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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Now, in Context: Immigration


One evening, I was talking to my good Danish friend on Facebook (no, wooden shoes and a history of slave trading would be Dutch). We naturally started talking about politics, because that's what normal, friendly people do. Immigration is a huge issue in Denmark, and a moderate-conservative party in the country, known as the Danish People's Party, has used their decade long winning streak to make citizenship bids incredibly difficult – to the point where spouses of native born Danes are not granted citizenship for some time. Most of this strict legislation was put into place because of the large number of Arab and Turkish immigrants, a recent trend that has been only increasing with time.


What I said next was more a matter of national bragging, but it turned out to be my epiphany for the night. "In America, we're all immigrants." It's the corny sentence that has been written in tons of American history textbooks, but it's very true. The people that make up this nation today would not exist if not for the wave after wave of immigration to this country. Even archaeologists say that the two American continents were devoid of all mankind for the longest period of time (it takes a while to travel from Africa to the Americas on foot, or so I'm told). Everyone who came to this continent was definitively an immigrant.

Fast-forward thousands of years to now. We're having the same political discussion about immigration that we, as a country, have had since the original 13 colonies were started. At first, anyone not a puritan was banned. Then that loosened to anyone except Catholics (which took a hundred years to accept). In an industrial nation in the 1890s, new immigration laws were needed to keep the Irish and the Germans out, then the Chinese (which really meant any Asians coming into California). Then it was Jews and Eastern Europeans in the 1920s. I'm rather glad that was relaxed, otherwise I'd be writing this in Hungarian. Then specifically communists coming from Eastern Europe. Here we are, in 2011, and we've nearly run out of people to limit.

Granted, we still have all of Africa and Latin America to go through, but we've already started working on the latter. If there is any historic trend here, it's that these immigration "reforms" will be temporary, and the target group will become an integral part of American society. Can you look down your street and say there are no Irish or Germans? How about Eastern Europeans? If you're a part Native American reader, how about Europeans in general?

I'm not convinced that stopping or even hindering this ageless concept is the right one. It's a process that has outlasted any attempts to halt it – just look at the Ellis Island Museum for proof. The debate in today's politics should not focus on how to best prevent or limit the newest wave of immigrants, but rather how to best accommodate and integrate these newcomers. I'm not talking about assimilation here, but simply acceptance. Not only would we prove that we understand our own history, we would prove that we are working towards a healthy future for this country's society. To reword a bit of Greek mythology: all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again. What we can do differently this time is to show we are indeed progressing in human understanding. At the very least, it will make our political debate for the next couple decades more productive.














Images:
Generic Map found on Yahoo images, doctored with arrows by myself (the poor image quality wasn't enough of a tell?)

American Migration Patterns found here: http://news.illinois.edu/news/07/1025genetics.html

Political Cartoon from The History Project, University of California, Davis: http://historyproject.ucdavis.edu/marchandslides.bak/PCD3636/images/IMG0103.jpg

by Adam

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Never Forget Our Allies

Never Forget Our Allies

The Libyan Rebels are close to victory in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi's government completely. These rebels recently liberated most of Tripoli from Gaddafi's troops, and are trying to find the dictator of 42 years.




Their war is not yet over, but they are much closer to victory than they were even just a few days ago.

However, the United States needs to not forget history in a situation like this. After the mujahideen defeated the Soviets in the late 1980s, their country was in pieces. Tribal factions battled, extremists gained power, and the economic livelihood and public services were destroyed. These conditions allowed Islamic militants to train and plot terrorist attacks from ungoverned areas of Afghanistan.

The US has overthrown another Islamic nation's government through directly supporting rebels. The war has destroyed law and order, limited public services, and has reduced the main source of the nations wealth, oil exports.

If the US wants to keep the goodwill from the Libyan people and prevent another failed state, and the national security issues those raise, then we must not turn our back to the Libyan Rebels. We need to continue diplomatic dialogues, providing economic assistance, and keep fostering the discussion for a democratic future in the nation.




Jeff with politics

Images from:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8719129/Libya-rebels-seize-HQ-at-heart-of-tyrants-regime.html
http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/2011/08/05/libyan-rebels-embrace-u-s-and-its-flag/

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Announcement

To all of our readers,

You may have noticed a slowdown of postings recently. The writers at allourblogs are currently going through exciting and busy times. Many of our regular and guest writers are busy traveling to, moving into and settling back into their college lives. One writer has a lack of time with collegiate football practice in preparation to his regular season. Two other writers were completely unable to write for various reasons.

