“Shouting Fire” Documentary

The documentary “Shouting Fire” begins with Martin Garbus, an attorney stating “Congress should make no law abridging Freedom of Speech or of the press or the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition government for redress of grievances, which is the First Amendment (part of the Bill of Rights). Before September 11th, 20% of people thought that the First Amendment went too far. In addition, after the September 11 attacks, 50% of people believed that the First Amendment went too far. During times when our safety is threatened, people of course generate fear. When fear is created, civil liberties are attacked. Not only that, but when unpopular topics are mentioned, fear is also created, which leads to opposition. However, although I believe that everyone should have Freedom of Speech, at the same time words could be very hurtful. Yes, the saying says “stick and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you”. But people, especially now in the modern days, can do and say very offensive stuff and actions certainly do speak louder than words. Since if everything every individual said would be illegal because it was deemed “offensive”, we would be like robots or puppets. So what could be the perfect solution for all these conflicts?

The documentary then continues to  talk about McCarthyism, which is the practice of making accusations of disloyalty without proper evidence. During those times of McCarthyism and even now, as soon as someone went  against the “norms” of society by exposing the government or its corruption and expressing their thoughts, they were automatically punished somehow and thought to be immoral. An example of this is when hundreds of teachers’ licenses were revoked because they exposed things about communism. Nothing bad was said, but that is a perfect example of freedom of speech being abridged. More specifically, an example is the case of Professor Churchill in the University of Colorado back in 2005. Churchill was under investigation because he expressed his idea on the motives behind the terrorists of September 11th. He said that all of the major television news networks were saying that “9/11 was a senseless act” “how did they know?”. Exactly. Those news networks were just being gatekeepers, but in a negative way. A government official also so “he blamed the 9/11 victims”. Did he? In the trial for Churchill many students attended. As soon as a student attempted to speak out by saying “let the students speak”, a guard approached him to try and silence him. The student responded with “This is McCarthyism at its finest”. Just because Churchill did not censor his curriculum and said exactly what was on his mind, he was under “attack”. His civil liberties, as well were under attack. Churchill was not the only one, there were thousands of other professors on “the list” of “bad” professors. At the end, Churchill was guilty of misrepresentation, fabrication, plagiarism, and failing to comply with established standards of research. Just like the documentary mentioned, Churchill himself was not being punished, but his speech and civil liberties were.
Debbie Almontaser came to America thinking it was like sugar, that everything great will occur. Debbie was a teacher and in the year of 2005 started the Khalil Gibran International Academy. The response, all the families of 9/11 victims were opposed to the new school opening and thought it should be closed. They feared an Arab school being opened up as they thought it would teach the tots how to be terrorists. Not only that, but the school was though to be an anti-American/pro-terrorist school just because it was an Arab school. Was it a religious school? No. I found that so ridiculous. Although Almontaser is Muslim, does not automatically mean that she is a terrorist. It is true, that majority of the terrorists involved in the September 11th attacks were Muslim, but that does not mean that every single Muslim on the planet earth is a terrorist, but unfortunately that is the stereotype they all have to deal with after 9/11. David Horowitz stated “they want to start a radical Mandrassa (school in Arab)”. When he was asked how he knew it was a Mandrassa, he paused for a minute and then answered “Well, we know who Debbie is and the people who are behind it”. Okay? Muslims are behind building the school but does that mean all of them have terrorist intentions? NO! Debbie Almontaser was always questioned if she thought the September 11th attacks really happened. Her response was that she begins to talk about her son who was activated into the army on September 11th, of course she thinks they happened. So..what? People think that her whole life is a cover up for her “terrorist” life? After many accusations and much stress, Debbie Almontaser was literally pushed so far to the limit that she had to quit her position as Principal of the Khalil Gibran school.

