Sunday, 14 December 2014

Last Blog post - The wage gap


The wage Gap



The most well-known aspect of the wage gap issue in America is that women are paid less than men for doing the same jobs, but the wage gap also extends to men of colour as well. It is also less well known that a wage gap is present between that of a white man and a man of colour, with a white man being paid more.


Every state in America experiences the wage gap, with Washington D.C having the smallest wage gap and Louisiana having the largest. Women in Washington D.C are paid 91 percent of what white men are paid compared to Louisiana where women are only paid 66 percent of what white men are paid. This wage gap is present no matter the occupation, even in female dominated fields the gap is still present. Although the wage gap can increase dramatically further for certain occupations.


For women of colour this gap is even worse, the largest gap being for Hispanic women who are only paid 54 percent of white men’s earnings. As the wage gap increases for women of colour it suggests the wage gap is an issue of gender and race rather than of other factors such as the level of education of the person. Although having a higher level of education can narrow the wage gap, the gap is still present for black and Hispanic women even when they have the same education as their white and Asian female peers. This shows that there is still a high level of racial discrimination in wages.


As well as all this, the wage gap is effected by age. Women on average earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they are 35 and then the wage gap increases so that women are only paid 75-80 percent of what a man would earn.


 The issues with wage gaps extends to men of colour also, as the average black man will earn only $665 per week compared to the $768 a white man would earn for the same job. This means for every dollar the white man is paid the black man only earns 87 cents. The wage gap then further increases for Latino Americans who only get paid 77 cents per dollar the average white American would earn. What is interesting is that Asian men in America on average are paid 137 cents for every dollar the average American earns.


As well as these inequalities in pay for different genders and ethnic groups, there is also a very prominent wage gap for those of certain occupations. The average fast food worker will only be paid $382 a week compared to fast food service managers who are paid $744 a week. Adding to this all of the other factors mentioned above and a fast food worker could be paid much less than this. For example, if a Hispanic women worked in Louisiana and was over the age of 35 she would be paid significantly less than a white male of the same age working the same job for the same hours.


There is also further discrimination for working mothers, those with disabilities, and LGBT* individuals.


Wage gaps are present in other countries too, with the Annual survey of Hours and Earnings 2012 in the UK showed that the hourly rate of pay for men was £16.50, compared to £14.05 for women. This survey showed that women working full time would still earn £5,000 less than a male in the same occupation per year.


The wage gap issue is obviously not just one confined to America, but it is a much bigger problem in America. President Obama has signed several acts to address the wage gap issues in America, but the senate Republicans have voted against them each time meaning there is minimal help for those affected by the wage gap and no sign of change.

The fact that a wage gap even exists shows that there is still existing discrimination against certain people in American society, and the fact that here has been minimal effort to try and change this problem shows that this isn't just a problem that hasn't been fixed, it is a problem that a large proportion of American's do not care about fixing. The very fact that there is a political group who actively stopped acts being passed that could aid this problem shows how there are still a lot of very discriminative beliefs held in America. 

Sources:





Thursday, 11 December 2014

Final Post of the Blog



Americanisation: 

For the last post I chose to focus on something that relates to all of the posts throughout this module, so I chose Americanisation. I picked these images because they represent Americanisation and the world being influenced by American culture, products and everything associated with it.

The Apple company have made a huge amount of money since they first began, with their products selling globally. It has become so popular that different versions of Apple products have been manufactured, such as the iPad, Mac-book, iPod and Apple headphones. This is a good example of how something from America has influenced the rest of the world in the form of technology.

The statue of liberty is well known all over the world, it is often the first thing many people think of when they think of the USA. It is also a recognisable statue which has become a symbol of not just freedom to Americans but also the world too, as a huge number of people know the history behind it and what it represents even today. Many films include images or moving pictures of it as well which then make the world associate it with the USA.

Coca-Cola is a great example of Americanisation as it is advertised throughout the year, especially around Christmas time and it has become part of the Western, European, Eastern European and the rest of the globes' culture to the extent that it is no longer considered a luxury or a novelty.

Within the sports industry, Nike is one of the most popular brands out there, and there are many out there, yet Nike has become one of the most popular of them all around the world, with the company selling thousands of shoes, clothing and accessories in shops all around the U.K alone, making it one of the most Americanised aspects of Americanisation.

America has dominated the T.V industry entirely with blockbusters, films, T.V programs and even the news. This sort of advertising of the USA in the form of realism or unrealistic terms shows not just Americanisation, but also how powerful the country is.

McDonald's is arguable one of the most popular fast food chains that there are! There are many not just within the United States but also in the U.K and the rest of the world. Even though many places change the menu slightly and adapt it to their culture, it is still essentially an American company especially as the symbol is the same no matter where you are.

Disney and Mickey Mouse are key things that many people relate to America, whether it be the tourist attraction Disneyland or the films, a lot of people would know what they were. The fact that these affect the fashion industry as there are tops etc. with the logos etc. on, music industry, film industry as well as many others indicates that this is a new level of Americanisation.

