Emma on recent news

Murder at Yale
There have been some very disturbing issues in the news lately.  The item that seems topmost in people’s minds is the brutal killing (which may’ve been premeditated) of Yale grad student, Annie Le. One of my younger (female) cousins also attends an Ivy and performs work similar to that of the deceased young woman.  I also have two acquaintances (from my NYC days) w/ connections to Yale.  One of them attended Yale for undergrad; another is currently in the MBA program.  Yale looks like an unlikely place for such a heinous murder.  Many people are wondering why it occurred.  Was the accused, Raymond Clark III, jealous of Le’s superior intellect and workplace success?  They were the same age and worked in the same lab, though Le was in a higher position.  Or did he just lose control, and kill her without intent?  (I highly doubt this!)     
Annie Le was a promising young scientist; she was also petite, pretty, and exuded happiness in photographs released to the media.  Her parents were described as quiet, hardworking people by neighbors in Le’s rural California hometown.  She was engaged to be married to a bright young man, her long-time boyfriend, attending Columbia.  Tragically, her body was discovered by New Haven police on her proposed wedding day.  One of her mentors, Dr. Rocky Tuan, appeared on Larry King Live; he said she was “one of the most intelligent and motivated students” he’d ever met.  Le interned at the NIH during summers under Dr. Tuan’s supervision.  Wow, writing this is choking me up a bit! 
What can we do on a day-to-day basis to decrease violence, especially violence against women?  I know several people involved in non-profits that aid women and children.  But you don’t need to be an expert on this topic to better the situation.  If you have some money handy, why not attend a social event where some of the proceeds go to charity?  If you are a parent/guardian, teach your children (both genders) that sexist talk in not appropriate in any situation.  Teach by example from a young age. There are situations where girls should be treated more gently than boys, as my aunts and older friends often say. 
If you are a teenage boy/young man, don’t ignore nasty comments, jokes, and stories your buddies say about females.  Call them on it- you could change their minds.  What if they make fun of you?  Being considerate to girls will get you further than your buddies in the long run.  As for the girls, you can make a difference by being more observant.  Are any of your friends being treated unkindly by their boyfriends?  Look for clues, both verbal and physical.  Don’t stay silent; acting subservient won’t attract the right kind of man.                    
President’s health care plan
Another news item being discussed is the opposition to President Obama’s health care plan.  First, one of South Carolina’s state reps, Republican Joe Wilson, yelled “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress.  Some people outside cheered; in no time Wilson was flooded with campaign contributions and new adoring right-wing fans.  Secondly, Former president Jimmy Carter said that racism is the cause of such vehement opposition to Obama’s plans.  Now, we should respect Carter for the positive things he’s done after leaving office (as my Dad said); he has written many books as well.  It is a well known fact that he grew up in rural Georgia during segregation, and his mother worked as a nurse with African-American patients.   
I’m pretty sure all of the “tea party” protestors I saw last SAT on the DC metro were white; most of them were over 40. There were a few families with kids, too.  But an attractive young couple, who didn’t fit the typical Republican image, stood out in my mind.  Are these people concerned about the state of their health insurance?  Yes.  They feel that if we give coverage to more people, their coverage will do down the tubes.  But they have no proof that yet!  These are middle-class types worried about taxes, not just illegal (or “undocumented” as some prefer) immigrants.  What documents did their (white) ancestors have when they left Europe for America, I wonder?  Are all these people racist?  Of course not!
President’s speech on education
Why were parents/school districts freaking out even before Obama spoke?  What’s wrong with addressing youth, many of whom admire the attractive/cool/youthful president?  I didn’t listen to all of this speech, but read/heard sections.  Pres Obama basically said the same things one of my old friends believed; she works as a money manager in SoCal.  Though she was from a very wealthy/well-connected family, she studied long hours and worked hard to prove herself in college and in the workplace.  Having successful parents motivated her more than many others her age, not less!  Being from a Hindu Indian family made her feel proud, not different; she didn’t believe in peer pressure.  This young lady believed that it was mainly up to her to get the best grades, no matter what the subject was or who the teacher was of the course.  Things didn’t come easy to her (she switched majors twice and settled for her second favorite career), so she had to put in the hours.  The only time she took off was Friday afternoon and evening.  Obama must’ve been like her as a student, I imagine.     

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