Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama: McCain Will
Use Racial Tactics

In a speech yesterday, Sen. Barack Obama said his opponent Sen. John McCain and his fellow Republicans will use scare tactics on voters to persuade them not to vote for him, including racial ones.

“So what (President Bush and McCain are) going to try to do is make you scared of me,” said the presumed Democratic presidential nominee to a crowd in Springfield, Mo., Wednesday, as reported by the Associated Press. “You know, he’s not patriotic enough, he’s got a funny name, you know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

It is extremely disgraceful that Obama would make a false claim that McCain and our own President would use racial fear during the campaign even though there has been no evidence of either one of them, or other elected Republican officials, of doing that.

And if they did do that, it would be all over the news and right here. Does anyone honestly think that McCain or Bush, or any other type of politician, would commit political suicide by even barely mentioning Obama’s mixed heritage as a reason for not voting for him?

And what’s hypocritical is that while Obama is allegedly saying that McCain will be using race to his own advantage, Obama is doing the same thing by saying these false allegations.

This is a disgusting display of dirty politics at one of its lowest forms. How can Obama even say such a thing and he does not even bat an eye when he’s doing the same thing himself?

The Times Observer has written many editorials and columns in defense of Obama when he has been racially attacked. So there is a good record of sticking up for him when it was just, however, this time there is no defense for him when he accuses our President and his fellow presumed presidential opponent of racial attacks while there is no proof of either of them doing so.

It’s common for politicians during an election to flip-flop on positions, to make false allegations against their political foes and use just about every clean and dirty trick in the book to win votes.

However, to actually accuse an opponent and the President of the United States of America of saying that they are going to use a person’s race against him is extremely low.

It makes one wonder why politicians even bother to make such repulsive, groundless statements to begin with, since they are usually called on them and shown them to be a lie or untrue. Perhaps they do it just to win over voters and make a grand impression on them and in this case, get a pity vote.

For someone who keeps saying that “change” is needed for D.C., Obama again shows that he’s acting like a typical politician out for votes and it would be hard for his supporters to refute his shameful attack on McCain and President Bush without real evidence of them using race against the Senator.

And what’s more important, how can Obama bridge the racial divide in this country when his false attacks like this further spread it?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

5.8 Earthquake Hits L.A.

By Anthony Leone

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 5.8 earthquake hit L.A., Ca., reported CNN.

There have been no reports of any damage at this time and the Associated Press has reported no injuries or deaths as of yet.

Because the USGS considers a magnitude 5.8 quake to be moderate, it usually causes minimal damage, according to CNN.

The “epicenter was about 2 miles southwest of Chino Hills and about 5 miles southeast of Diamond Bar,” CNN reported USGS as stating. It struck at 11:42 a.m., PST.

It was felt in L.A., San Diego and lightly in Las Vegas, reported the Associated Press.

The last major earthquake to hit Los Angeles was in 1994, when a 6.7 quake killed 72 people and caused $12.5 billion worth of damage.

(Editor’s note: This is not an editorial or column but a news story based off media reports.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Breaking Their Sons’ Hearts

There are many monsters in this world, but one of the cruelest are parents who disregard their children for profit.

That is what happened when Brits John and Anne Darwin faked John’s “death” in a staged canoeing accident in 2002 in order to collect his insurance and pension in order to clear some debts, according to the Associated Press.

While their two sons mourned for the loss of their father, their mother did such a wonderful performance of a grieving widow that her sons were completely fooled by her.

But sorrow turned to joyous celebration when their father “showed up” in 2007 with amnesia, but unlike the typical soap opera drama, it turns out that John Darwin’s memory problem was as fake as his “death”. It discovered that he had been secretly been living with his wife and the two were planning a trip to Latin America to start a new life.

Who knows how these two deplorable parents were going to break the news to their children if their Latin American plan succeeded.

While John and Anne Darwin are going to be serving jail time, they will be losing much more than six years of their lives in prison. They lost the love of their own flesh and blood.

