Thursday, December 27, 2007
Bhutto, the opposition in Pakistan to Musharraf, was assasinated. Since this woman had left the country the vicious hatred towards her was alarming, and I feared that with her return to the country it would only be a matter of time before someone tried to attack her.
It's one of those times when you feel incredibly fortunate to live in a country that thrives on free speech.
The story can be found here
Where can I find out more about the candidates, presidential or otherwise?
I found many, so check them out!
Official websites of candidates:
Curious about someone or their voting record?
Check out this site:
Time in the White House as the first lady, Senate work
Economy: Wants increased support for social programs and does not supporting cutting taxes that benefit only the well-off.
Abortion: She doesn’t believe it should be illegal, although she personally doesn’t support it.
Gay marriage/issues: Doesn’t support the federal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, and she doesn’t think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is working.
(If I had to support a Republican, it’d be McCain)
Naval aviator, experience in the Vietnam War, House of Representatives and later Senate, success in campaign finance reform, and contended with GWB for the Republican nomination the last time around.
Torture: A former POW, McCain is especially sensitive to matters of torture and has warned in the past that future US POW’s will suffer due to
Economy: McCain prefers reducing deficit spending to tax cutting (bonus points!)
The Environment: He wavers on this issue- at times he is particularly strong in one direction, such as when he opposed drilling in ANWR, but at other times he has supported Bush’s “environmental efforts”. McCain also favors increased nuclear energy resources as opposed to reliance on oil.
Gay marriage: McCain has said in the past that he believes each state should be able to decide this. He personally supports bans on gay marriage and the continued use of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell” in the military.
Abortion: McCain is pro-life, although he would not support a repeal of Roe v. Wade
Stem cells: He supports research here.
Immigration: McCain supports and has helped created policies that allow illegal aliens to become citizens.
And now, for my opinion:
I think McCain is one of the few Republican candidates who can be willing to listen to both sides. He’s had a lot of experience working across the aisle and has shown that once he commits himself to an issue or initiative, he will work extremely hard to make it a success. I really admire that he supports reducing the deficit instead of cutting taxes. For me, McCain is the strong “foreign policy” candidate among the Republicans, but I think his shortfall is his lack of vision on domestic problems. Although it is certainly important to address the international concerns (
I did catch Crowned last night, but I have my final doctors appointment of my holiday break so I need to run! I'll post more later!
Friday, December 21, 2007
I’ve been incredibly busy but I wanted to check in and let everyone know my thoughts about this weeks edition of “Crowned”.
Although I’m decidedly biased since I’ve always been a fan of Miss
And now for a Crowned Connection: Team Diamond Dolls are former American Coed ladies. The daughter has another sister, Amanda, who competed with me in
The only aspect of the show I don’t really like is that it was clear their was a division between the “nice” girls and the “mean girls”. There are plenty of stereotypes about pageants already, one of them being that the girls backstage are vicious and always prepared to sabotage or talk another contestant down. In my opinion, the girls I have encountered through Miss Virginia preliminaries are nothing of the sort: they are the kind of girls who will lend you swimsuit adhesive when you run out, offer to feed you when you’re traveling alone, lend their steamers to girls who need to steam their dress, and kindly offer hair help. Unfortunately, I’m sure that kind of behavior doesn’t get good ratings. I was amazed at how openly nasty a few of the teams were- they were making fun of beautiful accomplished women only a few feet from their faces.
After the swimsuit challenge, the team from
This always reminds me of the vicious comments that appear on anonymous pageant message boards, but it takes some real nerve to make fun of somebody who is living in your house and eating dinner only a few feet away. In this case, I don’t think there is any way we can blame the nastiness on poor editing: a bad attitude translates easily.
In any case, I was uplifted by some of the nicer teams and continue to wish them the best of luck!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Contestant: Hannah Kiefer, Miss Virginia
Education: Hollins University, Roanoke, VA
Awards at State Pageant: Preliminary Swimsuit and Talent Award
Platform: Creating Healthy Choices for Teens
Hannah Kiefer Wins Miss Virginia
Miss Virginia Poses with Sherriff Candidate
Miss Virginia Speaks at Middle School
This scholarship also comes with an opportunity to apply for an internship your junior year and the chance to meet the CEO of Philip Morris in February. They treat all the winners to a really nice luncheon with top executives in the company.
Miss Mountain Empire Homepage
MISS AMERICA PAGEANT
January 26, 2008 8:00pm
on the big screen, in hi-def and digital sound!
GOOD LUCK MISS VIRGINIA, HANNAH KIEFER!
