Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Cold War

In the years immediately after World War II, America had begun to reconstruct itself after many years of difficulties. For the first time since the 1920s, America had finally begun to regain its prosperity. Our country had just finished World War II victorious. Our troops were back home, the unemployment rates were down, and the economy was steadily improving. Circumstances seemed to be great, however, as the Cold War began, American people began to live in fear and uncertainty. In fact, there was a name for this specific time period: The Second Red Scare. Some of the greatest fears of Americans during this time were atomic weapons, communism, and threats from the Soviet Union.
As apparent in document B, this obsession with preventing communism in America had become something Americans were willing to sacrifice everything for. After World War II the era of McCarthyism became very popular. As stated in Document A, we were also fearful of what investigators would do to Americans. In fact, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and were thouroughly investigated by the government. As also stated in Document B, due to this obsession and fear of communism, many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. McCarthyism was a widespread social and cultural phenomenon that affected all Americans and was the source of a great deal of debate and conflict in the United States. McCarthyism accurately represented the terror and fear Americans had of communism entering the country.
Document D speaks about the Public Law 627, that President Eisenhower enacted. Also known as The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 it was enacted on June 29, 1956, when President Eisenhower passed it.This law used $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles of Interstate Highways over a 20-year period, it was the largest public works project in American history to that point. This act directly related to our fears of the Cold War. Eisenhower stated that his purpose for passing this law was for national defense. In the event of an invasion by another country, our military would require good roads to be able to quickly transport troops around the country. He also insisted that one out of every twenty miles of road be laid straight so that it could be used as an airstrip in a state of emergency. Following completion of the highways the cross country journey that took the convoy two months in 1919 was cut down to two weeks.
Another thing that Americans feared during this era was the Soviet Union. According to document E, one of our greatest fears was an atomic bombing from the Soviet Union. In fact, this document speaks about the disadvantages that we face with the coming of the new missile age. And it asks a very controversial question: should we wait for the Soviet Union to bomb us, or should we do it first? The Soviet weapons program began in 1943 during World War II, under Igor Vasilievich Kurchatov. This program required reports collected by members about the Manhattan Project in the United States It was very successful because of the sympathies of many for the wartime Soviet Union fighting Nazi Germany. This fear that we had of Soviet Spies and atomic weapons leads us to Document F. A picture that depicts our governments only concern at the time; missile programs. By the early 1960s The Air Force's BOMARC air defense missile had seven squadrons along the nation's eastern and northern borders. We also wanted to establish a nationwide missile defense system, but after 15 years of controversy, the program was canceled in 1972 as a result of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed with the Soviet Union. Document H also discusses our obsession with defense spending. It greatly increased during the years of the cold war. In fact from 1949 to 1951 it went up by almost 20%. According Document G, important things like education had taken a backseat to our country’s defense and war against communism and the Soviet Union.
American’s fears at this time seemed to destroy their prosperity and excellent economy after World War II. Rather than distribute government spending equally, they placed all of their emphasis on our nation’s defense, in fear that the Soviet Union would attack. Americans constantly lived in fear of the Soviet Union. Whether it was their threats for a potential nuclear war, threat to spread communism, or Sputnik, their orbiting Satellite, this was an era in which we allowed the Soviet Union to control our actions.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Harry Potter Mania

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was such a good movie. I watched it on Friday night, and it made me fall in love with the series all over again. There was a time when I was completely obsessed. Like I would read the books constantly and watch the movies 10 times in a row, and watch interviews with Harry, Ron, and Hermione online. And although that obsession has ceased, I still am absolutely amazed by what this series of books has created. J.K. Rowling is a genius. It seems like a pretty simple concept, create a world of magic full of witches and wizards. Why didn’t I think of that first? I could be rolling around in millions of dollars right now? However, with her quirky imagination, and knack for detail in writing Rowling has created one of the best children and teen book series to ever hit the shelves. In fact, I know people who are so obsessed with the book series; they actually believe Hogwarts is real. And I must tell you, that I was/am one of those people. And those people who are living in denial usually tell themselves that they didn’t receive the letter because they are muggles (humans). But they do truly believe that there is a world of magic, and witchcraft that we have not yet seen, but that it does really exist.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attend The Tale of Sweeney Todd!

