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Follow Up Thoughts on Giffords & Memorial

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Arizona, I quickly wrote about what I was thinking then.

Now that a few more days have passed since, here are some of my expanded and more coherent (hopefully) thoughts on the matter. The second half will discuss tonight’s memorial in Arizona, which was appropriately themed as “Together We Thrive: Tucson and America”.

There are so many aspects that I could talk indefinitely about, but of course that is just not feasible.

As someone who is greatly interested in politics and has interest in someday possibly being more involved, this whole thing frustrates me. It frustrates me because Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” was something Giffords did to directly talk to her constituents and hear what they had to say. One of the arguments/complaints (whatever you want to call it) I hear is that politicians don’t know what the public wants and/or that they don’t care.

In the aftermath of last Saturday, a few congressmen have already said that they too will start carrying guns for their protection. Furthermore, I read this article earlier that says:

Congressional law enforcement agents advised staff on Wednesday to run and hide in the event a shooter attacks, but as a last resort, police said: “Attack.”

Will all of this scare constituents from going to meet their representatives and getting their voices heard? Will politicians stop or at the very least be more hesitant to hold these “Congress on your Corner” types of events? I certainly hope not.

Moving over to tonight’s memorial event in Arizona:

I found it to be absolutely beautiful.

At first, I was kind of hesitant to the constant sounds of cheering at such an event… but you know what, they deserve that right after such a week. And it WAS more of a celebration… and as pointed out rightfully so by several people — this certainly was not a funeral. Fair enough. I might not have agreed with it right away, but I accept it.

It was great to see Daniel Hernandez, the intern that is credited with perhaps saving the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, receive a standing ovation/the gratitude he rightfully deserves. He was repeatedly deemed a hero, as he has all week. Hernandez, humbly, said he was not a hero… to which Obama later responded with the notion that ‘you may deny it, but we have all decided you are a hero’.

Hernandez gave an amazing speech (WITHOUT a teleprompter or a written speech in front of him). I wish him well in all aspects of life as I’m sure he’s healing from what he encountered on Saturday still also.

Onto Obama’s speech: the speech was leaked as usual, but I kept myself from reading it in advance because I wanted to hear it. I did, however, have it open during his speech. Inspirational, uplifting, genuine, and apolitical are some terms that come to my mind immediately.

The only part he added from the script that was released was the astounding news that Giffords opened her eyes several moments after Barack Obama and Michelle Obama visited her in the hospital today. How amazing is that? Modern medicine is absolutely amazing and it’s so great to see her recovering so well. I would have never thought someone who had a bullet wound to her head would not only survive, but be able to follow “commands” within a day, make movements, breathe on her own, and now open her eyes four short days after such a devastating injury.

I wish her nothing but the best in her road to recovery… as well as all the other victims.

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

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

I have so many thoughts on this issue, but I can’t seem to put the sentiment of it all together. By now, I’m sure you have read online or watching news on TV about the fact that a 22 year old shot and killed 6 people (including a judge and a CHILD) and wounded about 12 others (as reported last) including Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona.

It is absolutely remarkable that Giffords survived a shot to her head that passed through her brain.

There are two major aspects of this that bother me. The actual events and the way the media portrayed it.

It’s frustrating. It’s demeaning. It’s demoralizing. And most of all, it’s SCARY to think that there are so many people out there who think or use violence as a solution to what they perceive to be a problem. That’s not a new sentiment as it has been happening for a while, but it seems to be a growing trend.

Violence solves nothing. Period.

My first tweet on the matter earlier this afternoon was “When are we as a society going to grow the hell up? When/how does shooting someone solve anything?” and that feeling/question remains.

You don’t agree with the political views of someone or a party? Fine, use your freedom of speech and let it be  known and especially WHY you don’t agree. You have every right to do that. No one, however, has the right to take someone else’s life!

How heartless does someone have to be to deliberately take the lives away of innocent people, especially a little child! It’s disgusting and sickening.

Now on to the second part — the way the media covered the story in the early aftermath.

In this day and age of a 24 hour media cycle where each of the major media organizations are trying to be the first to report the latest, many times wrong information is delivered to the mass public. How about being the first one to report credible and correct information??

For every major news source (Reuters, NPR, MSNBC, CNN to name a few) to report that they have “confirmed” news from “reliable sources” telling them that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has passed away and stick with that story for over an hour at least only to later retract that because we all find out that Giffords is actually in surgery and alive is very demeaning!

Who are these “reliable sources” and how can you report “confirmed” news that is obviously not true? To report the death of someone when that is utterly false is absolutely absurd!