“They have tarnished all the good times that came before. I can't ever forgive them for putting us through the torture of mourning,” said son Andrew Darwin. “They were in it together and they deserve the sentences handed down by the judge.”

We do not get a lot of time in this world. People commit crimes for various reasons but when a man fakes his own death and cause such heartache and anguish to his own children just to clear off debt that he could have honestly worked off shows how selfish some people are.

John Darwin spent five years hiding in a small room in an apartment, most likely hearing praiseworthy words from his own grown sons while they visited their “grief-stricken” mother.

Now he and his wife will most likely never hear anything from their own sons for the rest of their lives. After all, how can one forgive a heartless parent like that?

What makes it even more tragic for Mark and Anthony Darwin is that this time they lost both of their parents by choice: By disowning them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Obama’s Other ‘Change’

While saying that he is not the typical politician, Barack Obama sure does act like one.

On the presumed Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign Web site, any mention of the troop surge in Iraq has been removed from it, according to CBS News.

Obama was a strong opponent of the troop surge in Iraq when President Bush mentioned it in January 2007.

“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there,” Obama said at the time. “In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

However, since then, the troop surge has been credited for curtailing the violence from the insurgents. Yet Obama still feels that the troop increase was not worth it, which is contradictory, considering the new added sentence to his Web site.

It states that as president, Obama “would reserve the right to intervene militarily, with our international partners, to suppress genocidal violence within Iraq.”

So according to Obama, any military action is OK if he does it, but not by a Republican president.

For months Obama has been telling Americans how he’s not the average D.C. politician who says anything for a vote and will clean up Washington.

But he is doing just that by erasing key things that he has said himself just because it conflicts with the reality of what’s going on in Iraq.

Apparently, Obama’s “change” isn’t that much different from the typical politician when faced with things that make him look bad and inexperienced.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

McCain’s Illegal Immigration
Legislation May Hurt
White House Bid

Presumed Republican presidential candidate John McCain is taking some hits recently for legislation that would basically give 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. amnesty.

The controversial piece of legislation stalled last year and in addition to giving people who broke the law citizenship, it proposes to also tighten the very loose Mexican border and a guest-worker program.

McCain, who cosponsored this legislation with Sen. Ted Kennedy, has been heavily criticized by many and rightly so.

He is giving a free pass to people who broke international laws to come to this country. On top of it, many of these illegal aliens have robbed and murdered our own citizens. Why in the world would McCain want to give what amounts to amnesty to these types of criminals?

Furthermore, this will set a precedence to criminals who break laws. If we don’t punish illegal immigrants for their crimes, then what type of criminal won’t we punish next? Drug dealers who only push marijuana? Kidnappers who only hold their victims less than 24 hours? Murderers who only kill one person?

These examples may seem ridiculous, but let’s remember that 10 years ago many people and politicians would have laughed at the idea of giving illegal immigrants a reprieve for breaking the law.

And while the majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic, there are many from different countries. While the U.S. is facing a global war on terror, one would think that McCain would be pushing for tougher legislation to combat these lawbreakers instead of giving them a free ride and hope that they’re not here to blow up some buildings.

Every day across this nation, thousands of people from different countries and cultures are working hard to actually become citizens of this great country of ours or to stay here legally. It would be a huge slap in the face to them and our forefathers who have worked so hard just to be here and carve a new life out for themselves.

McCain’s legislation is the tip of a very slippery slope for the American judicial system. It should make voters give a minute to pause and consider what type of man who wants to be president of the United States and to uphold her laws, but also wants to allow illegal aliens the right to break them.

Obama Tells Blacks
To Be More Responsible

Just like comedian Bill Cosby and Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington, presumed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is telling black Americans to be more responsible for themselves at the annual NAACP convention.

And this is why the Rev. Jesse Jackson said that he wanted to cut off Obama’s male anatomy. But these are some hard truths that need to be heard, especially coming from a black presidential candidate who is trying to bridge the racial divide in this country.

