Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Adoption Not "Colorblind" Anymore

On CNN.com, there was an article that caught my eye- apperently it is now legally neccessary for white parents to undergo special training, more than a "normal" adoptive parent, when adopting a black child. Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute's executive director, said "The view that we can be colorblind is a wonderful, idealistic perspective, but we don't live there." In some ways that is true, but I don't believe that race should be subjugated into these affars. Doing so would emphasize that these parents might not be doing the "normal" thing by adopting a child of a different race, but what they are really doing is taking a child into their hearts, which is a very honorable thing. I believe this is the wrong way to go about this issue- who's to say they wont make a law that makes parents go through training to adopt a girl vs. a boy, or have to have training when adopting a child from a certain religion. I can understand that prospective parents would have to go through training if adopting a child with disablilties, but having training for race (and religion/ sex) seems to cross the line.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Around the World

I was just scrolling down Bolos and O'Connor's blog, and right around the bottom, was something long forgotten; the "where in the world" application. It shows, in clusters of red dots, where people are from that have viewed the blog. I tried to put it on my blog way back when, but it never really worked out for me (Mr. Bolos's technological prowess astounds me).

So, back to my story- I saw it and there were red dots covering almost all I could see of North America and Europe, most of Australia, and a good part of South America. It is amazing that a simple blog for a high school class in Winnetka, Illinois could have grabbed the attention of people all over the world. People have seen it all over America- including in Alaska and Hawaii, in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippians, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and almost every European country. Crazy, right?

It astounds me how these things can travel so quickly- the internet has been such an important tool in modern day life, and I can't imagine how people got around without it. It is astonishing to me, for example, in the Kentucky Cycle, the Rowens didn't know there was a new president until a stranger, JT, came and told them. I can't imagine living in a world like that after what I have experienced.

The End of the Dreaded "Junior Year"

The myth of the dreaded Junior Year at New Trier High School is a tale made to scare sophomore students silly; they will not have any free time because they will be drowning in work, their grades will be extremely important because it is the only thing colleges look at, and so on and so forth. Well, for the better part of this year, I have come to realize that all the hype was not true for all Juniors (maybe just the ones taking AP English and History).

Now finals are right around the corner, and people think "what a waste of time," but I don't really think so anymore. In AiS, from the beginning, we were taught to think deeper about the bigger issues that we will be facing, and I have come to realize this: cumbersome as they might be, it is truly a time in which we are able to really reflect on how much we have learned and how much extra information will be able to help us as we graduate to college and to "the real world."

My junior year experience has taught me how to deal with pressure, manage time better, and most importantly, understanding that a little time away from studies is not a terrible thing. And as we wrap up the last remnants and move forward toward senior year, I hope the messages and lessons I have learned will channel toward my success.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Much "Fluff" is Too Much?

In my paper, one of the big sections is on the story of Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel, and seeing as I knew nothing about it before I started the paper, I think I can assume that few people (at least in AiS, or AS?) will know much about it. I know we aren't supposed to have a lot of summary in the paper, but is it appropriate in this situation? At the moment I have about 6 sentences about the situation and I still have to write a little more, but is that too much? Also, how could I bring up this topic without a lot of summary????

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Possible Grabber Idea

I have an idea for a grabber for my Junior Theme, but I'm not sure how exciting it really is. The question that my paper is going to answer is, why does the U.S. support Israel? What I came up with so far is:

“שלום חבר” (Goodbye Friend) were the emotional words spoken by President Bill Clinton at the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin, who was assassinated at a peace rally, was “[Clinton’s] partner and friend.” Israel and the United states have been allies since the beginning of the State of Israel in 1948, but why do we have this special alliance? The US is just as important in the survival of Israel, as Israel is to the U.S.'s Middle Eastern (policy?).

Please give me some feedback so I can make it better, or if you have any ideas of your own. Thanks!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Junior Theme (what else?)

The question I landed on for JT is "Why does the US still support Israel?" I want to try and go back and find the source of the relationship, because during the Holocaust, the US barred most of its borders against the Jews trying to escape Europe, and President Roosevelt didn't help.

When I first started exploring ideas, I really wanted to do something relating to the Holocaust, but obviously, I had to relate the subject to US history, and more difficultly, to current issues in America.

