Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tenure: Good or Bad For Society

Tenure: Good or Bad for Society?

            Tenure is a policy in the state of New Jersey that has brought great controversy to light as of late.  Many people feel that tenure should be done away with, but others feel otherwise.  In my personal opinion, tenure is something that should be done away with completely.  Throughout the history of our state’s education system, tenure has allowed flaws to occur.

  After teachers work for three years and one day, they are able to achieve what is known as tenure.  Tenure, in general terms, is job security.  This job security allows teachers to feel as though they do not have to worry about losing their jobs.  Is that right, well, in my eyes that is a matter of opinion.  Unfortunately, teachers use this job security to benefit themselves rather than the children and adolescents they are teaching.  After the three years and one day is up, they feel as though nothing can happen to them, so in turn, they may lose the drive to teach little by little over the forthcoming years.  Subsequently, the students that they are teaching are being affected because due to the lack of drive by the teachers, the student’s may feed off that by losing their drive to learn inevitably flawing our states or countries school system.  From an outside perspective, every other job in America is based off yearly contracts in which they must work hard to maintain their job.

So you may be wondering what the state of New Jersey is doing now because of this flaw in our education system?  The policy of tenure has had the trickle down affect straight from Washington D.C. “The momentum sprang in part from incentives in the Obama administration’s recent Race to the Top competition for stimulus funds.  Ending tenure is also being championed prominently by former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Ms. Rhee’s new Students First education-reform group called for that this week when it released its detailed policy agenda.”  Governor Christie, as well as other states such as Florida and Idaho, are trying to rid their states of tenure.  Tenure has a caused a serious budget crisis as well.  It is costing states more and more money because you must go through the legal process every three years to re-due the policies at hand.  A political science teacher at Drew university in New Jersey by the name of Patrick McGuinn states about how tenure is really due-process protections, “over time it’s become so lengthy, complicated, and costly to go through those due-process protections ... that virtually no teachers are fired on the basis of performance.”  Performance is the most important aspect of any job, especially teaching.  It is quite simple, if you do not do your job to the level you should be, then you should be fired.  During Governor Christie’s State of the State speech, he said, “that a task force is working on improving the measurement and evaluation of teachers.  And perhaps the most important step in that process is to give schools more power to remove underperforming teachers.  The time to eliminate teacher tenure is now.”

            From the other side of the spectrum, if teacher’s lose tenure, then they feel they can be fired for political, economic, and matters of personal interest within the school, the school district, or even the state.      “If the biggest problem, as some of these critics say, is that we have too many incompetent teachers and it needs to be easier to fire them, I would suggest their hiring and evaluation system is broken,” says Dennis van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.  What he is saying is, if the teachers are evaluated properly, then the evaluators should have no problem weeding out the bad teachers from the good.  In my opinion, the whole United States school system is flawed because society as a whole is too lazy to do their job the right way, so in essence, the trickle down effect plays on a much larger scale.  If people would do things the correct way, then the issue of tenure would not even be an issue at all. 

            I sat down with a teacher last week who also happens to be my sister, Jennifer Kennedy.  She graduated with a degree in American Studies, and has a certificate in early childhood development from Rowan University.  She’s a strongly opinionated person at heart, so I felt she was the perfect person for the interview.  When I asked her what she felt about tenure in the state of New Jersey, she strongly felt that it should be terminated. 

            “What is wrong with teachers today is this, if a teacher gets tenure, they tend to be lazy, and unmotivated, so they stop doing their job to the best of their ability.”

            I could not agree with her more.  If people do not take accountability for their job, then they should not have it.  I also asked her if there were any other reasons why she felt this way, and compared it to other jobs in America. “Many other jobs in this country are performance based only.  If you do your job well, then you should be kept on, but if your not then you lose your job plain and simple.”

            Once again, I agreed with her statement.  In the end, tenure is a great thing for people who do the right thing.  Unfortunately, our country is flaw in more ways than one, but I believe that education system is causing it.  Ending tenure will not only help our state financially, but will also drive teachers to do a better job, but this could lead to administration hiring those of their choosing.


