Campaign Finance Reform: A Necessary Change


Executive Summary

Campaign finance reform is the effort to change the power and effect that money has on United States politics, particularly elections. The current sanctions and regulations placed on groups or individuals who donate money to certain parties or candidates are not thorough enough. Campaign finance law is often thought about as loopholes rather than laws. Candidates and supporters find different loopholes in order to pour money into different sectors to influence politicians.  Although it is difficult to stop people from donating money where they please because of their first amendment rights, there needs to be a governmental change in order to overcome this misrepresentation of the American people. More power needs to be given to the Federal Election Committee and the right people need to be selected to run the FEC. Campaigns need to be run mostly by publicly funded money so that the American people are actually represented in Congress.

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I Hate School!


If one were to listen in on a typical conversation between high school or college students there is a very good chance that the topic of disliking school or the work involved with going school will be mentioned. I am not writing this blog to argue that school is a bad idea, quite the opposite in fact. I think that today’s system for evaluating students through grades is extremely flawed. The point of going to school is about learning, not obtaining grades. Often students simply do the bare minimum to get by so that they can post the GPA that they “need” to get into college or get the job they want. This can lead to students cramming to finish projects/papers/study at the last minute. And when students cram they often to not actually learn the information. The competition for grades can also lead to cheating. Grades also are a distinct way or measuring people and there are people in the world who do not think and work the same as the majority. Therefore, these students whose minds do not work the same way are heavily penalized by the grades, affecting the entirety of their lives.

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Social Smartphones?


I think that mobile phones, specifically smart phones that can do everything that a laptop computer can do, have had and will have the largest impact on us socially. One thing that immediately comes to mind is that essentially everyone has the power of the internet literally in the palm of their hand. I think that this may be a factor that limits us from remembering things. Since we have access to all the information that the internet holds, there is no need to remember directions, recipes, definitions etc. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it certainly makes us dependent.

Additionally, I believe that the fact that everyone also has a video camera in their pocket takes away from people simply enjoying life. For example, if one were to walk by a street performer on a city block singing a beautiful ballad, they would also see every single observer recording said ballad with their phone. I also find myself doing this a lot, trying to document the things I see with my camera phone. For example, this past semester I went to an Imagine Dragons concert in Prague, and without really noticing what I was doing I took a video of nearly every single song that was performed. Did this take away from my experience while at the concert? It may have… but it may also have been worth it, in order to re-watch the concert from my point of view at a later date.

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Zapata’s Blood


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When it was mentioned in class that this week’s post would revolve around picking a song with meaningful lyrics, I immediately knew what I was doing. I thought back to the class taught by the greatest teacher I have ever had, and probably will ever have. His name is Jan Urban. During my semester abroad last spring in the Czech Republic, I took a class called “Modern Dissent in Central Europe.” Taught by this amazing man, it was unlike any class I have ever previously had. Jan grew up in Czechoslovakia during World War II, his father fought for the Soviet Army. Jan told us about how as a child he would be woken up in the middle of the night by his father’s screams, presumably from nightmares of experiences from World War II. Jan’s father never told him about what happened, but they mystery of what happened still played a huge part in his life. Continue reading

Tesla – A Rarity


imagesWhat is sustainability? What is a sustainable industry or business? In today’s society the definition of sustainable must be quite encompassing; Starik and Rands offer a modern definition. “Ecological sustainability is the ability of one or more entities either individually or collectively, to exist and flourish (either unchanged or in evolved forms) for lengthy time frames, in such a manner that the existing and flourishing of other collectivities of entities is permitted at related levels and in related systems” (Russo, 318). This paper will focus on something called sustainable entrepreneurship, which is well defined by J. Gregory Dees, a business professor at Duke University. “It combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation, and determination commonly associated with, for instance, the high-tech pioneers of Silicon Valley” (Dees, 1). This definition fits quite well for Tesla Motors, Inc. and their plan to address a social problem, specifically our planet’s dependence on fossil fuels. Many governmental and philanthropic sectors have not fulfilled society’s expectations, so it seems that the best way for social change is through industry, specifically social entrepreneurs. As an auto company that created a business model previously unseen, Tesla is a great example of a company led by the ideals of social entrepreneurship.

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Cyclical, Renewable, Waste-Free.


I found a Ted talk that relates  closely to my paper 2 topic, Tesla and business sustainability and social consciousness. Ray Anderson starts his talk by talking about how during the first industrial revolution it was all about extraction, using raw materials from the earth. It was Linear:Take, Make, Waste. This is at 5:45 in the video. He then goes on to say how the new industrial revolution should be. “In the new industrial revolution extractive must be replaced by renewable; linear by cyclical; fossil fuel energy by renewable energy, sunlight; wasteful by waste-free and abusive by benign; and labor productivity by resource productivity.” Continue reading

Sustainable Businesses ($)


I plan on writing my second paper about Telsa’s (short-term) success as a sustainable business. So I started my search for a book by going to the library and searching, “sustainable business practices.” I figured that as an extremely new company, finding a book that tied my paper topic directly to Tesla would be very difficult. After reading a handful of abstracts, there was one book that jumped out to me as one that would be very beneficial for my paper, “The New Pioneers; Sustainable business success through social innovation and social entrepreneurship.” I then wrote down the number for the book and asked a librarian how to find my book based off of the code given to me from the catalog.Image

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Tax on Medical Devices


By taking this quiz I truly realized how little I know about the PPACA. Although I did score a 4/10, to be fair I would have to call all of my answers guesses. I find it quite amazing how little I know about one of the top, if not the single most common subject mentioned in the news. Now, I do take some responsibility for this, but I do not think it lies solely with me. We have talked all semester about the best way to present information for your audience, and it is clear that the government did not do an extensive job presenting this piece of legislation. Perhaps when something so relevant comes into law the government (like the PPACA) should go to extra lengths to ensure that the public is well informed to its purpose, or supposed purpose.

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Blog Post 7 (Affordable Care Act)


In March 2010, over three years ago today, Obama and his administration passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as “Obamacare.” Even the name has been a political football with Obama at first not wanting it labeled with his name as Republicans were doing,  and then embracing it.  This has been a topic that has swirled in our newsfeeds and is frequently a topic of conversation. Yet, much of the general public does not know the details or even the major facts of the act.   In fact, the Democratic party has been proposing some form of national health insurance since at least President Truman.

However, it seems the government, politicians, and the media have not done a great job explaining this law.

TAKE THIS QUIZ... post your answer below.  Th BC would be surprised in you get 2-3 right.

For this week, we invite you to learn more about the act, which, in reality, has many, many parts.   Write about one specific provision or aspect of the PPACA law.  Use  good resources about the PPACA explore one aspect of the act that you had not previously known about.  Your goal is to explain what it does in specific terms.

This post links into doing paper 2 and the final paper in terms of information literacy.  To explain your provision, you may find government sites, news coverage, research centers, or think tanks are useful.

We invite you to learn about it it “before’ you put on your own political lenses.  Does the provision or aspect you describe seem like a good idea?

After you have done so, please think back to last week and analyze the provision FROM your apparent political ideology.

PLEASE, try NOT to repeat topics!

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Blog Council 6 (Parks and Recreation)


In the spirit of Nick Offerman performing this weekend, this week’s blog council decided to make connections between different characters from the show Parks and Recreation and this week’s posts. Some of the connections are a little “loose,” but bear with us.

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Leslie Knope- Chris M. Continue reading

The Disaster of the Government Shutdown?


22-930x350_000008I enjoyed taking that quiz to “decipher” my political standing. But, when taking the quiz I did find that some of questions were worded with bias (they were worded in such a way that it was much easier to choose one answer over the other). For example, statement 6:

Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient Government often does a better job than people give it credit for

The first option is way more radical of a response, where as the second option simply says that people do not give the government enough credit. I think that this question made it way too easy to be in support of the government. Yet, I did choose the response that the government is inefficient.

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Room Full of Trillions


dick-fuldThe scene that intrigued me the most, was when Henry Paulsen invited all the CEO’s of the big banks to come together and meet at a round table to try and save Lehman Brothers. That room was full of people who together controlled a ridiculous sum of money. Yet, all I kept thinking about was how they are just human beings weighing their options and trying to make decisions that are either best for their companies, themselves or both. The CEO’s in the room included: John Mack (Morgan Stanley), John Thain (Merrill Lynch), Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan), Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), and Vikram Pandit (Citigroup).

I will now try to write a dialogue as if I was at this round table discussion, and had the undivided attention of these CEO’s.

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How China Feels


At first glance/first listen, Bucknell’s adaptation of “The Agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” seemed extremely similar to Mike Daisy’s performance, but I soon found out that the similarities ran short. In the part “The second coming” I believe that the writers hit Apple spot on. When he says (I am paraphrasing), we are apple, we have exquisite taste, we know better than you about what you want.
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Retraction


My first reaction to listening to the Retraction episode, is that “This American Life” ignored the simple advice/knowledge, that we as students hear over and over again; be careful what you put on the internet or radio because you will never be able to take it back. More specific for this situation, is you must be clear about what kind of information you are presenting to the public. Is it fictional, factual, opinionated? But, as far as Mike Daisey is concerned, he is a performer, he considers what he does as a form of art. Therefore, he can defend his exaggerations and “lies” by saying that he was simply using his artistic license to get his point across. And when confronted on the radio show he does defend himself, he does not consider what he said to be lies. When asked why he did not consider himself a liar for saying that he personally met with hexane poisoned workers he said, “I would say that I wanted to tell a story that captured the totality of my trip. And so when I was building the scene of that meeting, I wanted to have the voice of this thing that had been happening, that everyone had been talking about.” The radio show then goes on to talk about how his monologue has reached so many ears, and how he is now known as a leader in speaking out against apple. Most importantly, how people take his monologue as fact.

In today’s day in age, there is more readily available information than ever before, much of which you can not call fact. Although it is obvious, that is why it always important to check the sources of the information that we read on the internet or hear on the radio. There are probably hundreds of things that I think to be fact, that in reality are not true at all. For example, I recently watched a science video on the internet that talked about common science misconceptions, many of which I believed before viewing the video. Some of the misconceptions are that our blood is blue before it touches oxygen (false), the Brontosaurus existed (false), the far side of the moon is the dark side of the moon (meaning it receives less sunlight) (false), and many others. All this being said, it is often hard to know exactly where the information you are reading/listening to/watching came from, and how reliable it really is. That is why I have learned to take most everything with the proverbial grain of salt. Even when sitting at a lecture or in class at Bucknell, much of the curriculum being taught is affected by each professor’s personal opinions and experiences.

This may seem like a pessimistic way of looking at our world today and the readily available information flying around, but I believe it to be a realistic one. That is why before I formulate an opinion on a particular subject I try to find information about it from multiple sources. There are obviously exceptions to this. Even though I mentioned before that my professor’s curriculum may be effected by their opinions, if I am told in class that Gross Profit Margin is (Revenue-COGS)/Revenue, I will take this as fact without having to find external sources. Finally, I find that it is important to “label” what one says/blogs/writes as either fact/opinion/objective/subjective so that when others come across this information they know exactly what they are being exposed to. And also that if what you claim is indeed fact, that you cite it with a reputable source.

Science video: http://www.wimp.com/sciencemisconceptions/

Mr. Daisey and Apple


I found it interesting how Mike Daisey opened his monologue by exclaiming his strong bias for Apple products. I initially thought that the rest of his segment would be about how we as humans often develop these biases, which actually are not beneficial. How perhaps I would pay an extra $100 for an Ipad over a Samsung tablet simply because of my preconceived notions. Yet, he took his monologue in a different direction. He surprisingly went on to attack Apple and Foxcon and the way that their factory workers are treated. From the workers whose hands have been destroyed by extreme repetition of actions, to the woman who was fired from her job for simply bringing up a complaint about working conditions, to the man whose hand was crushed in the Ipad assembly line. Daisy humanizes the horrors that Apple, a global icon, allows to happen to its employees. Yet, interestingly enough he himself has and carries an Ipad. So the point of his monologue is not to make us as the consumers feel guilty. Instead I believe it is to attack the decision makers at Foxcon and Apple.

His re-telling of his conversation with Kathy when she asks the question, “do you think these people are mentally ill?” is a chilling part of the script. While her own answer for that question is “no”,  I might have to disagree. If the people making decisions allow for people to put through situations that are essentially torture, are these people not mentally ill? The fact that human lives are ruined and even lost for small percentage gains in profit is nothing short of an abomination. Yet, globally factory workers are treated this way, because we live in a world driven by capitalization and the desire for more.

Naked Juice Class Action


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/08/naked-juice-class-action-settlement-offers-up-to-75-per-consumer/

 

Pepsico has agreed to a settlement that offers up to a $75 payment to customers who have bought Naked Juice drinks in the past six years. The lawsuit alleged the company violated state and federal laws and consumer protection statutes related to advertising, labeling and marketing of certain products. Specifically, that some of the products contain ingredients that are not “all natural” and contain genetically modified organisms.

 

This settlement affects stakeholders in the company; consumers who have purchased the juice drink. Freeman would analyze these stakeholders as complex human beings who are not necessarily just economic maximizers; they have other driving factors. Pepsico tried to create the most “value” for their product by allegedly lying about the ingredients they put into their drinks, but this did not pan out for them.  Consumers seem to have created other sources of value in regards to their consumption. Rather than simply worrying about words written on a label, consumers may see value more as the honesty or trustworthy-ness of a company.