Monday, April 16, 2012

4th period: Current Event, due 4/20

Welcome to the 4th Quarter of Civics and Economics! There are only a few current events assignments left in the school year. Take your time in finding articles that are interesting to you; carefully summarize and provide insightful analysis on the article that you select. The topic for this week is your choice. There are some very interesting things going on, domestically and internationally, that involve civics and economics. I cannot wait to read your discoveries! Have a fantastic week. :)


  1. Nate M./ Pd.4
    Space shuttle headed for museum
    By: John Zarrella CNN

    At first light Tuesday, Space Shuttle Discovery will fly out from the Kennedy Space Center one last time. In a salute to the past and all those who were part of the shuttle program, the aircraft will fly over launch pad A, down the beach and over the space center visitor complex before heading north. Discovery’s next stop will be its last. The oldest of the three orbiters with more than 148 million miles on her is going to the Smithsonian in Washington. “Bittersweet,” said Discovery’s last commander Steve Lindsey, “is an overused word, but it is sad.” Lindsey and the five others who flew last February on mission 133 came out to say goodbye. Just a few miles to the south at Cape Canaveral, Space X is in its final preparations to launch its Dragon spacecraft. It is a hugely critical test scheduled for the end of April. Space X hopes to be the first commercial company to rendezvous and then berth with the international space station. Next year Space X plans to start ferrying cargo to the station and, in four years, U.S. astronauts. When Discovery gets to Washington, it will replace Enterprise which now sits in the Smithsonian. Enterprise, a test shuttle that never flew in space, will go to New York and eventually into its new home at the Intrepid Museum. The shuttle Endeavour will, by the end of the year, be heading off to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis will take up permanent residence here at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. That will be the final exclamation point to the end of an era of space exploration.

    Well I guess the Space Exploration Era has ended. But I have always thought that the Constellation Program was gonna to replace the Space Shuttle program after being decommissioned. Then I found out that the Constellation Program which was suppose to have human exploration of the planet Mars and the return to the Moon. But the Obama Administration canceled because of "over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation." President Bush and Apollo 11 commander, Neil Armstrong support the project . Now that the Space Shuttle Program has ended what are we gonna do now. But I guess NASA is gonna have to work with SpaceX, a private space transportation company, construct the first commercial shuttle. Unless Congress acts to overturn Obama's mandate.

  2. Title: Senate GOP Blocks Buffett Rule Bill
    Author: Jeanne Sahadi
    Date: April 16th, 2012

    This morning the Democrats lost by nine votes to pass the Buffett Rule Bill, but many will still continue to advocate the issue. The bill was designed to implement a 30% minimum federal tax rate on the few who bring in over $1 million dollars a year. Though this bill failed to pass the first time Democrats have arranged to rework the bill and frequently propose this issue to Republicans over the next six months to eventually persuade them. Not only will this bill mitigate the fiscal burdens on the middle class, but an estimated $47 billion could be used to lessen deficits or make investments which would benefit our substantially weak economy. Republicans still refuse this bill because they think it detracts from the country’s current priorities such as decreasing unemployment rates, stimulating economic growth, and reducing the national debt.

    I think the Buffett bill is a great idea because people who earn high incomes have more money they can contribute to our plummeting national debt. Hopefully persistence by the Democrats will influence the Republicans to finally agree that this is an effective way to alleviate pressure on the middle class and the national economy. The fact that lower income families of the middle class are paying a higher effective tax rate than people who earn upward of ten times their salary is outrageous.

  3. Anna Baynes Period 4
    Real Words of Gibberish? Just ask a Baboon
    Sindya N. Bhanoo
    The New York Times
    Monday, April 16, 2012

    In April, Jonathan Grainger, who works as a psychologist at a French Center for National Research and Aix- Marseille University says baboons can tell if a word is gibberish by using information they know about letters and how they are combined to make words. This is how children learn to read. He did an experiment with six baboons using a touch screen that showed four-letter sequences. The baboon got a treat if he tapped the screen and it was a real word. Because the baboon gets a reward they remember what words are real. One baboon learned more than 300 words. This is significant because people could communicate better with baboons.
    I think it is really cool and interesting to train a baboon to this but I have no idea how they got the baboons trained. I would have to read the actual research article to find out more details. It think it is weird baboons are using computers instead of books or something simpler. I am surprised they would be able to have funds for computers to do this research. In class we are discussing economics and how all programs cost money including programs like this one. I don’t understand how they know if a word is gibberish just by basic knowledge of how letters work. I would also like to know how hard these words are.

