Senior intro

May 10, 2010
  • Many high school seniors have many financial obligations and need some form of income.  Do you think that seniors should be allowed to go half a day to school and work half a day? 

 

Today, senior high school students face many challenges.  The idea of seniors in high school taking half days of school and then leaving on a work release is a divided subject.  Some individuals believe that our youth should be focused on school and school alone, while others believe working teaches them better responsibility and incorporates some of life’s lessons.  I believe that giving seniors the option of schooling a half day and working a half day is very valuable.  It gives them the ability to pay for some things that they may not otherwise be able to do, teaches them how to manage time and money, and often times it gives them valuable work experiences before going to work full time.

Opposing commentaries

April 26, 2010

Coal to Liquid Fuel Technology

            The debate of whether or not we should pursue coal to liquid fuel technology had been a controversial topic.  Most of the world is split on this issue, including America.  Some people, like Florida Representative Cliff Stearns, believe we should focus more effort on this technology now.  Others, such as former Vice President Al Gore, believe we should completely forget this technology, and focus our efforts on finding a new renewable resource for fuel.  I believe that our focus should be on the coal to fuel technology because our importing of fuels is a large portion of our trade deficit, coal is one of the most abundant resources available to us, and the technology is already there.

Representative Stearns presents a good argument that persuaded me by presenting credible information in an organized manner.  Representative Stearns provided the research to back up his ideas.  Being able to reduce the dependency on foreign fuels would greatly reduce our trade deficit.  Getting that third of our trade deficit back would be like getting a big raise at work, it won’t solve everything but it is a huge step in the right direction!  As Rep. Stearns states, coal is one of the most abundant resources we have.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, America has about one quarter (1/4) of the world’s coal that can be mined, and there is more coal to be mined than oil to be pumped.  The technology for converting coal to liquid fuels is already there.  The World Coal institute says South Africa has been using the technology since 1955, and accounts for about 30% of the countries gas and diesel needs. South Africa has been using this for 65 years.  It is about time America takes advantage of coal to liquid fuels technology and our resources.

Former Vice President Al Gore’s presentation was not convincing at all in my eyes.  During this interview, not one source of credible information is presented.  His response to the topic was about as well constructed as house made out of a deck of cards; it doesn’t take much to knock it down.  As he begins his response, he makes assumptions and speculations based on his own views.  There are no facts or cited information to support his statements.  His theory of getting completely away from fossil fuels to find a new renewable resource is a hard pill to swallow.  Saying that we need to find a new source because of the price of the refineries or investment in the technology seems odd, taking into account the fact that we would have to invest a far greater number of dollars into research and development of any new, untested source of fuels.  Also, no matter what source we do find, if any, is going to have to have new refineries build.  There is no way around that mountain.  After giving his personal views on why we should shift away from coal to liquid fuel technology, the interview then changes to how television and commercials affect political elections.  Not too sure where that came from.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the subject until seeing these opposing arguments.  Rep. Stearns present cited, credible information as to why we should pursue coal to liquid fuels, while Al Gore had no information available and changed the subject from resources available to politics.  Understanding that coal is one of the most abundant resources, coal to liquid technologies already exists and is in use around the globe, and that it could greatly reduce our trade deficit is very important for this topic.  Continuing to search for another source of fuels and depending on imported, foreign oils is going to continue to drain our economy.  Capitalizing on coal to liquid fuels would greatly boost our economy, and provide another source of income for our country.

Works Cited

“Coal, Our Most Abundant Fuel.” Web.

“Coal to Liquids.” Web.

Evaluation Argument

April 18, 2010

Evaluation Argument

            We have all read war stories, seen the action movies, or know someone who knows someone that had a friend there.  Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between the truth and fictitious tales.  The book “House to House: An Epic Memoir or War” is a great book told by the author, David Bellavia, of his experiences in Iraq.  It is such a fantastic book because it was written by the author who is writing about his time spent in war.  It is also great because it describes in detail several significant scenarios in a way that many people can relate.  There is no guessing or assuming about particular instances.  The way the author tells his stories makes you feel like you are there watching all of the events unfold.  The book is so well orchestrated that you see yourself watching the scenarios as if you were there.

