Category Archives: Uncategorized

Impact of TPP

We use user-generated contents such as Facebook and Youtube to share news, videos, and our daily lives. Sometimes, we put music to the video that we made by ourselves or look for pictures using Google search and use them just for personal blogs, non-commercial activities in other words, without any citations.

Even though most of us have experienced using pictures from a website without permission or downloading music or films for free, we usually don’t get into any troubles by doing it. However, what happens to the Internet freedom and its regulation if TPP is passed in the U.S. TPP impacts on not only trade but also Internet freedom.

Under TPP, Internet Service Providers will be encouraged to monitor their users’ activities to increase more censorship measures such as filtering the online contents based on copyright enforcement.

Because of this system which turns copyright law into powerful institutions, we may lose freedom of speech or innovation of the Internet in the future.

The U.S. is attempting to criminalize anyone  publishing works in a commercial scale with penalties including prison and fines. Also, TPP could potentially impose Internet users for non-commercial activities like file sharing.

Picture

According to TPP, downloading music or movies for free may be regarded as the same as large-scale, for-profit copyright violations, and creating a Youtube video with clips from other videos or copyrighted music can be a reason for being imposed mandatory fines, even if it is for personal or educational purposes. Moreover, there is no exception for individual’s non-commercial copies of copyrighted stuffs.

TPP says that copyright terms will be extended for six of 12 negotiated countries by another 20 years. Therefore, monopoly copyrights would be extended and sharing user-generated contents would be more regulated and have new barriers.

One of the Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders is against TPP. “Make no mistake: if TPP passes, it will further hurt consumers and cost American jobs. So we must stop it, together,” he says. He regards TPP expands failed free trade policies, because it has already led to cost millions of jobs and shutter tens of thousands of factories across the United States, and it will curtail the Internet freedom. Plus, Trump and Hillary also agree to keep the Internet freedom.

People have already realized that our freedom of speech on the Internet is threaten by TPP. When I interviewed some classmates about what they think about losing Internet freedom, all of interviewees did not understand why TPP tries to regulate the Internet, and they think it is too extreme, so they all oppose it.

As my personal opinion, to regulate the Internet and  its tracking system sound scary because it means that our privacy is threaten and we are under the surveillance of the U.S. society. However, some people it is okay that someone always checks which website I visited or what I typed on Google search because we do not know each other’s face. If the system works well without leaking privacy, I would agree with those who say it is okay.

The other thing that I concern is that now we can download music and movies for free and no one complains if we use a picture from an official website without permission, but to regulate the Internet freedom means that we could be imposed by doing it. Probably, all of us who use the Internet would be criminalized because of the regulation.

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Farmer’s Market on Staten Island

 

On every Saturday morning, Saint George Green Market is held by the organization called Grow NYC on St. Mark’s Place and Hyatt St on Staten Island. Local farmers on Staten Island and from New Jersey come to sell their fresh products such as vegetables, cheese, bread, and fruits and people in the community come to buy the flavorful foods.

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I saw a little kid running to a bakery section in the Green Market and saying “Can I have a blueberry muffin?” It made me smile because I can rarely see this heartwarming scene at a big-chain supermarket.

Why is it important to shop at Green Market?

Green Markets are producer-only markets. Everything that is sold here is grown, raised, caught, processed or baked by the farmers selling it. You can buy their product before it gets bad, because it is not the product that is imported from far away, and also you can get to know who grew the food or ask them how they made it.

Moreover, purchasing local foods means that you are supporting local farms and families. If they sell their products to a big supermarket, they cannot get full retail price for their products, and wholesale price is very low comparing to selling the foods directly to customers. Therefore, you can build your community and help the farmers’ families to keep their business by shopping at Green Market.

There is another point of building a community by going to Green Market, because it can be an opportunity to get to know your neighbors. Seeing people in a community and exploring local foods together at Green Market are the best way to built a good connection with your neighbors.

What is the current issues facing farmer’s market?

Even though Green Markets offer us fresh, healthy and flavorful foods, they don’t give everything that we need. Instead, we heavily depend on big supermarkets to get groceries, such as sugar, paper towel, chocolate chip, oil etc. Supermarket is our reality. Even if the quality of food in supermarket is not as good as farmer’s market, we are still satisfied with its price and convenience and even appreciate them.

