16 January 2012

TSA Security

This morning as I was going through security at McCarren International in Las Vegas, I saw something that completely baffled me. I was standing in the security line and the man in front of me was able to go through security without a valid form of ID. He showed a credit card and the TSA agent allowed him to go straight through without any hassle. This is concerning on so many levels. The United States government goes to such great lengths to invade our privacy and makes such a big deal out of security, but then they allow someone to go through without a form of ID that is listed as acceptable on the TSA website. These include any state or federally issued ID, any domestic or foreign passport, a Tribal Indian photo ID, or an Indian/Canadian form of ID. Why this man was allowed to pass through security is beyond me. Even more concerning is that I asked a TSA agent at our gate about the incident and he said that this was a pretty common occurrence. This is insane...and a breach of security. In a post-9/11 world, you can never be top careful. TSA is a government organization on place to ensure that a disaster like 9/11 never happens again. How can they be so lax in the rules? This is an issue that needs to be addressed. There is no reason security should be breached because someone loses their ID.

06 July 2011

A long overdue post on the Casey Anthony verdict.

Well, three-plus years of speculation, lies, and bizarre behavior have been put to rest (supposedly).  Casey Anthony was found NOT GUILTY of brutally murdering her two year-old daughter, Caylee, in the summer of 2008.  She did not even report her missing for 31 days after anyone else last saw her.  Casey concocted a bizarre web of lies to explain the disappearance.  Caylee’s badly decomposed remains were finally found in December of 2008.  

Casey Anthony and her case has captivated the country for three years.  Sure, it died down between the initial shock/anger/etc but came right back to the surface when the trial began approximately 6 weeks ago.  There is no doubting that she is a pathological liar, and very narcissistic, but she was somehow acquitted.  
I thought that the prosecution did the best with what they had.  There was very minimal cold hard evidence that was found (no DNA or notable forensic evidence recovered that would connect Casey to the crime) and a lot of circumstantial evidence, which doesn’t always sway a nonpartisan jury.  Their fatal flaw, in my opinion, was charging her with murder one with the death penalty as a potential punishment.  They overcharged, and I think that could be a reason their case did not hit home with the jurors.  If I was responsible for bringing charges against her, I would have probably stuck with a lesser charge, such as aggravated manslaughter, first to avoid the taboo issue of the death penalty and second because of the lack of hard evidence that was found at the scene(s).  This is not to say that the defense had it easy; they were put in charge of defending this young woman who many see as an absolute monster.  They clearly put forth their argument effectively enough to get her acquitted of the most serious charges that were brought against her.
I was outraged when the verdict came out.  I have no doubt (and quite honestly I don’t think any sane person has any doubt) that Casey Anthony had SOMETHING to do with the death of her daughter.  But our justice system weighs heavily in the favor of the defendant, hence the whole “presumed innocent until proven guilty” mantra in law.  Perhaps the jurors simply did not have enough evidence to convict within the confines of the law, and that is why they acquitted her.  I certainly do not agree with this, but it is what it is and the case is done and over with.  She is due to be sentenced on lesser charges Thursday (most likely) and can serve a total of four years in prison for the counts she was convicted on (essentially lying and deceiving law enforcement).  She has served three years already.  Many are speculating that the judge will allow her to go free with time already served; however, I tend to think that he will make her stay in jail for a while longer, if only for her own safety.  There are many people out there who are absolutely livid with the verdict, people who probably wouldn’t hesitate to attempt to cause harm to Casey Anthony.  She has become an open target upon acquittal.  Media and paparazzi will be all over her (she will love the attention with her level of narcissism) and I think that the judge will take that into consideration when making his decision.   
I hope that one day the truth will come out about what happened to little Caylee.  She was such a beautiful child, and no child deserves to die at the hands of someone who is supposed to care for her, whether that be her mother or someone else.  For now, though, the Anthony family needs to heal, as much as they possibly can.  
God bless little Caylee, and rest in peace.  We know that you are watching down, shining your light down on us always.

19 June 2011

I am my Father's Daughter.

Stubborn, determined, hard working.  Quiet but a difference maker, serious but still fun loving and silly when the time is right.  I have his green eyes and most of his facial features, too.
As I reflected upon our relationship today, I realized that I get these things from him; they just aren’t my own developed character traits.  He has taught me well and I am blessed to have a role model like my daddy.
I may be nearly grown up, but I still need my dad (as was instanced by my knee surgery.  Every single morning he would come down and quietly put the CPM motion machine under my leg and turn it on—without disturbing my sleep that came seldom during that week.  I will never forget how caring and concerned he was during that time)…and am lucky he is still here to continue to guide me on the right path.  I know he just wants me to be happy.
I love you, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day to the best man and role model that anyone could ask for.

26 May 2011

Miracle Marathon.

Yes, I know I have been blowing up my Twitter and Facebook statuses today with stuff about Dave and Carole’s Miracle Marathon for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, but it is something that is very important to me.  I have never personally had to utilize the services that Children’s provides, but I know plenty of people who have…and the place is incredible.  Everything they do is FOR THE KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES.  It is absolutely amazing seeing these doctors and nurses and support staff and nutrition staff etc etc etc at work, because they all care about kids.  
Whether it is treating childhood cancers, rare heart defects, genetic disorders, emergency situations, neurological disorders, GI problems, renal problems, premature births, birth defects, etc etc etc, you name it—Children’s DOES IT ALL.  Being in that place, visiting the kids, watching them smile through all of the pain they must be enduring…is absolutely heart wrenching but such a blessing at the same time.  We, here in Southeast Wisconsin, are so blessed to have a facility right here, at our fingertips, at our disposal, if we need it.  And if we personally don’t need it…there will come a time where you will be personally affected by it through someone you know.  Families travel from all over the country—and in some cases, all over the world—to be at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  The doctors work around the clock to create specialized treatment plans for the child.  They will not stop until they have done everything they can for that child.  This incredible facility is an absolute Godsend here.
So, I urge you, if you can donate, whatever you can…DO SO.  Dave and Carole are broadcasting around the clock for the remainder of the day and tomorrow.  All proceeds go to supporting CHW’s mission of helping children.  Last year, donations exceeded $1 MILLION DOLLARS.  How incredible is that?!  My Mom and I will be answering phones tomorrow morning from 8:30a-12:30p to help support this most worthwhile cause.  I even answered a call last year where a gentleman singlehandedly donated $10,000 out of his own pocket.  Even a small fraction of that can make a HUGE difference.  Almost every hour is a Power Hour, where various Milwaukee-area businesses (and in some cases anonymous donors) match your donation DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR.  Some are even Double Power Hours, where your donation is TRIPLED.  The website for donation ishttps://www.chw.org/display/PPF/DocID/33082/router.asp or you can call 414-337-WKLH (9554) or toll free at 1-800-414-WHLH (9554).  
We are blessed to have a facility like CHW here…And I feel beyond blessed to be a part of this.  There is no telling when you or someone you love will need this place.  Be a hero, donate to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  

19 May 2011

Exciting Times.

Last night, I contacted Apolo Anton Ohno, world class, gold medal winning Olympic speed skater, Dancing with the Stars champion (I would guess that Kyra singlehandedly made him win DWTS--she would call from every single phone in our home and then her friend's phones as well.  It was amusing. :)), and all-around good guy.  I did this on behalf of my sister, Kyra, who is basically infatuated with Apolo and the work that he does.  Kyra is a stellar student, athlete, friend, leader...and just all-around good person and if she could meet Apolo...it would be beyond her wildest dreams.  She is following her dreams, and I believe that Apolo's story and the work he does and his motivation...is a large part of why she is so determined and following HER dreams.  His book Zero Regrets has inspired her to keep fighting for her dreams and for what she believes in.  I am trying to get him to speak at her high school graduation, two years from now, in May 2013.  I can't think of anyone else who deserves this more...and I want to make this happen.

