Rand Paul on the Rise?

Rand-Paul

Is this junior senator running for the White House?

An article written for Vogue magazine by journalist Jason Horowitz explores the rise of Rand Paul, the junior Senator of Kentucky. The article aims to provide background for the reader on who Paul is through giving details about his family life, upbringing, education, and notable political achievements. Paul has caused considerable buzz within the Republic Party, particularly after a filibuster this summer over President Obama’s use of drones, in which Paul argued his opinion for 13 hours straight. Giving the Senator a profile for which readers can get to know the quiet Paul and his family (the author argues that his wife, Kelly Ashby, is his “secret weapon”), the author aims to ask the million dollar question: Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win The White House?

HERE ARE THE BASICS:

WHO: Rand Paul, Junior Senator of Kentucky, Republican

WHAT: Paul’s rise to success within the Republic Party, the possibility of him running for president in 2016

WHERE: America, baby

WHEN: Now and, more specifically, in 2016.

WHY: Paul has had several substantial accomplishments while serving as junior Senator, could lead to a possible campaign for President (His dad is RON Paul… he tends to run for President, too…)

This article is not the first, nor the last, that we will see on Rand Paul. The Senator, though widely criticized even within the Republic Party for his Tea-Party ideas and constitutionalist stance on many issues, is beloved by many on the right (and particularly the far right). Paul has been praised for his hard-stance against many policies proposed and supported by Democrats, and has, thus far, upheld a clean private life. This article is particularly interesting, because instead of taking the style of the New York Times, Politico, Horowitz’s “home” publication, The Washington Post, or the like, it is written in typical colloquial Vogue style…. lots of background research, cheeky anecdotes, probing questions looking for a scandalous answer, and imagery that makes the reader feel as if they are part of the subject’s life. I chose this article, because it takes a more personal look at a public figure and discusses not only his past and private life, but also looks at the accomplishments he has had in his position as junior senator and the feathers he has rustled- both outside of the Republican party and within.

Articles like this one will only get more prevalent during 2014 and certainly during 2015 as possible candidates for president emerge before the 2016 election. Even in this article, which merely muses on the idea of Paul running as President (and doesn’t truly answer the question of if he could win, instead leaving it to readers to decide), Hillary Clinton is mentioned as a possible “opponent” of Paul’s, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and, on the Republican side, Ted Cruz. Readers can use this article to begin to understand the possible candidates for the 2016 presidency or, if nothing else, see a decidedly different view to that of our current president, Barack Obama.

Information is power, and knowing about possible candidates before the race has even begun is one more way for Vogue readers (though they may just be looking for the newest Marc Jacobs collection) to be in the know and ahead of the trend.

Original Article HERE: http://www.vogue.com/magazine/article/republican-senator-rand-paul-for-president/#3

There’s no “Life After” for Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox during her interview with the Today Show. Knox has said she will not return to Italy for her retrial. Courtesy of Reuters.com,

Amanda Knox during her interview with the Today Show. Knox has said she will not return to Italy for her retrial.
Courtesy of Reuters.com,

Once again, Amanda Knox has her head on the chopping block. Caught in a seemingly endless case that has gone on since 2007, her innocence is back in question and she is set to face re-trial in Italy.

Knox has recently announced to the Today show that she will not be returning to Italy for her retrial, which is a decision made within her legal rights. Instead, she will be represented by lawyers. She cites financial reasons and school behind her decision, though her quotes suggest fear is the real root of the decision.

For those of you who have not followed the story (or for those millennial friends of mine who were only 13 when the heat of the trial took place), here is a basic run down:

Amanda Knox was studying abroad with her friend Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007. Knox had recently started seeing an Italian man who was 22 (she was 20 at the time) named Raffaele Solicito. All three were living in the same house, studying in the town of Perugio.

On November 7, 2007, Meredith Kercher was found dead in her bedroom. Knox and Sollecito became the primary suspects in the case. Other suspects were Rudy Guede, a drifter who later admitted to having sexual relations with Knox, and Patrick Lumumba, the owner of the bar where Knox was working.

To make a VERY long story short, Guede was eventually convicted and put in jail on an expedited trial. He is the only person in jail for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Knox and Sollecito were convicted on all counts, appealed the court’s decision, and were eventually acquitted on October 3,2011. This is a very shortened account. The lengthier story involves Knox getting sued for libel by Lumumba, Knox’s parents getting indicted for libeling Perugian police, and a whole series of DNA testing and re-testing that eventually led to the demand for a re-trial.

Do yourself a favor and read CNN’s timeline of the case here. This story is unreal.
http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/28/world/europe/italy-amanda-knox-timeline/index.html

There has been no “life after” for Amanda Knox. That is to say, she has not come back into society, regained even a sense of normalcy, or been able to move on and enjoy her innocence (even that is disputed by many people, myself included).

Knox spoke to ABC about the panic attacks that she began to suffer in prison, and the PTSD that she continues to be plagued by, saying that her physical freedom has not freed her mentally from the distress and damage caused by the case.