The documentary then continues with a couple of other instances of where freedom of speech was abridged. Another thing, The Patriot Act. It was a response to the September 11th attacks. Just like a protester said in the movie “The Patriot Act is illegal, unconstitutional, and treasonous”. Basically, the act gives the government permission to get people’s private information. Not only is that against our civil freedoms, but as well as a huge invasion of privacy. It was signed by George Bush but then later a four year extension was signed by Obama. Overall, I think the solution to this problem could be very difficult to come up with. As I mentioned before, if our Freedom of Speech is taken away, we will be like sock puppets. In addition, if speech that is “offensive” becomes illegal, then the government might as well make talking in general illegal. That is because everyone is different, so everyone can find at least one thing offensive. Although I do not have a lot of knowledge on majority of these topics and events, probably because I was eleven years old at the time they occurred, I agree that everyone should have Freedom of Speech. Just like talked about in class, does burning a flag go against Freedom of Speech? In my opinion, no because it just depends on your motives and intentions behind it. I honestly, would have to say I do not know where I stand in this situation. They are both pros and cons of Freedom of Speech, but “If we do not fight for it, it will be taken away”.




The Daily Show Entended Interview: Elon Musk

The extended interview I chose to do from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart was with Elon Musk. He is the co-founder of Paypal, founder and chief designer of Tesla Motors and Space X. The reason I Chose this interview was honestly, to make it interesting for myself. I have never heard of Elon Musk, however I have heard of Paypal, which I actually use on a daily basis. I was always curious to know who the founders of that business were, and here we go. As soon as I saw “co-founder of Paypal” in the list of interviews while browsing, I automatically clicked on it from curiosity.

Now who is Elon Musk? He is a freaking genius in my opinion. It all started when Musk was a little boy. He purchased his very first computer at only 10 years old and taught himself how to program by the age of 12. I am pretty sure at 10 years old, I was busy having tea with my stuffed animals, definitely not inventing software. But soon enough, Musk sold his space game he invented called Blasta to a computer magazine for $500! That was the start of his inventions, interest in space as well as the internet. Musk founded Tesla Motors, in which he designed the Tesla Roadster, the first reliable electric car. Now, at only 40 years old, Elon Musk is known to have invented a space program, which will soon launch a space craft into orbit. Usually countries tend to launch space crafts, not a SINGLE individual (even Jon Stewart pointed that out), which I find completely amazing. Launching a spacecraft is quite the pretty penny, and Musk got that money from the capital made by Paypal. The question I would have liked to know was also asked by Jon Stewart which was how did he go from Paypal to space? Elon Musk thought the internet, sustainable energy, and space exploration could make human life even better by making it multi-planetary and that is how he came to invent what he invented. As stated by Elon Musk, the goal of Space X is to ensure that the lives of humans continue not just by solving problems on earth but by adventure, discovering new things and aspiration. As a matter of fact, Space X is the first non-governmental program that used a liquid fueled rocket to be launched into orbit! Eventually, the goal will be to make civilization on mars. Jon Stewart responds to that “Really? New York City…that shitty. Why not the moon…a little closer?”. Musk intellectually responds that the moon has no atmosphere, thus no resources could be provided by it. We technically won’t be abandoning earth, but sort of “starting over” and making human life multi-planetary. If Elon Musk’s mission is successful in however many years, I don’t think I can even comprehend how rich he will be, he will be an absolute MEGA billionaire.

Aside from his inventions, Robert Downey Jr.’s role of Tony Stark in the movie “Iron Man” was actually based on Elon Musk because “he is so intelligent and makes no sense when he talks”, as said by Robert Downey Jr. The producers wanted the character in the movie to seem realistic so that is why they based it on Musk.

Elon Musk is a determined and motivated individual. He certainly makes me want to go out and invent something, although I am not going to of course. After doing some research, I actually came up to find that Time Magazine named Elon Musk one of the “World’s Most Influential People” in 2010. I completely agree with that! Just like Jon Stewart said, Elon Musk really does seem like some type of X-Man.









Privacy? No More!

