Jessica Mondillo’s Blog


Admittedly False Testimony Leaves Innocent Man in Prison

13 July 2009

A New York Times article reveals that William McCaffrey, who spent four years of a 20 year sentence for raping a woman, was falsely convicted.  The accuser, Biurny Peguero Gonzalez,  admitted to a priest and then later her lawyer that she had lied.  Despite recanting her testimony to the DA, McCaffrey remained in jail and his attorney has asked for him to be released.

I personally find it astonishing that the attorney has had to ask for his client to be released when they key witness admitted to lying.  Shouldn’t the U.S. legal system give more protection to innocent people, especially those who were wrongly imprisoned?

What I find worse about the case is that Gonzalez’s lawyer will not allow her to testify that McCaffrey is innocent without immunity for Gonzalez.  Although one of the main pieces of evidence will be gone, thus giving McCaffrey an increased chance of winning if the case gets brought to court again, to deny an innocent man help getting his name cleared when you know he is innocent is a terrible thing.  Despite seemingly good intentions from the lawyer (he doesn’t want her baby born in prison), if she gets charged and convicted, she deserves it.  Gonzalez lied to her friends, nurses, the police, and to a jury.  She could have stopped at any time, but instead she choose to continue her lie and even single out McCaffrey.  She did not have to go to the hospital (where they found no physical evidence except for a bite mark), or contact the police, or press charges.  Lying to her friends is one thing, but to continue the lie was unnecessary.  Gonzalez knowingly broke the law by lying because her friends were mad at her, which resulted in her ruining an innocent man’s life.  To say that she should be exempt from the law because she is pregnant seems absurd.   Although the idea that a child MAY be born in prison is horrible, is it right to say that a person should not face the consequences of her actions because she is pregnant? 

I feel that this is a problem with society: the idea that you need to avoid consequences even if it is at the expense of someone who did nothing wrong.  This case is just one example of a person trying to avoid her responsibility.  As a society have we really become so callous towards other people and self-centered that we do not care how our actions affect others?


Cash for Clunkers not Good for Everyone

13 August 2009

Cash for clunkers may be helping some people, but overall it seems like it may be hurting another group of people more than it helps.

On my local news, car mechanics were talking about the effect of the program on them.  The mechanics interviewed repeated the same sentiment: the program is hurting their business even more than the poor economy is.  People who had some extra money, but not enough to buy a new car without the program, would have spent the money to repair their cars.  Now these people are buying new cars and the car mechanics are losing the few clients that they may have had during these tough economic times.

Another problem the news didn’t mention comes for people who cannot afford a new car, even with the rebate.  These people may have been able to buy a $2,000.00 used car from a private seller if they needed to before.  Now, at least in my area, many used cars prices from dealers or private parties have raised to a minimum of around $4,500.  People who have been more deeply affected by the recession may not be able to afford these higher prices when they are already just barely getting by.

Currently, cash for clunkers helps the wealthy and upper middle class be able to afford a new car while money is tight.  It does not help lower middle class people who are closer to the poverty line or those who are below the poverty line.

An idea I have heard that has a great deal of merit is that the cars should be repaired to give to poorer people who cannot afford a used or new car.  This has a couple of benefits.  Not only do people in need of a new car, like unemployed people, people living below the poverty, or those on welfare, get a running car, if the government paid for local mechanics to repair the cars, the hurting industry would get some assistance and hopefully stop these smaller businesses from closing and thus more people becoming unemployed.  Instead the current program just destroys the cars.


Hurricane Gustav and the Republican National Convention

31 August 2008

Hurricane Gustav is churning in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to United States within the next few days.  Political analysist have said that the storm could overshow the coverage of the RNC or give it a negative impression by showing the two events simultaneously.

Republicans and McCain have been considering options for the convention.  One is to keep the covention exactly as planned and only doing minor alterations to the speaker schedule.  Another option McCain mentioned to FOX News is that they may delay the RNC.  If they do not delay the RNC, spokespeople have commented that they may turn it into a telethone to give money to the Red Cross and other organizations to help hurricane victims.  As a political move I think one of these ideas is really good and the others really bad.

