Sunday, April 24, 2011

Current Event, due April 29

Welcome to the last current event posting of April. You did a wonderful job last week finding great articles on macroeconomics. This week, find an article on the topic of your choice...civics, economics, or better yet, one the brings the two together. Find something that interests you and share it with us.

I am really going to miss reading your current events. Only 3 more postings and then you're finished for the year.  Make them good. :)


  1. Brinklee Bailey

    This week my current event is about a prison break, assisted by the Taliban, that happened in Afghanistan which freed more then 476 political prisoners. Security guards had realized the next morning that all of the prisoners out of the political wing were no longer there. They said that the tunnel was built from the outside, going under a local highway and into the prison. The governor of Kandahar said that this was blatantly the fault of the security. The Taliban worked months to free their people in jail. This is the second time a large prison break has happened at this particular prison. According to previous reports on June 13, 2008, the Taliban orchestrated the freeing of 1,200 prisoners, of whom 350 were Taliban members, in an attack that killed 15 guards. A total of 541 prisoners have escaped, 106 of them were Taliban leaders. A spokesman for the Taliban stated that they had been working for months to get their men out, and had constructed a 360 meter tunnel. Their goal was to get everyone involved with the Taliban out of prison, even the sick and old.

    I think that this prison break was outrageous. If the security was really paying attention to their prisoners and really scanning through their cells then a prison break or even an attempted prison break would have been obvious. This tunnel came from the outside and no one in the prison even realized what was happening. The fact that no one even saw this tunnel means that heir needs to be some serious reinforcement done in the security force.
    P.S. I LOVEEEEEE the new background !

  2. Leon Pickles
    6th Period

    Netflix has been taking over the video rental service and seem as if if they won't stop until they are their own monopoly. As we can see in the area around us, all but one or two movie rental stores are still in business. Netflix has run them out of business. In the US, about 22.8 million people are using Netflix and that number has been growing by around 1.1 million people every month. This is surprisingly fast growth. In one year, their income went up by 46%. Netflix posted $60 million in net income, nearly double what it reported in the same quarter last year. All these stats are to prove that Netflix is taking over.

    I think this is great because I have a Netflix account. I think that it was the other companies fault for not coming up with this earlier and not trying to compete with Netflix's services. I think blockbuster is starting to come out with an online instant streaming service but for them to compete with Netflix they will have to either have lower prices or more selection of movies. If blockbuster came up with this and it could be used on gaming consoles and Ipods then I would gladly switch to them because Netflix's selection is pretty small.

  3. Shane Sater

    As more and more high school students take advanced classes, many parents, statisticians, and policy makers are alarmed that despite a rise in number of students taking advanced courses, pupils are showing little increase in scores on standardized tests such as the S.A.T. In 1990, only 5 percent of high school students completed a “rigorous” course of study; this increased to 13 percent in 2009. However, scores on standardized tests remain about the same, and in some cases they have even dropped. Some observers point to course inflation as the reason behind this: as more and more supposedly advanced classes are offered, requirements for completion become less strenuous, as these previously high-level classes become a new status quo. Purportedly to promote academic rigor, the College Board labels certain offerings as Advanced Placement, classes which are intended to be comparable to college coursework. Advanced Placement classes culminate in standardized exams; a passing grade on an AP exam results in college credit for the class. These courses seem to be increasingly popular: enrollment has increased from 1.2 million in 2000 to 3.1 million in 2010. However, some analysts worry about a trend in grades on the AP exams. Test results are rated on a 5 point gradient, and in 2010, 42.5 percent of students taking AP classes got a one or a two on the exam - a steep increase from 36.4 percent in 2000.