Miss Mountain Empire Scholarship Organization
What I found most important about this video was the number of women who referenced their experience at the "college" as the number one reason they give. Well, two years ago, you would have found this blogger working days in the admission office, evenings calling prospective students, hosting students overnight in my room who were considering the school, and spending my weekends sitting on student panels. To say the least, I loved RMWC, too! None of the women in the video have ever attended "Randolph College" and I think it would be interesting to make a video about how current students feel about Randolph College and whether they would consider giving. I think, having lived through it, the answers would be very different than the alums on the video.
In any case, check it out!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Since I’ve been able to post about presidential candidates, I think it’s important to recognize that we are soon going to have another important representative for our country: Miss
I always feel compelled to say “please remember that this is my opinion” because I don’t pretend to be a journalist, pageant expert, or certified judge. I like to share my opinion based off of a few years in “pageant land” and many years of watching Miss
So stay tuned for my Miss America profiles, coming soon!
Candidate profiles: How do they work? I promise that in this upcoming primary season, I would profile all the candidates for president so that everyone has the tools available to make their decisions (remember: no excuses this year). I’ll give you basic details about the candidate, their position on some key issues, and in areas where I think they’ve hit the nail on the head in recognizing a problem, I’ve awarded them “bonus points”. Although I marked my top two candidates, I’ve tried to remain neutral (although sometimes, even with candidates like Kucinich, it’s hard to not show a little bias). Please remember that anything I state is simply my opinion- I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I have watched every Democratic debate thus far and parts of Republican debates. I do follow Democrat candidates closely so I probably know more than the average person, but take my opinion with a grain of salt. My goal is to give you the information about the candidates.
*This candidate is my second choice for the presidential nomination.
Experience: Former Senator from N.C.
Former V.P. Candidate
Legal career experience, clerked for a federal judge
Reducing poverty is one of Edwards’ key goals
*Bonus Points* The Edwards administration promises payment of tuition, books, and fees for any student who agrees to work part time during their first year at a public college.
*Bonus Points* Edwards wants a complete revamp of the student loan program
Edwards supports reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and other initiatives to reduce global warming.
Favors legal access to abortion
Opposes a military draft
Opposes gay marriage, also not supportive of amendments banning gay marriage
Supports the presentation of timetables to withdraw from
Supports programs that create paths for illegal immigrants to become citizens
Supports subsidized healthcare purchases for low income Americans
“Well, there’s always UT”
At my high school, it was a guarantee that the majority of the graduating class would attend the
In my last year of German in high school, our teacher went around the room asking everyone “UT? Or BG?” and we’d all laugh as the majority answered one or the other along with a few “Ohio State” or “Kent” thrown into the mix.
I have friends at both schools, and they like it. Both schools have good programs, I’m sure, but yesterday was one of those days I was glad I never went to UT.
Once I edited a paper for a friend who attends one of these schools, and it was something that would definitely earn a C or maybe a B- at Randolph Macon, but this person received an A after my edits. He joked that he had passed the “foreign language proficiency test” after taking two years in high school of a very light foreign language program. I knew I made the right academic choice with RMWC, but I am more glad than ever that I never chose UT.
Whenever I was facing a really difficult calculus or macroeconomic theory test, my friend Michael (who attended UT Law and had a great experience there) would always joke “Well, if it goes badly, there’s always UT…..”
Several weeks ago I had to call and schedule to take the GRE at the
“What test do you want to take?”
The general GRE.
”I’m putting you on hold.”
“Okay, what day?”
Any day in December in the morning. After the 15th is good.
“Okay, let me put you on hold.”
“Okay, I’m back”
And so it went on for nearly half an hour.
After I was finally registered for the test, I joked to my mom “Wow, I definitely made the right choice not applying to UT…”
Well, yesterday I did take the test, and what an experience. First of all, for several days before the test most of
With that in mind, my mom and I figured that I had to get to the test. My car was in the shop getting the muffler replaced and my mom had to be at work in the morning and my brother needed to get to school. We got up at in the morning, left my brother at the bus stop, and drove to
I finally got there and took the test, which was pretty stressful. Afterwards, I asked the student in the testing center if he knew of any cab companies or busses. He seemed baffled that I didn’t have a car. Since this place (the Scott Park campus of UT) also administers the ACT, a high school test for college entrance), I thought it would be pretty common that some people didn’t have cars. I guess not. Perhaps it was my fault that I was relying on the students employed in the testing center, but they were all UT students and this one even had a “student government” shirt on so I thought he could help.
He informed me there was a bus stop about two miles from the campus, although he didn’t know what direction.
I called my mom and we found a cab company. At , I was told by the cab company that it would be about an hour before they could get to me. That wasn’t such a big problem.
