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.
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?
Saturday, November 29, 2003
FOOD IS GOOD
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potaters, green beans and PIE. I don't know about the rest of you, but the last few days have been heaven. NO ONE can beat a good home cooked meal. (unless that person is your 90 year old grandmother who uses "her own good judgement" for measuring ingredients) Alright I'm just kidding. But on the serious side. This holiday marks the beginning of one of the fattiest times of the year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and new years all seem to be our time to just pig out and relax. Sure, we all make those new year resolutions to get on a diet but its easier said than done. Even those on diets enjoy a good thanksgiving dinner, its tradition. I know that I ate way too much and am paying for it now but hey, that’s what thanksgiving is for. I read an editorial in the paper a few days ago about how this country is just asking for obesity levels to climb with all the feasting we do. Do you think we should cut back our consumption on the holidays? Or maybe just enjoy in moderation? Its not going to change my appetite no matter what. Good friends, good food, good times. That’s my motto.
Gays in the Military
In the November 28 Op-Ed "Why we need gays in the Military," author Nathaniel Frank discusses how President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is more harmful than helpful. Frank notes, that this policy has resulted in approximately 10,000 discharges to date. In a time of war for this country is this really a good idea?
This policy was originally introduces to promote unity in the armed forces. But does forcing people to hide their sexual preference really help to create bonds between soldiers?
What do u think?
I hope everyone enjoyed his or her thanksgiving feast on Thursday. After we ate we watched the news, and surprisingly we saw that President Bush made a trip to Iraq. President Bush made a secret mission arriving in Iraq before sunrise and leaving after sunset. In the time there he met with US troops surprising them, he also served them dinner. Do you think President Bush’s trip to Iraq was very risky and a noble of Bush? Or do you think that Bush’s trip to Iraq was just a publicity stunt?
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Feast or Famine!
Isn't it hard during the holidays to hear what other families have to do to get food to feed their families. It is sad and if you have a heart it goes out to them. Today in the Startribune on Thanksgiving day they were talking about how the Food shelves are over packed with people and it has risen by 55% in some cities. It is unbelievable that so many people have to go and get food for their faimily on a day that is suppose to be so great. I think that goes to show how hurting our economy realy is. I don't care what people say about our economy, there is a problem no matter what someone says. America as a whole is at an all time low for unemployment. Something needs to happen or maybe someday you will find yourself at the food shelve not donating your time but looking for food. It gives me an uneasy feeling knowing that some people don't know where their next meal is coming from when I can go home and it's already for me at the table. I think America as a whole needs to fight back and find ways to bring our economy back from the slup that we have sank into. What do you think? Do you think that we need to try and dig out of this hole? Or do you think there wasn't even a hole to begin with?
Sex Ed for Africa
Riddle me this: President Bush is spending millions if not billions (not sure of exact figure) to fight aids in Africa with education and the distribution of millions of condoms. Meanwhile, in the United States he has more or less bribed school systems (25 million) to adopt abstinence only programs. What does this mean? Does it show that he knows that education works? Are the people of Africa not worthy of the moral standard to which we hold our own children? Is it only worth the moral sacrifice when 38% of the population is infected? (Botswana) Moreover, what is the distinction between African youth and American youth which causes this change in policy?
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Licenses for Illegal Immigrants
There was an editorial in today's New York Times about the controversy of giving illegal immigrants a driver's license. On one side, people argue that it makes no sense for the government to be issuing documents that are regularly used as identification cards to immigrants who are illegally in the country. Right now in the U.S., it is estimated that seven million people are illegal immigrants. With this large number and on the other side of the debate, many experts support the driver's license idea as a simple matter of highway safety. "Everyone would be better off if they were encouraged to get the driving skills necessary to get the licenses, and the protection of other motorists that comes with insurance." Who do you think is right?
In today's paper, there was an article on cheating in school. A student from Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut made a cheat sheet for a chemistry test as a label for a water bottle. This i thought was very interesting because of the number of people here at the U who take waterbottles along to class. What are they going to do not allow students to drink anything in class. Its definitely a possiblity but i think this time was a one in a million times of this type of cheating happening. I don't think anyone else would try this because it has been publicized. We as students know cheating is very common but do professors? What do you think? Is there anything professors can do to eliminate people making cheat sheets out of water bottle labels?
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
who is really taking care of the helpless???
I was watching the news tonight and was shocked at one of the reports. They did a special on business' that provide care for adults and elderly people that need someone to do basic things like wash dishes, vacume and so one for them. The reason for doing this was that one company in specific was found to be licensed falsly, and employed many ex-cons. The lady in charge had bought her diploma off the internet claimed a former employee. The reporter named 4 current employees that were formerly convicted felons for assult, and theft. I couldn't believe that the state doesn't look further into companies like this, these poor people that can't take care of themselves were being robbed and couldn't do anything about it. Also the company was charging the state for services that weren't even happening, thats our tax dollars going to these cheats. It frustrated me, as well as scared me. I would never want anyone i care about to be put into an unsafe situation like that. Personally I don't have anyone that has an in home care person, so I can't say much about them, but if my family ever hires one for someone I care about I sure hope they are legit and do care, not someone trying to rip off a helpless person. thats just wrong...
Monday, November 24, 2003
I read an interesting article about the production of Turkeys "About a Bird" By Patrick Martins 11.24.03. Martins explained how the turkeys are kept unnaturally. Their beaks are chopped, and their toenails are removed. They clip the beaks so that they are unable to be pick eaters as they naturally are. Rather, the clipped beaks forces them to eat the fattening feed that they give them. With the removed toenails, they are unable to sleep in their natural position. Instead, they sleep in a position comparable to a human sitting up. Also, the lack of toenails cause them to stay awake almost all the time, this resulting in them eating all of the time, causing them to become grossly obese. The turkeys are ready for slaughter after only 12-14 weeks compared to 24 weeks for a turkey raised naturally. By this time, they have been altered so much that their skin is so bland it must be injected with seasons and saline solution. This causes them to weigh more and be more flavorful. I think this is disgusting that our society has resorted to such grotesque ways of producing perfection. What do you think, will you still enjoy your turkey on Thursday?