However, our team is dedicated to writing new and entertaining posts regularly. We are also perusing other website designs to make allourblogs more reader friendly. In the near future, allourblogs will resume the timely production of material and hopefully unveil a new format.

Any feedback or imput on the site is appreciated!

Thanks for your patience, loyalty, and understanding,
Allourblogs




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why the Attacks on Warren Buffett Need to Stop

Why the Attacks on Warren Buffett Need to Stop
Warren Buffett, billionaire investor and businessman, recently became the center of media headlines this week after presenting his view of the current budget crisis.
Mr. Buffett publically announced that he felt that his “friends and [himself] I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress…[and that it’s] time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice (Buffet).
He argued that if the government was ever to successfully shed its $14 Trillion debt, it needed to stop playing partisan games and craft an all-encompassing policy.  The policy he desires includes large tax increases for the super-rich.  Buffett says that he, along with other billionaires, will not stop trying to make money (and therefore end job creation) if taxes increase.  He says this because he is the job creator Republicans claim to try and protect in the name of economic progress.
The right wing media and politicians began to criticize Buffett in order to prevent the American people from agreeing with the incredibly successful businessman.  They decried him as unsuccessful and incompetent.  They claimed that Buffett had never been a job creator and that he did not have any idea how the market worked!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/14/barack-obama-gives-warren_n_646570.html
http://dealbreaker.com/tag/warren-buffett/page/7/

Buffett made his billion dollar fortune himself.  He began to build his fortune at a young age through a series of investments, starting of companies, and other money-making dealings.  This is the man that has predicted global market activity and economic trends for decades to amass his vast fortune. 

Any premise that Buffett is unqualified to speak for the mega-rich and how they would react to an income tax increase is ludicrous and unfounded.  The attacks on this American economic icon and one of the most brilliant market minds we have today are illogical and for the sake of sanity and our countries’ economic prosperity should end immediately and completely.


Jeff with current events

Quote from:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html
Images from:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

They’ll Tear Themselves Apart

They'll Tear Themselves Apart

Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachman won this week’s Iowa Straw Poll, a moral victory that could launch her bid to the Republican nomination.  However, two major candidates stand in her way.  Former Utah governor Mitt Romney and current Texas Governor Rick Perry. 

However, for any candidate to secure the GOP nomination, they need to appeal to a majority of the Republicans.  There are a few major groups that make up the Republican Party nationally.  These include social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, moderates, libertarians, Evangelicals, and the Tea Party.  These three candidates need to find their unique niche among the field to gain an advantage. 
Romney has played to the center early on in his campaign.  He is trying to gain the moderates as his largest supporters.  He also plays on fiscal conservatives with his CEO background.  The former governor has not, and will not, try and gain far right voters from his competition.
This is where the other two contenders will fight and scratch to gain every last vote.  Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry both claim to be ultra religious, social and fiscal conservatives, and Tea Party leaders.  They both have Evangelical supporters as well.
This will be Perry and Bachman’s downfall. They have to fight for the same voters.  In a head on head battle, each will have their dirty laundry waived in public, and it will turn ugly.  If Sarah Palin enters the race, this mess will only deepen.  The fight will drag on, especially when each candidate has deep pockets and loyal supporters.
The only thing Romney has to do is sit back, win a few primaries, and not make a major mistake.

So I will call it now.  Without a major meltdown by Romney or a dropout by all of the conservative candidates, Mitt Romney will be the Republicans 2012 Presidential nominee.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week in Review (August 7-14)

Week in Review

Every Sunday we will publish a post to catch you up on the week’s most important stories:

US
• The Iowa Straw Poll occurred Saturday in the Hawkeye State. The poll had Iowan Republicans vote on their current favorite candidate, but is unrelated to the primaries. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman won, barely beating Ron Paul, and securing her upward momentum. (Former governor Mitt Romney did not participate).


• Former governor Tim Pawlenty finished third in the Iowa Straw Poll, and subsequently dropped out of the race. Pawlenty never gained traction and was never seen as a major player.



• Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the GOP nominee this week. He is expected to appeal to Christian Evangelicals, as well as social and fiscal conservatives. Expect his to be a serious threat to Romney and Bachman.








• After the S&P downgraded, US stocks went on a roller-coaster week, with ups and downs over 400 points for four straight days (first time ever).





• The bodies of the almost two dozen Navy Seals and other US service members slain in a helicopter crash arrived home for burial this week. The Taliban unit who shot down the copter were reported killed by US airstrikes as well. Let us take a minute to remember our American heroes.



