Henry Pendleton, Blog Post #7

Recently Obama has made a major play in in his fight for national health care; he has nominated his now budget director, Sylvia Burwell, as the new Health and Human Services Secretary to succeed Kathleen Sebelius. Sebelius was the leader and at the forefront of the Affordable Care Act for the past five years. As the public face of one of Obamas major goals of his presidency Sebelius faced much scrutiny from the media. Most of the blame for the slowness and malfunction of the web site to apply for Affordable Health Care was towards Sebelius and her team. With all the made press and the attempt to improve his approval rating Obama named Burwell to succeed as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. 7.5 million Americans have signed up through the now up and running web site, “That’s an historical accomplishment”, Obama stated. The question being asked by the republicans and hopefully answered by Burwell is out of those 7.5 million how many have actually paid their premiums and everything that comes with that.

Sylvia Burwell is currently the Director of the Office of Budget and Management and assumed office last April. She has been noted on both sides of the isle as a skilled manager with experience as the former head of the Wal-Mart Foundation. This is exactly what Obama thinks will help this health care plan; a fresh face for a prestigious background and the person that will be able to put a spin on the numbers to get more backers and the most important people to sign up for it. Burwell is going to have her work cut out for her with the loudest advocates from the GOP strongly against the law and the intrusiveness it brings with it.


Henry Pendleton, Blog Post #6

In recent months the College Board has announced the roll out of a new SAT. A long overdue change from the decades old, out of date former test that was rapidly loosing popularity to the ACT. The new SAT is planned to go into effect early 2016, so that means that this years juniors and sophomores will not have to worry about nor change there study habits but this years freshmen will be the first to take this updated standardized test. The SAT will go back to the original 1600-point system like it was before the addition of the essay in 2005 where it was changed to 2400 points. Along with the change in scoring there is a new approach being taken towards the test. First of all they are making the essay portion of the test optional but still suggested for a more complete scoring outcome. Next they are taking a new approach to the vocabulary portion of the exam. The hours spent will flash card learning the precise meaning of every word in the English-Oxford Dictionary will be a thing of the past. The words will be put in to a passage, giving you the ability to decipher meanings of those iconic SAT vocab words that you may never again use in you day-to-day life. In the math section the creators of the new SAT are going to put the problems in to a more real world context; no more straight calculations of random numbers. In the end the test is designed to test a students critical things and analyses to gauge there college preparedness which is the whole goal of the SAT.
As some who has taken both the old SAT and the ACT multiple times I much preferred the ACT. In scoring I was in a remarkably high percentile with the ACT then the SAT and for that reason I scrapped my SAT and only sent colleges my ACT score. With all the experts coming out and saying that the SAT is making a shift more towards the SAT style I can only good things coming out of it from a personal stand point. As a student who struggled with the lay out and the formation of the outdated SAT the update sounds like a step in the right direction.

Brett Schmieder Entry #7

     Nuclear detonation, although scientifically provocative and enlightening, are detrimental to the Earth.  Even nuclear testing in space, which occurred during the cold war, forever altered the radiation belt surrounding Earths atmosphere and even cause satellites to malfunction.  As for detonations on land, radiation from tests in New Mexico not only exposed citizens to harmful radiation but left the land tainted and uninhabitable.  Its no mystery why the UN has banned nuclear testing, so when satellites picked up activity within nuclear test sites in North Korea, President Obama immediately condemned North Koreas actions at a press conference in South Korea.  

     Both the USCA and the US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins University picked up increased activity at a North Korean Launch Site last Tuesday.  Speculation about the reason for this activity has hypothesized that its an actual test of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal or it is simply a scare tactic to “prove” that North Korea is a real threat to western powers.  

     On President Obama’s Asian tour, he held a press conference with South Korea’s leader Park Geun-hye.  After giving his condolences about the ferry crash that killed over 300 people, President Obama addressed the North Korean threat.  He said that the U.S. will stand “shoulder-by-shoulder” with South Korea, and “Threats will get North Korea nothing other than greater isolation.”  