“I was continuing to have panic attacks and nightmares, and I was continuing to think that strangers on the street were prisoners that I had known,” she told ABC News in a recent interview. “I had panic attacks and just broke down. And I couldn’t breathe.”
http://abcnews.go.com/US/amanda-knox-haunted-prison-suffers-panic-attacks-isolation/story?id=20270684

In addition, her ex-boyfriend Sallecito has come out and spoken candidly about the lack of normalcy in his life, that even though he has been freed, he still remains prisoner to the case and to the many people who doubt his innocence.

“Every tiny little day, it is constantly on my shoulder, because these trials, this kind of situation, has put my life on hold,” said Sallecito to ABC News. “I cannot find a normal life, a job, a career or something to focus on instead of thinking about the trial, about the documents, about what will happen, about how to pay lawyers, how to pay my bills.”

This is often true for those who suffer from huge scandals in the public eye. Think Monica Lewinski, Jerry Sanduski, George Zimmerman, or especially Casey Anthony. These people never regain a sense of normalcy in their life, and they live in infamy as the “person who….”

Would we want to change this? I understand that for people like Sanduski or Lewinski, whose role in the act was proven, they have made their beds. I believe in second chances and God’s grace, but I also believe that we must take responsibility for the mistakes that we make and be accountable for our actions. Though Anthony, Zimmerman, and Knox were all proven innocent, the American public is not so sure. This is particularly complicated because Knox is under Italian legal rule, not even the American justice system. Do we continue to condemn her, or do we try to let her slink into oblivion and find shreds of a normal life?

Knox has gone on record to the Today show saying that she wants to meet Kercher’s parents and visit her grave with them. She is asserting her innocence, and she feels that by not going to the trial, she is further stating her confidence that she was not involved in the murder of Meredith Kercher.

I think that the re-trial will be either the nail in the coffin that will put Knox and Sallecito back into jail (not very likely), or it will be another development in a life forever plagued by the ghosts of her past.

Pearls of The Universe: A Labor of Love

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A new mural, called “Pearls of the Universe,” has been painted on the side of Essencia Yoga Studio. The idea came from studio owner and immigrant Jeannine Clinton Bush, who wanted to reach the audience of refugees near her studio and to celebrate diversity in Wheaton.

Pedestrians walking by the College Avenue train station are in for a colorful surprise. The previously plain brick wall on the building that houses Essencia Yoga Studio is now covered with a mural called “Pearls of the Universe.”

Painted by artist R.J. Ogren, the mural aims to celebrate Wheaton’s diversity and the many backgrounds and ethnicities that the city’s residents represent.

The mural has been a work in progress over the last four weeks, and will be officially unveiled on Oct.6. The project was started when Essencia Yoga Studio owner, Jeannine Bush Clinton, began to wonder how to reach the community of refugees who lived in the apartment complex across from Essencia’s building.

“I was thinking, how can I communicate that everyone is welcome here? [at the yoga studio.]… but then as it started to grow, it was more the celebration of diversity that we have in Wheaton,” said Clinton.

The mural is based off of a poem by Wheaton resident Mehret Asgedom called “The Pearl,” which chronicles Asgendom’s journey as a refugee from Ethiopia. Clinton, who came to Wheaton from El Salvador, had Asgendom as a student at her studio and asked her to write a poem chronicling her journey as a refugee. She read Asgendom’s poem and said she knew that she wanted to somehow incorporate it into the mural.

“It was right in front of me that her poetry needed to be the inspiration behind this. I asked her, ‘do you think that you could write a poem, because you embody the very message of this journey that we want to celebrate?’…this poem is a picturesque allegory, as she calls it, of the human journey,” said Clinton.

R.J. Ogren, a retired Disney painter who has painted several sets for Wheaton Drama, was commissioned to paint the mural. Ogren previously worked on such large projects as The Pirates of the Caribbean ride and The Haunted Mansion attraction at Magic Kingdom, as well as painting portraits of celebrities such as Liza Minelli and Sonny and Cher. This mural, however, holds a particular sense of pride for him.

Ogren was selected out of a handful of artists to paint the mural, which he says has stretched him because of the detail and sheer size of the mural, which is 70 feet long and 20 feet high, his longest work. Though he has had to contend with high heat and rain, he feels confident that he will finish by the dedication day. Through the mural, he hopes “To show the diversity of Wheaton and coming together of all people and the hope of living together in harmony.

The mural has been financially supported by the Community Relations Commission and Fine and Cultural Arts Commission, as well as by donations.

According to the Daily Herald, those who donated $50 earlier on in the design process got their name in a star on the mural. In addition, because community was such a huge emphasis of the project, two days were specified for residents to come and write their names in small circles, or pearls, that are a part of the mural.

The mural depicts different international landmarks, such as the great pyramids of Egypt and The Eiffel Tower in France, and will include people from all over the world dressed in their country’s traditional clothing when it is finished. Many people have already shared their remarks towards the new downtown addition.

