Should we create regional electoral caucuses (USA Vanguard)

Should we create regional electoral caucuses

This article was orginally published on March 5,2008

In September 2007, the Democratic National Party stripped Michigan and Florida of its convention delegates because officials moved up the date of their primaries. This move was made due to feelings of insignificance in comparison to states that hold earlier primaries. In this year’s tight race, Michigan and Florida’s delegates could have been a deciding factor. 24 states, including Alabama, moved their primaries to February. Why did they decide to do this? The answer comes from the influential voting power in these states. Why is it that the states of Iowa and New Hampshire every four years get the privilege of being the first to select from the crop of candidates who might become president?

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Should Alabama apologize for its role in slavery-USA Vanguard

Should Alabama Apologize for its role in slavery-USA Vanguard

This article was orginally published on March 27,2007

Many states such as Georgia and Maryland are considering following in the footsteps of Virginia, whose General Assembly has passed a resolution in which they apologized for the state’s role in slavery and the Jim Crow era. At the federal level, Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives for a national apology. After all, the national government has made apologies for the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, so why not African-Americans?

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Smoking is not Hollywood’s fault (USA Vanguard)

Smoking is Not Hollywood’s Fault-USA Vanguard
This article was orginally published on February 27,2007

The Academy Awards have been given out to the best performers, writers, directors and films of the year. Some of these films probably had scenes where a character just happened to light up a cigarette. Now the American Medical Association Alliance wants the movie studios to reconsider the use of smoking scenes in movies. The American Medical Association Alliance along with endorsement from the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association is requesting that major movie studios rate any movie that shows a character smoking a cigarette “R.” The request is being made due to the increase of numbers in teen smoking.

According to the Smokefree Movies Action Network, on-screen smoking is considered to be one of the biggest threats and contributors to teen smoking. It is also stated in the study that Time-Warner, Disney and Sony account for 60 percent of all U.S. movies with smoking, and they include a list of movies that had scenes where characters smoked, many of them being rated PG-13.

I can understand the motive of these groups to try to curb teen smoking by any means, but seriously, the blame on teen smoking cannot be solely placed on movie studios. The list that was provided by the Smokefree Movies Action Network included films such as “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Hotel Rwanda.” Personally if I were a mother, I would not allow my kids to have seen “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” due to the content of the movie and not because a character just happen to light one up.

Another reason why placing an “R” rating on any movie that has a smoking scene seems ridiculous is because who after going to the movies goes “Wow, those people in that movie looked so cool smoking. I’m going to try it.” Also, it is not like we’re in the 1950s where people did not know the dangers and consequences to smoking. With all the information that is available to a person instantly, if a teenager is willing to smoke knowing what will happen to them doing this for a long period of time then that is their little red wagon to pull on. I’ve always been told that proper training for children starts at home, and that holds true for smoking. If the parents are consistent and not hypocritical in telling kids not to smoke and then do it themselves then the kids will not smoke. Do not place blame on the movies.

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Losing our Etiquette with Cell Phones (USA Vanguard)

Losing our Etiquette with Cell Phones-USA Vanguard

This article was orginally published on February 12,2007

    The rules of etiquette govern social behavior and can define a culture, a regional area and other avenues of life. Sometimes the rules of etiquette can be universal while at other times not so universal. With the ever changing force of technology, manners have either conformed or been added to the ways that we interact with each other. This is especially true with cell phones. Cell phones are probably the most convenient piece of technology that has been created in the last 20 years. You can get in touch with a person immediately, use the Internet, and download music and other various things. These cell phones have also become a nuisance in the area of etiquette that I have noticed lately, and this violation occurs at a place most people would not do at home.

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Eating Disorders Caused by Multiple Sources (USA Vanguard)

Eating Disorders Caused by Multiple Sources-USA Vanguard
This article was orginally published on February 5,2007

Self- esteem.
This for a person can be high at times and low at others, especially when it comes to today’s young women and eating disorders, which can have tremendous effects on a person’s self-esteem. Recently, well-known supermodel Gisele Bundchen stated that when it comes to young women suffering from eating disorders, the blame should be placed on families not the fashion industry. So again the finger pointing begins over who is to blame in the matters of individuals that suffer from eating disorders — the fashion industry or the individuals suffering along with their families? The blame game over this has been a long, heated debate.

