Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fed paper No. 51

Federalist No. 51 was written by James Madison. He begins this essay off by describing the three separate branches of government, the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. He explains that each branch should be independent and have the same amount of power. Then he talks about why there should be restrictions on power; he says that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary”. I really love the truth behind that quote. I treally, I don’t know, says it all. Our government is run by flawed human beings and the reason it works so well is because the founding fathers realized this. Sure, everything works when one man (or one branch of government) controls everything as long as that power is noble and just and fair 100% of the time. Our system was designed to take the flaws of mankind into account.
In the essay, Madison stresses that the government must be able to lay down the law and protect the rights of the people. There is a balance of power that needs to be achieved and I think we have done a pretty good job as far as that goes. There is a certain uncontrollable part of our three branch system that can be seen right now. You see, our system of government is designed to butt heads. When this conflict dissipates due to a super majority in the Congress that is allied with the president, stuff happens. I mean, really bad stuff won’t happen, like; the president isn’t going to become some kind of unstoppable tyrant and lead a campaign to conquer the world. What we are seeing now is how the President can rush legislation through congress which results in bad, legislation. Good examples of this could be “No Child Left Behind” and the Health Care Bill. Anyway, I don’t really have a better idea pertaining to how we should structure government; it’s pretty good as it is. I mean, it has flaws, but that’s fine; it was designed by flawed people.

DC TRIP: The Capitol and NEWSeum

On Wednesday, march 24, I got to get up extra early and drive out to school at 6:00 A.M. Why would I decide to do such a thing? I drove out to school at 6:00 in the morning because both of the Wakefield Gov classes went to D.C. for the day. It was pretty awesome. After spending half an eternity in rush hour traffic, we walked around the Capitol and stood outside the visitor’s center while security processed us like raw meat. Luckily it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and we had a spectacular view.

The tour was fun. We watched a really beautiful introductory video. I wanted to post a link to the video; but, unfortunately, I could not find it. There are several good videos about being an American that you can find by searching for "E pluribus Unum" on YouTube or Google video.
After the video, we toured the crypt level of the Capitol building and stood in the center of Washington. After that, we went up to the Rotunda and we saw the famous statues and the awesome paintings and we heard about the history behind the great dome and the statue, Freedom. Then we went into the “pink echo room” which was the 2nd room to house the House of Representatives. Because of the room’s acoustic properties, there are eight points where one can hear people when they’re whispering; which is why I call it the pink echo room. Unfortunately, that was when the tour ended; but it was fun.

Of course, the day had just begun… we still had so much more to see!

Random man, “RAAAAAAAGH!!! GOD DAMMIT!!! NO NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” We had arrived at the NEWSeum. The previous information is quoted from a random man who flipped out when he passed by one of the news stands and learned that the health care bill had passed in the House. Needless to say, this portion of the trip started with some excitement. Once inside the museum err, excuse me; once we were inside the NEWSeum we split up into groups and were allowed to wander off and learn whatever we wanted. I was fascinated as I had never had the opportunity to visit the NEWSeum before. Ryan, Sarah and I visited the exhibits on President Lincoln’s assassination, Elvis, 9/11, freedom of the press, and the Presidential pets.

The exhibit on President Lincoln’s assassination was interesting, but, in truth, I didn’t really pay attention to it. One thing did catch my eye.

THIS is saying that National Treasure 2 LIED to me!! I couldn’t believe it! So, upon returning home, I went on Google news and found this:,1587301

Although, I’m not actually sure who’s correct (as I have not thoroughly researched this matter); I believe Google and Nicolas Cage.

The Elvis exhibit wasn’t particularly illuminating, but I enjoyed the recordings of his live performances and the news coverage of Elvis’ time in the military.

9/11. It has been the single most important event that I have lived through. Unfortunately, both my school and my parents decided that I was too young to deal with the traumatizing event. I guess I should not say “unfortunately”; it’s just that I never really experienced the horror of the whole affair. Anyway, the point is that I had never truly experienced the full impact of the event until I saw the footage that reporters took right there on the scene; the stuff from ground zero. I can’t really explain how powerful this experience was.
There was something on display that I thought was purely awesome; the NEWSeum had a significant portion of the 360ft. antenna from the World Trade Center. The whole exhibit was done very tastefully. There was a wall dedicated to front page articles that were printed immediately after the attack. I really liked it.

They also had a piece of the Pentagon wall from where it was hit and they had a the eagle that was on the head of the flagpole that was nearest to the 747 when it hit the pentagon. It was cool. Here are the pics.

The Freedom of the Press exhibit was cool and informative. They talked about the freedom of information in every country during the 21st century. I was surprised to learn that Italian government has begun to restrict the flow of information within Italy. Anyway, there was also a section about how journalists have special privileges and can go anywhere to get their story. For example: this is a truck that journalists were using to get footage of the war in Iraq.

I don’t have much to say about the Presidential pets exhibit. It focused on presidential dogs. They were cute. I really liked the panel on Clinton’s dog Buddy. I was sad that Socks was not included on Clinton’s little board thing. When I was little, I used to hang out with Socks and Buddy all the time. I even named my Beagle after Buddy. Anyway, that was the whole trip! All we did after the NEWSeum was drive back to school. All in all, it was a blast.

