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Kubul Bombing Girl

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This is a fairly famous photo. The girl in green lost seven family members in this Kabul Bombing, one being her seven-year-old brother. When I see this, I wonder what terrorists try to acheive. I wonder why it’s necessary to kill a seven year old… A mother… A little girl’s family? They were no one important, but still those more than 80 people died. Why do immigrants, old men, young girls, children, have to die due to fascist ideals, or anarchismal, or terroristic. When I see this girl, I can imagine her screaming the same thing I’m asking. Why? Why do we have to kill and die? What does this do, except hurt innocent people?

Why We Haven’t Changed: from The Help to Today, a “Diverse America”

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If any of my readers have heard of Eva Longoria, than you might have heard of her show Devious Maids. While Longoria herself does not act in the show, it has a great cast including soap star, Susan Lucci. Ever since I was a little girl, I have idolized Eva Longoria. I remember being up past my bedtime, watching Desperate Houswives with my mom. When I saw Eva acting on that show, being completely outrageous and hilarious, I thought to myself, I could be her one day. When I was younger the only Latina role models I really had we’re my Babysitter and Dora the Explorer. Eva Longoria became the person I wanted to be when I grew up, because if she could do it, so could I.

Growing up in the south has never been easy for someone who is racially different. By elementary school, kids were already being taught that “Mexican illegal immigrants [were] lazy and taking jobs,” (how those two things work together I will never understand) and that if you were brown, or spoke with an accent, you must be Mexican. By middle school, kids started asking me if I was an illegal immigrant, or if my dad was; of course, back then I didn’t really know what that meant so I would always reply “How could he be? The Dominican Republic is an island… There’s no other way to get here from there.” Back then kids already knew racial jokes, but they knew that if they made jokes about black people, they would be considered racist, so they made a lot of Mexican jokes instead. The one about a Texan screaming “for the Alamo” and throwing a Mexican out. The one about the American kicking a Mexican out of a taxi saying “I have too many of these in my country”. Saying Mexico never wins the Olympics because everyone who can run jump and swim is in the US. And “Mexican fist bump” where you “jump over the border”. I’m not Mexican, but these jokes still hurt, and they make me very sad and disappointed. Partly because to most of these kids, all countries that speak Spanish are Mexico, and partially because they teach children to hate and disrespect at such an early age.

Now I’m in high school. Some teachers tried to encourage the kids to not have cliques, to go outside they’re social boundaries. They don’t see why Asians sit with Asians and Latinos sit with Latinos. It’s never been because we don’t like white kids. It’s because they used to not like us. Most of us established our circle of friends in elementary school and middle school, and that’s when the separation began. Now we sit with who we are comfortable with. We sit where we know someone wont ask us if we can speak English, or assume we got an A on a math test, or are going for a soccer or basketball or track team.

Over the summer, I read The Help by Kathrine Stockette. I found, upon returning to my school after being in California all summer, that a lot of my classmates either hadn’t heard of it, or didn’t know it was a book. A lot of people made posters for it, for their summer assignment, and it saddened me when you could tell they just saw the movie. Throughout reading The Help, I truly did laugh, cry and yell in public. I was moved and it touched my heart, mainly because I could relate to many of the points in the book. Being the girl who isn’t always asked out, being an intellectual in a community that doesn’t want, let alone appreciate it. Mainly, as I read every chapter which dealt with the topic of segregation in the 60s, I sat there and asked myself, “why do people say we’ve improved”?

Steering away from the Latino issue, it surprised me to find out that just in the year 2000, people were screaming the N word at an African American quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. I know the southern states can be slower than most on civil rights and equality issues, but this truly shocked me. Some people have heard of Lindsey Davis, who had an 11 hour filibuster, trying to keep a bill on abortion from being passed by governor Rick Perry, who went on to openly slander Mrs. Davis’ home life. I’m not a PolySci major, so I’m not going to act like an expert, but I do admire Mrs. Davis for the way she stood up for her cause. All these things made me keep thinking… The women’s rights issue still isn’t completely solved. Everyone who saw the Treyvon Martin case knows that that wasn’t fair or just for the African American community. Stop and Search in New York, SB 1070 on Arizona, The Defense of Marriage Act (which was finally repealed, took you long enough), we aren’t that much better. We don’t have any Home Health Sanitation Initiatives, like the one mentioned in The Help, or separate drinking fountains and schools, but we still have direct laws targeting people.

