Friday, July 30, 2010

Voting Is A Privilege. Remember That.

African Americans aren't being deprived to vote because they are African American, but rather, they are being deprived to vote BECAUSE THEY COMMIT CRIMES AND FORFEIT THEIR FREEDOM IN JAIL. I'm not being racist. I'm really not. THE FACTS DON'T LIE. More African Americans are in jail than white Caucasian people and therefore, more African Americans lose the privilege to vote. They do it to themselves. I can't stress that enough. It is that simple.

Check out my podcast about why voting is a privilege that can be taken away:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Truth Behind The War In Afghanistan

Hopefully the validity of the recent WikiLeaks, which released over 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan, will give us better clarity into America's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq

The average American, including myself, doesn't understand war completely or the circumstances surrounding war. Most people just immediately assume war is bad, but I can bet you a million dollars that if your home was invaded by a burglar, then you'd want to take out that baseball bat from under your bed and defend your territory. The war in Afghanistan was no different. America's home was invaded by outside forces and so we had every right to go fight for our freedom or further risk havoc and more death. However, somewhere along those lines the truth as to why we were really fighting became blurred. There are hundreds of factors and elements to be taken into account when deciding whether this war, or any war for that matter, is just and if the truth of these recent documents is valid enough to support a just cause for war, then we must continue to fight.

Listen to my podcast about my thoughts on truth, the Wikileaks Afghanistan documents, and the war in Afghanistan and Iraq:

To further read about these Afghanistan leaked documents, the best sites I found were :

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In Support Of Nationwide Curriculum

According to the July 21st, 2010 edition of the New York Times Online, "Less than two months after the nation’s governors and state school chiefs released their final recommendations for national education standards, 27 states have adopted them and about a dozen more are expected to do so in the next two weeks. Their support has surprised many in education circles, given states’ long tradition of insisting on retaining local control over curriculum."

If you were to count Obama's effective contributions to America thus far, you'd probably have a short list. However, Obama's plan on education is his greatest contribution yet and beats his other plans, such as health care, by a longshot. I'm in complete support for a nationwide school standard for education and the doing away with of local control over curriculum. I'm curious though, whether states are jumping the gun and adopting this plan without thinking things through because according to the plan's gimmick, states that adopt the standards by Aug. 2 win points in the competition for a share of the $3.4 billion to be awarded in September. As a result of school systems suffering in the economy, this leads me to believe a lot of these states adopted this plan so quickly just for the money. In addition, once schools adopt this plan, I can imagine it'll take some effort and money to put the plan into use. For example, schools will have to buy new supplies and textbooks and that could cause some inconvenience for those schools already suffering financially.

Even still, one's education is one of the most important aspects of any individual in everyday conversation and in order to get anywhere in life and having all children on equal levels means that there is no excuse for any child of any state to get left behind. National standards are seen as a way to ensure that children in all states will have access to a similar education because it is clear that some children and teenagers are smarter than children and teenagers in other states. The plan's layout detailed expectations of skills that students should have at each grade level. This means teachers will need to rethink their teaching and testing methods as a whole. Every student should learn the fundamental building blocks of education (reading, writing, and arithmetic) and have similar testing methods. Tests are a good source used to acknowledge one’s ability to interpret and communicate his ideas in a way which shows his teacher or foundation administering the exam that he has learned as much as he could master. The ability to process material and display what he has learned shows he can think on a level which a certain university requires. If all children learn material equally, then theoretically the playing field when applying for college should be even enough where factors such as discrimination, poverty, or poor backgrounds should not be an issue.