On rape, pornography, and critical thinking
So I had an interesting conversation with someone yesterday about pornography. I dislike alot of pornography because it largely supports the social assumptions about sexuality in men and women, asians, blacks, whites, queers and straight. I have nothing against pornography as pornography: viewing and displaying sex is fine, if it's consentual and all this other stuff that I won't get into unless I decide to start another rant. anyways, these common ones I run into on websites (lots of graphic ads on Anime websites, surprise, surprise), reinforce stereotypes and assumptions held by us on sexuality in our society.
I dislike a majority of porn because sex in pornography is often about power, (covertly, if not overtly, like in rape porn), usually with men in control and women being dominated. This disturbs me because that concept is present in everyday life, dictate our very actions, feelings, and thoughts in relationships sexual and otherwise. Yet there is a large demand for porn where men have power over women. Many would say that this is because porn is mostly made for men: so why are women servicing the men and not getting serviced back? Because to service someone means doing something FOR them, not to them, thus giving some of your power? So why does such a large amount of porn consumers like this power-over-another porn? That's not the only porn out there, so why choose this kind? Your opinion please.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
In the New York Times in the 11/17/03 was an article by Lydia Polgreen explaining a Hepatitis A outbreak from the food chain Chi-Chi's. Hepatitis A is potentially fatal virus and can lead to liver failure while the symptons can take up to a month to develope. This outbreak of hepatitis was in Beaver County 20 miles north of Pittsburgh where three people have died and more then 500 have gotten sick with the outbreak linking to the resturant. Innoculations have been given to 8,500 people to hopefully stop the outbreak. There has been an outbreak of hepatitis in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia in september that were linked to Scallions. The disease in Tennessee were linked to Mexico and officials are looking into the shipment and where they were ship to. Hepatitis is caused by a virus commonly transmitted what doctors call the fecal-oral route. This transmittion means that people get infected from food or drinks contaiminated with fecal matter from infected people. The food and drinks are most commonly become infected from people that have the disease and don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. The Chi-Chi's in Beaver County had 11 works that tested positive for Hepatitis A which respectively the Chi-Chi's closed. A blood test is needed to confirm that you have contracted Hepatitis. How did this outbreak start? Was it contaminated food or bad hygiene from employees? Does this worry you about mexican food around town? or just the Chi-Chi's chain? What do you Think?
In the New York Times on 11.21.03 there was an interesting article by Thomas Mallon discussing the assassination of JFK. He posed questions such as how would America be different today, had he not been assassinated, and what would have come of Lee Harvey Oswald? This information combined with that of an ABC special on Thursday night really makes me wonder. Did Oswald really just want to kill Kennedy or is there more to it? What really gets me is a article in the New York Times a while back that was an interview with the other lady riding with them in the car on the day Kennedy was killed. She said several things that led me to believe that her and her husband (Governor of Texas at that time) were in on the conspiracy. One more thing that makes me wonder if this act wasn't committed soley by the desire of Oswald is the fact that he was killed shortly after. Although Oswald was not quite all there I believe that the assassination of JFK was with out a doubt a conspiracy. What do you think, do you think that Oswald acted alone?
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Campaigning in Wartime
There was an interesting editorial posted in the New York Times about President Bush and his re-election. The author stated that if Mr. Bush would like to be re-elected for presidency, he needs to stop acting like a politician and start acting like a president. The author stated that Bush seems to promise much but do little. Instead of leading this country like a leader should, he dilly dallies around trying to please his public. Sometimes the actions Mr. Bush takes are controversial, but the author of this article stated that nothing Mr. Bush has ever done makes him a true leader of this country. Its hard to understand where this writer is coming from. I can see where he/she claims that Mr. Bush doesn't always conduct himself as the leader of our country, but the author never gives good explanations for his/opinions. What do you guys think? Is Mr. Bush a critics pleaser, or does he actually conduct himself as he should? I know for a fact that some of the things Bush has done as president have NOT been popular in our country. I have so many different opinions about him as a leader its hard to make just one assumption on his leadership abilities. How is a leader supposed to act? Many people have many different opinions about that but I want to know how some of you feel.
The Way We Were
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN posted an interesting article in Friday’s edition of the New York Times. Friedman commented on how terrorists have gotten into the heads of many Americans, including the government. Because of continuous threats from terrorist cells, many Americans have cautioned themselves in their daily lives. Its a sad fact that Al Quaida has gotten the better of our country. Even when they aren't making attacks, they have made a significant impact on how this country is run from day to day. Recently, in a trip to London, Colin Powell did not attend an annual ceremony because of security issues. Security has always been an issue for government officials, but it has never been this serious. I'm not sure if we will ever be able to live completely free of worry. Terrorists will always be around and there will always be a worry of another 9/11 repeat. Unlike others, I don't think I'll altered my life from these attacks but many people have. Do you think that you have altered your life due to terrorism? Do you think that this country will ever be able to bounce back from these threats and attacks?
Friday, November 21, 2003
Michael Jackson's Privacy!! Does It Exsist?
Michael Jackson what is everyone's big fascination with what he is doing with his own life? The thing about knowing everyone's business that is famous just says one thing. It says that you are nosy. What is the big deal about Michael Jackson doing what he did that is even if he did molest that child. I am not saying that what he did is right. By all means it isn't. I think what he did is very wrong, but how are we to know if he actually did it. I guess what I am trying to say is that we wouldn't know about someone in California who molested a child and it wouldn't be aired all over by the media. So why do we air the news about people whom actually have a name or someone who everyone knows. I guess if I was known I wouldn't want my business all over the news. What do you guys think? Do you feel that it isn't fair to Michael Jackson that his business is aired all over and he has no privacy? Do you feel that he should have been able to post bail? I mean what is that actually saying with him being able to post bail. It's almost saying that the crime that he committed can be forgiven with money. Granted he has to show to court to get the bail money back, but how can freedom have a price on it. If you commit a crime you should do the time. Let me know your feelings on the situation.
