Monday, December 06, 2004

Sorry guys

Hi all, thought that you guys might want to here this. Say hello to how things love to go wrong in my life. First, I get tricked by Tech by having my room change approved. Yeah! I get to leave stupid roomate! Tech neglected to mention how they would pop a squat on my internet accesability. So apparently they have to update some central database in order for me to be able to reconnnect to the internet, but they like taking their sweet time doing it. I haven't had internet in my dorm for about a week now. Second, my laptop, the one thing that may help me deal with this by giving me wireless, decides it'll be fun to just stop working. So now I am double screwed. What else could go wrong? How could this get any more screwed up? Well the third screw, the pooch screw, comes as I attempt to post one of my many last second blogs, more specifically the second one of twelve. Blogger crashes. i was about ready for my explode and to let out a scream that would shatter the eardrums of most people on campus, but I hold it back. Good god, this sucks. Well, I am sending an email that looks much like this to Dr. Tryon and hopefully he will forgive my lateness, cause it would suck to screw up this class just because the internet hates me.

Tech Housing needs a Dictator

So allow me to use one of my fabulous 15 blogs to demonstrate how the students aren't always the slackers at Georgia Tech, which I think is because of a lack of dictatorship style discipline. When it comes to services I feel that there should be strict regulations for the amount of work to get done and the only thing stricter should be the managers making sure it gets done by acting as dictators and saying, it's this way or the high way. Democracy doesn't work in the workplace, because unless you truly love working most people will vote for doing nothing, or doing something other than actua work. This is when things fall apart. The workplace must be ruled with an iron fist, and Tech left the iron at home. It takes housing forever to process a request and forever to update a server. In case the rest of are wondering they contributed to the delayed addition of my blogs. I hate housing. The only thing they are good at is preventing you from breaking a contract. other than that, they aren't worth the cushioned chairs they sit in. They perform about as well as a concert pianist who has nine broken fingers. they'll get it done, but damn it processes weird and it takes damn near an eternity.

Scary Bush

Bush can be a scary guy. Let's see, enormous deficit which he plans to fix by lowering taxes. Wait, that doesn't work. Unless, no wait he doesn't see any reason to lower war funding. Wait he does want to cut funding on other government spending programs, including domestic ones. This can't be right. Lets get it straight. From sources I have seen if I have patched this together right, Bush wants to fix the deficit by lowering funding for domestic government programs, lower taxes, and without lowering war funding. Oh wait, I can't forget that he wants to strengthen the economy, that'll help the deficit too. Okay enough sarcasm. Sure, a stronger economy will help the deficit. One problem though, the economy doesn't grow stronger from lower taxes for landowners and divend investors while keeping taxes the same for economy level mass consumers, those who can't necesarily afford their own land. Also, cutting domestic government spending does not help the outlook of the future on a national scale. In addition the spending for the war on terror, is only detrimental, though acts can be taken to counteract its effect on our economy they are not being taken and it doesn't look like Bush is plannig to open his eyes anytime soon. The only question I have left is: What's worse? Bush or the fact that we elected him.

Election Fun

Hey y'all. Just thought I would throw down some of my thoughts from what little I saw of the election coverage, its results, and some interesting information that not everyone may know (though you probably do know them). Let's start with what I call the smart yet frustrating move. John Kerry decides to concede before they finish counting Ohio and if he had gotted 98% of the remaining vote he could have won. Wait, according to the statistics that was nearly impossible, in fact it didn't happen. Yet, for some reason, i found my self screaming "NO! DON'T GIVE UP MAN!! IT'S NOT OVER TILL THEY ALL RECOUNT!!!" Anyways, lets move on. Hmm, ah here we go. Stupid useless crap fact of the night: some voting machines in Idaho malfunctioned. RECOUNT IDAHO!! Wait, noone cares, it's useless. Hmmm. Ah ha! Factoid numero uno: even though Kerry "conceded" it's not official till every vote is counted. If Ohio had gone to Kerry he would still be president!! Guess what, Bush won! If you didn't know get a social-democronectomy and call me in the morning. Anyways, I guess the whole picking between the lesser of two evils and the chosing the monkey or the horse thing kinda disrupts the seriousness. like this whole blog entry. oh well. it was all fun and games. FOUR MORE WARS!!! thank you and GOODNIGHT!!!!!

The Great Debate Mystery

Let us explore the mystery that is the debates. First we call into question its original purpose. I imagine, and I hope, that the original formation of the debate system was as a method of informing the people of the views of both of the candidates on a national level. The question is: Is this what the candidates use it for? My opinion: no! The candidates see this not as an opportunity to inform the people but as a opportunity to reap votes from the public and possibly drag enough votes out to win an election. So a new question arises: Who are they targetting? I really can't answer this one. Some would say it is the undecided voter. He who must see if there is a defining issue he/she can settle on or one who simply knows nothing of the stance of the candidates on importnat issues. The other possible target: CONVERSIONS! Possibly the holy grail of all voters, those who feel strongly for voting for one candidate but have their minds changed. The candidates seek these people more through discrediting their opponent than through any policy of their own. If the target is the undecided voter who just doesn't know the stances of the candidates then I forsee a major problem with the debates. They have little effect. Essentially the voters in this boat hold one common characteristic: laziness. There are WAY too many sources out there to wait for a debate to here a major stance on something. If these people can't get up off of their couches to find out what's going on in the decision of the next leader of our country than not only are they probably too lazy to actually go and vote, but they probably don't deserve to vote. It scares me to think that there really are people out there who vote by going, "Hmmm i like his name better."

The Debates WooHoo

ahhhh the debate. The great and mighty decider of elections, yet, still a mystery. The first debate, definently what I expected. Good questions followed by bad answers. Sure the man asking the questions had all the right ideas, there's just one problem. The candidates, as I feel, aren't there to answer the questions, they re simply giving a televised speech, disguised as a debate. They discredit one another try to show why what they think is right. Basically they take the question and twist and turn their answer until it states whatever they damn well please and could possibly in no way pertain to the original question. The discredit each others claims but they do that every day anyways. The fact of the matter is that although the stayed on the general topic of the debate it really functioned as a speech. For this reason I feel that the concept of debating is good but the truth is bad. It is a mystery to me why we submit ourselves to this,. I think it would work better as a broken speech. They get a general topic like "foreign affairs" and they get to speak for fifteen minutes at a time then their opponent gets fifteen minutes. it goes back and forth to total, say, an hour each. They can use the time to attack their opponents claims or support their own, whatever they want. I just don't see the point in dragging on these useless debates that function as speeches. Sure, the debate where the audience asks the questions is much better, because the candidates are more likely to respect a question straight from the public than from some debate judge/proctor. Still, the debates serve a purpose, but one that could be served by a speech as well.

Electoral College: Illogical? YES!

The mighty wonders of the electoral college. I must ask, why do we hold on to such an outdated system? Think back to when this system was created. A select few were chosen to hold true say over a states voting rights. Why on earth would you wnat to degrade the influence of the people by reducing the number that actually affect the election? Maybe because when the electoral college was establish there was a mass number of people who were illiterate, and there was no TV or Radio to tell everyone what the candidates wanted to do, just newspapers and pamphlets. The electoral college was established in a time when only a select few knew enough about politics, policy, and the future to make a legitimate decision. In today's world most people are not only literate, but they have some sort of knowledge of the political system. They know to some extent how some policies can affect the country as a whole. Thanks to this they can actually be trusted to vote a candidate into office based on their own knowledge. With the electoral college as it is and elections as close as they have been, we run into interesting situations during the time of elction. Like a candidate winning the popular vote overall, but losing the race and not becoming president. The popular vote, the true opinion of the people of the United States of America means absolutely nothing in the system that we are still using. The electoral college needs to be eliminated, here and now.

is this for real?

