Presidential Personalities

After reading “does Temperament Matter,” a Time magazine article written by Nancy Gibbs, I have come to many realizations that I had not yet thought about before. First of all, obviously not every one of us has the qualities to become a great and powerful leader of our country. There are the obvious required traits; such as bravery, confidence, wisdom, and leadership, but there are also many more characteristics that make a good president that people do not realize. “temperament is as elusive as it is essential,” according to Gibbs. this means that the qualities that a successful president needs to succeed are both needed and hard to find.



Unlike the obvious traits, the imperative traits that a president must have to succeed are often times not so obvious. Gibbs also states that “The presidency is less an office than a performance,” which goes to show that what the people hear and see is not always the truth. Gibbs continues to make it clear in her article that during campaigns there is never really a forseeable future, so it is to the utmost importance that the candidates know how to think, act, and be during that time. Sometimes a candidate has to stretch the truth in order to get what he or she wants.



People tend to pay a lot of attention to temperament in politics. For example, there are many different polls having to do with political temperament. This poll is an example of party affiliation regarding temperament in politics.Although it is true that temperament in politics is a topic that is often studied and dissected, it is also true that most people do not recognize the reality of elusiveness when it comes to presidential temperament, I for sure did not.

In her article, Gibbs states “What type of temperament matters?… The idea that anyone can grow up to be president is an American gospel, but that’s about honoring equality, not excellence. It’s good to be smart, but that’s no guarantee of success.” This statement is one that really got me thinking. That is because I had always just assumed presidential candidates were all just smart and experienced individuals, but now I have come to the realization that those traits are not all that is required from a president, and I cannot believe I had not realized it earlier. Going through a presidential campaign is much like a series of acts for both candidates. It is their job for the time being to do whatever it takes and all that is in their power to make the citizens of their country believe and trust them.

I hope the citizens of our country can take away from this what I did, and realize that everything is not always as it seems, and sometimes that is the way it has to be for things to work.




Pushing for Human rights in Malaysia

President Obama has begun to heavily push the ideology of more readily human rights to many countries in Asia. Specifically he has most recently been promoting these ideas to Malaysia. In the very recent past Obama has directly contacted the Prime Minister and held a speech promoting the use of human rights in the manner that America gives rights. Obama even said in this conference “Those values are at the core of who the U.S. is, but also I think are a pretty good gauge of whether a society is going to be successful in the 21st century or not.” This is very true that basic human rights are completely necessary and moral in every sense, yet by pushing the core ideology of our county on others, it could eventually cause major problems. If Malaysia did not want this idea of human rights to be spread throughout their county and it was directly from the United States, it could compel them to enter into some form of conflict. This conflict could be passive or aggressive depending on the severity of the situation. If Malaysians began to truly realize how much oppression they experience they could even revolt against their government, and the government would immediately blame this action of the US. It was an odd integration though, because Obama only had direct interaction with Prime Minister Najib Razak, when the opportunity arose for Obama to talk to the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, he sent a national security advisor to do so. Obama is going to be interacting with 3 other counties in Asia with practically the same agenda. He is attempting to push other counties into having a better system, allowing for more appropriate human rights. Obama plans on going to the Philippians in the near future and is expected to put a ten year security agreement into effect that would allow more troops to be held there, which will cause more territorial disputes with china. He says it is necessary because he is protecting our Allies who reside in Asia, and will help protect them from China. This can be problematic just as pushing ideas on other counties is, and should be taken care of in a delicate manner. Obama is not doing anything unconstitutional; it is in his power as a president to advocate freedom the other counties of the world. That and it is probably the most moral way to handle that situation, by helping many other less fortunate people in an oppressive country. Personally, I think actions like these would cause more harm than good. This because a fair amount of animosity is created through these interactions and the animosity could be directed right at the US. Once that happens it goes from just trying to help a country to having some sort of conflict with said country. If it has to be done, in this case already in action, the situation should be dealt with very carefully and without stepping on any toes.



Easter: Traumatic Jewish Holiday

Unfortunately, Easter and other religious holidays often evict emotions with hate groups and Semitic groups. Last week, shootings at Jewish Centers led to three deaths. Frazier Cross is being held responsible for the crime and now faces two different types of murder charges. A known racist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, Cross is also known under other aliases. Now in jail under $10 million bond, Cross is likely to be convicted of life with no parole and is also under suicide watch currently. Image

Cross was convicted of federal felonies in the 1980’s so he was not legally allowed to be in possession of a gun as well. He managed to buy three from a middle man who bought them legally, proving this was a premeditated murder. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Cross was also the founder and leader of the Carolina Knights and White Patriot Party, both white supremacist groups. When Cross was arrested, reporters were able to film him screaming “Heil Hitler” from the back of the police car. These shootings took place the day before the beginning of Passover, a sacred Jewish holiday. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had taken precautionary steps the week before to warn the Jewish centers of possible violence. 