One story that always remained in my mind was that of the failure of the Wagner-Rogers Bill. It proposed that 20,000 Jewish children under the age of 14(?) would be permitted into the country, the bill died in Congress, and neither the US nor Cuba would take them, so they were sent back to Europe to their deaths. This story always strikes me particularly hard because I lost many members of my family that were under the age of 14 on both my grandfather and grandmother's sides, and I can only imagine if they could have been taken in by the US, then my family might be bigger than it is now (I have no 1st cousins on my dad's side). And I can only image the terror experienced by those children who thought they were free.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

An Interesting Speaker

I've been wanting to write about this topic for a long time now, but have either procrastinated, forgotten, or have been too busy to. I am a part of an Israel ambassador group, where we listen to influential speakers, plan different events to produce awareness, and travel to New York to rally with some important people in the government. In mid-January we had a very special guest come and speak to us. His name is Dr. Yossi Olmert and he is the younger brother to the current Prime Minister in Israel. He is a well known expert on the Modern Middle East, Islamic Militants, Terrorism, and the Palestinian and US-Israel relations. He holds several senior positions in the Israeli Government and has participated in the Madrid peace conference and was a member of the Israeli delegation for peace talks in Syria.

When I first heard that he was coming to talk to us, I was excited because I knew how knowledgeable he is, but I was also a bit down-hearted because I expected it to be a boring lecture about Israeli politics (which is an extremely complicated topic). When our group (about 20 people) sat down to talk, I knew at once I was wrong. He was, as I had known, extremely intelligent, but he was also funny, kind, interesting, and very conscience that his audience consisted of high school students. He was more interested in answering our questions than giving a summary of the current situation in Israel, and was fairly surprised at the quality of the questions being asked. Overall it was an amazing experience and it inspired me to be more connected to Israel and to do all I can to help Her, even if it's changing one person's views about Israel.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oh No He Didn't

I'm sure by now everybody knows more than they'd ever want to know about the Eliot Spitzer scandel. Last week as I was reading about it, I noticed something very interesting about one of the pictures that most people would have glanced at, but not really seen.

In the picture, both Spitzer and his wife looked morose, yet Mrs. Spitzer chose to wear a scarf with an American flag on it. The message she is trying to portray is that even though there is a controversy surrounding her husband, they are still patriotic Americans. There is also a flag in the background, and I'm sure there are more of them that cannot be seen in the shot. I don't know if she expects to regain the respect of American citizens or members of the government, or if she just wants to try and rid herself of the stain her husband made in her life, but whatever her motive, she chose to wear it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What's in a Name?

Recently the GOP and the media have had a field day. They have been parading the fact that one of the two leading Democratic candidates, Obama, has the middle name of Hussein. Now when I first heard of this controversy I laughed. I thought who cares? What difference does it make? Apparently the widespread media and many other influential members of society DID care. Then investigations were made and apparently Obama has some sort of ties with people that don't have Israel's best interest at heart. Well, first, if anybody tries hard enough, they can find ties between you and anyone they wish to (the six degrees of separation), and second look at our president today, look at what his father is tied to with his oil companies and who Dubya is tied to through that and by his own contacts. You are not given the choice of what your birth name is unless you wish to legally change it, but look at the percentages of America that actually choose that route. I think it is ridiculous to even fathom that Obama will have terrorist ties just based on the fact that his middle name is Hussein.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seat Fillers

The Acadamy Awards were on tonight, and you know what that means: corny jokes from the host, long and boring acceptance speeches that nobody really cares about and fast forward through, and the camera shots of all the people enjoying themselves there. Well, there can't honestly be that many stars, filling up all those seats; that's where the seat fillers come in.

I'm not sure when that tradition started, but as long as I can remember, there have always been seat fillers at all the major award shows. It is obviously done to make themselves (Hollywood) look better; the whole town is egocentric and pompous. Everything needs to be BIG!! and they don't seem to know how to do it any other way, but why can't they just be happy with George Clooney, Jack Nickelson, and Jessica Alba?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Power of Old People

We have been talking a lot about women and children and their place in society, but we haven't really talked about the differences between the way our culture and other cultures value the elderly. In some societies, they are treated with the utmost respect; regarded as full of wisdom and endearing to their families. Though in some places, they are worthless and can't add anything else to the community. Now Modern America does consider all people created equal, but how much so?