Music is heavily influenced by American bands and music as a lot of the 'popular' music nowadays is American. Also, the fact that within the music industry the saying about you don't make it big till you play at America or you go to America- suggesting that America is what gets you fame and/or fortune, which is interesting to think considering there are over 300 countries on the globe.

Starbucks is associated with America even though it originated from Europe, and America 'repackaged' it then distributed it to the globe, labeling it as an American product which created a large sum of money. Now, millions of people globally drink and consume this company and just like McDonald's it has become a normal thing within the culture and not seen as American, or at least foreign. The idea that if you are in a country where you don't understand the language, you can still eat as you would be able to recognise the symbol of Starbucks or even McDonald's, which is quite amazing.

So it would be interesting to know and see what the world would look like if there wasn't an America as it would probably be extremely different from what it is today. As you live in a world that has arguably become Americanised, because the things that you do in everyday life nearly always has a connection with the U.S, whether it be the T.V you watch, the clothing you wear, or the cup of coffee that you order in Starbucks on your way to work. All these things make you realise what the world would be like if they weren't so global as they are today.




Sources:

alextomasiello.wordpress.com 
en.wikipedia.org 


Grace La Traille




Monday, 8 December 2014

Doubts about America


Wealth Inequality in America




In this video, Bill Maher shares his views on wealth inequality. He supports the views of the '99%' that the wealthiest 1% take most of America's money leaving others with minimal funds.

He describes American wealth like a pizza and says that the 'first guy would take 80 slices, and if someone suggests to take 79 slices, that's socialism!' This shows the popular view of the higher class that they have worked hard for their money and they have no reason to give that money away to poor people who struggle with money on a daily basis.

Maher says in this video 'we have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same, like somehow the rich will eventually get so full and explode..but here's the thing about a piƱata it doesn't open on it's own, you have to beat it with a stick.' this shows us that Maher thinks the poor should fight the 'super rich' for their money as they will never give it to the poor if there is no effort to obtain it.

Researching into Maher's background I have found that he has a net worth of $23 million, this means that he would be in the top 1% that he is so passionately complaining about. Maher's argument can not be seen as reliable because of this fact and we have to consider that he may be using this argument to gain popularity from people who share the view he is expressing.


Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SASkrBbIBJs
http://www.therichest.com/celebnetworth/celeb/comedian/bill-maher-net-worth/

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Doubts About America




Wealth Inequality In the U.S.
Image 1
I chose to analyse the inequality between the rich and the poor in the US.
According to research the top 5% of America’s population own a massive 72% of the country’s wealth, with the top 1% owning 43% of that. The article ‘Inequality gap between super rich and poor continues to widen’ demonstrates that it is not the top 1% that inequality is mainly evident but the top 0.1% with them, on average, earning around six million dollars a year (roughly 206 times what the average family in the US earned in 2012). Many of the top earners work in the finance industry and live in major US cities such as New York or Los Angeles.
The Image 1 clearly shows the inequality of wealth within the US however it doesn’t show the somewhat delusional state that Americans seem to be in. Many know that there is an inequality however it is unclear to them just how great the difference is, as shown in Image 2. Furthermore, Pizzigati voices his opinions on Forbes 400, criticising the fact that the super-rich can earn over 1000 times the wealth of someone with $5.2 million and can still have the power to cut jobs for those in the ‘middle class’ that on average earn a net worth of $81,200 per annum. For reasons like this the rich have the opportunity to get richer whilst the poor struggle for jobs and inevitably get poorer. Even the column (in image 2) showing wealth of ‘what Americans would like it to be’ doesn’t fairly distribute wealth to the poorest. Overall inequality is still set to grow in the United States although many experts agree that to reduce it would be to raise/ have a better taxation system, trying to control the power that major corporations and banks have and finally to put emphasis on the younger generation- making sure even the poorest have education and healthcare so that they can ‘fulfil their aspirations’.
Image 2

Sources:

Doubts about America; #Ferguson

This image above is very disturbing, and was written about and discussed in, #Ferguson : My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint.

It is an image of Michael Brown as he lay dead in the street following being shot six times in the back. As you can see, accompanying Michael Brown is food and drink that is racially linked with people of an African-American descent, how anyone could have put this image together and thought it to be either acceptable or comical is far beyond me. This says a lot about the country it was published in which was undoubtedly the USA, and does this take the 'freedom of speech' too far? Is this the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant American Dream? Or is it simply (though sadly) that this has become the norm for America?