Wait… wait… no! THAT WASN’T THE WHOLE TRIP!!! After we passed the Presidential pets exhibit, I split off from the group and I saw a huge segment of the BERLIN WALL! IT WAS SOOOO COOOL!! Behind the wall, they had a full “death tower” that was taken from checkpoint Charlie.

Ok, now I’m done :D Err, well that was the end of the trip; but then I was greeted at the bus stop by this beautiful machine.

I luvz it so much... Anyway, I am now absolutely 100% done!

Goodnight and good luck ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What it Means to be an American

As an American I am one of the freest people in existence. From birth, I enjoy rights, freedoms, and liberties under the glorious constitution of the United States of America that others go through life without. As an American I enjoy the freedoms of religion, speech, press, expression; the right to bear arms, the right to a speedy trial by our peers, the right to be proven guilty, the right to due process of law just to name a few. There are so many things that we, as Americans, have available; things that we take for granted.

“You don’t really know how to appreciate the freedom you have in this country until you have lived in another country.” –Arturo Cruz

For example, as an American citizen when you are charged with a crime you are innocent until proven guilty. In Italy, however, if you are arrested you can be thrown in jail. Then, you are responsible for proving that you didn’t do whatever it is that you have been accused of. In the United States, assuming you are a citizen of course, you may be accused of a crime, at which point; you would have the right to face your accuser. Then, you could not be held for over 24 hours without cause, and if you are still thought to be guilty; you will have the right to a lawyer and a speedy trial. If you are not aware of your rights, they will be read to you. As an American citizen, you cannot be betrayed by your own ignorance and you cannot be tricked into incriminating yourself. Obviously, the system is not flawless; and I’m not trying to pretend that injustice does not find ways to seep into the cracks in our laws and exploit loopholes. Sometimes the unjust simply avoid the legal system by means of bribery, fear, or illegal use of power. For the most part though, our justice system is simply superb.

The right that Americans utilize the most, and the one they most often take for granted, is the freedom of speech. Well, maybe it’s freedom of the press, either way; expression. In the United States, Americans can speak their minds about anything! As an American, I find myself living in a country where the government recognizes that I have the right to speak out against it. It’s amazing! In what other country do citizens have that ability? Recently there was a report in the news about a group of citizens who spoke out against their government in the Middle East. Why was this in the news? Well, because the government in question didn’t like what was being said; so they sent the police to stop the protesters… violently. In America, citizens also enjoy the right of assembly. Americans can march right up to the White house gates and protest if they want to. Frequently, protests take place outside the capitol building.

What does it mean to be an American? Being an American means that you are lucky. Being an American means that you are free.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Freedom Fighters

Laborer’s Rights

The fourth amendment guarantees Americans the right to assemble. Therefore, it gives us the right to go on strike. Looking back on the Haymarket Square incident in 1886 we see how a protest for the rights of workers everywhere turned into a tragedy. Employers have the right to fire or replace employees that go on strike, but that’s the danger of going on strike.

Women’s Rights

The right to vote is power; power to get you opinions out into the world or the country in which you live. In the 1920’s women had to fight for their right to vote. Because of their hard work, the nineteenth amendment was finally added to the US constitution. Unfortunately, the nineteenth amendment dose not give women equal rights; it just gives them the right to vote. I think that there should be an amendment to the US constitution that gives every American citizen equal rights regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other kind of difference that marks them as different or weird. We are all people. As Americans, as human beings; we all deserve to be treated equally.

I have a Dream

Martin Luther King is a really great speaker. While listening to his speech on YouTube, I couldn’t help but notice the power behind his words. I really love this country. America is a great place. Sometimes injustice and corruption find ways to creep into the minds of our politicians, officials, representatives, and other individuals that make up “The People”. However, we will not all be corrupted. There will always be good people, and therefore; there will always be good men and women fighting for what they believe in.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

I applaud your decision to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan at the beginning of next year. Although I do not like the fact that we are at war; it is my understanding that your decision is based on the recommendation of your field commanders who possess the greatest knowledge of the situation in Afghanistan.

I see how allowing the Afghanistan to continue to deteriorate could lead to future attacks on the United States and its allies, and I agree that the only way to eradicate the cancer that is terrorism is to deny those, who would spread death and destruction, safe havens where they may plot and plan their attacks against humanity.

That said, I would also like to see you fulfill the promise you made during your campaign for office to end the war. I think that the timeline you have set up is a step in the right direction; however it leaves one question lurking in the depths of my mind. You see, I have friends who will be deploying in Afghanistan. While I know that you have signed letters of condolence, visited the wounded, and seen the flag draped coffins of your fellow Americans; I do not know if you have done so for someone you knew personally. At this very moment I agonize over the words to convey the sorrow that comes from losing one you love to violence. The truth is that those words do not exist. While the troops that you now send into battle go willingly, prepared to give their lives for this country, it is harder for those they leave behind.