This traumatic event can be used to serve as an example to show that while hate groups have been at a decline here in the United States, the ones that exist are still strong and dangerous. The ADL also stated that the number of violent Anti-Semitic incidents has risen in the past year; the SPLC also tracks hate groups and has been tracking Cross, who has openly stated he desires to “exterminate” the Jews. The SPLC was happy to announce that the number of hate groups have been going down in the past years, and states that they believe the reelection of Obama was a major factor of disheartening certain groups, especially racist and anti same-sex marriage groups. However, they warn that the “Radical America” that still exists is extremely dangerous and this is just one example of it. “The existence of these groups does not automatically suggest threats of violence” but can prove to be quite the danger to society. 


Modern Day Range War: A Demand for Freedom

Cliven Bundy pledging allegiance to the America that the Constitution outlines

On the Nevada prairie, a power struggle between the federal government and the people has been instilled. Clark country cattle rancher, Cliven Bundy, began a grassroots movement fueled by what he views as an encroaching federal government. Compiling accurate information is near impossible with media sources’ motives inhibiting the truth, but the following story is consistent with multiple sites:


The Bundy family has resided on its land since 1877, raising a large herd of cattle ever since. In 1993, the federal government revoked the Bundy’s land permit in order to protect a threatened species of desert tortoises. The ranchers continued to keep their 900 cattle on lands they did not own, so the Bureau of Land Management began rounding up their cattle. Cliven Bundy has gone to the media to spread his story, and has received a lot of conservative support. After confiscating 400 cattle, the BLM returned the cows when Bundy and supporters showed up to take back Bundy’s property. This whole dispute occurred from a seemingly straightforward question – who owns the land that Cliven’s cows are on?


The BLM has been regulating grazing since 1946 due to previous degradation of the lands from overuse. From the BLM’s own website, they are defined as managing, not owning these lands – the lands are public and do not belong to anyone specifically.Permits and leases can be purchased to use the public lands, which the BLM oversees. When the desert tortoise crawled its way onto the endangered species list, a recovery plan was made to save the animal. Critical habitat areas were designated, including a 192,300-acre plot in the Gold Butte area where the Bundy’s reside. This area was deemed completely off-limits for grazing. Bundy’s critics claim he is a law-breaking, tax ignoring citizen because he will not pay dues to be on the land, but his cattle cannot remain on the land because, “BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise”.

This issue is rooted much deeper that land ownership. The reason Cliven Bundy refuses to pay the federal government is because he believes the federal government does not own the land. Prior to the BLM’s overseeing on surrounding territory, the Bundy’s paid leasing fees to the state. When the tortoise became a dire concern, the federal government began demanding money from the ranchers who previously only paid to the state. In fact, the federal government oversees the land, as previously stated from their own website. Cliven Bundy is raising awareness for an issue he believes is of upmost importance: the increasing magnitude of the federal government over the state governments.

The opposition to the Bundy’s is missing the point; they think the ranchers want to use the land with no additional fees – Cliven is a “freeloader who is unwilling to follow the rules”. A neighbor farmer, Gardner, outlines Cliven’s stance by saying he “is taking a stand not only for family ranchers, but also for every freedom-loving American, for everyone… protecting the individual was a underlying factor of our government”.

Cliven Bundy is standing up for the country’s people. In early April his grassroots movement began at a “7-Eleven convenience store that attracted just a couple reporters from Las Vegas media”. His movement is now largely successful, gaining the attention of national news and riling the support of conservatives across the country. He has upheld the following statement:

“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive,” the Declaration reads, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” But it also chides the hotheaded among us, inviting us to remember that “prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes.”

The belief that federal government is growing too big has caused this man to challenge that government to gain precedent on the issue.

Although the presented information may have surprised you, the federal government’s actions are only more astounding. Liberal media has, expectedly, backed up the feds on this issue. Media sources have presented the violence and disobedience of the ranchers while completely ignoring the others side’s wrong doings. Federal agents, armed with police dogs, Tasers, and guns, were the only ones to use their weaponry. Cliven’s son was Tasered three times after running from a police dog, and government workers shot and killed two Bundy bulls and crushed a desert turtle den. The irony in killing animals when the whole issue was set into motion after trying to protect animals is astounding. Further harming the livestock, when confiscating the cattle, mothers and babies were purposefully separated by the government workers. After the weary and malnourished herd was returned, the mothers did not recognize their calves, leaving the 27 calves in need of bottle-feeding. Additionally, several cows have died from overexertion.