I started this off by mentioning Devious Maids. I can say I love this show. It has humor, intrigue, and to me, it is The Help of today. Many times throughout the series the topic comes up about how much these employers really care about their maids. The maids discussed, “if we died would they even care? Sure they might go to our funerals, shed a tear or two, but would they really care?” And they ended it with ‘it depends on how good the maid they replaced us with is’. One of the employers tries to sell his maids out for prostitution, and when she is killed his wife’s only response is “who’s going to clean?”, and while some characters do really care for their maids and treat them like friends (in their own way), most of America that can afford help does not.

Yes, you can argue that it would be the same for any race of made. When someone works for you, they work for you. However I’ve noticed that people always seem to assume, the gardeners and maids are Mexican. Assume that they don’t speak English and listen to bad Mariachi music. Even in big industries like the MLB, when you compared two even players, for example Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz. Back when they were both on the Rangers, they were basically the same as far as stats went, so it always made me curious that Hamilton, who wasn’t performing well and had a recurring problem with alcohol, got paid twice as much. My friend worked at a car wash for a while and up until now, they were paying him below minimum wage, just because they could take advantage of him like that.

My point is the problem isn’t solved in America, it’s just pushed under the rug. Yes, nowadays, kids know that you can’t make black jokes, but that’s all they know. Most of their parents still raise them with other stereotypes. I’m glad that now students can get scholarships for being African American, or Asian, or Latino, buti wish we could live Ina place where those labels didn’t exist. Where missionaries stop going to the Dominican Republic, they believe in God they’re just a third world country. Of course they probably don’t think about the kids without safe water while they have margaritas at their resort. I don’t want a kid to feel free to say to me, “could you turn that musico off? I already heard it on my gardener’s lawn mower this morning.” I want us to be in a place where my little cousins don’t have to be ashamed of a great tan. A place where people can be themselves no matter what the color of their skin. I know right about now, anyone who’s reading this is thinking that I am just preaching a kumbiya, but you wouldn’t like it if you could be a doctor, a lawyer, the person to cure cancer and still people look at you, surprised you can be successful, surprised you aren’t on drugs, surprised that you are a normal human being like them.

The New Auto-Tuning

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It seems like the newest craze sweeping the world is Auto-Tuning. Not like the traditional T-Pain version, this auto tune refers to the automobile. More and more popular songs have been re- filmed and been modified with choreography.
One of the most recent songs to Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”

This can be considered the original Auto-Tune of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” by the Harvard Baseball Team

This has spurred many competitive “Harvard vs.” videos with another popular one by the SMU Girls Swim Team which has been taken down

This one is a personal favorite of mine, being a big fan of UCSB with UCSC right on my college top 5 plus, being a California girl, nothing can hold me down when Katy Perry’s “California Girls” featuring Snoop Dogg comes on.

Keep your eyes open for the next Auto-Tuning trend

What Should America Do?

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America is a superpower in the world we live in today. So much of the global economy and politics depend on us; as we also rely on the world. Now, we do not only rely on, but depend on other countries, for fossil fuel resources that near every country is willing to fight for and has fought wars for. If humans don’t die at the hands of these costly and fatal wars, than they die of their own destruction. Human beings of every nation suffocate themselves under a blanket of smog, which surrounds us. We now breathe this toxic air on a daily basis, adapting to it along with our children, the future generation. In the wake of this global distress cry from our earth, many countries have answered the call to find alternative means of supporting the lives we are now accustomed to. What can we do, as a super power? As America? We can fight back, through our leaders and everyday men and women, and make an Eco-friendly household the new norm in American life.

In simple terms, global warming is caused by the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, which traps heat from the suns rays; the greenhouse effect. Scientist believe since there is no reverse to the greenhouse effect, as displayed by our neighboring planet, Venus, we can slow down or stop trapping gases in the atmosphere by reducing pollution in the air, which is mainly caused by burning fossil fuels. The first step, to any big project like this, is education. Our government needs to do more to educate people, young and old, about reducing the amount of pollution and the effects of global warming. There are so many people who have heard false information or simply don’t know anything at all. In a new TIME/ ABC News/ Stanford University poll, 85% of respondents agree that global warming probably is happening (Time Magazine). Our presidential candidates discuss their ideas for global warming in their campaigns, but they don’t explain what it is. Since global warming is a part of all of our lives, we must educate every person with factual knowledge of exactly what global warming is and it’s long term, or short term consequences. This is no different and a campaign against youth smoking, drugs or bullying in schools; the key is to make clear what people might not otherwise know. Children smoked because they thought it was cool. They stopped once they learned about how it can ruin your life, or end it. Once their eyes are open the path becomes easier to follow.