  4. Danielle Bailey
    Pd 4th
    Man accused of duct taping child's arms, legs, mouth
    By: Apex NC, Police.
    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    A Wake County man is accused of duct taping an infant's wrists, ankles and mouth. Apex police said 44-year-old man Sebastian Holcomb bound his roommate's child April 13 while the child's mother was in the kitchen. The mother told investigators her 18-month-old son had been playing with a roll of duct tape while she was cooking and, at one point, she realized she could no longer hear the child. Investigators said when the mother saw what was happening, she grabbed the child and went to a friend's house and called 911. Holcomb was charged with assault on a child, which is only a misdemeanor. His bond was set at $5,000 and he has been released from jail. Investigators said there is no relationship between Holcomb and the mother. They were only roommates.

    When i first read this article, i thought to myself " No man would be able to put their hands on my child"! I dont think i would even have a roomate with a baby, especially not a boy roomate! I feel really bad for the baby though, cause i definitly know i wouldnt want anything on my mouth, or something securing my legs and arms!if that was my child i would definitely need to hit the man, and press multiple charges on him! Then i would move out immediately.

  5. Desaree Johnson
    Shocking Rape Video Goes Viral in South Africa
    By: Npkepile Mabuse

    Wednesday morning South Africans arose to the talk of a group of Soweto youths filming themselves raping a mentally ill 17-year old girl. The video was taken by a cellphone and went viral in a school township south of Johannesburg . The term #rapevideo was trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday. "The mother of a teenage girl saw the horrifying pictures and confiscated her daughter's phone. A work colleague of the woman said they recognized some of the boys and advised her to take the video to Daily Sun," the newspaper reported.The suspects, aged between 14 and 20, were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with kidnapping and rape, police spokesperson Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said.

    I Think this is pitful. kids thought it was cool to trend about it but yet they didnt report it or do anything to stop it. I feel that this is disgusting and if I were put in this situation, I would be ashamed of myself .

  6. Charles Wang/4th period
    Occupy Wall Street returns with sleepful protest
    By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

    The occupy movement has a new way to get their points across. It is called the sleepful protest. They began putting sleeping bags outside on the corner of Wall and Broad streets. The police cannot arrest them for doing it because in a court ruling from 2000, people are allowed to sleep on sidewalks as long as they aren’t taking up more than half of it and aren’t blocking any doors. They occupy organizers said that they will start their protests in the summer.

    I feel that the occupy thing just isn’t that great of an idea anymore. It probably seemed like one in the beginning but now, they just aren’t doing anything. They are sitting there like homeless people and begging for things instead of trying to do it themselves. They could probably find a job sooner or later. They would have a better chance of getting one instead of sleeping on the sidewalks.

  7. Alex Adams
    Period 4
    “Syria’s al-Assad gaining strength under U.N. moves, experts say”

    The United Nations have recently made moves to end the violence in Syria by putting into place a six point plan. However, al-Assad, the dictator of Syria, has been slow to implement the plan and quick to return to violence against the rebels. Retaliation by the U.N. Security Council will remain stagnant due to certain trade agreements between Russia and the al-Assad regime. Until Russia gets fed up with al-Assad’s chaotic leadership, the U.N. will not send in troops. For now, the U.N. has sent in 250 analysts to track the moves of al-Assad toward peace, or lack thereof.
    The United Nations need to see what is truly going on. Al-Assad is using them to defeat the rebels without outside interference. Russia is better of kicking out al-Assad and making a deal with the new regime. The U.N. needs to stop being so complacent with tyranny and do what is best for the people of Syria. The choice is very simple.

  8. Title: TV Legend Dick Clark Dies at Age 82
    Author: Ann Oldenburg
    Date: April 18th, 2012

    Dick Clark, the former host of American Bandstand and Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve, died today of a heart attack. Clark was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1994 and suffered a debilitating stroke in 2004. He continued to do Dick Clark's Rockin Eve after the stroke, but his speech was slurred due to the stroke. Clark began to host American Bandstand in 1957. He gave national exposure to many acts and integrated the show to give exposure to people like Chubby Checker and Chuck Berry. Clark is survived by his wife and his children.

    I always enjoyed Rockin Eve on New Year's eve. I'm sad to hear that Dick Clark has passed away. Dick Clark's program always had good acts and with Ryan Seacrest helping it was well run. Dick Clark has done some great things for the entertainment industry and I'm sure people will be thinking of him and his family today.

  9. Caroline Stanton
    “Passengers say cruise ship ignored stranded fishing boat”
    Author: Isolde Raftery

    There has been allegations against Carnival Cruise Lines, that one of their ships named the Star Princess did not stop and help a stranded fishing boat near the Galapagos Islands. Bird watchers of the cruise say that they saw boat far off in the distance, and when they took a better look saw that there was at least one person waving for help. The bird watchers said that they alerted the Star Princess' crew but they did not stop. There was only one survivor of the boat named Adrian Vasquez, he had to wait 28 days to be rescued and ate raw fish to stay alive. When interviewed on the matter he stated that him and his friends noticed a ship and tried to signal them. The Carnival Corporation says they are conducting their own investigation to these allegations and cannot verify if what the bird watchers and Adrian Vasquez reported is true.