While I’m not comparing you to the Bush administration; your overall plan remains the same. You want to stay in Afghanistan to train a competent military force that can independently support the growing Karzai government. What happens if your timeline comes to an end in 2011 and your field commanders and military strategists agree that Afghanistan is still too unstable to be left alone? Will that be the point when America turns its’ back on this war and says, “Hey! We’ve done the best we can.” Or will it be the day that you have to send even more troops, keep soldiers from returning home, or otherwise continue to engage in what might be an endless war?

Either way, I truly do appreciate the effort that you and your administration are putting forth to be very clear with the American people. I support you as the Commander in Chief and your decision to send more troops, but I cannot help wondering “what if”. I cannot help but think about all the Americans across our glorious nation who will share my anxiety when they watch their loved ones depart for war. I’m sure you have a backup plan, but now that you have established what we, as a country, are going to do next; you need to tell us what will happen if our plan fails.

William P. Alexander

What's Up

Just a little glimpse of what has really interested me lately. All my sources spawn from CNN, so check out their website to learn more about the fascinating world in which we live.
There is an issue brewing between Iran and America. Well it has been brewing and now it’s approaching its broiling point. You see, the problem is Iran wants to build ten nuclear reactor complexes and nations across the world. Considering Iran’s recent interest in developing weapons of mass destruction; a great deal of concern comes about when Iran and anything nuclear are mentioned in the same sentence. The article says, "Iran denies it plans to build nuclear weapons, saying its nuclear program is for civilian electricity and medical research." Now; I am all for nuclear power. It is an extremely efficient resource that is very safe when managed properly, but is not utilized very much in America. So, what to do? Several members of the UN do not trust Iran to have nuclear power. It would be extremely dangerous, but it would also be dangerous to allow Iran to gain control of that much nuclear material. What to do? Some have suggested that Iran should move forward with there plans under the ‘watchful eye’ of the UN. I don’t know, It’s a dilemma all right…

In the box office New Moon (the new movie from the “Twilight” saga has been doing amazingly well! It made about $140,700,000 on its first weekend in theaters!! Pre-teen girls across the globe (and me) flocked to see it. Some, including my sister, saw it three or four times during its debut. One thing CNN’s web article, “No sex please, we’re vampires” mentioned that the “distinct lack of on-screen sex runs contrary to the popular trend of portraying teenagers on screen as playing fast and loose with their virginity and affections.” I’m glad that this formula is proving to be popular, especially among younger audiences.

In other news, a biometric hand was developed at Pisa's Valdera Polo Sant'Anna School and surgically attached to Pierpaolo Petruzziello's nervous system via electrodes implanted into the remaining part of his left arm. You see, Pierpaolo Pieruzziello is an amputee. Now, instead of being a patient; he has become a pioneer in biomedical engineering (or at least I think that’s what the field is called). During this experiment, the hand responded to 95% of the commands sent to it from Pieruzziello’s brain. Given more time, research and money the “LifeHand” could, quite possibly be a viable option for amputees in the near future. Bottom line, THAT IS FREAKIN’ AWESOME!!!!! My question is: If we can create a hand that responds to the brain’s commands, could we also make other things? Like Doc Octopus’ robo-arms or mind controlled exoskeletons or maybe even mind controlled cars?! Mind control... Awesome.

See ya!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Second Treatise of Civil Governent

In the Second Treatise of Civil Government Locke begins by describing this thing he calls ‘The State of Nature’. In this state there are no rules; it’s every man for himself. It is a state in which humans rely on the strength of their bodies and the size of their clubs instead of their wit, cunning, teamwork, and communication skills to solve the trials and tribulations that we all must face along the path of life.

Although man has the ability to enjoy the complete freedom offered by the state of nature, freedom where the only obstacles one must conquer to fulfill any desire he may have are the limitations of his mind, body and mortal soul; he chooses to trade that absolute freedom for security. Man chooses to leave the barbaric state of nature for the more evolved elegant world that society offers. He chooses to trade some of his freedoms for security.

One particularly good example of a society in which man is forced to give up some freedom for security is the American society. Although we are “the land of the free”, we are forced to give up our absolute freedom for everything that our government provides for us. “In America, we are only limited by the freedom of other people.” (Citation needed). Of course, we do not mind giving up these freedoms. For example, I don’t mind that I’m not allowed to go around setting fires, not that I would if I could, because I know that means that my house will not be burned down because some idiot set a fire that got out of control. I also don’t mind paying taxes. We have to give up some of our property to the government in the form of taxes. I may not like paying takes, and I may complain about them sometimes, but, in the end, I don’t mind paying them. The government takes that money for good reasons though. We enjoy roads and public education and a strong army to protect us from aliens and zombies, don’t we? Well, the government needs to be able to pay for all that; so they tax us.

These are but a few examples of freedoms that we willingly give up in order to enjoy the safety of society. I think it is interesting though; that, in today’s world, you are born into society. Man no longer has the ability to choose between the state of nature and the confines of society; for, the choice no longer exists. I wonder: if the choice remained, would there be some who would choose to reside in the state of nature?