Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Governments Are Using Social Media for Better & for Worse
Zachary Sniderman

Social media has become a crucial part of how we interact with our friends, community and even run our cities. Governments are starting to take serious notice and incorporate social media into their own day-to-day actions.
Governments may not be early adopters but the proliferation of social in national media has ramped up its importance for governments around the world. While this initial stance kept politicians on the defensive, enough time has passed that individual politicians and even entire governments are starting to use social media to connect with their communities in new, open ways.
We’ve chosen a few examples to illustrate some of the many ways government is embracing social media. Have a read through some of these initiatives and let us know in the comments how your own government or political representative is putting social media to good use. The list is neither exhaustive nor does it try to summarize the entirety of a government’s social outreach. It is instead meant to start a conversation.
Social media has a strange role in America as both kingmaker and career wrecker. For every social media success story like President Barack Obama’s 2008 grassroots campaign there is another of a career-crippling gaffe, like Weinergate, when New York Rep. Anthony Weiner accidentally tweeted a picture of his crotch.
Social media, and particularly Twitter, have become a type of soapbox in America, on which many politicians are able to speak directly to their constituents. “I know the overall importance of reaching out through the social media, because I have 31 grandchildren and they are on all of these things,” said U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif. “This is mostly a young person’s game and I’m an old person, but I’m young at heart … the only advice I’d give is ‘get involved’ and then use it in the right way.”
In fact, Republicans have been encouraging their members to get on social media with a friendly NCAA-style knock-out contest called the New Media Challenge, run by the House Republican Conference. Republicans are also using social media to reach out through initiatives like Youcut, a crowdsourced platform where the public can debate and vote on how to lower the national debt. “If you ignore [social media] and you just keep doing things the way you did when I first came to congress, you do so at your own peril,” McKeon said.
Of course the White House itself has taken to social media to help push some of its initiatives. Obama recently held a Twitter town hall where he received and answered questions through Twitter and pledged to start tweeting from his own official account. Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have also been used in presidential debates and forums. The White House has even set up several verified Twitter accounts for state entities such as the secret service (@SecretService), the Open Government Initiative (@OpenGov), a Spanish White House account (@lacasablanca) and an official account for White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (@presssec). Social media has become a place where politicians large and small can register their support in a public way, for example, when Hilary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., called for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei from police custody.



Accra, July 19, GNA – Since the HIV/AIDS pandemic shot into prominence about three decades ago, it has continued to haunt human society as the death toll keeps soaring.
Today the national prevalence rate is approximately 2.6 per cent of the entire population as contained in the Ghana’s shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSGDA, 2010-2013), just a little drop from 3.6 recorded in 2003. The HIV pandemic remains a challenge to human society because it is incurable. Worse still, there has been little success in the area of discovery of new vaccines with the capacity to protect people from contracting the virus that causes HIV.
The crucial question to ask at this juncture is, “What causes this deadly pandemic?” Research has shown that the disease AIDS can be contracted through sexual intercourse and as a matter of fact this is the primary mode of transmission of the virus that causes AIDS.
Yet other modes by which the virus could be contracted include the sharing of syringes, razor blades and the practice of homosexual activities with an infected person or persons, as well as from mother-to-child during pregnancy or through breastfeeding, although this is not to suggest that these are the only means by which the virus is passed on from one person to another. Interestingly, it has been shown that among the causes of HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) and Tuberculosis in particular which are all forms of post acquisition characteristic features of HIV/AIDS, could also result from homosexuality.
In recent times there have been a lot of agitations going on about whether or not to endorse homosexuality in this country as has been the practice in other countries in the developed world today. These societies that have endorsed homosexual marriages have gone to the extent of even legalising the inheritance of matrimonial properties for homosexual partners who have no capacity to procreate, thereby throwing a challenge to legal brains and social scientist s. It is also a big problem for policy makers, health advocates and the clergy to grapple with.
Indeed, many are those who have added their voices to the ongoing debate as to whether or not to endorse homosexual practice. One interesting argument is that since homosexuals are human beings who have rights and are entitled to their beliefs they ought to be given due recognition like every other citizen in the society. It is a fact that the 1992 constitution of Ghana guarantees fundamental human rights and freedom, namely the right to enjoy good health, the right to good education, cultural rights and practices, freedom of speech and the right to join any religion of ones choice.
However, the Constitution is not explicit on the right to engage in homosexuality involving lesbians or gays. Article 26 clause 2 states: “All customary practices which dehumanise or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person are prohibited”. The cost and health implications of indulging in homosexuality are enormous. In many parts of East Asia and Eastern Europe, homosexuals have been caught in the web of HIV/AIDS.

