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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Test 

This is a test

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Congressman Bill Janklow 

I don’t know how many of you have been paying attention to the recent news about congressmen Bill Janklow but he was the man that hit a Minnesota motorcyclist while driving in South Dakota and has been charged with second degree manslaughter. In Tuesday’s paper, his lawyers are claiming that because he is diabetic that he was probably distorted at the time from not eating all day when he blew through a stop sign at 92 miles per hour. Another problem to his case is that most of the possible jurors summoned knew Janklow on a personal level and had to be excused from the case. What do you think about this case? Would it be right for a congressman to be let off a sentence because of his status in the government? Should Mr. Janklow’s 12 other speeding tickets play a role in his case (they are not likely to be revealed was reported)? Or will his trail be unfair because the jury of his peers really knows him and might not want to convict him of a crime? Say they don’t charge him, what about the family of the man Janklow killed? I guess I could understand missing a stop sign from being in a disoriented state but 92 mph is hard to explain.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Federal prosecutor Found Dead 

Jonathan Luna, a federal prosecutor in Baltimore was found dead with multiple stab wounds on the side of a highway. He was a very successful prosecutor who was respected by many. He was working on a very violent drug crime at the time and had failed to show up for a court appearance. They later connected the body to him. The police say they are investigating to see if the murder is related to the drug crime he was prosecuting but they are jumping to no conclusions. It seems odd if it was connected because the defendant was very happy with a plea bargain that was decided by Mr. Luna and his attorney. It is scary how when someone is trying to defend the law and keep our country safe can be taken out because of that same reason. Do you think that the case he was working on had anything to do with his murder? Or maybe another case?

In Rio de Janeiro crimes are on a rise 

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, two American's were brutally killed in their bedroom on December 2. There are no clues as to who or why they were killed. The gate to enter their house can only be opened from within the property and there were no signs of a break in. No valuables were stolen and the couple was discovered by one of their four children, a ten-year-old boy. Their three-year old child was sleeping unharmed between their legs and thought that her parents were just "dirty with mud." It is so sad that it seems these people were murdered for no apparent reason. It also disturbs me that their young children had to find them in such a disturbing manner. The residents of Rio say that crime is such a daily occurrence that they are almost used to it. That is the saddest part of all. How would you feel living in a town where crime was an everyday occurrence? How are the children going to handle this situation? The police say that there are no leads, but it is possible that there was a family collaboration since there were no signs of a break in. Do you think that the family had anything to do with their deaths?

Fluorescent People? 

In Tuesdays Science Times there was an article about genetically modified Glofish. The fish are injected with genes that make them appear red in light and glow fluorescent under an ultraviolet light. They are going on sale in January but what this article was saying that human might not be too far off from the same technology. It mocks parents looking for their children in the dark but in reality skin my glow. Just like people who choose to express themselves as individuals, this may be the next way to enhance your appearance. They even go as far to say that people could even chose the skin color they would like to be. This could be very bizarre but so are other trends. What do you think? Could this be going too far or could this be the next big fad that everyone is going to want?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The Emptying of America's Hartland 

Over the past few days there has been large articles in the New York Times about how many if not most of the counties in the great plains states have been loosing people for years. They said that in the past four or five decades some of these counties have seen a one third reduction in population. They say the main cause of the loss of people is the lack of jobs in many of the small towns. All of the big employers have moved to the big cities or have simply shut down. The long term loss of populationhas caused many or the towns it was lost fromto start to die. they said inthe article that it is a bad sign when the school in town shuts down. That is exactly what is happening in many towns. A few towns have tried to attract the big employers to come back by doing things like setting up industrial parks and putting up buildings that these businesses could use. As of right now most of these facilities sit unused. Many people are worried about the future of small town America and they probably have good reason to be that way. What do you think of the current situation?