The Scott Park campus is dead- completely dead. First of all, it’s after exams, and I have no idea what UT actually uses Scott Park for the begin with- the library was the size of two small classrooms, there was no wireless access, and vending machines provided the only link to food.
After an hour, no cab had showed up, so I called back. The same guy at Checker cab told me their radios were down but he was trying to get someone to come get me ( I just wanted to go over towards the
I kept calling the cab company back, but my mom was in her board meeting and I felt like I had no link to the outside world. After three and a half hours and repeated phone calls to the cab company, I was frustrated. I had asked people in every office in the building, and they knew nothing about the cabs or busses. None of them offered to help me, although many tried to give me driving directions. I had to explain multiple times that I didn’t have a car, and no one could even offer me a phone book!
Finally, my boyfriend, a knight in shining armor yesterday, called and pulled into a parking lot to look up cabs on the internet. He found a cab company that showed up within five minutes, and this cab company seemed familiar with the problems of the first company. I think I will report the bad company.
So, after eating breakfast extremely early, I finally ate lunch at over near my gym in
So, I have to say it again:
I’m SO glad I never went to the
One of the few good things about this last semester is that we’ve been able to keep many of the traditions that are part of RMWC’s past. Although I’m late in blogging, I wanted to share some of my friend Nada’s pictures in celebration of a great RMWC tradition: Holiday Dinner.
For Holiday Dinner, the Dining Hall cooks us decent food (and trust me, this is an important event, because it was the first week all semester that I used all 14 of my meals in my meal plan on campus. I usually avoid the dining hall and make my own food!) and we sign up with our sister class to eat at tables.
Unfortunately, the location of our table meant that we had to wait nearly an hour just to get in the buffet line, which wouldn’t have been a problem except that Nada and Audra had classes at 7 and the dinner began at 6. We finally encouraged them to break the rules and get in line so they could have something to eat before a long night class.
After you eat dinner, we all stand on the chairs of the dining hall and sing Christmas carols and “Santa” (i.e. some professor, usually Dr. Sheldon of Physics) comes around to give us candy. It’s a great way to relax as exams grow near!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Anyways, I have a lot to do so I'll have to write another time.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Although Jenileigh is in no way overweight, by pageant standards, she is “huge”. I admire her because we share the same weakness- swimsuit. Jenileigh was torn apart constantly during her time competing because of her weight, and I admire that she has put herself out there again in the “pageant world”. The show was good, although there were definitely some girls or teams that grated me the wrong way. My favorite team, the Dream Gals, ended up making the best “first impression”.
There were both talented singers and genuine women and I loved that they were outside the “Pageant Patty” mold.
The team that ended up going home was too pageant patty for me, because they just came off as over-prepared, even though they were unable to get their message across. The team I cannot stand is one where the daughter shares my name- she is domineering, negatigve, and catty. And yes, I got all that just from the first episode! Especially since the show was about first impressions, that team bothered me. The daughter Laura constantly talked about how other teams were ugly and how she and her mother were beautiful and how they were going to win. Yuck! I was glad that the unconventional team won the challenge and that the Pageant Patties were sent home!
In other news, Saleisha was crowned the newest “
Well, it’s day 3 of doctors appointments. Every time I come home for winter break or summer, I have to make sure I schedule all my doctors appointments so I can see each physician before I move back to
I am taking the GRE next Tuesday and after that, graduate school is then out of my hands! I finished all the essays, applied online with all the correct information, and I have been notified by some of my recommenders that they have mailed their portions (my recommendations are coming from
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I drove home on Monday after my biology exam, and the drive went very well. I left about 11:00 and got home shortly before 10:00 pm that night. It is really great to be home. My mom gave my brother and I a Christmas present early. It is the new game "Rock band" where you actually form a band and try to play the notes as they come on the screen. It reminds me of Dance Dance Revolution in the way that it is played.
This morning I had an eye appointment and as suspected, I do have an infection. My eyes are really sensitive and even though I use a particular kind of contact lens and solution, I still got the same infection I had four years ago. Luckily, it's easily treatable and I just have to skip wearing my contacts for ten days so that my eyes can recover.
We don't have internet at our house, so tonight I'm at our church finishing up my senior paper.
It's actually very nice to be away from the internet, since it's a good break and I enjoy catching up on reading more anyways.
With that said, it's back to the paper!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I'll be leaving tomorrow morning immediately after my biology exam and I'm facing about a 9-11 hour trip, depending on traffic, weather, how tired I am, etc. I am fully prepared to take a break tomorrow night near the Ohio/WV border if need be, but I'm also extremely anxious to get home! Everyone who knows me well knows I'm close with my mom and brother and I'm anxious to see them as well as my local friends. My friend Amy is even coming in from California (the two of us were the only people from our graduating class who ventured outside of Ohio or Michigan to attend college. She graduated from FIDM in two years and is working for Disney. She's an outstanding fashion designer and I hope to be able to see her while I'm back! I'm also looking to catch up with my good high school friends Julie and Brad, and just enjoy the holidays.
