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Obama’s Children’s Book

The youngest person in my house is 22 (me!), so I am sure many would be surprised if they heard that we recently bought a children’s book.

Well, it wasn’t just any children’s book – it was Barack Obama’s “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters“:

I gotta admit, the book is pretty good – and I’m not just saying that because I’m a supporter of him.

All politics aside the story line is good, as is the moral of the story. It essentially introduces various famous Americans (13 of them) with various traits/characteristics that they are known for (and each introduction starts in the form of a “Have I told you…?” question). The core of the story is, of course, that America is made up of a diverse group of people from all sorts of backgrounds who all bring something different to the table and each one is as important as the other.

By the way, a 100% of the profits are being donated to a charity.

Have you read it? What did you think of it?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Obama in Edison, NJ Part Two (Marine One Pictures)

Here are a few pictures from my iPhone of the Marine One going over my house:

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Quote of the Day

“Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon. Armageddon. End of freedom as we know it.

So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any asteroids falling or some cracks opening up in the Earth. It turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.”

— Barack Obama 03.25.2010

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Obama’s State of the Union Address

So as I was watching Obama’s first State of the Union Address (SOTU) as president earlier, education was high on my list of things to note. As a college student right now who is planning on pursuing higher education (via law school), it is probably one of the two most important issues (healthcare being the other one) that I am concerned with… and I’ve mentioned that on this blog time and time again (like here and  here for example).

Even with grants and whatnot, I am still going to be in TREMENDOUS debt… and that’s just from the past four years worth of education. For the past four years, tuition has increased EVERY year and it has definitely added up. I don’t even want to think about what I’ll owe after law school.

One of the reasons I’ve been contemplating on whether I should go to law school right after undergraduate or work for a few years first is because of this debt! This is especially because of the state of the economy nowadays… it’s not like before where if I had a pretty decent education, I would most likely find a decent job (barring any unforeseen circumstances).

Nowadays, I know so many people who have been laid off in the last year or so that it is ridiculous. To think of the competition of people from an older generation looking for jobs and the young people vying for the same jobs is pretty scary. All I know is I’m not too comfortable with the idea of being in such a huge debt and being uncertain of a plan to pay it back.

Quoting a part of what Obama said tonight about the education aspect:

‘To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money andgive families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs’ 

My thoughts on this:

  1. The tax credit and increase in pell grants will go a long way and help many families.
  2. Students being only required to pay 10% of their income on student loans and their debts being forgiven after 20 years will take a HUGE burden off of a lot of people! This one is a biggie in my opinion.
  3. Calling for colleges/universities to cut their own costs. I could not agree more! One of the annoying things at Rutgers is that as a part of our tuition, we pay some money to use the printing services at the libraries and computer labs. We are given about $30-32 dollars (i think) worth to use in printing twice a year (one for the fall and winter semesters and another one for the spring and summer semesters). However, we are not given an option on whether we want to do this or not! I, next to never, use the printing services (because I don’t usually have the time in between in classes and whatnot to use it  up). And we don’t get the amount we don’t use back either, so I am being gypped of about 60 dollars each year for this. And this is just one of those ridiculous fees we pay… so they all add up!

Now by no means am I naive. So in no way am I expecting a hundred percent of what was said tonight to happen in reality. However, I want SOMETHING done! As Obama said today: “In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they decided to go to college”.

Here are the other important highlights from his address (VERY briefly):

  • Obama called for a crack down on the violations nationwide of the equal pay acts so that men and women get equal pay for an equal day’s work. As a women, of course, I find this to VERY important. It’s so sad that even now women are still fighting for just basic things!!
  • A call for doubling the child care tax credit; expanding tax credit for families with children.
  • Healthcare! discussed very briefly though.
  • The state of the economy and the ENORMOUS deficit the country faces.
  • Obama said he plans to work with Congress to repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country in the armed services. No matter what your religious and/or political views are on gays and lesbians, they are people and they have rights 

What were your thoughts on his speech and some of the issues in general?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Thoughts on NJ Governor’s Election… Two Weeks Late.