Michael W. Twitty does give critical analysis of aspects of these (and other) questions about America today, dealing directly with the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. One part of Twitty's blog stood out to me most and it is this;

"The same country where some white folk are celebrating their “right,” to bear firearms in Targets and Starbucks and pointing rifles at Federal agents (a la Cliven Bundy) without reproach, dares lecture Black America about the legalized lynchings of its sons for petty theft or perceived slights against police and governmental authority.  The same country where people are thrilled by movies about white collar crime on Wall Street and the theft of millions on the same, has robbed people of their savings is the same country where “stop and frisk” jukes the stats uptown while the real crooks downtown go wild and unrestrained after their rape of the American dream."
Read that last part again, "Their RAPE of the American Dream" this is a powerful statement to make, and the American Dream has unfortunately become something that changes with race when it truly shouldn't. A WASP should not simply want for himself and other white folk like him, he should want the true American Dream for everyone, no matter what race, religion or ethnicity they are but sadly that just doesn't happen. The American dream now is instead something that has left people with the freedom and ability to create disturbing images like the one above. I am by no means saying that all white men are pro-white, WASP, elites, but it isn't a hard fact to prove that very often white men are hired by white men rathe than hiring black men with equal if not better qualifications for the role, simply based on the colour of their skin. This denies, disturbs and destroys the American Dream, that is not equality, in their eyes not all men are created equal so they 'rape' the black man's American Dream to better their own and to better their white counterparts.

Regrettably what we have seen in Ferguson and many other places across America, be it intentional or not on the police officers part, is undermining the American Dream. He did shoot-to-kill a young black man with no matter how you look at it, excessive force. Did the officer really need to shoot him six times in the back? If he was white I'm sure it would have been a completely different story, their probably wouldn't even have been a 'story' at all.

Earlier on in the text Twitty also refers to this as an "American Tragedy" but is this simply an American tragedy or is this more of a tragedy for the contemporary world? I believe what happens in America now isn't just American anymore, America has become so influential on geo-politics that for something like this to happen in America, 'The Land of the Free', sends the wrong message to almost every other country on this planet. In contrast to this though, I do agree with Twitty that it is still an American tragedy at heart, and something desperately needs to be done about modern racial segregation within present-day America.

sources;
Blog by Michael W. Twitty; http://afroculinaria.com/2014/08/18/ferguson-my-thoughts-on-an-american-flashpoint/
Image; https://afroculinaria.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/img_20140818_001814.jpg


EDIT: I found this video after posting my blog and would like to discuss in relevance to doubts in America.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Doubts about America

I don't want to be here anymore, Rise Against



I chose this song as it's an opinion critical of the United States, and is voiced by a group of Americans in a band called Rise Against. Their song include criticisms of protest movements about economic and political issues such as extreme wealth inequality and national security surveillance, recent civil rights issues such as the shooting in Ferguson, MO, and the various global struggles which the U.S involved itself in since 9/11, including the recent campaign against ISIS.

"1, 800 shootings per year in Chicago" this shows that the U.S isn't new to shootings or civil rights issues that are associated with race such as the Micheal Brown incident. Even though the statistics on the screen do not state that they are specifically about race, the news shows us that it is a common event in America.

However, in the video there is a young black woman who says "I witnessed at a young age, my cousin get shot right in front of me, they hit her with a bullet in the head, my uncle got shot and robbed, no child can grow up in Chicago and just live it's life" this shows that there are racial issues as well as America not being an equal place.

There is also content within the song about the various global struggles which the U.S has involved itself in since 9/11. "1, 083 assassinations by ISIS last year" which suggests that the U.S aren't doing enough to stop ISIS. Another bit in the song "Major Iraqi cities are falling back under extremist control" which also shows that America cannot stop the extremists because major Iraqi cities are in the extremists control again, which would indicate that the U.S is finding it harder and harder to help out with these sorts of issues.

A political issue as well as a global one is with Obama's speech in the song, this is saying that the 'American combat mission in Iraq has ended', but then straight after, the video states that "2014 Americans are returning to Iraq to aid in the fight against new extremist threats" and "Iraq's Militia is now more than 50, 000 strong". These show that even when America gets out of any form of hardships, it is quickly back facing problems again, in this particular instance 2 years (2010-2014), and that various global struggles is an ongoing problem too.

"Won't back down, won't take no, for answers anymore" this shows that the American people want answers either from the U.S government, fellow Americans or the world as to why the U.S has become like this, and that if the world doesn't change for example the school shootings "America averages 1 school shooting every 5 weeks" etc., then there will eventually not be a United States, because of what it is becoming.

"I don't want to be here anymore!" this line is sang throughout the majority of the song, showing us that because of the circumstances of America in regard to the civil rights issues, global issues, economic and political issues too, that it has meant that they/him doesn't want to be living in the U.S anymore and would rather be elsewhere.

There are also economic and political issues in the song too "Something that you dream about, your home, your house, your food, your family, and just the little stuff that you take for granted now". This relates to the extreme wealth inequality that isn't about race, and the man is indicating that America is where you now have to worry about things such as financial equality.

