Author Archives: Adrienne
“The US embargo on Cuba is a 50-year failure, and lifting the ban on travel is a good first step toward a more rational policy.” -Myron Brilliant, US Chamber of Commerce
I have always wanted to travel to Cuba. A few years ago my Aunt, Uncle and cousins took advantage of a program that allowed them to vacation there, open only for a short period of time. It was an incredible vacation, they said there was always music playing in the streets, the people were friendly and quaint and the country has not become over run by tourists. It’s a strange paradox, when I travel I am usually disgusted by the presence of other tourists and find them to be quite obnoxious. Thus for that reason, Cuba really attracts me. I also love Cuban food. La ropa vieja y platanos son deliciosos. However Americans are currently only permitted to travel to Cuba under very specific circumstances. If you are going for an academic conference, studying there for at least 3 months…. there are a couple other but none of them fall under the “leisure and interest” category. Since 1962 we have had a trade embargo with Cuba, at which time travel restrictions were also enforced that have prevented us to travel there. Recently there have been changes to allow Cuban Americans more opportunities to travel there with the purpose of visiting family but as I am not Â Cuban those changes haven’t helped me.
However, yesterday senators Byron Dorgan (South Dakota-D) and Mike Enzi (Wyoming-R) introduced a bill that would allow Americans to travel to Cuba for leisure, appropriately called the “Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act”. 20 other senators are co-sponsoring the bill and Â the house has 121 cosponsors. Hopefully we’ll see some change!
NASA decided to let voter choice name the room of their new space center. Â NASA had chosen several names to select from including “Earthrise”, “Serenity”, “Legacy” and “Venture”. All very normal and space-like. However, similar to our own MSA elections of which voters often opt to “write-in”,Â Colbert told his viewers to go online and write in his name.Â Colbert was not so successful in the MSA race, accumulating just one vote. Even in our own College Dems election Blago managed to secure a couple write-ins for the position of chair. But what do both of these examples have in common? Legitimate people in the running actually won. The “space race” was another story. Colbert won with a whopping 230,000+ votes, beating out “Serenity” by more than 40,000.Â
Now if only we had that kind of power to get our MSA super super duper endorsement((s) but not really, we’re talking about one) elected. Or even by write in standards, Lindsay Miars.Â
NASA still hasn’t announced that they will actually name the room Colbert, but I think that takes a lot of the integrity out of the entire voter’s choice that 1.2 million came out for here.Â C’mon NASA, be democraticÂ about it.
The NY Times made a cool interactive map of The US that’s color coded by unemployment rates. Michigan does have a ridiculous amount of unemployment and seems to boast 14 counties with 15+% unemployment rates. It’s sad. But, you guys should check it out. You can filter the counties out based on cool things like if they are around manufacturing centers to look at trends on how things like the auto industry may have affected it.Â
Don’t bother, I did it for you.
**Disclaimer: The following is the opinion of the author and in no way represents the opinions of The University of Michigan College Democrats. At this point you have the choice to continue reading or stop now should you feel the temptation to disagree with what I say. **
1) Let me first start off my saying you know the Daily is giving a real substantial paper when they feature not 1, not 2 but 3 sudoku puzzles within their pages. This whole year I only needed the Daily to supplement the Daily Daily with sudokus. So, me make it easier for you, the first 4 numbers on the first sudoku from left to right are 1, 3, 6, 9.Â
2) A big picture of the Ben Folds concert yesterday. I’m glad I didn’t miss anything, I wouldn’t pay $40 to see a well light room full of boring happy people. (more…)
The media was continuously assessing Barack Obama’s day to day progress as president. What was going to be the first piece of legislature he would sign, who he was talking to and what he looked like sitting in the oval office. Meanwhile, a previously media saturated politician has likewise been going about her job. Hillary Clinton fills the position of Secretary of State which Barack Obama offered her last fall. Some may think of it as a condolence prize but none-the-less, she’s putting in the same hard working effort into the job as she always has.Â
And as Obama has been making the policy and procedure changes necessary in our changing world, Hillary Clinton has began her international voyages in Asia. And while this is unconventional, it makes sense. China is rising in political power and economic strength while Japan is undergoing a financial crisis. Furthermore Japan and the US are making efforts to manage security issues with North Korea.Â
Hillary Clinton signed an agreement with Japan during this trip allowing 8,000 US marines to move from Japan to Guam despite opposition of this move by Japanese locals. These marines were there as a party of the World War II mutual security pact.Â
However, there was some tension from the visit as North Korea suggested it may fire a missile from it’s eastern coast capable of reaching the US west coast. Korean news announced that this missile was related to space development rather than a military attack yet it was still not found to be welcoming. However Clinton is maintaining that before relations between the US and North Korea can be normalized they must dismantle their nuclear program.
Resistance followed her to Indonesia where she was met by thousands of protesters filling the street. Indonesia is the worlds largest Muslim majority country and she hopes to strengthen US ties with the Islamic world through this visit.
On another note, Clinton hopes to make several strides during the visit in discussing the use of Â cleaner and renewable sources of energy with Asian countries.