Michael Jackson: What a Guy
Everyone knows Michael Jackson: sensational singer, filthy rich, and extremely odd. He has had plastic surgery so much that it looks like his nose is going to break off if it is touched. But that isn't important. What is important is that this multimillionaire singer and idol has been charged with sexual conduct with children under the age of 14. They are the children who stay at his fairy tale palace: Never Never Land. He was taken to jail and bail was set for $3 million, which was paid for in a matter of thirty minutes. How can someone let their children stay at a place where Michael Jackson would be supervising them? Another thing that really bothers me is the fact that this man is very popular. He has millions and millions of fans who love him. How he could do something like this and think that it is beautiful disgusts me. It is only fitting that the famous rich singer is also the scum of the earth. I really don't think that he understands the seriousness of these accusations because after he got off bail he filmed a music video and had an interview with CBS. I'm sure any rational person would film a music video after finding out they could get up to 10 years in prison. I think these accusations could be true because he is just insane enough to do this. This man disgusts me and I also think that he needs to be put on some serious medication-it would help us all.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Michael Jackson Hmmmm........
AS most of you know if you have been paying any attention to the news, an arrest warrent was issued for him for child molestation. Bail was set for $3 million for his surrender. With that surrender, he cannot flee the country if he gets out on bail. Isn't there a little coinsidence here being that Michael was just in an ordeal about trying to get a better life with all of his plastic surgeries? He had every one feeling sorry for him and now he takes advantage of that and tries to get by with child molestation. What is with this guy? Is child molestation just part of a better life in America? What do you think?
New Species of Whale Found
An article in today's New York Times entitled "Thar She Blows! Researchers Say A New Species of Whale Is Found," says Japanese scientists have discovered a new whale that they call Balaenoptera omurai. The scientists say that the whales differ from other species in jaw-bone structure, DNA, and baleen (used to filter plankton and other small organisms from seawater). Other scientists are not sure that this is a new species and say that more DNA analysis needs to be done. The sifting of DNA and re-examination of old specimens is often the way new species are named. Dr. Howard C. Rosenbaum, a conservation biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, mentions in the article that the new findings would be a "double-edged sword for Japanese whaling. He says, "I think they hope to show the merit of their whaling, the information it can yield. But the results raise the question of whether the hunters knew what they were hunting."
What is the deal with ninjas. I was just looking at this web page about ninjas that was made, i believe, by some kids. It is by far the craziest thing i have seen or read but they must really think nijas are cool and all they think ninjas do is flip out and kill people with no feeling or thought. They also believe that ninjas would kill them selves if there were no people around to kill and if the ninja was super crazy and that is why there are not many nijas left. what do you think about ninjas? are they just people that go a kill people with no reason? or is there a reason behind there killings? are there no more ninjas because they killed them selves? again, what do you guys think? here take a look for your self.... www.realultimatepower.net
What is the deal with cats? They aren't like dogs. they always seem so pretensous and un interested. The only time they really care is when they get fed. It is almost like they don't even care about you. they aren't like dogs that will run to you as soon as you walk through the door. They are so exited just to see you. Those dumb cats just lie around an wait for you to come a pet them and give them some food. Dogs just always seem so much more freindlier than cats. I always felt that it is much easier to befreind a dog than a cat. And why do dogs have to be house trained while cats only have to be litterbox trained. I mean is there something special aboutcats that they get special privleges to go indoors? I'm sure there are exceptions to these surcumstances but I haven't seen many. I don't know, maby it is just because I ammore of a dog person. What do you guys think?
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
how DID wellstone really die???
as i am sure many of you know that just a few weeks ago was the one year reunion of paul wellstones horrible death. the strange crash that still has not been figured out yet. there are many curious cercumstances that arose from this and i am still very confused about it all. right now the federal agency that came in to inspect (which they weren't supposed to in the first place, the MN government was supposed to be in charge... one strange thing) are claiming that the pilots are to be blamed for letting the speed of the plain drop from normal down to about 80-90 mph and that caused the crash... now do you really think a good pilot... any pilot for that matter would allow a plane to slow to such dangerous speeds? i mean really. i think they have no right to blame the pilots, and i will out right say that i am one of those skeptics that say something was really behind this... there is a lot more that just doesn't seem right, but i won't go more in depth. but if you guys heard about this at all what were your thoughts on this? wellstone, the last chance really to help the democrats was killed in a suspicius crash just a week before elections.... i dunno...
Sex Offenders: Should They Have to Stay Longer For Their Crimes?
I read this story in the New York Times on Monday about how sexual offenders are forced to stay in jail past their terms. I think that it is hard to let anyone out on the streets again after they committed a crime and I am not even sure if it is a bad thing that they are forced to stay longer sentences. When someone commits a crime like a sexual offense, the victim is forced to live with that for the rest of their life. It is not just a time period of 5-10 years like a criminal sentence is. But I also know that in this country the government needs to be fair about justice. Some of the things that happen in these cases are not fair and the evidence used against the accused is not something that would be allowed in the trials that convicted them in the first place. Evidence should be used accordingly and fairly, but also I think that they have a right to be concerned. The offenders did what they did and now they have to pay for it. They ruined someone's life in the process of getting what they wanted so isn't it only fair that they have to pay the price of their life in return?
is the death penalty right...
in the tuesday's new york times there was an article regarding the trial against john muhammad. he was found guilty of the sniper killings that terrorized washington for nearly a month last fall. he was convicted of shooting and killing a man at a gas station and linked to 16 other shootings. people were chosen at random including a 13 year old boy and a 72 year old man. there is so much evidence pointing to him there is no way that he didn't do it. but they question that has to be answered now is does he get the death penalty by leathal injection (which we found out is HIGHLY painful), or life in prision with no parole. i am curious as to what other people think about this, i found it just horrific that he could go out and shoot all these people just cuz and have no remorse... but do you think he should get the death penalty?