"On pins and needles we are waiting for the fall" this is saying that America is hanging on and just coping with all these problems it faces, both internally and externally, but the fact that they 'are waiting for the fall' indicates that soon America will collapse and breakdown.

"No longer recognize the place that I call home" this shows that America is changing, and not in a positive way as the title of the song is I don't want to be here anymore meaning that he wants to get away from it all.

"I know there's nothing left worth staying for" is providing us with the idea that America is no longer  a place for his future and possibly for many people, even with politics saying that everything is going to be okay.

"Your paradise is something I've endured" this relates to the notion of The American Dream because it is saying that America, a place of paradise is something that no longer exists, as a result of these problems. But it also means that the life of America now, has become so bad that he can no longer put up with it. "See I don't think I can fight this anymore" which also shows that it has been going on for so long that he has got to the point where he has had enough and cannot take it anymore.

"The point where we break gets closer everyday" Again this is relating to the idea of America is not what it used to be as a result of these current issues and problems, and that it is only a matter of time before it fails completely.

"But where do we go? But where do we go?" This being said twice indicates that there is no way out of this, both physically as people but also as a place (country). The issues and problems that America is facing shows us that it is a never ending problem too.

"We need a better way" this line at the end of the song is saying that if America doesn't change the way it deals with things, then it isn't going to end well or these issues are only going to get worse.


Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv_cvxAAZ-Y
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/riseagainst/idontwanttobehereanymore.html

Monday, 1 December 2014

Depression/Recession





This image is of a protest in Chicago during the great depression, and by the signs of the protesters you can tell they are protesting for jobs or money whilst unemployment, in the form of unemployment insurance. This image shows that during the great depression there was a significant loss of jobs, meaning that a large portion of the average population were unemployed simply due to the small amount of jobs available and not due to being unqualified.



This image shows a protest in New York city in April 2009, the signs in this image suggest that these people were protesting for jobs for the unemployed. By comparing these two images I can see that unemployment was a massive problem during both the great depression and the more recent recession. This would have led to a range of other problems, as if people can't work they can't pay bills and thus may find themselves homeless, they also may not have been able to buy necessities, such as food and clothing which would increase the number of homeless people. This would then make it hard for these people to obtain a job when there was more available due to being homeless. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Depression and Recession


The Great Depression 

Homeless shelter in Chicago, 1930

This picture shows a shelter for homeless people during the Great Depression. We can see that poverty was an issue at this time as there are more people than there are beds in this shelter, making some people sleep on the floor. This suggests that homelessness was a problem as this time as shelters were made especially yet they did not have room to accommodate the large amount of people that needed to use them.

The Recession 

Homeless shelter in New York, 2013

This picture again shows a homeless shelter, however this photo was taken in the recession. We again see many homeless people taking advantage of the aid given but there seems to be more beds in this shelter than we see in the earlier one. This could just be the angle of the photographs or it could show us that more facilities have been built to help the homeless problem. In this photo nobody is sleeping on the floor which tells us that homeless shelters are now stricter than they seemed to be in the 1930s. I know that homelessness is still a big issue in America and therefore I do not believe that the empty floors would be down to having less people using the shelters. 

Overall, there is a clear resemblance in both photographs which shows me that the issue of homelessness has not cleared up since the great depression but instead has grown during the recession. 


Depression and Recession
































The Great Depression 1930
This image shows men seeking work in an employment bureau in Los Angeles during the Great Depression of the 1930s. After the Wall Street crash, finding any job was difficult in America at this time and almost 19% of the country was unemployed.






























The Great Recession 2008
Similarly, this image shows people queuing up in New York in 2010 waiting to attend a jobs fair. The images i have chosen show that little has changed over the years and people are still as adamant to find a job and build their way out of the recession.

In both cases, finding a job was the main priority and due to the high demand many didnt mind what they work as as long as they have a job.


Friday, 28 November 2014

1930's/2008


The Great Depression:



This image shows that during the 1930's many people who were unemployed found it very hard to get food and that The Great Depression hit the U.S hard, and had a huge impact in people's lives. The amount of people that were out of work during this time shows us that it was not necessarily the individuals fault, but the unstable economy of the country or even the government.

Recent Recession: 


Helping the homeless in New York City (2008)

This image shows that during 2008 (and still nowadays), people were homeless and most probably unemployed. This is because of the recession that hit the U.S in 2008 which made many people struggle financially, struggle to find jobs and were generally a lot worse off than before 2008. 

The differences between these two images include the severity of the recession because in The Great Depression image there are a huge number of people who are homeless and need food, whereas in the 2008 image there is only one person on their own, showing that homelessness is less of an issue in the 21st Century.

Another difference in the two images is that during The Great Depression there was help from the government as well as private funding, whereas in the 2008 image the man is on a random street in New York City and not with other homeless people getting help/food. The fact that ordinary people in the community are providing support for this man shows that unlike the 1930's, in 2008 the government won't and doesn't offer any support like funding for food banks or welfare/benefits.    