Works Cited

1.      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0114/NJ-Gov.-Chris-Christie-wants-to-end-teacher-tenure-and-he-s-not-alone

Industrialism in America

During the period of industrialization in the United States of America, life changed forever within the eyes of American citizens. The entire social structure changed with regard to religious views, views on the concept of meaning, education, the idea of social Darwinism, as well as the rise of woman in society.  In addition, the entire economic structure of America changed into the centralization of production and marketing because of the rise of industrialism, technological advances, and the rise of urbanization and megacities.  With the significant change in economics in the United States, there were many subsequent political changes because of differences that rose between the working class citizens and manufacturers and the industrial tycoons who held most of the industrial capital of America. 

During time period from 1885-1915, the social structure of America changed as a redirect correlation with Industrialism.  The change in culture and value during this period was known as modernization.    Americans views on religion, the concept of meaning, education, social Darwinism, as well as the rise of women in society all changed significantly during this time period.  A major element of change during this time was the concept of meaning.  The concept of meaning relates to ideas on the meaning of life, the meaning of the world, and how humans play a role in it.  These changes in thought came as a result of new scientific discoveries that grabbed the attention of society during this time.  Evolution paved the way for people to question ideas set forth by the church that had been set in place for many years.  Evolution brought on the notion that species changed over time to better themselves within their habitat which led to new types of animals.  This idea of evolution was a direct contradiction of the creation story in the Bible which said that God put all the animals on earth at one time.  “Darwinism and the higher criticism movement changed religious belief in the creation, or whether to take the Bible literally anymore.” (pg. 39)  By the late 19th century, religious culture began to diverge in to two streams: Modernism and Fundamentalism.  Modernism, which took place in the ever changing life of the city, was believed in the commitment to freedom of choice as Fundamentalism came off as more pessimistic and began to stress an orthodoxy base belief system which believed in Biblical literalism or belief in the Bible as it was scripted.  This idea was based mostly in the countryside where traditional ideas stayed implanted in society for much longer.

Education was also revolutionized during this time as family views on education changed.  “The diffusion of knowledge through education provided a background that encouraged greater individual choice.  There were two contexts in which education took place.  One was in the schools, the setting for changes in formal education, and the other in the realm of daily life, where privately organized lectures and institutes began to reach more people, where adults on their own began to read more widely and deeply.”(pg. 26, 27) This new excitement led people to expand their horizons outside that of the immediate family.  As a result, there was an increase in children entering public and private schools.  The amount of high school graduates increased as well.  Urban high school systems brought children from all over the city and surrounding areas to one school instead of small schools which enabled sociocultural mingling for the first time.  Families encouraged their children for the first time to better their education to enable them to compete for a life the cosmopolitan world.  “The general growth of scientific knowledge throughout the period provided wider options for the educational enterprise.”(pg. 28-29)  As museums and universities sent professors and scientists around the world to study new ideas in science, they brought back new knowledge that paved the way for new magazines such as Scientific American and Popular Science.  This wave of knowledge was capped by the Chautauqua Movement, an adult-education organization which went around the nation to teach this new scientific knowledge to thousands of curious Americans. 

This idea of progress, and the bettering of human life did not stop with education and other social reforms, as woman sought out to better themselves in this rapidly changing American society.  “The persistent enhancement of individual choice was also manifested in the changing role of women from work almost exclusively in the home to a gradual involvement in activities outside of it such as civic services.”(pg. 31)  As these social reforms continued woman played a role outside the house by getting jobs as nurses and teachers, and in 1894, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs was established in which women discussed issues from civics affairs, the treatment of children, and the beautification of communities.  By 1900, women could buy, sell, and own property.   The culmination of the women’s movements in the United States was the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

                During the era of Industrialization, America saw many changes in urbanization and economics occur as a result of Progressive Movement.  This movement saw changes in economic growth and development in places such as cities, the rise of urban areas around the cities, as well as an increase of transportation.  “Commercial places were centers of regional development, cultural life, and local government, and they organized the economic relationship between town and country as an interdependent whole.”(pg. 48)  As the Industrial boom took off, port cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore as well as Mid-West cities such as Cleveland, Chicago, and Pittsburgh became the central areas of business in the country.   “As a result, towns sought out state legislature to provide funds for transportation and other establishments to bring in employment and business.”(pg. 49)  As a result of this urbanization, private investors and developers brought new houses, factories, and transportation systems in outlying areas as individuals as well as whole cities poured in capital to make such changes.    

