Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Today, July 26 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Disabilities Act signed by President George H. Bush in 1990. The Act prohibits discrimination based on disability, addresses access to the workplace, and requires instructions to Federal agencies that enforce the law. The Act prohibits any employer from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities along with providing equal opportunity in public accomodations and transportation. However, like every piece of legislation, there is an opposition with some critical reviews. Some believe that the ADA does not consider groups of individuals disabled until a case is brought to court, or that big companies still don't comply with federal regulations. Well, I believe the Act has done a lot of good for millions of people. Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa saluted the people who helped bring the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, "Twenty years ago, we heard testimony from Americans who had to crawl on their hands and knees to go up a flight of stairs; who couldn't ride on a bus because there wasn't a lift; who couldn't even cross the street in their wheelchairs because there were no curb cuts." Harkin was an original sponsor of the legislation and added, "The ADA has broken down barriers, created opportunities and transformed lives." With regards to employment, Obama explained, "We’re going to boost recruitment, we’re going to boost training, we’re going to boost retention." He went on to say, “We’ll better train hiring managers. Each agency will have a senior official who’s accountable for achieving the goals we’ve set. And I expect regular reports."
Americans with Disabilities Facts:
- According to the 2010 Census Bureau, 54 million Americans have a disability. (1 in 5 people)
- More than three million people, 15 yrs +, use a wheelchair.
- Michigan was among the first states to to have laws protecting disabled people.
- 21% of disabled working-age Americans had a job in the past year, versus 59% for those without disabilities.
- Disabled people does not only apply to the physically impaired, but the deaf, blind, those unable to function independently, the crippled, and those mentally/cognitively impaired.
"Equal access. Equal opportunity. The freedom to make our lives what we will. These aren’t principles that belong to any one group or any one political party. They are common principles. They are American principles." -Barack Obama
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Today, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage. There was a 16 hour debate prior to the vote, which resulted in 33 for and 27 against. The law declares that, "marriage provides for the same requisites and effects independent of whether the contracting parties are of the same or different sex." As most know, Latin American countries tend to follow the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church does not support gay marriage so naturallly there will be opposition to such a bill. "They want to convert this city into the gay capital of the world," said a teacher, Morales of San Luis province. No, they just believe in equal marriage rights for all their citizens and improving the diversity of their country. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is currently traveling but will make sure to sign the bill into law immediately when she returns.The Catholic Church along with 60,000 protesters marched along Congress this week to rally against the bill. However, Argentina is paving the way for other Latino countries and hopefully the United States as well. "What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance," said Sen. Norma Morandini. "Argentina, from today forward, is a more just country for all families" added Maria Rachid, President of the Argentine Federation of LGBT. I follow the Catholic religion but do support gay rights. Not everything in the bible is to be meant literally, and I believe in equality for all. So, power to the people!
Picture Credit: Juan Mabromata, AFP/Getty Images / July 14, 2010
Picture Credit: Juan Mabromata, AFP/Getty Images / July 14, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Leave it to the Palin family for more scandals and surprises. Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston reported their engagement in an US Weekly interview, yet her parents were the last to know. On the cover of US Weekly 19 yr old Bristol is wearing an engagement ring while holding her 18 month son, Tripp. Bristol's mom, Sarah Palin, was not fond of the father of her grandchild, Levi, and was less than thrilled when she heard the announcement. The family had a falling out when he and Bristol broke up this March. "Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what's best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives," said parents Sarah and Todd when they heard the news. Clearly Bristol is only marrying Levi to rebel against her parents or more specifically her mom. Sorry, but marrying the father of your baby does not erase the fact you had a baby at 18. Levi is no catch and already hated by the rest of her family. It is funny that her mom was the last to find out though, so props for that.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Today, President Obama announced a new strategy for combating HIV/AIDS along with optimistic views on its effects. "The strategy sets a goal of reducing new infections by 25 percent over the next five years; getting treatment for 85 percent of patients within three months of their diagnosis; and increasing education about the virus, even in communities with low rates of infection" (Associated Press). The strategy finally comes after years of discussion and requires cooperation from the federal gov. down to the smallest parts of society. Thirty million dollars of the health care overhaul passed just this year will be allocated towards implementation of the new plan. Obama has made combating HIV/AIDS a priority as well as focusing public attention towards the growing epidemic.
The three primary goals of the strategy:
•Reducing the number of new infections;
•Increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV;
•Reducing HIV-related health disparities.
US HIV/AIDS Facts:
- Black men and women account for 46% of people living with HIV, though they represent just 13% of the population.
- An estimated 20% of people infected with HIV do not know it.
- There is a new HIV infection every 9 1/2 minutes in the U.S.
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and is caused by HIV.
- An estimated 56,300 Americans are newly infected with HIV each year.
- There are approximately 1.2 million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS.