Hey Dr. Tryon, I don't know if this is the best decision I have ever made but hey i'll give it a shot. I was wondering if you actually read all of these blogs or not, I mean i know you probably count how many we have submitted. The question still stands though, do you read them all? Now here's a few calculations: (8 students per weblog) X (3 weblogs per class) = 24 students per class (average) (24 students per class) X (3 classes for the semester) = 72 students each semester (15 blogs for course blog) + (6 blogs for group blog) = 21 blogs per student (21 blogs per student) X (72 students per semester) = a grand total of 1512 blogs per semester. So I'm gonna guess that you don't read them all. If I'm wrong lemme know at (gtg608x@mail.gatech.edu). Thanks, jason

My Voting Experience or Not

Ahhh. My voting experience. Something I will remember forever and ever. I went to the polls and ... wait. That's a lie. Go to the polls? Ha! Allow me to explain two things to you, the truth, and what my parents think is the truth. My parents think I was the good little 19 year old and went to vote hoping and believing that my vote matters. That's what I'll let them think, because, and no offense to them, they can be quite ignorant. Here's the truth: I'm in Georgia. Georgia will go for Bush. it doesn't matter who I vote for. If I vote Bush my candidate wins. If I vote Kerry my candidate loses. Hey guess what? Georgia goes republican. Bush was going to win Georgia unless more than half the state was incapcitated and they all supported Bush. Why should i go to vote on a school day when I have tons of work to do if I know for a fact which candidate is going to win. I just don't see the point. Maybe someday I will, but until then, I won't vote in Georgia, my time is worth more than that. It is going to be a serious amount of time before anyone can even think about Georgia going to the other side. Perhaps in some distant future things will change, but not anytime soon, possibly not even in my lifetime, but you never know. "That's the truth and I'm stickin' to it." (SNL)

Vince Keenan's lecture

GOOD GOD!!! No offense to Dr. Tryon for having us go to this or to Vince, but I really don't think that this was meant for us. Also, I'm sorry if this is a relentless rant but it's late I'm tired and dealing with housing sucks. Vince Keenan is a pretty good speaker in general, but when I go to a lecture that is required for my English Composition class I suspect it might have something to do writing, english, or even just general material we have discussed in class. Apparently, I was wrong. I really did not expect the CS oriented lecture we got. The early days of the internet. Site development over time. Site revisions and expansion. Government funding for public service sites. Sure it's all interesting in its own respect, but not for english class. About the only thing in his lecture that related to our class was that his website gave information for voters. Great, I'm happy progress is being made to inform the voters of important information. I just would expect him to talk about how his site and possible future sites affect voters and the election, not how Vince developed his website. This sounds like an angry rant, and it sort of is. You see, I am an EE major, I don't like CS, I have respect for it, but I HATE it. I don't like being lectured about something I hate for a class it doesn't pertain to. I apologize if this offends anyone, but I think it could have been handled much differently.

Vince Keenan's lecture

GOOD GOD!!! No offense to Dr. Tryon for having us go to this or to Vince, but I really don't think that this was meant for us. Also, I'm sorry if this is a relentless rant but it's late I'm tired and dealing with housing sucks. Vince Keenan is a pretty good speaker in general, but when I go to a lecture that is required for my English Composition class I suspect it might have something to do writing, english, or even just general material we have discussed in class. Apparently, I was wrong. I really did not expect the CS oriented lecture we got. The early days of the internet. Site development over time. Site revisions and expansion. Government funding for public service sites. Sure it's all interesting in its own respect, but not for english class. About the only thing in his lecture that related to our class was that his website gave information for voters. Great, I'm happy progress is being made to inform the voters of important information. I just would expect him to talk about how his site and possible future sites affect voters and the election, not how Vince developed his website. This sounds like an angry rant, and it sort of is. You see, I am an EE major, I don't like CS, I have respect for it, but I HATE it. I don't like being lectured about something I hate for a class it doesn't pertain to. I apologize if this offends anyone, but I think it could have been handled much differently.

My Opinions of Vince Keenan

Vince Keenan... hmmm what to say what to say. Well, leaving his lecture for another blog lets talk about his leading class discussion. Vince stated at the beginning of the period that he was interested in seeing our personal opinions and the issues we were concerned about. He seemed to say that he wanted to hear what we had to say but I feel he showed us otherwise. The only point when he really let us talk it out they way we wanted to was at the very beginning, when he wouldn't let us go into detail but rather had us simply name categories to talk about later. When approaching later discussion he steered us into what he wanted to talk about and what he wanted to hear. It really bothered me quite a bit. I mean, he is either there to lead a discussion or hear what we have to say or lecture. I don't really mind any of these but when he says one thing and does another is when it starts to bother me. I thought it would be interesting to hear a new perspective on our discussions, but not to be told what to talk about and for how long. If he was going to take that much control he could of at least let us know. Plus I still think that it would have been time better spent for us to have a little more control. Anyways, I do still think that the discussion was relatively productive, and it was nice to hear Vince talk about the things we have discussed all semester. Plus, it was nice to hear him actually talk about things that pertain to our class.

x-men, spiderman, superman....oh my. wow, that was pretty lame. sorry

I really like this article. i know. i'm a geek. i find one article that shows the underlying social message in comic books, and i blog on it. but read the article...it really does hit home. maybe here at tech, alot of my fellow geeks can share my frustration. acceptance comes hard for some of us. and we may try to hide it. what other option are we given? this article uses very touching language to lure the reader to want to read more. it somehow says "if you read me, you'll be accepted, or learn to live by accepting yourself." wow. powerful stuff. all from superman...you go superman. you go *tear*

maybe its the cs major in me...but...YES!!!!

Stunning announcement. Software better than hardware. alright! This article from the la times says that IBM is selling its hardware division and focusing on consultation. to steal a line from the article and change it a bit cuz i'm to lazy to copy paste: better to sell advivce on tech toys than sell the tech toys. what does this mean? software makes more money than hardware. i think its interesting how market moves and big business plans can help show ideas in smaller areas. IBM, the people who first made PC's, is selling their PC making division, cuz it doesn't make enough money. Which teaches the lesson that software can do powerful things and can overcome obstacles in hardware and many other things. For me, as a CS major, hopefully, it means a job.

wow...talk about hilarious.

Its not really an article, but its still pretty good rhetoric. I read some of these to my roommates....they laughed. I like rhetoric that mocks people. Making fun of people and things is so fun. So is laughing. Maybe that's why this is such a good technique. Everyone loves to laugh. Except for poopy-pant-people. they suck, so don't listen to them. ON another note, i never knew that ET was a contestor for a theory of creation/big-bang-ation. Guess that shows what i know.

wow another blog so soon!!!!

Here's another article. This one is sort of boring and short, but is sorta funny to me. This guy and/or girl that wrote the article has some sort of weird underlying consipracy theory going on. GOP VS BUSH.....you decide? ok actually its just Bush trying to pass a bill and someone from the GOP is against it. this plus the fact that republicans are in power throws up a red flag. how come 2 people from the same side of the tracks disagree. i don't know. cuz they're human?
now about bush winning on an open floor vote in the public's view. i'm agreeing with this at the moment. i think that the public does want intelligence redone. the whole intelligence thing has gone into the spotlight now, and the public is pretty riled up. or so it seems.

elections in iraq.