With these changes to American urbanization and industrialization, it led to many political and economic changes.  “In the 1870’s, “the pool” was formed, which was a gentleman’s agreement enforceable by law that was put in place to establish minimum prices, to control production, and allocate prices.” (pg. 71)  This idea of “the pool” did not work so, in turn, businesses initiated the trust, which was the ability for people to get dividends with their stock, but forgo their vote, which was left to a small group of trustees, but this too was abandoned because it interfered with common law and state statute.  This was superseded by a holding company, “a single firm that held a controlling share of the securities of subordinate firms.  This was passed by New Jersey Legislation in 1889, which then became home of a considerable portion of the nation’s industrial enterprise.” (pg. 71, 72)  The rise of the industrial economy also brought on Intercompany corporations which led to the rise of monopolization of manufacturing capital.  With this increased capital, many of the corporate heads were able to buy their way into government or give monetary support to sway government officials’ ideology.  Corporative groups also led to price fixing in products such as steel, tobacco, and coal as well price fixing in the transportation industry in regards to railroad fees.    As a result, manufacturers and merchants were seemingly unhappy and created an uproar which led to governmental intervening.   As a result of Supreme Court decisions, The ICC, or Interstate Commerce Commission, instilled the Hepburn Law, “which granted  the Commission power to establish new legal rates when it declared old ones void.”(pg. 77)  They also sought increased improvement in river improvement through government appropriations which were granted through the National Rivers and Harbors Congress in 1905.

Many organizations also sought out laws in regard to wages and labor.  “The National Consumers League used their influence to provide more humane labor conditions, the National Child Labor Committee worked for laws to abolish or limit child labor, and the American Association for Labor Legislation, an organization of lawyers and intellectuals, drew up humanitarian legislation.”(pg. 104) Labor Unions as well as collective bargaining became a significant topic during this time as well.  “Entrepreneurs feared organized labor because it constituted a factor in industrial production seldom easily manipulated.  Arguing that collective bargaining was illegal and un-American, business demanded wages and working conditions be determined by individual workers and the corporation, a situation that management could control far more easily than collective bargaining.”(pg.74)  Labor Unions and collective bargaining after many disputes, were recognized as the proper techniques of industrial relations.

During the 1900 census, the government saw a sharp decrease in the farm population.  As a result, many civic leaders initiated a program to help to promote a more profitable and attractive rural life.  “The movement received official sanction and considerable aid from Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 when he established the Country Life Commission.” (pg. 136)  Experts were sent in to help promote agricultural science and technology.  The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 provided grant-in-aide funds to bring permanency to the plan and make it available to every county in the nation.  They also sought out education reforms to schools to promote agricultural education through the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. 

This time in American history came with great change in the social, economic, and industrial ideas.  The time period brought great rise in human thought which revolutionized the American economy from the rise of urbanization and industrialization, and as a result also brought great reform to the work environment as well the agricultural industry.  This thirty year span brought changes to the U.S. that are still instilled in today’s world.

Works Cited

1.       “The Response to Industrialism 1885-1914. Samuel P. Hays. Second Edition. The Chicago History of American Society. The University of Chicago Press. 1995.

Space Exploration: The Next Frontier For Human Discovery and Exploitation

                The world has been fighting over natural resources for as long into our past as I can remember.  In today’s world, the Stock Market is based upon these things as well as technology.  Space exploration could be the key to become the isolationist we once were, as well as prosper financially as a nation.  The United States has always persevered in the end, and this could be the way of the future.

                   Hydrogen, which you may have learned in chemistry or physics depending on how far you took it along your educational path, makes up 99% of the known universe.  Every star in our galaxy is made of hydrogen which is fused into helium.  The type of element their using on Earth for nuclear fusion is helium-3 which cost some 8 million an ounce for but in space it’s free and NO ONE owns it.  The U.S. needs to research and develop a craft that can get into space without the use of expensive rocket fuel, maybe use an electromagnetic track to get a craft going fast enough to heave our way into space without combustible means that will just ruin our ever worsening atmosphere composition.  I'll leave the gadgets on how to extract it to the engineers because that’s not me.  Maybe build centrifuges in areas or on masses that contain helium-3.  NUCLEAR FUSION/FISSION IS A SELF-SUSTAINABLE REACTION THAT JUST NEEDS FUEL. THE COST IS ONLY INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAN POWER. More energy/ less on your electric bill simple laws of supply and demand.  As we as a human race become more technologically advanced with robotics teams working endlessly on new and improving engineering work, and the nuclear scientists coming up with new, innovative ways to use nuclear energy to power our world, what makes you say this is not a feasible and practical goal of the future? This could be the the next frontier for the mankind to explore and exploit to help maintain what life we have at home.  Our energy needs are growing at a rate unseen so far in our history, and the solar system with this cosmic material that brought life and complexity to our planet, why not use this building blocks of our world found elsewhere in our cosmic backyard?