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
A Recovering Iraq
Today in class John and Adam discussed the rebuilding process in Irag. Well I found , as many of you have also, a very helpful chart on what is really happening in Irqa. In the NYT from november 14, there is a very helpful chart that shows numbers on things such as the number of US troops in Iraq, the number of US killed in iraq, their oil production, unemployment rate, and the electricity produced. From these numbers it seems that the US is doing an alright job getting Iraq back on their feet. I feel that if the US spends about another year in the country they will be running at a much higher rate then they were pre war. What do you all think? I recomend looking at this chart if you still have your paper, it's very cool and informative. By the way it is in the OP-ED section
Whens that last time you ate at Chi-Chi's
How many of you have eaten at Chi-Chi’s lately. Beware of the green onions because they have been linked to the death of three men after they ate them and contracted Hepatitis A. Usually this disease is not fatal but recently the outbreak of the virus has been deadly. 500 people have become infected and more might arise because the incubation period for the virus is about a month. So far the illness appears to be involved in people who ate at the restaurant in early October. Now don’t worry if you ate at Chi-Chi’s recently in Minnesota because the outbreak had been reported in the eastern region of the US. But be cautious if you begin to feel sick a month after your eating outing. What do you guys think about this viral outbreak? It could easily happen here. How do we know if it is safe to eat the food restaurants serve us? Tues. 18th A20
John Muhammad Found Guilty
A jury found John A. Muhammad guilty for the murder of one man and the shooting of 16 people in the 23-day shooting spree he was involved in last fall around Washington DC area and surrounding subherbs. What comes next is the penalty phase where the jurors decide whether Muhammad should receive the death penalty by lethal injection or a life sentence in prison without parole. Family members of victims feel he should be considered for the death penalty in response to the heinous crimes he committed. His lawyer say he is still a man with a family and who once made people happy but the prosecution claims he is a man that has shown no remorse for his actions and the death penalty is reserved for the worst of the worst. What do you think about this case? Do you feel this man should be sentenced to death or to life in prison? Can he be considered not a dangerous man despite the crimes he committed? Tues. 18th A1+
Monday, November 17, 2003
Connecticut Freedom Fighter or Cross-Dresser?
In Thursday's New York Times page A28 a story about Kevin Dougherty,15 a high schooler that wore a dress to school as a Halloween costume and was sent home for refusing to change out of the outfit. The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union has looked into this case and has stated that Kevin was, "squarely within the protection of the First Amendment."
Was it really necessary for the school to get involved in this matter? By the time high school rolls around students should be given the choice to wear whatever they want.
I know that on Halloween at the U of M several guys in my chemistry class were wearing bikini tops. Yet nothing, to my knowledge, was done about this.
Should this boy have been reprimanded or should the school just let this lie?
Thursday, November 13, 2003
What's Happening Down South?
Today in the national breifing, there was two very striking articles. The first was about a couple in Arkansas who's home burnt down apparently accidentally. The two as well as two of their children evacuated the home safely. However, the third child was chained to the bed and burned to death with the home. The court gave no statement whether the couple had anything to do with their daughter being chained, but honestly she didn't chain herself there did she? What are people thinking these days. They have children and then all of the sudden they feel they just don't want to take care of them anymore. People need to understand what they are getting into. The second article, was about four soldiers who just returned from Iraq and had stabbed to death another soldier after an evening at a strip club. After these soldiers come back from killing people in Iraq they still have to come back here and kill one of there own. What is the sense in that? How is that fighting for one's country?
New Car Emissions Might Cause Unemployment
In the New York Times a while back they had an article on how the government is going to sue the state of California and the state of Michigan for being heavy polluters. They claim the reason for their heavy polluting is because of all the automobiles that are located in the state, and if the pollution doesn’t get cut back there are going to have to be emission laws on exhaust from cars for California and Michigan. Now personally I don’t believe that someone should be penalized for something that a manufacture made for the American workingman. When they buy a car that is brand new it should come with all these standards on them that meet all the regulations that the government makes. Apparently the only cars that don’t come with these standards are American made cars. Now people in California are turning towards foreign cars or just renting them when they need one. Now is it just me or is the American government trying to put us even deeper in the hole that we are already in. With the sales of American made cars on the decline and foreign cars on the increase this will possibly cause more unemployment in America. With all of this unemployment don’t you think our economy is already in the gutter and instead of staying there we should devise away of getting out. Do you believe it is right for the government to have these new emission laws? Do you think that our economy is going to suffer from the new emission laws? Let me know what you think and how you feel on this particular topic.
For Albanians, It's Come to This: A Son for a TV
A shocking article in today's New York Times (November 13) describes the substantial trade in children that has established itself in Albania, Europe's most impoverished and most isolated country. The government estimates that 6000 children have been sent to other countries such as Greece and Italy for use in begging and prostitution, and in some cases even sold to Western couples for adoption. The article says that "the trafficking is part of a larger trade in humans, including East European women shuffled through Albania for prostitution, and is an outgrowth of the misery and the organized crime that has blossomed in this clannish society." Many families only want the best for their children and believe that they will have a better life abroad.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
The Apple Controversy
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away." We have all heard this witty cliche far too many times, but in today's world, where genetics and pesticides help grow our apples everyday, does it matter what kind of apple you eat? Dan Barber, a Manhattan restaurants owner, says yes. There is a big controversy over two different kinds of apples, the Granny Smith (a favorite of mine) and the Winesap. The Winesap is grown right in Hudson Valley, while the Granny Smith is grown in Africa. The Winesap is $1.20 per pound while the Granny Smith is about $.50 per pound. Now, to the untrained consumer one would think that the Granny Smith is a steal! But perhaps we should look at taste and then make an educated decision. The Winesap is rumored to have the best home made taste with a crisp bite. It is best in apple pies and in home made applesauce. Do you think that taste really should make that much of a difference when the price is much higher then its competitors? Do apples really taste that much different? Maybe I just can't tell because I am not a chef and I never have had a Winesap apple. Perhaps this is a case where looks can be deceiving. Granny Smith uses much more pesticides then the Winesap company because it is a much bigger corporation. Are Granny Smith apples less appealing to people because of that reason? I think that I trust the Manhattan chef.
