Posts tagged ‘United States’

November 19, 2012

President Obama’s push for cleaner environment is a wise choice

Obama through the years

Media Design by Krista Brooks

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, November 19, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/president-obama-s-push-for-cleaner-environment-is-a-wise-choice-1.2795504#.UKnMNIenKa8

In President Obama’s first campaign, he vowed to end the war in Iraq, provide health care coverage to all Americans and take action against the potential global climate change.

All promises have been kept, but since Hurricane Sandy, the climate change has been a main focus by the Obama administration.

Their efforts have been redirected to develop cleaner sources of energy and improve fuel efficiency in vehicles.

Obama addressed this last issue in his recent acceptance speech: “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”

Friday, the Department of Interior ceased development in oil shale (a type of rock that contains kerogen, a low-grade fuel) from 1.6 million acres of federal land in the west.

This can be extracted to produce oil by heating and cooling, which is a less cost-effective method compared to hydraulic fracturing with oil shale.

Other venues for clean energy have been initiated by Obama and his administration.

This October, he has announced an initiative for 96,000 acres of water near Delaware to provide alternative energydevelopment.

Also, they announced expansion of wind power development in Wyoming which alone can provide 3,000 megawatts of power.

Lastly, the Obama administration has announced alternative energy initiatives to take place in Arizona. This utility-scalesolar energy will be accessible to neighboring states through transmission lines.

These initiatives are only stepping stones to the Obama administration’s plan to use alternative methods to generate clean energy, reducing negative impacts on our environment. Finding a source for clean energy is one part and dealing with the energy and fuel that we have available is the second.

Obama has cooperated with auto companies to create a 54.5 mile-a-gallon fuel standard, a goal to achieve by 2025.

This long-term plan will lower America’s reliance on off-shore oil as well as reduce carbon emissions from our vehicles. This will reduce the costs of vehicles and their fuel for American drivers.

In lieu of his second term, Obama is also pushing for the renewable-energy tax credit to be passed this year in Congress. This is an initiative to give back to those who make an effort to use cleaner energy and alternatives to fossil fuels.

With more land to create in-state energy alternatives and car companies willing to go green, our country has jump started a mission to clean our air and cool down the climate.

Despite the campaign and possibly your candidate losing, recognize that Obama has stuck to his word and respect the move towards a healthier environment.

Regardless of political parties, our Earth should be first priority, and Obama has shown us that he cares.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

November 19, 2012

The U.S. wiretapping law is an infringement of citizens’ privacy

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/the-u-s-wiretapping-law-is-an-infringement-of-citizens-privacy-1.2786953#.UKnIZoenKa8

Yesterday, the Supreme Court held a hearing to challenge the 2008 wiretap law, which allows the government to listen to and record American’s phone calls and emails. The case came after several U.S. Supreme Court justices suggested to lawyers and civil right activists to challenge this federal law.

Former President George W. Bush authorized this law, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), shortly after Sept. 11 for the National Security Agency to intercept communication between suspected terrorists overseas and their U.S. connections without a warrant. The law was extended to any American communication, but foreigners abroad must be targeted first.

The range of people under this surveillance is broad. From foreigners to citizens without a criminal record to any American making an out-of-country call, anybody can be under surveillance. The federal law allows any telephone or email communication to be intercepted in the U.S., regardless of any suspicion of wrongdoing. This information is recorded and stored in a database that is never deleted.

There have been cases taken to the court by citizens suing for the invasion of privacy, but they have not succeeded. The cases have fallen short because there is no evidence to prove that wiretapping has brought any harm to these citizens — aside from infringing on their constitutional right to privacy.

The group of human rights activists, legal and media organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are fighting to repeal this law because it is a catch-22.

The government claims that citizens cannot challenge the law without proof that their communication was under surveillance, yet this information is strictly secret.

The law protects phone companies from being sued for allowing the wiretapping as well, so Americans have no control over this infringement of privacy.

Supporters of the repeal claim that this gridlocked law is unconstitutional as the government has ensured we can do nothing about it.

This law was passed in lieu of fear instilled by Sept. 11. Many felt safer knowing the government was taking control of the terrorism acts overseas, but was there enough interception of this communication to wave our civil right of privacy?

FISA negates our democratic process by eliminating any other courts from taking part. The FISA court meets in private and will not allow the public to alter the act.

Four years later, action towards the law’s repeal have been set in motion. This hearing will not determine whether or not the law can reside but will be tried for allowing citizens to sue. It will not address whether it is lawful or not, yet it will pave the road for future measures.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 17, 2012

Gas prices should not affect the upcoming presidential election

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 – The Daily 49er

Yesterday gas prices in CA rose to an average high of $4.66 a gallon.

