Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Article Response #15

       The West Coast braces itself for a pacific storm that pour needed rain on the California drought, but the storm promises to carry a high price as schools in San Francisco and Oakland are bracing themselves to be closed Thursday. The rainfall is expected to be so significant that meteorologist is calling it an atmospheric river.
        Atmospheric rivers are 250 to 400 miles wide and split off like a tributary from larger band of moisture from the tropics. 30%-50% of annual precipitation on the west coast occurs in atmospheric events. They cause major flooding when they make landfall and stall over a particular that the bay area is bracing itself for. The highest elevations of northern California are expected to get 10 inches of rain. SF is believed to possibly see 4 inches in city and 8 inches in the hills. 
      The SFUSD superintendent said,  "I did not arrive at this lightly. First and foremost, we don't want to risk having our students injured or seriously delayed transporting to and from school. In addition to student absences, the storm could result in large numbers of staff absences, which could then lead to inadequate supervision of our students. Furthermore, power outages could affect the district's ability to feed students' school meals, among many other operational challenges."
     Oakland school officials cited “ an extreme and potentially dangerous weather system” as a reason for closing.” Rain is much more common if along the gulf or Atlantic coasts, but for parched California, which researchers at the university of Nebraska say is most drought stricken state in the country. Bay area on Tuesday, public works crews got ready for downpour. “This is not the most glamorous work here is, even with equipment like this. This is still really hard work. Hard and dirty work but something that has to be done to make sure the system functions properly when we do have a big storm," Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus.

Bay Area power crews cut pine tree limbs hanging over power lines ahead of winds of 30-40 mph with gusts up to 70 mph. howling winders will drive up and down the west coast.

Article Response #14

          The CIA’s interrogations of terrorists detainees during the Bush era were considered brutal and didn’t reveal any information that prevented an attack, according to the Senate report that was released Tuesday.  The report issued by the senate intelligence committee is condemnation of tactics considered by many as torture. 
         The techniques were flawed and poorly managed often-contained false information. CIA misled the Bush White House about the harsh methods it used to contain results from interrogating al Qaeda suspects. The report is highlighting the divide over combating terrorism that dominated Washington a decade ago. Democrats argue the tactics conflicted with American values while leading members of the Bush administration insist they were key to stopping another homeland attack. 
         The report contains details of secret facilities that the detainees where subjected to near drowning, or waterboarding, days of sleep deprivation, threatened with mock executions and threats that relatives would be sexually abused. The claim of the report is primarily that CIA methods did not produce information necessary to save lives that was not already available from other means. 
       Supporters of the program believe that it was pivotal in obtaining intelligence from detainees that couldn’t be obtained through conversational interrogations. It was reported tat a detainee was said to have died of hypothermia after being held nude chained to the concrete while other times other prisoners were hooded and dragged up and down corridors while bring beat up. It was believed that 26 detainees were held there wrongfully as partly because there was no information to justify detention. 
       Dianne Feinstein said that CIA’s actions in aftermath of 9/11 were a “stain on our values and on our history. A 500 page summary cannot remove that stain, but it can and does say that our people and the world that America is big enough to admit when it’s wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes.”

        President Barack Obama said in a statement about the report “were not only inconsistent with our values as a nation, they did not server our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.” Obama outlawed these interrogation techniques soon after become president in 2009.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Article Response #13 - Tamir Rice: US police kill boy, 12, carrying replica gun
BBC News has reported grim news that a 12-year-old little boy has now died after a standoff with police in Cleveland, Ohio. The 12-year-old, Tamir Rice, was carrying a replica toy gun in a playground when police approached him after receiving a 911 call from someone concern for their own safety in regards to Rice's weapon. The 911 caller, who has remained anonymous, stated during the call that he was unsure if the gun was real or a toy. 
According to police reports, the police approached Rice and immediately ordered him to raise his hands. Rice did not comply, although "did not make any verbal nor point the gun towards the officers.." 
The incident has directly preceded the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, where it was decided that the police officer in the fatal shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, would not be indicted. This decision has sparked violent protests in the town, prompting a heavy police presence and crackdown.
Tamir Rice was shot on Saturday afternoon and died in hospital early on Sunday morning. Allegedly, officers shot the young boy after he pulled the toy gun from his trousers. The decreased child's family has hired a lawyer and they are doing their own independent investigation into what happened. The Cleveland police force has come under increased scrutiny in recent years.
       I believe this is the breaking point in an increasingly violent society where police have an unchecked power against civilians. 
Article Response - "With apprehension filling the air, Ferguson awaits grand jury ruling"

BBC reports that Officer Darren Wilson is planning to leave Ferguson Police Department and possibly going to give up being a police officer altogether as result of a grand jury deciding not to indict him in the death of Michael Brown an unarmed teenager. 
Currently, Wilson is on paid leave and there are discussions going on that he wants to separate from the department. 

Wilson’s lawyer Neil Bruntrager said “realistically, he can’t go back to being a police officer. He knows that. There’s no illusion about any of this. But it’s the way in which he leaves… that’s important to him on different levels.” Wilson hopes by resigning it will ease pressure and protect other officers. During the trail Wilson expressed concern about resigning while the grand jury was hearing evidence for the fear it would make him appear that he was confessing.