This article talks about how pres bush it talking about pulling out in jan whether or not the elections are happening. The article thinks this is a bad idea. It makes a good point by saying that we need to let the Iraqi's deal with setting up the elections at their own time, so that they can get used to the whole making decisions thing. That sounds pretty important, especially in this situation. What isn't taken into consideration, is that families want their loved ones back. pres bush is being pushed(bush-push.....wow) to bring soldiers back home. so it would make sense that he would want to pull troups out as soon as possible. possible solutions....none that i can see right now.

Gangs of Cobb County

This article found in the AJC this morning talks about the increasing numbers with gangs in Cobb County. Police are saying too that it just isn't with south cobba dn smyrna anymore, they are in even the upper scale cities in east cobb. That just proves it doesn't matter how much money you have activities like this still go on. They are now estimating that there are about 26 gangs and 400 members in Cobb county. TO me that is so scary. I don't reamember really any gangs where I lived in Douglas County. It's completely insane that is what kids think they have to resort to to be a prat of something, apart of a family. I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do though with the over 55% divorce rate in this country with increasing numbers of single parents. I'm not saying that to excuse it beacuse I grew up with one parent who had to work all the time, but environment does have a lot to do with it. What's scary is that Cobb doesn't even have the led with gangs, Gwinnett County has over 175 gangs and 1800 members. That's fightening. Police also discuss how the gang maemebers are becoming more sophisticated, too. They don't show the tatoos and symbols anymore to avoid being caught. They leave to the younger less experienced members. What was even scarier to me was the fact we have national gang members from California to set up "chapters" for the Latino gangs... What the heck? Many people are dscibing it a the "new mafia" with activities that range form prostitution to drug traffiicning to shootings. There are currently 750,000 gang members across the united States and 15000 of those are in Georgia. Most of the members are high school dropouts and range from ages 12-24. Twelve years old...that's ridiculus. What's worse is that most are tried as juveniles because of their ages. They get out and just continue activity. I think we definitely need to focus more on family values in this country. What are kids doing these days??????

changing topics

This really has absolutely nothign to do with anything, but I just wanted to express my opinion ont he recent pro-sports fiascos we hve had in the news lately. First I would like to start off with the ever-so-insane NBA. I mean what in the heck has professional basketball come to when there are fans throwing things at the players and players punching the fans. Come on! There are children that go to these games to see their idels and all that happens is a fist fight! It absolutely baffles me how a person who makes millions of dollars a year playing a sport he loves can think that it's ok to hit someone during a game. Just because you make that money doesn't give you special privileges. I'm sorry about that, I know that comes as a huge shock to lot of players. I really think a lot of it comes formt he fact that many of these players are drafted directly out of high school and are thrown into too much too fast. We've got young kids out there my age making 80 million in Nike contracts. That money can go to anyone's head fast. I just think the league needs to hold those players responsible for their actions. Artise is arguing his suspension. Why i have no idea. YOU PUNCHED A GUY INT THE STANDS! ADN ON TOP OF THAT IT WAS THE WRONG GUY!!! Good grief this stuff really gets to me. Peopel who have the audacity to think they rule the world jut because they play professionally. If anything that holds a person to higher standards. That's why I love ollege football so much. Teams and coaches are willling to pull themselves out of bowls becuase of fights and misbehaviors. They take responsibility for their actions and think about the consequences in the future. Something many of these "professional" adults need to learn.

I almost forgot...Georney's with George

I almost forgot to blog on my new favorite movie...just kidding...but I did find it very entertaining. I am a Bush supporter, so I definitely like seeing the things htat go on with him behind the scenes. I believe that I like him even more now that I've seen the goofy personality that he seems to maintain while in the road (or in the air) with the reporters. It was also cool to see that documentary was shot form a democratic woman, so it helped iwht the bias. It was awesome to get both sides of the political spectrum when evalutating certain decisions or certain speeches. Once, or I guess more than once, Bush would screw up on his speech. But it was hilarious to hera him make fun of himself and laugh about it afterwards. Things that the opposing party eats for dinner, he just laughed at and brushed off. I also learned a lot about honesty though. I think that much of what the public hears is exaggerated and taken out of context and it was nice to just see exactly what goes on with those kind of campaigns. I also know now that George Bush is a Cheeto Man! Who doesn't love em?

recount

I was looking over all the blogs for the semester and I saw the articles on voting in Ohio. I realize and I hope the Green Party realizes that there really isn't any way to win the election, but a recount might help improve the voting system. If the voting machines aren't working properly, then what does voting really matter then. I think people would like to be reassured that their votes are actually going to the right candidate. I do believe though this should be a one time thing and only in the state of Ohio. If you start bringing in multiple countsin multiples states, then all brings is chaos. I also think that would bring a lot of mistrust on the government and voting procedures and discourage voting. This recount needs to be taken very carefully because no one wants chaos, or least I hope not. I know I was sicka nd tired of the Florida recount in the last election. I just about shot the television if I heard one more time about hanging chads. But I guess a recount really couldn't hurt only if it's purpose is to test the machines.

blogging...a new craze

I'll be the first to admit that I had absolutely no clue what a blog was until this class. In fact, I thought maybe it was just some made up word, and I just didn't get the joke...But after realizing what it is, it's actually been pretty cool. It's so weird how comeone can make up a word and actually have it put into the dictionary. I make up words all the time and mine aren't there. Oh well, maybe mine just weren't good enough, who knows? But anyway, I really have enjoyed the blogs. It's nice to be able to share your opinions and read those from otheres in your bloggroup and those outside your group. I know I have personally learned a lot of useful and sometimes random inforamtion from the blogs. So what if we blog on blogging, who cares? Seriously though, I think it's been a great opportunity to grow as a person because of the blogs. I mean we have blogged ont he election, political stances, abortion, gay marriage, stem cell reasearch, and many other topics that are sometimes left quiet and unsaid. It's been great learning about hte different stances and different views that my fellow classmates have on these topics. If fell like I have grown as a person because of them.

It jobs

I don't know abuot everyone else, but I am just plain tired of hearing abuot all of the IT jobs that are being lost to OUTSORCING....wow i've coem to hate that word. Maybe it was because out group project consisted of article after article abuot people complaining hat outsourcing is the devil and the Chinese people are taking their jobs. What? I mean come on. A lot of articles found that (the O word) isn't bad after all and will stimulate the economy. It's more cost effective in some cases which brings our consumer prices down. It's not always right to have every company based in America with American workers. I mean there are lot of smart people in the world that can help out those companies. Plus, it benefits the US and every other country to have a strong glogal economy. Everyone needs a crutch sometimes, right. Well, anyway, the bottoml ine is that southeastern poeple aren't stealing jobs away from Americans. Heck, a lot of those jobs Amercians don't want anyway. It's also true that the IT industry is ever changing, so the people in the industry need to be willing to change with it. I'm not saying that it's not terrible that families are loosing their jobs and families are hurting, but job loss just doen't occur only with IT people. It happens to everybody.

money doesn't always buy happiness

In my blog group for the group project, there was an article that discussed what things poeple are now looking for in a job. The article really focused on the change from one steady job that paid a decent amount of money to one with flexibility. I really think that people are now starting to kind-of put their greed aside and choose a job with more flexibility. I have an extremely flexible job in which I choose what hours I want to work and I just happen to get paid fairly well for it. It is great for me because as a college student, I need flexibility. Classes and class times are going to change, and I can just have my job change along with it. I also think that a lot of parents are deciding that they need to spend more time with their families instead of with coworkers. It may be a crazy idea, but money doesn't always buy happiness...