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General notes in one of his speeches that, “Extreme poverty is a violation of human dignity, a threat to the right to life and a condition that prevents most human groups from exercising their human rights.” By extension, extreme poverty can also drive people to shift away from what is perceived to be normal according to society’s value systems. Particularly with the emergence of exorbitant dowry and high cost of living, many of the youth in modern times are taking to this practice in order to escape blame.
The truth of the matter is that it is the value system that holds a society and its group members together and therefore when there is a breakdown in the system or excessive moral degeneration, there is bound to be anarchy. When this happens it is going to affect the entire society with no discrimination. Such a phenomenon would, no doubt, create disaster for human society as there would be no capacity to procreate for the replenishment of population loss and provide an anchor to the growth of human society.
Many countries and states the world over are legitimizing the practice of sodomy which in itself a form of homosexuality in order to perpetrate their evil desires, and since people engage in it for personal gratification it poses a serious threat to the survival of societies and creates a problem for succession and property inheritance.
In a search for the way forward on the raging homosexuality dispute, society needs a lot of education on the repercussions of the practise, as well as an intensive education on the AIDS pandemic. Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) during festivals, durbars, funerals and other social events which of late have become breeding grounds for immorality, would go a long way to instil some lessons in the younger generation.
When children are taught to think positively they grow up to be good citizens. It is, therefore, praiseworthy the crusade being led by the clergy, the Islamic clerics and the traditional authorities to chase homosexuality out of Ghanaian society. It is the expectation of many that when the right environment is provided the youth can reorient their mindset to make right decisions that would enable them to lead responsible lifestyles.

A GNA feature by Ben A. Adom

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Domain Change

The new address for this site is: you for supporting the site.

The Big Bad Budget Deficit

Will the deficit ever shrink and will Obama have what it takes to get Republicans to come to some sort of compromise regarding this issue.  Republicans would like to restrict the government in terms of size and its ability to intrude the lives of American citizens.  Democrats seem to want the government to serve as a neutral party to keep our nation fair and somewhat egalitarian.  It is not until these two parties of representatives begin seeing themselves as citizens before Republican or Democrat that this issue can be solved.  The obsession of upholding old pary values often trumps the reality that "the solution" often lies at the median of both party's "ideologies". -Mr. Eddy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Illegitimate Governments - Somalia

The Yale Herald » Blog Archive » Unlike is not a verb

The Yale Herald » Blog Archive » Unlike is not a verb

Facebook users: unlike is not a verb.....dislike a verb.....un-like can be a verb perhaps.....don't get confused.

Somali drought refugees

Somali drought refugees: "If starving people in the Horn of Africa are thronging refugee camps , what must it be like in the places they are leaving behind? Read more..."

"Hunger is Hunger....I just can't explain it" - Somalian Refugee

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why Does Poverty Exist and Can It Be Eliminated?

By: Christopher Sunami

The root of modern poverty lies in the consumer culture, as stemming from a Materialist worldview. In particular, it stems from the fact that one's own spending power is relative to the spending power of others.

In modern American society, wealth, power, education, status and political control have all been united into one single package. It is increasingly true that you have one if and only if you have all the others.

Because of this fact, those with wealth can manipulate all the other factors, not only to ensure their continued dominance, but also to cause poverty --which is an advantage because it lowers the cost of labor.

In the end, there the likelihood of living in extreme poverty increases the more distanced one is from those living in extreme wealth. The two conditions are not, however, unlinked. One is directly dependent on the other. If you are poor black female child starving to death in Kenya, your misery is contingent on the Material advantages of a wealthy white middle-aged man living in America, and vice versa.

Are Solutions to Poverty Possible?

Our world suffers not from lack of resources, but rather from the waste, misuse and misdirection of resources, much of which is caused through the dysfunctional Mechanism of modern Materialism. In addition, the Malthusian prediction (that increased resources lead directly to increased populations consuming those resources) has proven to be avoidable by abandoning the traditional worldviews' equation of more children with more status.

So there are no insurmountable theoretical bars to ending poverty.

A Poverty-Ending Mechanism

French sociologist Marcel Mauss, among others, has pointed out the significant difference it makes to live in a society where status is based on what one gives to the society versus where status is based on what one retains for one's self. In a self-seeking status culture, the gap between rich and poor grows ever wider, and people are competitive, combative and mistrustful. In a gift-status culture, the gap between the wealthy stays small, people are cooperative, peaceful and generous.

So the solution to poverty is to create a society where status correlates with contributions to the society, and not with personal accumulations of wealth. Such a society may not eliminate poverty entirely. Once, however, the artificially inflated pockets of extreme wealth begin to disappear, the vast oceans of artificially exaggerated poverty should likewise vanish.

Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West to Embark on The Poverty Tour

Broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton Professor Cornel West to Embark on The Poverty Tour

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Standardized Testing is Taking Over Our Schools

From a History Teachers Point of View-

History is inherently biased and perspective based so how can it be tested?  History is constantly being changed so who’s history are we being tested on?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Malcolm X-Teaching the Origins of the nefarious "N" Word

Quotables- Reading is Fundamental

"I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive." Malcolm X