Brown’s death led to violent demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb the days following the incident and this week after the grand jury announced that Monday it would not charge Wilson. Wilson said he killed the 18 year old out of fear for his own life during the altercation. Wilson is consistent in saying that he feels he has done nothing wrong. 

It is probably in Wilson’s best interest to separate himself from the police department all together as there would surely be much animosity and threats against his own life and follow officers as result. It is possible Wilson that he could be targeted as an example for protesters and demonstrators to relieve frustrations with this case and many others similar to this one.

       Wilson holds he has done nothing wrong and was following the training he was given for that type of hostile situation. 


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Article Response #11

Article Response #11 - Ferguson awaits grand jury ruling
      In Ferguson, Missouri tensions are alarmingly high awaiting the verdict of Officer Darren Wilson standing trail for the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The grand jury is predicted to come to a conclusion within the next few days or week and there has been speculation concerning among lawyers analysts and journalists on when they will announce their decision. Residents in Ferguson however are looking the conclusion of this as soon as possible. 
     Street demonstrations were of abundance after Brown’s killing, as the nation watched heavily armed police forges fight off angry protesters who are seeking justice for his killing. The killing of unarmed black teenager by a white authority figure has naturally made Ferguson epicenter for racial tensions in the United States.  
     Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has issues a state of emergency Monday as a precaution of what is to come. Businesses have began putting plywood boards and are facing questions on what do they think of the state of emergency. Dan McMullen a business owner is Ferguson says, “ I just want to get this over with and move on”.  Ferguson Mayer James Knowles told local media this month that the region should prepare for the worst. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that his officers are prepared for whatever happens and that acts of violence will not b tolerated by any means. 
    Their tactics will support protecting lawful citizens and arresting apprehending criminals. School superintends suggested to city officials requesting that the grand jury’s decision on an evening or weeknights so it does not affect the estimated 20,000 students coming to and from schools. 
    Protesters have been exciting practice runs on how they will face to the police and continue their demonstrations. The Ferguson National Response Network expects that about 70 planned out responses to the ruling that will take place from west Palm Beach, Florida, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles in support of Brown. 
    Wilson however has supports that have demonstrated as will suggesting the Brown might have attracted Wilson. But the response to this is that Wilson shot Brown 6 times all upper body chest area from about 30 feet away in his police cruiser and Brown had his hands up in surrender. Overall its fair to say that Ferguson and the rest of the United States should take notice and be prepared for what might transpire. 


Article Response #12

Article Response #12 - Obama to announce major U.S. immigration changes

    President Barack Obama announced this week his plans to override the executive powers to create major changes to the immigration policy. 
     Obama plans to reveal on Thursday his plan for deportation for possibly undocumented migrants. Republicans in congress say such action would be beyond his authority and create sour relations with Congress. 

    Thomas Sparrow of BBC Mundo believes because Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012 in part because of his promise to repair what he calls the country’s broken immigration system. Hispanics have become disappointed with his lack comprehensive immigration reform. 
    There are questions being raised about undocumented immigrants will ultimately be covered by his unilateral actions and how easy it will be to implement them with Republican controlled Congress, measures taken will play crucial part in Obama’s remaining two years in the White House, as he seeks to build his legacy. This could also impact the 2016 election because both Democratic and Republican hopefuls want to get the majority of Hispanic vote.

    The president's plan is believed to be station around having more young people and parents of children who US citizens or legal residents the right to vote. The number of suggested policy could be as high as 5 million of the 11 million illegal immigrants. Other parts of the action would include number of high tech workers allowed to live and work in the U.S.  
      An expansion of existing deferred action plans that moves cut off date for children arriving in 2010, and shifting border security resources to the US southern border. Overall, Obama will shake up the U.S. with his announcement on Thursday.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Article Response #10

Article Response #10 - 'US healthcare enrollment goal lowered'

        BBC News has reported that the United States Secretary of Health Sylia Burwell has now lowered the expectations that were previously set last year for the new "ObamaCare," or federal health insurance plan. The previous expectations, set by the unbiased Congressional Budget Office, were set to about 13 million people to be signed up for health insurance from government websites by March. The lowered expectations now reflect a forecast of about 9 million people to sign up for the same date of March- a huge 4 million person downsize in expectancy.
       While this lowering of expectations is controversial, this is hardly the first time that ObamaCare has made headlines. The Obama administration has had an extremely difficult couple years in the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. The act has unfortunately had many stumbles, which because of the partisan nature of the act, has been sensationalized by the media and by the Republican party as a political tool.        
     One of the top controversies that ObamaCare has encountered includes the occurrence of millions of people who have had their previous health care plans cancelled via their insurance providers. This is after President Obama promised that this would not happen when the act went into effect. Due to this controversy, the Obama administration has received tremendous backlash from not only Republicans, but Democrats as well (including the still influential former President Bill Clinton).
     There has been a response from the Obama administration on this matter, though one may say it has largely been an ineffective fix. As stated in my article analysis a few weeks back, BBC has reported that large employers like Walmart have begun to opt out of paying medical insurance for employees after the implementation of ObamaCare. Walmart has done this by prohibiting employees to gain full-time status by keeping their hours below 45 hours a week. The employer in turn is able to save money and push the responsibility (and cost) to the federal government.
      Due to the long Congressional fight over the legislation and the controversy that have emerged since the act's conception, it is certain that these factors have played a large part in the lower of expectation for participation from citizens.