Friday, June 29, 2007

Gasoline Alternative Will Improve The Living Standard Of Your Family

Most people will be deceived by the sudden fall of gasoline prices across Texas for the fourth straight week. This will be the case, because gasoline prices were at a record high in most parts of Texas last month before surprisingly staying lower for the forth straight week down to the current $2.91 per gallon.

Texas AAA Weekend Gasoline Watch reports that that's how gasoline price stands for now in Texas. But the question is: what impact has it made to the living standards of an average family/

Yes, if gasoline price stays at $2.91 per gallon, how much relief is that for the average Texan who continues to struggle to run the family car with expensive gasoline that takes food away from his family?

Okay, so the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline at a self-serve gasoline pumps is $2.87 in Houston down from $3.28 last week while at Galveston Texas, the fall in gasoline price is 6.5 cents to $2.88, can anyone tell me how much relief such little falls has made to their family? You spend more on gasoline than on food!

It is always very ludicrous to hear any allusion of relief made to insignificant falls in gasoline prices, because even though analysis translates such price falls into millions of dollars saved, the question that begs answer is: What has it got to do with your family's upkeep budget?

Gasoline at the present prices or even at $1 dollar per gallon remains expensive and continuously pauperizes car owners in the millions. The answer is to find a gasoline alternative sooner than later.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Should The G8 Be In Charge Of Education, Sustainable Development And Humanitarian Services

Should the G8 be in charge of education, sustainable development and humanitarian services in the Developing world?

Lessons in life come via formal and informal education, while formal education by most is valued as a human right it can also be utilized to train and develop partakers into self-sufficient contributors and participants towards the development of sustainable societies. Many others take education for granted and use it to spread general and even useless knowledge. Education must be taken seriously to protect Human Rights and enhance peace and sustainable environments in developing societies. Since there are immediate troublesome conditions throughout the world, and especially in developing states in Africa, one must deeply consider what role formal education can play to hasten holistic development of the people towards bringing solutions to conflicts. Many of the G8 nations have been the caretakers of the developing world for at least the last century. Although this time has proven to be quite successful for most of the developing nations, has there really been any measurable success for African people? Has there been measurable success for poor people? And not to unfairly place blame, has anyone besides the G8 even taken the interest or responsibility to find solutions to help educate and assist development in poor countries otherwise?

These strong European and American alliances are the foremost leaders in education and development across the globe. They are creators of most of the religious, social, economic and political organizations that provide programs and services that assist developing nations and they work together to provide humanitarian support to developing peoples throughout the world. Yet, ironically, these European partners are also among those since the beginning of the slave trade in the 1600s, 1885 and beyond that have combined resources to trigger colonialism and neo-colonialism, and setting up bureaucracy that has played a very significant role in the under-development of African states as well. For centuries, this leadership has gathered valuable resources from especially Africa and from other developing nations in South America and had utilized both human and natural resources to service their own national interest and drive their economic and technological development. If in truth this is a historical fact about the history of our leaders, then have our leaders evolved to be good stewards since the active practice of enslavement, apartheid and colonialism? Have they become willing and able enough to create educational services, and social welfare systems that can empower those they once sought to dominate?

A brief 'stroll down memory lane' will allow us to remember the roles that our leaders have played in crimes against humanity. Hate, racism, greed, and having little regard for the human life of poor peoples are some of the human dis-eases recognizable as the causes of both the exploitation and genocide of African related and other peoples. Certain systems of domination were implemented by most of the G8 governments that severely exploited human rights. One such exploitation existed in slavery. Slavery is a system noted by the United Nations Human Rights Charter, to be a severe violation of human rights. Although many of the G8 nations have offered formal apologies for enslavement of humans there had been no reparations or solutions to the poverty that slavery and apartheid and colonialism created, given to most of the people that have suffered and chiefly those of African descent.

These African related people are themselves not respected by other nations and thought to be abusers of themselves and indifferent, and are among the same populations that present in large numbers as the impoverished and needy. On the other hand, since there has been no formal display of remorse to show respect for life in their behalf and no sentiments that seek to replace or rejoin families that were separated. And are there any sincere activities by leading governments to make amends for land, possessions or lives lost for those enslaved or exploited? Has there been a real effort to provide reparations for the lost of life, dignity and human rights? Additionally with no formal activities to address the trauma that these certain groups experienced for generations, is there any wonder how serious social problems including poverty might prevail among those with former slave, apartheid or colonial experiences?