As team sports conflict, some parent rebel
I read an article about parents upset over conflicts with their childâ€™s team sports. Growing numbers of year-round club teams are interfering with high school teams. They are telling children they need to specialize in one sport and forget about playing other. The parents are upset because they want their children to play in season sports as well as the club teams but the two are conflicting with each other. A baseball coach had to cut some of his players off the team because they were missing so many practices for their club soccer games. What is more alarming is that most of the club teams are for kid 12 and under. There is concern that these kids are burning themselves out before they even reach high school competition but others argue that kids need to start practicing early in their child years to be able to be good enough to be on high school teams. What do some of you guys think about this wave of club teams dominating sports? Do you think kids should be practicing year round, playing 80 games a year at 10 years old? Or do you think high school sports are becoming so competitive that kids need to develop their skills to even have a chance on being on the team when they are old? Some of you who went to bigger schools, is that how sports are in your high school because in my high school we were lucky to fill the team. A1, C16
Hydrogen Powered Cars
I read an article recently which talked about the developement of Hydrogen as afuel source especially in cars. Hydrogen can be stored in fuel cells and then converted into energy. The proccess would be emissions free and therefore pollution free. The article said however that the probable source of the hydrogen would be coal or some other fossil fuel. Right mow most of the hydrogen used comes from natural gas which they say isn't very plentiful and is cumbersome to convert. The writer of the article however feels that since the Bush administration is in widespread support of Hydrogen developement this fact will be glossed over. I think that the advent of hydrogen cars would be a very good thing, but i think they need to find other sources of hydrogen than natural gas or coal. I'd like to hear What you think about this issue.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Money Murdering Maniac...Or Is He?
Robert A. Durst, a real estate millionaire, was found not guilty to the charges of murdering his neighbor. He admitted to chopping up his best friend and putting his body parts into various garbage bags and throwing them into the river, but the death was in self-defense and then he panicked. Now, this man seems a little shady for me. The police were suspicious of him after his wife mysteriously disappeared, then two other women were found dead, and now his neighbor. He maintains that he was not involved in any of the other incidents, but doesn't it seem a little odd? He is a depressed man who has an alcohol problem. The jury even said that the only reason he was found not guilty was because the prosecutors did a poor job of assessing the case. Do you think that they should let him on the streets? Does it seem a little odd to you that there were other odd incidents that occurred that all seem to be related to him? And in self-defense do you really cut up a body, put it into various bags, and dump it in the river?
Drive Those Prices Up! Those Poor Taxi Drivers
How many of you out there ride the city bus at least once a week? How about take a taxi? Well, in New York City taxi cabs are actually cheaper then taking the bus. That is of course because at $2.30 per every fifth of a mile there is no extra charge for more passengers. Taking a taxi in New York is actually a great deal and is one of the cheapest rates in the United States. That is really great for people who have a small budget, but when the taxi driver takes out costs that they need to put into the car, they actually only make about $22 a day. That is hardly enough to support one person in New York City, let alone a family. Now, as a poor college student raising prices anywhere never seems like a good idea to me. But in New York, where people generally get paid more and have higher incomes, raising taxi prices should not be that big of a deal. They should show their support for taxi drivers and raise the prices. I'm sure that these low price services drive the cabbbies crazy---no pun intended.
The Things They Wrote
In honor of Veterans Day, an editorial from the New York Times was posted containing letters from soldiers who have perished in the war on terrorism. This article brings to light that this holiday shouldn't be overlooked. Everyday men and women just like us go out there and risk everything they have so we can live in a free and safe nation. We owe our deepest respect not only to these men and women, but their families as well. I suggest everyone go to the op-ed section of today's paper and read some of the excerpts of the letters printed in there. No matter how opposed some of us may be to this war, we still need to appreciate everything we have because we never know when it will get taken away from us. These men and women have my deepest respect and gratitude. I will forever be thankful.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954: "solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom."
Monday, November 10, 2003
Losing Our Money to the Plastic
Living on Borrowed Money, Bob Herbert NYTimes (11.10.03). This article discusses the increasing difficulty in becoming a middle class citizen today. In October there was a high amount of job increases. Even though incomes have been increasing, families are unable to save money. One generation ago the average family was able to save 11% of the income, today the average family saves 0%. Many Americans are using credit cards and other forms of loans to get by. The fact that makes this even worse is that credit card companies target the poor. Many companies have taken away the grace period for late payments, and one late payment can raise your interest rate from 0% to 22%. I don't know about you, but personally this worries me, if there has been such a drastic change in only one generation, how will it be when we are ready to start our families? What do you think about all of this? Do you think there is anything that can be done to improve the situation? Who's responsibility is it, how hard is it to cut up a credit card when you know you can't afford to pay it off?
Not tough on crime, smart on crime
On the front page of the New York Times (11.10.03), there was an article about prison sentences being reassessed in order to lower costs. Various states in the United States have changed their strict punishments for drug offenders. Some new laws have shortened sentences, while others have given criminals a three strike advantage. One example is a new law in Colorado, this law gives an advantage to nonviolent offenders. The law allows only a 180 day period during which they can be sent back to prison for failing a urine test, or not meeting with their parole officer. Washington will save an estimated $45 million each year. The state of Kansas will hopefully reduce the number of inmates in their prisons by 1,400, down form 9,000 total. Do you think it is a good idea to shorten drug offenders sentences, and give them more options to be freed? Do you think that this could cause an increase of drug problems?
FFA used to stand for Future Farmers of America. Today it is know as the National FFA Organization on account of the fact that there is so much other than farming involved with it. I think that a lot of peopl see the FFA as just a group of no good hillbillies and farmers. Many people just simply don't understand it. they are not sure what it is or what it's members do. Frankly I think that is sad. The FFA does a lot of good things in the community and the country. The FFA is also a very good thing in highschools because it is about the only activitie for kids to get involved in that; has an open door policy, doesn't take a lot of mony to be involved, gets the students into something other than school and work that they are actually interested in. FFA chapters usually run along with the local high schools' agriculture education programs. Often times when schools make budget cuts the ag. department is the first thing to go along with the FFA which is a shame. Please let me know how you feel.