“Everyone seems very excited. They all seem to have a different part that is their favorite. I get compliments when I am working and also on the Facebook page ‘Pearls of the Universe,’ which has new photos each week. Either that or they are just being nice to me. I feel very good about the development and progress of the mural,” said Ogren.

Clinton, too, has already had positive feedback from the very group she was trying to reach; the refugee population living in the DuPage county area.

“I had a Nepali woman, through translation, say… ‘thank you so much for seeing me,’ and I thought, if that is it, this idea of embracing and acknowledging this beautiful presence, then it just makes me so happy and I think that everybody who has been pitching in sees that as a priority, too, just to love on the diverse journeys that we have all had,” said Clinton.

According to Clinton, the poem and the subsequent process of creating the mural has inspired the process of setting the poem to music and even the production of a mini documentary.

“It has been something that has gained momentum. Everybody that hears about it wants to be part of it and then it has become this contagious thing,” said Clinton. “I have never seen something flow so effortlessly, so it feels like such a privilege to be part of it.”

The contributors of the mural hope that it will serve as a physical landmark that inspires people to cherish the diversity of the individual journey and to appreciate the richness that it adds to community.

“It’s a reminder that it just takes a little thought, a little seed, that can hopefully bring about a lot of good,” said Clinton.

Essencia Yoga owner Jeannine Clinton Bush poses in front of the left side of the mural with yogis Sigitas Stukas (center) and Loreta Medoniene. The mural spans the entire side of the studio, about 70 feet long and 20 feet tall and is being painted by R.J. Ogren, a retired Disney artist.

Essencia Yoga owner Jeannine Clinton Bush poses in front of the left side of the mural with yogis Sigitas Stukas (center) and Loreta Medoniene. The mural spans the entire side of the studio, about 70 feet long and 20 feet tall and is being painted by R.J. Ogren, a retired Disney artist.

It’s a sad day.

I am a day late, but wanted to share my thoughts on 9/11.

I am the daughter of an Army Colonel and the sister of two former air force women. I am also sister-in-law to an Army JAG. Needless to say, my blood runs red, white, and blue. Yesterday, I exchanged e-mails with my family on a day that, 12 years ago, drastically changed all of our lives. Since September 11, 2001, I have waited patiently at home as my dad completed two year-long tours in Iraq, my sister completed a six month tour in the United Arab Emirates, and as my other sister served in Qatar for six months. September 11 lives in infamy for me, as it does for many, as one of those rare days where you can pinpoint your life changing as a result of.

Below are a few excerpts from the e-mails that I exchanged with my family. May we continue to stand strong as a nation, pursue righteousness and justice, and may we never forget the lives that were lost- that are lost- at the hands of evildoers who seek to destroy the human spirit. May we also never lose sight of the fact that until we leave this fallen earth, we will never know true peace. We will never cease to see war and pain. We will continue to endure tragedy. I hold my hope in the Lord, in Heaven, and in a better life beyond this temporary one, wrought with pain and suffering. God Bless. -A

Dad

Sad day. Sad because of the events of 9-11. Sad because of all that has followed which has resulted in yesterday’s sad fiasco. never thought we’d be at this point 12 years, 10,000 kias and trillions of dollars after 9-11.

Alli
It is a sad day.  But a good day to remember just how proud we are of our dad.  You’re a hero dad and we love you.  Your work touches the lives of so many.

Amy

It is a sad day for many reasons. But we can be proud of our family’s sacrifices and the work we have done towards the erradication of jihadists. Even if they continue to plague the world, we at least can say that we have each personally stood against them when others refused.
I am also thinking about the day that the world will be renewed and feeling grateful that, in the midst of politics, evil, and confusion, we can be confident that we are on the true side of Good and Right and that when the King returns, He will annihilate all that is not of Him and there will be no more tears.
Anna
It is sad day because our children will never know a world unaffected by terrorism. It is a sad day because my family sacrificed much so that our country could take a firm stance towards the evil committed against us. Now, however, I feel as if our president is backsliding on the once staunch stance we took on terroristic acts.It is a sad day because we cannot comprehend how a loving and just God could allow for His people to suffer in this way.It is a temporary sadness, known to this world and like a breeze in the wind in the grand scheme of our future lives eternal… But it is a sad day, none the less.
Mom
We are very blessed aren’t we as a family? And that gives me hope each day. To know that each one of you love him and that we all can trust him and call on  Him to soothe our wounds and, give us wisdom and courage to face each day…
Each of you are heros and more importantly children of faith…and I love you and thank God for each of you.
As we peer into the darkness may He who gives us strength and courage, fortify our souls with thankfulness for each other,
and renewed courage to face the future.
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In my Journalism class, we discussed 9/11 and the changes that have ensued in our lives since the fact 12 years ago. Senior Alyssa Paulsen, a native New Yorker, shared her memory of the day and her view that we will never achieve rest from tragedy on earth, but rather only in Heaven. Listen below.