And Obama is one out of many shining examples of a minority working hard to get where he or she is at.

And working hard is a key thing, because if black Americans do not pull themselves by their bootstraps than no amount of government programs will help them.

“Because I believe that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money we invest in our communities, or how many 10-point plans we propose, or how many government programs we launch — none of it will make any difference if we don’t seize more responsibility in our own lives,” Obama said, as reported by the Associated Press.

This is great advice for all Americans and things that needed to be heard. Because even the most well-intentioned white man who said these same things would unjustly be called a racist and quickly ignored. Obama is wisely using his presidential political status to good use. Maybe if Jackson took more initiative like this years ago, the black community would be in a better place than it is today.

It cannot be denied that white Americans for far too long have kept the black man down, but since the Civil Rights Act was created, many whites have worked hard to correct the evil that their kind have done against their fellow Americans. Sadly, many whites still do not see blacks as equal or deserving of basic rights that all Americans should have and enjoy.

Yet, Obama is at least trying hard to correct past mistakes made by some in the black community. He is certainly a new member of a growing choir conducted by Cosby.

If elected president, Obama would force many whites to look differently at blacks and it would force many black Americans to look differently at themselves.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oversensitivity Over Race
Will Cause More Problems

It’s another case that our society is going to hell in a hand basket because of oversensitive people.

By now most of you have heard that in Dallas County, Texas, white Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield said, “It sounds like Central Collections has become a black hole.”

Right after Mayfield said this at the Monday county commissioners’ meeting black Commissioner John Wiley Price shot back “white hole” and a black county official wanted an apology.

“So if it’s ‘angel food cake,’ it’s white. If it’s ‘devil’s food cake,’ it’s black. If you’re the ‘black sheep of the family,’ then you gotta be bad, you know. ‘White sheep,’ you’re okay. You know?” Price said later in a FOX News interview.

As most rational people know, a black hole is an astronomy term to describe a hole that allegedly sucks in matter and nothing can escape from it, not even light.

But Price and others have become too oversensitive to racial terms like this. And Mayfield rightly shouted back at the black official who wanted an apology for using the term.

Too much sensitivity is going to blow up in our collective faces. It’s like the popular scenario where a jealous girlfriend will accuse her faithful boyfriend of cheating on her repeatedly. The boyfriend gets tired of the accusations and starts to think to himself, “Well, if she thinks I’m cheating on her, I might as well.”

The same thing will happen to non-racist white people. If a white man is going to be accused of being a racist and a member of the KKK because he honestly used a common term like “black hole,” than he’s going to start thinking negatively about black people. It’s doubtful that this example white man will join the KKK for being falsely accused of being a racist, but those negative seeds have been planted.

Granted, many black people have become a bit unhinged in a sense because of the horrible misdeeds of many white people. That’s certainly understandable. But that does not give them the right to wrongfully call a white man a racist for using a common term.

It’s a shame that our society has become so sensitive to general terms that people have to start censoring themselves so they won’t offend anyone. The fact is, people will always be offended over something that is unintentional.

We should not bend over and edit ourselves for anyone who dissects every single word to see if there is some racial undertone to it. We are all adults and it’s time to stop acting like children or the racial divide in this country will just get wider.

Obama’s Other Reverend Problem

It’s not the first time that some in the black community thought that presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama was not white enough and the Rev. Jesse Jackson just added some fuel to that quiet fire.

Jackson thought his microphone was off while he was on a FOX News program when he answered UnitedHealth Group executive Dr. Reed V. Tuckson’s question about the Democratic senator’s speeches on faith-based programs.

“See, Barack’s been talking down to black people ... I want to cut his nuts off,” he whispered to Tuckson and ultimately to the nation as well.

Of course Jackson quickly apologized to Obama once he learned that his comments were recorded and were going to be aired. And of course Obama accepted Jackson’s apology. After all, whatever hard feelings the two may have for each other, Obama is still a politician and he realizes that Jackson will help him carry the black vote.

