Jessica Mondillo’s Blog


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Government category.

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.


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.


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.


The Big Dig-It Keeps Going… And Going… And Going…

03 March 2008

Over a year ago the Big Dig (I-93) opened and I thought the project was FINALLY over, years over due and well over budget. Apparently, I was wrong. Today the Boston Globe announced that there is a to-do list of over 2,000 items left to finish and no completion date set.

In addition to the to-do list, the US government filed charges against McCourt Construction Company for over billing. This is the second time charges have been brought against McCourt for conspiracy to defraud the government during highway projects.

In my opinion this has been going on way too long. Both the US and Massachusetts governments have been paying for this project for years and nothing was done properly. Tax payers in Massachusetts do not even seem concerned that their money has been thrown away—a sign that the project has been going on for far too long.

The Big Dig may have been completed but it has never been safe. First it flooded. Then part of the roof collapsed. Both of these things happened around the time the tunnel was opened. If you buy a product and it is damaged from the time you get it, you return it and don’t have to pay for it.

Why were billions spent on a failure? Pumps often have to be running in the tunnel to keep it from flooding and who is paying for the problem? Taxpayers. Not the people who built the faulty tunnel.

If the tunnel collapses from all the outside pressure, who would people blame? Most likely, the state.

Taxpayers, especially those in Massachusetts, got stuck with a faulty product and an inflated bill but almost nothing is being done to rectify that. This problem has been going on for more than 10 years and looks like it could continue for another five. Why aren’t the government and taxpayers taking more of a stand for their rights as a consumer?

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Affordable Education: Congress, Endowments and Colleges

29 February 2008

Congress recently collected a list of 136 colleges and universities who received more than $500 million dollars in endowments. The colleges were asked to disclose their financial information so Congress could review it. This is part of Congress’s plan to lower the cost of high education for students and their families.

The committee looking into endowment sizes has noted an increase in endowments, tuition, and deans’ salaries in recent years. One of the plans the committee is considering would require universities to pay 5% of their assets to a charitable organization.

As a college student who is paying for her own education, I would rather the college use 5% of their assets to increase the availability and amount of financial aid for students. I know that according to the Internal Revenue Code the government cannot require colleges to give a certain amount of money to financial aid. So why don’t they change that law?

I know colleges get other benefits and tax breaks because they are a school. If the government can give a school benefits, it should also be able to demand increased financial aid. The government intervenes in everything else so why not give the colleges a choice: get benefits and get told a minimum for the amount of aid given or do not receive benefits and have freedom to charge as much as they want for tuition.

According to a Daily Free Press article, Boston University received $1.1 BILLION dollars in 2007. BU spokesperson Colin Riley told the paper, “[BU] has a modest endowment for a school of its size. BU is a tuition dependent school. Tuition pays about half of our $1.5 billion budget.”

To me that math does not add up. A budget includes ALL expenses. If the school has a $1.5 billion dollar budget and a $1.1 billion dollar endowment, only $400 million would come from tuition. According to BU, though, $750 million comes from tuition for the budget.

That means $350 million dollars is going somewhere. Instead of using $350 million dollars of endowment money for some unnecessary fixture or putting it into savings, BU should be decreasing tuition (or increasing aid) and offering an explanation to students and parents where the money is going.

College affordability is a major problem. Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth College, and Stanford all have plans to help low income families. I think more colleges need to do this.

As a young adult and student, I am trying to get an education so I can get a decent paying job in the future. I should not be leaving school with almost $200,000 in debt (before interest) that I have to pay off. Schools need to help middle class families, not penalize people like myself for wanting to be a productive member of society.

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Nails in McCain’s Coffin

19 February 2008

Quite simply put: I don’t think John McCain has any chance of winning the presidential election. More and more things keep adding nails into McCain’s coffin.

NAIL #1: McCain has publicly made one of the most detrimental comments to his campaign. He will not pull the troops out of Iraq. As much as people like the idea of being tough on terrorism, they want out of Iraq. Iraq is turning into a Vietnam—impossible to win but the US can’t turn back without people looking down on them.

NAIL #2: President George W. Bush endorsed McCain and called him a true conservative. President Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president (and it is fresh in people’s minds). You don’t want him endorsing you when people hate and do not trust him, especially swing voters.