World
• Syria continues to try and put down a pro-democratic revolution this week, including the new use of naval power. Thousands have died in this conflict and many nations are calling for the end of the bloodshed.
London suffered horrific riots this week after a police involved shooting of a young man. Millions in damages occurred and many were injured or arrested in violence across the nation. Youths feeling disenfranchised with the system are blamed for the most damage.





Sports

• The last golf major occurred this week with Keegan Bradley won in an incredible finish. He had a late last round surge to force a three hole playoff with Jason Dufner.





• The NFL held its first preseason games this week. See tomorrows article on this topic.










Entertainment
• The Rise of the Planet of the Apes led the Box Office once again with earnings just shy of $30M







Allourblogs reached 2,500 views in about 2.5 weeks!


Jeff for allourblogs with the Week in Review

Images from:
http://www.onlinecnnnews.com/leading-candidates-set-to-meet-in-first-new-hampshire-debate/
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/why-tim-pawlentys-campaign-never-took-off/243569/
http://www.borowitzreport.com/2011/06/20/rick-perrys-campaign-slogan-what-harm-could-a-governor-of-texas-do/

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rebecca Black's Life is Ruined

We've all seen the infamous Friday music video. The song performed by the 14 year old Rebecca Black became a viral hit because when it was declared by media sources (such as Rolling Stone) as the worst song of all time.


That's when the haters became widespread. These people were not content giving the video a low ranking on YouTube or posting their disliking of the song. It became fashionable to criticize the young girl herself. Horrible people began bullying her directly and death threats were placed on the girls life.

These evil people were actually openly saying that they wanted to kill the girl. These sentiments were echoed not by a few extremists, but were agreed with by hundreds of people online.

All over not liking a music video from a 14 year old amateur musician.
Recently, Rebecca dropped out of school because of all of this. Her classmates haven't stopped mocking or bullying the girl. Publicity was equally miserable from total strangers. To avoid all of this, Rebecca's parents took her out of her school and have started to home school her.

All because of the harassment she received. From everyone. For a poorly recorded YouTube video.

What does this mean for society? What does this say about us, that we collectively virtually ruined a young girls' life over a bad song?

I honestly don't know. All I can say is that I too disliked the song. However, I did not say anything bad online against the girl, nor would I ever say anything to her face to face. I'm honestly disappointed for my fellow Americans that we've done something as terrible as shatter a child's self worth and possibly destroy her future.



Jeff on current events

Images from:
rebecca-black-friday-good-morning-america-interview-gma-ark-music-interview-viral-song
http://www.fempop.com/2011/08/10/rebecca-black-pulled-from-school-fun-fun-fun-fun/leave-rebecca-black-alone-2/

Thursday, August 11, 2011

End the TSA

Today I toured the USS Constitution, the Navy's longest serving ship (from the early 1800s to today). Because it is considered an active military site, to enter the dock at which the ship was located, all tourists were required to go through security.



In the course of a couple of minutes, literally hundreds of visitors had their ID checked, had their belongings x-rayed, and passed through a metal detector. At any major airport in the US, I cannot guess how many times longer it would take the TSA to process the same number of passengers.

The TSA has an important job to preform in the nation. They screen millions of fliers in order to protect us from our enemies. However, they are civilians, basically trained and put into one of the most stressful positions in the nation. They are like the mall cops of the sky; and this is the reason why infants and wheelchair ridden grandmothers are put in positions where they are evaluated as an equally potential threat as a young man displaying signs of nervousness and unwillingness to interact with others.




The military is trained to perceive potential hostility and nervousness in strangers. They are taught how to spot potential enemies from a group and how to determine what seems to be out of the ordinary. The military's primary job is to defend the US from attack, so why shouldn't they take over for the TSA?

The military already has proven to be one or the most efficient and proficient parts of the government. It seems the rational thing to do would be to relieve the TSA of screening passengers at airports with expanding military personal obligations. This handover of duties would slash screening times, reduce personnel (and therefore costs), and put more expertly trained men and women in the position of protecting the nation from threats that might only be found by a militarily trained official.

The TSA has not allowed another 9/11 to occur on their watch (thank God). Their service and dedication is to be applauded and thanked. However, the same agency has continued to create horrendous delays and cost billions in tax-payer money. I think it's time for the military, a proven security force, to once again answer their call to duty and serve another security role for the American people.