Now, those who support the state’s rights activists have been labeled “domestic terrorists” by Nevada Senator, Harry Reid. Cliven responded by saying that they are “citizens riled up” and “that he and his supporters were just gathering together to protest the government pulling guns on them”.

They can protest in another way, right? Wrong. The federal government has set up two “First Amendment areas” in the Nevada area. You probably thought the First Amendment applied to all of America, but the BLM has done something to change that. These bureaucrats – unelected officials – “said that all other areas in the 1,200-square-mile Gold Butte closure area were off-limits to people for stating their opinions”. The two zones were dismantled after the protesters ignoring the attempt at inhibiting their Constitutional rights. This is a direct violation of the First Amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble”. These zones intentionally “abridged freedom of speech, the press, and the rights of the people to peaceably assemble”. The ranchers did not stand for the government’s disobedience of the Constitution, and they won.

“First Amendment Zone”. Other undefined zones in the area are off-limits for freedom of speech – a clear violation of Constitutional rights.

Frankly, I think this whole situation is a mess. Cliven has broken laws, but I support the cause for which he broke those laws. The federal government has evolved into a much larger system than, conservatives and I believe, the Founders intended. The BLM required Bundy to pay for his cattle to roam around public lands because a tortoise was incapable of coexisting with the other species? The threats on the tortoises are related to human disturbance such as industrial and residential development, not cows eating grass. Recent events have fully outlined the severe situation our country is in. Civen and supporters have tried to peacefully increase awareness of the issue when they were challenged by unelected government workers deciding where they had First Amendment rights. Then. the federal government inhumanely treats confiscated cattle in order to protect the tortoise. And finally, the protesters who did not fire a shot are labeled ‘terrorists’ while very few people acknowledge the armed government agents and their use of weaponry. I do not mean to completely dismiss the wrongs of the protesters; they, too, were armed and disobedient, but the less talked about facts raise a red flag about the state of “we the people” and state’s rights.

Two Facedbook?

by Courtney Reid Harris

Recently Mark Zuckerberg went public with his outrage against government spying techniques specifically ones utilizing the Internet and social media. This is in response to the wiki leaks that Google, yahoo, and Facebook are all being harnessed by the NSA to get our information. To take it one step further, some reports declared that as a part of its mass surveillance program, the NSA pretended to be Facebook in order to infect millions of computers worldwide with malware- doing such things as recording audio from the computers microphone and taking snapshots with its webcam. This is called “industrial scale exploitation” and is a part of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations, aimed at “owning the internet”.


((if this scares you out of your pants, here is a blog offering some advice on how to “keep the NSA out of your computer”))

Naturally, this new information greatly alarmed and appalled users of these sites who apparently didn’t realize the danger in avidly updating their locations on their profile pages or typing in their telephones numbers and birthdates

“To keep the Internet strong, we need to keep it secure”

In a heroic and calculated effort on Mark Zuckerberg’s part, he posted an open letter to the government (on his Facebook wall) chastising the breaches of privacy and decency and calling for a reform on this matter **to see full text, click here. He then went on to apparently call the chief executive himself to voice his opposition and concerns. His integrity and courage to speak out against this controversial issue becomes less impressive when we recall the episodes in which Facebook was under fire for selling the vast amounts of data Facebook has collected on us to sell to advertisers.


“Facebook is the largest opt-in community of individuals in the world, and boasts unparalleled reach. That means it’s likely the largest database of people ever built, and contains more personal data than any other source” (discovery) says Peter Pasi, executive vice president at Emotive LLC, a firm that focuses on digital outreach for political campaigns.

Facebook, like the Internet in general, is a tool we use to share and acquire information about the human experience.

So obviously it would be THE gold mine for reaching potential consumers and for intelligence gathering.

And as consumers in this modern marketplace, don’t we want our Internet to cater to us? This gets into the whole filter bubble controversy but when it just comes to the ads that line the right hand side of your Facebook window, do you care that your Internet is trying to relate to you? To deny this new medium for marketing would just be ineffective denial of the way our world is changing the products reach potential buyers.

ImageYes, what we share on our profile is collected by outside organizations. What people don’t seem to understand is that the content shared on our pages attributes just as much to the popup and placement ads on our screens as to the welfare of our national security (or what most people nowadays would call it, NSA spying).

It becomes more of a matter of identifying the bigger enemy, the tyrannical government or the insatiable capitalism.

“Zuckerberg, who has previously said that privacy is no longer a ‘social norm,’ makes an odd spokesman for the safeguarding of information,” writes Kevin Roose at New York magazine’s “Daily Intelligencer.”

Surveillance and publicizing are two examples of age-old practices transitioning into the modern world of technology. Perhaps, one could argue that although they are similar in method, they are not alike in intent.

“We imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government. The US government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst,” wrote Zuckerberg.