Blogging....about...blogging.

Like Cody said when he noticed that “blog” had recently been added to the dictionary that he had only first heard the word in our class, I too was a bit surprised to learn that when I searched “blog” on a couple of news sites(CNN.com and reuters.com) the same article popped up. This article was not only saying that “blog” was a recent entry in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, but that it was the top word of the year. That, I think is quite a large feat for such a small word, and I believe that as more people begin to see how easy it is to blog that the effectiveness of blogging will only increase. By the next elections blogging should be developed enough that it will be even more widely used than in this election, and it will definitely have a greater influence than in this election. Blogging provides an easy and convenient means for people to communicate their thoughts (and even edit them later). For many people it is inconvenient to find a podium and begin to give a speech to tell everyone what they are thinking, but with blogging, they can communicate easily and to a much larger audience. So to those that have found blogging, keep it up and tell those that haven’t heard yet, because this is a great way to communicate on an almost equal level from one peer to another.

stem cell research

Stem cell research is one of those controversies that no one really seems to know where their stance is. I think if many people were more educated on the topic, then it might be less controvery. There are many types of stem cell research, and despite what some believe, doctors aren't just killing babies or commiting abortions to these cells. It's amazing what people think. I don't obviously know everything about it, but I do know quite a bit and I was happy to see someone found the article describing the research interesting and informative. My mom has had ovarian cancer twice, and there really isn't a lot known about that type of cancer yet. Stem cell research is potentially a research process that can save many lives adn cure many diseases that right now have no cures. The research is based on using cells that are inactive, like cells that stayed active after their job was completed or even miscarrages. I know I have personally heard the arguement that stem cell reasearch will promote the use of abortions and almost rationalize it for a lot of people because they know the baby can be used. I do not believe that is true at all. I personally am pro-life, but you can't take away the right for a person to choose whether they want a child. I beleive that if soemone is going to have one, well their mind is made up. Stem cells aren't really going to playa role in that. Iw ork the Special Olympics every year and many of those kids are dying at extremetly young ages or are left dibilitated for the reast of their lives. Knowing that stem cell research could possibly cure some of those diseases is amazing. There just isn't anyway that I could ever explain to that child that I don't beleive in the research that could make him better.

college kids...what are we going to do?

This article is a little different, but it is pretty cool. It talks about the pressure and false ideas college students have concerning the job market. We're always told we need to go to a good college and get a degree, but what does that actually do for us?.... Many belief that just because they just got out of college that this brand new 80,000 dollars a year job will land in ther lap. I know I was always told growing up to go to college because i will get a good job then. Thats not necessarily true anymore. Everyone goes to college so it isn't like having a leg up on anyone anymore. I heard on the radio the other day that people who don't got ot college can sometimes actually have the advantage over those who choose education first. That 4-8 years spent ini school could actually be spent working if that person could find a decent job. (the decent job part is the catch). Anyway, students also are used to this lifestyle in college of no worries and no real responsibilies other than going to class. For most graduates it is a huge wake up call to get out into the real world and most end up going back home and living with their parents beacuse they have no job and can't support themselves. It's also a false image that a lot of celebrities give out. Take Labron James, Jessica Simpson, etc., they are young adults who are making millions of dollars a year. For some reason many other people believe that kind of money is to be made by all people, specifiacally that person. Theire standards are just oo high for the job market. I mean, really, how many people actually make that kind of money...

college study habits

I totally believe that college students, especially freshmen, don't study as much as they are recommended to at all. I should know. I know for me it would be almost impossible to study the recommended amount of time because I work 30-35 hours a week and still go to school. Some people, like myself have jobs and other obligations outside of school which limits the time for studying. I think that it's not necessarily the amount of time you spend studying that's imporrtant, it's the quality that one puts into it. If a student knows how to study well then it takes up a lot less time versus a student with no study habits who spends 10 hours studying for something they could have learned in an hour. I think a lot of it to depends on the individual person. Some people are auditory learners and retain informaiton from lectures and that's all they need. Others are visual learners and need the study time to actually read all of the material for themselves. On a different note though, I do believe that part of the low studying time for freshmen can be attributed to the newfound independence from home and the freedom to do whatever they choose. After that initial shock wears off, the student realizes that if they woul like to keep that nice HOPE scholarship money, they might need to bring their grades up. Also though, many students just get a huge wake up call when they go to college. I know for myself I never really had to study for anything in high school. College however, I do have to crack open a book once and while, ok maybe more.

Blog Technology

I noticed whenever I logged in at blogger.com that "blog" has recently been added to the dictionary. Before taking this course, I had never even heard of a blog. So, for my final entry I decided to find an article on blogs. The article Blogs as a Disruptive Technology, discusses why blogs are so revolutionary. The article implores a comparison of conventional websites to a custom necktie, which is quite expensive. The custom element is what makes a necktie or website expensive, not the quality. Blogs (short for weblogs) are created from templates, in much the same way that a cheaper mass produced tie is made. Blogs are inexpensive (often free) and incredibly user friendly. The blog sites that we created in class demonstrated both of these qualities. A similar site would have been very difficult to create from scratch. Blogs are also easily accessible to those searching the web. Blogs are updated often or, in some cases, seven times by each person at the very end of the semester, which makes their index on search engines to become higher. Many blogs are crude, but they serve their purpose well. Designer websites cost time and money, but many fail to generate a popularity that is even close to being porportional to their cost. Blogs and similar sites are an exciting new technology.

The Faith Factor

I agree with Barbara when she says how Democrats are using religion as an excuse for losing the election. The reason is no longer because a popular majority agrees with the opposing candidate's view and stances on many major issues, its now because there is a popular Christian majority in our country that all decided to vote for Bush. Of course, this is not the truth, since there are many Christians who chose to vote for Kerry in this past election. Although religion may have scored Bush some points in abortion and stem cell research and similar topics, this by no means decided the election for him. I do not believe that all Democrats lack faith or are all Atheist, but instead, I believe that they tend to be less concerned with religion when it comes to dealing with political affairs. Perhaps appearing more accepting to Christianity and any other faith could net them more votes in the next election, it might also cost them quite a few as well. Many people choose to be liberal simply because of the views they hold on religion and enjoy the reasoning the Democratic party uses when passing new legislation. If the Democrats could somehow be more moderate on their views of religion and faith, they could probably encourage more voters to vote liberal while at the same time not losing any of the votes they already have.

Filibusters

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is quite annoyed with the filibuster, and personally, I can't blame him. I think that the filibuster is a huge waste of time just to stall legislation on the floor. Obviously if the minority party decides they don't want to pass something, they can always resort to the filibuster to stop it dead in its tracks. This is a waste of time because its just a matter of time before the majority party decides to give up with passing it. Instead, they should just cut a deal with each other in the beginning, something along the lines of "We agree not to filibuster your legislation on gun control if you promise not to reject our stem cell research bill" or something to that effect. This way, two different issues are decided at once instead of waiting days, or possibly weeks for anything to get done. Things will get done a lot more quickly and the legislation process will be much more efficient. I suppose that without something such as the filibuster, the minority party would be helpless to prevent any legislation the majority party decides to pass. In all, I think this article does establish a well laid out argument and it was written well in context.