    From personal experience, I agree that prevalent advanced course offerings have resulted in grade inflation. An unfortunate mix of conditions has devalued AP offerings in particular: from my admittedly limited experience with such classes, I notice that many students manage to do well in terms of grades while maintaining a general ignorance of the subject, in this example world history. Contributing factors to this situation include lack of student motivation, a possibly inhuman pace in terms of content covered, and test content that emphasizes memorization of minutiae instead of comprehension of essential concepts. Instead of offering a more in-depth class focusing on individual interpretation as opposed to rote memorization, such AP classes have become almost a prerequisite for admission to certain selective colleges; instead of empowering learning, AP classes have become a medium for widespread academic dishonesty. Incentives for taking such courses, including a two-point-weighted grade-point average and the possibility of college credit, have overridden the classes’ potential legitimate benefits in terms of academic rigor. I conclude that AP classes are a hollow shell of their possibility: class quality is not determined by the AP label, but is merely a lottery based on the quality of individual teachers. Assuming $89 test fees, the College Board took in $275.9 million last year on AP exams, an amount hardly worthy of the uncertain education that the AP designation offers.


    The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is famous for its extremist attitudes towards homosexuality and its outrageous protests. It is their strong belief that God hates homosexuals, and because America accepts homosexuality, God hates America. They radically display this belief through picketing soldiers’ funerals with signs that say various obscene and offensive things. USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers of Brandon died in Afghanistan on April 7, and his body was recently buried in Brandon, Mississippi. WBC was threatening to picket the soldier’s funeral; however, their attempts were completely thwarted. A couple days prior to the funeral, a member of WBC “got his arse waxed” by somebody at a gas station. Strangely, when the police showed up, everybody seemed to be suffering from temporary amnesia and could not remember any details; consequently, nobody was arrested. Additionally, the members of WBC were not even able to take their protesting actions outside of the hotel parking lot. Residents of Brandon parked their humongous pickup trucks in front of any car that had a Kansas license plate (WBC is originally from Kansas) and the drivers mysteriously disappeared for a few hours, or until the funeral was over. The police claimed that their wrecker service was running behind, and would not be able to tow the trucks for several hours. WBC will undeniably file lawsuits; however, their chances of winning them are little to none.

    I think that Brandon, Mississippi handled the situation brilliantly. The extreme hatred of WBC was able to bring out the good in anybody with an inkling of common sense. The community came together in an attempt to keep the WBC from tarnishing Staff Sgt. Jason Roger’s funeral and completely succeeded in their efforts. Personally, I believe that the Westboro Baptist Church is a collection of extremely ignorant and rude people whose actions are thoroughly despicable. Many people claim that WBC should be forbidden to further their protests, which, unfortunately, are protected by the first amendment. I believe that, although WBC preaches offensive obscenities, they have no influence whatsoever on society and do not pose any sort of threat. If they happen to come to Chapel Hill, we should follow Brandon’s lead and handle the situation similarly.

    Maria Yao, 6th

    Kendall Simms 6th pd.

    Researchers have been exploring an interesting statistical paradox. According to surveys, countries with low crime rates, free health care, rich economies, and high income tax are constantly ranked as the happiest in the world. This generally applies to the Scandinavian countries, which are renowned for their positivity. However, these countries are also ranked highly for their suicide rates. You would think that this would have something to do with the dreary weather that these regions experience but high suicide rates accompany high happiness ratings when compared to U.S. states as well. For example, Utah is highest in satisfaction but ranked 9th in suicides, Hawaii is 2nd in happiness but also 5th in suicides. On the opposite end of the spectrum, NY is 45th in life satisfaction but has the country’s lowest suicide rate. Happiness and crime have been proven to directly correspond with economic inequality. The bigger the socioeconomic gap, the unhappier people are and the higher the rime rate. However suicide rating doesn’t follow this pattern. Researchers think that it may have more to do with relative happiness than with economic inequalities. They think that if a person views their life as inadequate in comparison to a neighbor’s or a close friend they might increase their depression and unhappiness despite appearing “happy” on the outside. Therefore tinkering with the economic gap in a country would result in suicides one way or another.

    This is something that I find difficult to fully grasp but at the same time I can see the reason in it. We as humans constantly find ourselves comparing our lives with others’ and seeking what we don’t have. That lack of something that someone else might have definitely leaves some people feeling inadequate and subsequently depressed. The term “happy” is such a relative term that I don’t think any survey can accurately gauge it. In a place where everyone’s “happy” there’s naturally going to be someone who’s not as “happy” as someone else in his or her opinion. The degrading thoughts that result from those feelings could lead to suicide. So while this finding does seem confusing I can see how researchers came to this conclusion.


