said," according to Yahoo! News.

In addition, The New York Times recently published an editorial written by Sen. Obama, titled "My Plan for Iraq." When Sen. McCain wrote a response to this editorial, the Times op-ed editor, David Shipley, rejected it, saying it could not be published because the Obama writing gave new information, while McCain's did not.

Shipley did say he was open to a new editorial from McCain, with a few edits.

"It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq," Shipley was reported saying in The Drudge Report, which also contains Sen. McCain's original piece.

In all honesty, I think anyone can see that the media loves Barack Obama. He's different from your average presidential candidate. He's cool, has a sense of humor, and just seems like a likeable guy. And in the media's defense, I really don't see much that McCain is doing other than town hall meetings, despite the fact that I really would like to see more balanced coverage.

On a side note: If you're looking for good information about where the candidates stand on the issues, check out this website put together by Harvard students. It's very straight-forward and gives a good look at both candidate's histories and goals they would like to achieve in office.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blogging in Cuba

So I read about this woman, Yoani Sanchez in Time Magazine's issues of "The World's 100 Most Influential People." Essentially, she is a Cuban citizen who writes a blog about the injustice of living under a communist regime in the country. Considering all that has happened with Fidel Castro as a leader, this is clearly a really brave step for Sanchez. It's pretty rare to hear a first-hand account of communism while it is actually happening. It's definitely worth checking out her blog. And yes, you can translate in English so there's really no excuse for refusing to read through it.