Jessica Mondillo’s Blog


Category Archive

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

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.

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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.


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.


Looking for Help with a Project–Survery on the Meaning of Being an American

06 June 2008

As I have made clear in my blog before, I am going to Boston University.  Right now I am taking summer classes and am looking for a few people to volunteer to help me.

I am looking for several people of Portugese decent who have immigrated to America (not necessarily a citizen of the US right now) or are first generation Americans.  This is for my documentary class and I am doing the research as if I were making the documentary (even though I will not be).  I am asking for several people to take a few minutes to do a survery and email it to me at jem@bu.edu  If you are interested, I can either email you the survey or you can copy and paste it from below.  Thank you for anyone willing to help.

Name (first or first and last):
Age:
Would you be willing to be filmed:
What region of Portugal you are from:
What Portugese customs do you participate in:
What American customs do you participate in:
Do you consider yourself an American (regardless of if you are a citizen):
If so, what does being an American mean to you:
When did you come to American and with who:
Why did you come to America:
Are you an American citizen:
If so, since when:
If not, do you want to?  Why or why not:
Do you live in a Portugese community:
Do you go to any Portugese festivals in your area:
Would you be willing to let me contact you again with further questions:

As I said, I would appreciate help from anyone willing.  I will only use this information for my class and questions like age and where in Portugal you came from are only to give me a clearer understanding of any historical factors that may have played a role.  Thank you again.  My email is jem@bu.edu


So Breaking the Law is OK if it Benefits you?

26 March 2008

Back about a month ago on my post about dealer plates, a gentleman named Jim said “i’m a dealer and use my dealer tag on all of my cars, i dont see why you’re making a big deal out of it. think of something that would benefit you in some way.

 According to Jim’s logic, anything that benefits a person should be legal.   Meaning, if someone stole a car from his dealership, he should not be able to press charges against that person because it benefits that person to steal the car.  Also according to this logic, nothing should be illegal.  After all, a criminal only commits a crime because it benefits him or her in some way.

I would also like to comment that it doesn’t make sense to me when Jim says think about something that would benefit you in some way.  There are a lot of things that would benefit me.

I am going to be commuting to and from Boston next year by myself, possibly even during the nighttime.  It would benefit me to be able to carry a handgun for self defense just in case something happens.  But I’m not 21 and thus do not have a concealed carry permit.  According to Jim,  I can carry that handgun because it benefits me even though it is against the law.

It would also benefit me if I had $200,000 to pay for my college.  If I robbed a bank to get the $200,000 according to Jim I have not broken the law because it benefited me.

If I am driving and there is an ambulance or a firetruck behind me, by law I need to pull over to let them pass.  But, say I am in a hurry.  According to Jim, that is okay because it benefits me.  It doesn’t matter that I am putting someone’s life in danger and breaking the law because it benefits me.

A person uses illegal drugs.  If that person is caught buying and possessing the drugs, the police should not be able to place charges against that person, after all he or she was benefited by the drugs.

A man and his wife are about to get divorced and the man will get no money from the settlement.  If she dies prior to the divorce he will get a large sum of money.  According to Jim, this man can commit murder because it benefits the man to kill his wife.

According to Jim, a pervert who will get satisfaction from raping a five year old girl has not committed a crime because it benefited the man.

Now after reading those examples, something should tell you either by morals or by a knowledge of the law that those examples do not make much sense.  Any reasonable person would say that doing those things are WRONG.  Even Jim would most likely say that those other examples are wrong to do.

What I don’t understand is why does Jim feels that he is above the law.  According to his theory, one could argue that there should be no laws because every action benefits the person that does it. 

I have seen Boston police also do similar things.  One of them was in a hurry to get back to the station because it was raining and he was on a motorcycle.  He ran a red light after weaving between cars and around me as I crossed the street.  His sirens were not on at the time nor were they turned on after this.

I feel that society would be better off if people stopped concerning themselves with only their benefit.  People assume that because they are a decent member of society who participates in community service, they should get the benefit of the doubt or that certain crimes should not apply to them because they are an otherwise good person.  Even some criminals, that the majority of people would consider a criminal, think they are a good person except for the one law they broke.

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How do People Have MORE TIME in College?

03 March 2008

Before I came to college I would always hear about how much more time you have in college than in high school. I would like to contradict that statement.

If you have more time in college, it may be because you have fewer classes and do no extra curricular activities including working.