    Hannah Blackburn
    Pd. 7

    What About American Girls Sold on the Streets? – Nicholas D. Kristof

    Kristof writes that Americans have forgotten the American prostitutes in our pity for the plight of young girls in other countries. In our courts, juvenile prostitutes are seen as criminals rather than victims. Kristof thinks this is outrageous and draws the reader’s attention to the fact that while many prostitutes in American come from overseas, many of these children are from our own USA. He gives the example of a girl on bad terms with her mother who runs away from home when her mom’s boyfriend hits on her. Out alone at night, a pimp will take the girl out to dinner and offer her a bed to sleep in. The unknowing girl is afraid and tired and will accept, only to find herself caught in a dangerous underground existence. Kristof believes our courts need to be reworked to focus on prosecuting pimps and ‘johns’, instead of punishing the victimized girls. Kristof also points out that pimps are regularly referenced in songs, as thought they were a normal, funny part of our society.

    Americans have very different views of prostitution in the US compared to prostitution in other countries. When we hear horror stories of girls being beaten and caged and forced to have sex, we cringe and we feel sorry for these poor girls. However, when we see girls roaming our own streets at night, asking for money from American men, we look away in disgust. We cannot see them as hurt children forced to have sex with strangers; we see them as girls who chose their fate. This is absolutely ridiculous! How can anyone believe that a 12 or 13 year old would choose to sell her body? They don’t even make any money because pimps take all of their earnings. Sex trafficking within the US needs to become a priority on our political and social agenda. Unless people actively educate people about the true situation of these prostitutes, Americans will continue to shun and punish these children who are stolen, abused, and prostituted.

    Read Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half-the-Sky.

    Also read Girls Like Us, a book by Rachel Lloyd. Lloyd herself was once prostituted by a pimp, and Girls Like Us tells how she finally broke away from the pimp she thought she loved.


    Andrew Cohen
    7th period

    New polls have come out that suggest that the overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of raising taxes on American households that make more than $250,000 a year. Seventy-two percent of adults and seventy-four percent of Democrats approve these tax hikes that would start in 2013. Fifty-five percent of Republicans also approve of this increase in taxes for the wealthy in the name of deficit reduction. However, in December, President Obama and Congress extended the Bush-era tax cuts, an extension that won’t run out until 2012. Although most of America can agree on this issue, other issues regarding deficit reduction won’t be so uncontested. Americans are distinctly divided on whether or not to spend less money the military and Medicare.

    This is important because it regards the United States budget and the economic policies of the near future. Seeing as the Bush-era tax cuts will run through the end of 2012, I believe that whether or not to extend them even further will be a very hotly debated issue amongst those running for president in 2012. This relates to what we have studied in class because it talks about the federal budget and taxes, both of which are topics we have discussed in class. I think that it is a smart idea to increase taxes for the wealthy. It is probably a smart idea to increase taxes for everybody because of our enormous national debt but that might not be a very sound political move. I was very surprised when I read that the majority of Republicans actually approve of raising taxes for households that make more than $250,000 a year. I guess America’s gloomy economic situation is starting to put everybody’s priorities in order.


    Dean Karlan, a Yale economist, and Jacob Appel, a former field researcher in West Africa, have co-authored a new book focused on fighting global poverty. They advocate for the idea of microcredit, which involves small loans to people in underdeveloped countries. Microcredit , according to Karlan, “has generated more enthusiasm and support than perhaps any other development tool in history.” People in the United States can choose to invest even $1000 in an entrepreneur in places like Africa and know that the chance of them getting back their money, plus interest, in the near future greatly outweighs any potential loss. Karlan uses the example of funding a woman in starting her own business, so that she can upgrade her tiny business into a small enterprise, raising her family out of poverty. However, the idea of microcredit is not the remedy for global poverty-- more must be done, like increasing general education within underdeveloped communities by getting rid of disease and parasitic illnesses, and the simple action of getting children into school, so they can play a role in bringing their country out of poverty.