Jeff with current events

Images from:

http://boston.ettractions.com/aid/7452/access/uss-constitution-ship-boston-history-tours.html
http://blog.thedrahos.net/2011/05/art-in-protest/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Andrews Movie Quote of The Day

"Lester: [laughing in realization] I get it, you a member of the Slapaho Tribe.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lester: [to Mitch] You put the hit on that girl and everyone here knows it.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
John Q. Archibald: Who was driving?
Mitch: Huh?
John Q. Archibald: The car. Who was driving?
Mitch: I was. What's that got to do with anything?
John Q. Archibald: Why's your girl all banged up and you're not?
Mitch: What do you call this?
[shows light scratches on arm]
Lester: [laughs]
Mitch: What are you laughing at?
Lester: Somebody get this fool a band-aid. I don't want you to bleed to death.
Mitch: Screw you man. This sh*t hurts.
Julie Bird: His airbag went off and mine didn't.
John Q. Archibald: What kind of car do you drive?
Mitch: Mercedes 500.
John Q. Archibald: You drive a Mercedes 500? Oh. What year?
Mitch: 1986. It's a classic.
John Q. Archibald: Mercedes didn't make passenger side air-bags til 1988.
Lester: [laughs] *Busted!*
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Max Conlin: So what? Are you just gonna go in there and off yourself?
John Q. Archibald: Only one thing is gonna stop me.
Max Conlin: Yeah, and what is that?
John Q. Archibald: If Mitch is B positive.
Mitch: Oh Hell no. Uh-uh. No way baby.
[Everybody laughs]
John Q. Archibald: See you in the funny papers." -Denzel Washington starring in John Q... A movie about a man with failing health insurance refusing to just sit and watch his son die.


your general writer,

Andrew

Watch the Throne

A couple days ago, the much anticipated collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West, Watch the Throne, was released on iTunes, with the actual CD being released on August 12th. The album includes appearances by BeyoncĂ©, Frank Ocean, Mr. Hudson, Swizz Beatz, and Kid Cudi. With Kanye West and Jay-Z working together on an entire album, there were extremely high expectations for the album, with many people assuming it would become an instant classic. Kanye and Jay-Z are two of the most famous artists in the world, and they have worked together in the past on Jay-Z’s hit album, The Blueprint.

There has been a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding this album, and most music critics have given it relatively good reviews. Upon early release, “H-A-M” hit 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Otis” hit 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. As a whole, however, I don’t think the album can live up to the preset standards everyone made for it. This collaboration should theoretically produce one of the greatest rap albums ever created, but it is nowhere near that level.

Jay-Z and Kanye sound great on the album, but they don’t seem to mesh with each other very well. They are too big to be able to handle this kind of teamwork-based album, and their lyrics tend to focus on themselves, as the album’s title suggests. The only problem is, which one of them is sitting in the throne? It seems almost as if this album displays that very battle, to take over the throne, but their disguising it be “collaborating”. It’s not that their work is bad, and like I said, they sound great as two individuals performing on the same album. But they don’t ever impress me as being a team. The whole album feels more like a money-making scheme based on the hype they knew would be generated by to rap superstars working on the same album. Unlike the ‘90’s collaborations between Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, this is a “Super Album” where both stars are featured in every song. It sounds great in theory, but I really don’t think it works out that well in reality.

I will give both Jay-Z and Kanye West credit for recording the entire album in person as opposed to recording at separate locations. That was definitely a step in the right direction towards a true collaborative project, although there are rumors that the two argued about the musical direction of the album, and most of the music they originally recorded doesn’t appear on Watch the Throne. I would be very interested to hear that material; did somebody say second album? We’ll see, but I have a feeling that they’ll work together again in the future, depending on the success of Watch the Throne.

From a musical aspect, I really don’t enjoy the album that much. The beats are a kind of strange combination of oldschool and new rap that doesn’t really fit the combination of Jay-Z and Kanye. I will admit that I’m partial to the older stuff, and the beats on Doggystyle are probably some of my favorite of all time. I’m not really a fan of newer styles and beats, but I think the combination can be very effective at reaching a wide audience. I just don’t think they did a great job mixing them on this album. I’ve heard music from both Kanye and Jay-Z that completely outshines Watch the Throne, and it’s honestly disappointing. I do really like “Otis” and “Murder to Excellence”, but “H-A-M” is terrible and the rest of the album draws the “meh” response from me.

I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me, and I know that many people love the album, but I really feel like they didn’t nail it like they could have. I don’t see this being an extremely memorable album 10 or 20 years from now, but all we can do is wait and see what happens.

Image Courtesy of:
en.wikipedia.org

Carlin with Music