 Although this stuff is completely obvious, after reading an excerpt from “Filter Bubble” by Eli Parisher, I was completely shocked from realizing what is truly happening and the lack of privacy everyone has now-a-days.

Just like the article says, we all assume that we see the same results in Google. However, that is definitely not the case. Google is not the same as it used to be. By using algorithms, the search engine “personalizes” your search results to fit what is supposedly best for you. I didn’t see this in the news or anything but after a while, I started to get a jist that Google had changed many of their options. When I was on the volleyball team in High School, I was trying to get my stats online as well as show a teammate the same website. I told her “Yea, Google your name and the website”. Of course, the website could not be found, she was getting completely different results from what I was getting. (Similar to Eli’s example that he gave about his friends who were fairly similar trying to both get search about the company “B.P.”.) Now, I’m used to those changes Google made and think it certainly is very convenient (the same goes with cookies), saving me time for homework, school projects, etc; however, it just shows that the government or whoever sees EVERYTHING. Not only that, but how accurate could these “personalized” results be? If I search something I have never searched before and that is completely out of my interests, how do these algorithms know that that is exactly what I am looking for? Another thought, what kind of results would I get if I use a public computer such as at a library? Although I would not be logged in, the algorithms would still incorporate other people’s previous searches into mine.

Another example is Facebook. Just by looking at a random strangers page, you can learn about them in less than a minute; their “likes”, interests, music, books, school they went to, where they work, who they are dating, and even where they live. It is so easy to “creep” on Facebook, even if you are not trying to. I personally, wouldn’t want people seeing “Jessica commented on Sarah’s status saying this and that” or “Bob liked this photo”. Now I finally understand why some of my friends status updates just did not show up. Simply because they posted what I was not interested in.

If you look around, this type of stuff is EVERYWHERE. Take for example you want to buy a new car, you go to General Motors, which is equipped with “On Star”, which is VERY convenient and modern. It includes stolen vehicle tracking, automatic crash response, navigation, and roadside assistance. Doesn’t that mean if you use those features, the On Star employees constantly know where you are located? As if they are always spying on you. A popular radio host I sometimes listen, Alex Jones bought a new General Motors car, which was equipped with On Star. He actually went to a garage and had employees rip out the On Star system. Not a common request at the mechanic’s shop. Ha!This “filter bubble” exists everywhere, not just in search engines and e-mails, even in Netflix or more generally, television. For example, different news channels speak differently (negatively or positively) about certain individuals or events, trying to convince us to follow a certain viewpoint. If you watch Fox News, they’ll give you one opinion about Obama, if you watch MSNBC, they’ll give you an entirely different opinion about Obama. As said by Negroponte “Tomorrow will allow you to vary sex, violence, and political leaning”. Well there you go, we already have the political leaning throughout different channels on television. But we also have the ability to control what goes on our television with an installation of a chip or parental controls.

Privacy is certainly something everyone wants to have. But something as “private” as e-mails even gets tracked. For example, just now when I was logged into my Google school e-mail, trying to find one of my FAFSA e-mails, I was shocked to find an advertisement on the top saying exactly this “Want a $10,000 scholarship?! No essay, no GPA, no stress! Apply now!”. To me that is absolutely INSANE. This lack of privacy “flattens society”, just like it stated in The Filter Bubble.

Overall, I think Companies do not care about their customers, they would pretty much do anything just to get money from us, either illegally or legally. Of course, cookies, and these algorithms are convenient and cost nothing to us. (No one would like to be overwhelmed by millions of uninteresting information, posts, news, etc) But this lack of privacy and censorship is repulsive. There just seems to be no solutions, if we were to completely get rid of advertisements, all websites would demand a fee just to enter or view the content. Soon enough, we will be like puppets on strings, controlled by the government (even more than we are now).





Rush Limbaugh’s Harsh Remarks

Rush Limbaugh is an American radio host, hosting “The Rush Limbaugh Show”. Just like reading in “Mass Media in a Changing World”, Limbaugh is a typical shock jock. His show includes political commentary, as well as commentary that crosses the line.