There are similarities between the two images as the first one shows people of many different job industries and it is not obvious whether any of them have education or not, but because the numbers of unemployed during this time was so high, it must have affected a range of people, including people with education. And this is interesting because it provides us with an understanding that in the 1930's it didn't matter so much if you had an education or not because The Great Depression was so great. The same thing is the same for the second image, because the homeless man seems to have books, and possibly an education, showing that even in the 21st Century even with an education you won't necessarily get a job in the recession and it does affect a wide range of people just like The Great Depression. The only difference though is the amount of help you get from the government.

Both images show that not every single person in the country is employed or able to provide for themselves, with food and/or shelter. However, judging just by these images, they show that in modern times unemployment and homelessness effects individuals rather than The Great Depression which effected a mass amount of people such as families. Both images are also anti-social as they both question the ideology of the American Dream.



Sources:
www.socialwelfarehistory.com 
en.wikipedia.org 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Success and Self Improvement - Michael Oher

Michael Oher

Oher and Family
Michael Oher is living proof that the ‘American Dream’ is still alive. Oher was one of twelve children born into a broken family; his mother was an alcoholic and drug addict whilst his father spent prolonged periods of time in prisons for various different reasons and was then murdered. At age 7 he was put into foster system and was passed from family to family as well as spending time living on the street. He went to 11 different schools within 9 years and had to repeat first and second grade.

The turning point in Oher’s life was being taken in by the Tuohy family at 16.  They got him back into school and adopted him at 17. Excelling in American football, he played on the varsity team in high school and got multiple scholarships for college. In 2006 his life was detailed in Michael Lewis’ book The Blind Side describing his life from foster child to college football star this was later turned into a film.

From college until early 2013 he was a left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens but more recently has signed a $20 million dollar contract to play for the Tenessee Titans. After the Super Bowl XLVII, Oher told ABC News that "I came so far—from nothing to a Super Bowl championship," Oher told ABC News. "I'm in shock right now."

He has even written an autobiography called I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond.

Michael Ohers success expresses the idea of the American Dream positively and somewhat mirrors the success on Ragged Dick. Both Dick and Oher had a bad background, living on the streets with no one to look out for them however it seems that Dick had to work much harder for his success compared to Oher. Oher came from nothing but used his talent to get ahead where as Dick had to work hard to get not as far.


The American Dream

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey is an example of someone who has experienced the 'American Dream'. I chose to write about Jim's personal experience as some of his early life mirrors Richard's lifestyle in Ragged Dick. Jim grew up in poverty similarly to Dick so he had to work in a factory after school to provide for his family who at the time lived out of a Volkswagen camper.

Carrey's success came when he performed a gig at The Comedy Store and a comic signed him as an opening act for the season. This led to a film career as he grew confidence in the performing industry.
Jim Carrey now has a net worth of $150 million which is extremely impressive after you learn about his poor childhood.

It is obvious to see the comparisons of childhood poverty between Jim Carrey and Dick in Ragged Dick however, Carrey had a family that he had to provide for whereas Dick had no relatives so he had to completely fend for himself. The other main difference between the actor and the character is the professions they both went into. Jim entered the entertainment profession whereas Dick tried to be as practical as possible and go for a stable counting room job. Although it can be argued that the job was given to him rather than him going out and searching for it so this profession could have been different under other circumstances.

Both Jim Carrey and the character of Dick prove that anyone can be successful with hard work. Jim Carrey is also an example that the 'American dream' is still accomplished today and that it is not just an idea of the past.


Sources:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000120/bio
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/14/rags-to-riches-stories_n_2458994.html

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Success and Self Improvement




http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/23/why-believe-american-dream-is-still-alive/

This website uses the notion of The American Dream positively because it argues that it is still alive today.

"I had parents that believed deeply in this concept and instilled in me- and each of my five siblings- that nothing was unattainable if we worked arduously, courageously and with conviction,"

This shows that the image of success it presents is similar with the book Ragged Dick, because within the book it talks a lot about the importance of hard work and how hard work can make you successful. Also, because the story line of Alger's book is about a poor boy who you could consider having no hope at all in succeeding and living The American Dream, which mirrors what this website is saying- that nothing was unattainable.

This website is very similar to Alger's image of success, because the book seems to have many meanings of what success is and what the idea of The American Dream is. This is because Alger's book suggests that the image of success is not necessarily financial but more about character, which is similar to the websites idea of The American Dream "Could we as a nation have lost touch with what makes us so distinctly "American?"".

"The incredible stories of the Scholars counter any national skepticism about the American dream in a powerful way." This shows that the image of success it presents matches with what Ragged Dick presents because the website is not just talking about Alger's notion of The American Dream being real, but it's actually proving it by mentioning scholars achieving The American Dream, which is similar to the book because it mentions how education is such a great importance in order to succeed and to accomplish The American Dream.