            One reason the book is so great is that it doesn’t begin in the middle of a story.  The author describes everything from the training for the mission, several small battles encountered, and then finally the climax at the battle of Fallujah.  As author Thomas Ricks says, “This is the life of the infantry…  They used to say that the real war will never get in the books.  Here it does, stunningly…(Ricks 1)”  He couldn’t have said it better.  David Bellavia’s stories of the war and his experiences are mediated by the news groups.  These are his first hand experiences of combat.  David articulates his words to a level that the fights described are so realistic that it raises your heart rate like you’re on some kind of emotional rollercoaster at a theme park.  On PunditReview.com’s website, there is an audio clip interview with Staff Sergeant David Bellavia.  During this interview, the author states that he wanted people to see the war through his eyes how it really happened.  He also states that his book was written to show the general public that we are the good guys, defeating the bad guys.  And he does exactly that.

            Staff Sergeants Bellavias portrayal of the battles he was involved with during the war are so detailed and chronologically correct, you get a vivid image painted in your mind.  Anotherbookreview.com says this book is one of the most compelling combat narratives ever written, and how he gives first hand accounts of 11 straight days of battle.  The climax of the book involves the second battle of Fallujah, and recounts the battle as it happened from the days leading up to the end of the battle, and even the days after.

David Bellavias book is good because it gives the reader realistic feelings of what he and his fellow soldiers went through while in Iraq.  The way he has written the book is very detailed and unmediated, giving you the first had accounts of what was going on during that time.  The details described make you feel like you were there, living the same experiences the soldiers were.  Given the way he explained each and every scenario and the sensations you get during and after reading this book, you will agree that it is an excellent read.

Works Cited

“House to House: An Epic Memoir of War.” Web.

“SSG David Bellavia Discusses House to House: An Epic Memoir of War.” PunditReview.com. Web.

Subjective 3

April 18, 2010

Subjective 3

            Change is something we all have to experience.  Sometimes it is for the good, sometimes bad, and other times indifferent.  I have lived in the same town all of my life.  It’s a small town outside of Dallas Texas, called Forney.  Forney is known for being the “Antique Capital of Texas.”   The first 20 years I lived there, it was the same.  The same businesses, people, and buildings were just the way they had always been.  In 2005, that all changed.  I returned back from a one year stay overseas, and the difference was like night and day.

            Forney had a Brookshire’s grocery store, a dairy queen, and a gas station.  During the short year that I was gone, a Wal-Mart, and shopping center, and several other fast food restaurants and gas stations had been built.  Seeing this growth was like seeing your garden grow.  It started out your typical small city setting, and in just a short time became a larger, better established community.  Having a shopping center was one of the more dramatic changes.  I went from having the same small town feeling as before, to feeling more like I was in a larger city.  This was like going from a petting zoo, to a circus with all the lights and attractions.  It almost overwhelms you.

            That was the first of the big differences in my town.  A couple of years later, I left for another year.  This time when I came back, there was now a movie theater, and several new schools had been built.  The movie theater was the icing on the cake, Forney is now a suburb.  It is no longer the small town nobody has heard of!  The addition of the new schools actually came as a shock.  When I went to school there, there was only one high school.  The small surrounding cities knew us as the Forney Jackrabbits.  Now, there is the North and South Forney High Schools.  It is difficult to recognize most of the streets I grew up in, even today.

            Some people are afraid of change and dislike the idea of making what they already know different.  Others like the idea, and welcome the new experiences.  I feel the renovations to the city were for the better.  It keeps the schools much less crowded for one.  All of the new business and establishments that were built not only strengthen the towns’ economy, but provide jobs for some of the younger generation.  There is no longer the need to drive 15 or 20 miles to the next city for Wal-Mart of to go see a movie.  These developments in the city of Forney were very significant changes.  The opportunities presented to the teenagers and convenience to everyone was like getting your first car, it made life simpler for all.  While some people may not welcome the idea of change, the development cities like Forney go through strengthen the community.  Without the amenities, accomplishing some of life’s daily activities’ seemed to be a chore and cost you valuable time and effort.

Objective 2

April 9, 2010

Obesity in children

            It is no secret that there are more obese children today than any time before.  If you take a look outside as kids walk down the street you can see that kids are more obese than ever.  According to the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, about 17 percent of kids ages 6 through 11 are obese.  That is 11 percent from 1988 to 1994, 6.5 percent in 1980, and roughly 4 percent in 1971-1974.  Childhood obesity can lead to several diseases and physical issues.  It is important for us to recognize some of the causes of childhood obesity, the effects they have on children, and what we can do as adults to make an impact on our children’s lives.

            Lack of exercise is one of the main reasons for obesity in children.  As articlebase.com states in its article about reasons for childhood obesity, the popularity of video games on the computer of video game consoles has lowered children’s motivation to get outside and run around and play, rather than stay inside to try and defeat the latest game.  These games have become so lifelike that kids become determined to sit in front of the screen and beat them.  As children sit inside and play video games rather than run around outside, they are not getting the exercise necessary to maintain a healthy physical condition.  It is the job of the parent to explain the importance of exercise to their children and limit the amount of time they spend inside lounging around in front of the television or computer screen.