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

College Textbooks 

"Same Book, New Look" By Erwin V. Cohen (12.2.03 NYTimes). This article states that a study was conducted showing that the average New York college freshman spends more than $900 a year on textbooks alone. Everyone knows that textbooks are expensive, but part of the blame is on the producers of the textbooks. Every few years the release new editions of the most successful textbooks. The new version rarely varies much from the prior edition, in fact Cohen says that the new books main difference from the old is in design and packaging. But the company does this to deter books from being resold, thus keeping their business continually growing. I think this is terrible, I understand that the publishing company needs to make their money too, but they should be doing the work to earn the money. When a company wants to design a new book, all they do is go to professors and other experts and ask if they have considered writing a text book. The professor then may submit a chapter which is reviewed by the editor. This to me doesn't seem that the companies are worthy of all of this money, what do you think?

N.A.F.T.A. and F.T.A.A. 

Until this year, I have always heard "free trade" and assumed that that was a good thing. I always assumed the same about NAFTA (north american free trade association), which lowered economic boundaries between the united states, canada and mexico. Through my global studies class, I have learned that this can be disastrous, decreasing the value of american labor, and screwing over the traditional lifestyles of indigenous peoples elswhere, not to mention the room for corporations to grow even huger. Now, the FTAA (free trade area of the americas) is in the works. This would put all the rest of latin america under american, corporate, neo-neo-colonialism. When you open trade between nations and let corporations cross those boundaries, you effectively join their economies. When this is done between first and third world countries the results are disastrous, With traditional lifestyles getting hit with first world industry, and americans competing for third world wages.

Perhaps I have it all wrong, but all this starts to sound pretty evil to me. I would appreciate any other insights in this matter.

Nathan Berry

Monday, December 01, 2003

Housing Discrimination 

The housing tenants of Baltimore have filed what is seen as the most important housing cases in over twenty years. The tenants say that the people most in need are being placed in the most distressed neighborhoods. If the tenants win the case the judge could specify changes in housing policy. A result could be judicial oversight of housing decisions that could last for years. The tenants have not specified what they would change if they do win, but they do say that a change needs to happen with the federal rent assistance. The housing contractors say that no discrimination has taken place and the reason that tenants are being placed in mostly black neighborhoods is that because most of the tenants are black so there is a likely chance that they will be neighboring other black people. I think that it is disgusting that housing contractors are discriminating against people (if discrimination is the case). The lawyers for the city say that the tenants have no evidence that any of the policies, practices, or decisions were motivated by an actual intent to engage in racial discrimination. Do you think that the contractors have a good reason to put the people where they are placing them? How would you place tenants if you were a housing contractor? After all these years does the color of one's skin still make a difference?

Salvation Army 

Have you ever seen the little red kettle that most stores have infront of their doors for the holiday season. What a wonderful thing that a group can do to help insure that everyone can have such wonderful season. It may not be a celebration in which some of may have. But at least they know that caring people are out their and are willing to help make them feal special. Isn't that what the holidays are for anywhy. So next time you go by one of these pots be sure to not only think of your shopping list but remember the people who we want to have the most wonderful time this holiday season.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

American History X 

I have seen American History X several times, and I think it is a great movie. Every time I have watched it, I have come away with the strong anti-racist message which the movie attempted to give. When I think about it harder though, there is a strong argument that the movie portrayed blacks badly. Think about it: The only blacks we have contact with are criminals or involved in derek's murder, with the exception of the one guy in prison. In the end, white people are still the ultimate victims, directly at the hands of blacks. No attention is given to the aftermath of the initial crime that did not involve the main character (the greiving families of the black victims). Taken out of context, the racism in the movie is almost a convincing rhetoric of it's own (the parking lot speech); could people tune in and get the wrong message?

I always looked to this movie as a powerful anti-racist message, but careful examination of some of the undertones have shaken my faith. Your opinions please.

Nathan Berry

shopping season! 

as i am sure you all know, now is the time most americans go out to all the malls to see the big "sales" and to buy most of their christmas presents. i have never been one to go out and shop till you drop for these sales (much less go out and shop during this time). the malls can just become crazy! the day after thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days in the year, and lots of people go out and spend all this money (most spend money they don't really have ie: credit cards) this can become a huge problem...... but anyways, i don't really see what the whole hype is about, most of these "sales" aren't really sales to begin with, they are just sales pitches that lure people in to spend money... i've never really known what is so fun about shopping the day after thanksgiving and why so many people rush out the next morning to do it. do you guys shop on this holiday? and what is the hype all about?

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