Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HW 30: Citizen Journalist post

This past week I attended a couple of the Keene State College's 5th Bi-annual Symposium on Citizenship speeches. The first speech I attended was the kick-off speech to the week on Tuesday given by Nancy Tobi. The speech was introduced by KSC Provost Emile Netzhammer and also by city of Keene mayor Michael Blastos. Nancy's speech was entitled "What Kind of Democracy do We Want?" Before the speech began, there was a presentation from Mayor Blastos to the KSC Provost of documentation that Tuesday November 6, 2007 was officially declared Citizenship Day in Keene. Nancy presented a powerpoint presentation to the audience about democracy and the different things that make a government a democracy. The whole idea behind her speech was showing the audience how a democratic form of government is supposed to be run by the people and how the people have a right to know and see what is going on. She has a quote in her presentation that I wrote down that is a pretty good representation of this, "Government is the servant of the people, and not the master of them". She then shows the audience how this is far from whats going on in the United States however. One thing I found to be most interesting from the speech was finding out that votes are supposed to be counted in the view of the public, yet in New Hampshire only 45% of the polling places use actual people to count votes. The other 55% of the polling places, counting 81% of the state's votes use electronic secret vote counting software. This particular fact was interesting to me because I can't figure out how the government has taken the control away from the people and made it such a secret organization. It just isn't right that we the people allow ourselves to be governed by such a secret group and not have any clue whats really going on behind closed doors.

The second speech that I attended was also on Tuesday. This speech was a screening of the documentary "Secret Daughter" by June Cross. June was in attendance for this screening so that was pretty exciting. She is a journalist/filmmaker who made a movie about her past and how she was kept hidden from the world by her own mother. There was an introduction to the event by a foreign lady who was very difficult to understand. I failed to take a quote or sentence from her introduction to talk about here because I could not follow a single sentence of her speech. The documentary was a very good one. Cross really did a good job of bringing the truth out about her identity and showed how she dealt with living in secrecy of who her real mother was for most of her life. The thing I found most interesting about this presentation was not anything said by Cross but rather how her whole childhood she had to live without calling her mother "mom" because her mom was white and she was black.

This concludes my time attending the Keene State Citizenship Symposium. I think both presentations were very well done and the whole idea of making people aware of citizenship was a good one for the symposium this year.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

HW 25: Summary of the Foreword and Introduction to Baghdad Burning

In the beginning of the book Baghdad Burning, by Riverbend, there is a foreword and introduction to the actual book itself. These two parts of the writing are a summary of the authors background and a brief background about when and where the events in the book take place. In the foreword to the book, written by Ahdaf Soueif, it mentions that Riverbend is a young Iraqi woman in her mid-twenties who is writing about what its like to just live day-to-day in a city ravaged by war and foreign occupation. The introduction is written by James Ridgeway. He breaks it up into 5 different sections; Background, The Gulf War and After, the 2003 War, The Puppet Show, and Liberated Iraq. Ridgeway talks about how the U.S. has placed "puppets" in charge of governing Iraq and how they are going to set up fake elections in which one of these puppets magically wins the chance to lead the country under its new forced American style of government. He also goes on to explain how the power struggle to control the major oil dumps in the middle east has developed over time dating back to the break up of the Ottoman Empire in 1920. He talks about how the Bush administration used faulty claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to declare war against Saddam Husein. Ridgeway ends the intro by saying that it appears the U.S. occupation is pushing the country to a civil war and may lead to a break up of the country in the long term because the U.S. cannot maintain control of security in the country with all the different political groups fighting for control of it.

HW 27: Annotated Bibliography for Baghdad Burning

Riverbend. Baghdad Burning. New York: The Feminist P, 2005. xi-7.

Riverbend's weblog, Baghdad Burning, is a reproduction of the first years postings on her blog. The blog is her online diary of her life in Baghdad during the American occupation of the city. Riverbend is an anonymous Iraqi female in her mid-twenties who began writing the blog in August of 2003. This blog fits into our classes work because its a female using the internet to get her voice out to more than just her local public. She is now able to be heard all over the world thanks to the use of a blog on the internet. The benefits of reading this are that it gives the reader in in depth look at what life is like for an Iraqi just trying to live in the city ravaged by war, looting, and needless killing. She voices her opinions on the Americans ways of trying to install a new government in Iraq and most of them are not agreeing opinions. This book is a very interesting book and it gives a very good look at exactly how much "good" we are really doing for a country that generally hates us and is very against us imposing a new government on them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

HW 17: My favorite post

My favorite blog post from this past week was the post I found on the Feministe blog entitled "When Blowback Pays Off." You can find this post by going to the following link, http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/10/09/when-blowback-pays-off/. The post was about a new idea for a Halloween costume being called "Sexy Anna Rexia." It is a costume that is a skin tight black mini dress that has a skeleton design on it and includes a belt that is actually a tape measure, a chocker that looks like a tape measure and a Anna Rexia badge to go with it. I think this is one of the worst ideas for a costume that anyone has ever thought up. It makes me sick to know that someone actually thinks of a skinny anorexic person as looking "sexy." To top things all off, the fact that they are encouraging the deadly disease by designing a costume advertising it as sexy is another perfect example of how screwed up people are in our country. I like that the article mentions the costume has been pulled from shelves and discontinued. When I read the responses to the post I found one that made me laugh because it was funny and at the same time a sad reminder of the truth. "Oh they sex up EVERYTHING! It’s incredible. There was a sexy Hermione [Of Harry Potter] costume I saw the other day- priceless." This is the response I am talking about. It speaks the whole truth. When you go into iParty, or Spencer's, or any place that sells costumes you cant find more than 5 costumes for girls above the age of 12 that dont fall under the "sexy" category. Halloween is becoming a commercialized holiday for girls to dress like whores and I don't really like it.