This means that California’s average gas price has risen to be higher than that of the nation’s former most expensive gas state, Hawaii, which is $4.39.

The regular gas price average in the U.S. is $3.81 currently, but the cheapest available gas in Long Beach as of yesterday was $4.54.

The highest price reached $4.92 at one point.

Whoa.

Gas has almost become $5 per gallon here in Long Beach.

This is surprising because gas prices normally go down before an election.

In California alone, we are paying towards gas typically 40 to 50 cents more per gallon than anywhere else in the country.

For years, many have pinned the gas price hikes on the sitting U.S. president, blaming him for mishandling the situation.

Even so, gas prices do not greatly affect the vote when election season finally rolls around.

As of last year, the U.S. supply of oil increased the most since 1970.

Under President Obama’s term, the amount of drilling for oil has escalated for 10 percent of the country’s current demand.

According to the Republican Party’s independent energy campaign, the prices in gas will increase if Mitt Romney is elected. While prices will rise, more jobs will be created for drilling, and more oil will be available.

However, as we can see with the Obama administration, the increase of the amount of drilling and oil will not lower these outrageously high prices.

Just as before, prices are more than likely to escalate if we drill more.

As enticing as it is to exclaim “drill baby drill,” the odds are demand will remain the same and be ineffective in lowering prices.

Beyond rising prices, the current gas situation has turned several desperate drivers into thieves. In Roseville, Calif., there were about 1,100 gallons of gas stolen from a Shell station, worth more than $4,500. These gas thieves were caught, yet only 1000 gallons were recovered.

These prices are higher in CA due to a fire at the Chevron Richmond refinery in August, which reduced oil production. This refinery supplies 8.5% of total petroleum products to the Petroleum Administration for Defense District 5, which includes CA.

Prices have also escalated from the organic chloride contamination that shut down the Kelleman-Los Medanos pipeline, which proved 85,000 barels or crude oil a day to supply the San Francisco Bay Area.

We experienced another setback yesterday in our local area, Torrance, CA. The ExxonMobil refinery that supplies 149,000 barrels daily to the LA area suffered from a power outage shut down.

Due to these setback and shutdowns, the low supply will hurt our wallets for hopefully just a bit longer. Energy experts predict that lower-quality gasoline may be introduced to our state, which other US states have already taken advantage of. This gas will cause more pollution, but will ease the severe spike in price. Our state already has high levels of pollution, and this gas should be used only temporarily.

Despite setbacks at the pump, hopefully California residents will be able to separate gas prices from the real issues when voting in this election.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 17, 2012

Pizza Hut political stunt may lead to more debate viewers

By Krista Brooks

Published Tuesday, October 15, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/pizza-hut-political-stunt-may-lead-to-more-debate-viewers-1.2778872#.UH7q-xweXAg

Topics for debate: education, the economy, health care … meat toppings on pizza?

Last week, Pizza Hut announced that they’d reward a brave soul who would ask the presidential candidates what their favorite toppings are at tonight’s debate.

The company was criticized for its unnecessary involvement in the political campaign, and making a mockery of the presidential candidates for the thought of wasting their time.

“Sausage or pepperoni?”

Pizza Hut had offered one free pizza per week for 30 years or a check for $15,600 to anyone who asked this simple question at the debate. The rules did not specify whether or not the contest winner had to receive an answer from the candidates.

The contest attracted several outlets: those willing to ask the candidates and those slamming the political stunt.

Comedy Central talk show host Stephen Colbert was amused by the situation. He laughed at how the prize of a pie a week could kill you within the 30 years of free pizza. Colbert asked his audience, “What could be more American than using our electoral process for product placement?”

Gawker website ran a headline that read, “Want Free Pizza Hut Pizza for Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV.” The New Jersey Star-Ledger referred to Pizza Hut as “knucklehead of the week.” The restaurant chain has now altered their contest to question their customers rather than President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. With just an email and zip code to enter, one lucky contestant who answers will be selected at random to win free pizza for life.

“The anticipation and buzz around this question proves that this debate should be taken to the people,” Pizza Hut executive Kurt Kane announced. “We’re no longer asking a few hundred attendees at the town hall presidential debate on Oct. 16 to pose the question, rather we’re bringing the question — Sausage or Pepperoni? — to millions ofAmericans.”

Food industries and politics just don’t mix. Chick-fil-A was recently given a national day from a politician who agreed with the owner’s political views but received negative feedback from customers who just don’t agree. Recently, Papa John’s pizza announced it would raise its prices if Obama’s health care reform law goes into full effect.