Cronic Wasting Disease
In the past two years there has been a lot of talk about cronic wasting disease or CWD in the deer populations of Wisconcin and Minnesota. It is like it has gotten every one scared that it will spread to the human population. Personally I think that the percentage of deer that have CWD isn't really any higher than in other years. It is just that there are more deer per sqare mile today than there was even twenty years ago. The fact of the matter is that CWD has probably been present in the deer population for ever. It is just that it only recently had an outbreak. that coupled with how wimpy and unable to kill as many deer as our last few winters have been have realy brought the desease into the spot light. I feel that the news madia has blown tha whole thing way out of proportion. This past weedend I went deer hunting, and out of the five deer we shot none of them even had any signs of CWD. I don't think that it is near as big of a problen as they say it is. Please tell me what you think.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Hope From an African Trouble Spot
In Tuesday's (November 4) New York Times, there was an op-ed article about Sudan. This country, the largest in Africa, has been at war for 36 of its 47 years. Two million people have died in the last 20 years. Today, however, there is finally hope for peace as the government in the north (largely Muslim), and the major guerrilla group in the south (largely Christian) are on the brink of signing a peace agreement. Involvement by outside governments, including the Bush administration, have made the difference and continued attention will be crucial to continued success. "Pressed by American Christians outraged at the religious discrimination, the Bush administration has made Sudan one place in Africa where it is truly engaged." More money for Sudan will be requested early next year. The article ends with saying that it is vital that Washington not lose interest after the war's end.
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Penn State paying for students' downloads
Pennsylvania State has struck a deal with Napster to allow its students to download music for "free." The school will pay Napster, and students will be able to download all the songs they want on up to three computers each. Napster uses copy protection software so students can't actually burn songs onto cds without paying 99 cents per song. Penn State thinks that most universities will eventually follow its lead and make similar deals with Napster. What do you guys think, is this something that universities should offer? It seems like another freebie but in reality, the money has to come from somewhere. Penn State is taking the money from students' $160 tech fee, but does that mean that this fee or tuition will go up? It's nice to have services like this, but sometimes I think that catering to every student want is just an excuse to raise education prices.
Love, Internet Style
Internet love? Is it possible? In a column by David Brooks entitled love, internet style, the author goes over the idea that internet dating may actually put courtship back in relationships. Brooks stated the fact that relationships today are based mainly off of sex. Two people meet and soon after they have sex. That’s the sad reality of today's dating scene. But with the Internet, couples exchange emails, phone calls, and letters long before they ever meet. They are able to establish a sense of communication and trust before the relationship becomes complicated with the idea of sex. Brooks stated that the Internet may actually be a useful tool in finding your partner. It’s like real estate. What you want is out there and people are parading their cases online instead of being caught up in the superficial ideals of today’s society. I think this article is extremely interesting. Its true that internet relationships may be useful in actually getting to know someone before you meet them, but to me the idea of dating someone I’ve never actually met worries me. I’m not much into Internet chat rooms and I don’t really think I’d ever try a dating service. I just think that although the Internet may offer these services, I’d like to take the routine approach and keep it simple. What do you guys think about this? Does Internet dating have a valid point or do you think that we just need to stick to the norms?
On Thurs there was this big long article about how Iraq tried to make a deal with the U.S. at the last minute early this year before we invaded. It said that some Iraqi officials were acting desperate and offered to let the U.S. look for weapons of mass destruction and make some deal regarding oil. Then Friday, there was an editorial that smashed Bush for not telling the public about "an offer that might have provided a way to avoid the war." Well, the offer was very nice and all, but hasn't Iraq been making promises for the last ten years and never coming through? Maybe it was about time we didn't sit back and wait to see if they would do what they say, because we now know from experience that Iraq does not do what it says it will. If the entire Iraqi nation is as corrupt as its leaders we will have one heck of a time establishing any government at all besides a dictatorship.
Friday, November 07, 2003
The Matrix To Be Continued or Stoped Where Its At?
For all of those Matrix enthusiasts out there; what did you all think of the new movie that was just released as of Wednesday of this last week, “Matrix the Revolution”? I believe so far the Matrix trilogy was put together very well, and I personally wouldn’t mind seeing a fourth movie of the Matrix. Although I have talked with people about this particular topic and they all believe that the ending of the 3rd movie is negotiable and it could go either way. We all discussed that it could be continued or they can stop right where they did. I personally really like the Matrix movies so therefore I am cheering for another. I don’t know why I guess I think it is such a great movie that it shouldn’t end. Let me know what you think about the situation. Do you believe there should be another one? Do you think they could continue on off of the Matrix the Revolution, or do you think that they should stop where they are and leave the Matrix as a trilogy? I am curious to what you have to say about the Matrix, so let me know.
Deer Hunting That Time Of Season!
It’s that time a year again; you all know what I am talking about. Its deer hunting season time, and the hunters are out in thick swarms. Well at least that is how it has always been in the past. Personally I think that deer hunting is kind of mean, but at the same token if people didn’t do it then the deer populations would just get way out of control. Then we would have more cars hitting deer and that leads to a possibility of a human losing their life. What do all of you think about deer hunting? Do you deer hunt yourself, or are you one that just rather not hunt and let other people deer hunt. Let me know how you feel about the topic I am kind of interested.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
New Harry Potter causes Headaches?
In the NYTimes today (11.6.03) "Heavy Reading" by Ian R. Williams discusses the newest book in the Harry Potter series. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". Parents have two complaints, first, it is 870 pages long and weighs three pounds. Second, in this story, Harry Potter, gets a headache everytime he is close to the evil Lord Voldermort. Normally, these two things may not seem like a problem however since Harry Potter is such an idol many children have started to have headaches after reading this book (afterall he is there hero right?). The reason that parents are complaining about the size of the book is because they think that carrying around a heavy backpack is bad enough without adding the extra weight. I personally think that the it is wonderful for young kids to read long books. When I was little I read books that were fairly short in length and I think it is good for kids to get used to reading a lot. As for the headaches, I think this just proves the idea that kids let their imagination run wild, they clearly don't get a headache just from reading the book. What do you think about this? Do you think that kids let their minds take over when they idolize someone? Do you think that parents should be so upset that their child is carrying around a heavy book?