    Since I heard the idea of microcredit in 7th grade, I thought it was a great idea. It seems that even today, when the economy has been at a downturn, microcredits are beneficial for the loaner and the borrower. Especially in America where few actually see their money help bloom something into physical fruition, the idea that these small amounts of loans can help individuals grow out of their desperate financial situation really appeals to people. In class we discussed how some goods and services can be provided by a certain number of people, depending on how hard it is to provide them. For microcredits, essentially anyone who is willing to help is able to do it. Though it is not a final solution to poverty, it certainly is a step in the right direction.

    Jessica Gao
    6th Period

  9. Julie Wulforst
    Period 6

    Ever since Obama was elected in 2008, many people, mostly Republicans, have challenged whether or not he was actually born in the United States. A recent pole shows that seventy five percent of Americans believe Obama was born in Hawaii, however four in ten Republicans think he was born outside of U.S. territory. Although Obama has taken the attacks on his natural citizenship very lightly, many people found that as a place to attack him. Well, recently Obama's original birth certificate was dug up in Hawaii, and it is true, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Period.

    I think it's crazy that people can hate their countries leader so much that they maximize his every "gray" area. Of course it's good to be thorough, but I'm pretty sure that while Obama was campaigning the government did a complete, careful background check. People are continually criticizing Obama and saying he hasn't done a good job, and I think it's unfair to be so judgmental. ANYBODY who was elected to office, whether it was John McCain or Hilary Clinton would have to make decisions that not everybody would love. Our country was in a very tough place in 2008, and it's hard to dig us out of such a deep hole in four years.

  10. (my computer was signed onto my sister, Christina's Google account....sorry!)

  11. No I haven't done my current event yet, but I thought you'd like to see this if you already haven't.

  12. Geoff Thomason -- 4/27/11 -- Period 7

    Earlier this week, Sony’s online network for the PlayStation shut-down due to a serious and successful system hack. The network suffered a catastrophic failure and around 77 million people worldwide who have accounts haven’t been able to use the internet network provided for Sony’s gaming system. Players haven’t been able to download new equipment or play certain games due to the system shutdown. Today, after being quiet since the hack, Sony released a statement. They claimed that as a result of the attack, an “unauthorized person” gained entry and had obtained personal information about account holders. Some of this info includes names, addresses, e-mail addresses and maybe even credit card numbers. Sony advised account holders to monitor their finances closely and to be aware of identity theft.
    This poses a serious threat to all of the people who use the PlayStation Network. Their finances could be at serious risk and identity theft is a huge possibility here. Sony’s will certainly lose a lot of money in the stock market, and we might also see a shift in the economy as some other companies reinforce their security systems. Speaking of which, it seems as though a company as large and successful as Sony, especially being a company dealing with advanced electronics, should have a high level security system that can’t be hacked by your everyday account holder. Also, for the 77 million people who couldn’t play their games over the weekend, go outside! Take this as an opportunity to live outside of your house! But anyway, hacking does a lot more damage in today’s time, and we all need to be aware of the possible dangers to come from it.


    The FAA plans to upgrade its aging radar system with a new GPS based program by 2020. Experts hope that new technology would help to prevent mishaps on the ground and in the air. On April 11th an Airbus A380 collided with a much smaller plane. Although no one was injured, damage did occur on the wings of the planes. The next generation of tracking system will be known as “NextGen”. The new technology would enable air traffic to see planes in real time without the current ten second delay that occurs on the fifty year old system. The new system would also allow pilots to see other air traffic and would allow the pilot to safely land the plane if the air traffic controller was unresponsive. There have been several close calls as planes are landing due to air traffic controllers who are asleep.

    I think this new system is an excellent idea. Hopefully, this breakthrough innovation will lead the way in repairing America’s infrastructure. Currently, America’s infrastructure is outdated and beginning to fall apart. This new system will modernize air traffic control and bring it into a new age of technology. The system will provide animated surface maps in plane cockpits. In addition, the new system will be much safer than the current one. If an air traffic controller is asleep on the job, pilots will be able to land safely because they will be able to see surrounding air traffic. This new system is a necessity in our failing infrastructure.

