You Can’t Fix a Leaking Pipe With Duct Tape: Vote No for the Alabama Trust Fund Referendum

Today is the day Alabama voters decide to vote in favor of or against the Alabama Medicaid Amendment, Amendment One, which would allow the state legislature to transfer $437 million from the state’s Trust Fund to its General Fund.  The transferred sum would go towards beefing up General Fund spending that has continued to decrease since the 2008 recession.

Although the Birmingham News reporter Joey Kennedy presents a well-informed and thoughtful perspective on why voters should choose yes, I’m going to have to disagree with his opinion. Voting yes to allow the Alabama State Legislature to transfer $437 million from the Trust Fund to the General Fund would be like duct taping a leaking pipe—it may hold for now, but eventually the leak is going to start again and maybe worsen until the issue is addressed properly.

This is for you, Governor Bentley

Kennedy argues that by voting no, the government would have to further cut back on the General Fund Budget, which would in turn adversely effect certain agencies that aid the public such as child welfare, Medicaid, and prisons.

State Representative Craig Ford couldn’t have put it any better: “You would not loan one-fifth of your personal savings to someone without first making sure that all other avenues of funding/assistance or money was not available to the borrower before raiding your personal savings.”

Plus, the amendment doesn’t mandate the money “borrowed” from the Trust Fund be returned to the account. The General Fund covers all expenses related to Medicaid, prisons and courts. Money for the General Fund comes from interest payments received from the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund receives its funding from royalties collected from digging for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico. So if the amendment is passed, interest payments on the Trust Fund will be lower, which will therefore reduce the amount of money going into the General Fund later. As Scooby-Doo would say, “ruh-roh.”

In my humble opinion, Governor Robert Bentley should re-evaluate all of the options instead of taking the easy way out. Don’t try to duct tape the leaking pipe, Governor Bentley.  Fix the problem with the longer-term in mind.


Luke Kiszla Discusses ACE Project in Douglas Moore

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—The Athletic Community Environment demonstrated the power of volunteer work when they refurbished a recreational facility for the Douglas Moore community this past summer.

Luke Kiszla, a sophomore majoring in history with a minor in theater at The University of Alabama from Mobile, Ala., was one of several ACE students working on the project. The group tore up and repaved two tennis courts along with a baseball batting cage in the blistering Alabama heat.

“We’re really looking to inspire following classes and the rest of the community to help pitch in and help us realize this goal of this beautiful recreational facility we have in mind,” Kiszla explained. “Right now, since we’re not able to really achieve it all ourselves or bring it up in these three weeks, we’re really hoping that this will inspire the rest to continue the work to give this community what it needs and deserves.”

Caroline Kennedy’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention Addresses Women’s Rights

Caroline Kennedy’s speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday,Sept. 6 in Charlotte, NC addressed why the re-election of President Obama is important for women and children.

“The president has been a champion for women’s rights. The first bill he signed was to make sure women can fight for equal pay for equal,” Kennedy said. “His commitment to women is about even more than economic rights—it’s about health care, reproductive rights, and our ability to make our own decisions about ourselves, our families, and our future.”


Caroline Kennedy’s approach towards appealing to women was more subtle that Mrs. Ann Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention, but not quite as well spoken or powerful, regardless of the derogatory way Romney attempted to persuade, specifically women, why her husband Mitt Romney is the best presidential candidate, using love as her accoutrement.

Kennedy is notorious for her lack of public speaking skills and, unlike her father, has difficulty getting her point across to her audience in an effective manner.

However, she discussed a key issue women are faced with today: reproductive health concerns, such as birth control and abortion. Unlike Ann Romney, she brought up a controversial topic that not only effects mother’s and the romantics of the female sex, but each and every female and even, arguably, male.

I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love.

Ann Romney’s speech Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL spoke about the admirable qualities of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, her husband, and how he can better the country as President of the United States.

Call me cold hearted, but as a woman, I find her speech somewhat insulting.

Yes, her speech was heartfelt and sincere.  The issue I have with her speech is not the tenderness, but rather the fact that she intentionally attempts to appeal to women by taking on society’s stereotypical role of a woman: sensitive and emotional.

Not that there is anything wrong with being sensitive. However, women have fought far too long and hard to banish the stereotype of being overly emotional to play it up, especially in politics.

Women in politics and other high-powered women seem to feel the pressure to remain emotionless in their work in fear of the never ending badgering they will face from their male–and sometimes even female–counterparts. Hillary Clinton received a severe backlash back in 2008 while campaigning in New Hampshire for tearing up while discussing the countries future. Her tearful display of passion for her country raised many questions about her competency as a strong political leader.

Ann Romney’s whole speech seems like a huge campaign set-up to make Romney more appealing to women voters, which I’m sure was the purpose. Romney’s often cold exterior portrays him as uncaring. Ann Romney’s speech introduced a different side of the Republican presidential candidate that the public never sees.

I do commend Romney for his strength and support of his wife throughout her battle with breast cancer and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Maybe Mrs. Romney’s speech is getting to me.

The campaign tactic may prove effective. Ann Romney’s speech is already receiving quite a bit of publicity from the press covering the RNC. In the end, only the polls will show.

Soledad O’Brien Visits the University of Alabama

 On Wednesday, November 9,  words of wisdom were spoken when award-winning news anchor Soledad O’Brien of CNN‘s “In America” documentaries stopped by the University of Alabama amidst her national tour to speak about her personal experiences as a journalist and as a woman of mixed ethnicities.  Her visit consisted of an hour long speech followed by a 30 minute question and answer session.