Yea I know I just wrote about a cloning issue but this one might be even better for all of you to relate to. The U.N is considering two proposals on banning some or all forms of cloning human embryos. This is a only a controversy because of the two very different uses of human cloning. The first is for reproductive reasons. People just want to clone themselves to relive their past which really won't happen because this child will be raised differently that the original person and will turn out different. I totally disagree with this aspect. I don't think people should be able to clone themselves for the fact of just doing it. The second reason is theraputic cloning. This is when stem cells are removed and could possible turn into healthy tissue. This comes in handy with cancer treatments and other terminal diseases. I think this is a succifient reason to clone human embryos. It will allow people to live longer lives. What do you guys think? Good or bad idea?
Recently in the new there have been a few articles in meat and milk from cloned animals had been proven safe. Earlier, farmers volunterily dumped the milk and meat and did not send the products to market. The FDA had said that the products were proven safe. A couple days later an article came out that said the scientists of the FDA found possible areas where contamination could be present. This is a new step in food technology. Are any of you scared of cloned animal products? I really aren'tt concerned as I think many could be. Do you think this is a good idea to clone in the first place? What about eating the products?
Minnesotans in Madison
This past weekend I went to Madison for the satrday night after Haloween. It was crazy to see the participation that so many people displayed towards haloween. At first the night started out with no trouble, but later on when I was walking down Sate St. (the main street for haloween gatherers) at about 2 AM, people started to get crazy. I think that the media lew this situation way out of proportion. They depicted the situation as a riot. They tried to compare it to the riots that recently happend in Mankato and Dinkytown. Basically there was a swarm of about 5,000 people just yelling loudly and throwing objects into the air. Maybe for some people this is a riot but there was very minimal damage done. The thing that concerns the U of M is their students that were involved in these situations. After the riots in Dinkytown a new "zero tolerance" policy was enforced for people participating in a riot due to a University event. I guess my question for all of you about this topic is do you think the students arrested in the Madison "riots" should be pnished by the U of M for their actions???
When I was in high school we were required to fulfill a certain numder of grad standards in order to be eligable for graduation. These grad standards were different for every class. many times they were big complicated projects that often had little to do with the course material. they were almost always hugely complicated and worth an ungodly number of points. They are intented to provide the school with proof that students are learning all that they should for the coarse. the problem is that these projects they had us do were generally unrelated to the material covered in class. and on top of everything else we had to take certain classes in order to get certain grad standards completed. What do you think? did you have grad standards in high school and what did you think of them?
What's for Dinner? Mmmm Dog Food!
You don't have to go to a restaurant and bring your dog home food any longer. Why don't you just cook it for him at home. That is what the cookbook "Throw me a Bone: 50 healthy canine tested recipes for snacks, meals and treats." by Cooper Gillespie says. Cooper is a dog by the way. So the woman that actually wrote the book said that it is good for her dog to eat homecooked meals. It keeps him healthy and helps with a long life. The article that was in the New york times also says that one third of people in america consider their pet to be a child or family member. Do you consider your animals a member of your family? I know I do.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Eight Simple Rules...Not So Simple Anymore
The death of one of my favorite actors, John Ritter, came as a complete shock to me as well as the nation. His show "Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" was witty and sarcastic, just the way I love a sitcom. Now, with one less crucial actor in this series I'm not sure how good the show will be. In a New York Times article they said that ABC plans on continuing with the show and the issues discussed will probably in between that of a sitcom and a drama. It will be interesting to see if the show is successful without John Ritter's sense of humor, but I will still be a faithful viewer. It is sad how a man of roughly 50 years old (very young) could suddenly die of a heart attack. My parents are around that age and if either one of them died I don't know what I would do. The loss of a parent, especially a sudden loss, is so difficult. There is no replacement for a mom or dad. I am curious to see how a sitcom handles itself with these dramatic issues and if it will live up to its expectations.
Assumptions on Adoption
I read an editorial in today’s paper on adoption. It was quite an interesting piece because it wasn't in support of adoption but against it for various issues. The author of this piece stated that because the government has placed such a heavy emphasis on adoption, families that could have possibly salvaged their relationships have given up and turned to adoption. The author stated that maybe if the government put pressure on parents to protect their families and raise their own children there wouldn’t be so many broken homes and orphaned children. I think this person has a valid argument but I don’t necessarily agree with everything he or she is saying. I think sometimes the best option for both the parent and child is to part ways. I don’t think the government overly emphasizes adoption, at least not in a bad way. What do you think? Does the government falsely advertise adoption?? Do you agree with the idea that adoption may do more harm than good?
Wal-Mart is Cheap-Literally
In a front page article in the New York Times I read about how the Wal-Mart company is bringing in illegal immigrants to clean and do other late night janitorial work. They would pay them less then they would American workers and they also would not give them any days off with the exception of Christmas. But, on the plus side, they would be paid in cash. There was no workman compensation and they did not get paid for overtime or holidays. They specifically targeted towards the immigrants because they knew that they would be paid more here (even if it was a little better then minimum wage) then they would in their homeland. There is no reason that big companies should feel the need to compromise the rights of someone else just so they can make a bigger pay check. Why are immigrants paid less? I understand that they are of course illegal immigrants who don't pay social security but still discrimination is discrimination. When given the opportunity to make $380 a week as opposed to $30 I think that anyone would jump at the chance.
There was an interesting letter to the editor in today's (November 5) New York Times about the issue of standardized achievement tests in Head Start. I agree with the author of the letter, Vincent Brevetti, who is the principal of a public high school in New York, in that, at such a young age, these tests do much more harm than good. He gives examples of how nervous four year olds who were taking the test responded incorrectly and were not given any feedback from the adults administering the test. Brevetti says that these examples reveal how this law works against the most basic tenets of child development and good pedagogical practice. The test taking habits that these preschoolers pick up carry on to highschool where little time or encouragement is given to deep inquiry, research, or conversation. The No Child Left Behind law is actually leaving more children behind and something needs to be done about it.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Out on Bail
"I Web and TV, Allies Defend Parents Accused of Starving 4 Children" (Iver Peterson, NYTimes, 11/4/03). The New Jersey couple that was arrested in late October were released on bail this weekend. The bail was $200,000 and one tenth of it was paid by their church. At first I thought it was strange that the church would help pay their bail, considering that they were in jail for neglecting their children. Current investigations are under way to determine whether or not the couple was neglecting their children, or if the children were lying. It was reported that the oldest of the adopted children, Bruce, has a history of lying, and that all of the boys were born with some sort of disorder including eating disorders. However, Bruce is a 19-year-old who is 4 feet tall and weighs less than 50 pounds. What do you think about the idea that the parents are not admitting to the neglect they are being charged with? Do you think it is possible that the boys are lying and they all suffer from eating disorders? The article also said that the couple have begun selling family photos taken prior to the arrest to help finance their defense case, what do you think this says about the couple?
