Posted by: vanhoff | May 9, 2008

PETA: From One Member’s View

  On behalf of PETA and other animal right’s movements, the views I am about to express may not align with all. That said, I am a proud member of PETA, and hold strong views against animal testing and the use of animals for sport.

   However, I must state that there is a large misconception that PETA is a fanatical, anarchist movement that seeks to make man and woman vegan dietitians. PETA has brought many issues to headlines across the globe that otherwise would have been swept under the rug and forever forgotten. I am an understanding individual who will listen to all sides of an issue before making a solid judgement about a particular issue, and my judgement on Eight Belles death deems unworthy and unacceptable in mediating the problem.

   The Eight Belles issue is one that I feel very saddened by, and as I stated in my last post there is no humanity in whipping, beating, cutting hooves, or euthanizing an animal that could have otherwise been rescued.

   PETA is not the monster! Individuals who accept the use of animals for testing and sport are the real monsters. PETA is an outlet for many, including myself who feel there is no where else to turn to express our emotions to such cruelty. We are all animals… We live and breathe the same air.

   For once, I would enjoy seeing a pussy-ass jockey hop on the back of another jockey…then whipped and beaten for the name of the almighty dollar.

Posted by: vanhoff | May 8, 2008

PETA calling for investigation of Eight Belles

 As a proud member of PETA and an advocate for animal rights, the death of Eight Belles at last week’s race in Kentucky has struck another nerve within my soul. Humans have a choice! The vet and owner of the horse had a choice for Eight Belles… Life or Death? They choose death, and by doing so they have choosen the role of “A Higher Power.”

 Humans bear the fruit of this great planet, but we are not alone. Non-human species struggle everyday to niche themselves in a world that has corrupted the landscape that once held much beauty. Many say beauty is in the eye of the beholder; but Mother Earth is our beholder. Humans are corrupt, and taketh they do. Life, liberty, justice,… war. The war on Non-human species!

 Eight Belles choice; though beaten, whipped, and trained for winning, would have been to live a fruitful life after the recovery.

Yes, Belles would have recovered from the injuries!

So, in closing and quoted from the documentary Earthlings… “We are all created equal. Don’t tell me that I will spoil your dinner, don’t tell me while I’m eating.” Because TRUTH hurts!    or

Posted by: vanhoff | May 7, 2008

No Fear in Mom Takes Down Thief!


A Murfreesboro woman was able to fight off a suspect who attempted to steal a diaper bag from her on May 2, according to police reports.

Crystal Green, 28, said she was loading her kids into her car outside of her Greenland Drive home when she was approached by a man in his early to mid-20s.


“At first I just said hello to him,” Green said. “He said hello back.”

However, Green said the man kept getting closer and closer to her vehicle.

“My first thought was that he was trying to steal my car with my kids in it,” Green said. “Then I saw him grab my diaper bag and I started chasing him. I didn’t know until later that the bag had my keys and debit card inside.”

Green, approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall, gave chase to the man, approximately 6 feet tall, who stole her purse. She caught up with him while he was attempting to cross a fence.

“I’m not a prissy girl,” Green said. “I fought him.”

Green said she and the man fought for possession of the purse, and she pleaded and begged the man to give it back.

“I said ‘all you have is some diapers and some formula,'” Green said. “‘Give it back!'”

The man responded by punching her in the stomach, Green said. The scuffle caused the man to dump all of the contents of the diaper bag out.

Green’s boyfriend, Abiye Obunge, then got involved, she said. He was inside the home when the incident began.

Green said her young daughter ran in and told her dad what was happening.

“My boyfriend chased him all the way out to the hospital,” Green said, referring to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, just a few blocks from her home.

Murfreesboro Police spokesman Kyle Evans said police are actively investigating the case.

“People should be on the lookout for persons matching the suspect in the case,” Evans said. “If they see him they should call police. People can also call Crime Stoppers at (615) 893-STOP (7867) if they have any information about the crime and wish to remain anonymous.”

According to Murfreesboro Police reports, Obunge ran after the subject and began fighting with him. He stopped when he saw the suspect try to reach into his short pockets, as if he had a weapon.

Obunge told police he never actually saw a weapon.

Law enforcement officers usually advise private citizens to refrain from chasing after criminals if the citizens are no longer in immediate danger because of the potential for criminals to use weapons in such situations.