The downside to a national curriculum is that this means there is no room for flexibility in learning. This means schools can be thought of as factories producing robots and this may not make learning as fun for kids and high school students, whose attention spans are already difficult enough to acquire a hold of. Also, if the government takes control of the country's learning criteria....that sounds a lot like "gasp" communism, wouldn't you think? I don't have such a big gripe with communism because I understand the original concepts of communism were supposed to be good things, but I know when uneducated people hear the word "communism" these days, immediately they panic and shake their head as if the end of America is coming.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tipping is Bull

During these tough economic times (what happened to "change," Obama?), Americans need to hold onto every dollar they can. There's nothing wrong with saving a buck here or there for when you really need it. There, I offer eplanations as to why I believe tipping waiters in restaurants is bull and why the restaurants should be responsible for paying waiters instead of the public. Think about the hundreds of times you ate at restaurants over the past couple of years and all the money you could have saved.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Deportation Starts Now!

According to the Arizona Immigration Law, which is supposed to take effect on July 29th, police will be required to check the immigration status of people they stop or arrest if they suspect they are in the country illegally. Partisans in the debate over Arizona’s immigration law debated for the first time in federal court Thursday, July 15th, 2010, providing an early glimpse into the legal arguments that will be used in the coming battle over the new law.

I don't understand people. What's there to debate? This is one of the greatest laws ever passed. Everyone, for the most part, is against illegal immigration and believe illegal immigrants are part of America's decay and yet people are unwilling to sacrifice fifteen minutes of their time if they get pulled over for the greater good of finding and stamping out illegal immigrants. Obviously, this law will encourage racial profiling and people getting pulled over just because they are suspected of being illegal immigrants, but so what? If you have nothing to hide and you carry your card in your wallet, then you'll be fine. However, for the fifteen minutes you sacrifice for getting pulled over, you're keeping this law active. This, in turn, means the possibility of actual illegal immigrants being found is made possible.

The downside to this law is that people are going to declare it unconstitutional, which I can see why people would say that. Police are essentially under this law prying into the lives of innocent people, but how is that different from being interrogated on a subway or on the street? Well, guess what? When an illegal immigrant takes your job, then you'll regret not being pulled over and following the law. Also, I can see plenty of judges throwing illegal immigrant cases out the window. For example, if a citizen gets pulled over, but doesn't have their card with them, then what? Overall, he is legal, and therefore you can't make a case out of it. Finally, there will be many people who will say that there could be a better law or method to finding illegal immigrants than pulling people over. I agree with that, but for now we have to deal with what is, and what is right now is this Arizona Immigration Law until a better law is thought of.

Illegal immigration is a problem for me personally because I think its severely unfair that illegal immigrants essentially can receive the same benefits as Americans, but don't go through the same processes that legal Americans go through. Illegal immigrants are part of those who disrupt the balance of America’s economy, politics, and culture. They take jobs from an economy where finding work is already difficult for legal Americans, refuse to assimilate, and are depriving Americans of their culture and political unity. I have no problem offering a job to an immigrant as long as they go through the processes of becoming a legal citizen, but many of them don't. Nothing drives me more crazy than when I hear of a car crash because some immigrant driver didn't understand the difference between "go" and "stop." I know America doesn't have one universal language, but I do know America is also a democracy where majority rules, correct? Therefore, if a majority of citizens in America speak English and a majority rules in America, THEN LEARN ENGLISH! It's simple logic, really.

If I got pulled over and were suspected of being an illegal immigrant, I wouldn't be terribly annoyed or offended because I know I'm legal and I know for the expense of my time I'm contributing indirectly towards a greater cause.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lebron James' Decision Is Valid

I have to blog about a sports political issue, known as Lebron James' decision, because this episode is absolutely ridiculous and has spiraled out of control. First off, I've never seen such a big deal being made about any player being traded to another team. To have a special on ESPN about being traded is a waste of airtime. He didn't turn his back on anyone. He went to another team. Players get traded all the time and no one makes a mountain out of it. Yes, I know its Lebron James and therefore we should all bow down before him, but any good player like Lebron can have an impact on any team. Why didn't people go crazy when Allen Iverson or Carlos Boozer were traded?