College Study Habits

I found that article to be mostly accurate, at least for myself anyway... Since the beginning of the semester, I dont think I've spent more than 25 hours total studying. Whenever there's an upcoming test, I study for about 3 hours the night before, just to make sure I know all the information. Other than that, the rest of my time is just spent doing random stuff in my room, chatting to friends online, hanging out around campus, going to the CRC to lift weights and do Tae Kwon Do, or just hang out in my friends' rooms to chill. For finals however, I find myself preparing a lot more than I have previously. So far, ive done probably 6 to 7 hours of history reading in preparation for a test 4 days away. I think that's probably the first time I've done studying so far in advance. I guess I may seem like a slacker for the majority of the year, (especially with these blog entries, haha), but when it comes down to something important, like finals, I get my act together and make sure I get my work done.

Ohio Part 2: The Sequel

Vasili’s blog about Ohio caught my attention as I was finishing up my blogs for this coming Monday. It seems that the Green party wants a recount in the state of Ohio. This is odd not because a member of the losing party wants a chance to win the election by showing that he actually won the state, but because it is actually a recount for a somewhat beneficial cause, the cause of field testing. Everyone knows that the best test of something is to test it in a real world and large scale situation. The electronic voting machines of Ohio are what have the leader of the Green party concerned. He wants the recount to make sure that the machines are working properly and can in fact be much more efficient that people at counting the ballots. With the coming of this “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back” on the voting machines, there should also come some faith in the ability of the machines to better count our votes, correctly and securely. And with this recount the people of the state that’s round on the ends and “hi” in the middle as Brak says will be able to sleep soundly knowing that their vote counted, and counted for the person that they selected (you may know Brak from such popular television series’ as “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast” and “The Brak Show”). So I say, count and recount, we must know for certain that our votes wil be properly counted.

Ridge steps down as Homeland Security cheif

In this article, it talks about how Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge resigned from his position. He decided that he would remain in his post until February 1 unless a successor is confirmed sooner. It seems from his resignation letter that the reason he resigned was because he felt that America is as strong and safe as it could be. Although he admits there is always more to do, America is significantly stronger and safer than ever before. Ridge has won praise for tackling what was widely regarded as an extremely difficult job. However, many outsiders think the department is falling short of doing what it could and should. THey feel he lost a number of important battles and are hoping his replacement would be able to get more money and therefore more clout for the department. It is unclear who will replace Ridge. Among the choices are Bush's Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend, Asa Hutchinson, the undersecretary for border and transportation security, and Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, is also among possible contenders.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Stem Cell Research

I found an interesting article on LexisNexis about stem cell research here. This article talks about the different kinds of stem cell research, like for example, there are kinds that focus on cells taken from human embryos, another on cells from mice and fish, and a third from stem cells that have mysteriously survived in the adult body long after their original mission is over. About half the nation's stem cell research involves studying stem cells that are naturally present in adults. Researchers have found such cells in a variety of tissues and organs and say that they seem to be a part fo the body's normal repair mechanism. The goal here is to find ways to put them to work to treat diseases. So far, no one has succeeded. There is also a significant stem cell research effort going on at Harvard's campus. Among their goals is to work with the most controversial area of stem cell research, creating human embryos by cloning and obtaining stem cells from those embryos. I found this article to be very informative since I dont know much about stem cell research and I learned quite a bit from it.

The Stem Cell Fairy

In the near future, the practice of placing baby teeth under one's pillow could be disbanded entirely. It turns out that the tooth fairy has been dramatically under-paying snaggle-toothed children for their pearly whites. In the article "Baby Teeth Provide Life-Giving Stem Cells", the promise of baby teeth as a source of incredibly valuable stem cells. I'm not sure the monetary value of stem cells, but the health benefits that may be derived from stem cells are phenominal. The stem cells from within baby teeth have the ability to become nerve, bone, or other tissues. Greatest of all, they are easy and non-controversial to harvest. After harvesting the stem cells, they could be placed in a stem cell bank and preserved with liquid nitrogen.

Researchers have found that by injecting mice with stem cells and insulin producing blood cells, they can cure the mice of diabetes. Further research into the uses of stem cells could revolutionize modern medicine. The first trial of stem cells in human patients is in the very near future. The first trial of stem cells will likely occur in patients with the lethal brain disorder called Batten Disease. The future of medicine seems very bright indeed.

"God Hating Frenchies..." Again

The article about “Perverted, God-Hating Frenchies vs. Inbred, Sex-Obsessed Yokels” seems to be a pretty popular one in this blog, so I think I will just blog a bit on it. The nice thing about this article is that it is presented in a very organized and categorized manner, which makes the points and ideas not only easier to present from the authors perspective, but also easier to see or understand what the author is trying to say from the point of view of the audience. This article presents some of the myths about conservatives followed by the facts that repudiate these claims, then the myths about liberals followed by the facts that repudiate those claims. Overall, this is a pretty effective strategy for proving or disproving a point because instead of getting too caught up in the rhetoric and losing your train of thought, you can instead worry about getting the information across and later adding in a bit of rhetoric, since the information will be clearly separated and easy to sift through.

another article on the economy...

This article by Mallika Kapur is another one of those pre-election essays saying that the economy will be a factor in this election. As James Carville said in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.” we saw in this election that this didn’t carry as much weight as many people would have liked it too. True, the economy will always be a factor, and many times a very important one, but as demonstrated by this election it is obvious that the economy is not always going to be the number 1 priority. Even if it’s not at its peak, people will still sometimes find issues that are more important to them at the time than the economy. So if you always try to use the economy to gain a political victory, it will undoubtedly let you down. Another mistake that Kerry may have made was that during his campaign and the debates, he never actually gave a plan of action as to what he was going to do to fix the economy, he instead only picked at Bush’s policies in an effort to discredit him and thus be the only other viable option. Although this might have worked, Kerry left out one small detail; he forgot to inform the public of what exactly it was that he planned to do to fix the economy, which then leaves Bush, the current president, with plans already in action, as the more credible and trustworthy candidate.

O-hi-o

Recount in Ohio

On Monday the 6th of December, Ohio's Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell will certify the 119,000 vote win of President George W. Bush in Ohio. Very soon after there will be a filing for a recount by the Green and Libertarian parties. Some people might see this as a shameful ploy so as not to admit defeat, but they know they lost. They just want to make sure that the voting machines and methods were accurate. I agree with this wholeheartedly. When is there a better time to check if voting methods work than using the data from an election? That's the best way I can think of. And I'd rather make sure all the machines and procedures work correctly for next time, so that we can be even more sure of the results in 2008. But people are still against it and I can't understand why. The government isn't paying for it, the Green and Libertarian parties raised the needed money for it themselves. Also, no one can complain that it's a waste of manpower beccause there not much of a better one. I'd rather check this now and make sure my vote will count for all it can next time instead of running into an extremely hazardous recount situation like they had in Florida in 2000. I see no harm which could come from this, considering that even if Kerry is found the winner of Ohio, it doesn't change the overall results and therefore doesn't change anything important.

Georney's with George

I found the film "Journey's with George" very informative. It was very nice in seeing how George W. Bush acts when not worrying about impressing people. He always had the look of a very humble politician, and in the documentary he seemed just as humble and good-natured. Even though some could argue he knew that he was being filmed and acted that way, to me it looked too natural for it to be acting. I wish that all politicians could be seen taht way before the election. No one can trust what they see on TV. The best way to get to know someone is how they act at home, with people they know and trust. In addition, the film was very informative in showing how much work goes into a campaign. Not just work either, but how much time out of people's lives, people who might not even vote for the candidate, just there cause they're the press. I find it amazing that someone can be that dedicated to their job that they'll spend a year away from their family just to be close to and write honestly on a candidate.

