Headline Tuesday

Here are some headlines making their way through the news stations on this 1st of November.

CNN:

Stocks fall hard on Greece surprise. / In giving life, women face deadly risks.

MSNBC:

How a reformed skin head got a makeover. / Sales rise at Detroit’s big 3. 

 

FOX:

Obama, Exec too close for comfort? / Major surge in prescription drug deaths.

10 Years Later, We are Better

Just a 15 year old high school sophmore waking up extra early for a big exam.  The daily ritual was to turn on the tv and start getting ready for school.  That morning was different.  There wasn’t talk of traffic or the weather.  There wasn’t talk of the direction of the Dow Jones.  Instead there were images of a plane hitting a building.  There were images of a hole in the side of the Pentagon.

It didn’t take long for me to realize what was going on.  It was then that I frantically started calling my family.  My cousin was at the time working as a flight attendant for United Airlines.  I knew she had many flights around the New York area so that was the first person I thought of calling.  No response.  I called ten more times.  No answer.  I then called my grandmother, my uncle, and all of my aunts.  Finally one of them answered and said my cousin was alright.  She was in San Francisco and wasn’t working that day.  I would find out later she did lose a friend.

The drive to school was quiet.  The radio blared in the background as commentators tried to sort out the details.  I don’t even remember fighting traffic.  Everyone at school asked each other if they had seen the news, if they had seen the videos and pictures.  I knew then my generation would be different.

We sat through the first few periods just watching the news.  There were no lesson plans, there were no lectures.  The exam, that was cancelled.  Everyone sat there watching the screen, some crying, some silent, all of us touched.

They made an announcement that if anyone needed to see a grief councelor, one would be available.  Being so far removed from the events, I don’t think any of us thought a councelor would matter.  Everyone knew the significance of the event, but at the same time, there was a sense of numbness, 8,000 miles will do that to a person.

Looking back, there are many things I have taken away from the months following that tragic day:  America is a proud nation with a strong and hard-working people.  We persevere through the hard times and always come out stronger and more willing to help others.  In times of extreme circumstances, people will always help others, even if it may not be the best thing for themselves.

Ultimately, there is one major thing that I have learned.  This generation, my generation, has been thrown obstacle after obstacle.  We witnessed the attack on America, we witnessed the economy crash, we witnessed two wars and thousands of lives lost overseas.  The amazing thing?  We are still the most upbeat, optimistic, and forward thinking generation.  We elected the first African-American President.  We created Facebook, Twitter, and just about every social networking site.  We are becoming the doctors, lawyers, and politicians who care more about helping others than ourselves.

WE are the new Greatest Generation.  This country is in good hands.  My generation is stepping up to the plate and taking ownership.  We have seen the depths that this country can hit and we have seen how great this country can be.  There is no doubt in my mind that we are the generation which will change America for the better.  We will not fail, we can not fail.

I challenge every single person of my generation and invoke the message of John F. Kennedy:

ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.

Hawaii Reapportionment Committee Interactive Map

Curious to see where House and Senate districts are now?  The state Reapportionment Committee has recently released their approved map of house and senate districts.  The west side of Oahu have seen the most drastic changes.

Click here for the link to the map.

The map is not final and will go through public hearings beginning on August 30th in Kapolei.

Click here for a complete list of public hearings.

Special Comment: Is it Contempt or Ignorance with Eric Cantor?

Earlier this month, GOP Congressman Eric Cantor introduced a strategy to help reduce government spending.  His solution: force college students who are receiving loans to repay them while they are still attending college rather than upon the completion of their time in school.

It seems like a pretty far out way of thinking.  Mr. Cantor would like to financially handcuff students who are already financially handcuffed trying to afford an education.  Either Mr. Cantor dislikes college students or he just doesn’t know any better.  I personally think Mr. Cantor is a decent human being.  That said, he likely doesn’t know any better.  The only other explanation is he doesn’t care about those struggling financially.

Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia's 7th Congressional District

Let’s take a closer look at what Mr. Cantor has presented us.  Some college students, like myself, require financial assistance to go to school.  If it were not for grants, scholarships, and loans, there would be a large section of young adults out of school.  Using the University of Hawaii at Manoa as an example, we see that resident full-time tuition (12 credits or more) is roughly $4,500 for the Fall 2011 Semester.  Out of state tuition comes in at about $12,000.  Considering that UHM is considered a bargain for tuition, we still have college students paying at least $9k and up to $24k for a single school year.  Take that number and expand that over five years (the typical amount of time to earn a Bachelor’s Degree), assuming tuition doesn’t increase, and we have total cost between $45-$120k.  Anyone have that type of money lying around?

