Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Hurt Locker

Master Srgt. Jeffrey Sarver has filed a lawsuit against writer Mark Boal of the new movie The Hurt Locker. Sarver claims that his own life was the basis for the movie's main character and that he deserves compensation for the use of his life without permission. Since the movie is in the running to win one of this years ten best movie awards, Sarver is hoping to reap the benefits of its success.

The only proof (it seems) that Sarver has is that the events that take place are similar to some in his own life, and in the article it wasn't even mentioned that Boal and Sarver had ever met so is this a lawsuit that should be dismissed as false?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Justice Department asks high court for right to Big Tobacco money

The Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to override a decision in the lower courts that said the government could not take billions of dollars from the tobacco industry for ill-gotten gains. In its petition to the court, the Justice Department claims that the tobacco industry has been unlawfully "racketeering" activity that has "cost the lives and damaged the health of untold millions of Americans." Also, they claim that the industry purposefully hid safety risks from the public. If the Supreme Court decided to take the case (since it is a dispute between circuits) then the tobacco industry could be completely broken because of the deficit they would face. The tobacco firms in question make up 90% of all domestic sales.

My question is, what right does the government have to the money that the tobacco industry would pay? Wouldn't it be better to pay the money to the individuals or families who were unknowingly or unlawfully harmed by the industry?

For more information, see the article on CNN: Justice Department asks High Court for Right to Big Tobacco Money

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Supreme Court Ruling on Campaign Advertising

During his State of the Union address, President Obama made the statement that the Supreme Court "reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests- including foreign corporations- to spend without limit in our elections." This opened a new controversy between Democrats, most of whom agree with Obama, and Republicans who believe he was out of line and that the court ruling protects 1st Amendment rights to free speech.
Vice President Biden speaks up in confirmation of Obama, saying "he didn't question the integrity of the court. He questioned the judgement of it." Other Democrats, like Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, say that the ruling allows the democracy to be controlled by major corporations and ruin the democracy from the inside out.

I agree with Obama in that the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC is a detriment to the democracy of the United States. How can allowing corporations and companies control the laws and policies that are passed be good for America, especially when it allows foreign businesses to have control?

see more at:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gun Control Limits

In Chicago, the case of McDonald v. Chicago is a landmark case on the limits of gun control. In 1982, Chicago passed a ban on handguns that has proved to be one of the most restrictive in the US but studies show that, although the murder rate has been reduced by 10%, inner-city crime rates have risen significantly and Chicago has the highest youth homicide rate in the country.
On behalf of Chicago, Diane Latiker says that the youth "Walk looking backwards. If you would stay here two days, you would realize how young people walk looking backwards at every car, because of drive-by shooting."
McDonald is taking the case to court to get the ban on handguns in Chicago repealed, and his defense is that the city is still so violent that having the added protection of handguns ups the sense of security. But will allowing handguns for protection also give more people access to them for murder and gang violence?
This case poses many issues on the interpretation of the Bill of Rights 2nd Amendment: Just how far does the 2nd Amendment give citizens the right to protect themselves? Do strict state and local gun control laws violate the constitutional "right to keep and bear arms?" Can an individuals right to own a weapon extend beyond federal jurisdiction?

The final outcome of this case, Chicago v. McDonald, will have monumental impacts on not only Chicago, but other major cities with handgun bans and restrictions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Al Qaeda's Growing Presence

After the attempted bombing on Christmas, Obama has agreed to double the $70 million in counter terrorism aid to Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen. Al Qaeda's growing presence in the Arabian peninsula is starting to link with Yemen's social and political crises. Also, the escape of refugees from Somalia to Yemen is increasing the presence of Samalia's al-Shabab terrorist group. I agree that "The United States and Great Britain should provide leadership and assistance in shepherding the reconstruction process through and ensuring that inclusive governance, transparency, and accountability are adhered to." Instead of just giving over $100 million dollars to the government of Yemen, shouldn't Obama take the initiative to instill a more lasting solution?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Parties Should be More Cautious

CNN says that, since a landslide Republican victory in Virginia and New Jersey, the Republican party has been getting over-confident. I agree with the article in that this and a fading interest in the Democratic party due to an unemployment rate of 10.2% is causing the Republican party be overly cocky. The article goes into detail about many times in the past where Republicans have overestimated their control in politics. I agree, and I think that parties need to be more cautious about boasting about their successes because history shows that those results can be changed at any time.
See article at: