Responsibilities of the House of Commons

The House of Commons has a big responsibility towards the British people. They debate different situations that has risen and that requires actions. Another important responsibility of the House of Commons is to legislate and act on bills proposed. Bills are proposed by the government, MPs, organizations or individuals. It is the responsibility of the House of Commons to approve or disapprove new laws. They form the laws together with different parties one of these is the House of Lords.

Another important responsibility of the House of Commons is to be accessible to the public. The public are allowed insight into almost every session in the House of Commons. This is a way to live up to the democracy that England has. The public can visit the gallery where they can watch debates regarding current issues or new laws for free. It is important to note that a ticket may be necessary to be allowed entrance.

The three important responsibilities of the House of Commons I have outlined in the two paragraphs above:

  1. Debate current issues
  2. Pass or decline new bills
  3. Be accessible to the public

Lions for Lambs

This week’s assignment is to answer the following four questions after watching the movie “Lions for Lambs”.

1. Lions for Lambs is a 2007 American drama film about the connection between a platoon of United States soldiers in Afghanistan, a U.S. senator, a reporter, and a California college professor. Explain how they are connected and what the soldiers are doing in Afghanistan?

First of all the US senator is connected with the platoon of US soldiers in the way that he has some kind degree in military strategy, and he has been a part of deciding the military action in which the platoon is joining. The reporter who interviews him is getting a major scoop from him; she gets the info about the military action the platoon is in – as it is happening! The Californian college professor is connected with the platoon because the two soldiers who falls/jumps to the mountain was his students and they joined the army after having a talk with him. Even though they said, it was not because of him I think the professor played a role in their decision-making. The soldiers are fighting the Taliban in Irak and trying to get control over territories.

 

2. The professor asks Todd to get involved. What can he do?

Todd has two options, either join the military or go to class. I hope that Todd chooses the latter and choose to get involved in a different way than being a soldier – that being a politician or a journalist. Despite the open end of the movie, I like to think that Todd went to all of his professor’s lectures for the rest of the semester.

I think Todd’s professor wants two things for Todd, for one he wants him to get an education and get a job while at the same time I think he wants Todd to join the army. That is what you can call a dilemma.

To get involved Todd does not have to join the military, there are countless ways to get involved – join the army is only one of them.

 

3. Is there a connection between social conditions, the welfare state and US involvement in wars?

In the movie, it was said that people who came from poor and dangerous neighborhoods joined the military. People who lived “the American Dream” in terms of having a nice home and the ability to live a great life as a child chose not to join.

According to MintPressNews who quotes an analysis of recruiting, low- and middle-income families are supplying far more recruits than families with an income of more than $60,000 p.a.

 

4. What is the current opinion of the American people regarding US engagement in wars?

The public, according to People Press, thinks that America does too much to figure out and solve world problems, and does too little at home base. This is perhaps connected to Americans seeing and thinking that the US’ power in the world is declining. Support for US engagement globally is at a historic low, and continuing to drop.

This graph pretty much sums it up. As you can see, 53% thinks that the US role today as a world leader is less important and powerful than 10 years ago.

I think that Americans, as most of the western world, are most focused on what happens at home and not what happens thousands of miles away. The military involvement can be seen as squandering of resources, they might think, “why don’t use those resources at home?”

 

 

Study Trip – Churchill War Rooms

In London we visited the Imperial War Museum, Churchill War Rooms which is a museum where one will find the underground complex where the British government had their command center, Cabinet War Rooms, during the second world war.

The Imperial War Museum has five branches, the Churchill War Rooms is one of them.

War Rooms is located in Westminster, and from August 1945 until the early 80s – only a limited number of people were allowed inside. In April 1984 the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public after the Imperial War Museum was tasked & asked to take over the site.

In 2005 Churchill War Rooms reopened after a major renovation.

The Command Rooms are interesting, it shows how the Englishmen worked and lived during the second world war. Strangely enough, when the war ended they just turned off the lights and went home – and the underground command center was not touched for decades.

The museum also features a giant timeline in the middle of the museum part. This is interesting, and you can choose different important dates throughout Churchill’s life.

The timeline

Picture source: http://cdn.ltstatic.com/2012/January/OY329739_942long.jpg

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Above is a picture of Churchill’s room

Picture source: Personal

Other sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churchill_War_Rooms 22 january, 2015.

Study trip – British Museum

The British Museum is a really interesting museum. However most of it was not for me. Established in 1753, located in the center of London the museum houses approximately 8 million “works”. This is among the largest collection of human works is the world. The museum largely focuses on mummies, at least in the time-frame of our trip, another focus point is the roman empire, a third one is African history, none of which really tipped my curiosity.

One room really did, it was the money room. There you had the opportunity to see how money has changed over the years and what’s next.

For example I learned that the famous Nirvana cover (see below) really is a statement about how people are taught to seek and chase money from the day they’re born. The cover shows a little baby reaching for money without really knowing what it is.

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Nirvana cover

Picture: Private

Another interesting part of the room is the one about credit and debit cards. For me it’s easy to think that the world has had cards for hundreds of year, but really credit and debit cards really started in the 1950s, not really that long ago.

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Credit & debit cards

Photo: Private

Have you been to the British museum? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below and as always; thanks for reading.