The second step: Addressing the problem. Now people know what it is, but why does it matter? sometimes pure facts aren’t enough for everyone, you have to make it personal. Americas overconsumption of fossil fuels effects everyone. Right now countries are fighting to keep their oil overseas. Big companies are buying and selling it, making fortunes. Countries are building their economies around it, like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. These same countries are fighting wars to protect it, while others fight for more of it. When you think global warming doesn’t immediately effect you, think of a friend or family member in Iraq. We are addicted to this oil, we can’t imagine life without it, we feel like we need it. As people die on battlefields, the earth dies a little with every gallon that is drilled, processed, sold, transported, and burned into the air. Then, theres the economic aspect of oil and fossil fuels. We pay thousands of dollars every year to other countries. As the days go by our gas prices right here in the states rise. Keep in mind that oil is exhaustible. We can run out; one day, we will run out. When we still rely on something when it is rare to find, people become ravenous for it, and with that desperation comes people who will take advantage of it, with more high process. The problems we face and the problems which cause global warming are one in the same. To fix one will drastically improve the other.

Which leads to the third step: Finding the solutions. One of the main problems we face with fossil fuels is the cost. We ship much of our crude oil from overseas in South West Asia. The cost for acquiring the oil alone has skyrocketed in recent years, and then you must add the cost of transporting and processing. Subsidies to energy R&D cost taxpayers millions of dollars while producing minimal benefits. While these programs may be relatively small given the size of domestic energy markets, they serve little, if any, useful purpose while subsidizing large corporations at taxpayer expense(Global Warming). In the United States, we do have our own means of drilling for oil in our own territory; however, we do try to. Use our resources sparingly and we could not provide for the entire country purely on our own when it comes to fossil fuels. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will bring new jobs and reduce air pollution. We can’t afford to wait (NRDC). Right now scientists are in a race to find an alternate source of energy. One which is in abundance here but does not run our quickly, or at all. We are turning to solar power to charge electricity in our homes. As we know, the sun’s energy will still be around for years to come and always in abundance. We have already found ways around places that don’t receive as much sunlight, such as rainy Seattle. In some places you can see giant windmills, powering cities with every rotation. Now, some cars don’t even need gasoline; they can run on pure electricity, which lasts longer and doesn’t pollute the air. Soon there can be solar powered cars, and batteries will be a thing of the past with everyday items.

The final step is to make the solutions more accessible. At the moment, all of this eco-friendly technology is very new. In our current economy people might be mislead into thinking the only way to save the planet is to buy a costly new car or completely remodel your home. In reality there are little things that any average Joe can do. Many people and governments are already working hard to cut greenhouse gases, and everyone can help (National Geographic). The popular childrens stations Nickelodeon and Disney Channel have been getting children interested in their enviornment and how to protect it. Disney now has Friends for Change, which consisted of celebrities who work for the channel encouraging kids to make an active effort in their own communities to help the environment. Kids were also encouraged by contests Disney held for schools who make a remarkable and creative difference in helping everyone be green. Meanwhile, Nickelodeon made an internet campaign which showed kids just how easy it is to save energy everyday, with little things like turning off the lights and electronics when not using them, unplugging cords which aren’t being used, and keeping an eye on your thermostat by making it warmer in summer and cooler in winter rather than going extreme in either direction. Adults can get involved too. Many celebrities are making moves and encouraging others to recycle. Think how many people would put a compost bin in their backyard if they knew Amanda Seyfried and Lea Michel had one in People magazine. Making Eco-friendly things popular in today’s society will make it catch on faster. Even Leonardo DiCaprio made his own film about global warming, “The 11th Hour”. The aim is that people don’t find it hard and it can fit easily into their daily routines, helping the planet every day. Earth Day is a start, making helping the planet a holiday and an international event.