All in all, I respect Pizza Hut for creating a competition to encourage people to the watch the debate without choosing and promoting a certain candidate.

Still, the stunt was poorly executed, and the company could have gained support and sales had it gone another route. Through the competition, Pizza Hut may have encouraged many to watch the debate regardless of who is the target of the competition. The first debate between Romney and Obama earlier this month earned about 67.2 million viewers. The viewership should rise, and Pizza Hut may have gained some extra eyes with its ridiculous political stunt.

Krista Brooks is a sophomore journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

Americans should not fear a shortage of delicious greasy bacon

By Krista Brooks

Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/americans-should-not-fear-a-shortage-of-delicious-greasy-bacon-1.2769973#.UGpnCE3A-Gk

I’m sure you’re all devastated about the news of the worldwide pork shortage.

Yes, this includes our favorite meat, bacon.

Last Thursday, Britain’s National Pig Association warned that the escalating numbers of shrinking herds are going cause an “unavoidable bacon shortage. ”

This ‘porkapocalypse” is due to the increase in cost of feeding these delicious animals, according to the pig industry.

If you’re still reading, let out that breath you’ve been holding — bacon will not be extinct as predicted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that the pork production of next year will be around 23 billion pounds, only a 1.3 percent decline in America.

Worldwide, it’s predicted that the availability will only be a 2 to 3 percent decrease per-capita.

Bacon has become a fad, or obsession, for American food lovers.

In 2010, the pork consumption reached an all-time high of 33.4 pounds per person a year, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Europe may experience a lack of bacon within the next few years, but only a 10 percent decrease at most.

Do not freak out. There will still be bacon.

The bacon crisis has spun into an exaggerated epidemic. We can all blame the media, but let’s get serious. If there was a terrible shortage of bacon in our future, we would all want to know about it immediately.

Thankfully, this issue is not as worse as forecasted by the United Kingdom, but the word “unavoidable” comes across very serious and scary.

The bacon in the United Kingdom is also different from the bacon that Americans eat with scrambled eggs and toast. The bacon in this region is from a different part of the animal, a meat familiar to us as “Canadian bacon.”

YouTube series “Epic Meal Time” will be happy to know that the price of bacon in Canada, however, will not be raised as high as in the U.S.

This predicted scarcity was due to a recent drought and rise of corn price.

This may raise the price of pork-per-pound within the next few years.

Steve Meyer, a consulting economist to the National Pork Board, predicts that prices will be raised at most to $3.75 per pound. This price is only 25 cents higher than present costs. If you were freaking out about the loss of bacon — I know I was — rest assured that it will only be raised by a measly quarter, a price us bacon-lovers will have to pay.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er. 

October 2, 2012

Online registration will boost the number of young adult voters

By Krista Brooks

Published Monday, September 24, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/online-registration-will-boost-the-number-of-young-adult-voters-1.2768658#.UGpp0E3A-Gk

Today is National Voter Registration Day, a day to reach out to unregistered voters and encourage them to get involved in the political process.

It is important to get unregistered citizens to vote so they can be active in the community.

Last Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown simplified the process to become a registered voter by signing legislation to implement online registration for voters.

Californians can now register via the web in hopes to increase voter turnout, primarily among young adults and college students.

According to a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California, 29 percent of our state’s adult voters are over the age of 55 while 33 percent are college students. However, students only contribute to 18 percent of students in the state vote.

Only 75 percent of Americans that are registered to vote actually do, and 24 percent of Americans are eligible but aren’t registered.

In the 21st Century, everything is online.

Books, articles, movies — everything is accessible with the click of a button. It only makes sense that registering to vote should be as accessible as well.

Now, young adults can register through a simple online process. It will be just as easy to register to vote as it is to register for a social network.

With all the time they spend on Facebook, young adults have no excuse to not register.

Proposition 30 has made less proactive voters to become involved in an issue that is bound to affect them. Hopefully, with this new access to online registration, students will voice their opinion on other issues that affect our college, city and state.

The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 6 elections is Oct. 22.

That is plenty of time for us to sit down and register.

If online registration isn’t enough, new legislation has been passed by Brown to allow same-day voting registration.

This will become effective starting Jan. 1, 2013. So if  you somehow forget there is an election coming that day, you can still vote.

Both online and same-day voter registration will greatly change accessibility for students and busy young adults.

It is about time our registration process caught up with times.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

New Arizona law allowing police to question citizenship is wrong

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 18, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/new-arizona-law-allowing-police-to-question-citizenship-is-wrong-1.2765415#.UGpm_k3A-Gk

After two years of battling the provision in Arizona court, police can now say to civilians, “show me your papers.”

