5 reasons for Obama to be satisfied

8 Jan

Barack Obama has been getting more popular among the american population recently, it’s still not great, but better. A new pole done late in 2014 showed that 48% of Americans was satisfied with Obamas work as president. This is the best result he has gotten in quite a while now, and is better than what Bush had at the same time when he was president.

Here are 5 reasons to why President Barack Obama can be satisfied

1. The employment rate is going up
The american economy is enjoying the low oil prices and the number of people who are working in America is going up each month. The unemployment is now at 5,8% witch is a great improvement. Also Mitt Romney, who were Obamas opponent during the last election promised to get it under 6%, which Obama now has accomplished.

2. Gas prices are going down
The gas prices are often an important case to the American voters, and they have been getting away with low prices for a long time now. The American organization AAA are constantly paying attention to the price and right before Christmas there was a record amount of days where the price kept falling. The price for a gallon of regular gas is now $2,20.

3. The relationship to Cuba
America has had a complicated and hostile relationship to Cuba for many years. But they have now been speaking to make the hospitality go away. Obama announced that they are going to make an effort to normalize the relationship between the two countries who has been enemies for 55 years now.  The Americans are happy about this and wants the traveling restrictions to go away, they want a diplomatic relationship and the possibility to trade between them.

4. New emigration laws
Late in November Obama presented a new package of emigration laws. He had made this proposition alone  without the congress. The biggest proposition was that he wants to give 4,2 million illegal immigrants papers so that they don’t have to worry about being send back to their country of origin.

5. Ending unpopular wars, getting involved in “popular” war
Obama has during his time as president withdrawed a lot of soldiers from conflicts in Afghanistan and Irak. The war in Irak had minimal support back home in America and Obama has been getting a lot of support from stepping down the warfare here. Obama has started a campaign against the ISIL and this gets a lot of support as well.

I think that the fact that the employment rate is going up is really important to Obama and the rest of the US. When people are working this impacts several other aspects of the society and is always positive for the whole country. You never want to have a lot of unemployed people as this costed the country money and it is also a negative factor to the economy.

Sources:
http://linkis.com/www.e-pages.dk/aften/3pRk8

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Boyhood

5 Jan

During our last class before Christmas, we went to the movies to watch a film called “Boyhood”. It is written and directed by Richard Linklater and the movie stands out from other movies. They have chosen to use the same actor and filmed over 12 years.

The movie is about the life of a young man called Mason, and we get to follow his life from the age of five, until he is 18 and begins a new life at college. There are a lot of challenges on the way, including abusive step fathers, the pressure to do drugs, heartbreak and moving to new places as a teenager.

Furthermore, the movie is really entertaining even though it is pretty long. Linklater manages to keep the viewers attention and it does not feel like you are sitting through a almost three hour long film. I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to others.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyhood_%28film%29
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1065073/

Alaska cooperation, Q&A

18 Dec

Last week, we had the opportunity to cooperate with a class in Alaska. We shared a google document and wrote down ten questions. My Question was “Do you think it’s hard to understand how the election process works?”, as I think it can be difficult to understand all the different aspects of the election process. The students from Alaska wrote really good answers to all the questions, and I got 6 answers to mine.

The answers I got were also different, some of the students found the election process super easy to understand, while some found it a bit confusing. One answer I got was “Yes and no. Yes because it’s a tricky subject to learn about and become an expert on, and can be fairly convoluted, and no because this complex system is often simplified into two parties and a set of policies that everyone will vote on.” I can see how this student thinks and the thoughts behind this answer. I would also agree, with this answer as I don’t think it easy to fully understand the whole process of the American election.

Some of the other students in my class also asked about their thoughts on the shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri. I think this is a very important case, and I found it interesting to read the views of American students. The answers were mostly against the riots and the students believed that the policeman did the right thing and acted out of instinct. But one of them answered differently and said that the police in America has to much power and that the shooting was wrong. It can be difficult to understand the history behind the shooting and to choose which side of the story we should believe. I think the shooting in Ferguson was a triggering factor to something that has been developing over a long time. If we were to ask a class from for example New York, I believe that the answers we would get would have been extremely different when it comes to this question.

9/11 a day we will never forget

20 Nov

On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four commercial airlines on their way to west coast destinations. The terrorist attack was organised by the al Qaeda. Their tactic was to choose large planes who were going to fly long distances as they would be heavily fueled.  A total of 2977 people were killed in New York City, Washington DC and in Pennsylvania.