To continue on without paying attention to possible devistation in the southern part of the United States would hurt Republicans because it would make the people feel like they are being ignored.  This would be especially problematic for the Republican party because southern states often lean toward the Republican side.  This could lead voters to feel disheartened and vote for another candidate or not vote at all.

Delaying the RNC is a bad idea.  I think it would show self centered motives on the part of the Republican party.  It would show the Republican party as attention seeking and I think many people, not just Democrats, would speculate and attack them for that.  Southern voters also might be upset that although the Republican party delayed the event, they then proceeded to go on with what many people consider a “celebration” instead of given added focus to assist people in the area where the hurricane hit.

The final choice, to make the RNC into a telethone is a great idea.  This would help people feel like the Republican party is more connected to the average person and also to help blur some of the party lines.  Donating to help fellow human beings, especially fellow Americans is something that both parties generously do.  Also, by comparison the Republicans would make the Democrats and the DNC appear to be wasteful for spending money on a celebration while the RNC was to help raise money for needy Americans.

Hurricane Gustav could be devastating to the RNC, but through crafty ideas could be used to help both needy Americans and also gain additional support for the Republican party.  It will be interesting to see if Republicans use Hurricane Gustav to their advantage.

For more information on possible RNC changes visit:  http://news.aol.com/elections/conventions/republicans/article/gustav-may-alter-republican-convention/154340?icid=100214839x1208199597x1200493945


Palin: An Analysis of Strengths and Weaknesses

29 August 2008

96.9 WTKK in Boston has had callers all day arguing whether Palin was a good choice for McCain’s VP nominee.  I did some research on her past record.

If McCain was looking for a running mate who would have high conservative ideals to help draw in conservatives, Palin is a great choice.  She is a Republican but is not afraid to fight against corruption.  She has lowered taxes in Alaska and favored many Republican ideals including bans against same sex marriage, working for ethics laws, pro-life, and pro-gun.  This will help swing Republicans who were uncertain about McCain’s allegiance a bit more towards his side.

Palin went to the University of Idaho and got a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science.  I have heard a lot of people make comments about this making her unqualified.  Personally, I am not big on Master’s Degrees.  I have sat in on some classes for some of the Boston University Master’s Degrees and felt that not only could the work be done by an undergrad, but unless you are going in to be a doctor or possibly a lawyer you could learn as much if not more from real life experience and by keeping up on the literature of the topic.  But the fact that she didn’t have a masters wasn’t the only thing they picked on.  It was what her bachelor’s degree was in–Journalism.  Although my major is film, I have taken several journalism classes and believe that a Journalism degree is actually an advantage.  First there are many nuances of news reporting that politics relate to.  Second of all many communications related classes have a section that focus on politics because the two are so closely interrelated.  Since Palin also has a minor in Political Science, I feel that she has a pretty good understanding of politics from a theoretical stand point.  I do not think her education really works against her.

Experience is another concern people have about Palin.  Although she doesn’t have US Senate experience, she has held an elected office for more time than Barack Obama.  Also others who have run for president including Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney had the majority of their experience as governor not a US Senator.  Besides this, Palin has proved to be a quick learner in her past positions and I am sure would be able to do the same in the VP position.

Her family has come up and has mainly been seen as an advantage.  She grew up with humble beginnings as the daughter of a teacher and a school secretary.  Even now she has similar links, her husband is a union worker and has worked in the Alaskan fishing industry.  This helps create a link between her and the common person.  The concern that I do see with her family is that she has five children.  One of them is my age (19), and most of them are in their teens but her youngest one is 4 months old.  The child has Down Syndrome, which although it supports her pro-life stance, could be seen as a distraction if something were to happen to McCain and she became President.  This may not be a problem if Palin’s husband is the primary care giver of the children, but at this point it seems unclear.

Now to me one of the big issues is if she is pro-gun or anti-gun.  From some research I found that not only is Palin pro-gun, she has a life time membership to the National Rifle Association (NRA).  I think this is important because it shows that she supports what I believe to be one of the most important and controversial amendments of the Constitution and likely supports the entire document.