 Asteroids and comets hold just about all the elements in the cosmos.  Why not extract what fine metals we can on the abundance of space masses out there and bring them home to Earth and allow our steel industry to build these high speed electromagnetic rail lines that our foreign rivals have with OUR Steel.  By extracting space materials we can flood the U.S. market effectively lowering the cost for materials and now we can make money off exporting the surplus we have accumulated. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Global Warming is Much Trickier Than You May Think

Global Warming has been the topic of discussion in U.S. and World Politics for the past few decades. As most would say, you can make a case for each side for a variety of reasons, but in the end you cannot pinpoint the exact causality of global warming. In Al Gore’s documentary, he reiterates this idea of a human-created global warming problem. Human causing carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of the heating up of the Earth. Although human’s are emitting more and more carbon waste into the atmosphere, one must first look out the outside factors that make up some of the carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Dating back to Precambrian times, the Earth has undergone several heating and cooling periods. According to a NASA study done, the heating and cooling periods of Earth’s history from the first signs of life until today, Earth’s cycles saw a change in temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius. This leads one to believe that Earth may just be going through a natural cycle. Other skeptics say that a change in ocean current could be causing Greenland’s ice sheets to melt away and break off. In a study done on Greenland showed a change in size and volume of Greenland over a 5 year period. In that 5 year period, the center of the ice sheet grew in size while the outside edge decreased in overall size. Some say that this does not account for the snow accumulation over that 5 year period just the overall size of the entire country. This leads one to believe that the causes of global warming are more tricky than previously expected. Volcanic activity could also play a big role in global warming. All over the globe, volcanos release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and in any particular eruption it could send huge amounts of these gases into the atmosphere. It seems to me though, that volcanic activity has been seemingly less violent in the recent past than in much earlier times. Other global warming scientists feel that global warming is simply a natural mechanism that occurred after the last ice age 10,000 years ago. The most interesting natural cause of global warming is the idea that our sun plays a role in this warming process. The amount of cosmic rays that hit Earth could play a role in the warming of its surface. There could be periods in Earth’s evolution through time when there is more solar radiation and sparticles(tiny particles in space) hitting the Earth causing them to absorbed by the Earth, subsequently heating it up. As one looks into the idea of global warming, one can see many examples of naturally caused global warming, but at the same time we cannot forget the human factor.

This is the first time in Earth’s history where humans have used its planet on such a massive scale. As we mine for more and more natural gas and oil to meet our ever growing consumption needs, we are releasing more and more CO2 emissions that ever before. At the same time, these refineries are putting the CO2 back into the ground or building algae fields where this CO2 “eater” absorbs the carbon emission right out of the air. These new programs have accounted for taking 88 million cars off the road in America. At the same time, places all over the world are using more fossil fuels to push their economy further in places like China. Because of oil demand in China, the global oil price is reflected in America where we are now extracting and producing more natural gas and oil than in the last 8 years. During this period, we have had crazy fluctuations of weather patterns on a short term scale. Could there be a pattern between short term events and a long term climate pattern that are linked to the explosion of fossil fuels and human population and consumption, or are we part of a bigger climate cycle that happens regardless of human interaction or intervention. Could humans use innovation to take this planet and humanity to new worldly heights where we can find a perfect atmospheric balance that maintains a good environment for all to enjoy, or will natural or man-made causes be the overwhelming cause of the heating of this planet?

Barry, L. Patrick. “Earth's Fidgeting Climate.” http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast20oct_1/. October 20th 2000. Nasa News. April 12th 2012.
"The Science Channel." A Documentary on CO2 Absorbing Technology. I watched this during the first week of April 2012, and it may still be on "On Demand"

The Rise Of The Third Reich: How One Man's Ideology Engulfed A Nation?