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton passed the controversial immigration law, and five states — Alabama, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina — have since instated a law based on the same grounds.

The law allows police to question the immigration status of suspects who they believe to be in the country illegally.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in 2010 in Arizona, a state known as the busiest illegal entry point in the country.

Great timing, everybody.

Elections are coming up, and this is the perfect way for a state to essentially pick who it wants to vote for.

This law will single out Latinos and breed distrust between police officers and their communities, which they have promised to serve and protect. This sense of distrust will only expand when police officers begin to ask registered citizens for their papers just because they look like they could be an illegal immigrant.

This will brood both fear and loathing of police in Arizona citizens, who are worried they could be suspected of beingillegal immigrants.

There is also the notion of having to always carry around your papers.

Neither I nor many other Americans carry around any form of “papers” all the time, proving that we’re citizens.

If someone is questioned and they don’t have their appropriate paperwork, they can be detained and taken into custody on the basis of suspicion alone. Being a law that is derived from suspicion, it can be seen as an infringement on civil rights.

If determined illegal, federal immigration officers can be contacted by Arizona police to have unauthorized residents deported.

Both supporters of Brewer and the provision questioned if federal immigration officers would comply, to which the officers responded that they would help based on level of threat and priority.

From the small buffer created by the federal immigration officers, some illegal immigrants may be exonerated, but nonetheless they will still be targeted by state officers.

President Barack Obama’s administration motioned to repeal the law on the grounds that federal immigration lawtrumps state law, but that was denied.

The officers are being trained to distinguish the features of an illegal immigrant.

Couldn’t that be just about anyone?

Hopefully Arizona citizens will band together to fight this new law.

Arizona citizens should refuse to be profiled on a daily basis by how legitimately “American” they appear.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

October 2, 2012

McDonald’s should consider a vegetarian menu in America

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Krista Brooks

Published September 5, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/mcdonald-s-should-consider-a-vegetarian-menu-in-america-1.2757314#.UGpm_U3A-Gk

McDonald’s Corp. announced it will be opening two vegetarian-only restaurants in India next year.

The fast-food chain is famous for its beef hamburgers, which are not an easy sell in India.

There are currently only 271 McDonald’s restaurants in India and more than 33,500 worldwide. That is less than one percent of the company’s locations.

These new meatless outlets will be set in the Sikh holy city of Amritstar and near the Hindu Vaishno Devi shrine in Katra.

According to a 2001 census, about 80 percent of India’s population is Hindu and more than 13 percent are Muslim. Due to religious dietary restrictions, people of the Hindu faith do not consume beef and Islamic followers avoid pork.

With a wide population of vegetarians, McDonald’s has changed its menus to reflect more of the region’s demands. The Big Mac was altered to the Maharaja Mac, which is made with chicken patties in replace of beef.

This was a good alternative to beef, until customers found that the fast-food chain was seasoning the fries and other products with beef flavoring.

McDonald’s apologized and changed its ingredients to avoid another dispute.

The company also donated money to Hindu foundations and other groups in 2002 to patch things up for its mistake. Now, the company is taking the next step.

The McDonald’s chain is trying to reach out to the Indian population to accommodate their dietary needs.

In the United States, three percent of all beef consumption is made up from McDonald’s.

Without beef, the fast-food restaurants have to be creative in adapting new menu items.

According to the Vegetarian Timesstudies show almost 30 million people in America follow a vegetarian diet.

McDonald’s is being progressive in accommodating India and offering options for diverse consumer needs other than its quick-eats from the dollar menu.

Offering a vegetarian option in America could feed even more than the several billions McDonald’s says it has served.

Last summer, I worked at a cold storage where more than half of my customers asked for non-beef or non-pork meals. It’s safe to say there are plenty of people out there following a vegetarian diet.

McDonald’s is a large corporation with many resources.

Taking the extra step to help accommodate religious diets is admirable. They will reap the benefits of extra customers,an audience that will now have McDonald’s as a food option.

After this progressive move in India, McDonald’s should consider opening a few meat-free restaurants in America or add a separate menu with meatless items.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism student and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

September 5, 2012

Bill Nye is a science guy who knows what he is talking about

By Krista Brooks

Published Sunday, September 2, 2012 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/bill-nye-is-a-science-guy-who-knows-what-he-is-talking-about-1.2755638#.UEaTifXueSo

We all remember the show and song, right?

Bill Nye “The Science Guy” would perform experiments and teach science to us kids while we unknowingly learned.

However, Nye is not just a children’s television star from the nineties. He is actually a renowned scientist as well.