Another issue is her patriotism.  I personally have no doubt about her patriotism.  Not only did she applaud McCain’s service record, she has a son who is being deployed on September 11th and is in the United States Army.  In addition to this, she is the head of the Alaskan National Guard.  Palin has also taken trips to Iraq to meet with the troops and build moral.

Although she has some flaws, Palin seems to have many strengths that make her both electable and a decent VP candidate (although not perfect — and no one is).  Palin is patriotic, knows the struggles of the common man, holds conservative ideals, and has political experience.


Obama’s “Change” not Evident with Biden

29 August 2008

Although I do not support Barack Obama, I do know a bit about his platform.  I have heard lots of claims about Obama but the more I learn about him the more false the claims seem to be.

Barack Obama promised change.  Although it is unclear what change he is trying to accomplish, I do not believe he really stands for that.  He may stand for change of racial standards, but not of the political system. 

First of all he is a product of the corrupt US political system, just like Clinton, McCain, Romney, and just about every other politician to ever exist.  Granted he has not been in office long and therefore there may be hope that he could be different.  But then he picked Biden as his adviser and right hand man. 

Biden, has spent longer in the US Senate than even McCain.  Biden has been a US Senator for 35 years, while McCain has been for only 22 years.  Considering Obama attacks McCain for his long standing political background and claims that it will not create change, it seems hypocritcal to pick a man who has been in the US Senate even longer than McCain has.

I have heard speculation that Obama chose Biden because Biden has more experience and has a stronger foreign policy background.  This would lead to the idea that this experience is suppose to help build on the weak points that people criticize about Obama.

My question is, if you are looking for change away from modern corrupted politics, wouldn’t more experience in the United States Senate be a drawback not helpful?  To me Obama has contradicted himself.  It makes me feel as if Obama is just saying what the people want to hear and people pleasing to get into office, regardless of if what he will really do.


Election 2008: An Election for the History Books & A Mockery of the US Political System

29 August 2008

This election year is proving to be one for the history book.  Senator Barack Obama is the first African American male to be the Presidential nominee for a US political party and has a chance to be the first African American President of the United States.  Governor Sarah Palin has the chance to be the first woman Vice President of the United States (and also the first woman President of the United States if McCain is elected and something, God forbid, happens to him).

Despite what will be a historic event no matter which party wins, the media and the people are putting too much store in this.  Although not all voters do this, many people are excited by the idea that they can help make history and are basing their vote on that instead of a candidate’s qualifications.  Hopefully with both parties now have a chance at history this will not be an issue, but I fear that it will be.

The media, and the candidates should not pay attention to the race, sex, or any other unique factor about a candidate’s personal life but instead what Americans NEED to hear about, the policies.  Having the first African American President or female Vice President would be great progress for the United States but not at the expense of putting a person into power who does not have the skills or qualifications to do the job.

I have heard people make the claim that if you are against Obama you are racist and that Senator John McCain is running ads against Obama because he is racist.  Both of these ideas seem absurd to me.  Political elections always have ads about the other candidate, not to discriminate but to try to increase poll numbers and give facts to the public.  I heard a similar claim was made about Senator Hillary Clinton, if you didn’t vote for her you were sexist. 

Disagreeing with a politician’s views should not earn people derogatory titles such as “racist” or “sexist.”  Everyone needs to get over the history of this election and look at issues.  I honestly believe that although the majority of people are probably doing that, the most obvious people, the media and politicians, are not and are instead promoting records that go against the ideals of what the United States political system was suppose to be.


Sarah Palin is NOT the first woman to be a Vice Presidential Nominee

29 August 2008

With John McCain’s recent decision to have Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee brings up the question, is she the first woman to be on a ballot for vice president?

The answer is no.  Women have been running for vice president since the 1800s.

Marietta Lizzie Bell Stow, of the Equal Rights Party, ran as the running mate of Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood in 1884.

Although there has not been a female vice presidential candidate in a major party for more than 20 years, there have been several in the smaller parties.

To find more information on female vice presidential candidates you can visit this site.  It gives the year, party, country, and in many case some background information on former female candidates.