     The actions by North Korea will further isolate them from international relations and further escalate the tension between the U.S. and her allies, and the DPRK.  Even the threat of nuclear detonation is enough to send international politics into chaos, and if North Korea does decide to detonate a nuclear bomb, violating resolution 1718, the repercussions will be swift and powerful. 


Dali Dong’s Blog Entry #7

Last Sunday, White House officials announced a new 10-year defense pact that was agreed by both American government and Philippines government, which increased presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines. This deal was made from President Obama’s arrival in the Philippine capital, Manila. This agreement will give U.S forces the access to select Philippine bases and position planes and ships there. This is also the last stop on his four-country Asian tour, which contain Japan, South Korean, Malaysia and Philippine.
The details of this 10-year defense pact are still waiting to be worked out, however this agreement certainly is a significant step in the Obama administration’s pivot toward Asia. President Obama has been careful about the issues towards China during this trip even though this trip does not include China. He said that he was not trying to contain China, instead he is interested in China’s peaceful rise. But the thing U.S government is doing right now is helping Philippines to develop a better defense against China and other countries. Philippines and American have a long time connection throughout the history about the military defense treaty.


American government is making some allies form this four- country trip and those allies are already long time friends throughout the Cold War. United States could say that America is helping those countries to defense China, especially South Korean, Malaysia and Philippine. In my opinion, the thing American government is trying to do is to limit China’s peace raise.


Morgan McGlothlin, Blog Entry #7

Blessings in Disguise


The role of religion in the government is a highly controversial topic in today’s modern society. Although the affordable care act has been heavily focused on economic freedom, we are seeing slight changes happening influenced by religious groups. “Christian groups who oppose the law’s contraception-coverage requirement. In January, the Supreme Court extended a temporary injunction for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order that objects to having to file a form to obtain a religious exemption from the requirement.” (Sanneh) Politicians can not use their religion as an excuse for what they do, but can still have the morals backing them up.

There is something unsettling about a conception of religious freedom that grants some people exemption from laws that others must obey.” Where is the line drawn? How does America respect cultural and religious beliefs, while also keeping a fair, non swayed, regulated system? It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years.  

Last Blog Josh Lutz

Broadway actress Valerie Harper is being sued for hiding the fact that she had cancer from her producer, Matthew Lombardo.  Harper had contracted lung cancer in 2009 but the symptoms were not severe enough for her to stop working.  She continued to play her roll as Tallulah Bankhead in the production “Looped”.  in the later part of 2012 her cancer began to take a turn for the worse and her symptoms became much more noticeable.  She sought medical attention and was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was given only months to live.  She had to drop out of the show and receive treatment.  After withdrawing she stopped receiving payment even though she was under contract.  she sued and the producer counter sued.  He claimed that she had withheld vital information and cost the company a lot of money.  he claims that it coast 500,000 to find and pay a new actress and 1.5 for other coasts.

I find it wrong to expect a person who is dying to pay for her replacement.  she should have gotten the money she was garunteed in her contract and no more.  She had every right to sue and expect her payment that she was told she would receive.  How can her producer say that she with held information when the caner she was diagnosed with in 2009 was the reason she had to leave.  she was diagnosed with a whole new disease and told she had only moths to live.  Matthew Lombardo should not win this suit.

Bisma Zaman, Blog Entery #7

“End of Abortion Access in the South?”


Mississippi, in the words of Governor Phil Bryant, is moving towards being “abortion-free”. Many Mississippi politicians are fighting for a law that would close the last abortion clinic in the state. While they see this idea as something that would “better” the state, it is something that can alter the entire country. The idea of ending legal abortion has spread across the southern states, and threatens women’s rights.

The current law on abortion requires that abortions must be provided by doctors who are board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists, and that they have admitting privileges at local hospitals. In Mississippi and even in other states some local hospitals have refused to provide those privileges. The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have stated, “They[the law in Mississippi] “impose government regulation on abortion care that jeopardizes the health of women.”

