Archive for April, 2014

April 30, 2014

We Need Campaign Finance Reform

imagesThe U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), has given wealthy donors the carte blanche right to buy an election by effectively eliminating meaningful limits on campaign contributions. The ruling builds on the Citizens United ruling, which opened the door to unlimited fundraising and spending by super PAC’s and dark money nonprofits. Following the rise of television and social media after World War II, the cost of running a political campaign increased dramatically.

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April 28, 2014

Time for an Upgrade?

Microsoft-Windows-XP-logo-blissTechnology is advancing like the speed of light, and every day, month, and year, something new is being released making current technology outdated. The possibility of the advancement and what we can do with technology is so great, that it makes running businesses and even our personal lives easier.

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April 26, 2014

Democracy at Russia’s Front Door

imagesOn March 18 of 2014 Vladimir Putin, the longstanding autocrat of Russia, stood behind the pulpit and addressed a mass of Russian parliamentarians and aristocracy. “Therefore,” he spoke, “an overwhelming majority of people of Crimea, and an absolute majority of Russian citizens support the reunification of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with the Russian Federation.” 

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April 26, 2014

Common Core State Standard – A Rushed Out Idea to Standardize Education?

Girl drawing back to schoolEverything always looks good on paper when you draft out your ideas. However, often times when you take the idea from paper and turn it into a product, it doesn’t always turn out how you’ve envisioned it. The Common Core State Standard, who was developed by the nation’s governors and education commissioners through their representative organizations, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), is an example of such an envisioned idea.

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April 26, 2014

3D Printing: An Opportunity Worth Taking

Three dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is the process of using filament to form a solid 3D object from a digital model. Since the introduction of this new technology, 3D printing has become a major influence in today’s market being distributed and manufactured for uses and application from engineering to our military.

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April 26, 2014

Equal Pay for Equal Work

women gradThe Paycheck Fairness Act has been presented before the House of Representatives and Congress three times from 2009 -2014, each failing to get the required number of votes to get a filibuster in the US Senate. With the bills reintroduction in 2014, there was no support from Republicans who stated that the bills recent reappearance was nothing more than a Democratic ploy to gain female voters in the upcoming election. While this issue may be viewed as a political tactic depending on whom you ask regarding it, it doesn’t change the fact that the issue of unequal wages between the male and female sex has yet to be resolved despite past legislation outlawing pay discrimination.

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April 26, 2014

Two Should Play A Game

file000704919536In his 2014 State of the Union Address, President Obama promised a new effort to promote gender equality in the work place. “It’s time to do away with the workplace that belong in a ‘Mad Men’ episode. This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.” The crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

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April 26, 2014

Witless Protection: Consequences of the Anti-Vaccination Movement

syringeThe influence that anti-vaccination advocacy groups have that may cause parents to refuse vaccinations for their children endangers millions of lives. The wave of paranoia inspired by such groups causes parental mistrust of actual expert scientific information, which leaves children vulnerable to terrible, albeit preventable diseases.  The mere idea of children contracting and possibly dying from a preventable disease because of fear mongering and misinformation should be infuriating enough, but because of these advocacy groups spreading these dangerous myths it has become a reality.

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April 26, 2014

Minimum Wage: Up it or Leave it

money-found-1428300-mIn recent times one of the biggest headliners is how President Obama had increased the minimum wage of federal contract workers to $10.10. This, however, isn’t where he wants to stop: he is out to increase the public minimum wage to the same amount, so that everyone making under $10.10 an hour will see an increase in their pay checks. This has sparked debates between many types of people, from politicians to the average person. The current minimum wage is $7.25, which is on the lower side, and people who work 40 hours a week for this amount are barely able to support themselves, much less their family. For example here in Hawai’i minimum wage workers currently earn $15,080 annually working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks. A person with one child earning $15,080 is $2,770 below the Hawaii poverty level in 2013.

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April 26, 2014

Solar Standoff: HECO Oligarchy

solar-panelsHere in the aloha state we are no stranger to monopolies. In the late 19th century the sugar industry began to dominate the Sandwich Islands, giving rise to the Big Five that controlled everything from public policy and taxation to voting and land acquisition. This ultimately led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy by the turn of the 20th century. The US military has dominated land control since before statehood, while the pineapple and sugar industries maintained water control by the millions of gallons. Matson shipping has continued to run a virtual monopoly in the islands since three Big Five executives became Matson directors, shipping nearly all of the agricultural goods to the mainland.

Tax breaks and exemptions historically seem to favor the more fortunate, but perhaps we are in for a change. Solar energy in Hawaii has seen an explosion in the last decade, with rooftop solar becoming a commonplace throughout the islands.

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April 26, 2014

E-cigarettes: Healthy Alternative Up In Smoke?

