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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Junior theme

For my junior theme topic I will be researching standardized testing. More specifically I will be looking at why schools in areas of wealth tend to do better than schools with populations that have less money. If standardized testing is supposed to be equal and every child should have the same opportunity to perform on the test then why do some areas do worse on these tests. When the  "No child left behind" act was passed it was supposed to help kids who were underprivileged, but it has made no difference and I want to understand why that is happening. I will provide a link that I think shows the difference in a fantastic way.


Another topic that is heavily discussed in the book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich is "privilege" and how some people are favored because of their race. As someone who is white Barbara Ehrenreich discovers that she is given some advantages and some jobs that only white people get. She says that to look professional "It helps to be white" (13). People have a preference of whites when they are hiring. She finds that she is favored because of her skin color in almost ever way. Most of the jobs in the back are given to immigrants and when she starts her job as a maid the majority of the people working there are immigrants. She discovers that in these jobs where you are barely scrapping by it is even harder for people who are not white.

Friday, March 11, 2016

What it's like being poor

In the book Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich, she discovers what it is like to live with a minimum wage paying job. She discovers many different struggles during this time, but in this blog I am focusing on her deffiniton of poverty. According to the U.S. census in 2015 the amount of money made by one person to determine if they were poor or beneath the poverty line was 12,331 dollars ( This is not a lot of money even to be considered poor.
As Barbara Ehrenreich finds out, it is almost impossible to live your life with a minimum wage job, but that is not the only thing that she feels comes with being poor. She finds that's she is constantly struggling with many things. The one that she brings up most constantly is pain. She is always sore and has to take a ton of pain drugs to help her get through the he day: "I start tossing back drugstore-brand ibuprofens as if they were vitamin C" (33). She is always feeling down, but knows she has to battle through it in order to keep living paycheck to paycheck. It's not only the physical pain, but also the mental pain. She never gets a rest and that wears her down mentally as well. At the end of her time working in Florida she just leaves her job: "I leave. I don't walk out, I just leave" (48). At this point she can't take it anymore and has to just walk away she is so burned out. So not only is it almost impossible to live on a minimum wage job, but it is almost impossible to cope with the struggles of everyday life and that is what she adds to her definition of being poor.

Monday, December 14, 2015

American Conformity

For my blog post today I will be talking about conformity and being a non conformist. This is something we discussed in many lengths during our class. A conformist is someone who adapts to accepted behaviors and follows what other people are doing. People usually do it to fit in with the crowd and to not seem different. Many people view this as a stupid practice and feel like you shouldn't want to make yourself look and act like everyone else or do what is expected of you. It's what you do differently that makes you unique and the person you are is one way that they look at it. There are thousands of examples in the world that I could choose to examine, but for today I want to look at "American Idiot" by Green Day and show how it represents being a non conformist.
"Green Day" was and still is a very popular band who have made many popular songs and lots of them have to do with going against social norms or standing up for something. Arguably their most popular song is "American Idiot", which is all about not becoming almost brainwashed by the American media, but it has a lot more meanings behind it. The song begins with the line "Don't want to be an American idiot" that is where they get the name of the song and it also explains what the entire song is going to be about. An "American idiot" is somewhat of a stereotypical American to them. It is someone who believes in everything the government says or acts in the way that everyone else does.
In the opening lines they talk about how they don't want to see America go into this crazed state due to this conformity and they look towards the future and hear "the sound of hysteria" which can be thought of as America going bottom up. They themselves want people to stay away from this and want to show the people that they shouldn't buy into this. They then say "where everything isn't meant to be okay". I feel like this is showing that not everything is how it's portrayed. Not everything is so simple or good in the world. It's not really how the American media portrays it and people shouldn't buy into this. People should broaden their horizons and look past it. They feel that everybody's opinions are shaped by the media "One nation controlled by the media". They talk about propaganda as well, so the nation is being controlled by the media and people opinions are being molded by this propaganda. They are trying to get people to not conform to what they believe the government wants. They themselves want to be the ones that wake people up to this. They say that "We're not the ones who're meant to follow". Just from that line you can say that they don't want to be conformists and they are "calling out to idiot America".  This sense of people's opinions being made for them by the media is what they are trying to fight because they don't want to be like everyone else.

Lyrics link:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vandalism Is Not Right

A little while ago two mosques were vandalized in California. They were spray painted with words of Jesus across the building. This comes with the recent terrorist attacks causing many people to take a stand against Muslims. Many political figures have also come out and spoken on the subject of what to do with all this civil unrest going around. I don't think it was right for them to do this and I fpdont feel they had a good reason. A small group of people doesn't define a whole religion. The United States is supposed to stand for freedom of religion.mthat is at the base of its core values as a nation. So to due this I felt represents many people very badley and people have to remember that two wrongs don't make a right.

Warning shots

Recently tensions between Turkey and Russia have met a boiling point and it seems they are only getting worse. A Russian ship apparently fired warning shots at a Turkish ship because they felt they were going to collide. These relations started with a Russian plane being shot down by Turkish forces, which killed a pilot. Turkey said that the plane was violating Turkish air space, but in my opinion would it really have been necessary to shoot it down. They could have probably contacted them in some way to talk about it. Russia has claimed that Turkey is trying to hid an agreement with ISIS in which Turkey receives oil from them. Turkey has denied this and I find this really interesting. It's kind of like a game of he said, she said. I feel like the two sides need to reach some sort of agreement because for the time being things are only getting worse.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Korea Together Again?

Recent talks between South Kore and North Korea about fixing their relationship has broken down. There has been an effort of joint tourism between the two countries where people from both countries would go visit. This was supposed to help people get a better understanding of the countries and see what it is like on the "other side". North Korea is upset because it seems that South Korea has stopped sending tourist due to an incident where two South Koreans where shot when they wandered into a restricted area. The Tourist program provided the North with lots of money so they have been trying to get it back running again. South Kore has said there are other issues they wish to solve first. 
This is all part of a greater action to help families separated by the boarders to be able to talk to each other again. Since the Korean War many families were seperated and have not been able to talk to them since the truce in 1953. With these failed talks it is on,y bound to worsen relations, which seemed to be on the ropes before this. They apparently nearly went to war earlier this year when North Korea was accused of planting mines on the boarder that maimed two of its guards.
Personally I don't know if they will ever come back to sign a treaty with each other as the countries it seems are now so different and separate. I hope at some point they can put there differences asaide, but at the moment it seems like an impossible task.