Response to Rich's War Crimes

I had heard of this in Belgium, but not Canada. This is part of the reason, as I understand it, of why we do not recognize the World Court. I don’t see how Canada can hold Bush though when his supposed War Crimes have nothing to do with Canada itself. Would Canada start policing on behalf of Iraq and the terrorists? I think not. Although it does present a scary scenario, it’s too much for anyone to actually do it, as they know that they would immediately have the US Army down their throats. If someone were to do it, they had better be ready for a war, because I’m sure that’s what they’d get. As for whether they actually are War Crimes, I don’t know. But if they are, I’m sure once the war is over, or even before then, we, as a nation, will find and hold responsible anyone who committed war crimes, or at least I hope so.

Ukraine's Voting Problems

Election Fraud

Three weeks after our election stayed uncontested thankfully, Ukraine went to the polls. Unfortunately, their election didn’t go nearly as well. Now, civil war looms on the edge as accusations of vote tampering and unfair practices are being throw at the incumbent. A redo election is going to be held on December 26th, something neither Moscow nor the incumbents want to occur since 1) the incumbents cheated the first time and now will lose much of their voters and 2) Moscow prefers the incumbent to help use Ukraine as a shield against the West, whereas the opposition for Prime Minister would most likely lean more under the West than under Moscow’s sphere of influence. Currently protesters are out and about demanding laws to protect against election fraud and many have already volunteered to run the polls and protect from fraud personally. Hopefully, all of this can be settled and Ukraine will be able to push through this without a bloody war of any kind.

Response to Cody's Studying

Absolutely true. From personal experience I already have found that in many classes I can study little and yet still get that needed grade. Procrastination is one of the hardest hitters of freshmen due to the lackadaisical style of college versus high-school. With having a set deadline far away, most freshmen, including myself, will wait as long as possible before actually getting down to it (i.e. me writing 13 blog entries today since I procrastinated till the day before). In high school, most were used to having a set schedule for everything, but with college’s multitude of choices, it becomes harder and harder to set anything in stone. Only now in college are freshmen really learning time-management, for otherwise, even if they study, they won’t meet the expectations needed. The style of college is very helpful in that it begins to get high-schoolers really ready for life by pulling them out of their old set schedules, and throwing choices at the and responsibility. Overall, it’s a good thing.

Response to Rich's Slaughterhouses

Unfortunately, as proven again and again, although writers in magazines can sometimes remain ethical, the media normally has an objective. Is it really ethical for the media to hide the slaughterhouses from the people, just so they can make the war look bad? They were so caught up in their own ends that they don’t realize what exactly they are doing. It’s not necessarily a left-leaning media always, it just so happens to be in this case. The main problem is that newspeople don’t have to show all the news, and they can easily go from a simple news service to a propaganda machine anytime they want. Amazingly enough, the US is one of the few who covers the war in this way. The majority of Europe and others show all of what occurs and go into more depth. The media here sees all people as liberals with weak stomachs, whereas the rest of the world knows what needs to be known and shows it to their watchers.

Religion Sprouts From a Yummy Sandwich

Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese

I find it constantly amazing how the smallest of things can effect so many people. In this case I’m referring to the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich (VMGCS). A couple of weeks ago, the woman who cooked this sandwich two years ago put it up for sale on EBay, and now it’s going around the nation, being displayed to one and all. Whether or not you believe it’s actually the Virgin Mary is not important, but that so many people can blindly believe in such a thing, that so many people can have that kind of Faith is amazing and almost inspiring. Sure, you might not believe it’s her, and you might be cynical enough to believe that those who think it’s actually the Virgin Mary are all stupid people who don’t deserve to have a say in anything, but blind faith is not a bad thing if placed in the right person or thing. It’s not so much the faith, but what the faith means to that person and how overall, that blind faith will help them be better people in the long run. I know this isn’t very political minded, but I found it very interesting and just had to comment.

Unethicality...

Money Talks

This article makes a good point about ethics of writers. Although at first glance it seems like it might call out writers on being unethical, the author jumps to no conclusions and realizes the true worth of an anonymous source. He takes the info the source gave and thoroughly checks it. Since the New Yorker is a rival magazine, he could have easily made the claims just to make his opponents look bad which, ironically, would have been unethical on its own. But instead the author remains cool and collected, and proves to his anonymous tipster that nothing wrong is occurring. No advertisements are being paid for through the writers, they are reporting the truth as it should be. Sure, they take on speaking engagements, but that’s for some extra money on the side, and they don’t work in advertisements for those extra employers into their normal columns. The anonymous tipster was a bit overzealous, but the author knew exactly what he was doing and showed the truth without casting doubt on anyone.


Response to Roly's Two Americas

Amen to Roly. Two Americas have never existed other than that one time in the 1860’s, as Roly puts it. Sure the nation polarizes around the big elections, but that’s the point. At least we have elections where we get to choose between two or more candidates. Even when the election is over, it’s not one America winning over another, because no matter how much the losing side may be saddened and the winning side may be gloating, one thing remains. The fact is that we are still in America. The winning side cannot do anything without the majority of the nation pushing it. And even if they won doesn’t mean that all of their ideals will be pushed through, because to isolate your opposition is a surefire way to create worse opposition in the future. The winning side is not chosen because all of their ideals were loved, it is normally due to a few key ones which the majority of the population simply believe the nation would be better with. After every election, the losing side acts as if it’s all over and now the nation will go to hell in a handbasket and revert to anarchy. Has it happened yet? Last time I checked there were still elections every four years, and very often the ruling party tends to change. So Democrats, don’t give up, the nation doesn’t plan on ending before you get another chance to win.

Response to Roly's Electoral College

I never found it very fair for a divided state with plenty of electoral votes to give all the votes to one candidate because he won by a single percentage point. I’m not saying to demolish the electoral system, but to have it work where the popular vote can go the other way is not the way we wanted this country to be. I say every state should divvy up their electoral votes the way Maine does (I believe it’s Maine, correct me if I’m wrong). If all states were to divvy up the electoral votes at the same percentages, or as near to the percentages as possible, of the popular vote, then we shouldn’t run into these cases such as in 1948 and 2000. That happening shows that it’s not majority rule, minority right, because the majority didn’t rule. The best thing that could’ve happened for electoral reform would’ve been for what happened in 2000 to occur in 2004. Luckily for the nation, that did not occur, for although it would have spurred electoral reform, it would also have created many other and worse problems then what the nation already has to face.

God-Hating Frenchies...

As much truth as is there, the article “Perverted, God-Hating Frenchies vs. Inbred, Sex-Obsessed Yokels” only covers part of the story. It only speaks of conservatives as religious Christians and only speaks of liberals as anyone non-religious at all. Obviously, this leaves out many in his study of the political preferences. While his points hold true for the majority of the conservatives and liberals, it by no means holds true for all of them. Although I congratulate him on pointing out the common myths between the parties and how they think of each other, he does it in a way which generalizes each party and in the end could offend either side. I will give him credit for trying though, because there’s no real way to point out flaws without someone taking offense to it.

Penn on Security

Penn's adventures in Airport security

I found this interesting posting the other day. It’s by Penn of the group Penn & Teller, and it’s about airport security. It is a couple years old now, but still relevant just due to being post 9/11. It’s interesting to think how far can the security guard really go. Do the rules of privacy and assault apply to them as well? Or can they search however they feel like without giving you any warning? In terms of national security, can they really make you strip down and do a cavity search without asking? These are all problems never clarified in the rush to add security to airports. Personal privacy was thrown out the window due to the need to protect our airports, which, a couple of months after 9/11 was acceptable, but to continue working that way more than a year later without having made any improvements is not the way it should work. This is a nation which fixes problems it sees, not lets them lie until they create a bigger problem. Hopefully now, two years later, it’s much more tolerable and acceptable.