Now you all know how wrong this is, no matter how funny it is. This man, in his haste and impatience, rudely honked at this elderly woman as she was trying to cross the street. He could have asked her to move a little faster (he was in a convertable after all) or could have even helped her across the street, but no, he chose to dehuminize her. Am I the only one that is astounded by this?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

I was looking around the New York Time's website and it had an article entitled "Girls will be girls." The article was about the double standards presented to women in society and focused in on Hilary Clinton. I am less interested in talking about Hilary (it is a pretty covered topic) but my curiosity was drawn to the title of the article. When a journalist chooses a title for their piece, it holds a great amount of symbolism mixed with a certain edge so as to entice people to click on in. It is interesting that this journalist chose something like girls will be girls, which is an obvious transformation from boys will be boys.

The phrase "Boys will be boys" connotes not only that boys are curious beings, but that it is not their fault- it is written in their DNA that they will get up to some mischief, so they are not to be blamed. On the other hand, "Girls just want to have fun." That connotes a certain negativity to it- it seems as if girls will do anything to have a good time, and whatever it may be is the wrong thing to do. It also says that the girls may not be having the fun, but they yearn for it, which is also the wrong thing to think. The phrase relates to the Lowell factory girls in the sense that they are "locked up", away from their families, and under harsh conditions, and all they want to do is have a little fun, which would be wrong by the standards of the factory supervisors.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

These outcomes truely are terrifying- but I'm prepared to agree with him on those matters- it would make much more sense to prepare ourselves for global warming and go with column A.

What's your opinion?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women and Children

When the term "Women and Children" is used, most people in the country, along with the class, relate the term to "The Titanic"- it is a classic representation of the use of the phrase. When I think of the connotation of "Women and Children" it seems a bit negative; it makes me think of weakness and helplessness, that can only be helped by the strong man who always saves the day.
In class while discussing the matter, I could not help but remember a movie that I had seen a couple years ago. "North Country" starring Charlize Theron is about a group of female coalminers who are both verbally and sexually abused by the men at work. They get no support from their superiors and can't quit because they need the money to feed their families- the main character is a single mother of two, she has to provide for her kids, and they have no idea of the horrors that she faces every day.

It is sickening how some of these women are treated right under the public's nose. And how are we to know if this continues to happen in remote parts of the country- even though we know this behavior is continued in other parts of the world. It is dehuminizing and must stop alltogether!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Addictive Songs- Citizen Soldier

Ok- I don't know if anybody else has had this problem this week, but every so often "citizen soldier" pops into my head and just sticks for an hour or two. I, for one, have no intention of joining the National Guard, but that song just gets stuck in my head and the chain reaction begins, I think of the song, I think of the music video, I think of the National Guard and the messages that were represented in the video. I am curious if this was what the advertisers were after. Most people's first reaction to a music video like this is, wow, look how intense the National Guard is- it's like an action movie, and that's the bait that pulls people in. But if you look at it from the other side, 3 Doors Down did a good job at making that song. I'm not sure if one song stuck in anybody's head would get so annoying that they would give in and join just to sooth their mind, but I am curious as to how influential the music is in the mind of a teenager that is actually debating whether or not to join the National Guard.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The New Hampshire Results

After discussing Hillary Clinton's "crying" episode in class today, I made up my mind that all this attention was negative and could only hurt her campaign- I guess that's why I'm not going to grow up to be a campaign manager. The results of the New Hampshire caucus came in tonight and to my surprise, Hillary was the top dog with 39%, but Obama was a close runner up with 37%. Another statistic that astonished me were the numbers of votes that the candidates received- you can talk about percentages all day, but saying that McCain received 37% is not equivalent to saying he is tied for Obama. Hillary received 100,951 votes, Obama received 93,954, but McCain only got 79,501. I don't know if this is because New Hampshire is a very democratic state, but it just surprises me because I didn't realize how much support the Democrats are getting.

One question I had was how important are the different caucuses in relationship to one another? I was reading some comments about the Iowa caucus and one person said something like, "Iowa is like preseason football, nobody cares about it." Is that true? I am very unaware about this side of politics since I never really had that much interest in it in the past, but since I am going to be able to vote this election, I have been trying to pay more attention.