Monthly Archives: January 2012

Obamacare Insurance Fires Up Catholics

President Obama’s new healthcare plan has sent shock waves through the members of the Catholicism as U.S. citizens will be required to buy  government-approved health insurance plans that cover sterilization and  contraceptives.

The Catholic church is in an uproar, as their faith teaches that sterilization, contraceptives, and abortion are in violation of God’s law, and should not be used by Catholics.

The regulation that Obama’s administration has put in place requires that health-insurance plans must provide sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients without any fees or co-pay.

The bishops of the Catholic faith in the United States have stated that this new initiative goes against their beliefs and is “literally unconscionable”.

Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been vocal about his disapproval of Obama’s new measure.

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable,” said Dolan. “It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically, this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”

Dolan argues that this measure violates the people’s rights declared in the First Amendment, the right to religion. By proposing this plan, the pro-life movement supporters are forced to either buy the new insurance against their faith, or go without insurance.

The House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, a self-professed Catholic, supports the move by Obama’s administration.

The plan goes into effect August 1st, but certain religious organizations will be given a year to make the transition. Under the restrictions placed on these organizations, though, Catholic universities, charities, and hospitals would not be included.

To read Dolan’s article in the Wall Street Journal, click here.

The question now is this: Will the people stand for this? Will they act against this, or allow it to continue, and adjust to it? How do you feel about this new plan? Does this violate the First Amendment? And this matter is not limited to just Catholics, but the Pro-Life believers in the U.S.

What do you think? Is this the right move?


“Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul I swear: until the day when my dream of world where dignity, honor, and justice becomes the reality we all share, I’ll never stop fighting. Ever” – Superman, Action Comics #775


The Greatest Generation

I recently finished reading a book that was given to me by my aunt and uncle for graduation. Actually, two books were given, one historical novel by Bill O’Reilly about the assassination of President Lincoln, and the other by Tom Brokaw, who is, in my opinion, one of the finest journalists in the last few decades. One book each for my two passions, my fields of choice: journalism and history.

The book by Brokaw is called “The Greatest Generation“. It is over 400 pages about people from World War II, summed up in a few pages for each person. It’s basically like reading a profile piece on each person.

In this book, Brokaw recounts both the stories of men and women during the war, their efforts and trials. It tells the story of people who came of age during the Depression and World War II. It tells the stories of the brave men in the war, the women back home, and what  Brokaw refers to as the “shame”, the stories of the minorities during this time. He breaks the book up into different sections, each one focusing on a certain group and their battles in life.

I found it to be superbly written, and the pictures that accompany each story really gives you a feel for the time. It showcases the heroes on the front lines, the women who helped forever change the way things were back home, and the real steps to equality in our nation.

It really made me think about this time period. These men and women I read about started their lives as adults in a time not so different from my own, a time of economic downfall and war. Both can be seen in the last decade quite vividly, so it wasn’t too hard to draw comparisons from their lives to my own.

Brokaw refers to this generation as the “greatest generation”, one that grew up in hard times, and then answered the call when the world needed them. It furthered my respect and admiration for those men and women, and I truly hope my generation can say we answered the call when it came. My generation is, by most standards, of age now, and I think it is about time to make the best of our shot, just as they did.

While reading this book, it reaffirmed to me that this was something I wanted to do with my life. Not just journalism, but to branch out, to write. Writing is an art, one that takes years of time to develop, but can have such a strong effect on us. I am a writer. It’s what I do, it’s how I think, how I express myself, and it’s high time I put my best foot forward. I will be a writer, in some shape or form, be it in articles, posts, or books.

Thanks again to Aunt Fran and Uncle Lenny. You know me too well.

I recommend you give this book a read, if not buy it!


Springfield Police Defuse Suicide Attempt

Here’s a piece I had covered in October 2011. It never got published, though it did give me some valuable experience in dealing with police.

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Springfield Police Defuse Suicide Attempt

An ambulance crew stands by as a man threatened to jump from the 8th floor.

Springfield police prevented a suicide attempt on Thursday afternoon in downtown Springfield.

The Springfield Police Department received a call that a man at the Madison Tower High-Rise at 421 W. Madison St. was threatening to jump from his window on the eighth floor.