Thanks to my Introduction to Journalism professor, Dr. Daniels (you are now my favorite person), I was able to meet and speak with Soledad O’Brien first hand at her reception before her speech.  Unfortunately, her attention was desired by all in the room, so a group of several other students and I were only able to share her for only a few minutes.  Insisting we call her by her first name, we each bombarded Soledad with questions, me in particular asking about her travel experiences.

Image A charming woman, she captivated all in the room with her welcoming smile, intelligence and stories of her life.  Laughter erupted from whichever corner of the room Soledad, surrounded by admirers, happened to stand in.  I was privileged to have the opportunity to take a picture with Soledad and have her sign my book Latino In America.  Although I have both of her books, I only brought Latino In America for her to sign because I myself am part Portuguese (I know, I don’t look the least bit Latina).  Plus, I didn’t want to overload her with demands.

In the course of her speech–which I sat second row for (I almost died of happiness)–Soledad discussed the many difficulties she overcame as a woman of mixed ethnicities and as a working mom; the projects she took on, such as covering the tsunami in Thailand, hurricane Katrina, her documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King, “Words That Changed a Nation” and her latest documentary, “Black in America: Silicon Valley”; the struggle her parents faced as an interracial couple and her life growing up, as she describes herself, a “bi-racial black girl from Long Island”; all while encouraging students to challenge boundaries and have passion.



Soledad O’Brien and I at her reception prior to her speech she gave at the University of Alabama. Such an exceptionally kind spirited and intelligent woman. An aspiration for myself not only as a woman, but as a Latina.

Get On Board Day…Again

Unlike my freshman counterparts in my Introduction to Journalism class, I am in my junior year of college and have been through Get on Board Day for the past two years.  When told I was required to do it again, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes nor suppress an audible groan (sorry Dr. Daniels).   So I stumbled around the Plaza under the blazing sun, 102 degrees of heat beating down on my sweat drenched body as I was jostled from side to side…again.  I previewed all of the booths, checking to see if there were any new groups that I may find appealing.  Sure enough, I’m already a member of all the organizations that interest me: Project Health and the Crimson White.  Although I didn’t find it beneficial, another turn around Get on Board Day didn’t kill me.  In fact, it’s probably best that I did check it out, just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  But I probably won’t be going next year.


May look harmless here, but in reality, it is packed with students.



Journalism Students’ Opportunity of the Year

The Dow Jones News Fund, Inc. Editing Exam is for all junior, senior, and graduate students who wish to obtain an internship with the renowned company, whether it is in news editing, sports editing, or multimedia.  The test is composed of four sections: grammar and usage; current and past events; find that state; editing and headline writing.  Students have one hour to complete the exam and must pass before applying for the internship.

Several study aids are available on, a website connected with the company.  On the site are past exams from 1998 to 2011 as well as practice assessments for language skills, a site to read up on current events, and a site to assist with the study of geography.   Most college campuses also offer study sessions several weeks prior to the exam.

The company, dedicated to enhancing and upholding journalism as a whole, offers funding for all involved in the field.  Originally built by the reputed former Wall Street Journal editor Bernard Kilgore, the foundation continues to remain one of the most prestigious opportunities for young, aspiring journalists and editors.

As a journalism major, I fully intend to attempt to take the exam next year and encourage all other aspiring journalists to join in on my pursuit.  To those who have taken the exam and have submitted your application, best of luck!



Dow Jones News Fund website:

Dow Jones News Fund study aid website:

The Importance of a Resume

Growing up sucks.  Yes, there are some perks, but for the most part the emergence into adulthood is quite a burden.  With old age comes responsibilities.  Bills begin to accumulate and before you know it, you’re up to your head in debt.  Without an income, you’re–for lack of a better word–screwed. Let’s face it, a Ramen noodle diet isn’t all that great.   Here’s where a resume comes into play.  An immaculate resume can land you interviews for potential employment or, for students such as myself, an internship.  As a student seeking to extend my experience in the field of journalism, I need a way to display my credentials in order to obtain an internship and, eventually, my dream job.

Therefore, I decided to take advantage of a great opportunity offered here at The University of Alabama: a resume workshop.  With a two page draft of what I assumed a resume should look like in hand, I crossed through the rotunda of the Reese Phifer building into the Tisch Student Services office.  There, Tasha Smith of the Career Development Staff assisted me in my pursuit.

After introducing myself, I passed my resume over to Mrs. Smith who immediately went to town on editing it, consistently scribbling notes.   Several minute of silence later, my once tidy paper was handed back to me with pen inked words all over.  Mrs. Smith then discussed the components of what a resume should incorporate, specifically for journalism majors, such as a description of the position interested in.  A few adjustments she mentioned include the following: my objective was too broad, I no longer need to list the details of my high school education, and utilize bullet points.  She also printed a sample resume to provide an example of the proper format one should use.

Admittedly, I gained some knowledge as to the necessary aspects a professional resume should contain.  I thanked Mrs. Smith for her time and, after she kindly offered her assistance to answer any questions I may have in the future, I bid her adieu.  Walking away, I couldn’t help but wonder what those whom I have given my resume to must have thought when they looked it over.  A second of embarrassment ended when the realization that a fresh start was on the horizon.

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