At one end of the spectrum you have the fashion industry that has directly or indirectly promoted that extreme thinness is in style, stating that their designs hang better on slender models. However, at times they have been quick to point out that they are not at fault for the cause of eating disorders for models and persons outside the industry. At the other end presents the side that says that the fashion industry does promote a certain beauty ideal, which therefore at times lowers the self-esteem of those who do not fit that standard.

In response to criticism over the delicate issue of eating disorders that has occurred in the fashion industry and outside of it, fashion leaders from New York, London, Milan and Paris have decided to take part in a discussion over how to address the issue. This is in reaction to the measures Italy, Spain and Brazil have taken place to ban extremely thin models from the runway by measuring body mass index (BMI). So who is really to blame for eating disorders — the fashion industry or the families of the person that is suffering from this unfortunate disorder? The answer is that neither is at fault but at the same time both hold some responsibility in dealing with this. The fashion industry has a responsibility to the consumer to promote not just one ideal of beauty. Besides we were not all created to look alike, and it would be a boring place to look at if we all looked alike. Also the families on the other hand do have a responsibility to let the family member know that they are beautiful in their own special way. The issue of eating disorders will not go away overnight, and beauty ideals will not change instantly either, but it is going to take a slow process by the fashion industry and families to express that there is more to one ideal of beauty and at times the differences that we have are the most beautiful.

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Purity Balls Fail to Perseve Virginity (USA Vanguard)

USA Vanguard Purity Balls Fail to Preserve Virginity

This article was orginally published on January 29,2007

I came across the topic for this article abruptly while browsing the Internet recently, and apparently it was a hot topic among bloggers within the past two years. The topic was on father-daughter purity balls and what occurs at them. At these events the father or a male that is like a father figure to the young woman dress up in formal attire and the young woman makes a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage.

   This is often common among some teens but what stirred the blogging world was that at these events the father or father figure also makes a pledge to be the protector of the young woman’s chastity and to pray in this manner.

  This sounds sweet and sincere — besides, some studies have shown that for young females the father figure is the most important for help in interaction with men. However, when it comes time for that young woman to step out into the dating world the father will not always be around. These purity balls and other virginity pledges have been highly regarded by abstinence programs, but are these pledges guaranteed to fully enact its purpose, which is for the person to remain a virgin until marriage?

 Janet Rosenbaum, a researcher for the Harvard School of Public Health reported her study of the effectiveness of these pledges in the American Journal of Public Health. The results of the study found that teens that signed the pledge that went on to have premarital sex were likely to deny ever signing a pledge. This coincides with the recent news that a study found that most all Americans had participated in premarital sex. In addition there have been other studies that showed that individuals that signed these pledges were just as likely to have STDs as their peers.

   This shows that just because someone signs a piece of paper or makes this declaration wearing formal attire does not mean they will uphold what they promise. Then again, these studies also cannot really determine whether all persons that sign the pledge will break it.  

  So what does this all mean? If one wants to remain a virgin until marriage it is going to take the determination to resist the temptations that are in the environment around them, and no one said it was going to be an easy one, but if the person wants to dress up and make a declaration then that is good and all, but let’s hope they brought the willpower with them to withhold the promise.

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Thoughts on the death of Osama Bin Laden

I woke up this morning, looked on cell phone and saw this on my twitter timeline.

A screencap of a twitter post from Jason Guy, WESH 2 News anchor about the death of Al-Queda leader Osama bin Laden.

I recall being a senior attending Murphy High School when 9/11 occurred. That day I remember walking around in a stunned state of awareness, shock, sadness, anger, and silence. The next few days on the Murphy High campus, there was this sense of patriotism and love for one another as I’m sure the rest of the United States did. Even at  our high school graduation our principal at the time, Mr. Doug Estle, made note on how our senior class seemed to become closer despite such a tragic event.

Flash forward to November 24,2004 Lance Cpl. Bradley Faircloth a member of the 2002 senior class of Murphy High dies while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His last wish was to have our senior project which was this

The panther statue that stands in front of the Murphy High School campus built on honor of Lance Cpl. Bradley Faircloth. Photo courtesy of Todd Douglas photography.

I just wonder what was the reaction on the Murphy High School campus upon hearing this news of Osama bin Laden’s death.
We always have to give thanks to our government administration and our men and women that serve for our freedom each day. Also we have to remember that the war on terrorism is not over yet and there is still work that has to be completed. Otherwise I will remain hopeful for our future as always.

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