You want to be the first one to break the story? Fine, then about saying that you are getting reports from sources saying so and so and that you are waiting to confirm it!

Someone tweeted earlier that “Trashing the media for not knowing Gifford’s status is absurd. Imagine if Twitter had existed in the era of JFK.” While that is a fair argument, you can’t report CONFIRMED news when it obviously is not confirmed! Besides, I’m not just arguing about reports on twitter – I’m talking about all of the major news organizations reporting it on TV, their websites and on their social networks sites like Twitter.

Keeping the wounded in my thoughts and prayers, along with the family and friends of the deceased.

You can read a later post, an expansion, of this by clicking here.

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

John McCain’s Hypocrisy

Even though I don’t usually watch Rachel Maddow’s show, I do watch it here and there because my brother prefers the shows on MSNBC (while I like CNN more). The only show on MSNBC I like is Keith Olbermann’s.

Earlier this week, she had a piece on John McCain’s contradictions on basically EVERY policy. While I think it’s fine for politicians to change their minds from time to time (because EVERYONE does change their minds here and there), one who changes their opinion on EVERY issue is just a hypocritical moron.

Here’s a clip from her show:

Here’s a clip from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart on the same topic:
P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Election Day Reminder

Hopefully you are aware that tomorrow is Election Day!

If you know me personally, you have gotten an email reminder as well, but again this is just a friendly reminder (as always) for you to vote tomorrow.  I don’t care who you vote for, just don’t forget to vote and remind your friends and family to do the same.

I know many of you only vote in presidential elections, and others of you who don’t vote at all – but I urge you to exercise your right to vote tomorrow. Whether it is a presidential election, a primary, a local election, etc. – each election is just as important.

The ones who don’t vote are usually the first ones to complain about everything and when I ask them why they didn’t vote – they don’t usually have a reasonable answer. Have your opinion be counted tomorrow.

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.

Obama in Edison, NJ

How often does it happen to work out that the President of the United States visits your town… to visit a sub shop at that! Next to never?

That’s exactly what’s happening this afternoon! Obama is traveling to good old Edison, NJ — to “Tastee Sub Shop” to be exact… which is like only a few minutes away from my house. It just happens to be located at the worst intersection known to mankind so I can’t even imagine what the traffic will be like today with road closures and what not (considering how annoying it is to cross that intersection on a normal day).

I’ve been to a few rallies where Obama has been the key guest, most notably last October where I got to meet and even shake hands with President Obama (and see Bill Clinton a day earlier at my university). And while today might be another good opportunity to “see” him, I’m not sure I want go through the hassle considering it’ll be kinda hard to beat last October.

Just a funny thought though – Obama is in town to promote small businesses but him being in town is going to limit and close small businesses in the area for the day for security reasons and whatnot.

But oh well, I can still say: Obama came to my town. to eat a sub!

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

Tax Man Cometh Ad

So did you guys see this? I, in fact, hadn’t because I don’t watch much TV (and therefore I don’t see many commercials).

One of my professors showed it in class today and it just made me laugh:

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.

Politics and Possibilities, Part Two

This is a continuation of this.

A combination of loud neighbors, sirens going off all night outside, and just being in a new place equaled a sleepless night on Monday. As much as I love the city life, I definitely don’t see myself living in one.

On the agenda for the second day: the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Rutgers Federal Relations and the Haitian embassy.

Thankfully, there were no cancellations that day (at least that we were made aware of) and things ran a lot more smoothly. Without a doubt, the faculty member we traveled with and her supervisor had realized how annoyed we were at how the previous day had gone by (especially considering the fact that they have done this for so many years).

One of the things the man we spoke to at the department of justice talked to us about was how he has four brothers and all are either in prison currently or in the process of going back to prison and ironically this man works for the department of justice/federal bureau of prisons. This came up as we discussing peoples’ backgrounds and where they grew up and how your upbringing effects what you do in life. His point basically was that even with adversity, it is what you do that effects what you become in your life.

At the Rutgers Federal Relations office, we spoke to two Rutgers alumni’s. We talked about the budget cuts that would be effecting education and its impact on schools everywhere, especially Rutgers. I’ve talked over and over again about how I feel about education, and it is so sad that tuition fees keep going up, yet resources and classes that are offered (amongst many other things) keep getting cut.

Our final stop was the Haitian embassy. As we were walking there we passed the embassies of so many different countries, so that was pretty neat (especially trying to figure out what country some of the flags represented).