Green was able to recover her property and no injuries were reported as a result of the scuffle. After it was all over she called police.

Now Green and her boyfriend are planning to move Smyrna.

“Our lease is up on June 1 and we are getting out of Murfreesboro because it’s so unsafe here now,” Green said. “This use to be a little college town, but now it has big crime problems, like Nashville.”

In the meantime, she said she wants the robber to know something.

“I would like for him to get what he did to me three times over,” Green said, referring to the punch in the stomach. “If he ever comes back here, he will get it.”

Posted by: vanhoff | May 6, 2008

Need a star? Reach for OnStar

“GM lauds tech features in outreach push for OnStar,” discussed General Motors communications team’s attempt at reaching broader audiences with their OnStar feature in their vehicles. There plan is to unveil their potential updates at the Consumer Electronics Show. The new updates will be used to target the broader audience they hope to capture, mainly a more “tech” driven and safety conscious consumer. The potential first feature that really exemplifies that is that they are expanding their emergency location service to their subscribers’ cell phones. In addition, they are hoping to add a stolen vehicle slowdown function, which allows police to cut power to a stolen vehicle and prevent a high-speed chase. GM is hoping that the new OnStar features will help differentiate them from the other automobile manufacturers at the North American International Auto Show. The messages of the different shows they have will be customized to match current trends in the auto industry. This includes the growing trend of blogging and GM trying to forge stronger bonds with bloggers. There hope is to target parenting blogs, which deal with auto safety, and tech blogs. The real function of these shows however, will be to clear up any misunderstandings and to highlight the capabilities.

Posted by: vanhoff | May 5, 2008

Gonzo Journalism

Hunter S. Thompson has been a fascination to many. His life, antics, and journalistic skill is fun and scary. The life he lived was strange, but his antics are not.

      Almost always writing in the first person, Thompson flirted with the border between fiction and fact and threw out any attempt at objectivity. His style became known as ‘gonzo’ journalism and made him a cult figure.

He shot to fame in 1966 after the publication of his book Hell’s Angels, the story of his relationship with the then-feared motorcycle gang.

Thompson made his drug and alcohol-fueled antics and clashes with authority the central theme of his work, challenging the conventions of traditional journalism and creating a larger-than-life outlaw persona for himself along the way.

The book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasis the apocryphal tale of a wild, drug-fuelled weekend spent in the desert gambling hub of Las Vegas by the protagonist Raoul Duke, a thinly disguised version of Thompson.

Thompson claimed at the time that the book and its tales of LSD use were accurate examples of gonzo journalism but later admitted that some of the events in it never took place.

But the stories of his heady experiences earned him a popular reputation as a wild-living, hard-drinking, LSD-crazed writer bent on self-destruction.

The book became the basis for a 1998 Hollywood adaptation, starring Johnny Depp as Thompson’s alter-ego, Raoul Duke.

In 1970, Thompson ran for the office of Sheriff in Pitkin, Colorado, campaigning on the “Freak Power” ticket. He lost by a handful of votes.

His other works include Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, a collection articles he wrote for Rolling Stone magazine while covering the election campaign of then-president Richard M Nixon.

Thompson became such an icon that cartoonist Garry Trudeau based the wild character of Duke in his “Doonesbury” comic strip on him.

Posted by: vanhoff | May 4, 2008

Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

            Hunter S. Thompson

 A moment of truth has overcome my inner-psyche. No journalist or author has ever captured my attention than Hunter S. Thompson. I ask myself, “Why?” Why has Thompson become an intriguing character? I have not experienced the trauma of Peyote, or the needle that breaks skin. I have experimented with mind-altering drugs, but I never desired to live a life chained by such emotional states.

Please post comments, no one is here to judge ones state of mind.

Posted by: vanhoff | May 3, 2008

Broadcast News – The Movie

 An interesting look at an old movie with questions and answers that take an in-depth look at television newsrooms.

Broadcast News
A romantic, comedy that looks at three ambitious workaholics in a network TV newsroom


  1. What was the ethical situation that arose when Jane and Aaron were interviewing the ‘rebel’ putting on his boots in the jungle early in the movie?

They wanted to make sure it was a shot of him doing what he would usually did, not a contrived scene. They wanted to make sure that this was an accurate portrayal.