Women arrested after crashing President Bush's speech
What do you guys think about the lady that smashed her car into a side of the civic center where President Bush was speaking? Her family and her claim she wasn’t there to hurt anyone, she was just having a bad day and needed help from her mother-in-law who happened to being inside the building at the political rally. Officials are calling it a coincidence of life. Ms. Mixon was under tremendous stress but is still going to face felony charges. Do you think what happened in odd? I think so because everyone get stressed out sometimes but not very often do people drive their vehicles into a brick buildings, especially ones with the President in it. What are some of your thoughts on the whole incident because again I think it is rather strange this women would drive past barricades and driving into a building all because she needed to talk to her mother-in-law.
California Fires Contained
"California Says Fires Are Finally Contained" (John M. Broder). This article in 11/4/03 edition of the New York Times says that California officials declared that the wildfires have been contained. Preliminary estimates of the damage show that the fires killed 20 people, demolished 3,500 houses, and burned 743,621 acres. It is believed that the numbers will be much higher once a better assesment of the damage is complete. The rain and cold weather over the weekend did the work that 15,000 firefighters would not have been able to accomplish. Now the problem is that canyons and hillsides need to be recreated in order to prevent flooding during the rainy season. The State Forestry Department plans to complete this before the first damaging rains.
Some people were allowed to return to their homes or what was left of their homes beginning on Monday. Can you imagine what it would feel like to know that everything in your home had been burnt? I personally wouldn't feel like going back right away, I think it would be too devestating.
Saturday, November 01, 2003
Treating Mental illness in a prison
There was an article in Today's Times about mentally ill patients who are in prison. The editorial suggested that prisoners are not receiving the right treatment from these institutions which have been causing prisoners to commit suicide and become seriously disillusioned. The author stated that because these CRIMINALS spend most of their day in a small cell block, they have no interaction and it causes their mental state to deteriorate. The editorial concluded to say that prisons who hold mentally ill patients need to be more careful with how they handle their situations. I can't really agree with any of what this person is trying to say. Bottom line here is they committed a crime and they deserve what they get. I really don't feel bad for murders who have to spend all day in a cell block. Too bad. They should have thought about it before they did what they did. I'm not sure if we need to be wasting our time with this issue right now. I understand that the mentally ill deserve to be treated but treatment shouldn't include a luxury prison suite. How do you guys feel about this? Do the mentally ill deserve better living conditions than other criminals simply because they cannot handle their environment?
Starving Children in Plain Sight
In Friday's (October 31) issue of the New York Times, there was an op-ed piece regarding the child abuse case in New Jersey. In this horrifying case, four adopted boys were being systematically starved to death while case workers showed up at the house 38 times in the past four years and no one ever said a word. One caseworker reported a "very supportive environment, " apparently believing the parents' story about the children having eating disorders. This tragic story thankfully ends with the boys being rescued but there are many other abused children that have not yet been found. I agree with the author of the article who says, "Obviously, far more scrutiny is needed of caseworkers, of the lack of auditing of adoption subsidies and of the failure to mandate annual medical checkups for adopted children."
G.I.'s in Iraq: A Cultural Gap
There was an intersesting letter to the editor in Monday's (October 27) New York Times regarding the misunderstandings that American soldiers have with the people of Iraq and vice versa. Russel Zanca says that linguistic knowledge is one thing, but understanding the conventions, subleties, and nuances of a language and culture is something different. Zanca goes on to argue that the Pentagon has done a miserable job of preparing these soldiers for their stay in Iraq. The soldiers put themselves at risk because they don't even know the etiquette for greeting the people from whom they seek information. The Iraqi people then take this lack of understanding as rude and disrespectful. I completely agree with Zanca because understanding the culture of a country, especially in this case, is a matter not only of respect but also of success and survival.
Germany is busy constructing a memorial in Berlin for the Nazi's Holocaust victims. However, they ran into a roadblock when the company that was to provide anti-graffiti material for the memorial was found to be associated with another company that supplied Zyklon B poison gas to the Nazis during the Holocaust. The memorial directors eventually decided to give the contract to a different company, but some people thought that this decision is just preserving Germany's guilt, and the country needs to move on. What do you all think--was it reasonable to decide not to use this company's products in constructing the memorial? Part of me thinks that it's been many years ago, and Germany needs to forgive and forget. But I think the decision should really be made by the Holocaust survivors, and I think they would agree that the memorial directors' decision. Since it is a memorial, avoiding companies associated with the tragedy seems more respectful to the victims. Do you think if the company would have offered to donate their materials as a way of reconciliation for the past, their offer would have been accepted?
U.S. Eating Habits, and Europeans, Are Spreading Visibly
There was an alarming article on Friday regarding obesity problems. More and more Europeans are becoming obese as a result of adopting American eating habits. The statistics are disgusting--in America, 27% of men and 34% of women, in Europe, 21% of men and 23% of women are obese. It's happening to children too; 1/5 of Britain's 15-year-olds are obese, and over 1/3 of Spain's 9-yr-olds are obese or overweight. The article blames sedentary lifestyles and eating habits. I think it's terrible that so many people are obese; besides being gross, it's costing people millions of dollars because of all the resulting health problems. But it's hard to know what can be done about something like this, because how much and what kind of food to eat is an individual's choice. How do you guys think the government should respond to a problem like this? Should food commercials be regulated? Is there anything we can do besides look out for ourselves?