I go to BU, which has a four class system. I have class for 16 hours a week. Yes, this is less than when I was in high school and had approximately 35 hours of class a week (including lunch time and passing periods). But I also have a lot more down time where very little can actually get done. If you have a 15 minute or half an hour break by the time you find someplace to sit and get your books out to do work, you have to pack them up. In reality, it is sometimes the same with an hour break as well. If you have to walk a mile to your next class, you kill most of your half hour walking to class.

In addition to my 16 hours of class (which increases as you become an upper classman), I have 10 hours of work per week. For extra curricular activities (which in reality are a lot like specialists or electives in high school or middle school), I work with the TV station and participate in the shows for 6-7 hours a week. This does not include homework time, which often includes more work in less time.

I really wish I knew where this claim that you have more time in college comes from. I can’t see it coming from commuting colleges, because you need to consider travel time into your day. Maybe I had a lot of down time in high school, but from my observations I had been fairly active.

Personally, if a person is even remotely active at their college AND attends classes, they have less time than they did in high school. I know I do.

For people in college can you please tell me if you feel you have more or less time than you did in high school and why?

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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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Last Year Kerry Made an Unfair Assesment on College Students being Politically Active

25 February 2008

There’s something that has been bothering me for several months. Last semester John Kerry came to BU and basically scolded the student population for not being politically active. The way I had interpreted his words, it was a reprimand for not voting.

Honestly, I though Boston University was relatively politically active, especially compared to other colleges and universities (i.e. state schools). Almost everywhere you go on campus you will either see political signs or hear political discussions.

I also think it is not fair to claim that this group of college students is not politically active. Although some of us may have gone through smaller local elections or even Senate elections, unless the student is either a grad student or a senior, the majority have not had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election.

I personally was politically active, even before I could vote. It is not fair to assess that I am not politically active or not fulfilling my civic duty because I have voted once in my life. I haven’t even been 18 for 6 months. Many of the students I go to school with are in a similar situation as I am; they have NEVER been able to vote before.

I believe that before Kerry, or any ‘older’ adult for the matter, says that college students need to vote and be more politically active they need to think. Yes, there are many reasons college students do not vote—absentee ballots are difficult to fill out or they are not informed and do not feel that they should vote. Yet at the same time, saying that we are not politically active is not a fair assessment. This is our first chance to vote in a major election (or in some cases at all), not our 2nd, 5th or 10th time. If the majority of new voters do not vote in their first presidential election then you can accuse of us of not being politically active or caring enough to vote.

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How did BU get an A for Campus Security?!?

19 February 2008

Reader’s Digest gave Boston University an A grade on college campus security. Out of the 135 colleges and universities that participated, BU ranked 11th. Although Reader’s Digest calls BU safe I think students on campus, including myself, would question the accuracy of that statement.

Considering the number of colleges that participated, I am surprised BU did so well. At the same time that number most likely does not accurately represent the number of schools in the US alone.

Three of the criteria for safety were the locks on dormitory doors (locks, chains, peepholes, etc.), the lecture at orientation and if the school has a mass emergency alert system.

Yes, the big dormitories have door locks (which are sometimes difficult to lock or unlock). But the smaller off campus dorms do not have the same quality door locks. Often in BU’s independent, student run newspaper, The Daily Free Press there are reports of break-ins and thefts at the apartments.

Yes, we had a half hour lecture on safety during orientation. Most people slept or talked through the lecture making it difficult to hear for those who were listening. That 30 minute lecture is the entirety of the safety briefing you get for your four years, unless a crime occurs.

Yes, we have a mass emergency alert system. It’s called Send Word Now. But on the tests, the 3 different messages come in several hours apart for most students. BU Police Department Chief, Thomas Robbins, even admits that many students turn off their cell phones during class and that certain parts of campus have bad reception. These problems make the Send Word Now system almost ineffective during an emergency.

The part that Reader’s Digest may have failed to take into account (or possibly didn’t know) was that at least 3 different girls have been sexually assaulted in dorms on campus THIS year. Only two of the men were caught. The dorm that two of the girls were sexually assaulted at has had repeated complaints of inattentive and rude security guards who were often not at the guard station.

The other problem is people getting hit by cars. Most of the accidents are minor and the pedestrian or bicyclist that is hit does not receive substantial injuries. This happens from people running red lights, not paying attention or students who feel that they should cross the street without looking. The BUPD has not helped this issue much. In fact a BUPD car hit a girl crossing the street one night while the police officer made an illegal U-Turn.

Although BU received an A from Reader’s Digest for safety, I do not feel any safer. In fact, I question if Reader’s Digest looked at all the information or only select pieces because in my mind the score they gave BU is misleading. If I had to rate campus safety I’d probably give it a C.

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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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