    I think that this is sad because they obviously could have been rescued by them because multiple from the cruise liner saw that they were in trouble. I think it is a bit skeptical because why wouldn't a ship stop and help them when they were alerted of the issue, it doesn't really make sense. I think it is very unfortunate that two of the fishermen had to die because of the cruise liners apathy.

  10. Secret Service says three employees to leave over Colombia scandal
    Susan Cornwell and Tabassum Zakaria
    Wed Apr 18, 2012

    On Wednesday, three secret service employees are under investigation for alleged misconduct with prostitutes in Colombia. One of the supervisors are allowed to retire, another supervisor was proposed for removal for a cause and the third employee was resigned for the worst scandal for protection the U.S. president and other senior official. The U.S. Military owns up to its responsibility for the incidents that happened overnight Wednesday to Thursday. The prostitutes was brought back to the room in their beachfront hotel before president Obama’s arrived and one of the prostitutes complain about money getting the hotel manager and police involved. The U.S. Military and secret service have investigators in Colombia interviewing the women.
    Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican said “they are likely to be more harsh to their own people than we would be.” This affects me because I live in a world where we (as Americans) needs to be safe and protected and we can’t have that if the military has to taking time out of their busy schedules to investigate secret services when the secret services are supposed to be SECRET!! It’s crazy because all of the missions and countries the secret services had been on with the president they want to mess up.

  11. Annie Wilcosky/ Period 4
    Iran Arrests 15 People Accused in Assassination Plot/ J. David Goodman
    The New York Times
    April 18, 2012

    In Iran, fifteen people have been arrested in connection to a plot to assassinate a prominent science “specialist”, according to the Iranian Intelligence Ministry. Both Iranians and foreigners were included in the arrests. The fifteen were believed to oppose the nuclear program in Iran, and were suspected to be part of a plot to assassinate one of the scientists working in the program. Five specialists have already died under strange circumstances since 2007. Iranian leaders have publicly blamed the United States and Israel for the past killings. However, the U.S. has vehemently denied any involvement.

    I find it hard to believe that the five “mysterious deaths” of scientists working in the nuclear program were accidental. It's likely that there was some Israeli involvement in the assassinations, as Iran is Israel's “most dangerous enemy”, and Israel has not firmly declared its innocence in relation to the killings. I also would not be surprised if the U.S. has taken part in plotting the assassinations of Iranian scientists working in the nuclear program.

  12. Justine Lockhart
    Period 4
    Chicago Tribune
    Pennsylvania Bakery Turns Romney's Cookie Joke into Sales Campaign,0,3809772.story

    In a campaign event with Mitt Romney located in Bethel Park, PA., locals gave him some cookies. He took a look at the cookies and said to the locals "Did you make those cookies? You didn't did you?…They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or whatever." Mitt Romney was joking, but the cookies had been baked by Bethel Bakery and they were offended by his remark. Bethel Bakery owner John Walsh, offended, said in an interview "We wanted him to be welcomed with the best in the burg and he had no idea, this guy has no idea how beloved this institution is that provided these cookies." Although, the bakery then decided to use this event to their advantage. They launched a "CookieGate" promotion giving customers six free cookies for every dozen purchased.

    In my opinion, when life hands you free cookies, don't question it. Even though he just made a joke about the quality of the cookies' appearance, it was offensive to the bakery. Romney was only joking, but Pennsylvania was trying to welcome him and he could have made a nicer impression. After all, that area of Pennsylvania is known for it's bakeries and food. He didn't mean it in a harmful way, but you'd think that a candidate for U.S president would have better people skills than that.

  13. Marc Ordronneau 4th

    A day after declaring her retirement, Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt received
    news that she had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest civilian award
    handed out, and is huge for Summitt who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 8 months ago. She is also
    the winningest NCAA coach ever with 1,098 wins and 8 national titles. She passed the torch to assistant
    coach Holly Warlick, but will stay to help mentor and recruit. Under Summitt, the team has appeared
    in every single tournament since the tournament was created, and have been ranked #1, 21 times. She
    was also awarded Sportswoman of the Year and the Gerald R. Ford Award this year.

    I definitely think that this award was correctly awarded to Summitt. She is the best coach the sporting
    world has ever seen, and this award is an amazing congratulation for her success and hard work. It is a
    shame that her Alzheimer’s hindered her success, because who knows how much more she could have
    accomplished. With 8 titles and 1098 wins, I think that this award is actually her biggest accomplishment
    of all and it is well deserved. This is the summit of her career.