This is refereed to as the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Today I watched the documentary 9/11 made by two french brothers. They were filming a documentary about how it is to become a firefighter and were originally filming Tony Benetatos. Tony was still a probationary firefighter when the 9/11 attacks hit. He was assigned to the Ladder 1 firehouse on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan. The fighters from this department was the first at tower 1 after the first plane hit. The documentary is made with real life images and gives a great insight into how it was to be a firefighter during this dramatic day and the days after.

911film.jpg

One of the brothers follows chef Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer, they are among the first to arrive after the attack and the whole thing is captured on camera. They are in tower 1 as tower two collapses and they can hear the sounds as people are jumping from the towers and hitting the ground. We get to see how the chefs are handling the situation. The other brother is filming from the outside and gets the peoples reaction.

This is truly a documentary to watch if you are interested in the 9/11 terrorist attacks as it’s all real and not reconstructions. And I can guarantee that you are going to feel chills going trough your body as you watch it.

9/11 is a day the world is never going to forget

More information about the documentary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_%28film%29

More about the attacks here: http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-timelinehttp://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11-anniversary-fast-facts/

Why I would support Bruce Braley

2 Nov

Bruce Braley is an American politician and attorney who has served as the U.S Representative for Iowa’s 1st congressional district since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic party and I would support him if I was to vote in this midterm election. According to pre-election forecasts, Iowa is an state where there is no certainty yet of who is going to win.

I have now read about Bruce Braley and I think I would support him. He wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. He is also very interested in economic fairness, creating jobs , and investing in education. He is also working to create better advantages for the middle class as he thinks they are being squeezed more than ever, while Wall Street bankers and big companies are making record profits.  Braley is also pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and has worked hard to make abortion an option to everyone.

Michelle Obama is also supporting Braley and held a speech early in September. She began her speech by saying “I am beyond thrilled to be here today to support your next senator from Iowa, our friend Bruce”

After finding out about Bruce Braley I hope he wins the midterm election in Iowa and gets to keep up the good work he does. So now all we can do is to wait and see if the Iowans will vote for Braley on November the 4th. I hope they do!

Recount

29 Oct

In class today, we watched the movie “Recount” about the presidential election in America in 2000. During the counting of the votes many elderly from Florida though that they had voted wrong because of the ballot. Some votes where also dismissed because of old equipment. The movie addressed a lot of interesting political aspects and they went to extreme extents to have make recounts of the votes.

Before I watched this movie I knew some about what happened in 2000 and about American politics. But I learned a lot during the movie. The whole voting and general election process is very different from the one I am used to in Norway, but the movie gave me a better overview of the American system.

Facts about US election

16 Oct

Today we answered some questions about the US election.

  1. What is the Electoral College In U.S. Elections?
  2. What is an inauguration? Mentions some points Obama had in his inauguration speech
  3. What does “democracy is the right to dissent mean?
  4. A swing state, what is it?
  5. What is a caucus and how do they pick a candidate for the president election?
  6. What is government 2.0?
  7. What are the main concerns about the new Health Reform?

The Electoral College in U.S Elections is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. Everyone votes for the party they want and then all the votes are counted, each state supports the party who gets the most votes in that state. The states with the most inhabitants have a greater impact and that’s why it’s important to presidents to win the support of the states with the most people living there.

An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a major public leader’s term of office. The “inaugural address” is a speech given during this ceremony which informs the people of his/her intentions as a leader. In President Obamas speech he talked about that even though freedom is a gift from God, it is important to him to keep his people safe. He also promised to create new jobs and to keep the country growing.

It is about the freedom of speech and how you (in a democracy) have the right to have a different opinion. You don’t have to agree with the majority of the government.

A swing state is a state where no particular candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing the state’s votes. Swing states are targets for a lot of campaigning prior to the elections as winning there states is the best opportunity for a party to gain electoral votes.

A caucus is a meeting of supporters and/or members of a specific political party or movement. They meet to discuss who they want to elect as president candidate for their party.

Government 2.0 is about the use of technology to encourage a more open, transparent and engaging form of government, where the public has a greater role in forming policy and has improved access to government information.

The new health reform in America

To finance this reform there will be a rise in taxes. People are afraid that they will have to pay more to make it possible to provide free health care for all Americans.

If not me, who? If not now, when?

25 Sep

On the 21th of September, Emma Watson held a speech at the United Nations Headquarters about gender equality. HeForShe is a new feminist campaign encouraging men to stand up against gender inequality and to fight for the same rights for men and women. The day after Watson’s speech, over 20 000 men had already taken the HeForShe pledge, most pledges coming from English-speaking countries.