Reform never hurt

Reforming a Scandalous UN

In the past few years the UN has not been extremely popular in America. Woodrow Wilson’s brain child, it failed the first time as the League of Nations after WWI, but began it’s successes after WWII in it’s current form. Unfortunately, with America’s war in Iraq and the UN stance on it, the UN’s power has shown to be slowly dwindling, and some are calling for reform. The UN, being the closest thing to world government we have, cannot be taken down, but it can be improved by not only broadening the council to allow some more of the influential nations a stronger role, such as India, Japan, and Brazil, but also by strengthening it’s resolve in enforcement. In Iraq the UN placed sanction upon sanction which Hussein evaded or nearly a decade. By strengthening the enforcement of their sanctions, the UN might be able to control enough power to prevent the wars it was meant to prevent and to help out the countries which are being torn apart by wars already. Kofi Annan might need to resign, that might help out the situation overall, but the real problems are not who’s the head of the UN, it’s what the UN is doing, or even in some cases, not doing, which needs changing. A little reform is always useful when things aren’t working out

Untitled

This article by Peter Dreier & Kelly Candaele is another one of these post-election-excuses as to why Kerry did not win the election. It seems that after the election these articles have popped up everywhere, and not without good reason. Trying to see what can be improved for next time is a very logical step towards victory, but trying to spin wages off as a moral issue? That seems a bit ridiculous. Sure, no one deserves to live in poverty, but just because people are in poverty because they aren’t getting paid enough still doesn’t make it a moral issue. That is an issue that is best left in the economic domain. This isn’t to say that it does not have moral effects, but if the government continues to increase wages and balance out what one makes with their taxes, then the difference between the pay of an upper class job and a lower class job will be reduced to zero and everyone will be in a state of economic equality. As nice as this sounds, it is the basis of communism, and as we have seen in example after example, has left nothing more than ruined sates in its path. Thus to continue to mix economic and social issues too heavily will eventually result in a communist state which will then lead to a tyrant or group of tyrants that will leave more people in poverty than there were before the change.

I Wonder...

Is this article “bloggable”? Well its too late for this year, the blog was anyway (the actual article was on time), but it’ll come in handy in the 2008 election, in fact, I think I’ll copy and paste it so that I can have easy access to I just before the next elections. This article does a very good job of giving voters the general instructions of how to vote and what to do in an emergency. For example, if you want to vote, but realize that you don’t know where to go, and it’s almost too late, you can simply call a hotline provided by the New York Times, and even though the number may change for next time, it’s an easy number to remember and the possibly new one will probably be posted on the next New York Times instructional voting article. So for next time, remember to be prepared, get your absentee ballots in on time, know where you’re going, and most importantly, know who and what you are voting for.

Study? At Tech?

This article is a nice change from all the election/election results talk. It’s nice to know that someone in the country is getting an A in their classes. In fact, according to a survey, about 40 percent of students can get A’s, and 41 percent can get B’s. And most of those people don’t even spend half of the recommended time studying and preparing for class. Those students must be the ones that don’t go to Tech. Here at Tech, most students have learned, and learned quickly that the idea is not to get a perfect score every time, but instead to just get a better score than the rest of the people in the class. In high school, that may not have worked, but here, where a professor adds 25 points to everyone’s scores just to bring the class average up to a C, not only does that work, but is actually encouraged. This competition may seem bad, but it is actually a driving force of many people who feel the need to excel, and thus work harder than they normally would in order to better understand the courses and keep their GPA’s up.

Again I Say, Keep The Electoral College!

Benjamin Zycher brings out important points about the Electoral College. He puts forth the best type of argument, the simple and straightforward kind. In his essay, he doesn’t tip-toe around the subject, but rather, tells it like it is. He picked out arguments for the college that are pretty hard to argue with. For instance, he lets people know that the founding fathers wanted the Electoral College to be more than just a reflection of the popular will, but a way to sort of force candidates to broaden their campaigning, “steer the political bases towards the center,” and to aim at a much wider geographic audience with their policies and reforms. From there he goes on to admit that although the Electoral College has its flaws, the majority of the time it serves its purpose without a problem, only people who think it’s problematic and see no other way than to utterly destroy or remove it. If one were to write a paper on the Electoral College, it would be wise to use such a source because it clearly presents the reasons that the EC should be kept as well as some of the reasons for skepticism, which it then shows to be unfounded.

Two Americas? Negatory(That means no).

Andrew Arato discusses how there are really two Americas, one on the left, and one on the right. He then takes this idea and begins to attack the conservative side while at the same time making excuses for why his candidate did not win. That is a fun pastime and all, but it gets old very quickly. What Arato doesn’t realize is that the only time we become so extremely polarized is when the presidential elections come around. The truth is that for basically most of the elections in our history, our nation has always been pretty divided. For example, this one time around 1860, this man named Abraham Lincoln was running for president, maybe you’ve heard of him, maybe you haven’t, either way, when he won, it caused a major split in the country. Some say the entire South left the Union, and a war started, or something, and people were pretty mad, but in the end about six-hundred thousand people died. Now if people think we’ve never been this divided over political issues, maybe they should think again, because that was well over a hundred years ago, and we are still here, living in the United States of America. If people believe that it’s the end of the nation just because we had a few disagreements this election, then I think they’re just a bit paranoid. In fact, disagreements and polarization are what keep this nation running, I mean if no one disagreed, then someone would have most likely already taken over the country and we’d probably be the United States of [insert name of choice here]. So Andrew, don’t think of it as two Americas, but as people keeping each other in check.

Be Careful What You Say

In her article Barbara Ehrenreich portrays all churches as evil corporation-like organizations out to destroy the government and take over the nation. From this article I feel that Barbara needs to do a little more research before going on with a rant like that. It seems that she is a little bitter towards churches where, crazy as it sounds, people come together worship God and be around others who share their philosophies and worldviews on life. This next part might be a little hard to believe, Barbara, but contrary to popular opinion, Christianity is not a 2000 year old conspiracy designed to take money from the United States Government, and the “Christians--the ancient, original ones,” they weren’t started to “undermined the world's greatest empire and eventually [come] to power,” they were just doing what Jesus Christ asked them to do because they had the faith, conviction, and determination to do so. Some of the things expected of them were that they love their neighbors, their neighbors being anyone in need. Now no one is perfect, but it’s amazing how far a little effort will get you, and that is what these churches are doing, providing services in order to help those in need, because they feel that the government is not doing an adequate job at this. This is why they feel the government should fund them and other organizations that help out, so that they may succeed in what the government is struggling with. Otherwise, Barbara, it was almost a good article, but next time, just try to read up on a subject before you go ahead and bash it.

Filibusters are Fun

The Filibuster. This is one of those annoying things used by Senators to try to get what they want, or stop what they don’t want. Annoying, absolutely, but is it effective? The answer is yes. The filibuster is one of the most powerful tools in the Senate to keep Senators form making hasty decisions. In his article John Nichols discusses the filibuster and why it should be kept. I think he does a pretty good job of explaining why by showing how it helps keep balance and order in an unbalanced Senate. Nichols shows that throwing a tantrum the adult way can make everyone stay and listen to you or be forced to vote in your favor if they want you to stop talking. Normally throwing a tantrum would get kids scolded, but since we’re all adults here, we have learned that doing so is a great way of making yourself heard in the Senate, especially if you are the minority. So you see, though annoying, filibusters can be very fun. What makes them even better is that you only have to speak about something relevant to the issue for one or two hours, and after that, why, you can say whatever you like (as long as it is in good taste), if you really feel up to it, you can even read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities(yes, all of it). With something like that, why on earth, Mr. Frist, would you want to get rid of the ability to filibuster? Who knows you may need it yourself someday, and if you get rid of it, well, it won’t be there, will it? Sure, it may be inconvenient now, but someday, you will need it, and if you get rid of it, you’ll most definitely regret it.