Sandra Fluke is a student at Georgetown University Law Center as well as a women’s advocate. Having a friend that suffered from ovarian cysts and was in need of contraceptive hormones but could not afford it, Fluke decided to stand up for the cause and speak before Democrats about the inadequate coverage of birth control by the university’s health insurance plan. She stated that low income women in the university could not afford the pill, and the free health clinics could not solve their problems either.

In late February, Limbaugh reacted to Fluke’s contraceptive mandate. He stated “What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” (Phew, that’s harsh). Later on he states “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them”.

After viewing various interviews with Sandra Fluke, she was absolutely stunned and outraged at Rush Limbaugh’s remarks. (I was certainly stunned and of course, would be outraged if someone called me a slut.) Limbaugh apologized on March 3rd, 2012 saying his “choice of words weren’t the best”. Of course, Rush couldn’t help not adding some type of sarcastic humor in an apology that was supposed to be sincere. Sandra Fluke denied that apology saying “it was inadequate”.

In response, Rush gained a huge amount of negative attention. Many of his radio sponsors pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, who did not want anything to do with him due to his crude remarks. A Today Show reporter stated “he does it for a living, he makes comments so more people talk about him, listen to his radio show, and buy his books”. Even The Daily Show’s John Stewart stated that Rush Limbaugh “is just a terrible person”. A huge national stir occurred.

Part of the reason for Rush Limbaugh’s hurtful comments was perhaps for attention. Just like John Stewart said, Rush Limbaugh automatically assumes that Sandra Fluke has so much sex that she cannot even afford anymore birth control pills. This isn’t the first time Rush is involved in such a controversy, but this was the biggest ones. Another motive for Limbaugh’s comments, in my opinion was due to the overall issue itself. “A University’s lack of health insurance coverage for birth control” is not something that is heard in front of a congressional committee usually and just sounds a little funny.

After researching, I was COMPLETELY shocked to find out that the Rush Limbaugh Show is one of the top most listened to radio stations in America. But why? He just uses his crude commentary and criticizes people. Unfortunately, that is what we all like to hear (maybe not all of us, but most), like it or not. We all like that different approach on political events with that little twist. Of course we all stay stupid stuff that we can’t take back (especially a live radio show), but in my opinion, Rush Limbaugh just went way too far. I completely reject these comments. Reason being, I would definitely not like being called derogatory names and think he should of just kept it to himself, not say it on public radio. Round of applause for Rush Limbaugh!






The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Bush Family Fortune

After watching “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: Bush Family Fortunes”, I had many reactions and opinions. Although politics isn’t exactly my “cherry on top” and I don’t exactly care for it, I learned many things. As well as, I realized my great unawareness of politics; this is probably the reason for my shocking reactions at many times during this video.

I didn’t like the way the video had so much extra stuff in it which I didn’t need to see like the unnecessary car scene or the oil process (especially with the annoying squeaking sound in the background). Kind of puts a bad first impression to the video when I first starting watching it and made it pretty tedious. Just get to the point already.

However, I did enjoy many parts such as how the beginning of the video began with an interview with Clayton Roberts, Director of Elections and took a sudden left turn. He just abruptly ends the interview and walks away. After being asked if he basically bought the elections for the Republic party, he ironically refuses to answer and just avoids the question. This made me want to continue watching more and “drew” me in.

In the video when Greg Palast interviewed two of George Bush’s old college roommates, one of them stated “military was something we’d have to deal with”. I completely agree with that statement, you cannot avoid it. It made me think of all the previous times when I’ve heard people say how much they hated Bush because “he got us into the war in Iraq”. In my opinion, it would have happened at some point perhaps, no? So you can hate Bush for other specific reasons, but that is something that would have ended up happening anyways. This thought goes hand-in-hand with when the roommates also stated that he was pretty much made an “asshole” in scripted and edited versions of videos and interviews. According to the roommate, he is a fun and relaxed guy. I actually felt remorseful towards Bush at that moment. Thinking realistically, negative propaganda can exaggerate things and certain situations greatly. Not saying he didn’t make some bad decisions, but in my opinion he’s probably not THAT bad of a guy.

