The "News Effect" of DC

I've never been one to enjoy reading the newspaper in the morning and my bookmarks online have always been more of the People Magazine variety, but somehow living in DC is turning me into a newsie. Perhaps its the fact that GFC gets the Times, the Wall St. Journal, the Washington Post and a plethora of other news sources each morning, or maybe it's just that I'm living at the "source" of many of the stories. Whatever the reason, I've taken to checking out the headlining news stories on and in the mornings and, although WSJ annoys me by siphoning off subscriber-only stories (I could avoid this annoyance by picking up the actual paper GFC gets but I have an aversion to newsprint-stained fingers and hence work clothes), I'm enjoying feeling well read and educated about current events. Taking it a step further, I feel inspired this morning to blog about some of the hottest topics in the news...

1) Obama signs an anti-smoking bill: My first thought was yippee! Even though the restrictions are far from monumental, I have an incredible aversion to all things cigarette-related and feel thrilled when our government takes steps toward eliminating this repulsive habit from society. My grandfather smoked for more than 60 years (and my grandmother smoked for 40), so I've seen first hand the detriments it brings. My grandfather contracted emphysema and it got so bad that he lost 90% of his lung capacity, was out of breath simply from leaning over and tying his shoes, and had to be on numerous medications just to breathe. It's no fun suffocating to death.

I always wonder why young people today even choose to start smoking. I mean, back in the 20s and 30s, at least you could blame it on ignorance and the fact that no one knew it was bad for you, but nowadays kids are thrown into D.A.R.E. and Just Say No programs in elementary school where they are clearly taught the consequences and health risks associated with tobacco. It's obviously not cool to have your hair, breath, and clothes smell of smoke, there's nothing attractive about yellow teeth and hairline wrinkles around the mouth, and goodness knows it's an expensive habit to maintain. So what's the appeal? I'd love it if someone could give me one good reason to start smoking.

With that said, I think it's amazing that, even as a smoker himself, Obama could stand up and take steps toward keeping children away from this disgusting deed. Now if only he could kick the habit himself and make an example out of his struggle and success in quitting!

2) DC Metro Train Crash: Firstly, I need to thank all of my friends and family for reaching out yesterday to make sure I was safe after news hit that two DC Metro trains had collided near Maryland. Thankfully, I do not take the red line home, so I was nowhere near the crash, but it's definitely scary to see the damage that was caused. Apparently the death toll is up to 9 now and more than 75 people were injured. Authorities still seem unsure of exactly how the crash happened, and unfortunately the train operator was one of those killed, so I don't think they'll ever really know, but it definitely brings into stark relief how much you are really putting your life in someone else's hands just by riding the subway to and from work every day.
3) Neda and the Iranian Revolution: This is the most heartwrenching news story that I've seen in a while. For those of you who haven't heard of Neda, she was a 27 year old woman living in Iran and attending a "peaceful" protest with her father over the Iranian election when she was shot in the chest. Her death on the streets of Iran was captured via cell phone video and quickly disseminated through social networks to people around the world. The video is definitely graphic and shows her first lying in a pool of blood and then bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth and she slips into unconsciousness. It's difficult to watch, but at the same time, so important to know about because it helps you understand the nature of the conflict in Iran and how volatile the situation is. It's also interesting how quickly this unknown woman who was neither a political figure nor a celebrity so quickly rose to the status of martyr simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the days since her death on Saturday, people have written poems about her, branded her an angel and in a sense, sensationalized her death to the point that she has become a symbol of the revolution.
Regardless, it's so shocking and terrible to watch someone die -- naturally, my curiousity got the best of me and I had to watch the minute-long video -- and it just makes you wish for peace that much harder.
That's the news for today according to me, ciao!

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