Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter

Today is good Friday, and I'm in the Le Patourel Room, by myself, working on my thesis. So, I thought I'd say Happy Easter to all my blog readers (yes, both of you). Not only is it Good Friday today, it is also the full moon, and the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. So to celebrate, here's a song:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Barack Obama's camp furious at claim he is winning only because he is black - Times Online

Barack Obama's camp furious at claim he is winning only because he is black - Times Online: "Geraldine Ferraro, the Democrats’ 1984 vice-presidential nominee and a supporter of Hillary Clinton, triggered the latest campaign firestorm yesterday by saying Barack Obama had been successful only because he is black man."

I'd say this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Obama '08

I think Barack Obama is the best candidate for the presidency. I believe this to be true for many reasons, such as his leadership ability, his experience, his stance on important issues, and his message.

As far as leadership, he has eleven years experience as a congressional representative, eight years in the Illinois State Senate, and almost four in the US Senate. Hilary has only three years in the Senate (time spent as First Lady does not count as leadership experience). If you compare Obama’s record in the Senate to Clinton’s, Obama has passed more wide-ranging legislation with more support and co-signers than Clinton. The co-signers of Obama’s bills come from both political parties, while Clinton’s often don’t have any co-signers. For an analysis of Obama’s record v. Clinton’s, follow this link, or you can compare yourself by going to the Library of Congress website. The legislative records show that Obama has the ability to persuade others to work with him and support the causes he feels are important, such as health care, energy, voting, veterans, global warming, campaign finance, global poverty, nuclear proliferation and education. Hilary is divisive and if she were elected, she’d have to work harder to gain the support she needs to get things done. Her bills also tend to be focused exclusively on health care, which is a good cause, but Barack has enacted legislation on this issue and much more.

Before embarking on a career in politics, Barack Obama was a civil rights lawyer and a teacher of constitutional law. So I’m pretty sure Barack’s read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which is something I can’t say for sure about the current president. Much has been said about Obama’s lack of experience when it comes to National Security. However, considering his pre-congressional career, Obama must be against the use of torture to obtain information. Therefore, I think it’s safe to assume there will less chance of any scandals like Abu Ghraib happening under Obama’s leadership. Looking beyond matters of torture and national security, I think having a president who is a civil rights lawyer is a good thing.

Another thing that sets Obama apart from Clinton and McCain is that he’s been against the war in Iraq from the beginning. He said that the he’s not against all wars, just stupid wars, and declared that we should be focusing on Afghanistan rather than Iraq. Considering the current state of affairs, I think Barack Obama has shown better wisdom on this than McCain and Clinton.

When he was young, Obama spent some time living in Indonesia. As an American living abroad, I think this gives Obama with an advantage the other candidates don’t have. Being an American living abroad gives you a perspective on the world that you just can’t get living in the US. I think this makes Barack Obama more qualified in diplomatic matters. He knows how the rest of the world sees the US, and can do a better job at restoring the credibility and integrity that we’ve lost over the past seven years.

Furthermore, I like Obama’s message, ‘Yes we can’. It is so simple, yet so profound. It’s something we need to hear and is reminiscent of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. It’s a smart message that strikes the heart. Obama is offering positive change, not change for the sake of change, but well-reasoned change. McCain and Clinton are offering the same tired politics that lead to voter apathy. Obama has the charisma and intelligence to foster good will and accomplish improvements in our lives.

I’m not na├»ve and I don’t think things are magically going to change if Obama is elected, but I think if Obama becomes president, he would do more to improve things than any other candidate. Go Obama!

A Chorus of Millions

Yes We Can

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Marking Essays

I spent a good portion of this past weekend marking the final paper for a course I'm teaching. I don't know what happened between the previous paper and this last paper, but the quality of the writing deteriorated considerably. I failed three of the papers. They were really bad. I think part of the problem was that the questions were very vague. However, the students were instructed to answer the questions in reference to the entire course. Some students chose to discuss things that were never covered, and way off topic. Students were supposed to demonstrate in this paper that they had accomplished the main goals of the course, which consisted of gaining an understanding of world prehistory. One student wrote about two very historical events. Another student claimed that the archaeological record began about 5,000 years ago, even though we studied sites that were over 10,000 years old. One of the other main objective of the course was to learn how to use appropriate online resources. One sudent referenced the MySpace profile of Alexander the Great. Another student referenced the film 300.

My brain hurts.