I didn't ask for anything for Christmas this year, because I don't really need or want anything, but I'm excited about going home. We usually try to do indoor rock climbing or skiing while I'm home, and I also love attending my home church for Christmas eve service. The members of my church community are wonderful and there are several families that went above and beyond during my year in England, sending me care packages, letters, and warm emails. I am always grateful to see those people again.
And, excitingly, after my birthday in January (the 4th) I'm going to Hawaii! I can't wait, since I've never been there I'm ready for a warm climate. I'll post more details later.
I'm also anxious to get out of here since I've worked extremely hard this semester and because I will be driving back on January 3rd to compete in Miss Williamsburg on January 5th. I used to have a friend at William and Mary Law, but he has since graduated and passed the bar, so if anyone is near Williamsburg, please feel free to come cheer me on! After Miss Williamsburg I'll be flying to Hawaii then returning to Lynchburg for one more semester. I was hoping to be able to attend Miss Ohio's send off party on January 5th, but I am looking forward to Miss Williamsburg. Good luck at Miss America, Roberta (and Hannah Kiefer, too!)
Next semester I think my blogs will be more interesting, since I'm participating in the American Culture Program. We'll be looking at consumerism in America, and the culmination is a trip to Las Vegas in April.
Anyways, back to molecular genetics.
Once I'm home I'll write a summary post of this semester.
In the meantime, good luck with finals to all my R-MWC sisters! For many of us seniors, these are the last final exams we will ever take here!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Economics has been a very stressful course of study for the last few years, and there have definitely been times when my sheer determination was the only thing getting me through. One particular area has really tested me this semester: data availability. Originally, I wanted to conduct my senior research about the wage gap in East Germany before and after unification, and there was a great data set with thousands of life history interviews of East and West Germans. Unfortunately, this data was also coming from Germany and it was $125. In the beginning of the semester, I had mentioned that I wanted to do this project and wasn't prepared for how difficult it would be. A week and a half before my paper proposal was due, I heard from the econ department that they couldn't pay for my data. If I had known earlier, I would have tried to find the funds or search for a new project, but this put me in a real crunch to find a new project. I eventually found one after much stress and wrote the proposal. Last week in our final seminar, my econometrics partner Olya mentioned that she had the same problems I did- her data cost $100. During that seminar, Olya said that her parents were buying her the data as her Christmas present, and our professor said he could help pay for it. I was frustrated and sad, because I had been put under so much stress and had to find a new project when it seemed like I could have kept my old one. After the seminar, the professor emailed me to apologize and explain, but I wish I hadn't had to go through that experience. My new project is going to examine the economic consequences of divorce for women.
Now on to my econometrics project- what a nightmare. I have changed topics FOUR times due to lack of data. Finally, I ended up looking at Okun's law to examine whether that was historically consistent in the United States. I couldn't be more relieved that the project is finished.
This last week has also been full of college events and traditions like Holiday Dinner and the Treelighting Ceremony, and completing course evaluations.
Since I spent my Thanksgiving break here working on all my papers, I am leaving on Monday after my only exam in biology. Oh, the joys of self-scheduled exams!
Monday, December 3, 2007
Last week was a total nightmare. I found out on Monday afternoon that I needed to re-work my entire econ senior paper because of a lack of data. It was very stressful but thankfully I came up with a project that has available data.
It took me five and a half hours to get up to Arlington, but it was a good weekend. All in all, I truly believe that every contestant there was a standout; it was a very strong field.
Congrats to the new winners:
Miss Arlington 2008, Tara Wheeler
Miss Fairfax 2008, Kristena Wright
I appreciate all the support, love and help always being thrown my way and know that I always do my best. Each pageant I feel like I have improved at least a little bit from the one prior and this is such a good self-improvement exercise.
With the dream of competing at Miss Virginia next June in mind, I am focusing on preparing for the remaining pageants as well as graduating from college (although I can't believe that graduation is just around the corner!) Unfortunately, my traveling schedule next semester severely limits which pageants I can compete in; a few of our trips directly conflict with preliminary pageants. Although most of the semester I'll only have class Tuesday-Thursday, it's a bad coincidence that the few times we travel keep me from competing in pageants. It's motivating but also a little scary that there are only a handful of pageants I'll be able to compete in next spring, so I really want to work hard and make it to that Miss Virginia stage.
For now, I have seven days left in this semester before I'm leaving to head home, so wish me luck finishing my remaining projects and papers!