And finally, some ask, how can the same Leaders who appear not to support the reparation of crimes against humanity perpetrated on specific peoples seek to bring other leaders of countries to justice for similar atrocities, RE-SURFACE as the teachers and healers of those same societies and the world? It is possible that governments do have remorse and seek healing from somewhere to learn how to show respect for people they once hated or abused. But let's ask the Afrikaners, if they have healed from the system of Apartheid in the last 20 years, where suddenly in the last 20 years almost 70 percent of the cases of HIV are in Africa, with the most cases in South Africa. Why are these Black African populations suddenly the most infected with HIV, and they appear not to thrive specifically? Could there really be a plan of genocide targeting specific people to gain their resources? I pray genocide in 2007 is not a reality, but if this is the case, human-kind and particularly those who stand up as global leaders are still terrible offenders of Human rights and need serious support in their recovery.

But maybe the same religions that were used to enslave Africans and others are working towards the healing of man-kind and can mend the dis-respect for life that caused exploitation and crimes against humanity such as slavery and genocide? Maybe the government and leadership of yesterday active in committing crimes against humanity did eventually want to rectify human dis-eases that caused exploitation and so they produced a document that would eventually manifest justice as created in the Declaration of Independence of 1776,

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —

When the initial colonies wanted freedom from Britain their aim was to create a government that would protect human rights and they themselves were champions of liberty. Today have Americans lost sight of the initial purpose of America---to protect Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for all men? Since most of us really have faith in life and Liberty it is certain that many would like to support the protection of the quality of life that our constitution as human, as opposed to animal stands for. We do not want to believe that there are leaders operating in 2007 who no longer care about protecting this quality of life. It appears that something has gone astray from the initial declaration of Independence that greatly supported the protection of Human rights and the happiness of mankind?

Consequently, some are not very confident that leading governments want to be successful in providing human services or champions of peace. Certainly, the last 50 years had not hosted a global environment of peace and security to warrant success. Even less than 40 years ago, numerous martyrs were assassinated and imprisoned in the name of human rights and development or peace: remember, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah just to name a few. In more recent history Leaders in the African-American community are still arrested or detained for unifying their communities to enhance the quality of life of economic development: remember Yahweh Ben Yahweh who was arrested and detained from 1990-2007. It is thought, he was arrested just because his community became economically sustainable. This happened in America. It would appear that government leaders in today are not in the business of supporting education systems or services that support the development of leaders that seek to protect human rights, at least this proven to be the case for African related or poor people specifically.

If this is so, can the G8 or other super powers be supported in their lead especially in sustainable development programs and global peace for Africa or elsewhere? Can they continue to take charge of programs and services that are established to protect human rights if their evaluation is not good?

The European alliances through religious missions or programs are the foremost providers and pioneers of services to humanity and continually raise money to serve and protect the needs and wants of developing peoples especially. Consequently, they have had the most potential to champion human development and the peace process. They have been the Global leaders in developing systems in Education, Health, Economics, Social Welfare, Business and Commerce and the pioneers in implementing related programs, services and activities across the globe. Certainly they have been successful in protecting the human rights of some, but it is also evident that they have not supported the sustainable development of Africa. Maybe they need guidance to direct their Human development and Education to insure a better progress for African-related and poor people in the future.

A look at recent history reflects that they need support in providing effective programs or services to Africa specifically. The protection of Human Rights in the last 50 years in Africa shows little progress in peace and sustainable economic development. A 2005 UN Human Development magazine about Africa reported 70 percent of the worlds HIV cases were in Africa alone and 27 percent of the worlds Refugees came from Africa, while Africa only contributed to being 10 percent of the world population. If the G8 have been in charge of Education programs in Health; Peace building and conflict management, then the amount of Refugees and bad health alone reflect little progress with government programs to support peace or human development and education in Africa.

Maybe Government leaders need others to help them with their health education and global peace and conflict management programs because something has gone astray from the intention of American Founding Fathers. We as consumers have a right to direct our support to programs and services that can better relate to the Life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness for all people it intends to serve. There are other leading agencies that can lay the foundation that will protect and service the rights of all humans in the future, which are usually non-governmental and have a genuine interest with no strings attached for human service. Governments in the business of Human Rights and protection should carefully review the Declaration of Independence and restructure to effectively champion Life; Liberty and pursuit of happiness for the good of all humanity. The specific target of groups of human beings for genocide or exploitation is a crime against humanity.