“If China and India don’t join with us in our efforts to control the emissions and begin to stop and reverse the damage to the earth from everything we have already done, I don’t think we can achieve the sustainability goals that we must set for ourselves.”
As China has now exceeded the US in greenhouse gas emissions, she sees an opportunity for Japan and The United States to collaborate in an effort to aid China in reducing their emissions.Â
However, Hillary Clinton will not be headed to India on this trip to Asia. India is developing very rapidly now and building itself as a nuclear power. It would be a great time to improve relations with such a country and a stop in New Delhi was initially proposed in the trip’s itinerary.Â
Clinton will return to DC on February 22 from China.
Sometimes it feels like everything we ever knew is falling apart. When I was younger, my mom always assured me that the US was the best country to live in, that we were so powerful and so prosperous and so free. But as I got older and started learning more about the world around me in light of the war and economy over these past years I started to doubt my mother’s beliefs. The outlook for our entire situation is looking better, but it still frightens me. And sometimes I forget that it’s not just us. Every part of the world is enduring something similar.
+France just promised a â‚¬6.5 billion euro loan to their (similarly) hurting auto industry. The money is being split up amongÂ PSA Peugeot CitroÃ«n, Renault and Renault Trucks.Â
+Italy announced a $1.7 billion bailout package for it’s auto industry last week saying that it faced losing 60,000 jobs otherwise.
+Britain is loaning $1.9 billion to it’s auto industry as well despite most of their manufacturers being foreign owned they employ a significant number of Brits. And British company Bentley will cut all salaries by 10%.
+Even in Asia, Nissan has announced it will be cutting 20,000 jobs.
A couple days ago, a human rights activist threw a shoe at China’s Premier Wen Jiabao while he was giving a speech at Cambridge University. The upset which caused the thrower “shoe” the Prime Minister is said to be because of China’s control over Tibet.Â
Of course the situation immediately makes me think back to when shoes were thrown at George Bush in similar fashion just 7 weeks ago during a press conference. I suppose if someone felt compelled to show their dismay for a political leader you already have shoes with you, the shoes are heavy and relatively easy to throw. They also won’t be as messy as rotten tomatoes. Of course, the whole ordeal with George Bush had only reminded me of Austin Powers who famously said, “Who throws a shoe? Honestly?” back in 1997.Â
This is when I stumbled across Wikipedia’s article on “Shoeing“. The action towards Dubya led to it’s own term with it’s new place in Wiki. It also contains a table of contents with multiple examples of this specific situation. It’s interesting that this has so quickly found it’s way into our culture. It will only be a matter of time when Merriam-Webster updates it’s dictionary to include this use for the term. As it currently stands, “Shoeing: To furnish with a shoe or to cover for protection”. Depending on how you look at the situation that definition probably doesn’t relate to a common place phrase such as “Did you hear about Wen Jiabao’s shoeing?”.
Only time will tell if this form of protest is just a fad or if it’s here to stay.
Â We’ve all seen those movies, what its like to have your daddy work in the oval house and have secret service nannying you. It just sounds like the most picturesque thing. Well, after an exciting inauguration, Malia and Sasha invited their friends over to watch movies and do a white house scavenger hunt. Clue after clue eventually led them to a room where the Jonas Brothers were waiting inside! That is just way too cool.
Communism has been shunned by Americans and democracies world wide, but is the hate so deserved? Ideally it sounds really good. Although some aspects sound awful (doctors making as much as garbage men), ideas like everyone having an education and health care are awe inspiring to me. And certainly the optimal form of government for a country will be different everywhere. It’s just about finding that middle ground, I think a truly effective government requires a few small doses of a variety of theories (I want national health care!!).Â
However, yesterday in Obama’s speech, he said, Â â€œRecall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.â€
While this statement is true, it hit China hard. The government ran the inauguration live until the word communism. At which point the sound faded out and Obama’s lips continued to move. The Chinese translations of the speech omit the word “communism” however the English translations have retained it. While some Chinese are annoyed by the censorship, other’s are offended that Obama clumped communism and fascism together.Â
While my family has personally faced the hardships of communism when my grandparents fled Shanghai in 1937 for Ann Arbor and the communist party proceeded to repossess their estates, I think that all parties should remain respectful of the existence of other governments. After all, they all start out with similar good intentions. The Chinese should not feel offended by our distaste for communist rule as we should not assume that our government is superior. Government is a work in progress. Let our “sturdy alliances and enduring convictions” prevail with our respect.
On January 20th, a swarm of reporters and photographers will be in Washington DC to record an important moment in history, Barack Obama’s inauguration. Fictional reporters are not excluded from this event as in Marvel Comics most recent issue of Spider Man, Peter Parker is sent to DC to cover the event and take pictures for The Daily Bugle. Naturally, in this fictional story, something will go awry and Spider Man will have to save our own hero, Obama. Â A limited number of issues feature a large picture of Â the president-elect on the cover and a note in the corner declaring it an “Inauguration Day Special”. (more…)