Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bolivia President Targeted.....called it

"Bolivian security forces thwarted an assassination plot against President Evo Morales on Thursday"

America approved this, plain and simple. I called it before and I'll call it right now. We want Morales out and we want his country's lithium and I predict that the other industrial countries, excluding oil producers, would allow America to do as such.

I'll continue to update this story as it develops, mostly to prove myself a genius.

Article in which I discussed Bolivia: "Iran into Bolivia"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Ce-Real Life

Around the United States, hot political issues captivate citizens in an endless cycle of debate. Having so many problems leads to some slipping through undetected. I will address one that caused most of its damage on my generation, but this villain continues to push its hidden agenda on today's young ones. Children's cereal commercials use cartoons, slogans, and appealing tastes to lure kids into sneaking their product into the grocery cart so that their mother has to end up buying it once she notices the new addition during check out. Looking past the simple advertising reveals complex political opinions designed to settle into the minds of young viewers, only to hatch out later in life.

Two cereals actually clash in their pursuit to gain support on their ideas of transparency in government. Apple Jacks enjoys and agrees with the use of deceit. They mask their real product taste with their cunning title which leads some to ask, “Shouldn't they taste like apples?” These questioners symbolize the dissenters of government policies, locked in backward and traditional ways. The kids support the taste, responding “we just do” when asked why, an obvious endorsement for backing government no matter the use of ambiguous decrees or legislation. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, on the other hand, promotes openness in governing. Their commercials boast that anyone can easily notice the cinnamon in their breakfast treat. Claiming it as “the taste you can see,” Cinnamon Toast Crunch favors an honest government who allows all to be known and thus, gains a favorable rating from its citizens.

Other cereals find it necessary to shape the minds of children over economic classes and the use of lower taxes and programs such as social welfare. “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids,” may seem like just another trivial slogan at first, but its deeper meaning ridicules the rich, the rabbit in the commercial. These advertisements act as if the kids, the less fortunate financially, have a right to the cereal, government aid. America’s future leaders do not need this blatant propaganda, no matter its stance politically, in between an episode of the “Suite Life with Zach and Cody.” I do give credit to one cereal for attempting to educate adolescents on the subject. Lucky Charms takes a more neutral stance over sharing the wealth. In their commercials, the Leprechaun, representing the rich, has to continually defend his lucky charms, his wealth, from the ever persistent children. Sometimes the kids, poorer individuals, succeed in the quest for more equality financially, but sometimes they don’t. This advertising campaign presents the ongoing tax struggle in society. I sincerely hope that children’s cereal use their unbridled power in a positive manner, but unfortunately, most fail to recognize or care about the harm their politically charged advertisements wreak.

Another topic that splits two competing children’s cereals is that of the acceptance of opinions deemed radical. Cocoa Puffs and Honeycomb Cereal promote a traditional stance towards non-mainstream viewpoints. Their symbols, a crazy bird and a fuzz ball respectively, play the part of the radicals themselves. Their hyper and irrational behavior derives from the absurd goodness of the two cereals, or the absurdity of the extreme beliefs. This turns children away from accepting new and unique ideas due to perceived notions of their advocates. Reese’s Cereal attempts to instruct kids that societal trends can be broken. If they want candy for breakfast, my god they can have it. With just one bite, they can be thrust into such great taste that they accept the revolutionary stance. No matter which brand presents the better case, the fact is that they do when they should just be selling their cereal.

I hope this in depth look into the hidden meanings of children’s cereal commercials provides a push for open discussions on such a controversial topic. At first it may not seem as important as other issues facing America, but it will linger and affect the future of our kids if nothing is done.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

PR's bad PR

The job of public relations agents is to create a positive attitude towards their client. They accomplish this in many different ways. If this is the case, and it certainly is, then why do I always receive a funny look, a discriminatory question concerning potential jobs in the area, or a critical remark when I say I am a PR major? Certainly those apt to change public views on issues could easily create a positive perception on their own occupation, but this is untrue.

PR majors face an abundance of mostly incorrect stereotypes on our campus. Yes there is a disproportionate amount of one demographic that concerns females and a certain type of organization with ancient letters. Many also believe that the classes are a joke and easy to pass. The considerable number of drop outs may disagree with this claim, and it probably didn’t help that the professor declared the course as one to weed out any unprepared students. Especially with our PR department being the second highest ranked in the nation, I doubt it just gives out high grades to students.