In fact, the mass-produced imported vegetables in supermarket, tomatoes for example, are usually picked up before they are ripe to avoid them going bad, and it takes one month the color of the tomatoes turns red. Since they are harvested too early and not ripen naturally, these foods are not fresh and lack lots of nutrition.

One of Grow NYC stuffs talked about how hard for local farmers to compete with big supermarket during interview. Since supermarket use cheap labors to produce goods in large quantities (mass production), they can sell foods and other groceries cheaper and most people tend to buy those stuffs because of the price.

Also, Farmer’s market is not always available in the community since it is held once in a week. Therefore, it is not familiar with all the people in the community and not as convenient as big supermarket  because of its limited time.

Solutions

Farmer’s market is one of important opportunities to get locally grown foods. If it disappeared, it would be getting hard to eat fresh local products especially in the city. In addition, not only it becomes difficult to get the local foods, but also it would affect the business of small farms. If they cannot run the business by selling the local products, it would be getting hard for them to keep their farmlands and they might have to give up their properties for development. And finally, no one can get fresh local foods, and what we can get is only mass-produced, a less nutritious foods.

Selling directly to customers and buying their local foods from them mean supporting your regional economy and being proactive each other. If farmers could get paid more by running their business locally, they would not need to sell their farmland for development, also we can continue to get fresh delicious foods. Purchasing locally grown food leads you to reinvest in your community and helps preserve the agricultural landscape.

Outfit of The Day

  

  • Sweater (Forever 21) from China
  • Coat (Forever 21) from China
  • Jeans (LOWRYS FARM *Japanese brand) from  China

I found that all of my today’s outfits came from one country, China.

I checked some of my other clothes as well, and all of them are also produced in China. All of those items are from cheap-price store, including Forever 21 and H&M.

My mother used to care about where clothes came from when she purchase her clothes, because she loves the items made in Japan due to the good quality of Japanese products. And if I wear clothes made in China or the other countries, she always complains about it even if I really do not care where they came from.

Because of my mother’s habit, I  always have awareness of where goods are being made. Therefore, I could expect the result of this investigation. But, I had also expected those products might come from the other countries in South East Asia, such as Indonesia , because usually cheap clothes are produced in developing countries.

Even though some of those countries in Asia or East-Asia are developed, there are some regions that have not been industrialized yet in the countries. In addition, to keep the lower prices, the fast fashion productions heavily rely on low wage, overseas labors.

Here is the reasons why Forever 21 can produce such cheap products. One of the reasons is related to sweatshop conditions of its factories and unfair practices in its shops in America. 

Labors, including immigrants from East Asia and Latin America in the factories and American workers in the stores have complained of their worst work conditions and  low wages, because some of those work under the unfair practices, such as unable to take a meal break, changed their time card to reduce hours and unpaid wages or overtime pay. 

Due to the unfair labor practices, the retailers of Forever 21 has been sued by the United States Department of Labor for ignoring a subpoena requesting information on how much the company’s suppliers pays the workers who make its clothes.

The United States Department of Labor said “Since 2008, our investigators have identified dozens of manufacturers producing goods for Forever 21 under sweatshop-like conditions.”

Even though Forever 21 is a big worldwide company and now sell an estimated $3 dollar from 500 stores in the world, it does not mean that the garment workers also can gain good payment from the company because their wages are based on how many pieces they cut or sew. 

Therefore, their pay can be blow minimum wage unless they work six or seven days in a week without overtime pay. 

And there is another fact, even if the factory is in America, most of the labors are immigrants from other countries such as Asia. 

While we enjoy a trendy fashion with cheap prices and throw them away when the trend is over, someone in the other country keeps working so hard under harsh condition with little wages to make the new trendy clothes. 

How can we enjoy Christmas shopping in Staten Island Mall without Santa Claus?

Staten Island Mall decided to cancel the annual Santa’s arrival event and a tree lighting ceremony for this year.

Last year

 

All of us never expected it would be canceled this year. The event including tree lighting and Santa parade just started in last year. The announcement of the cancellation made the mall’s shoppers disappointed and upset.

This year

The facebook page called “Boycott the Staten Island Mall” was created to protest the cancellation of the traditional event in the mall.

The founder of the group, Joe Demarco, wrote that the mall used to have a children’s train at the center of the mall with Santa, then it was moved near JC penny located at the end of the mall.

