Jessica Mondillo’s Blog


Category Archive

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

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?

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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


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 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.


Credentialed Teachers are not Necessary for a Good Education

11 March 2008

In California home schooling is being threatened due to a law saying that a credentialed teacher must teach home schooled students. The Supreme Court of California will be looking into the case after the appeal court ruled against the families. According to a AOL article, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will fight the courts ruling in favor of parents’ rights.

Now personally I don’t understand what parents’ rights actually are or where they are guaranteed. I think this might fall under one of the rights that people assume they have, when really they don’t (i.e. right to privacy).

But honestly, I believe that it does not matter if a parent is “credentialed” to home school their children. I know two families who have home schooled all of their children.

One of the families has four daughters. Part of their method of teaching was to join a group of home schooled students so that the girls would meet people their age and also learn from other people who may be more knowledgeable than the mother was. They go on hands on field trips at least once a month, but usually more often than that, in which they learn more on subjects like history and biology in a few hours than I learned in a few months. The oldest daughter spent her last two years of “high school” taking classes at the local community college and graduated the top in her class before going to Northeastern. The second oldest daughter has a tutor for Spanish but her mother teaches her most of her other subjects.

Both families have been highly successful home schooling their children, and all of their older children have proven to be upstanding members of society, even without credentialed instructors for all of their classes.

My parents and I considered home schooling me as well. In a way I wish I had been because it allows a personal relationship between instructor and student and also allows for a more focused education. My favorite subjects have always been math, science and history. If I had been home schooled I would have been able to focus on those subjects and been able to go on many hands on “field trips” to national parks and museums—where I learned the majority of my history and science anyway.

I don’t think a credentialed teacher is any benefit or requirement for a home schooled child. By using the many resources available to home schooling families, children can get as good, if not BETTER, education being home schooled without a credentialed teacher than being in a classroom with at least one credentialed teacher.

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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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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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Mississippi Proposed a Bill to Stop Restaurants from Serving Obese People

07 February 2008

The Mississippi legislature proposed a bill that would ban restaurants from being able to serve obese people.  Mississippi has the highest obesity rate in the country and senate Republican John Read claims that he was not trying to offend anyone just shed light on a problem according to AOL News.

The bill is drawing criticism from many groups including activist groups, doctors and university research groups.  Even if the bill does pass through the legislature, Steve Holland, chairman of the House Public Health and Human Services Committee plans to use a pocket veto on it.

Personally I agree that the idea is crazy.  I have always heard that some people who are obese or overweight are that way not because they eat all the time but because either their body’s metabolism cannot keep up or because of other serious medical conditions.

How can a waiter or waitress who is trained to serve food determine who is obese and who is merely overweight?  In order to determine that properly, you have to have a person’s weight, height and a chart that breaks down what is obese for them.  If you are going to say it is by looks that is not fair either.  That is discrimination.  Cops cannot pull over young drivers who have multiple people in car and may be underage unless they have another offense to charge them with because it is discrimination.  Since discrimination is illegal, so is this bill which causes discrimination.

The other thing not mentioned by the bill is what effect it would have on business owners.  By not being able to serve obese people, you lose customers.  This hurts not just McDonald’s (which are actually run by small business owners not specifically the corporation) but also small family restaurants.  Since Mississippi has such a huge obesity rate, the owner would lose both customers and money during a time that is already economically tight which could cause them to go out of business.

Why John Read and the other two writers would propose this to shed light on a problem is beyond me.  Not only did they create a highly controversial bill, they do not believe it will even pass.  So why waste your time and other lawmakers time with a bill that is to shed light on a problem?  There are better solutions to the obesity problem that do not discriminate against obese people

Mississippi’s bill banning the serving of obese people at restaurants is a crazy idea.  It discriminates against people, something no public establishment is allowed to do even when hiring employees.  It hurts business owners.  And it is a waste of lawmaker’s efforts.


SCCC Empty Holster Protest Leaves Me Feeling Singled Out

06 February 2008

I only joined Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) within the last month, mostly due to procrastination, not because I have any doubts about the validity of the group or worthiness of the cause.

Now the University of Cincinnati chapter of SCCC has a page on their website that links to a file listing all the people who have agree to participate in the nation-wide Spring 2008 Empty Holster Protest (EHP) and that will be updated as more people agree to go.

So far the number of definite participants is 1545 almost triple the number that actually participated in the Fall of 07.  There is also still a lot of time for recruitment since the protest is not until the week of April 21st to 25th.

When I was going through the list of participants, I was at spot 241 (not that it reflects the order people signed up to attend).  I used the find function in excel to see just how many people from Boston University agreed to take part in the protest so far. 

There were 2 including me.  Considering between students and staff BU has approximately 40,000 people on campus every day that leaves me feeling single out.  The chances of me even seeing Anthony Simone, the other BU student participating in the protest, is slim to none.

I know Anthony and I, whoever he may be, are not the only Republican inclined students at BU, so I have the slightest glimmer of hope that more BU students will participate in the EHP or that they just don’t know about it and the SCCC yet.

But right now, I really do feel like one out of many and not in a good way.  I already felt apart from most of the students at BU, now I feel really alone.  After all, of 40,000 people, right now, I only know the name (I don’t even know the actual person) of one person who feels as strongly as I do about concealed carry that he is willing to stand up and support the protest.