Facebook also needs to be transparent to its users about the audiences and intent of the information recorded on its website. Perhaps the reports of webcams and microphones suddenly activating to record intelligence for the NSA is quite disconcerting if not science fiction, but what about the knowledge Google and Facebook and other search engines and networks they send to entrepreneurial corporations of our activity on their sites? That is the same violation of trust Mark Zuckerberg accuses the NSA of. Glass Houses.



Let’s Move!


Childhood obesity is something that we hear about frequently, especially since the First Lady Michelle Obama began her “Let’s Move” program to encourage being active. We see children who struggle with obesity everyday. Despite this, when I saw the percentages that showed the severity of the situation, I was shocked. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 17% (or 12.5 million) of kids and adolescents aged 2 – 19 years in the United States are now obese. Obesity in children is determined if a child’s body mass index is above the 95th percentile of children the same age and sex. The fact that 12.5 million children’s BMIs are higher than 95% of their peers makes people wary of the future. If these obese children grow up to be obese adults, then the likelihood of them having obese children themselves someday is high. Obesity has a tendency to act as a cycle that is very difficult to end.

A slew of dangerous health risks accompany obesity. It can lead to type II diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. These are serious health problems that are typically life long battles. It is devastating that some children are experiencing this already. Along with the health issues, there are emotional problems that obesity can cause in young people. It takes a toll on self esteem, and some children experience harassment from peers. This can have a negative effect on school work and social development in children.

The thing that made me most sad about the situation is the fact that the majority of these children have very little control of what is happening to them. Some children were never taught what is healthy to eat and what isn’t. In some cases, children are overweight or obese because of their parents’ income level or the community that they live in. “The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. (” It seems wrong that the health of children can be predetermined by the amount of money they are born into. The cost of food in today’s economy reflects this though. It becomes cheaper to run through a drive through and buy a dollar menu hamburger than to spend the money and energy to make a healthy meal.

Luckily, children can make a comeback from obesity. Which is what the First Lady’s program is all about. The five pillars of her michelle-obama-lets-movejpg-b3d4cb99280622b2initiative are creating a healthy start for children; empowering parents and caregivers; providing healthy food in schools; improving access to healthy, affordable foods; and increasing physical activity. The Let’s Move initiative provides people with healthy alternatives to their lifestyles at home and at school, and reaches out to children and their parents. This is a problem that has gotten increasingly worse over three decades, and won’t change over night. Fortunately, it is a problem that has also attracted attention as well. With the White House heading the movement, the goal to get rid of obesity becomes much more attainable.




The effects of war

All of my life, I have grown up in a world surrounded by hatred and war. Where countless innocent lives are taken daily and sons are taken away from their mothers when they go off to fight for their country. There’s a cycle of hatred in the world that doesn’t seem like it will ever end. If an American is killed by a Russian, an American will kill the Russian to get revenge. This small catalyst is enough to start a domino effect on a nation that leads to a full on confrontation. I wonder often what sparks us to do things like this? Why do we start wars with other countries and why do we kill our fellow man?

The obvious disadvantage of war is the fact that so many people are killed in such a short amount of time, often for the foolish quarrels of old men who have authority over them. Take the Second World War for example, over 60 million people were killed in less than a decade. That’s a lot of people. While there certainly hasn’t been a war to such a terrible degree, the world has had several conflicts for silly purposes. In the past, war was used to restore balance to the world and to withhold justice. Now? War is used to gain and money. Many of the wars in the middle east were based almost solely off of the fact there was oil in their countries. If that’s all that war has become, then why do we have war? Why do we kill others if it’s just to get more money? That doesn’t seem like a very good reason to go to war.

There’s a lot of negatives of war, but in my research I was able to find a few positive things that war can bring even though death is such a negative result. A lot of technology that we use today is product of war because we were striving to improve as a country in order to defeat our enemy. Wars also help with economic growth by providing a number of jobs and manufacturing companies thrive because their production is needed. These seem like good reasons to go to war but do they outweigh the negatives? Think of all of the damage that was does to the environment, especially in modern warfare where we can bomb a city to the ground in a couple of hours. War doesn’t just kill the people who participate. It kill their homes, their animals, their plants, and ultimately their country. It’s hard to grasp the concept of why the world as whole would allow wars to happen if they’re destructive just by pure nature. Is money really that important? I’d rather live every single day of my life poor than have to see more events like the tragedy of 9/11, which is a perfect example of why war is wrong. Thousands of innocent people are killed in a couple of hours because of the hatred in the world. It sounds impossible because it honestly like is, but why can’t we stop war altogether? Why can’t the human race strive to act as equals? We shouldn’t be separated by country, but rather we should be united as one group trying to peacefully exist.