Anyone with half a heart has to be beyond devastated in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. Such a large natural disaster can create havoc anywhere, and for it to effect the poorest nation – one can only imagine!

Of course, the number one question on everyones’ mind was ‘what can we do for help?’. The man used the example of bottled water. One of the things that people continue to donate is bottled water – because if you think about it, their rational thinking is probably that water is a necessity and Haitians need it. Well, they are partly correct – they do need water, but instead of exporting water there… what they need is money to build things up once again so they can provide things for themselves.

He also told us a chilling story that gave me goosebumps. A friend of his (person A) works in an embassy (I think – I might be misremembering the place, but that’s not really important) in Haiti and it was a frantic and busy day at work. While he was doing his work, a friend of his (person B) called him and said he really needed help down at his office and if he (person A) could please come down right away. Person A told Person B that he was really busy and that he would come down later, but person B kept insisting and said ‘you would be a lifesaver’ if you came down and helped. Person A finally annoyingly agreed and as he was on his way to person B, the earthquake struck. The outcome was that Person A’s office was completely destroyed and everyone died… but person A survived because of person B!

Person A told the guy we spoke to how guilty he felt and also how person B had said ‘you would be a lifesaver’, yet person B had saved person A’s life. It’s amazing, yet so sad. The situation was completely out of his control, yet you can’t help but realize how torn the man must feel. Thankful and fortunate that he survived, yet feeling horrible that all of his colleagues died.

After visiting the Haitian embassy, we headed back to our hotel to get to our van and head back home (not before the faculty member and her supervisor wasted another half hour though).

It was pretty weird that we went to Washington D.C. and didn’t even see the White House or the monuments and memorials, considering that pretty much defines D.C.

You would think driving a four and a half hour drive (one way) and spending two days with four other students (I did know one of them from last semester) and two faculty members you have never met before would be awkward, but luckily the other four students were easy to get along with and even in the car ride – we all were talking from everything from movies to political events (we were all political science students after all!). I think who you are with makes all the difference, so it was definitely a good thing.

All in all, we got to speak to several people who gave us great advice and were quite informative, so at the end of the day – I’m glad I went.

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

Politics and Possibilities, Part One

Tuesday night, I got back from a two day trip to Washington D.C. with four other students from Rutgers through a program called ‘Politics and Possibilities’.

We were to meet bright and early at 6:50 A.M. on campus on Monday – what a great way to start off the week of spring break :(. Anyhow, the Rutgers faculty member we were going with was late getting there and one thing or another delayed us from leaving for almost forty minutes.

The fact that the first stop was scheduled to be the Supreme Court (the one place on the itinerary I was actually looking forward to) and were on a tight schedule had me nervous the whole ride there. As if the fact that we were running late already wasn’t bad enough, we stopped at a service area and the faculty member and her supervisor turned the ten minute stop into a 30+ minute stop (while the five students made it back in the allotted time).

Oh, and then the time on the rented van was behind an hour and twenty minutes (an hour of which we could blame on the fact that day light savings time began Sunday and I guess no one bothered to change it) so the lady thought we were doing okay on time for some reason even though a) we kept telling her the real time and the fact that we were late b) we left late to begin with, and were late from leaving the service area…

See a pattern developing here? Lateness.

It pretty much defined Monday for us.
Usually it’s the students who are blamed for being late… but not this trip.

By the time we finally got to the Supreme Court, we had missed our scheduled tour time. While we still spent a few minutes walking around downstairs, all five of us students were very disappointed we missed the tour. Our attempts to convince the faculty member to let us take the next tour which was to begin in about twenty minutes failed. She kept insisting that we would be late to the next thing on the agenda and whatnot.

We head over to the next to the National Bar Association to meet someone else (a Rutgers alumni actually), but they were having furniture delivered or something and it was decided that he would meet us at the Convention Center. Little did we know we would have to wait over two hours for this guy!!!

I don’t know what part annoys me the most – the fact that we missed the next tour at the Supreme Court to hurry over to make our appointment with this guy, the fact that we had to wait for so long, or the fact that this trip seemed to be the most disorganized program ever. To think this lady has done this for the last fifteen years – I just don’t get how.

The guy treated us to late lunch/early dinner at a Spanish restaurant called La Tasca, which was an experience in itself. My food smelled horrible (and tasted even worse), one of the orders was duplicated, and one guy was told that the chef thought his food smelled funny and wanted him to place an order for something else (that definitely did not help anyone else’s appetite). I’ve never had Spanish food before, so I don’t know if its not keen to my taste buds or if this place just sucked. Thank goodness for fast food near our hotel!

This is continued here.

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