"After emigrating from Vietnam to the United States in 1991, Nathan Nguyen, a 2004 Horatio Alger National Scholar, and his family faced significant financial hardships. Through passion and perseverance, he was determined to help his parents achieve their American dream while pursuing his own path to success. In 2006, two years after receiving his scholarship, Nguyen established Instrumental Savings, a music help center, which Music Inc. Magazine dubbed “the new future of the musical instrument industry” and by the age of 22 he was a millionaire." This is an example of the notion of The American Dream being used/shown positively which matches with the book Ragged Dick because it shows a person who is financially worse off (like the character Ragged Dick), who through hard work, passion and determination was able to achieve success and live The American Dream.

The only difference in the way that success is presented in the website and in the book is that the book doesn't just focus on the values of hard work, but also luck as well. Whereas the website focuses on the hard work element of achieving success "and by the age of 22 he was a millionaire." 

However, the website does show that success isn't just about money and wealth, but also about you as a person "These are just two examples of the many exemplary Horatio Alger Scholars who worked hard to achieve their goals with integrity and perseverance." This shows that these people worked hard but they also had integrity and perseverance, so this is similar to the way Ragged Dick presents the image of success, because they both include the idea of self improvement, which is needed as well as hard work etc. in order to succeed and to live The American Dream. 

Another difference in the way that the website and the book present the image of success is that Ragged Dick has a lot of different ideas about what success is and what The American Dream is. Whereas the website has a much more straight forward idea of what the image of success is and how The American Dream is defined as well as how you achieve it.



Sources:
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/23/why-believe-american-dream-is-still-alive/ 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Pro and Anti gun control websites

Anti-gun control (http://pinkpistols.org/?q=node/4):




This website is aimed towards LGBT people and it provides information on why someone from a sexual minority should have a gun, as well as information on where in the USA they have chapters of their group. This website states; “The more people know that members of our community may be armed, the less likely they will be to single us out for attack. Join us today. It is your RIGHT.” This shows that the main reason for the creation of this website is to promote the idea that if LGBT individuals are carrying guns then those that wish to harm them will be less likely to target them. It also suggests that if some LGBT individuals are carrying a concealed weapon those that wish to hurt them won’t know which individuals are carrying and which are not so they will be less likely to attack anyone just in case.

One of the main focuses of this website is to provide a place where people who want to arm themselves can go to find out about Pink Pistol groups in their area where they can learn about gun safety, how to get a gun, gun laws in their state, and how to shoot.

This group isn’t heavily involved with any specific political party, but they do promote certain candidates if they feel they promote LGBT rights and their rights to own weapons. They are also not associated with the NRA, and are classed as an activists association.

This website states how it is wrong that you can take so long to be checked to see if you can own a gun to then be denied the right to. Thus, suggesting they are anti-gun control to some extent.






Pro- gun control (http://www.bradycampaign.org/) :


This website aim is to change people’s perspective of guns and provide people with the right information on the risks of having a gun in the home, as well as this it also aims to influence and change gun laws to increase the background checks needed for someone to purchase and own a gun. They also aim to hold the gun industry accountable for gun injuries and deaths, such as changing companies so that they have better rules in place so they do not sell guns to dangerous people. I personally feel that this is a better approach than the previous website, which wanted to reduce the background checks so potentially more dangerous people could own guns.







Sunday, 16 November 2014

Pro-Gun Control Vs. Anti-Gun Control

Website Comparison

Pro-Gun:              http://mothersarms.org/
This website is aimed at mother, defending their right to buy and use a gun where necessary. They reinforce the fact that guns are dangerous and should only be used in specific situations; defending yourself, loved ones and specifically children.
When you first look on their website you can tell that they aren’t such an extreme group however on closer inspection they have phrases and promote books with lines like this, “…learn how to anticipate, prevent and handle threatening situations … and then teach your kids.” Guns are dangerous although this group basically says that it is ok for children to shoot a gun as long as they have been taught the right way and how to be safe doing so.

Anti-Gun:            http://momsdemandaction.org/
Similarly, this anti-gun website is created and aimed at mothers.  In contrast however they do not believe it is right at all for children to hold a gun and that it is time for “gun sense in America” in order to stop children in particular being hurt and killed from guns. ‘Moms Demand Action’ was founded after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School where a man walked into the school and shot 20 children and 6 staff members dead.

Overview:
Overall, I wouldn’t agree with the open carry of guns however I think that it is right that people should be able to buy them for recreational use or as a form of self-defence, not necessarily because it is the 2nd amendment though. Personally, I think that being able to buy a gun in the same place as you can buy cereal is wrong and they shouldn’t be so heavily advertised and that there should be stricter policies about who can buy a gun (getting a proper background check on the person beforehand). Although the proper use of a gun may be useful for self-defence or hunting, I don’t think that it is right for children to be able to shoot one and that there should be an age limit on who can use one (either 18 or 21).