Are we expecting the parents of those students to pay for college?  Continuing to use Hawaii as an example, the median household income from 2009 was $67k.  That would mean the average family in Hawaii would need to spend roughly 67% of their income for an entire year just to pay for tuition for a single child.  What if that family has multiple children?  Let’s also not forget mortgage/rent, food, healthcare, transportation, and other costs associated with raising a family.

This is why the federal government offers financial assistance for college students.  A healthy society needs educated citizens.  Every past civilization has shown the need for an educated population.  Mr. Cantor would seemingly like to end this goal.

If college students could afford to begin paying back their loans while still in school Mr. Cantor, there is a great chance these students wouldn’t be using loans or other financial aid in the first place.  Common sense tells us that someone using these types of services is in need of them in the first place.

For all the talk about protecting our future, it is obvious that Mr. Cantor has not followed through on that campaign promise.  His plan in no way helps protect our future.  In fact, it puts our future at risk.  This is not wise leadership Mr. Cantor.

Perhaps you are the one who needs to be in school.

*This post can also be found on The Young Writer’s Block.

Something to Ponder During the Debt Battle

from Ryan Adverderada (Founder of Desperate America Report)

During a conversation with a friend on Twitter, a stranger suddenly popped in and offered his opinion on the debt battle in Washington D.C.  His comment made sense and then he offered a link.  The link to me to his website and on to a particular post about the current debt ceiling talks.

Click HERE for the full post (you’ll be taken to his site).

Here are some main points of his argument.

1. Everyone is panicking when they should really be taking a deep breath to look at the whole problem.

2. Social Security is being used as a scapegoat.  The program isn’t broken, and folks are over reacting.

3. Medicare spending is increasing while the results have remained unchanged.  Something needs to be done to get health care results better because reducing Medicare spending puts our seniors in debt or worse.

4. Short term spending like those for infrastructure should be used as a solution to get people back to work which would help stimulate the economy.

5. Cutting spending w/o addressing any of these problems causes more harm than good.

Those are the 5 points you need to know.  I suggest clicking on the link to read the full story.

So what do YOU think should happen to bring down our debt?

Banning Churches?

Herman Cain (imageworldblog.blogspot.com)

Republican Presidential hopeful, Herman Cain came out Sunday in support of communities being able to ban the construction of mosques.  Cain is a former executive of Coca-Cola, Pillsbury, and Burger King.

Here is the Yahoo story.

What do you think?  Should the government be able to ban the construction of mosques?  Sound off!

Taxes?

Here is a CNN piece on what Obama is looking to accomplish with the debt deal being negotiated.  It would be interesting to note that taxes now are at a lower rate than they were under President Reagan in the 1980’s.

What Obama Wants In Taxes     

So what is your take on the debt debate?  Should we raise the debt ceiling?  Do we only rely on tax raises?  Do we only rely on spending cuts?  Where is the balance?

 

 

Headlines Across America

Here are a few headlines from across the US this week:

Kansas Abortion Law Faces Court Hearing

Minnesota Shuts Down

Gen. Patraeus Confirmed as CIA Chief

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Passes Gay Marriage Legislation

The New York State Assembly voted today in the Senate to pass legislation which would make New York the 6th state in the country to recognize gay marriage.  The legislation will become law in 30 days, after the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Gov. Cuomo has pledged his support and stated previously he would sign the legislation into law. following the signing of the bill by Gov. Cuomo.  In a matter of hours the final vote was cast and the bill landed on the desk of the Democrat Cuomo.

The vote comes a week after the New York House approved the measure.  A key amendment was made to protect religious exemptions.  The amendment was pivotal to the passage of the bill as undecided Republican Senator, Stephen Saland, decided to support the measure.

A recent New York Daily News article estimated roughly $184 million would be pumped into the New York economy as a result of the legalizing of gay marriage.

For more here is the link to the full Huffington Post story.

Are You Suffering From Popcorn Brain?

It’s time for a distraction from the political scandals and debt arguments.  CNN.com has posted an article which questions our addiction to technology, most notably, our time spent online.

The main concept of the piece is that we are too wired with our technology that our brains are unable to process all that we are doing.  Our constant use can basically fry the brain and reduce the size of the thinking part of the brain.

Do you think we spend too much time online?  What is the average amount of time that you spend online every day?

Click here for the full CNN article.