- There is still no cure.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I am not sure how many people "like" Sarah Palin on Facebook, but this video was recently released on her FB page. The caption reads, "Enjoy the video and please support commonsense conservative candidates who will work with you and for you to take back our country!" The video was created by her political action committee, Sarah PAC and is titled, "Mama Grizzlies". What is the purpose? She is not endorsing any candidates nor does the video solicit contributions (like a typical PAC commercial would do). The theme is to 'empower young women' or 'inspire people to join to movement' but I feel the video is just a sly move hinting towards a run in 2012. This slow-motion montage is no different than the other over-played campaign commercials we see every election year. She is not presenting anything we didn't know about her; merely unsubstantial Palin rhetoric. Packed with allusions, images, and metaphor, she does a clever job at displaying her 'feminism'. One blogger, Michael Stone said it best, "Palin's feminism is no feminism at all. Palin's faux feminism represents an attempt to turn back the clock on women's rights and to send American families back to the dark ages." I disagree with everything Sarah Palin stands for and this video is just comedic, as it is whenever she opens her mouth. Miachel Stone adds "In the end intelligent women voters will choose progress over Palin. A vain glorious sentimental video full of silly self promotion will not fool American women." Exactly!! This was enough Palin I can handle. Also, last week her daughter Bristol made a special appearance on the ABC Family hit show, 'The Secret Life of the American Teenage'. Ironic that Bristol Palin had a baby as a teen while her mom strictly campaigns for abstinence and pro-life. Hmm....
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Finally!! Today, President Obama allowed the Justice Department to officially challenge Arizona's "legal racial profiling" immigration law. The effort to block this enforcement will take place on July 29th. Most politicians would agree that Arizona should not create their own immigration law; rather leave the laws and policies regarding the issue to the federal government. "Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a written statement. This puts the conflict of state's rights on full blast and will only further divide the country. "In our constitutional system, the federal government has pre-eminent authority to regulate immigration matters," the lawsuit says. I feel the Governement should definitly take this action. There is no reason for the Govenor of Arizona to enforce this law. It makes people wonder what his motives are, ie) scaring people from coming to Arizona (Mexicans, other Hispanics). He is attempting to intimidate Hispanics from coming over the border, and by doing so he is taking matters into his own hands when it is a federal issue! I hope this lawsuit will only propel the Obama Whitehouse into taking action on proposing a national immigration law ASAP.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
What country did the United States win independence from? Believe it or not, many teens and even adults could not tell you. Britain! The U.S was part of Britain. On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed by the Continental Congress; thus leaving the 13 U.S colonies free from British rule. Back then the population was said to be 4 million; today, 309 million. Out of that 309 million, 32.5 mil are foreign born citizens (me), and more than 1 in 3 of these citizens became naturalized. A couple days ago Sienne College in Loudonville, NY, released their rankings of the best and worst U.S Presidents. Leading the list was F. Roosevelt followed by T. Roosevelt, Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson. Clinton holds 13th place, with Obama making a debut at 15. No surprise, George W. Bush lands in the 39th position. As much as I love and honor our country, I used to be the most anti-patriot person in the world. While Bush was President, I was ashamed and embarassed to be part of a country that had totally opposite values and an agenda I felt was extremely destructive. I did not even want the flag or (red,white,&blue) anywhere near me. I did not want in any way to support the United States. However, after viewing the Obama campaign up-close and personal and experiencing true independence, I could never be more proud of my country. Presidents come and go, but the history and struggle our Founding Fathers overcame to guarantee our freedom, lasts forever. I had to realize that one President does not define our nation's values. The legacy of the United States and it being one of the only countries that guarantees all its citizens freedom is something to celebrate. Even if you do not support our current President, be proud of the progress our country has made. Happy 4th of July!!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The Michigan texting ban was signed April 30 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Many watched as Michigan became the 24th state to ban texting while driving. This ban is now law and takes effect today! Police are now allowed to pull a driver over if they notice unusual swerving, moving in and out of a lane, or just suspicious driving. The fines range from $100 for a first time offense up to $200 for a second offense. However, no points will be given regardless of the number of offenses. Driving down I-95 you may now notice billboards, advertisements, and public service announcements reminding MI drivers of the newly enforced law. The Office of Highway Safety Plan created this campaign and labeled it "Hands on the Wheel". Some wonder, 'How can they prove I was texting?' or 'What if I was dialing a number?' Well, these questions portray the sketchyness of this law. Police officers claim they won't "hunt" down texters...but we know how that story goes. The law is a good way to hopefully lower the accident statistics and I'm proud of our state. I would be a hypocrite if I said I have not checked my phone or texted at a red light, however this law will definitely make me more aware and cautious of doing these actions. Please be careful and don't put others' lives at danger because you didn't want to miss an "important" text.