But this is not the first time that Jackson attacked Obama. Jackson said in an interview last September that Obama was “acting like he’s white” for not bringing more attention to the Jena 6 case.

Will these recent racial attacks from Jackson hurt Obama’s run for the Oval Office? Since he weathered the Rev. Wright controversy basically unscathed, this should not damage his chances for the White House.

But quiet rumblings about how black Obama is and where his loyalties should be have plagued him for a long time. In November 2006, black columnist Stanley Crouch wrote a piece called “What Obama Isn’t: Black Like Me.” He said that because Obama’s black father was from Kenya and his mother was white, the senator does not understand the struggles the typical black American has faced since the days of slavery.

What many do not understand, especially Jackson, is that Obama’s parental background will help bridge the differences between the two races. If one thought that being black in America was hard than imagine how tough it is for a biracial man trying to find his identity and not wholeheartedly accepted by either community. Jackson’s attacks are evidence of that.

And while it’s typical for a candidate to cater to one particular group to gain votes that does not mean that candidate has to exclude other groups, which is something that Jackson does not understand. This country is a rainbow of people that needs to be addressed and recognized by anyone running for president.

Obama has his many faults but he cannot help his background anymore than we can. The question shouldn’t be: “Is Obama black enough?” The question needs to be: “Is he right enough for this country as a whole?”

Because if the former question is given more importance than the latter, than that is a racist question that will further divide this country no matter who says it.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Dream Jobs We Want To Have

It’s interesting how all of us have a dream job: That one job that we long for, but we just can’t manage to get it because of many reasons.

Maybe we have a family to support and we can’t chase our dreams. Or our dream job isn’t within our financial range. But maybe we just don’t think we can even do our dream job. That’s the case for me for a few of my dream jobs.

I have a few dream jobs that I gave up chasing, like being a paleontologist. As a kid, I loved dinosaurs, but what little boy didn’t? Who didn’t go in their backyards and got dirty as they dug huge holes in their parents’ garden in search of a tooth from a T-Rex? And seeing them on the big screen just made it all the more appealing.

But then I realized being a paleontologist may not be the best career move for me. Namely, it’s all the names. Sure, we can all pronounce Tyrannosaurus Rex, triceratops and stegosaurus. But paleontologists decided to get carried away with some of these names, such as naashoibitosaurus, phuwiangosaurus, or zhejiangosaurus.

It’s as if they intentionally created hard to pronounce names to purposely confuse people, like they belong to a special fraternity of selected scholars. And who wants a job trying to come up with names that are just as long as, and even more difficult to say, than an Italian last name?

Besides, I wouldn’t be able to remember which name goes to which dinosaur. I have two small children of my own, who are nowhere near a million years old and they talk to me nonstop and I still call them the wrong name at least once a day. And what’s worse is that my 2-year-old daughter is starting to think that her name is Nicholas.

Another dream job was to be an astronaut. Ever since I learned that my grandmother’s brother was an engineer and actually worked with Neil Armstrong on how to work the Apollo 11, I was hooked into space exploration. But while I was speaking with my great uncle one day while I was a kid, he told me that there is no artificial gravity on the space shuttles.

That brought my dreams of being the next Capt. James T. Kirk crashing down, because I got car sick on Earth, so having my stomach flipping around in zero gravity was not my idea of a good career move. Something about constantly throwing up in my space helmet while trying to explore the Moon or Mars made me lose my taste for astro adventure.

So now I’m content with chasing a more realistic dream that I can do: Indoor sky diving instructor.

Please share your dream job with the readers in the comments section.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Washington Post Columnist
Misfires Over Gun Safety

In a column that appeared in last Sunday’s Washington Post, Arthur Kellermann blasts Justice Antonin Scalia’s assertion that keeping a handgun will protect the homeowner from burglars.

In the Justice’s opinion in the recent Supreme Court’s decision that the Washington, D.C., gun ban was unconstitutional, he wrote that a handgun can “… be pointed at a burglar with one hand while the other hand dials the police.”