Those who ask me what I can do with a PR major act as if there isn’t a single public relations job in the world. I am deeply sorry that there are no jobs specifically named public relations and that society fails to notice the effect of such professionals. No other major that I know of receives this scrutiny and judgment right after announcing their focus of their collegiate studies which they probably took a good bit of time to decide on. I don’t respond to history majors by telling them that a time machine is the only way they could be useful. I don’t tell math majors about China and India or the invention of the calculator. I don’t even give journalism majors a hard time about how newspapers will die in a few years. I hope these incorrect, five second judgments show how stupid the sly comments toward PR majors happen to be.

Now to answer what I can actually do outside of school, and I’ll even gear it towards other majors. Doctors will always have jobs, but universal healthcare would take their pay check and basically tear it up. If they only had someone to represent their cause and lobby against it, this could be avoided. Oh my, I might be able to help with that. Science majors love to put themselves on a pedestal since their majors sound difficult and contain more than four syllables. I and other public relations majors can assist you guys as well, though the China and India theory of killing this profession applies here as well. If someone were to cure cancer, he or she and the company involved would need help with the media and all other publicity events. Also, if a report showed that the same individual used animals for testing or any other unethical practices, it would certainly help to have a qualified person mounting a public defense. Lobbying also could help those involved with science in that the government sometimes, actually always, needs a push to fund research and technology. Future politicians and businesses owners usually don’t need reminding on how public relations makes and saves their careers. Any news article concerning a business or politician in a favorable light probably came from the pen of a public relations practitioner.

Now please stop giving those who study public relations a hard time. Until you actually take a course in the department or even know what public relations is, please don’t take the time to judge it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

America's Funniest Congressional Videos

Though America’s Funniest Home Videos’ prime has unfortunately passed, there is a channel devoted to running a live stream of bloopers and lapses of intelligence for most of the year. C-SPAN replaces the always funny clip of a blindfolded kid hitting his father below the belt with a bat instead of the unfortunate, colorful donkey with the hilarity of confused, mostly unintelligent elected officials in Washington D.C. proposing and arguing legislation to the best of their little ability.

When I learned that Congress would discuss the BCS system, I thought that the Onion had fooled me again, but I had underestimated the stupidity of our representatives. The decision of how NCAA Division I football crowns a champion should not be decided or even mentioned by the uninformed in D.C. The considerable biases and lack of knowledge would upset the whole decision process (sound familiar?). Also at a time where America faces two wars, an economic downturn, and countless other issues, the National Championship game participants are the least of my worries, unless Alabama gets screwed, then I’ll throw a huge fit.

Common sense aside, I want to see this happen. Not for any results per se, since there would be none anyway, but for what I mentioned before, the laughs. Charts and graphs that make no real sense, stories about programs (Utah) hurt by the current system, and the partisanship that would arise somehow would be a great watch and psyche me up for college football season. So I ask Congress to please help the country and all of late night television by attempting to fix how the BCS decides its national champion.*

*Seriously though, don't do this at all. Fix the economy, bring our troops home, and watch out for that dude in the White House.

Friday, March 13, 2009

So I Was Right, Maybe

In a previous post named "Iran into Bolivia", I predicted the growing importance of Bolivia due to their supply of Lithium, which is very important in the batteries for greener vehicles and other devices.

I also joked that other countries would buddy up with Bolivia's President Morales, and America would go a different route. This route would involve something similar to what we always do, supporting an opposition party and claiming the party in power was bad and evil.

Seems I may be right. Six month after our ambassador was kicked out of the country, another U.S. diplomat was escorted out due to the same reason, meeting and allegedly conspiring with the opposing party. Funny huh?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Outsource Your Column, Please

The article I am responding to can be seen here: Outsourcing More Than Jobs

Groucho Marx once said, “From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.” The same thing happened to me with Jon Reed’s column, “Outsourcing more than jobs”, except that I actually read it.

Like a good Chuck Palahniuk book, I will start with the ending. Reed caps his rant on outsourcing by calling those who pick and choose “which ideals to export” hypocrites. This is funny considering that he begins the same article by stating what ideals “we Americans” export. Not among those listed is the free market system which promotes the use of this evil outsourcing. Does this make him a hypocrite since he actually selected ideals that we export without asking us? Or am I, like Reed, just asking a question and assuming you agree with me since I use the plural nominative similar to a French monarch who continually and stereotypically cries out, “We We!” Also, if you are wondering, Reed successfully utilized the plural nominative fifteen times in his, singular possessive, opinion.

Reed poses many questions, six to be exact, and idealistic points that left me as confused as Andre Smith when learning he actually needed to prepare for the NFL combine. He speaks of America bringing “other countries to ‘share’ our beliefs.” If forcing by military action or persuading through economic sanctions means the same as sharing, then I would have to agree.