NAIL #3: Not only were there once rumors of McCain considering switching parties, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (D) claims that McCain’s people approached him about putting McCain on the ticket as Vice President. This claim can be found at:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2007/4/3/11936/97033

NAIL #4: McCain’s stance as a conservative is often questioned, and instead of not bringing it up, Bush decided that people needed reassurance that McCain is a conservative. This brings up the questions for independent voters: Was it necessary to state that McCain was a conservative? And does that mean people doubt that he is?

NAIL #5: To go along with bringing the question up in people’s minds, McCain also worked on a bill with Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (D) called the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act. Although there were some parts that the majority of Republicans would agree with (i.e. and English test), it would allow the over 10 million illegal immigrants to stay in the United States. Although this is the only bill that sticks out in my mind, I am sure there are more in McCain’s past.

NAIL #6: McCain does not fall into the pro gun category that is a major part of the conservative ideal. Gun Owner’s of America has not rates McCain about a C– in the four years that they have done their ratings. Their site has a complete list of not only their ratings but also bills that McCain has voted for. You can visit their site:
http://www.gunowners.org/mccaintb.htm

McCain keeps having nails pounded into his coffin that will stop people from voting for him. If these facts become well known, I do NOT think McCain has a chance of winning.

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Guns on Campus May Just Save Your Life

17 February 2008

I wrote this as an Op-Ed for a class of mine, but in light of all the recent school shootings, I feel I need to post this on the Internet:

Prior to Virginia Tech, Luby’s Massacre was the deadliest shooting in American history. On a sunny October 16, 1991, shooter George Jo Hennard drove into Luby’s Cafeteria in Texas, which at the time had laws banning the concealed carry of guns that are similar to the laws found today that ban firearms on most college campuses. Hennard shot and killed 23 people and wounded 23 more before killing himself.

Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp was in the cafeteria that day with her parents and watched Hennard kill both of them. Hupp, despite not being from a gun owning family, had acquired a firearm and left it in her car due to the state’s restrictions. She later testified to the Texas state congress in favor of concealed carry. Hupp said, “I’m not saying that I could have saved anybody in there, but I would have had a chance… My state has gun control laws. It did not keep Hennard from coming in and killing everybody! What it did do, was keep me from protecting my family!”

Since Luby’s Massacre, many states have adopted some form of concealed carry laws. These laws allow licensed individuals to carry firearms into many locations including restaurants, movie theaters and parks. The one place most states limit or allow the limiting of concealed carry is on college campuses. Yet by allowing concealed carry on campus, state law makers and school officials would be taking a step towards making college campuses safer.

Concealed carry on campus would be restricted by the same laws that are safely and effectively used throughout the state. In Massachusetts, to get a concealed carry permit you must be 21, pass a training course and then go through background checks before you can be approved by your local police department.

I am not saying everyone on campus should have a handgun. If someone does not want a firearm it will cause accidents due to carelessness. But that is no reason that trained college students and professors should have their second amendment right to carry a firearm infringed. Every day these students and teachers, like millions of others in the United States, carry a firearm without incident, yet they are denied the ability to protect themselves on campus if an emergency ever occurs.

Many people claim that with concealed carry on campus more guns would be on campus which would lead to an increase in crime. This is similar to a claim made before many states changed the laws stopping citizens from carrying a firearm to allowing them to carry a concealed firearm. In many cases, crime rates in states actually went down once concealed carry was implemented.

On several college campuses, concealed carry is already a part of everyday life. According to MSNBC, Utah began to allow concealed carry on campus in 2006. According to the crime reports on the University of Utah’s police department’s website, there was no jump in gun related or other violent crimes on campus in 2006.

There was actually a decrease in forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary, according to the police website. Illegal weapons possession throughout the entire campus totaled zero in 2006.

The claim that firearms on campus would be a distraction was also proved false in Utah. In an MSNBC report, Timmy Allin, an out of state freshman at the University of Utah, had no idea that guns were even allowed on campus. This demonstrates that not only are guns not a problem on campuses that allow them, guns do not detract from the learning process.