What REALLY shocked me in the video was the fact that George Bush’s military records were incomplete. But why? The first thought that came to my mind was to cover up any “screw-ups” he had done. Moments later, that is exactly what Bill Burkett said. According to Burkett, the reason was to “make sure nothing would embarrass Governor Bush”.

Another thing I found completely insane was how there were almost 200,000 votes in the election that were not counted. All those votes were from African-American people who were supposedly “criminals”, according to the D.B.T. Choice Point list of felons that was made, whose names were NEVER verified. That results in 95% inaccuracy, which affects the voting results GREATLY.

Overall, the video was a complete shock to me. Greg Palast is a great example of the fifth estate and provides facts about the great corruption in Government, which you can never trust. It’s all about money, you have money you get what you want (including power) and everything goes smoothly. Just like Greg Palast said “Money get’s them office, office makes them even more money. It’s called the Bush cycle”.

Huckleberry Finn Controversy

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was written by Mark Twain and published in the year of 1885. Today, it is one of America’s classics and best reads. However, it’s also one of the most banned books as well. Why? All because of an “offensive” word that was used 219 times, “nigger”.

The word “nigger” is thought to be offensive and hurtful. I believe that certainly, Mark Twain’s use of it was not meant to offend people, he was just using the vocabulary and language that was used at that period of time. People now-a-days accuse Mark Twain of being racist. If he was really racist, would he really depict Jim the way he depicted him? Jim might have been a runaway slave, but after all, he was not a bad guy in the story.

The “n word” was not such a big deal before, but now it is. Now, authors want to revise the book and replace every single “n word” with “slave”. That’s not a very good replacement, in my opinion, they both have negative connotations. Agreeing with what Steven Colbert said in his video, the word “slave” could also be found offensive. The words can offend people because it connects back to their history, but that is exactly what it is…history, events that happened in the PAST.

When the censorship reaches a whole new level, what other words will they find offensive? Are they going to revise EVERY single book ever written that contains “offensive” words? This goes hand-in-hand with the SOPA laws. They want to censor ALL piracy and activity on the internet that is thought of as “bad”. But people have different opinions, so everything could be thought of as “bad”. Same idea with the Huckleberry Finn controversy, different things could be offensive to people, so you might as well censor EVERYTHING in the book.

According to the dictionary’s definition, the fifth estate is any class or group in society other than the nobility, the clergy, the middle class. In other words, the fifth estate tells people how the situation really is, the truth. Without it, we wouldn’t really know what goes on in real life. Although it can be thought of as controversial in the way various situations are approached, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are evidence of the fifth estate. When people hear a hit song by some rapper who says “nigger”over twenty times in one song, do they get offended? Usually nope, they just sing along. That just proves that it depends on the way the word is used or said plays a big role. An example is Larry Wilmore’s use of the word “nigger”. Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore use the word in a humorous way, that does not automatically mean they are dehumanizing African-Americans. Steven Colbert also uses a humorous approach towards this controversial situation about the “n word”. Colbert and Stewart, both expose the truth about the situation and in a way make the situation “lighter” than what people make it to be.

That being said, I think Jon Stewart and Colbert cover the fifth estate very well. Although a humorous approach is used, they still provide very good points, which I greatly agree with. In my opinion, the original content should be kept as-is. If someone feels uncomfortable reading and talking about the “n word”, they could use the alternative “better” and “revised” version. It is history, you cannot change it. By censoring “nigger”, people are just putting more emphasis on the word. There are billions of people on this planet, everyone will ALWAYS have a different opinion. Therefore, every single person on this planet can not all be pleased. Someone will always find stuff wrong or offensive.