            Eating habits are a very close second to why children are obese.  In today’s society, parents often find themselves always on the go and very busy, sometimes too busy to prepare a proper nutritious meal for their kids.  This leads the kids eating fatty greasy fast more often than not.  This, with the combination of lack of exercise, leads to increased weight gain.  Helpcurechildobesity.com states that fast food is taking its toll in children’s health and causing child obesity to grow rapidly.  Kids will also imitate the patterns of their parents.  If you as a parent are constantly eating fast food or junk food and don’t exercise regularly, the children see this and believe that it is ok and normal.  Parents play a gigantic role in the habits formed by their kids.  Parents must put in the effort to ensure their children are leading a healthy lifestyle.

            So let’s recap: video games lead to less exercise, which leads to obesity.  Parents busy lifestyles leads to more fast food, which leads to a less healthy diet which leads to obesity.  Obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and many other illnesses in children.  It seems that it is up to us as parents to make the decisions and set the examples for our children.  We have to make them understand that if they sit around playing video games and eating fast food they will become obese, which is detrimental to their health and can lead to many diseases.  With the proper diet and amount of exercise, we can not only teach our children how to live, but help ensure they have a healthy life, which they will pass to their children.

Works Cited

“Child Obesity in America: Taking Care of Our Children.” Web.

“Many Reasons for Childhood Obsesity.” Web.

“Reasons for Childhood Obesity.” 10 Nov. 2008. Web

Subjective 2

April 9, 2010

My epitaph

            Imagine that you are responsible for writing your own epitaph.  This is the last thing people will hear about you.  What do you say about yourself?  How do you describe yourself without sounding obnoxious or conceded?  This is a very difficult task to accomplish.  Writing your own epitaph is far more difficult than it seems.  It appears that the average person does not even know where to begin.  Often time’s people have a difficult time describing themselves.  I can understand this.  I have no idea how I would describe myself.  Sometimes it is easier to sit with a good friend and ask them how they would describe you. Take what they say and write it in your own words.  If I had to write my own epitaph, it would sound something like this:

            Brett believed in being honest with one another.  Honesty was the best policy.  He truly believed this.  No matter what the situation, he told the truth.  He expected the truth be told to him.  The outcome of the situation mattered not.  He had a high level of integrity, and expected the same in response from others.  He was as honest as the day is long.  This characteristic was one of the traits that he looked for in others.  He surrounded himself with honest people.  This went a long way in the eyes of Brett.  One of Brett’s better qualities, honesty was the first and deepest characteristic he looked for in others, and tried to bring the best out of all those around him.

            Brett was one of the most focused and determined persons we knew.  He faced every challenge and obstacle in life the same.  He put everything he could into each scenario, no matter how small or insignificant.  His determination went beyond life’s challenges.  He was determined to succeed in life.  He was as determined to succeed in life as a bird is to fly.  He put 100 percent of himself into everything he did.  Whether it was a job, a friendship, being with his family, or anything else he applied himself toward, he was always determined to do everything he possibly could.

            The kindness extend from Him had no limits.  It didn’t matter whether you were a lifelong friend or family member, or just a stranger off of the street, he tried to show everyone the level of kindness.  His kind heart was like that of sugar; no matter when or where, sugar is always sweet, just like Brett was always kind.  Even when he was at his worst, he knew deep down that everyone needed to be treated well.  He did not want any disposition he was in to bring others down. 

            Writing your own epitaph is no easy task.  It is difficult to try and sum yourself up for others the hear.  Knowing that this will be the last thing your friends and family will hear from you adds to the difficulty.  You must understand that the way you conduct yourself reflects the same in other people’s eyes.  It is important to remember that this is something for others to have, not for yourself.  The loved ones that hear this will take this with them for their own easement.

Subjective 1

April 1, 2010

If you stole my car,…

            Imagine walking outside of your house one morning, or from your job one evening, and discovering that your vehicle is not where you left it.  Someone has taken your vehicle like it was theirs to begin with.  What would you do?  The thought of someone stealing my car generates a lot of disparaging feelings, and really puts a lot of uneasy feelings in my mind.  This idea angers me, but also makes me want to see justice, and express myself to the individual responsible.  Of all of the emotions and reasons it is wrong, the anger generated, morals crossed, and laws broken are my reasons for feeling the way I do.