According to a report by the state of Virginia, the tragedy that occurred April 16, 2007 on the Virginia Tech (gun free) campus occurred when shooter Seung-Hui Cho went on a 10 to 12 minute rampage that killed 30 people and wounded 17 more. On average Cho shot someone every 13 to 15 seconds.

Boston University’s (where I go to school) police department has an average response time for a crime of three minutes after they receive the phone call according to their website. If there was a massacre style shooting on the BU campus, by the time the BU police arrived onto the scene of the shooting, a shooter like Cho would have shot at least 12 people, that is assuming that he could hit only one person every 15 seconds and that the call time for the emergency was non-existent.

In a situation where every second could mean a lost life, you do not want to wait even 180 seconds (three minutes) for the police to arrive. By having concealed carry on campus it is not a guarantee that someone in the area would have a handgun in an emergency. But if there is just one person with a firearm in the area, there is no 3+ minute wait.

One trained person carrying a firearm concealed in an emergency situation is more effective than a hundred trained cops 10 minutes away. One person carrying a concealed handgun could be the difference between one person being shot and ten or more being shot while the police are on their way.

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Trasylol Killed 22,000 People and the FDA could have Prevented It

16 February 2008

In January 2006, private researcher Dr. Dennis Mangano came forward and published a study saying Bayer AG’s drug Trasylol had dangerous side effects.

The FDA advisory panel looked into Dr. Mangano’s claims in September 2006. Bayer had researched this claim but did not disclose their findings to the FDA panel at the meeting. The findings confirmed Dr. Mangano’s research, which would have lost Bayer money.

FDA advisory panel chairman Dr. William Hiatt told CBS’s 60 Minutes that he would have voted to remove the drug from the market had Bayer disclosed its findings.

It is figured that approximately 22,000 lives could have been saved had the drug been removed from the market. The drug was finally taken off the market in November of 2007. The drug, which is used to decrease bleeding during open heart surgery but caused kidney failure which lead to the need for dialysis and an increased change of death for the patients.

This brings up several serious issues that both the FDA and more importantly American citizens should be worrying about.

Bayer is, of course, a business and therefore is concerned about profit. But as a drug company, shouldn’t they also have a responsibility to protect their customers? The drugs that they create are to help, not hurt people. Yet their drug killed over 22,000 people.

It is one thing if a company does not realize what the side effects are, but they HAD the research and refused to disclose it. This shows an intentional disregard for its customers or how many lives they kill to make their profits.

Another thing that should be a concern is the FDA’s method of handling this. Yes, they did eventually recall the drug. But at the same time when this information first came out and they checked it out, they didn’t have someone else do the research or confirm that Bayer did not check this information.

Normally I do NOT agree with law suits, but in this case I do feel that the families are justified in suing Bayer. Bayer knowingly withheld information that led to the death of thousands of people. Those people’s blood is on Bayer’s hands.

Overall I question how safe many of the drugs on the market really are and if the FDA is an effective way to prove these drugs are safe. The fact that this information was known and what should have been a life saving procedure killed these people because the medicine doctors used was deemed safe by the FDA should make everyone question the drug companies motives for making medicine—profit or the well being of their customers.

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Is Anyone Really Surprised that the CIA used Waterboarding?

06 February 2008

I know people will be in an uproar now that CIA Director Michael Hayden has admitted that the CIA has used waterboarding on 3 suspects since September 11th.  For those of you who do not know, waterboarding is a technique that many people consider torture that creates the sensation of drowning.

In my high school US history class I learned a little bit about the CIA and their involvement in world affairs.  They were often involved in the destruction of governments the US did not like and the assassinations of political officials.

Knowing this, I am not surprised the CIA used waterboarding to get information from suspected terrorists under the pretense of homeland security.  In my mind, this may be one of the most valid reasons the CIA has had for their actions.

Yes, the CIA used waterboarding on suspected terrorist.  The CIA says that their reason was to gather information on al-Qaida and to prevent an attack hitting US soil.  In short they used a method (which is currently NOT considered torture by the US Attorney General) to gather information for the protection of US citizens.

I am not surprised they did this.  This is better than them killing or supporting groups that are overthrowing governments that they do not like because they are not democracy.  For once the CIA’s actions are completely justifiable, the protection of Americans, of YOU and ME.

If you want more information on the CIA and waterboarding it can be found here.