Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Political Asylum in the USA – the Joseph Stalin’s Daughter’s Case and Homeschooling

Immigration to the USA is strictly regulated by law, just like in any other or at least most countries in the World. 

The political asylum principle, requirements and proceedings are part of the system.  A person intending to emigrate from a foreign country and immigrate to the United States of America needs to meet certain criteria of eligibility.  Primarily he or she must be considered a refugee and be granted the right of asylum.  The link at the end of this sentence takes you to the outline of the complete rules and history regarding this matter of political asylum in the USA. 

Sometimes granting a political asylum decision is controversial and counter intuitive.  The Joseph Stalin’s daughter’s case is one of the best known examples.

How widely or loosely it can be interpreted shows the recent instance of German immigrants who were granted political asylum due to the alleged hardship of the lack of possibilities of home schooling there.

See ya …

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday and Cyber Thanksgiving in the US – the Electronic Black Fridays

Now when the craziness of the Black Friday weekend is behind us we can all relax, finally get some rest and in the coziness of our own homes … go shopping online. 

Just like the Black Friday, the Friday right after Thanksgiving, is the beginning of the Holiday shopping season, the Cyber Monday, following the whole Thanksgiving weekend, has become its online equivalent in the e-world and a great start to the year end digital shopping frenzy on the world wide web or net. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday in the USA - the Start to the Holiday Shopping Season

Happy Thanksgiving!  Now when The American Holiday is over and we are all stuffed like the turkey we can do what Americans do best – we can go shopping.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is really crazy.  Not only is it the day of super promotions and super sales.  It is also one of the most dangerous days of the year for traffic and security.  People not only shop till they drop.  Crooks are coming out of the woods looking for an opportunity to make the extra buck pick pocketing, breaking into cars in shopping malls parking lots, robbing homes and just stealing whatever they can put their hands on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving in the USA – The American Holiday of Eating Meeting and Visiting

Celebrating Thanksgiving is all about eating, meeting and visiting.

Families, relatives, or just friends get together at the proverbial dinner table not really to commemorate the first mutual fest of the Pilgrims or immigrants from Europe and the Native Americans or the original residents but to indulge themselves in great food, relax and have fun in the company of the dearest ones.

People tell jokes, watch football games, have a beer or too, so to speak, or a glass of wine, or rather a bottle … to be closer to reality, stuff themselves with turkey meat or filling and other traditional, or not so conventional Thanksgiving dishes and goodies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving in the USA – How the Turkey Day Really Started

Turkey is on the table!  What could be more American than the Thanksgiving turkey?  Well, maybe the American apple pie or the pumpkin pie?  Maybe?  May be.  The tradition of serving turkey for Thanksgiving dinner is as old as the celebration itself, right?  Maybe not.  Actually … not really.

You may not believe it, but the turkey tradition is relatively new and did not became the Thanksgiving staple food until it was popularized on a massive scale only in the late 1940-ies (nineteen forties) by Mr. Sears and company through mail catalogue sales, which is the predecessor to the current day Internet commerce.

The tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in America we learn in history classes started in 1620-ies (sixteen twenties).  The modern day Thanksgiving is, by popular belief, considered a direct ancestor of the Pilgrims’ celebration.  It, as the research shows however, is not.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Summer Jobs by Youth in the USA

Getting a summer job by students is another American tradition.  It has to do with the concept of raising children as independent individuals who in the future, as adults, will need to take care of themselves, make money and make a living on their own.

The last few years, especially the last summer of 2010, were unusually difficult for seasonal employment including summer jobs for the young due to the recession and high unemployment in the USA.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Other Side of Tolerance in the USA - the N-Word

Slavery is one of the most controversial issues in the history of the United States.  It is still so emotionally charged that the word Niger or Nigger, which in its Latin origin simply means black, is not permitted to be used in mass media.

Hypocritically, however, it is used commonly and with pride among the black population or, as the politically correct term calls it, African Americans.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Attack! Facebook Google and Freedom of Speech in the USA

Facebook has been long accused of serious privacy issues violations.
Google has also been charged with similar confidentiality problems by the Internet community.

The recent attack on Facebook and Google, which peaked on Friday the 10th, 2011 proves anew that people can bear only so much abuse before they start rioting against it and stand up to the violator.

Personal privacy awareness is especially strong in the USA.  The freedom of speech and the right to express your opinion without any recourse is extremely deeply embedded in American souls and hearts.  Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and other legal acts.  So is the personal privacy of its citizens.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Poland’s Independence Day and Veterans Day in the USA – November 11th

On November 11th (eleventh) 1918 Poland regained its independence after it had not existed as a country for 123 (one hundred twenty three) years. 

In the United States Veterans Day is celebrated on this day. 

It is also the day when World War I (one) or the Great War, as it was referred to before WWII (World War Two), ended. 

For one reason or another this day, November 11th sooner or later has become a holiday in many countries. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tolerance Traditions in the USA – DADT Policy in the US Military

One of the great American traditions is tolerance.  According to the Encarta Dictionary of English (North America) the word has 6 (six) meanings.  The one I mean here is "the acceptance of views other than ours and recognizing other people’s right to have different beliefs or practices without attempting to suppress them".

Throughout the country’s history, which, by the way, is quite short in global terms, the perception of tolerance has also changed.  Being a country that started as a result of a revolution the American set of mind is naturally “born to be free”, “born to be wild”.

One of the most recent example is the DADT policy.  A link to President Obama’s speech on the issue at the Human Rights Campaign (HRS) on Saturday, October 1st, 2011 is not enclosed here but is listed below.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Spring Forward! Daylight Savings Time in the USA and Visualization in Learning American English as EFL

Twice a year we change the clock by one hour. The new, or the “Summer Time”, is called the Daylight Savings Time. The clock changes on the second Sunday of March and returns to Standard Time on the first Sunday in November. Why do we switch between ST and DST?

In 2011 Daylight Savings Time in the United States began on Sunday, March 13, 2011, and ended at 2:00 am on Sunday, November 6th, 2011. Clocks go ahead one hour in the spring and go back one hour in the fall.

Friday, November 4, 2011

TOEFL – American English Language Test

When you apply to a college in the USA, you need a proof that your American English is good enough.  You will be required to take TOEFL and submit the score.

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language.  This is practically the only exam you need to take to prove your efficiency in American English.  It is recognized world-wide.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

American English versus School-ish

Schools are great!  I truly believe it.  There are also intrinsic school limitations specific to formal mass education.

It also applies to teaching and learning foreign languages.  The way I see it, the two most important confines are the lack of practical approach to contemporary issues and too much emphasis on grammar at the expense of vocabulary.  In other words schools teach the theory of the language instead of teaching the language itself.  Instead of having students speak the language, schools, as a rule, talk about it while the “learners” remain passive and unable to develop speech or simply use the language or just get to learn it for everyday practical conversations or "for real".