  1. Who do you think was the better reporter Tom or Aaron?  Why? Who was the better anchorman? Why?

 I think the better reporter was Aaron because he was passionate and was dedicated to the job while Tom did because he knew he was good at it. On the other hand, the better anchorman was probably Tom because he was very sure and confident and for a major news network, those are very important traits that should be conveyed to the audience so that they trust the news. 

  1. Does this story portray the typical reporter wanting to cover important, complex, world  issues?  Is that the reporters fault, the fault of the TV business, or the fault of the public? Why?  

         I am sure it does, reporters want to cover these kinds of stories because they are what are called “hot news”, and they gain attention of the public and tend to be very interesting. It is probably the fault of everyone involved, people want sensational news, TV networks know that’s what gets viewers and reporters want the attention.



  1. Is life ‘brutal’ or ‘fair’ for the people who work as reporters, producers, etc?  Why or Why not?

   Yes, life is brutal and not always fair but that is the job, and the people that are in that kind of business tend to enjoy it. Even Aaron, who was kind of screwed over at the  beginning enjoyed capturing the story. To be in the business I am sure you need to have a thick skin.


  1. Do media people like pressure?  Do you think they have fun?

   They would almost have to like and work well under pressure in order to survive. There is always a deadline, and in Broadcast news, specifically you can have very short ones. I think that the type of people who do this must enjoy it, and if they don’t they get out of it. This is a highly stressful job, but journalist are generally passionate and enjoy it .

Posted by: vanhoff | May 2, 2008

Campaign finance reform: My Opinion

Campaign finance reform


  1. According to the Federal Election Committee’s website, some of the things they have restricted include the solicitation of soft money or even the use of it. This ensures that the candidates do not have unlimited resources by the uses of excessive donations, contributions or non federal funds. They have also limited how much a person can actually donate to a specific candidate. Also there are specific people in whom they cannot receive donations such as minors and foreign nationals. Most of these regulations have to do with how or when people use money and exceptions on the use of contributions such as a less well off opponent against a millionaire. Also there are now more restrictions on what they have labeled electioneering commission, which has given regulations of issue ads. With the use of these regulations it’s harder to use the amount of money however financing is such a big part of campaigns that is still hard to regulate it all the way.


  1. According to an article about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Washington Post website, Supreme Court made decisions to put fewer restrictions on pre- election ads because it was decided because not allowing a persons name to be aired along with the ads was determined to be an unconstitutional infringement on the person or groups right to advocate issues. The decision was made by a 5-4 vote.


  1. According to the previous article and website as before Chief Justice Roberts said “Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election. Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.” However the dissenters such as Justice David H. Souter said, “The court (and, I think, the country) loses when important precedent is overruled without good reason, and there is no justification for departure from our usual rule of stare decisis here.”


  1. No I do not because the act still allows the person or group to talk about his ideas during the election period. Trying to prevent them from over inundating us from the mass amounts of ads before a campaigning isn’t preventing them from their right to speak its just limiting where they can do it, and as long as it applies to all candidates it should be upheld.


  1. According to another article on the Washington Post’s website, the current status of what have been called the “527” committees is that the government has decided not to ban these even among the criticisms that this will allow a flood of soft money to come out into the elections. Their status is important because it allows for loopholes pertaining to campaign finance and this can allow a candidate to proceed further in the election based on TV ads and appearances.


  1. In my personal opinion I believe that doing away with the Electoral College would allow the people to feel like their votes really counted. Many people shy away from these elections because they don’t think it really counts. Although this idea was important when it began we have become a more educated society and they should allow the popular vote to count for everything.

A thank you to Bri Shipley for her guidance

Posted by: vanhoff | May 1, 2008

A Woman’s Right To Choose

A Woman’s Right To Choose


            Whether you are Pro-Life or Pro-Choice abortion has always been controversial on either side. As the presidential election draws near, there will be even more opinions on the subject. The question will continue to remain, who is right?

It has taken me a long time to figure out how I feel but as a woman I feel that is important to have a stance. I feel like the politician that are making these decisions are not exactly in the position to do so. The majority of politicians are male, that is a fact, and even the women are highly influenced by their parties. This is very disturbing to me; the majority of the people making decisions about my body are not even woman. I see this as a very big problem. In addition, these same people are not generally facing the same issues as the people getting abortions.