    Zach Visco
    April 27, 2011
    Period 6


    Antoine Dodson, a Youtube viral video star for warning a perpetrator for attempted rape was arrested for 5 misdemeanor charges including possession of marijuana, speeding, failing to appear in court for traffic violations and driving without a license and viable insurance. He was pulled over for speeding and arrested Saturday night in Huntsville, Alabama. Dodson made a series of tweets, one of them said "Damn I didn't kill anyone did I??? Its Just weed!!! You know that stuff that grows like grass?? Yeah that! !!" Dodson was released from police custody a few hours after his arrest.

    I think that Antoine Dodson should not have been driving to begin with because he has no insurance and he should not be smoking marijuana while driving. However, I don't think he should be charged with a traffic violation that he committed a few years ago. I personally don't think marijuana should be illegal because there are people being put in jail for possession of marijuana but there are more serious crimes being committed and those perpetrators aren't being dealt with. For now though marijuana is illegal and Antoine Dodson broke the law and must take responsibility for it. No matter how famous he's become.

  15. This week the citizens of Tuscaloosa, Alabama had to be on the look out for a very powerful tornado ripping through the city. The tornado was more than a mile wide while destroying houses and building along with it. Right now, there has only been one reported deaths, but that isn't a final number as there are many people in the hospital with injuries. The city was getting prepared for the tornado that Wednesday afternoon after a tornado watch had been issued. The mayor advised everything to be shut down and closed to prevent many more from being hurt. Currently 335,000 people are without power, and from reports, it says that more storms are heading that way. Number of outages could possibly reach Hurricane Katrina's numbers. There has been much reported damage, and these states that were affected need as much relief and aid as they can get.

    It's coming to that time of year when several natural disasters have begun to occur. We have seen several states hit by tornadoes including our own state, North Carolina. It is important that we have states backing up the affected states giving them the appropriate aid. These states are in a lot of despair, and I hope they are getting the support that they need to help reconstruct the buildings and areas that are destroyed. It is very important to know the outcomes of these powerful catastrophes, so any state is prepared for anything. These last couple storms will hopefully teach people how serious they can be and will set up special requirements. No one can over over estimate these storms for it is possible for anything to happen!

  16. wedding&st=cse&scp=8

    On Friday, the highly anticipated Royal Wedding reception will take place in London at Buckingham Palace, which will be led by an assembly of the world’s crowned heads, with a worldwide television audience of tens of millions. This joyful marriage will hopefully alleviate the public mood which has recently been weighed down by the recession. But recently, the monarchy’s survival has been uncertain, and Friday’s ceremony is viewed as a step toward saving the monarchy. It is believed that a relaxation of the old standards of discipline in the state schooling system and in the influence of the Church of England, due to the rapid rise in wealth in the past 30 years, were the root causes of the lack of support for the monarchy. While many Britons hold unconditional support and affection for the 85-year-old Elizabeth, their support beyond her seems limited, but in recent polls, a clear majority is in favor of the young couple skipping over Charles and Camilla and acceding directly to the throne. This week will bring new hope that the wedding will lead to a new modernized era for the crown that will generate the contentment of the people of England, along with the security of the Royal Family.

    I never knew that popular support for the crown had decreased so significantly in the past few decades. It saddened me to learn about this because the monarch is a unique characteristic of the UK, and it is something that I would expect my fellow citizens to be patriotic and proud of. I really hope that the Royal Wedding will help in increasing the support for the royal family. Friday will be a big day for the UK and I believe that in the near future, when William and Kate are crowned King and Queen, they will bring about an abundance of positive change, ultimately creating a more modernized monarch for the Isle of Britain that will, in effect, obtain more support from its citizens.

    Cerys Humphreys
    7th period

  17. On Wednesday, April 27th, President Obama released his long-form birth certificate in the hopes of finally putting an end to the claims that he was not born in the United States. This "birther" issue has been hovering around Obama for a while now - much longer than it should have, considering the fact that is a completely bogus "conservative efforts to undermine his legitimacy as president." However, for some reason it hasn't gone away: two weeks ago, a New York Times poll found that 25% of Americans believe that Obama was born in a foreign country, as do 45% of Republicans. This is partially due to the fact that, until now, the state of Hawaii has been unwilling to release Obama's long-form certificate. Hopefully their allowing its release will put an end to these birther claims once and for all.