  14. Sean Dawson
    4th period
    Timeline of Events in Trayvon Martin Case
    By Chris Lett and Diane Laposta

    The ongoing Trayvon Martin case is finally coming to an end. Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman back in February, and since then it has been one of the most famous cases. Zimmerman was a neighborhhod watchman who said Martin looked suspicious. He called the police, who told him to let them handle it. Zimmerman pursued anyway, and confronted Martin. Martin punched him in the nose and began hitting his head on the sidewalk. Zimmerman then shot Martin to his death. This case has many factors, which has made it a very difficult case to reach a verdict on. Zimmerman was first let off for self-defense. On April 11th, after many petitions and constant battles, he was arrested for 2nd degee murder.
    Obviously, this should have never come to this. Zimmerman should have listened to the police and let them handle it. I do understand that Zimmerman was defending himself, although he shouldn’t have confronted Martin in the first place. The “Stand your ground” law created in 2005 does not allow you to “pursue and confront.” It only allows you to take action when truly in danger. I am curious to see if this case is really over with.

  15. Gabrielle Pura
    Period 4
    20 April 2012
    BBC News/ Matt McGrath
    'Huge' water resource exists under Africa

    Scientists have recently discovered a vast reservoir of underneath the continent of Africa. The volume of water is believed to be up to 100 times more than the current water supply in the African countries. The research that is following up this discovery is being funded by the British Government. Among the projects of the participating researches include a detailed map that presents the amount and potential yield of the groundwater. The UK secretary of state for international development, Andrew Mitchell, accepts the importance of the maps stating that the research could have a “profound effect on some of the world’s poorest people” which could decrease their vulnerability to drought (McGrath). Researchers say that the maps indicate that many countries considered as “‘water scarce’, have substantial groundwater reserves” (McGrath). The utility of the groundwater could be beneficial to the countries suffering from droughts; however, the argument that this topic has formed involves whether or not drilling into the ground would increase the availability of water supplies.

    The scientists have made a discovery has the potential to benefit the people in the African countries. The amount of groundwater that has accumulated over the centuries is an impressive supply. Though the possibility to save water-deprived countries and people is positive, I agree with those who believe that drilling now would not necessarily help in the future. Upon reading a commentary of the article, the writer stated that the water will cause regional conflicts. The writer relates what could happen with the water conflicts to the Sudan oil conflict. He/she thinks that the Sudan conflict should be examined thoroughly before using the groundwater. The commentator states a reasonable opinion, and I agree with him that regional conflicts are possible. The needs in countries, especially those in Africa, are become intense and as a part of human nature, the need to survive could serve as a great factor to begin conflicts.

  16. Diego Lewis
    Period 4
    Republic Report
    Lee Fang
    This article begins by saying that last year more than 850,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Even though the public’s view on marijuana is changing, policy is not. The top 5 anti-marijuana lobbyist groups are Police unions, Private prison corporations, Alcohol companies, Pharmaceutical corporations, and prison guard unions. Notice how 2 of the 5 are prison related. This is a worrying prospect, prisons are corporations.
    The problem with this is that when Prisons are corporations, they have to profit. To profit, they need prisoners. So they will do anything they need to get more prisoners. Thjis includes incriminating anything they can. It is really unfair to people who just want to smoke pot for fun, they aren’t harming anyone but (arguably) themselves. When prisons are corporations, people are at risk of unfair laws due to lobbying of these laws. The fact that alcohol companies oppose pot is funny, it almost seems like fear that marijuana is better and they know it.

  17. Maddie Mesaros

    Period 4

    Date: 4/19/12

    Title: ’Green’ schools that go beyond basics

    Author: Monika Joshi

    Source: USA Today


    Many schools in the United States are going green. In a survey of 7000 college students, 68% of
    them said that a college’s commitment to the environment would play a role in their decision to apply
    or attend that school. One school in Indiana is drilling holes in the ground to tap geothermal energy. A
    Vermont college is burning wood chips as a way to save money. A few colleges that are going above and
    beyond with being environmental are: Ball State University, Butte College, Chatham University, and
    Middlebury College. The Princeton Review in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council is out
    with a 2012 Guide to 322 Green Colleges.

    I think this is really good that colleges are going out of their way to improve the environment. It
    says a lot about them, like for instance they care about having a healthy atmosphere. To be honest I
    haven’t heard of a single college mentioned in the news article. If the smaller colleges are doing it
    maybe the larger colleges will start too. I think that learning from your school how to be more
    environmentally friendly is a good way for you yourself to start. As a student, I think it’d be really
    helpful for my school to start participating in more ‘green’ actions if it isn’t already. If it is, I’d like to
    learn about it more so I can pass on my knowledge.