Saturday, January 31, 2009

Economics: it's what I do

Since I'm majoring in Economics here at SPU, I always enjoy listening to real economists and learning from them.  On Wednesday I had the chance to hear Paul Krugman, an economist and columnist for the NY Times, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics last year for some of his theories and predictions on international trade.  He also made predictions about our current economic crisis based on what happened in SE Asia in the late ‘90s.  It was interesting to hear a real economist’s perspective on our situation right now, but also slightly discouraging because pretty much no matter what happens, we’re all in trouble!  Even with the new stimulus (which surprisingly isn’t nearly enough money) our economy will take quite a while to rebound.  If you want to hear from Krugman, check out his Times column.   I am looking forward to reading The Return of Depression Economics, his new book, to learn more about what’s in store for our country…    

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Notorious Drain

Today was going to be a good day—I was going to sleep in, catch up on my reading, study for my test, work and shower all before my 6:00pm class, which was the only scheduled thing on my agenda for today.  However, at 8:00am I am woken from a deep sleep to Hanna calling out “Rachel!! It’s flooding!!”  So I jump out of bed and go to assess the inevitable drain under out basement staircase.  Sure enough, a little water was seeping out of the drain, but nothing too extreme, and after a few suspenseful minutes the water starts to return back down to its home.  Regardless, Hanna and I move things out of destruction’s path.  A couple hours later I return to discover that the water decided to come back for a visit—this time in full force.  Water was pooling under the stairs and making its way into Hanna’s room and the bathroom.  This event, as we were casually warned by our landlord and experienced last winter season, happens at least once every year… what a treat!  So, we call our landlord, Virginia, who recommends a plumber, but end up having to call Roto-Rooter because her recommended plumber was unavailable right away.  Within the hour, a plumber arrives, and Ashley and I are the lucky ones that get to receive him (we’re often times the ones that deal with all the creepy plumbers/ handy men that come to the Green House).  His name was Bal, or something of that effect, and (as Ashley noticed right away) the fly on his pants was down, and he seemed a little unhappy about helping our situation.  So, we show him the flood, and he proceeds to figure out what to do with his van that was filled with all the needed equipment.  I think he was really confused, or maybe he was stalling, but it literally took him 45 minutes to park his van… red flag number one!  Anyways, he gets to work eventually, huffing and puffing, and $450 and many questions later, fixes our notorious drain.  I had to head off to class before he was even gone (he had been at our house for almost 3 hours!), and I did not have time to accomplish many of the things that I hoped to get done today.  But, tomorrow is another (hopefully more dry) day!

Mr. Morales

Two Christmases ago, I traveled south to Bolivia to visit my older brother who was working there.  It’s a beautiful country—very diverse, both socially and geographically.  I always find it interesting to hear news about Bolivia, and today I read an article on BBC about Evo Morales’ plans for his country.  In case you don’t know, Bolivia is a poor (one of the poorest in Latin America) land-locked country in the center of South America.  Two-thirds of its population consists of indigenous people who mostly live in the barren, rural altiplano and are farmers, miners, and artisans.  There is a minority of elites who traditionally have controlled the political and economic sectors, causing a discrepancy between the native Indians and the Spanish elites.  But in 2006, Evo Morales was elected as the first Aymara Indian president for Bolivia.  Finally, the Indian majority had a chance to be heard in their own country. 

Although the US (well, at least the Bush administration) doesn’t like Mr. Morales (this is probably because he is a socialist, opposes free trade, and often sides with Castro and Chavez) I think what he is trying to accomplish for his country is a good thing.  For example, he is redistributing the land so that the elite minority doesn’t control all the best (most fertile and gas-rich) land. Right now, Bolivia is in the process of voting on a new referendum that will give more power and voice to the indigenous majority—the results for new constitution are still being processed, but I hope that Mr. Morales can succeed in creating equality in his country with the new constitution!  To read more about this, check out the article on BBC. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

This One is for Ashley

After much pressure and influence from my besties (the girls I live with) I have decided to start blogging.  Last semester I was studying abroad in Central America and I tried to keep a regular blog about my experiences, but that proved unsuccessful and I only blogged a handful of times in four months.  Needless to say, I am now starting this new blog.  But what will I blog about?  I don’t really know yet… but probably everything from my hiking treks to what I am studying in my classes.  Let’s see if I can be cool like my other house mates/ former house mates and blog on a regular basis…

To start things off, here are a few pictures from two weeks ago when I went hiking on Mailbox Peak with my favorite adventure buddy, dad, and Diva (my dog)