            Before we discuss the simple fact that it is illegal to steal another person’s property, I want to describe to you the emotions I would have.  It is almost impossible to put into words the anger I would have, not only towards the person responsible, but to how frustrated I would be that I now have to miss work, deal with my insurance company, and find a new means of transportation while sorting and attempting to minimize the damage.  The level of anger inside would be so much that I would not be able to think clearly.  All I would want to do is destroy the person responsible.

            The moral boundary crossed by the act of stealing another person’s vehicle is unacceptable.  There is no gray area when it comes to thievery.  There is right and wrong, period.  How would you like it if I stole your car?  How would you feel?  What do you think you would do?  Taking someone else’s property for the gain of your own is morally wrong, every person knows that if they were to get caught, they would be punished one way or the other because it is not right.

            Finally, if I were able to catch the person or assist police officers in catching the person responsible for stealing my vehicle, I would put every effort I had to in order to punish that individual to the maximum sentence possible.  If that means I have to spend money on a lawyer to prosecute, so be it.  If the worst I can do for that particular offense is a fine, you will pay every penny.  If jail time or a prison sentence is possible, I will make it happen.  After crossing the moral boundaries and creating such heartache for me, you do not deserve to go on about your daily life like I do.

            If you stole my car, I would punish you to the full extent of the law.  It is morally wrong, mentally frustrating, and against the law.  I worked hard for the money I have invested in my truck.  I paid for the truck, it is my truck, and I own it.  It is not yours and you do not deserve it.  The thought of coming outside one day to see my truck gone infuriates me.  The level of anger I would have is not describable in words.  It is illegal to steal other person’s possessions that do not belong to you.  This crime is punishable by time in prison.  If you stole my truck and I was able to catch you, I would see to it that you were put through the pain and suffering you caused me by pursuing punishment to the full extent of the law, no matter what the cost.

Objective 1

April 1, 2010

H.R. 2847 Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment

Given the current state of the economy, several actions have been taken by our government and law makers to boost job opportunities and deliver some financial breaks for businesses of all kinds and of all sizes.  There is reason to believe that H.R. 2847 is one of the better pieces of legislation passed this year for small business owners.  There are several reasons why this piece of legislation is beneficial, even beyond the two key points we are going to discuss.  Among many other beneficial tax breaks to small businesses, this article will cover the potential savings and opportunities to grow and expand businesses, followed by the job creation and retention possibilities derived from the bill.

Among several of the tax incentives created by the bill, one of the more important subjects is tax incentives for hiring new employees.  Under this bill, employers that hire “qualified employees” are eligible for a $1000 tax credit for each employee.  What makes a qualified employee?  According to cchgroup.com’s description of the bill, “Under the senate’s HIRE act, a qualified retained worker is an employee who, starting as a qualified individual for the purpose of payroll tax forgiveness, is continually employed by the tax payer for not less than 52 consecutive weeks… of which must be paid during the last 26 weeks of such period an amount equal to at least 80 percent of such wages for the first 26 weeks of such period.”  This allows employers to earn tax breaks for hiring new employees, giving them opportunities to place those monies elsewhere in the business.  It also provides long lasting job opportunities for unemployed workers.

There are several reasons and examples why these tax breaks help develop business growth and development.  Given the monies saved, employers can hire more employees to pursue potential customers, and expand their operations.  According to WebPCA.com’s article on the HIRE act, 58 percent of 556 small businesses surveyed plan on hiring new employees in areas of sales or operations, whereas only 1 percent plan to hire for management positions.  This shows employers of small businesses are becoming less fear when it comes to expanding their business, whether it is going after new clients, or growing their organizations.  This survey also states that 58 percent of businesses surveyed would consider hiring new employees based on the tax breaks offered, while 25 percent of business said that they not only would but already are planning on hiring new employees due specifically to the HIRE act.

The HIRE act is beneficial to small businesses because it encourages hiring of new employees and the growing of businesses.  This, in turn, is beneficial to the economy by promoting more job openings in small businesses.  It is common knowledge to believe that the economy is suffering and employment rates are down.  Providing any kind of tax breaks or incentives to small businesses will stimulate the economy by creating new job openings, whether it is through business expansions, or pursuing more customers.

Works Cited

CCH Group. 2010 Hiring to Restore Employment Act. Rep. no. 1. CCH Group, 2010. Print.

WebPCA. “Small Biz Owners Favor New Hiring Tax Incentives.” WebPCA, 24 Mar. 2010. Web. 29 Mar. 2010.