Aside from his appearances on television, Nye is a 56-year-old scientist and mechanical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and an honorary doctorate degree from Willamette University. Nye is not just the corny, bow-tie wearing, television character with a catchy theme song. Nye actually knows what he is talking about.

Recently, Nye posted a YouTube video encouraging teachers and professors to educate evolution as a scientific proof rather than an alternative to creationism. Nye said our taxes should be spent on learning facts that can be supported by science instead of religious theories.

Separation of church and state does not stop at our civil rights and laws. Education should be based on knowledge and fact and not the opinions of teachers or their religious affiliations.

Nye supports his bold statements by explaining that radioactive dating proves that our earth has been around for billions of years, much longer than the Bible teaches.

Besides creationism, Nye has posted other videos about his scientific views, such as advocating clean energy climate change legislation.

The scientist’s words reach a large audience with almost 3.5 million views and counting on his creationism video. The generation Nye entertained as children is now older and could be considered more open-minded.

Of course, unless his opinion infringes on one’s personal beliefs.

Many reacted to the video poorly, accusing Nye of bashing religion and advising him to stick to his own area of expertise. The scientist defended himself, saying the focus was on use of taxpayer money, not outside beliefs.

Recently, an owner of a fast-food chain publicly stated his opinion on “valid marriage.” Well, outside of his expertise, the company was rewarded with an annual appreciation day.

But when a highly-acclaimed scientist expressed his views on his area of expertise, he was criticized for not obeying his boundaries.

Sure, the two-minute video may seem condescending and very biased, but at least Nye explains his point and doesn’t leave questions up in the air.

Nye claims the United States is the most technologically advanced country but says its citizens are too stuck in their beliefs against evolution to make any kind of progress.

The scientist made a video about his views and beliefs based on scientific evidence and fact. His opinion on religion was never mentioned and he carefully stuck to the subject of creationism.

Religious viewers should not persecute Nye for not agreeing with how the world came about but distinguish that his message is true: tax dollars should go to education based on science, not religious beliefs.

September 5, 2012

Our View: All-campus shuttle routes are an inconvenience

Walter Pyramid at the Cal State Long Beach cam...

By Krista Brooks

Published September 2, 2012The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/our-view-all-campus-shuttle-routes-are-an-inconvenience-1.2755639#.UEY7q_XueSo

Our campus in one of the largest in the Cal State University system. This is not just by student population but by square footage as well.

The walk from the engineering department to the University Library is quite the journey on foot, but students will have to go the extra distance due to a change to our campus shuttle system.

The east campus and west campus shuttle routes no longer run through campus.

Even if you did not utilize these shuttle routes in the past, the pathways to class have already become noticeably congested this year.

With the change of shuttle routes, the five shuttles — two shuttles serving Beachside College and three all-campus trippers — now head in one direction.

The shuttles no longer provide a direct route from Brotman Hall up the hill to the Liberal Arts buildings or the library.

One shuttle was also eliminated to save money.

We understand — budget cuts, right?

This semester, our tuition increased but our student transportation efficiency decreased.

The east and west shuttles provided a quality service for anyone visiting the campus. This included professors, faculty, students and guests.

They were more direct routes that took less time than the all-campus routes, which are heavily congested, and helped get us where we needed to be on time.

Also, by canceling a full shuttle entirely, Cal State Long Beach has doomed many who rely on the shuttles during peak hours. It’s possible that now there won’t be enough shuttles to accommodate the amount of students. There are 1,500 more of us this year.

Those relying on the shuttles must now pray one of them doesn’t break down. Students have told us that some shuttles already have.

Otherwise, wait times to squeeze uncomfortably onto a shuttle will go through the roof.

Can you imagine the mad dash for the shuttle door when that already filled all-campus tripper makes it to your stop?

With the current heat and humidity we have in Long Beach, nothing can be closer to hell than cramming into a lightly air-conditioned box next to the sweaty bodies of fellow students or, even worse, professors.

The exclusive all-campus shuttle service can only lead to an extension of dreaded small talk that will probably consist mostly of “What happened to the convenient east and west shuttles?”

CSULB officials say the new shuttles are safer because the shuttle will always drop off passengers on the right side of the street. People will no longer have to cross the “treacherous” Beach Drive in order to get to where they are going.

It’s “safer” because, like children, we college students should not be crossing streets unless we are holding hands.

One thing CSULB has done right regarding our shuttle system is providing a website for students that shows how long it will be until the next shuttle arrives.

Students can know the exact time their lumbering crammed shuttle will finally get to the stop. This is imperative, because we suspect that when they look at the shuttle just coming around the corner, it will already be full.

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