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd! This musical is driving me absolutely insane. I first saw the movie last year after listening to our show choir sing one of their songs and immediately fell in love with it. It is so powerful and intense, and just downright creepy, but definitely in a good way. However, this last month has been seemingly endless, filled with rehearsals, and running certain songs thousands of times, until they are flawless. Although we are told it will pay off, we haven’t yet fully been able to reap in the rewards. However, we got our first taste of success today. In order to understand the full impact of this success, I must explain this week to you.

Monday: Rehearsal from 3-10 pm
Tuesday: Rehearsal from 3-10 pm
Wednesday: Three Shows. 6:30 am-5:00 pm
Thursday: Show 5-10
Friday: Show 5-10. Cast Part 10-12
Saturday: Show at 2 and 5.

Yes, I am drowning in Sweeney Todd rehearsals. Don’t get me wrong I love singing and performing, however, this is getting a bit ridiculous. The frustration and tension are apparent at rehearsals as well. There are so many misunderstandings and miscommunications, that it is almost impossible not to be stressed out.

Now, although I am complaining immensely, there is a point to talking about how crazy this week has been. It made me sit down and truly think about why I put myself through this. I could easily have not have tried out for the musical, and had a calm stress free week. But that was not the case. What was my motivation for putting myself through this hell? Well, it’s simple (and a bit cheesy) I love to perform. That feeling we get on stage when something goes right is just a magnificent one. That feeling when someone applauds you on a job well done is unforgettable. Sweeney Todd is a tremendous musical. It is extremely difficult for a professional Broadway Cast to implement, let alone a group of high schoolers. But it is ridiculous the amount of talent we have in this show. I am shocked at how outstanding our leads are. They work their butts off and the results have shown. I am so proud of how far we have come, and I know that the next couple of shows are going to be fabulous!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was a term that described the era during which an immense cloud of dust seemed to absorb cities. They began in 1934 in Montana and Wyoming, and the dust traveled eastward, and eventually spread to Iowa and Wisconsin. The dust was inescapable and eventually became a part of daily life for people who were considered to live in the “Dust Bowl”. The Dust Bowl was a dark time for American History. The cause of this large amount of dust was the droughts that had been occurring in the high planes. In order to survive the extreme weather conditions, the prairie grasses had to develop deep roots. However, farmers wanted to exploit and uncover the rich soil beneath the grasses and Dust Storms were an affect of this.
Along with the dust storms, came the Great Depression, and the combination of these two events shattered the dreams of many Americans to travel to lands of opportunity in the west. The rains had failed them, and their crops were destroyed. The wind eroded their land, and they were not able to make money through agriculture anymore. In fact, John Steinbeck wrote one of the most influential novels about the Dust Bowl and life during the Great Depression. In his book, he used the story of a fictional character to portray the real things that people faced during this era. He spoke about California and how it used to be an “agrarian dream of economic sufficiency and independence.” However, “the dream turned into a nightmare.” The people who migrate there quickly realize that this once was a land of agricultural opportunity and success, but because of the Dust Bowl, it is now dry and barren land, that will be impossible to farm.
There is some controversy about Steinbeck’s story however. Many people believed that since he based the novel on a fictional character that the historical details were not accurate. However, this was not the case. Steinbeck performed extensive historical research in order to truly understand this time period and the struggles that real people faced during this era. This has been proven by research performed by social scientists and government officials. For example, Dorothea Lange and her husband Paul Taylor followed the migrant trail from Oklahoma through Texas and across the desert to the migrant camps in California. Lange was a photographer hired to document rural life. She and Taylor eventually published a book that displayed the struggles and horrors that people faced during this time, and used shocking pictures as evidence that this was actually what occurred during that time.
The Dustbowl of the 1930s lasted a decade, and it was an era of obstacles and struggles for Americans. With the arrival of the stock market crash, matters were already difficult, but with the added environmental issues caused by the Dust Bowl, agriculture and farmers suffered as well, making matters worse for the American economy.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Cloning is the biological process of creating populations of genetically identical individuals through asexual reproduction. Cloning has the ability to produce more individuals of a certain organism, and to aid in the process of stem research that could potentially save many humans. In recent years, the controversy over cloning has been very prominent in society. I believe that cloning should be allowed because it is beneficial to research on certain pathogens, can create new healthy organs that could be transplanted to save someone’s life, and can aid infertile couples.
Cloning is a very complex process in which the DNA of a creating organism, or cell is cloned in order to produce an identical copy of that organism with the exact same DNA. Scientists successfully cloned the infamous sheep, “Dolly” in 1996. Dolly was the first mammal that was cloned from an adult somatic cell using the process of nuclear transfer. Nuclear transfer occurs when the DNA from an oocyte (unfertilized egg), us injected into the nucleus, which contains the DNA to be cloned. If the transfer is successful, the newly constructed cell will divide normally, replicating the new DNA while remaining in a pluripotent state. The cloned cells are then placed in the uterus of a female mammal, and an identical organism is formed. Although this process seems like it would generally work, the chances of succes are very rare, and is indeed one of the reasons cloning is frowned upon. The low efficiency of this technique has caused most scientists to abandon it. However, when you think of the millions of couples in this world who want a child and cannot have one, this process is their only hope. They would be willing to take a chance on this process that rarely works, just so that their dreams of having a child could potentially come true. Most couples are so desperate to have a child that they are willing to try anything. What is the harm in trying? Although this is a very long and complicated process, the feeling that a couple gets when they know they are going to have a child definitely makes everything worth it.
Nuclear Transfer cloning is also used in Stem Cell Reasearch. Stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with desired characteristics of other organs, tissue, and muscles through a cell culture. Highly plastic adult stem cells from a variety of sources, including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, can be used in medical therapies. Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells produced by therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies. However, the controversy that has developed is that embryonic stem cell technology will not always work for reproductive cloning and can fundamentally devalue human life. However, if this research continues to be pursued by scientists, its impact could be tremendously advantageous. For example, a patient who needs a heart transplant, but who cannot find a matching donor, could use a heart created through nuclear transfer cloning. Although many are skeptical about the process, I believe with more research, cloning could potentially benefit many people.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I’m taking the SAT on May 1st, and quite frankly, I’m utterly terrified. I’ve been taking this SAT Test Prep Class in Iowa City, and although I feel like it has helped me immensely, it still doesn’t relieve the pressure that I will face in the next year. As the time for college applications and all that good stuff approach, I realize that I have absolutely no clue as to where I want to go. I know that I want to do Pre Med, but I’m not sure where or what requirements I must meet in order to get into the school of my choice. A lot of my friends are getting into these amazing colleges (for example, Harvard, Yale, RIT, and MIT) and this scares me. I know that they’re a year older, and are supposed to have this kinda stuff figured out already, but now that I think about it, senior year isn’t really that far away. And this time next year, I will know where I will be living and spending the next four years (possibly 8-12 for Medical School) of my life. And that’s another thing; not knowing what the future holds or where I’m going to be living in a year and half. Not having the answers just sucks. And this obsession that everyone has with college searches is getting to me. I went on a college visit a couple weeks ago to Washington University and it was such a beautiful campus. The academics are great as well as the extracurricular activities there and I could definitely see myself fitting in perfectly there. It’s an exceptional school and I would be thrilled to get acceptance there. But a lot of people have been telling me about how selective it is, and that scares me too. I don’t feel like I’m doing or have been doing enough to get into a school like that. I think I need to make a complete life style change in this next year and a half. A change that includes studying a lot harder, getting more involved in extracurricular activities as well as in the community, and researching colleges and where I want to go and what I need to do to get into them.