Ever since the 1600’s, tobacco has been consumed through the form of a cigarette. While cigarette smoking remains popular to this day, it is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 16 million Americans experience diseases related from smoking such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer. Nicotine is the main chemical in tobacco that makes it a stimulant substance while being highly addictive. Tobacco also composes of more than 4000 other compounds with a sizeable amount of them being toxic and carcinogenic consequentially producing 480,000 deaths annually in America.

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April 26, 2014

The Death of Competition Coming to a Router Near You

comtastic-738582In today’s society, access to the internet is essential to perform the tasks required to go about everyday life. However, it is becoming increasing expensive to subscribe to this service. To put this in perspective in the 1990’s internet bills “ranged from $7 to $11.50” a month. Now the average internet bill is around $86! Has the cost of providing this service increased that exponentially? Considering it costs less than $5 a month to provide this service to consumers, I’m going to say the increased cost comes from an increased profit margin. Why are cable companies able to do this? Why hasn’t competition driven prices down? Simply put, there is no competition.

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April 26, 2014

Gay Athletes Deserve Equal Treatment

nba-player-jason-collins-becomes-first-openly-gay-athlete-in-a-major-american-team-sport  What started as just a game has now transformed into an important aspect of life for most Americans. Sport has evolved from something casual into an obsession with most of the attention falling on professional athletes. Within every team sport lie players whom are deemed “superstars”. These are the players who grab most of the attention from the media due to their consistent high level of play. Whether they know it or not, star athletes not only have a huge impact on the game that they play, but also on the fans who watch them.

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April 26, 2014

There Are More Issues in South Africa than Oscar Pistorius’s Trial

Domestic Violence MonthOscar Pistorius’s trial is making headlines and has been repeatedly featured in the news over the last few weeks. While the prosecution of celebrities naturally tends to draw attention, this will also be the first time South Africans will be able to watch and observe their legal system in real time. The media attention on Oscar Pistorius’s trial has also brought South Africa’s break-ins, domestic violence, and rape issues to the forefront of conversation.The unique media attention allows for discussion of the generally ignored crimes occurring in South Africa. Hopefully the focus on Oscar’s trial will lead to further reform and help for the abused women of South Africa.

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April 26, 2014

Childhood Obesity: Who’s Fault is it?

childhood-obesityAs of November in 2013, obesity is considered a disease. It has become so widespread that many are calling it an epidemic, while a WebMD article by R. Morgan Griffin labeled the “obesity epidemic ‘astronomical’”. Over the past thirty years, obesity rates have gone from 15 percent to 30 percent. Instead of doubling like adult rates have, Childhood obesity rates, on the other hand, decided to outperform their older counterpart by tripling their rates. Surely following in their parents footsteps, and then some.

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April 26, 2014

Concerning Guns

The gun control debate is a personal and emotional one for many people. On both sides, there are supporters and opposers who feel very strongly about the issue and refuse to concede in a compromise. The issue is not a black and white one either; there are many different possibilities for the handling of firearms within American society. Though the Bill of Rights ensures the right to own a gun, there is question about whether or not we still need to be so heavily armed in this modern age.

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April 25, 2014

Antibiotics and Animal Feed

Imagine consuming meat products that contain some kind of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in it.  It is not a very pleasing thought, is it?  There has been a recent issue pertaining to the misuse of antibiotics being mixed into animal feed.  The main concern with this has to do with the placing of a larger-than-normal amount of the antibiotics in the animal feed, which leads to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

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April 25, 2014

Let’s Talk About Sex

Sex-EdWhen did you learn about the birds and the bees? Learn things about anatomy, the reproductive system, the importance of abstinence and protection? Popular answers would be awkward mom/dad conversation, inaccurate facts from friends, and most importantly a junior high sexual education class. If you have been through the public school system, like I have, then you might recall classes that covered anatomical images of bodies, how our bodies will change in years to come, and ultimately pushed for abstinence in the youth of America.

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April 25, 2014

Medicare Reimbursements Data: Invasion of Privacy or Exposure to Fraud?

medicareOn Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data to the public containing “information on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other healthcare professionals.” The data contains information on the “utilization, payment (allowed amount and Medicare payment), and submitted charges organized by National Provider Identifier (NPI), Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code, and place of service.” The release of this Medicare data to the public has been accompanied by mixed reactions from physicians, federal officials, and medical authorities; yet, the advent of such data has been said to be “a milestone in healthcare transparency.”

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April 25, 2014

Solar Power: Our Nation’s Future

solarpanelsAmidst the recent discovery of natural carbon dioxide sinks in deserts, scientists are beginning to analyze the extent to which the Earth’s landscape can reduce emissions given the current rate of CO2 going into the atmosphere. Washington State University researchers concluded that with growing concentration levels, soil will increase their uptake of carbon dioxide over time. Even so, relying on carbon sinks is not sufficient for resolving man-made climate change.

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