If anyone has other ideas as to how I can make this happen for her...let me know!  I have contacted him via his website and Twitter and once in a while I give him a Tweet...I plan on doing a handwritten (well, typed) letter a bit later in the summer...I really want to make this happen for Kyra.  She deserves it more than anyone I know.  Help me help make this girl's dreams come true!

10 May 2011

Reflections on the end of the year.

Perhaps it is a bit premature to be doing this, but these thoughts have been running through my head all day and I needed to get them down:
Thursday will mark the halfway point of my college undergraduate career.  It has gone so fast!  I cannot even believe how quickly things change…and even more so, how quickly these things happen.  It feels like just a couple of weeks ago I was just beginning college at Carroll, moving into a dorm with Heather and “making it” (faking it?) on my own.  And as quick as I moved in, I moved out (a semester later) and moved back home with my parents.  I don’t mind it…it saves money, but it impedes on a lot of things I can do on campus.  Another story for another day.  Then, I transferred to Marquette which is, I think, the best move I have ever made.  I LOVE Marquette.  I love everything about it—the location, the academics, the emphasis on the Jesuit style of teaching, the basketball, the people, and the list goes on.  I am so glad I made the decision to switch (and a tough decision it was).  For the field(s) I am going into, Marquette is the place to be around the Milwaukee area.  But half of college is over—finito.  Where does the time go, I ask?  I have so much to look forward to in the next couple of years…my classes are going to be focusing solely on my majors (political science and corporate communications) so they are going to be the things that really interest me and the things that I tend to excel at.  It is insane to think about.  I guess when I am in the moment, taking it day by day, things seem to drag and then when they’re over it’s like “hey, when did this sneak up on me?  What just happened?”  It is the weirdest phenomenon.  
With the end of the semester comes change.  For one, I won’t have to be up at the crack of dawn anymore…and I will actually have time for non-school related reading (which I am most excited about!).  I will be working at Mequon Soccer Club and Best Buy…and maybe an internship.  I still have applications out and am waiting to hear back from a couple.  Time will tell…but I am hoping it is going to be a busy summer filled with lots of memories.
I suppose it’s time to finish up studying for my 8AM theology exam tomorrow.  
Here’s to the end of school, and a new beginning…

02 May 2011

My Thoughts on the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

I am proud to be an American.  Yes.  After 10 long years, we have killed Osama Bin Laden who wreaked absolute havoc on our country on 9/11/2001.  It gives me hope that our country seems to have united over this issue.  For once it’s not right or left, Democrat or Republican…but simply American.  United we stand, indeed.
As I was watching the coverage of Obama’s historic announcement late into the evening last night, I was struck by something I never thought I would see: hundreds of thousands of young people, rallying on the streets of Washington DC and Times Square in NYC shouting “USA! USA! USA!”  It was a pivotal moment of sorts for people my age; this is what we have grown up with.  I was ten years old when 9/11 happened, so for over half of my life I have been hearing about terrorism and Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein and all sorts of extremism.  In a way, this is our generation’s D-Day.  We have conquered.  
I am so thankful to live in America, where I am free to be and where I am not held back.  Our troops protect us.  Thank you to all of the men and women who put their lives on the line so we can be free.  I appreciate everything you do; you are the backbone of our country.  Today, and always, WE SALUTE YOU.
And finally, to all of the people who say Bin Laden’s death was not justified and who say “God will judge”: if you condemn the death of Osama Bin Laden as an atrocity, you endorse the killing of nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11.  This man was the ringleader of an organization that is responsible for thousands and thousands of deaths of innocent people worldwide.  He is a terrorist.  If you can’t support the decision our President made to go and find this asshole and put an end to his life, please read up and think about WHY we did this.  Moreover, if you do not support our troops, please, by all means, feel free to go stand in front of them.  They protect this nation from zealots like Bin Laden and ensure that we have all of the freedoms we do…the same freedoms we are fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan—for their people.  This is certainly not to say that this fight is over—there are plenty of extremists out there who still would love to destroy us.  However, Bin Laden was the poster child of the terrorist movement, and with him gone there remains a weakened link.  The fight has shifted, and perhaps an end is in sight.  
God Bless America on this historic day…and always.