Washington University

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Soulja Boy is CRAZY!!!
As I sit in 64B in front of this computer screen, I stare at it hoping it will give me something to write about. I think I am fresh out of good ideas. I think I've done my fair share of blog posts that are actually meaningful and not completely random, so therefore it is time for a random one.
I love Gummy Krabby Patties. My friend Krisanthamum and I are obessed with them. They are so good. In fact, one day in the summer I rode my bike to her house with an enormous bag of them. However, I did not know where to put them and so I hid them in a bush near her house. I was terrified that a racoon would eat them, but this was not the case. As we walked back towards the bush, the Krabby Patties were untouched. I love Spongebob. It's such a good show. So random, but that's part of what makes it hilarious. I'm pretty sure I will still be watching it when I'm an adult. In fact, I was at Wal Mart yesterday and I was about to get a spongebob popsicle but one of the people I was with made fun of me so I decided against getting one. Although I really wanted it. In fact, I want one right now a spongebob popsicle sounds absolutely delicious right now.
This weekend was really slow. But sometimes, I think those are the best kinds of weekends. The ones where you don't have to wake up early or do anything really during the day. Like on Saturday, I just watched TV pretty much the whole day, because there was a Buried Life marathonon. I love that show! It's so good. For those of you who don't know about it, it's basically a show about a group of friends who travel around on this bus and do things on their list of things to do before they die. Some of the crazy things they've already done or attempted to do have been; learn how to krump, play basketball with Obama, deliver a baby, ask out Megan Fox, and crash a party at the Play Boy mansion. It's really entertaining and it's also a really great show because the guys help other people do things on their bucket lists as well. They met a girl whose mother had died in Hurricane Katrina, and she hadn't visited her mother's grave because it was in a different state and she could not afford to travel there. So the guys got her a ticket to go see her grave, and they went with her. It was really sad but also very touching.