“The Daily Mail” Radiohead Interpretation

For my first blog, I’m going to write about my interpretation and opinions about “The Daily Mail” by Radiohead. After listening to this song MANY times, I broke it down into parts every time. First listening to the song normally, then just the music itself, then with the lyrics, then the full song again. I was very confused at first, because without looking at the lyrics, at some points it is extremely hard to comprehend what Thom Yorke is singing because he is sort of mumbling.

 The song begins with a piano intro, which has a sort of calm and melancholy tone. The song sounds very relaxing, his vocals are very soft and quiet. After listening to the song a bit more, the piano gets louder and somewhat “darker”. Soon after, drums and guitar are introduced. The tone of the song automatically changes, it is somewhat dramatic. Is this done on purpose to put emphasis on the hidden meaning in the lyrics?

 After following the lyrics of the song to get a deeper understanding, my mind is somewhat changed. The mood of the song isn’t so calm after all, it has somewhat of a melancholy feeling to it. After already having previous knowledge that Thom Yorke is heavily active in attempting to make the public aware of certain political, cultural, and social issues, I know this song could not be a love song of any sort.

Thom Yorke begins the song saying “The lunatics have taken over the asylum, waiting on a rapture.” The first things that comes to mind…who could these “insane people” be? What could this asylum symbolize? And what kind of (rapture) joy could these people be waiting for? To understand the connection between the intro’s lyrics, I researched the definition of a rapture and the religious beliefs of Thom Yorke. In the dictionary, there were two meanings. One of which being “delight” and the other being “an experience anticipated by Christians of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth”. That made me make the connection that someone is standing on a mountain waiting to meet with God. However upon reading that Thom Yorke is not a Christian and supposedly believes in spirituality, those lyrics could not have been religious but had to SYMBOLIZE something, but I have yet to make the connection.

 “We’ll keep your prices down, we’ll feed you to the hounds”. Automatically, I got a sense that this set of lyrics is about the government, but in Thom Yorke’s eyes, it symbolizes an anti-government sort of feel. When “we’ll feed you to the hounds” is stated, I start to believe that maybe that symbolizes that the government will feed us to the hounds when the people have done something wrong. Still, very confused, I continue to analyze this song.

 Next, the song says “you made a pigs ear, you made a mistake”. At first I said, what does a pig’s ear have to do with any of this? Stupid, yes. But I researched and found that “a pig’s ear” symbolizes a mistake. But anyways, “paid off security and got through the gate. You got away with it but WE lie in wait”. I believe these words could symbolize someone maybe going through a metal detector, and getting away with something. Perhaps a weapon, gun, etc.? Yet, the government (“we”) keeps their mouth shut and lies to the public.

“Where’s the truth what’s the use
I’m hanging around lost and found
And when you’re here innocent
Fat chance, no plan
No regard for human life “

 I believe this set of lyrics symbolizes the public’s opinions towards the government on where the actual truth is and what is the use of lying. The people are “hanging around lost” and innocent, yet the government has “no regard for human life” and still continues to find anything negative in these mostly innocent people.

“You’ll keep time, you’ve no right
You’re fast to lose, you will lose
You jumped the queue, you’re back again”

 Once again, this set of lyrics has somewhat of an anti-public sort of feel (from the government’s perspective). “You’ve no right” perhaps could represents the government saying that the people in America have no right and that we will eventually lose. Thom Yorke finishes off the song by summarizing his ideas and station We’ll “jump the queue”, meaning we will figure out something to solve this corruption in government but we will eventually return to where we started.

After fully analyzing the song and its lyrics, I will go back to the introduction. After analyzing this song and stating my opinions, I will go back to the very beginning of the song and say that perhaps the moon on top of the mountain represents the government who is supposedly “on top” of everyone. In addition, the lunatics waiting for a rapture could represent the people (us) waiting for a happy ending or, “rapture”. Now for the music itself and it’s melancholy mood, maybe that could symbolize Thom Yorke’s and the people’s end of hope.