    I find it absolutely ridiculous that anyone could possibly still believe that Obama is a foreigner. For a while now there has been great deal of evidence backing up the fact that he's American-born. Now with this long-form birth certificate, hopefully any claims to the contrary will be dispelled. However, it's difficult to say what will happen: people are easily manipulated to believe things like this, no matter how ridiculous it might be. Right now, false claims that our president isn't from the US shouldn't be the prime focus, the economy should be, and this issue is just taking away from valuable time to really make a difference.

  18. Ryan Hegedus
    Southern storms: 'I don't know how anyone survived'

    A large number of tornados struck the southern part of the United States with a death toll of around 250 people. Six states were ravaged by the storms, with Alabama taking a good deal of the damage. One of the storm paths seen was five to seven miles long and half a mile to a mile wide, leaving nothing but rubble in its wake. Close to one million people were found without power in Alabama because of the storm system and around 60,000 people in Georgia were without power. Mayor Maddox said that growing up in Alabama, tornados were a part of life, but that he had never witnessed anything like this before. He said there were areas of the town he grew up in that he could not even recognize because of the massive amount of destruction the tornado had caused.
    The numbers given in this article are shocking. What is even more shocking is that North Carolina, the state we live in, was also affected by these tornados. People only a county or two away were going trough the same troubles as many people in Alabama. When you look in the news and see devastating weather hit places like Japan, Louisiana, or Indonesia, you never really think something like that could happen to you. Then a story like this comes out and tells you that these very happenings were going on in your backyard and it really brings a sense of reality to the story. It also makes me thankful that Chapel Hill was not one of the affected areas and we were lucky enough to escape the storms wrath.


    According to China’s 2010 census, the population has increased by 73 million people since 2000, bringing their current population to 1.3 billion people. This census also showed us that China is better educated, most of the population is of an older age , and majority of the population has migrated from other countries. The migrant rate is up to 81.03% of the population since 2000. The head of the National Bureau of Statistics, Ma Jiantang, said that this increase in migrants was probably due to the fact that there has been a shift in the work force from rural to non-agricultural jobs. This shift was very prompt and encouraged new jobs. The census also states, “The urban population shot up by 13.46 percent over the past decade, which means nearly half of Chinese people live in urban areas.” This huge population in one area could lead to economic and social development issues. All these numbers and percentages sound like a lot and you start to wonder why the government doesn’t do anything about this rapidly increasing population, but they have. China’s one child policy has had a significant effect on controlling the population. Overall the growth in population was decreased by 0.57% each year. The first census was taken in 1953 when the population was only 594 million people, as you can see the population has increased greatly to 1.3 billion since then.

    I think it’s incredible that so many people can live in just one country and not have many major survival issues. I don’t understand how there are enough jobs for all those people in the work force. I’m sure that as the population continues to rise, it will become a major issue because there will be competition for space, jobs and other necessities to survive.

    Laura Musalem
    Period 6


    This Wednesday, President Obama released his long form birth certificate and held a press conference discussing the matter. President Obama hopes that this release of his full birth certificate will finally put the "birther" controversy to rest. Whether or not Obama was born in the United States has been an internet theory since his election in 2008, but hadn't hit mainstream media until this past year when Donald Trump attempted to bring this ludicrous theory to light. Obama has released the standard birth certificate released by the state of Hawaii before, but he released the full certificate on Wednesday to completely do away with this rumor entirely.

    I think it is outrageous that President Obama actually had to release the full birth certificate just to put an absolutely ridiculous rumor to rest. I think this whole situation makes President Obama seem calm and collected, and makes Donald Trump, who has been trying to make the "birthers" claims legitimate, look even crazier than usual. I enjoyed the fact that at the press conference that Obama held, he said, "We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by side-shows and carnival barkers," which was an obvious reference to Mr. Trump. Overall I'm glad that it can be said that this "controversy" is over.