Sarah Palin is John McCain’s Vice President

29 August 2008

McCain announced that Alaskan governor Sarah Palin will be his vice president.  This may have come as a shock to many, especially since Palin was not on the short list of people McCain was considering for VP.  The question is was this a good choice?

Yesterday, I heard about a poll that pick former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as the person on McCain’s “short list” that would have most benefited him.  Romney would have helped McCain gain at least 1 out of every 5 voters (all over the country as well as across party lines) that were not already committed to McCain.  In addition Romney would have helped McCain almost definitely secure Michigan and many of the Midwestern states.  Romney would also be able to help McCain fill in gaps on economic issues, which McCain admits a lack of expertise.  So why not pick Romney?

McCain obviously felt that Palin would be more beneficial and pull in more voters.  After listening to her speech, she does have many accomplishments including fighting government corruption, having an average family life, and crossing party lines.  Despite these accomplishments, Palin was relatively unheard of before today and will not draw many people in on name recognition.

In her speech Palin acknowledged New York Senator Hillary Clinton and the cracks she made in the “glass ceiling.”  She also reminded people that this week is the anniversary of women receiving the right to vote.  Palin then commented that we can “finish breaking the glass ceiling.”  This makes it seem like Palin was not selected for her credentials (or at least not entirely), but instead because she is a woman who may be able to attract female voters from both parties, especially former Hillary supporters.

Obviously no one will know how this affects McCain in the election, but I truly do NOT believe that Palin was selected merely on credentials.  Beyond having an impressive story and her ability to reach across party lines to work against government problems, I feel that by ignoring certain issues in her speech Palin may lack expertise on issues such as the economy.  I guess the next 2 months and the RNC will tell.


Political Correctness: Indian vs. Native America

28 August 2008

Political correctness is always an issue and the question is where the line of too much is.  Some people think that has been crossed a long time ago.  Now my question involves the word “INDIAN.”

I never realized that the word “Indian” has finally crossed deep into the realm of being politically incorrect.  In an attempt to list an item on eBay (a site that tends to be notoriously strict on being politically correct), the listing was termed “illegal” according to their policies because it said “Indian” describing a native American on a motorcycle.

My question for everyone is: Is it wrong to use the term “Indian” to refer to Native Americans or is eBay being excessive?  Do people of Native American decent find the term “Indian” offensive and which term do they prefer to use to describe their heritage?

The reason I ask is for two reasons.  First of all I know many people of Native American decent and many of them refer to themselves as “Indians” or use the term interchangeably with “native Americans.” 

The second reason I ask this is my curriculum.  I only graduated from high school last year (2007) and during my public school education, and also my current college education at Boston University, I can remember several of my text books referring to Native Americans either interchangeably or in some cases exclusively as “Indians.”

I am wondering if my background was somehow severely limited or if I am not the only person who does not see the term “Indian” as offensive but as a term that was used (and still is) to describe Native Americans because Columbus had an incorrect belief, that he was in India and not a “new world,” when he reached the Americas.


Barack Obama’s Greek Temple at the DNC

28 August 2008

I keep hearing about the backdrop that Senator Obama selected for his speech tonight.  It consists of several Greek columns.

It is no secret that I am not fond of Senator Obama’s proposed policies because they go against my ideals.  On many conservative talk shows I have heard reference to these columns and suggestions that they came off of sets like Ben Hurr.

Knowing a little bit of history, I do know that today is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”  On one of the talk shows someone called in and suggested that these columns were suppose to mimic the Lincoln Memorial.

At that point I had yet to see the backdrop and did not think the idea quite as insane, although an expensive alternative to projecting the backdrop behind Senator Obama.

Then I got to see the pictures of the backdrop.  Not only does it seem excessive, it could never mimic the Lincoln Memorial.  Here are a couple of the links to pictures of the background. http://news.aol.com/?feature=152107  &  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yQwufJ_JpA&eurl=http://www.michaelgraham.com/

Although I am not sure it is a “temple” per say, it is definitely not the Lincoln Memorial and appears to have minimal function.  Personally I feel a presidential nominee should have some type of a patriotic background that reflects their connection with the US instead of an expensive backdrop that does not appear to serve any purpose.


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