Gun Control Website Comparisons


Pro-Gun Control Website - www.everytown.org

This website represents the 'Everytown for Gun Safety' movement. The aim of this group is to try and stop gun violence through background checks when buying weapons, stopping gun trafficking and by stopping guns being sold in grocery stores.

The website includes many stories from survivors of gun violence, by including these stories it shows readers how dangerous guns can be. A donation page is also found on this website which allows people to 'save lives' as the website says. This is implying that without the help of this group, many innocent people will be murdered with guns. This idea is supported by the statement at the top of their page which says 'Every day, 86 Americans are killed by gun violence.'

Guns are only shown in a negative light on this website. It focusses on tragedy's that have occurred due to guns and how they are too dangerous to be treated as a common item.


Anti-Gun Control Websitehttp://home.nra.org/



The National Rifle Association is an organisation that 'works to defeat restrictive gun control legislationto pass pro-gun reform legislation, and to educate the public about the facts concerning gun ownership.' This is the opposite to 'Everytown' as they work towards gaining more gun rights and freedoms. 

This website tries to encourage people to become members of the association through advertising perks such as discounts for shops and even insurance. This can be seen as buying peoples support for the rewards it gives. The website also promotes special events such as gun shows, conferences, speeches and competitions. This shows guns as something exciting that people should go and see, not something to be afraid of.

Although this website is promoting anti-gun control, it also talks about how gun safety should be taught properly and that it is important to have correct education in place.


Overall, I do not agree with the idea of guns as I believe they are very dangerous. This has been proven with the many deaths that are caused by the weapons. However, I know that many people do keep them in America and I therefore think that everyone who owns a gun should be accurately trained and they should know the gun safety rules.


Sources:
http://everytown.org/
http://home.nra.org/
http://www.nraila.org/



Pro-gun control and anti-gun control

Anti-gun control website (Listverse) click here.
This website discusses ten arguments against gun control and against stricter laws preventing civilian weapon possession. Two of the ten arguments stood out to me most, the first being argument number three.

Argument three discusses how something like a gun prohibition law would be similar to the 18th amendment (January 17, 1920) which prohibited the production, transportation and sale of alcohol within the United States. This Amendment was wildly un-popular with the public even though it was very popular in congress and lead to a phenomenal increase in crime rates, (because people simply carried on producing and selling alcohol) as well as an increase of deaths from people brewing their own moonshines and poisoning themselves. Not to mention the gang related crimes increasing, as the website mentioned gangsters such as Al Capone thrived on controlling the importation to entire cities and became extremely rich very quickly. I agree that if guns were prohibited or stricter laws were put in place we would see an extremely similar situation, and a definite increase in gang wars related to weapons trade.

The next argument that stood out to me was argument two and it was entitled 'Laws do not apply to criminals'. In the argument it states 'Laws against murder and violence do not apply to those who intend to die whilst killing as many people as they can.' This is the simplest way to put it, criminals do not care, a criminal will always break the law but a civilian (otherwise known as law-abiding citizen) will not which leaves the civilians without protection for their homes and families. I am not saying that every criminal owns a weapon but they are easy to obtain in America and if gun control laws were brought in I believe the black market for weapons would increase to almost wholesale size making it even easier for criminals to obtain weapons.


Lets move onto the pro-gun control website (The Progressive Cynic), click here.
The second amendment is this websites first port-of-call. The second amendment is said to be the gun lovers 'catch-all defense to their right to carry any weapon that they can get their hands on'. Now I understand the point that the pro-gun control side is trying to make but it just seems a bit of a feeble argument, it is used as a catch-all defence but that is no reason to impose stricter laws. The website goes on to discuss the fact that in it's most literal and law-abiding sense the second amendment does not allow the 'individual, un-attached American' to bare arms. Though surely as time progresses the constitution has to be taken literally within modern limits and factors as now their is a national military rather than separate militias for each state, the second amendment says that the members these militias have the right to bare arms, but whose to say that everyone cannot be part of the militia within their state as in it is almost an open militia.

To sum this blog up, for me gun control laws are adequate and are what they should be. I don't believe that any form of further gun restrictions or prohibitions should be enforced but I certainly do not believe that gun laws should lessen, though it wouldn't hurt for schools to introduce gun education talks and/or compulsory weapons training for anyone holding certain weapons.

Sources:
http://listverse.com/2013/12/12/10-arguments-against-gun-control/
http://theprogressivecynic.com/debunking-right-wing-talking-points/refuting-gun-enthusiasts-anti-gun-control-arguments/
http://www.theblaze.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/600x3691.jpg

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Pro-gun and Anti-gun website comparison









http://concealedguns.procon.org/#Background

This website looks at both the pros and cons of gun ownership, showing that gun control and guns in general are good and bad that have positive and negative effects in societies,

The title suggests that pro-gun controls are needed because it says "adults" and doesn't mention children, so guns from this point of view are considered dangerous.