Our planet is beautiful and simple It has not religious or political stance. It’s has no opinions, criticisms or complaints. Most of all, our planet is generous. There is a book children read titled “The Giving Tree”, in which a tree gives a boy it’s fruit, its leaves, it’s branches, everything until there is nothing left. Our earth is reflecting that tree now. We have taken its forests and destroyed them for industry and manufacturing. We have taken it’s earth and torn and ravaged through it for common minerals which we raise prices on. We have taken its water and spill oil and trash in it, not aware of the other lives which depend on it. We have taken its air, and tampered with it. Now, we have to help it the way it has helped us. We can replant the forests, cut back on the mining, clean the water, and save our air, before there is nothing left. Now we have no excuses, we have solutions. The rest is up to us, and how much we want to repay the earth for everything it has given us: for being our giving tree.

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While Sitting in Detention

Seriously, detention is officially the most pointless form of punishment. I mean really, the first thing they tell you when you walk in is, “don’t read, don’t draw, no music and no talking.” The only activity that leaves us is to sit there and stare at a wall, which, as productive as that sounds, probably ends up killing more brain cells than you can count. If the people in here are already considered delinquents, why make them stupider; as opposed to letting them read or study, you prefer to make them more simple, which will just end them up back here, taking another of your afternoons, teachers! Aren’t you just digging yourself your own grave with this? I didn’t even, really, do anything terribly wrong, yet I’m sitting here, in an empty classroom with nothing but chairs for company, staring at mister Metternich for so long that I think I am subconsciously counting his nose hairs. Some are really long and grey… Okay, I have to stop this! At least what I did was worth it, not like a cell phone going off or bad mouthing the teacher. Amber Metternich is one of the coolest girls in the class: she has amazing blonde hair, big brown eyes, and, sure, she wears a bit of makeup, but come on, which girls don’t? Anyway, being the teacher’s daughter, she doesn’t look at a lot of guys, so you have to make her want you. So, when Metternich assigned the class to write something about Marie Antoinette, I figured it was a perfect opportunity. So the next day I actually volunteered to present first, which was when Metternich first started getting suspicious. Before I could take it back, he pressed the play button on my video. The entire class had the pleasure to witness me strumming on on the guitar and singing a self written song that, in actuality, had nothing to do with Marie Antoinette. If I can say nothing else, I can say I looked good, hair swooped to the side with a blue Ralph Lauren polo shirt and black jeans. The song was a little bit like a parody of What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction.

So there’s a queen
Who’s really mean
Living high while the people have nothing
But we got told
To write about her
But I think someone deserves a song first
Everyone on the planet hates Marie
But there’s someone here who’s way more cool

Personally
I’d rather wright a song
For a different girl
One who’s smart and funny
A real partier
Someone who’s sitting in the room right now
So, A-Amber
You should know you’re awesome
A- Amber!
I think you really deserve this song

And before it moved on to actually say a little about the Queen of France, Metternich stopped it with a face more red than a solo cup! I swore sparks were going to fly from his grinding teeth. Meanwhile Amber is sitting there with her head in her hands and bobbing up and down. I really didn’t think it would embarrass her, but I guess in hindsight she’s a really shy person, so singing about her in front of the entire class might not have been the way to go. That Say Anything moment is what landed me in detention, and her dad has been giving me the stink eye for the past hour.

When I finally got to leave, I stopped by the teachers lounge to get a soda, and there was Amber. Sitting in the teachers lounge with her hair in a messy bun on top of her head and a really oversized sweatshirt. Man, she is truly awesome. She looked up at me and I could swear that violins are playing somewhere when she looks up and me and smiles, “Hey.” So was that really worth it, sitting in detention for 3 hours, being locked in a room with her father and the most unproductive punishment established by school systems? Yes! It turns out she thought that was the sweetest thing anyone had ever done for her, and the bravest. She gave me her number and we’ve been happily texting all night. Then, I woke up to the sound of a heavy book on a table and Metternich saying “Detention’s over Casanova.”

Why Are We So Different?

We had a discussion yesterday about technology, weather it helps us or hurts us. We looked to the Disney movie Wall-E, how those futuristic humans were fat and stayed indoors, relying on technology, revolving around technology. Its really not so black and white, we are more lazy and we dont go outside; however, we still break world records, we still have models and size zeros. Then we discused how kids think differently now, they can pick up on technology very quickly, like iPhones and such, but they have a severe lack of creativity and imagination, with this comes a lack of leadership.
The latter is my main foucus. I find that there are a lot of children who have no drive, no ambition for life or to acheive, they will just do the bare minimum, finding the easy way out. They don’t lead and they don’t work. My aunt teaches at a middle school and can find it in the graduating class of 2017-18. We came to the conclusion that it was some kind of Post-9/11 form of parenting.

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