Nicholas Sparks

I think I'm in love with Nicholas Sparks, actually no, I think I'm obsessed. There's just something about the way he writes with such an honesty and innocence. His stories become addicting to probably every female who has ever had the privilege to read one of his novels. However, I do have one complaint about his books; he creates false, unrealistic depictions of men. I'm sure there are some Will Blaklees, Noah Calhouns, and Landon Carters in this world. But really, how often do we come along guys like these? Guys who would do anything for you. Guys who stand by you when you have cancer, guys who stand by you when you are on your death bed from Alzheimer’s, and guys who love you for who you are. Those guys are miraculous. And I can't say that I truly believe in miracles, at least not until I witness or experience one myself.
I finished reading “The Last Song” last night and saw the movie on Sunday night. It was incredible. The movie was so well made and perfectly cast (Liam Hemsworth, I LOVE you:).The plot was dramatic and interesting and woven into the story were little lessons about life and love that are invaluable. It was extremely sad and I bawled practically the whole second half of the movie. But when the movie ended I realized I wasn’t just crying because the movie was sad. I was crying because I realize Will Blaklees (the main guy in the movie) do not exist. Even if they do, I doubt I will find one. To think that I won’t probably ever find someone like that is quite depressing.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no such thing as “the perfect person”. We just have to settle for someone who is perfect for us. As much as I want a Will Blaklee or Noah Calhoun, I know that it will take some time to find a love like that; that kind of love that is blind and sees through imperfections and flaws, an everlasting one. And I know that I’m probably not even mature enough to handle something like that at the moment, as much as I want to believe that I am. So for the time being, I will continue to read exceptional novels written by Nicholas Sparks and hope that someday I will find my Will Blaklee, or Liam Hemsworth, either one works:).

Friday, April 2, 2010


So I am aware that I have already fulfilled my blogging requirements for this week, but surprisingly tonight I approach this word document and because I actually want to. This is a first; as I will admit that blogging has become a chore in the past couple weeks. But writing always seems to help get things off of my chest, or express something that I could never do in words. When friends or family just don’t seem to understand it seems quite convenient to blog about it.
What started out as quite a wonderful week, ended in utter disaster. I’m not really sure how it happened actually. But just when it seemed like things were going great, everything just collapsed, like things usually tend to in life. I guess it just hurt that much more because I wasn’t really expecting it. At the beginning of the week I took risks and opened myself up, at the end of the week I went back to being a hermit. At the beginning of the week I was constantly smiling and laughing, at the end of the week my cheeks were tear stained. At the beginning of the week, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, at the end of the week, I realized I couldn’t obtain a single one of those things. Although trust and extroverted-ness are great, I’ve realized they don’t always get you what you want. Trusting people is not easy, and when you finally do it, you generally end up hurt: evidence of this lies in my experiences this past week.
As I sit here and listen to a beautiful version of “Love Me Tender” by Norah Jones, I realize yet another thing this week has taught me; Love does not exist. Nope, the love you see in movies and hear about. That undying love between a husband and wife, or a mother and child, is a bunch of BS. Love is not perfect, it is not kind. It is cruel and honest and brings you back down to earth when you think things are going great. Love gives me hope is probably one of my favorite websites, but to actually believe that some of that stuff happens in real life is ridiculous, miraculous even. And as much as I want to believe in miracles I can’t say that I genuinely do.
Another thing I’ve realized this week: the future and growing up terrify me. Finding out yet another one of your genius friends got into Harvard or Stanford, makes me feel just a little bit more insignificant. It feels as though everyone around me is succeeding, while I am sitting in my small town, proud of myself for being able to manage an A in AP Chemistry. The future billionaires of our world surround me, and I can barely understand derivatives. It terrifies me that I won’t be the person I want to be. It terrifies me that I will disappoint the people who count on me, and myself.