Study trip – Tate Modern

Tate Modern is a gallery featuring modern art. Tate Modern in London is only one of many gallery in the Tate series. You find other galleries in Liverpool, St Ives and a gallery online – good thing in these on-the-line days.

Tate collects and showcases British art, however not state owned its biggest sponsor is the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Tate Modern was established in 2000 and is situated in the heart of London and is visited by nearly 5 million people each year.

For me the coolest thing was the Turbine Hall, which is basically a large hall with little filling. In other words, not many things are showcased there – it’s mostly “Blank Space”.

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The Turbine Hall

Photo: Personal

To be frank, this is not the most interesting place for a 18-year-old technology fan-boy. I’m sure there are people who love this place, but I’m not one of them.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tate_Modern – Tate Modern Last Retrieved 22nd January 2015.

Study trip – Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Last Thursday we went on the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Despite not seeing all of the movies I really enjoyed it. The attraction features a lot of behind the scenes information including how they made the effects and how they recorded a lot of the footage.

The Tour opened in March 2012 and was made possible after a 100 million pound investment. Warner Bros constructed two new houses to showcase the sets.

Props, costumes, sets and even Butterbeer are available to see and drink, the Butterbeer that is.

If you have the opportunity to check it out and you’ve seen if not all, some of the Harry Potter films, you should. You will not regret it!

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Butterbeer. Don’t worry, it’s not beer – it’s soda and cream. That is as disgusting as it sounds…

Photo: Personal

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The famous three-story bus.

Photo: Personal

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The house in which Harry Potter grew up.

Photo: Personal

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My school cantina. Nope, just kidding. This is the dining hall at Hogwarts.

Photo: Personal

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Harry’s room at Hogwarts.

Photo: Personal

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter – Last retrieved January 22nd, 2015.

Have you checked out the Studio Tour? If you have, what are your thoughts on the place?

Let me know in the comments below!

Study trip – BBC

Perhaps the biggest thing to see during my study trip to London was the BBC Broadcasting House. My teacher has some connections which got some of us the opportunity to get a private tour around the BBC Broadcasting House. Needless to say it was priceless.

BBC started using the old Broadcasting House in March 1932. In 2003 Broadcasting House started undergoing a major renovation. This has resulted in a new part of the Broadcasting House. Today most of the BBC are gathered under the same roof.

During our tour, we were allowed to go down to the Newsroom. That was perhaps the coolest thing to have been in. You can always see this in the background when BBC News is on.

We also had the opportunity visit Radio 1. We got to see the studio where they made the regular radio shows. One thing I found to be really cool was to be able to be in the same room in which one of my favorite artists has been in – Paolo Nutini.

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The BBC entrance.

Photo: Personal


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Where the magic happens.

Photo: Personal

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Overview of the Newsroom.

Photo: Personal

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Newsroom on ground floor.

Photo: Personal

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Better not disturb while on air.

Photo: Personal

Other sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcasting_House – Last retrieved January 22nd, 2015.

And as always thanks for reading!

Boyhood

In the movie Boyhood we follow a boy named Mason through his life, from a young child and all the way to his studies at University.

My thoughts on the movie:
After watching it I think it shows how life unfolds and how difficult it is to say how things will turn out. What one thinks is an easy ride is really not, quite on the contrary actually.

Another though I got is how great the movie is made. Following the same boy showcasing his life is a great idea – and through the movie it shows that it works great! The timetable for the making of the film however is rather long. And how does that affect the children`s lives? Is it ok to use children like actors this way?
Personally, I think that is a difficult question! There`s not really a correct answer.
What do you think? Is it ok to use young children like this for such a long period of time?

Answer from Alaska

Last week we had the opportunity to ask students from Alaska questions. Due to the time difference we asked them through a Google Document and they had the option to answer our questions.

We had many interesting answers on all of the questions we asked. I want to go through some of the answers given to my question: “Do you think that you (people in Alaska) are being “taken care of” in the same fashion as the rest of the 49 States?”

Brennan answered quite interestingly; “No because we are so secluded from the rest of the U.S. The only time we are really looked at is when we hold some kinda value”

This is interesting, and a real reflection of Alaska’s role for America from a student from Alaska.

Another answer, and on the other side of Brennan’s answer comes from Chi, who says “I would say Alaska is being treated the same as the rest of the state because we are part of the US.”

I’ve made a chart of my answers below:
Alaska pic

As you can see, the general assumption is that Alaska is being treated differently than the rest of the 49 States in the US.

Some of the other answers include:
“No, because though we are the largest state, we have a low population, therefore, little representation to Washington. To that degree, we care little importance the nation as a whole.” – Abigael

Another answer explores the option that Alaska can become its own state:
“From my two years of being in Alaska, I came to realize that Alaska could become an independent state. We are able to provide for the small population within our borders with our own resources. The downfall is that our military strength is dependent on other states are we are at risk of being attack by foreign power. Otherwise, Alaska could be its own small country. Political wise, representatives that we’ve elected have done an incredible job in getting funds from the government to help us.” -Nofo M.

From what I can gather the general consensus I get from students in Alaska is that the State of Alaska is not being taken care of in the same way as the 49 other states in the US.
Is this because Alaska is so far from mainland US? That’s hard to tell, but I think it’s a factor in the equation.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!