However, the fact that there are seven cons and pros to gun-control shows that neither pro-gun or anti-gun control is right or wrong.

Pro-gun control website:   http://csgv.org/
This website focuses on the point of view that guns within the U.S are dangerous, "50 children and teens shot every day in the U.S act now" this shows that they are trying to get across to the public that even though owning guns is a right, it is a dangerous right which has consequences and has a negative impact on the society because the guns are 'wiping out' the future generations.

It also has the argument that among African-Americans, guns are the number one killer of them "Gun violence is the #1 killer of African-Americans ages 15-34 act now" this shows that the point of view of pro-gun control is not to restrict people of their rights but to protect people from gun violence.

After watching the YouTube video on the website, it seems that many of the people who are involved in the pro-gun control website and coalition had been affected by gun violence personally, either by family or friends. So their point of view on guns and gun violence is going to be in favour of gun controls as deaths could be avoided if there were no guns.

 Anti-gun control website:  http://gunowners.org/
This website focuses on the view of the second amendment and making sure that they preserve and defend it. They also see gun ownership as a freedom issue rather than a gun violence issue. Because the main focus is on freedom and the second amendment, this point of view suggests that guns aren't dangerous and do not cause violence.

Throughout the website, the majority of the responses as to why you should join Gun Owners of America is mainly because of the right to keep and bear arms and not other reasons such as to defend yourself if you become in danger, or to hunt as a hobby etc. Although you could argue that by stating because of the second amendment, does mean these other reasons to own a gun, this website also suggests that other than this reason owning a gun is not vital.

However, this point of view is about the important rights of Americans which are important and have been rights for many years. And the fact that it's not just about guns it's about the meaning of owning a gun and the freedom to do so.

There are many statistics showing that deaths by gun violence suggests that guns are dangerous and that having pro-gun controls would be better and the best solution of reducing deaths by firearms. However, the other point of view is maintaining American values and rights which without them the right to bear arms wouldn't be an option in the first place. Anti-gun control points of views does also 'follow' the Founding Fathers thoughts on controversial topics such as gun control. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin.

In my opinion I do not agree or disagree with either, because they both have reasons for and against that point of view. 



Sources:
beforeitsnews.com 
http://concealedguns.procon.org/#Background
http://gunowners.org/protect.htm
http://www.whatourforefathersthought.com/Quotes.html
http://gunowners.org/
http://csgv.org/
http://concealedguns.procon.org/#Background
http://gunowners.org/what-they-are-saying-about-gun-owners-of-america.htm

Monday, 10 November 2014

American Liberty; Common Core


This video is about the threat to American liberty that 'Common Core' is creating, but the reason I chose this as an expression of American liberty is that, Dr. Pesta has the freedom of speech and the liberty to debate and argue against federal decisions and projects without being oppressed by the government.

So what is Common Core?
"The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live."
Dr. Pesta argues that these standards are not high enough, and that they are actually impeding the children's learning.  Throughout the video he always has the American flag behind him which to me is extremely powerful as it shows me that even though he doesn't agree with the federal government he still has a love for America, which begs the question, does freedom come from government or is it a part of the American ideal that the government can't tamper with?
Furthermore Dr. Pesta quotes many statistics particularly of education and this also shows liberty and the freedom of information that all Americans have access to. Dr. Pesta is also the Academic Director of the FreedomProject Education (FPEUSA.org) again the ability to create and direct a project specifically designed to question and negate a federal scheme shows a specific liberty that many countries don't have, even countries that claim to have such freedoms and liberties.

Sources;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeY6529g7ck
http://www.corestandards.org/about-the-standards/
https://fpeusa.org


Sunday, 9 November 2014

American Liberty



US Presidential Elections 1789-2012




I have chosen a video which shows the results of the Presidential Elections from 1789 to 2012 as an example of American liberty.

I chose this for two reasons, the first being that the right to vote shows the freedom American citizens have in being able to choose someone to represent them. The second reason that I chose this video was because it shows the gradual increase of the different states being able to vote. This shows how there has been an improvement in American Liberty from 1789 to the present day.

There has also been an improvement to American Liberty over the years as you can now be any gender and race to vote where as before when voting was first introduced you had to be a white male. In 1869 African American men were given the right to vote in the Fifteenth Amendment however the 'grandfather clause' was created so many black men were not able to utilise the new law. Women were given the vote in 1920 by the Nineteenth Amendment.

Some Americans are still not entitled to this liberty of voting as an age restriction means that you have to be eighteen to vote. This has been put in place as it is believed that anyone younger would not understand the government system properly and therefore their votes would be unsuitable. There is however some people that believe the vote should be lowered to the age of 16 with the argument that teenagers are responsible enough to drive at that age so why can't they have a say in their future.

Sources:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYlHICfl_6s
https://www.aclu.org/timeline-history-voting-rights-act
http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/19th-amendment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-sixth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution