The Commonwealth Comment

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bye Bye Boris

Russia has become a little darker today. Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin died at the age of 76.
Yeltsin is credited with restoring democracy in Russia after decades of communism. He came to power in 1991, but after eight years and unsuccessful attempts at reform he resigned in 1999. Russia during the 90's was much more Pro-America and Pro-West. While, social and political corruption in Russia was running rampant, relations between the two largest super powers had improved greatly since the end of the Cold War.

One of Yeltsin's greatest accomplishments was the establishment of a free press. When he turned over power to current President Vladimir Putin, many of his accomplishments were reversed, including a free press. Russia is once again become a growing threat to the Western way of life.

Yeltsin was good friends with former President Bill Clinton. Click here for more on Boris Yeltsin.

My Opinion: From what I have read about Boris Yeltsin, it seems as though he really believed in the idea, hopes, and goals of democracy (despite blowing Parliament up with tanks).

He got Russia started on the right path, but the corruption inside the government was too much to overcome; he couldn't rebuild the country after the crumbling of the USSR. It's sad to see what little he did accomplish undone by Putin.

I have to be careful about what I say regarding Putin. Isn't it odd that all of his critics wind up with some kind of radioactive poisoning, or are mysteriously murdered?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Vermont Calls for Impeachment

The Vermont Senate is fed up with the Bush administration. The state Senate voted 16-9 to call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The vote was taken without any formal debate by the Democratically controlled legislative body. The nonbinding resolution asks for US Representative Peter Welch to introduce the legislation into the House of Representatives, which would begin the process of impeachment. They say the actions of the administration raise "serious questions of constitutionality."

Welch and the Vermont delegation immediately rejected the resolution. While, the acknowledge and share in the anger of many Vermont residents with the president, they say that now is not the time. Congress is currently in the process of investigating several of Bush's decisions including justification for war in Iraq.

"Before we talk about impeachment, it is imperative that these investigations be allowed to run their course, and we should then follow wherever the facts lead," the delegation said in a statement.
In March, 40 towns approved a measure to impeach the president.

My Opinion: I would like nothing more than to see President Bush and the Penguin, I mean Dick Cheney be impeached. I honestly believe that the mistakes this administration has constantly made is far worse than the reasoning for impeachment for President Clinton. No President in history deserves to be impeached more than this one. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton didn't lie about threats to bring the United States into a war, which has cost thousands of lives of American troops and innocent civilians.
That being said, I agree with the US Representatives from Vermont. Allow Congress to finish its investigations of Bush, let them build a case.
Impeachment may very well pass in the House, but with a narrow margin in the Senate it is unlikely that Bush would be found guilty without overwhelming evidence of misconduct.
If anything did lead to impeachment, I would find it interesting to see how Chief Justice Roberts would handle the proceedings of the impeachment of the president that appointed him to the Supreme Court.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gun Control: A Constitutional Debate

Another Opinion Piece!

In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, a debate has sprung up over gun control in the United States. Does the 2nd Amendment really mean that every American has the right to carry a weapon?

Let's take a look at the wording of the amendment in question. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Now, this is tricky. It clearly says that the right of the "People to bear arms shall not be infringed." People who are pro gun control tend to believe that the term "regulated militia" doesn't mean every citizen.

These are no longer the days of Massachusetts Minutemen and the American Revolution. The US doesn't rely on militias anymore. Now there are the Armed Forces, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement. These are now the militias that ensure the security of our "free state".

Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain said in response to gun control after the VT shootings

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and I believe the Second Amendment ought to be preserved - which means no gun control."

While this may be music to the ears of NRA members, it is nails on a chalkboard to those who are affected by massacres in offices, campuses, and on the streets.

We need stricter gun laws in the United States. We let this supposed Constitutional right run rampant. According to the Gun Control Network, "In 1999, there were 28,874 gun-related deaths in the United States - over 80 deaths every day."

Some people will argue that countries in Europe are smaller and can't compare to the US in size and population, therefore naturally have a lesser rate of gun related deaths. The fact is that gun control has resulted in fewer gun related deaths in European countries like England. The outside world associated the United States with guns! What a reputation to have, and unfortunately live up to.

It's sad that it takes a mass killing for some people to wake up and realize that guns are dangerous weapons that shouldn't be in the hands of some people

Sorry Jim Bob, but you don't need an AK-47 to go hunting or to protect yourself from robbers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech Shooting

This is an opinion piece.
April 16, 2007 started off like any Patriots Day for me here in Massachusetts. No classes, so I woke up around 11am and turned on the Red Sox game. They were on a rain delay. It was a soggy Marathon Monday, but more importantly Free Quart Day at Cold Stone Creamery. So, I set off with my friends braving the elements for free ice cream, and high fiving runners on their way to the finish line as they passed.
It wasn't until when I returned to my apartment around 4 that afternoon that I had any idea of the carnage that had unfolded at Virginia Tech that morning.
CNN was reporting that at total of 32 people were killed. A student has shot and killed 2 students around 7:30am and then went on a shooting spree a couple hours later. Its difficult to imagine the horror that faced the students and faculty of this college.

It wasn't until later that night while I was reading the New Bedford Standard Times online did I realize that I had a friend at Virgina Tech. Catherine Lawton is the sister of my friend Hallisey. Kate is a graduate student at VT, and she is thankfully alright.

Even more frightening is the notion that this could have happened anywhere. It happened in Virginia, but what means it couldn't have been in Boston? This will serve as a wake up call to colleges across the nation that this is a real threat. Campus security needs to be stepped up on every campus. Boston colleges have taken this to heart as they have agreed to a summer training program with the Boston Police Dept.

News stations and papers came to Emerson yesterday during the campus' moment of silence. Virginia Tech shooting comes home The pictures and video on this site are from my broadcast journalism class.

Life was senselessly cut down in its prime. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected by this tragedy.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Imus Gets Canned

After days of controversy, CBS has fired radio talk show host Don Imus.
It all started when Imus called the players of the Rutger's women's basketball team "nappy headed hos". The comment sparked outrage among African American leaders and feminists. They called for Imus' immediate dismissal.

Imus apologized profusely for his insensitive comments. He met with the Reverend Al Sharpton, on Sharpton's radio program. Sharpton said that Imus' apology wasn't enough, and wanted him removed from the airwaves.
Imus met privately with the Rutger's basketball team and their coach, Vivian Stringer hours after being fired. The team decided to accept Imus' apology.

"...he came [to the meeting] in spite of the fact that he lost his job. So let's give him credit for that," Stringer said.

The future of Don Imus in the world of broadcasting remains unclear.

My Opinion: Don Imus should not have been fired. I realize that his comments were racist, sexist, and inexcusable. However, they do fall under the protection of the First Amendment.

If Don Imus is going to be fired for spouting off on the radio, then all shock jocks should be removed from their posts. Howard Stern is just as offensive as any radio personality, and he still has a job. He makes millions of dollars making lude comments and exploiting women on air.

Don Imus should not have been removed by CBS. A suspension, fine by CBS and the FCC, and a public apology would have been enough. What he said was wrong, but nothing you say is illegal. That's #1 on the Bill of Rights for a reason.