This law affects all women in the entire country and I believe it limits women’s rights. The situation and law correlates to the ruling of Roe vs. Wade. The Fourteenth Amendment protects all citizens under the law and the law that Mississippi proposes limits the protection of women. Like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest this directly affects the health of women and questions how theses southern states can justify it. It also ultimately questions the constitutionality of this law.


Eddie Campell #7: Federal Government Having a Cow Over Rogue Nevada Rancher

For the past 21 years and counting, Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy has refused to pay the federal government his outstanding illegal grazing fees. Dating back to 1993, Mr. Bundy has since accumulated a gargantuan $1 million debt to the Bureau of Land Management. Now, hundreds other people from across the the Rockies and across the Midwest have traveled to the aid of Bundy, armed at the hip to rally behind his stubborn first amendment rights.

This recent uproar, however, only skims the surface of what has been a decades long dispute. The animosity of Nevada ranchers towards federal employees of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management has been brooding for many years. It started back in 1989 when an endangered reptile called the Desert Tortoise was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Four years later, the United States Government sanctioned hundreds of thousands of acres for strict conversation efforts in order to protect the Desert Tortoise. This meant that all this federal land was off limits to cattle grazing, horse grazing, and off road racing (a popular activity as it turns out). However, some people like Mr. Bundy complained that this was government overreach and just an attempt at a “land grab” for his precious acres. He also criticized the legislation as unfair, saying that it would be too hard for him to maintain his entire herd with restricted grazing areas. So, he simply ignored the new laws. The government originally was intent on making sure he paid his dues, but after a few small pipe bombs were detonated at federal land management offices, action was delayed. Fast forward to the present 2014, the government has decided to take action again. However, after a few unruly skirmishes with the police attracted the support of fanatic libertarians, the federal government is ambivalent about how to act against this armed militia. However, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put it, “It’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

Honestly, I feel that this story is stupidly straight forward. A man has repeatedly broken the law year after year and refuses to be accountable. It is unimpeachable that Cliven Bundy be prosecuted accordingly. As far as the interests of those rallying in support of Mr. Bundy, it feels more like an excuse to take a stand against Obama’s America right now. Because on paper, it can easily look as if President Obama and his evil empire of cronies are trying to suppress the will of his citizens. Yet this really makes no sense, considering the law regarding illegal grazing fees was put into effect during Clinton’s administration and enforced through his and George Bush’s four combined terms. It is with much disappointment that America is subjected to such blatant insolence and indignant disregard for the law in the light of simply trying to save a species, the desolate Desert Tortoise. Amidst all the political squabble and recent racial implications (google Mr. Bundy’s video about “the negro”), the ray of hope that this legislation was providing for the Desert Tortoise has been covered by the mud of arrogance. While this event will mark an important time that the federal government has had to assert itself over America, it will also highlight how little Americans care about conservation at this point in history. Let us hope that in the very near future Americans will be more inspired to fight in the name of saving species than in the name of saving cattle money.


Sarah Dunn, Blog Post #7


The article summarizes Sarah Palin’s remarks at the National Rifle Association’s “Stand and Fight” rally in Indianapolis. Palin focused on the issue of Second Amendment Rights and the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies. In regard to counterterrorism, former governor Palin said that if she were “in charge”, “waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists”. Palin revealed an equally strong opinion  on potential gun-free zones in public buildings like schools, calling it “stupid on steroids”. Sarah Palin believes that “our kids could be defended against criminals on the spot if more Mama Grizzlies carried”.

I honestly thought this was a joke at first. The fact that someone who almost became Vice President said “waterboarding is how we’d baptize terrorists” if she was in charge is terrifying. Her comments on gun control are worrying as well. She said that she carries a “gun because a cop is too heavy”. There is a popular belief that it is the safest to be constantly armed. Illogical arguments like that set the debate back and prevent any helpful discussions from taking place. If everyone has a gun, then everyone is inherently less safe. If all teachers and adults in schools have guns, then the risk for a school shooting is going to be far higher. More guns in more public places will result in more shootings in more public places. The second amendment was created in a time where we needed guns for gathering food. We should be able to have guns for recreational purposes, but we do not need to carry around automatic weapons at all times.