2008 Elections

Now that Bush has won this year's election, it is no surprise that the Democrats have already started preparing for the 2008 Elections to ensure that such a defeat doesnt happen for the third time in a row. Since the Vice President usually succeedes the President after he has completed his term, that usually means that there isnt much of a competition for who is going to get the incumbent party's nomination. But since this time, Dick Cheney has already announced that he wont be running for office in 2008, this leaves the whole stage wide open for any competitors from both parties. The Democrats might try again next time by nominating Senator John Kerry for another shot at the Presidency. But they have so many more options this time that they wont need to nominate Kerry for a second chance. John Edwards might think about running again, along with Senator Hillary Clinton, a controversial candidate that might just win it for the Democrats. THe Republicans also have a few choices as well. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is in the running for the spot for the next nominee along with former New York Governor Rudolph Giuliani, another qualified candidate. Whoever gets the nominations, it will end up being another exciting election.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Political Beliefs

The article "Perverted, God-Hating Frenchies vs. Inbred, Sex-Obsessed Yokels" gave an interesting perspective on political beliefs. The article represented both sides in the same incredibly understanding and, at the same time, critical way. I feel that the presentation of arguments used in the article are successful, or as successful as possible, in consoling political factions. Maybe consoling political factions is much too strong a phrase: Perhaps, encouraging political factions to, for the first time, consider that the other faction is not an entirely different species with completely defunct political views would be better. It is amazing how heavily one's religious views affect one's political views. Bush did not entirely amass the vote of the most "rictious" Americans. For instance, nine out of ten states with the lowest divorce rates voted for Kerry, while ten out of ten states with the highest divorce rates voted for Bush. I could be wrong, but I thought that family values had some sort of religious implication. Liberals are "God-hating Frenchies", so I am obviously very wrong.

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Filibuster: An American Tradition

Bill Frist, the current Senate majority leader, is raising opposition to the use of a filibuster in blocking judicial appointments. The article Mr. Smith Goes Under the Gavel argues in favor of filibusters by discussing the history and purpose of the filibuster. The article traces the birth of the filibuster back to 1790. A filibuster is a form of check and balance for the legistative branch of government. The title of the article really caught my eye because it made reference to the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It’s a really old movie, but it is surprisingly good (a friend who happens to be a political science major talked me into watching it). The movie demonstrated how a filibuster prevents a strongly opposed minority from being overtaken by a slight majority. Usually, a filibuster is used only in cases of extreme opposition by the minority. Right now, Republicans control both houses of congress and are desperately trying to pass judicial nominations. I can think of no better time to use a filibuster than in blocking judicial nominations. Supreme Court justices have an incredible amount of power and serve life sentences. Justices favoring Republican ideals would be a major detriment to Democrats, so I can understand their opposition.

Frist has been whining that the filibuster is intolerable and is trying to change the rules to exempt judicial nominees from beholding the wrath of the filibuster. It requires 60 votes in the senate to end a filibuster, which Republicans cannot seem to scrape together. It would also require a two-thirds majority to change to rules on judicial nominations. However, Frist is attempting to finagle his way around such technicalities by using Cheney's vote to change the rules so that a simple majority can end a filibuster. This makes very little sense because the entire purpose of a filibuster is to prevent a majority vote from occurring by stalling indefinitely. Frist’s objections to a filibuster on judicial nominations are devoid of logical reasons and instead stem from his frustration over the current situation in the senate. Frist favored a filibuster that prevented Clinton’s nomination for surgeon general from being passed. Filibusters are an American tradition and an essential form of check and balance.


Sunday, November 28, 2004

Why Study?

Most students aspire to get decent grades in their classes while studying the least amount possible. My view of most students is that they want a degree more than they want knowledge. Many subjects seem irrelevant and incredibly boring to the average college student. They would rather slack off and enjoy their college years. I think that freshman are more guilty of slacking off from their studies than older students. Speaking from personal experience, I think that freshman find that they are away from home and liberated from the rules and close speculation of their facist parents, so they take advantage of their newly acquired freedoms. They must test the limits of their new realm. Freshmen must discover for themselves what time to go to bed, how much beer they can drink, and how much they must study to be successful. The article "Undergraduates Study Much Less Than Professors Expect, Survey of Student 'Engagement' Says " is inspiring because it shows that 44 percent of college students are real slackers (studying under 10 hours a week) and they are still successful. The students that do not excercise, volunteer, or attend art exhibits are unfortunate statistics. However, these statistics where not as discouraging as I would have expected.


Japan's Unemployment Rises

In this article, it discusses how Japan's economy is starting to look worse and worse, a trend which started a few months ago. It says that the economy can't depend soley on consumer spending for growth. Japan relied on consumer spending to sustain a recovery in the third quarter since overseas sales decreased and global demand declined. Also, as wages started to decrease so has the demand for goods. Wages have declined for all but four of the past 44 months because companies cut costs by replacing their full-time workers with part-timers, who are paid less often. Japanese companies depend on demand forom the U.S. and other overseas markets to drive sales. That means that since Japanese markets are faltering, the U.S.'s will soon follow because there is a decrease in our demand for goods and services. Soon, the U.S. will find itself in a similar place Japan is in, with lower wages and less consumer sales.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Gay Marriage

The real reasons people oppose gay marriage as put forward by Scott Bidstrup are that people are not comfortable with the idea. He says that for many years, society has promoted the idea that a marriage between members of the same sex is ludicrous. Societies have long recognized that allowing civil rights to certain groups may offend some, and at times, even the majority. But that is why constitutional government was established, to ensure that powerless, unpopular minorities are still protected from the tyranny of the majority. Simple discomfort with a proposal is no reasonable basis for not allowing it. He adds that marriage is a sacred institution. To everyone, the assumption that the state has the responsibility to "sanctify" marriages is a fundamentally religious idea.

In an article about how Bush’s election victory, which some claim was based on constituents voting on moral values, was really caused by those who voted based on terrorism. Apparently more people thought Bush would handle terrorism better than Kerry, and so they voted for Bush instead. Whereas others argue that the gay marriage ban which was on certain ballots caused a higher turnout of conservative Christian Bush voters in those states, Freedman argues that it was the other way around. Apparently, the ban was placed on the ballot in those states so that the conservative voters who would show up and vote Bush anyways, would also ban gay marriage.


Scott Bidstrup's Article

The Gay Marriage Myth

Monday, November 22, 2004

Evangelist America?

One’s religious beliefs greatly influence one’s political views. In the 2004 election, more voters said moral values were the most decisive factor in voting for a candidate than any other issue, including the war and the economy. In The Faith Factor, Barbara Eherenreich discusses the impact of faith on the election and ways that Democrats can alter their campaign strategies to be successful in 2008. The article discussed how Evangelists are providing many welfare services to those in need and thus, gaining religious and, therefore, political power over much of the American populace. These organizations are filling the void left by public services and are inevitiably swaying those that are receiving services toward their beliefs and causes. The amount of religious and political power that Evangelists are gaining is quite surprising. To win the 2008 election, Democrats must appeal to Chrisitian voters and overturn the popular notion that Jesus was a Republican.