Matt Brown, Springfield Police Department public information officer, could not confirm who the man was.

“We were originally called because there was a tenant that was refusing to leave the room.  We became involved because he threatened to kill himself,” Brown said.

The police responded to the call at 10:30 a.m., forming a perimeter around the building and clearing spectators from the park next to the building.

Shortly after 12 p.m., the Springfield Special Response Team arrived on the scene and armed themselves in bulletproof vests and protective gear.

Two SRT officers and one police officer went onto the roof and lowered a pole containing a flash bang and dropped it into the window shortly after 1 p.m. The flash bang exploded like a gunshot with a bright flash of light, distracting the man inside, while a team inside retrieved the man.

“We don’t go into tactics on what the SRT does,” Brown said. “The only thing that we would confirm is that large bang that you heard. That’s a flash bang and that’s just a method of distraction to where we can go in and safely get him.”

The man was then brought out on a stretcher but was taken off and put in a police car. Brown said he was being taken to the hospital where he will be held for 96 hours for evaluation.

“The only thing that’s different about this than a standard suicide attempt is that SRT was called out and that we went in to get him,” Brown said. “Other than that, they’re pretty cut and dry. We just go in and talk them out and as soon as they come out, we take them to a local area hospital.”

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Working on this story was a big step for me. I literally just walked into it. I had gotten off of the bus to go back to my apartment, and saw a couple of police cars around the building as I walked by, so I had to get details. Being the first media person on the scene, I was immediately on my own. I had never covered anything like this, so I had to adapt quickly. I learned a lot while covering this incident, thanks to Michael Gulledge, the photo editor of the Standard.

One thing I realized was just how right some of my teachers were about the issue of being a good reporter vs. being a good person. I think it is possible to do both, you just have to know where to draw the line. The job of a journalist can sometimes expose you to some very terrible things, but you still have a job to do. As long as you do your job and stick to your morals, I think you can handle the job. The job of a journalist can be like a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs, but that’s what attracts us to the job.

I had to get to class afterwards, so my article wasn’t written until that night, but the experience gained was more than worth it. I don’t really know what happened to the man after going to the hospital, which is what they had intended, but I truly hope he is doing well. I also want to say good job to the Springfield police, for their timely manner and doing the right thing. This could have been a much darker story if not for them.


Land Of The Free?

Over the course of the last few months, I don’t think I have ever disagreed with our government as much as I do right now. Within this span of time, we have legalized detaining “terrorist suspects” without a trial, indefinitely. Today, the internet and its users are fighting back against the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills. We’ve even had the Occupy movement begin and grow. (I’ve included links in case you need some info.)

Frankly, I’ve only paid attention to politics for the last 5 years or so, finally getting into it when I was just about the legal voting age. Since then, my views may have changed on certain issues, but what saddens me is that my overall view of the politicians running our country is quite bleak. When it comes to our government, I’m a true cynic. I understand how the process works, I comprehend the dividing issues, opposing sides, etc., but in general, I feel that most of our politicians fail to do their jobs-and that is to represent and act in the best interest of the people.

All of this is about people’s rights, and the government is slowly putting little catches on each of them. First, we can be held without a trial, then the internet is censored…what’s next? A tax on pets? Our rights have been listed very clearly in the Bill of Rights, but Congress, it seems, finds them to be unclear. I worry for the United States. The last time people were this unhappy with the government, King George was on the throne.

So what is the issue? Is it the people being this split and undecided? Or is it an issue of politicians doing what they want? I think there is a major rift between our politicians and the people they “represent”, and I know I’m not the only one. The question is, at what point does our government go too far, and what repercussions will our country be faced with?

This year begins the race for the presidency, with Mr. Obama running again. Who will he run against? That remains to be seen, as the Republicans cannot seem to agree on any one candidate, or for that matter, find a candidate worth their votes. All in all, we have the makings of a very interesting election year.

In today’s times, I shudder to think of how our founding fathers would react to our current administration and policies. Frankly, I think Washington’s jaw would drop, and his wooden teeth would hit the floor.

Now, I encourage you all to do your part, to make your voice heard. Get involved, study the issues, know your candidates.

“Ask not what your country can do for you… ask what you can do for your country.” -John F. Kennedy