So it’s been two weeks since election day, but i didn’t get a chance to blog about it until now.
first, my personal opinion on the results:
saying i was disappointed would be quite an understatement. I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: by no means am i a supporter of Corzine. However, i oppose many of the core things Christie sides with. Like i said before, healthcare and education are two of the big issues! I just can’t understand how anyone would be against mandating health insurance companies to cover mammograms when breast cancer is the number one cause of death for females in the United States. And then to the education aspect – Christie wants to cut funding for early education because he thinks preschool is “babysitting”. come on, people… seriously?
and now, comparing the results and our prediction for our class assignment for Somerset County. to refresh your memory, from an earlier post:
we predict a tight race between Christie and Corzine in Somerset County, with the following percentages:
Jon Corzine – 47%
Chris Christie – 45%
Chris Daggett – 8%
for the voter turnout aspect, we predict: around a 55% turnout rate of the REGISTERED voters (not voting age population). There are 193,345 registered voters right now in Somerset county, so 55% of that would be: 106,340.
we based our predictions, mainly, on past statistics and the trends. While Somerset County used to be the heart of the republican party in New Jersey, the margins had been decreasing tremendously each election cycle and had become quite competitive and close between the two major parties (in all sorts of races – governor, senatorial, presidential). With the Obama factor, democrats won in the county last year and we (wrongly) thought Corzine would be able to carry on the hype from the Obama factor
in reality, what happened in Somerset County was:
Jon Corzine – 34.29%
Chris Christie – 56.21% (so obviously Christie won. BIG TIME.)
Chris Daggett – 8.71% (extremely close to our prediction!!!!)
and for the voter turnout, 102,922 (approximately 53.23% of the registered voters casted a vote in the Governor’s election from Somerset County. our predictions were pretty accurate for the voter turnout aspect.
we attributed the Christie win to several factors – a low democratic turnout (incumbency bias, free-rider problem); the anger and frustration felt by many in the state with the politicians because of the corruption and scandals in the state and people just wanting a change; the national problems we are facing that trickle down to the states and how many attribute it to the party in office currently, not the one that was the root of the problem; let’s face it – most of us know at least one person who has lost their job; negative campaigning (omnipresent in EVERY election) – it’s a double negative because not only does it work, but it also works the other way because some people are totally against them and use that against the politician; and of course the notion that many were expecting a miraculous overnight turnaround in the problems the nation is facing with the election of Barack Obama and are quite displeased that none of the “changes” have seemed to occur. things don’t just happen overnight… they take time, but most of the general public doesn’t see that of course.

Thoughts on the Educational Perspective of Obama’s Address

Obama: “the countries that out-teach us today will out-compete us tomorrow.”

As a student myself, I appreciated the emphasis Obama put on education last night in his speech. I think it is such an important issue and just doesn’t get enough attention. After watching the speech, most of my lingering thoughts of the speech dealt with education in one way or another.

The story of Ty’Sheoma Bethea was inspiring and motivating. Here’s a quote from last night that can’t help but put a smile on your face:

Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina – a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom. She has been told that her school is hopeless, but the other day after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this room. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. The letter asks us for help, and says, “We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina but also the world. We are not quitters.”

We are not quitters.

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. They tell us that even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres; a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.

Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.
A question that remains mostly unanswered is what is this administration going to do to make education more affordable? I have one year remaining of undergraduate, and I aspire to be a lawyer. How am I going to afford that? Loans add up fast, and how will I ever pay it off? With the economy going downhill, getting a job will be incredibly hard – let alone a GOOD job.

Living in a country known for its opportunities, I want nothing less than the best education offered for me and for future generations of American students- how are we going to ensure our teachers are the best they can be and that they are provided with the funding to incorporate better educational services and resources for their students. I know too many teachers who have to pay out of their own pockets for classroom materials (like teacher’s pay is sufficient to pay with!)

Highlights from the Inauguration Day

First of all, I sincerely hope Senator Ted Kennedy is recovering well with plenty of rest after another repeated episode of a seizure today.

Now onto the highlights from today’s events:

1. Bush getting booed/the crowd of over 1.5 million people singing the “Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye”

2. Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States – and the first African American President!

3. Obama’s Speech!
Here’s the video for it (it has the oath and the speech):

It’s Inauguration Day!

I went to sleep smiling… and I woke up smiling… I can’t wait! It’s finally here… in exactly three hours, Barack Obama will officially be sweared in as the President of the United States!

We can finally say goodbye to the last eight years of the Bush Administration!

P.S. Happy Birthday Zehra!

Alabama County Passes Obama Day

Don’t they usually wait until they are dead? the Presidents’ in question I mean.. before devoting a holiday to them.

Perry County in the state of Alabama, which overwhelmingly supported Obama in last month’s presidential election, has approved the second Monday in November as “The Barack Obama Day.” Commissioners passed a measure that would close county offices for the new annual holiday and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid day off.

A little much? I am all for celebrating the historical win for Obama (as I am probably one of his biggest supporters), but this a little weird.

Click here to read the original article.

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Obama Win is “Victory” for the Country

The View’s Elisabeth Hasselbeck (the only Republican of the 5 hosts) responds (surprisingly well)to Obama’s victory. I have to give credit to Elisabeth for her response.