    Brady Strine
    period 6

  21. This is from Leah. :)

    Armies of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, are beginning to attack Libya. These attacks are causing at least 30,000 Libyans to flee to Tunisia. About a century ago Libyans were being attacked, but by Italian colonizers, and back then they fled to Tunisia as well. So history is appearing to repeat itself. Some of the same Tunisians that held poor Libyans back in the day are also coming forth to help out the new fleeing Libyans. About 2,500 of these Libyans have set up tents along the borders to stay but most of the population has found homes elsewhere around Tunisia. The normal population count of the Tunisia region is around 150,000 residents but with around 30,000 new people coming, it may become a little crowded. Many United Nations workers are shocked by the generosity of the Tunisians by letting these Libyans stay with them seeing as Tunisia is going through their own revolution. One family in Tunisia moved into their damp and uncomfortable basement in order to let the incoming Libyans use their upstairs which is a lot more comfortable.

    I think that all this generosity coming from Tunisia is really heart-warming. To see people who are in their own time of revolution open up and allow others to basically take over their home seems awfully generous of them. I know I would be a little hesitant in letting others stay in my home much less let me take my most comfortable rooms. I am just wondering why the Tunisians are being so nice right now. Imagine if this were to happen in America there is no way so many people would let others stay with them, not trying to be extremely mean but American’s are awfully greedy. I think that the United States should look at what is going on over in Tunisia and realize that maybe we should try being more generous with others as well. Or maybe we could even go over to Tunisia and help find more homes for these fleeing Libyans.


    Scientists across the world have realized that male humpback whales have spread their own songs throughout the world. Colonies of Eastern Australian humpback songs expand the number of whales singing certain songs as they migrate. They determine “popular songs” that helps them attract the most females and so other humpbacks pick the song up. Individual songs have been spread as far as French Polynesia and can last up to thirty minutes long. They each have their own melody and new remakes are made for the most popular songs. Since there are 10,000 Eastern Australian humpbacks, the largest concentration of whales in the world, they have the most votes over the top ten list. This whole realization has caused scientists to realize how “truly cosmopolitan these singing giants are."

    I think that it is really interesting that whales interact so much with each other through these songs. The fact that they can travel so far and fade in and out like fads is truly shocking. It almost directly correlates with human attitude when it comes to music. When we hear a melody that we like we listen to it over and over and play it for our friends and family. Slowly everyone has heard a song due to the fact that it is so overplayed. A few weeks later, the song has almost fallen off of the face of the planet. Whales have the same cycle but instead it takes place over two years instead of two months.

    Jenny Vaughn
    Period 6


    Riley Hutchison

    Ayanna Spikes was convicted of robbing a video store in 1997, 14 years later she has a degree in psychology, and has had no further brushes with the law. Yet she has still been turned away from job after job since. Employers were impressed by her credentials, but when they found out about the criminal backrgound, she was immediatley turned away. Over 65 million people in the U.S. have some form of criminal background, whether it was simply an arrest or a conviction. It has become normal for a background check to be included in an interview, or before being hired for a job. A survery was conducted and 90% of companies said that they conducted criminal background checks on some or all job canidates. These background checks make it very hard for millions of americans to find jobs. These convictions could have been DUI's, drug charges from college, or an arest that never went anywhere else. It doesnt matter how long ago these actions took place, they still are a foctor when hiring for jobs. This keeps millions from potential jobs, even if the crimes that they committed were ten or more years ago. There is no federal law against descriminating against people with criminal backgrounds. Over 1/3 of the people who go to prison end up in prison again. These people keep others from being able to find a good jobe, especially after they worked so hard.

    I can completely understand why a background search is required. It keeps out those who have committed serious crimes, but those who truly have turned their lives around, it keeps them from being successful. We are all human, mistakes are made on a daily basis, so it only seems fair for everyone to get a second chance. Without second chances millions of people wouldnt be where they are today. Kids grow up constantly making mistakes, and they get second chances. Employers dont need to keep everyone with a criminal past out of work, but they do need so keep an eye on what kinds of crimes were committed. It just seems crazy that someone like Ayanna has been without a job for so long, even though she turned her life around completely.


    The effects of the earthquake in Japan are finally appearing in the United States. Since March 11, many companies have reported that clearly suggest loss. Japan contributed greatly to many producers in the United States, and once the earthquake hit, the supply slowed down. As a result, many companies in the luxury good business are taking a strong hit. For example, Tiffany & Co. has predicted a fifteen percent sale reduction and a loss of five cents per share earnings. Economists have predicted that there can be as much as a three percent cut of annualized GDP growth in the second quarter.