For those whose rights are continually and maybe even unintentionally disrespected, a Champion must arise to help open the door for non-governmental agencies to save innocent people and provide some immediate relief. Many will benefit and many more warrant the protection of their human rights, but targeting those in the most distress in a beginning. Every life is precious even though it appears that poor or people in developing countries are taken for granted. This makes it obvious that Governing bodies need assistance with their global peace and development objectives, especially when they try to serve the poor. The wars that exists today in Africa and the Middle East do demonstrate the lack of progress of super powers in protecting human rights and being real champions of peace.

While there is respect for our powerful leaders some guidance is needed in education and social affairs so that meaningful servicing of Human rights can progress. Non-governmental agencies can better support developing peoples with no strings attached.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Overgeneralized Subculture of My Learning Disablity and My Distinctive Italian-Americanism

I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a "high-functioning" form of autism, twenty years ago. I was only a few years old at the time, but officials who worked for the Connecticut Department of Education gave me a very bleak outlook not too long after the fact. They said I would never have the audacity to succeed in a mainstream educational environment or, for the lack of a better word, never be able to read and write as effectively and proficiently as a "normal" student.

Well, you could now say that I proved them wrong. Throughout my years in both secondary and post-secondary institutions, my individual mobility has primarily enabled me to look beyond my autistic limitations. As a result, I have received countless accolades for my outstanding academic achievements and community service efforts in return.

But is being an overachieving student and volunteer considered to be an adverse social stereotype? To answer this rather provocative question, I would have to say that today's multimedia-saturated society has reinforced my perceptions of people with disabilities. Popular culture has continually emphasized the mentally disabled as what we would call "superheroes" who defy the odds to achieve a somewhat considerate status of intellectual genius. One perfect example of this is the 1988 Oscar-winning drama "Rain Man." As you may already know, the Dusitn Hoffman character in the film has a much more severe form of autism than I have, and he does fundamentally "change" once he reunites with his self-centered yuppie brother (Tom Cruise). But, the film also pays particularly strong attention to his unprecedented ability to crunch complexly arranged numbers in just a matter of seconds. Wouldn't it be nice if the filmmakers made a different flick that showed more of a disabled protagonist's flaws as opposed to one's "genius" in an overwhelming positive light? Well, I would have to say yes because I am just as much of a complex creature as everyone else who either has or doesn't have the same medical condition I have.

Another primitive example of so-called "common sense knowledge" that has profoundly affected my collective self-consciousness is the culturally potent yet socially derogatory portrayals of Italian-American families in gangster films.

Whenever I watch "The Sopranos," "The Godfather" films, or Martin Scorsese's classic "Goodfellas," I believe that our popular culture is only trying to reaffirm the Italian-American "culturalist theory" that has been dominating our social consciousness for over several decades. In other words, I can't help but think that our society continuously glorifies or exploits gangsters as "macho" criminals with "tough-guy" style or rhetoric to burn. What they do is manipulate average males in my ethnic group into thinking that being more down-to-earth is considered morally "wrong," which it isn't. I just happen to be an Average Joe who prefers to be "normal" as opposed to a completely narcissistic piegonhole.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Restore Habeas Corpus

Last fall, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act; it prohibited any non-citizen in U.S. custody that the President designated an "enemy combatant" from going to court and exercising the most basic human rights. Then President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, he was failing to protect and defend the Constitution by suspending Habeas Corpus, a legal principle dating back to the Magna Carta, and a cornerstone of our Constitution. The right to go before a court and ask the government to show that they have a basis for their detention. This prohibition on filing a writ of habeas corpus has meant that people who have been in U.S. custody for more than five years continue to be held with no meaningful judicial review.

The "Constitution" is clear about the right to trial. In fact, there's only one reference to habeas corpus at all, quoting: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Vermont said, "The bill before us would not merely suspend the great writ—the great writ—the writ of habeas corpus, it just eliminates it permanently."

Olbermann said, "OK, maybe the debate wasn't that considerable. Nevertheless, Countdown has learned that habeas corpus actually predates the Constitution, meaning it's not just pre-September 11 thinking, it's also July 4 thinking.

In this those days, no one could have imagined that enemy combatants might one day attack Americans on native soil. In fact, Countdown has obtained a partially redacted copy of a colonial "declaration," indicating that back then, depriving us of trial by jury was actually considered sufficient cause to start a war of independence based on the, then fashionable idea that "liberty" was an inalienable right.