To be honest, I'm not a huge basketball fan, but I know enough about the teams and players on the teams to get by in a sports conversation. Also, I'm very logical. Something a lot of people seem to lack these days. After listening to ESPN, reading comments on Facebook and Twitter, and listening to "fans," I feel like I am the only one who supports Lebron James' decision to go to Miami ... and I live in NY. In order to understand why Lebron James made this decision, you have to look at it from his perspective. The media, ESPN, and basketball fans EVERYWHERE hyped this guy up to be the biggest star in sports ... yet he hasn't won a championship in 7 years. He probably won every other award except an NBA Championship. In his interview, he made it very clear that he wants to win and win multiple times. In fact, there is TREMENDOUS pressure on Lebron to win a championship soon otherwise he may be viewed in the eyes of some as another Dan Marino type (Dan Marino was one of the greatest NFL Quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl). Isn't winning the big championship game what sports is about anyway? Shouldn't that be the reason why players push themselves all season? Also, the sad truth (and I know Cavalier fans would probably shoot me for this) is that Lebron James was never going to win in Cleveland and he realized this. That team wasn't built with a good enough supporting cast for Lebron. Neither are the Knicks and the Nets. Therefore, he went to a team where he knows he can win and in doing so I don't understand how this once praised man who everyone WANTED to see win is now being persecuted because he made a decision that would help him do the very thing that everyone originally wanted, which is to see him win a championship.

Looking at this episode from the perspective of most basketball fans, the reasons for why they suddenly turned their backs on him are simple. First, they are jealous Lebron James didn't go to THEIR team. This is stupid because with 30 teams in the league, there could have only been one winner. That means 29 other teams were not going to get Lebron and therefore expectations to acquire him should not have been so high. Second, it's much easier to hate the guy and declare him a traitor than to realize his perspective as I stated in the above paragraph. The fans and media ultimately put him in this position where he has to win. So why not go to a team with other All-Stars and put yourself in a position where you can win. No one made this big of a deal when the Boston Celtics assembled their "Big 3."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BP's Brains Need Some Oiling

According to the NY times website, "Crews removed a cap from atop BP’s out-of-control well in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, beginning an ambitious engineering effort that could fully contain the huge oil leak but will also make matters worse, at least temporarily." Further Mr. Wells said "contingency plans were ready in case the installation failed. And even if a new cap is installed, the well will be open for at least several days, and more oil will pour into the gulf." Mr. Wells expressed confidence that the new approach — the latest in a string of efforts, many of which have failed — would succeed. “In four to seven days, we’ll have that sealing cap in place,” he said."

This was published on July 10th, 2010 and seems to be the most recent news about the oil spill. Now, in all honesty, I have not been following this event, but the first question that should come to anyone's mind is why was the old cap forming a loose seal and allowing oil and gas to constantly escape from it? In plain English, who's in charge over there at BP? Aren't there routine inspections? Couldn't this have been prevented?

Another thing that strikes me about this event is just the uncertainty of how it will play out. Phrases like "in case the installation failed," and "many of which have failed," leads me to suspect that whoever hired these engineers to clean up this mess may want to take another look at their college degrees and credentials because by reading this article, its clear to me that they don't know EXACTLY what there are doing. This isn't good, considering the amount of oil lost and the cost for this lost. Further, the fact that they will continue to lose more oil even with the new cap is installed tells me they need a new plan.

I will admit though (and to their credit) that it's easy for me to sit here and criticize while they perform work that I probably never could comprehend. The undersea efforts to contain or stop the gusher is being done by remotely operated robots in extreme conditions of temperature and pressure 5,000 feet below the surface of the gulf. Now that's impressive and quite technical. Even still, these are supposed to be professionals aren't they?. Therefore, the question still remains. Why so many failed attempts?

I also wondered about what happened to all the oil that poured into the Gulf. Well, to their credit, "BP has positioned more than 40 large or midsize skimmers near the well site and has 14 teams ready to conduct controlled burns." This is to help deal with the oil that was lost. Finally, BP plans to devise a scheme that would "eventually stop the leak and permanently seal the well by pumping heavy drilling mud into it, followed by cement, through a relief well." Good job BP. At least now you're aware serious oil spills exist and are already planning ahead to prevent this from happening again. Don't forget those inspections!