Even though some shoppers who joined the holiday event in last year were unhappy because of the several hours of programming which took place in the rain, many of Staten Islanders, especially parents who have little children, had still looked forward to taking their kids to the event this year because they wanted to see Santa Claus and take Christmas pictures there.

Some shoppers were shocked since they felt that Staten Island Mall took a tradition away from the Islanders. Therefore, many of them decided not to go for holiday shopping there.

Facebook page of Staten Island Mall

After the Mall heard the disappointed reactions from their shoppers, they decided to host a holiday celebration for the community, complete with Santa, a tree lighting and toy drive on December 4. And they also announced the annual Santa Parade will hold next year.

Did Staten Island Mall need to cancel the annual Santa Parade? – Obviously not.

As we can see, many users of the Mall were excited to attend the Santa Clause Parade, but now, after the cancellation of the event, they are swearing off the Staten Island Mall, which means the Mall is losing number of customers for the busiest holiday season in a year.

As a result of this, there were no crowds at the day of Black Friday at the Mall. This might be one of the outcomes of shopper’s reactions.

Of course, it is no problem that the children’s train with Santa had been shunted off near JC penny, because we can see them if we go there.

However, it does not make people excited about Christmas if the center of the mall is the wide empty space that it used to be.

People want to feel an atmosphere of Christmas and see some Christmas spirits inside the Mall, and then they would be able to enjoy the shopping during Christmas time.

Commercial facilities, including the Mall, cannot manage their business without customers, therefore, they really need to provide amusement to enjoy and celebrate seasonal events with their shoppers.

Shooting rampage in Oregon

Umpqua Community College in Oregon had never experienced the deadly shooting rampage until a gunman opened fire on that day.

The massacre happened at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on October 1st. The 26 year-old killer, Christopher Harper-Mercer, complained about not having a girlfriend and everyone around him being crazy in his manifesto for this deadly event. This tragedy left 10 dead, including the shooter, and 10 injured. The gunman committed suicide after a shootout with police.

“He seemed like he was excited about everything. He was happy” Tracy Heu, a student in the class and a survivor of the mass shooting, talked to CNN. “He was saying that he was going to join us and he specified one or two minutes, and that he’ll make it not painful at all. He’ll make it quick and easy.”

Heu’s body was covered in the blood from a student next to her who had been killed by a shot in the head, and she tried to pretend to be dead so that Harper-Mercer would not point the gun at her.

“He asked them ‘are you Christian?’ and then they said ‘yes’ and he said ‘good. I’ll send you to God. You’ll be visiting God pretty soon.’ and he shot them” Heu said. “The shooter asked if someone was Catholic and they said ‘yeah’ and he still shoot them.” He still continued to shoot the students regardless of their answers and started to shoot before even asking their religion, so he didn’t seem to target a specific religion.

Then, Harper-Mercer pointed to another student, Mathew Downing. “This is the moment I thought I was going to die” Downing said.

“You are the lucky one. I’m going to let you live. But I’m going to need you to tell the police everything that happened and give them this.” Harper-Mercer said. The shooter gave him an envelope with a flash drive and told him to stand at the corner.

“Other people think I’m crazy, but I’m not. I’m the sane one.” Harper-Mercer said in his grievance on the flash drive, and it also revealed his complaint about not having a girlfriend, the official said. Harper-Mercer’s mother told investigators he was struggling with some mental health issues.

His alias “lithium_love” on some social media sites shows that he was dealing with mental health issues. The drug Lithium is commonly used for treatment for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression.

According to Harper-Mercer’s neighbor, he spent most of his time indoors at his house and was shy and quiet. However, he loved to go to a shooting range with his mother. Even though he was withdrawn usually, he would be very excited to talk about guns.

“When we talked about guns and hunting, he was real open about it,” said neighbors in Torrance, California, where Harper-Mercer and his mother lived until moving to Oregon in 2013.

“10 to 20 percent of all homicides are committed by people with major mental illness” The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported. “For multiple victim homicide in public locations, it appears that at least half are committed by people with major mental illness.”

FBI studies found shootings with the highest number of fatalities is induced by the mentally ill people, and the laws fail to ban the sale of guns to them, and it leads to their deadly acts. The high number of shootings has occurred in states where the gun law is more lenient, which makes easier to get weapons for them.