But today, thanks to modern post-9/11 thinking, those rights are now fully alienable—for your protection."

Concerned Americans should tell Congress to restore the centuries-old writ of habeas corpus. Your elected official's vote is critical to the success of this initiative. Your voice is needed in support of due process and the rule of law to let Congress know that the America you believe in does not hold people indefinitely on the judgment of the executive. Our forefathers founded this United States with opposition to tyranny and oppression. This president has now become the oppressor? When due process is sacrificed to fight so called tyrants and terrorists, we become less safe right here at home.

Why should we Americans have to sacrifice our fundamental right to due process just because this President thinks we should? This very freedom of due process of basic habeas corpus is what has separated us from the rest of the uncivilized world and the real tyrants, like Hitler, Stalin, Castro, Noriega and now Chavez. These very freedoms are the basic foundation this country stands on. This very basic freedom should not be a casualty of America's War on Terror. To the contrary, it's one of the guiding principles that separates us from terrorists and should be restored immediately to safeguard our image as a beacon of hope.

On "Countdown" Keith Olbermann examined the Military Commission's Act of 2006 and what it does to habeas corpus. According Olbermann "The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He's managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus." That action does nothing less than kills the Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began to break on the night of September 28, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night.

The passing of the bill according to the white house gives Mr. Bush the power to deal effectively with America's enemies,—those who seek to harm the country. According Olbermann "He has been very clear on who he thinks that is."

The MCA strips all detainees designated as alien unlawful enemy combatants of the right to file for habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention before an independent court or to seek relief from mistreatment, including torture. Detainees do have the right to appeal decisions made by CSRTs or military commissions to civilian courts, but detainees who are not brought before them have no way of getting a court to hear their claims. This provision also applies to detainees that were not tried after they are released — detainees who are not brought to trial have no way of seeking redress or compensation for their imprisonment, even if they are eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.
This provision echoes the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which barred detainees at Guantanamo Bay from bringing future habeas corpus challenges to their detention or the conditions of their detention.

Concerned Americans need to do the right thing and support the efforts to restore the right of Habeas Corpus in Bill HR 1415, the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 (, which provides for the effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantees due process.

Contact your congressperson with the message that "due process" is a fundamental right and that abolishing Habeas Corpus is fundamentally wrong. Ask him/her to support the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007, HR 1415, cosponsored by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Jane Harman (D-CA), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Barney Frank (D-MA), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), which will provide for the effective prosecution of terrorists and guarantee due process rights.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Canadian Dilemma - Doctors Who Flip Hamburgers

A few years ago I got into a conversation with cab driver in Toronto. I was surprised to learn that the driver, an immigrant from India, had been unable to find work in his profession during his five years in Canada. His qualifications from universities in both the UK and India, included a Ph.D. All of his qualifications were recognized in Canada. The problem he ran into was a lack of Canadian job experience. Despite being interviewed over twenty times for a position he was repeatedly given the thumbs down. This anecdote along with similar stories I have come across in the media, are fairly commonplace these days.

Immigrants arrive in Canada buoyed with high hopes, intent of giving of their best. How come then so many qualified immigrants end up in low end jobs, some even on the unemployment rolls? How come a high percentage end up leaving, returning home or moving to another immigrant destination?

There is a critical doctor shortage in Canada, something health professionals and administrators have long been complaining about. There are good sized communities in Canada without a doctor. In some cities the doctor shortage has compelled patients to resort to emergency departments or clinics in order to find help. One study predicts that come 2011, Canada may be short as many as 6,000 doctors. The shortfall isn't only related to GP's but also to specialists in areas such as obstetrics, radiology and anesthesiology. It's an acute and growing problem.

Red tape and entrenched regulations are part of the challenge faced by immigrant doctors. Canadian Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons require all graduating doctors to complete a residency of two years or more. While many immigrant doctors are fully qualified, their residency stints in their homelands don't count since only Canadian and American residencies are accepted. So you have situations where highly qualified individuals are compelled to work in a fast food joint or clean floors, because they find it next to impossible to get a residency.

Foreign trained doctors are quite literally caught on the horns of a dilemma. In order to be eligible for residency they have to have at least a year of medical practice behind them ... but in order to practice in Canada they have to have residency. It is in fact a classic Catch-22

It's surprising this problem has been allowed to get to this point. Quite aside from the importance of doing the right thing by new immigrants, there are also economic benefits to Canada that would accrue with more active recruitment of immigrant doctors. It would save provincial taxpayers a whack of cash since they wouldn't be paying toward the cost of educating as many medical professionals. Concerns about maintaining standards are important, but the assumption that foreign standards don't match up is overblown, especially given the advances in clinical care with the greater availability of medical technology.