The article also criticizes Americans who want to spread liberties, but at the same time support corporations who exploit workers overseas. First, not all Americans really promote spreading democratic ideals passively or aggressively. Second, the underpaid labor which Reed speaks of, without citing statistics, does not directly affect Americans. He later proposes a question asking what benefits we citizens obtain by improving labor conditions worldwide. Since Reed failed to answer, I will. Besides higher prices, we get nothing. This is why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even acknowledged ignoring rights violations in China to stay focused on economic issues. Especially in times such as these, I suspect most Americans simply would rather have more money in their pockets than the knowledge that foreigners make above the previous minimum wage.

Reed then starts a pessimistic, mostly incorrect tirade. He points to the future “fruit-less job searching” for students. This does even not coincide with outsourcing, since our potential jobs will not involve menial labor. The ability for a country to send labor elsewhere pushes citizens into higher levels of work. It sucks that some lose jobs to other countries, but they are taken by a foreigner who Reed seemingly cares about anyway.

Another proposed question deals with where a company would rather build a factory if worker pay and treatment were forced to be the same. Reed, I assume, wants us to select Tuscaloosa over Malaysia, but he does not say unsurprisingly. There are so many factors involved in the decision that his question can’t even be answered anyway. What kind of company is it? What country is the company headquarters located in? Why are you even asking this question since you don’t even connect it to your opinion?

If the United States did go protectionist, others would just follow. Europe’s response to the later weakened portion of the stimulus bill that reeked of protectionism was not a nice and happy one. Companies like Mercedes Benz and Hyundai would not place factories in the United States, a type of outsourcing, if other countries followed this train of thought. I will not even go into the foreign relations problems we would encounter.

To answer the second to last question in the editorial, protectionism is not defending America from terrorism. That is national defense and just a game of semantics. Outsourcing actually defends America quite nicely be creating jobs, investment, and lifting those in poverty to not even consider terrorism and breed hate towards America.

Reed then finishes by spouting how our country was “founded on stopping tyranny” and how we need to stop the tyranny of corporations. What tyranny? If Reed means the tyranny of businesses in other countries, then it is the problem of those countries, but he does not even cite examples.

I, like most, would love everyone to have decent wages, low prices on goods, and democracies everywhere. That being said, the possibility of these desires happening is slim, especially in this horrid economic situation. Protectionism will not bring the world out of this crisis. It is certainly easy to bash outsourcing, but the unseen benefits it provides outweighs any of the harsh rhetoric it receives.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What's So Great about Democracy

Though America currently encounters a dismal economic state, no social unrest has occurred. This is not the case in other major countries. There are constant complaints about the partisanship in Washington, but politicians arguing relentlessly beat protests in the street.

Ian Bremmer's "J Curve" aptly pairs openness of a government with the country's stability. His book focuses more on a country's process along the curve, but I will use his idea to explain the present situations in nations with regards to the financial crisis.

Bremmer believes that the more transparent a government is, the more stability the country has. The only exception, which he notes, occurs in authoritarian governments. They fall on the left end of the curve where there is a jutting up. This symbolizes their little openness, but their apparent stability, though it is significantly less than, say, a democracy, which rests on the upper right side of the curve. Bremmer’s model provides a nice foundation for explaining current events.

I hate the partisanship a two-party system engenders. Compared to a one-party system though, I choose it quicker than choosing broccoli over salmonella-flavored peanut butter crackers. We simply overreact to the inefficiency and bad publicity created by congressional bickering. Globally, our system proves how stable our country really is.

Both our politicians and fellow citizens worry about the rising unemployment rate. Their angst mostly derives from a humanitarian and economic standpoint. China and Russia, both closed governments, see unemployment as a catalyst for social conflict. Last week, the Kremlin replaced four governors in potential unruly areas. An aide of President Medvedev even twisted the social contract theory to explain how Russia needed to react. “The social contract consisted of limiting civil rights in exchange for economic well-being. At the current moment, economic well-being is shrinking. Correspondingly, civil rights should expand.” China may have to move in a similar direction. A recent New York Times article pointed to the Internet crackdown as a potential starting point.

The economic downturn has also prolonged incidents that may have been quickly forgotten in better financial times. Skepticism over the tainted milk crisis and the collapse of Chinese schools during an earthquake last year still linger. Russia faces the backlash from the killings of two human rights advocates, a lawyer and a journalist. The acquittal of the alleged journalist murderers will prolong the affair even more.

We in America take our political stability for granted. In response to the financial state, we simply elected the opposing party into office, and the ousted leader even helped the incoming one. Political divisiveness exists in our country’s history even before we rebelled against England. Sensational media coverage may affect views of its importance, but compared to other countries, we are weathering this storm quite nicely.