Kellermann, a professor of emergency medicine and public health at Emory University in Atlanta, offered the following in his column: That owning a gun is not a good deterrent to criminals, there are few cases that guns are used in self defense, that guns are used to commit suicide, and that Scalia’s scenario of holding a gun in one hand and using the other to call the police is “ludicrous.”

But let’s take these one at a time. Kellermann maintains that in a study that he conducted more than 20 years ago shows that more people actually shoot themselves or their loved ones than the actual criminal in the Seattle area. Thus, he maintains, “… that the risks of keeping a loaded gun in the home strongly outweigh the potential benefits.”

However, in the 1995 article, “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” by Gary Kleck, Ph.D., from the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University, showed that “about 1.5 to 1.9 million” cases of people defending themselves from criminals by using their handguns. That doesn’t sound like a few cases of self defense. In fact, that sounds like a lot of potential benefits.

While Kleck’s critics say that his numbers are too high compared to other studies, he maintains that some of those studies do not include people who used a gun as a deterrent and not firing it, among other things. Kleck also mentions in his article that other studies that show much fewer cases of people defending themselves with firearms are only low because of poor-questioning and fact-finding methods.

But Kleck is not the only one with criticisms in his studies. In a 1997 Reason Magazine article, it alleges that Kellermann is guilty of excluding critical information in his anti-gun studies, such as in one study, Kellermann, according to the article, left out incidents where guns actually deterred criminals. The article also claims that Kellermann is also guilty of misusing other people’s studies to support his biased views and that he refuses to give his full data to back up his studies. The magazine is not the only publication that question’s Kellermann’s objectiveness.

In an article in a 1995 issue of Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Daniel D. Polsby mirrored Reason Magazine’s allegations that Kellermann does not provide data of his studies for review. Polsby is the Dean and Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University in Arlington, Va.

And while Kellermann maintains that there are few cases of guns used in self defense, if one goes to the blogs Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog and Gun Watch, one will find nearly daily updated news stories of citizens using their guns to protect themselves and others. Obviously, these news articles and blogs are not peer-reviewed cases, but they are hard to ignore and certainly puts a sizable bullet hole in the notion that very few people use their firearms for protection.

Kellermann states that many people use guns to commit suicide. Sadly, the reality is if someone who is truly unhappy with his or her life, that person will find anyway to end it.

In Japan, where the country has a strict gun ban, many people are committing suicide by using the latest popular method of mixing common household cleaners and breathing in the fumes.

The sad truth is people will find any means to end their life. Going after the cause of a person's suicide and treating it is far more productive than demonizing one particular method used to commit suicide.

Finally, we come to Kellermann’s attack on Justice Scalia’s scenario.

“Scalia’s ludicrous vision of a little old lady clutching a handgun in one hand while dialing 911 with the other (try it sometime) doesn’t fit the facts,” Kellermann wrote.

However, that’s exactly what happened to 80-year-old Phyllis Friesen, as reported by the Ravalli Republic.

One evening, Friesen, of Sula, Mont., woke up to a man ransacking her cabin, where she lives alone. When she asked the man what he was doing, he didn’t answer and continued with his destruction. That’s when Friesen went into her bedroom and pulled out her .357 pistol and dialed 911.

“It wasn’t as frightening as it would have been if I didn’t have the gun,” she told the Ravalli Republic.

The police came and took the intruder away. But according to Kellermann, even though this case clearly illustrates Scalia’s scenario, he would call this ludicrous.

Now the reality is people will misuse guns, either intentionally or unintentionally. Accidents will happen. And another truth is that criminals break laws. If they didn’t, we would not call them lawbreakers.

Yet Kellermann maintains that owning a gun is a public health risk. But for more than 30 years, Washington, D.C., had a gun ban which resulted in very high crimes and deaths by criminals who still got their hands on guns.

However, it’s not a public health risk for an honest citizen to own a gun to defend one’s self, but it is a public health risk to create laws that benefit the criminals more than the people. To think otherwise would be ludicrous.