    I am not surprised that the effects of the earthquake in Japan have finally arrived in the United States. The Japanese production industry works with many countries worldwide, and I'm sure that the majority of them will face economic decline as well. Japan, in terms of advancement, is one of the most progressive, and with this sudden disaster, I cannot help but wonder how long it will take Japan to recover. Japan plays a significantly important role in the economy, and its downfall is sure to affect countries on a global spectrum. I hope this natural disaster does not affect the economy in the long run, and I look forward to the day when Japan recovers and the economy begins increasing again.

    Nicole Chang

  25. Kate Boyd
    7th pd

    This article is about a questionnaire that parents fill out to see if their child has autism, usually done around the time their child is one year old. While psychologists are not always able to diagnose children that early, they can see signs of autism and start intervention young. Even for a child without autism, intervention can help improve communication skills. Many parents do not realize certain things are signs of autism, and are surprised when they get a response from the people who send out the questionnaires and find their kid is at risk. This questionnaire only takes five minutes to fill out and is only 24 questions. Part of the reason they start so young is because once the child is grown up, it's harder to intervene, as the brain has already made connections that are hard to fix.

    I think it's great that parents can get their children diagnosed this early, so long as they are willing to get help. This is actually my mom's job, so I thought it was really cool it was on the front page of CNN (although this particular questionnaire mentioned is not theirs, it's actually their competition). UNC is currently doing a study on this, and my mom works as an interventionist there. The article doesn't mention it, but a lot of parents fill out the survey, get a call saying their child is at risk, and choose to deny it and not get help. Many parents refuse to accept that there might be something different about their child, and though intervention can significantly help improve communication, they choose to ignore any problem signs. However, it is a good thing that they are reaching out to parents and making questionnaires like this accessible.


    Earlier today a suicide bomber killed 12 people in a shiite mosque in Iraq. It is believed that Sunni and Shiite officials were meeting to discuss the recent time of peace and show that recent conflict had subsied. It had been nearly eight months without an act of violence, but now with the deadline for the Armys return to the states looming in the air, violence is expected to return. Other recent attacks include assassinations of local politicians and law inforcement authourities.

    I think that this step back is one of a dying cause, as a suicide bomber ends their life taking the world apart 12 people at a time. When diplomacy is the new and modern way to solve international issues, bombings cannot stand. This age old rivalry from sunni's to shiites is also part of what spurred the violence. Along with the soon absence of United States troops, violence will rise again and the middle east will be just as it was before. Chaos.

    Ian Hill
    7th Period


    It seems tornadoes will soon make the top of the “most wanted” list as svere weather continues to bamoard the south with seemingly endless storms. This barrge of storms has hit everywhere from “Texas to Virginia to Georgia” leaving behind only death and rubble. Over 250 people have been confirmed dead, many of these in Alabama. Entire neighborhoods have been completely raised and many have been left almost no better off than those who died. Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa Alabama only wishes search and recue to continue for no more than two days before “the response [pivots] its focus to recovery.” President Obama has also claimed to offer as much federal assistance as possible to Alabama.
    These weather patterns no less than terrify me. I haven’t heard of a weather system like this before, at least nothing as frightening as the current one. Although warning is provided before the torndoes, I don’t think enough time is given to really react and take action such as setting up tornado shelters with better safety features. I don’t blame meterologists for this, I just fear that a tornado could come down anywhere, anytime and in an instant. Most of all, I feel this will happen soon.

    Jacob Harris 7th

  28. Jose

    As the gas prices around our area seem to be tremendously increasing, in orlando there are multiple gas sstaions that are taking advantage of this, one gas station by an airport in florida sells gas at 7 dollars the gallon. Most gas stations sell gas for 5 dollars.

    I think its crazy expensive that the gas prices are going up so much, its time for people to pull out their bikes... But most students right now are anxious to get a car or to start driving, when they dont know what payments await them. They not only have to pay for insurance but the gas, repairs, car fresheners. these new drivers are in for a big suprise.