Feminism is a word who is often misunderstood. Emma discusses this in her speech by saying ” the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

“I want men to take up this mantle,” she said. “So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”

Emma also addressed the fact that she was really nervous to set off this UN campaign, but she had told herself “If not me, who? If not now, when?” I found this really inspirational, and that is something you can think about in many situations of your life.

As I write this post, 130 845 men all over the world has taken the pledge. And in Norway only 1094 men has taken the pledge. This is not a lot considering how many men there are in the world. if you want to sign up and take the pledge, follow this link: http://www.heforshe.org/

he4she

You can read the whole speech here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too

Link to the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Dg226G2Z8

Magna Carta

18 Sep

Magna Carta, also known as The Charter of Liberties, was sealed by King John, under oath on June 15th 1215. When Magna Carta was written it was the first time a group of the King’s subjects imposed a proposition to limit the King’s power by new laws and protect the peoples’ rights.

The charter is well known for its important role in the long process that led to the rule of the constitutional law in Great Britain today. Many of the same laws and principles found in Magna Carta are still a part of the constitutional law today. For example:

“No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.” This is probably the most famous clause from Magna Carta and made in the 13th century a huge difference for the normal citizen. It meant for the people they could stand up for their rights without having to fear unfair punishment. Or at least that was the idea of the barons who wrote the charter. To make sure the King would keep his promise the barons had also written a clause saying a committee of 25 barons had to be established to overlook the king’s decisions. King John never really approved of the charter and as soon as the barons had left London he went back on everything he had agreed to. This led to a civil war, known as the first barons’ war. During this war King John received support from the pope who abrogated the charter and called it a

“shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear.” With the purpose of preventing war Magna Carta was a failure. It was legal for only 3 months , but the death of King John a year later secured the future of Magna Carta as a charter of peoples rights.

The Magna Carta agreement was built upon Thomas Aquinas opinions. He thought that rulers should use their political power to maintain the needs of their people and that the people should have the  opportunity to speak their minds if the ruler was doing otherwise.  Aristoteles and Plato was inspirational sources, and all men should be equals by law. The king also needed the support from the parliament and was no longer able to rule the country on his own and to a change he needed to think about the people as well as himself.

Magna Carta is a important part of history and is the first document that shows the system where the king ruled on his own was about to disappear. It also shows that the people has the power to  overrule the authorities in a society.

Here is a link to a short video explaining the Magna Carta: http://www.parliament.uk/education/teaching-resources-lesson-plans/stories-from-parliament—magna-carta/

Sources:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/magna_carta.htm
https://politikkmenneskerettigheter1011.wikispaces.com/Magna+Carta

Tower of London Remembers

4 Sep

In 1914 on the 4th of August, Britain entered the first world war. This means that it’s 100 years ago this year. During the first World War more British soldiers and civilians died than in any other conflict, to this day. During the war the Tower of London played an important role and was a place where a lot of the British soldiers was recruited. The Tower also acted as a military depot throughout the period of the war, storing munitions and weapons. To remember all the fallen, a major installment called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” are being set up at the Tower of London.

Recruits swearing in to join the Royal Fusiliers at the Tower of London on 29 August 1914, at the start of WW1
This is a picture from a recruiting session at the Tower in 1914.

A ceramic artist called Paul Cummings has created 888 246 ceramic poppies witch will progressively fill the Tower’s famous surroundings during the period between the 5th of August until the 11th of November. A great part of the Tower’s moat is already covered in ceramic flowers. Each of the 888 246 poppies are representing a British military fatality during the war. The first ceramic bloom puppy was placed by one of the Tower of London’s Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters and the artist himself will symbolically be placing the last poppy on 11 November. Paul Cummings has commented on the project and said “I was inspired to create this installation after reading a living will by an unknown soldier who we think may have been from Derby.  I approached the Tower as the ideal setting as its strong military links seemed to resonate.”

The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the tower and planted their own ceramic poppy.

As you can see the moan at the Tower now looks like a field of flowers. It is possible to buy a puppy for about £25 and dedicate it to someone in your family who died during the war and become a part of the Tower of London Remembers project. A part of the money raised by selling these ceramic flowers will go to 6 different charities in the UK.

“The installation is transient, I found this poignant and reflective of human life, like those who lost their lives during First World War. I wanted to find a fitting way to remember them.” – Paul Cummings

If you want to learn more about The Tower of London Remembers project, check out this link: https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/