The whole process needs to be fast-tracked. Most importantly, the residency hurdle needs to be quickly addressed by recognizing foreign residencies (other than American) that meet provincial standards, so that these valuable individuals aren't left to languish in the wings.

Qualified immigrants in the US seem to fare better when it comes to finding work in their field. The American "melting pot" approach is a great equalizer in certain respects. There has been the suggestion that Canadian employers who cite "lack of experience" or other in-house regulations as reasons for turning down immigrant applicants are in effect practicing cloaked discrimination, and even racism. There are also claims that some professional sectors have for want of a better term a sort of 'old boys' club' mentality and exercise a form of protectionism when it comes to hiring protocols. If this is in fact going on in some cases, all the more reason for the government to act in order to ensure that red tape isn't being used as an artificial barrier to discriminate against immigrant applicants on the basis of their race or cultural heritage.

In this era of international trade, both Canada and the US have reciprocal trading relationships with other nations. The outsourcing of operations to countries in Asia is an example of this. When you consider this new economic relationship together with the high sounding words of praise the Canadian government routinely lavishes on new immigrants and the skills they offer, it is becoming increasingly unacceptable that these employment anomalies are being swept under the rug. At least the Tories have undertaken a $3 million dollar study to try and get to the roots of the problem. Let's hope it results in some real action.

The Canada I know is about fair play and decency, and that ethic should be extended to all Canadian job seekers irrespective of origin.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Paris Hilton - Love or Hate Her?

Some people, from years before now, have already realized that you would either hate a person or love her? This of course could go to the extent of extreme disgust or extreme adoration. But how we end up hating or loving people so much depends on the mercy of our own judgment.

Why do people hate Paris Hilton and why do others love her so much?

Groups of people might hate Paris Hilton because she does despicable things that other people don't want to see. Or maybe she does things that reflect what other people has done, has been doing and intends to do in the next second. And still, people might hate her because she exposes a human nature that everybody doesn't want to be exposed, while we all know that such possibilities exist. And we could go on saying that people hate her because of the bandwagon. This leads to people hating a person without any established ground for hating but what others have already told them. Say you read an article in a website illustrating Paris's actions that many may find intriguing. Well apart from the ripple effect of the article you have read and other news you see on the tube combined with the hearsays of people who are equally interested in somebody else's personal life, you have nothing more to base your judgment on. And so, like many people who have learned to hate her before you do, you are also beginning to find that Paris Hilton is someone you can easily hate.

On the other side of the story, there are people who love her, so much that they find her bright sides overshadowing her more vulnerable dark sides. This might be a hard feat since almost a hundred percent of the society devotes their time hating someone they haven't met yet.

But why do people love her? Is it her voice? Her charm? Her intriguing life? Or, simply because people see a being in her that is apart from all the images the press has created for and against her? Let's not go too sentimental but really, some people see her as their salvation, praising her like a goddess. Well maybe because she once said- in exact words- that she "provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world." And thus, some people got the hang on that especially those young girls who see her as their role model.

Moralists may think, what kind of role model is she? A good example for heedless acts perhaps or maybe just another beautiful face that people adore? Is she the role model for crippled morality or is she the manifestation of real glamour, beauty and fame? What does she exactly meant when she said that she gives hope to the young people of the United States and the world? Though we may have lots of interpretations on that, we can never tell what's running in her mind when she thought of her being the provider of hope. Is her being clueless, which apparently showed when questioned during her trial, the answer to be given to young people who need a star to always look up to? Many doubt but still, these questions call for personal realizations.

When we heard, for the first time, her song "Stars are Blind", many thought simplistically that stars ought to be blind, after all they don't need eyes to see their brightness. But in her case, the title of the song can metaphorically describe her. She really is blind. She's blinded from the law, from morality, from the genuine meaning of being human. Many even think she's hollow and her worth is equal to the face powder she puts on her face. In short, if she's not the celebrity we all know her to be, she's reduced to nothing.

So again, why do you hate her? Or, why do you love her? There are lots of answers for these of course because obviously, hundreds of news stories have been written on Paris Hilton since she started her modeling career until the recent, perhaps the turning point of her stories, the handling of her sentence in jail.