            There are many reasons why a woman may get an abortion, however many of the reasons involve not being ready or having the money to handle having a child. To some people these would not be valid reasons; they would give the option of adoption, or say by having sex unprotected that you knew what you would be getting into. Having the child may not always be a viable option; it is very expensive to have a child even if you are going to give it up for adoption. In many situations these woman are the only ones dealing with it. It is very confusing to me that you can pass a law that can punish a woman (and only a woman) for doing something that took two people. A man does not have the same responsibilities and would not be in danger of being punished if he

Posted by: vanhoff | April 30, 2008

Panic Attacks: The Disorder No One Talks About

Panic Attacks: The Disorder No One Talks About


It is a beautiful and sunny Saturday in November and Jon is getting ready for his big trip to Knoxville to see his family. He takes his shower, gets ready, he packs his clothes and then his car. Just one more thing and hopefully he will be ready. He opens the little orange bottle containing his sanity and pops the little blue Xanax into his mouth.

Jon Richardson, like 2.4 million other young adults suffers from panic attacks; these debilitating attacks come from any kind of traveling or even any extremely stressful situation.

Jon’s attacks started when he was 23, and although there had been some depression in his past, there had never been anything like this. His first attack happened after being put in charge of a large event at his job at a nightclub. When the main act cancelled at the last minute, it all went down hill.

“I will never forget what happened, I suddenly couldn’t breath, my heart was racing,” he remembers. “I thought I was going to die.”

According to the anxiety resource center, panic attacks are surges of overwhelming fear that comes without warning and without any obvious reason. These highly stressful attacks bring about symptoms of a raging heartbeat, difficulty breathing, almost paralyzing fear, shaking, dizziness, chest pains and even thoughts that they are going to die.

“People have no idea how common this very real disorder is,” says Jon’s doctor, Renee Crecelius. “About one out of 75 people worldwide will have one in there lifetime, people are just too afraid to talk about it.”

Although these attacks are highly common, people are very nervous and reserved about seeking treatment.

“I have to say, I never wanted to get help, I thought people would judge me because I have this thing that literally will make me stress out so much I think I am going to die,” Jon says. “I mean really, who has to go to a therapist because they can’t handle driving out of town?”

Jon is not alone in this; about 21 percent of people who have this disorder will not seek help. People who do not seek help generally do not believe the problem is serious enough to get therapy or take medicine, or they are embarrassed by the situation.  Without treatment, this extremely serious disorder can cause a sufferer’s life to become very restricted. They will start to avoid situations they fear will cause these attacks, even normal activities such as going to the grocery store or driving, in very extreme cases it can lead to Agoraphobia, the fear of even leaving the house.

“I am lucky, I figured out pretty quickly that I needed help,” says Jon. “After a second attack happened pretty closely to the first I knew something was wrong.”

Although Jon recognized his problem quickly, actually fixing it has been an uphill battle. His previous doctor had prescribed a couple of different medicines in order to control his panic attacks.  He had started on him on two different prescriptions, including his Xanax. Prescriptions such as Xanax, are usually prescribed to calm the person down it can be taken as needed or in Jon’s case daily. However, the average person with a panic disorder is very reluctant to take any kind of medicine, even something as mild as Advil. Although the people generally understand they have to take something to help fix the issue, it can take months even years of trying to convince them so that they will voluntarily take something daily. Jon is now 29 and it took almost 4 years of battles to get to the point where he can take the medicine.

“To an average person, it sounds like no big deal, just pop the pill and it will all go away,” says Crecelius. “But to someone with a panic attack disorder it is very unnerving, they think it will hurt them somehow, even the most normal people will get upset.”

There is hope however, with proper treatment, panic attacks can be reduced or even completely prevented in over 70 percent of people. This of course relies heavily on the patient trusting there doctor and following their orders. Once people follow the prescribed treatment, they can find relief in as soon as a couple of weeks.

“For a long time I couldn’t find a doctor who I felt understood, and so I never really followed their treatment, but in the last 2 years I feel like I have found one,” says Jon. “I can’t even describe the change, I can actually take a road trip and not feel like I am going to die, and that’s a big step for me.”

As with all things, treatments take time and patience. In cases of panic disorders, it can take months or years depending on the patient. For Jon, now there is no better feeling than getting in that car and driving to see his family, even if his Xanax is in tow.

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