The Rise of the Third Reich

            The series of events that led up to the rise of the Third Reich essentially acted as a gateway for Hitler to obtain the reins of power of the Fatherland, Germany.  The shame and anger that came after WW1 was all blamed upon the government for which allowed this to happen.   After the war, Germany was forced by the Treaty of Versailles to a pay for a war that they supposedly started.  This put a serious economic burden especially after the Crash of 29’.   Berlin was considered “Sin City” during the 1920’s because of the loss of all values and standards.  The depression acted as entrance for the Nazi’s and Hitler to take power because Hitler promised to return Germany to the country they once were.  He promised to bring back German Honor that was lost and he stressed about working rights, essentially reaching out to the middle class.  What also played a key role for the rise of Nationalist Socialist Party was the idea that if the citizens of Germany wanted political change, they had to choose between Communism and Nazism.  The burning of the Parliament Hall, the meeting place for the incumbent government, played a significant factor in the rise of Hitler because he subsequently blamed the terrorism on the Communist, further increasing his popularity among the German people even though he did not have full support.  Hitler gained even more support with his ability to speak.  He used emotion through words and body language to gain further support of his supporters and fellow Nazi’s.  Just as FDR did his “Fireside Chats,” Hitler used the same tactics to gather more support.  His ability to reach out to the thoughts and emotions of the people of Germany essentially was his secret weapon to rise of The Nazi Party.  After Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, and the Reichstag was burned, Hitler used this opportunity to start his Decrees.  After this event, Hitler essentially ended the 1st Amendment rights of Germany, ended all political opposition by outlawing them, and was a dictator within 2 months of having power.  While the country of Germany was cheering “Hile Hitler” and holding parades with children raising the Nazi flag, Hitler was opening the first detainment camps and putting in initial framework for a reign of terror that would indefinitely follow.  He even had the German Jews fooled for they supported Hitler because they saw him as a beginning for Germany.  They saw themselves as Germans first, and Jews second which is quite ironic for their leader saw it in a contradictory manner.  During late June and early July of 1934, Hitler and his party essentially got rid of any political opposition, which was later referred to as “Night of the Long Knives.”  Because Hitler’s henchman felt a though Rohm and the opposition S.A., they influenced Hitler to get rid of the opposition, and make all of Hitler’s followers to swear an “Oath of Allegiance,” to the Fuhrer.  After this event, no word or idea opposing the Nazi Party was safe anymore, for Hitler now had total power of the German nation.  He even became Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” in 1934.  Even though the filmmaker was not even a Nazi, Riefenstahl’s, Triumph of the Will, was a key factor for the 1934 Party Rally.  The film empowered the viewer’s sense of pride and allegiance to their country, basically used s political bait for Hitler to finally reel in the total authoritative control of a rising nation.  The next step for Hitler was the Nuremburg Laws.  These new, socially devastating laws essentially outlawed Jews from having any rights.  They were no longer considered citizens, and all Jewish owned stores were abandoned for no German citizen was allowed to shop there.  Social interaction with people of Jewish decent was no longer acceptable or legal in the eyes of the new Nazi government.  According to Hitler, “Jews were sinners, and if able to, they would cut the throat of Christian Germans.”  It was words like these that German children had to read and learn in school for they were considered poetry.  Hitler focused on the Youth of Germany for they were Germany’s future.  He sterilized those he felt were unfit to have children, and brainwashed those young adults that he felt should give back to her country by giving their Fuhrer more perfect offspring.  During this time, Hitler used the money his party made by confiscating all Jewish belongings, for essentially fueling his regime.  In the end, getting out of Germany before it was too late was the biggest problem for many people. In order to leave the country, you must be rich, smart, and cunning to get through the armored fortress I call the Nazi Party.  Many families lost everything in order to leave the country and start fresh somewhere else.  Hitler, by 1938, had risen to full power of Germany and was running full steam ahead.

Ideology and Terror: A Brief Look at 20th Century Totalitarianism

Totalitarianism is essentially different to other forms of political oppression (such as tyranny and dictatorship) because the leader and party gains political control by legitimate means such as an election or just by support of the his/her fellow citizens, but after gaining power they live their lives effecively trying to keep a strangle hold on that POWER.  While other forms of oppression tended to leave a state’s existing social, legal and political structures in place, totalitarianism effectively destroys these structures and replaces them with a single ideology and hierarchy.    Totalitarianism is a means and end to itself, it does not seek the approbation or understanding of other, rival, schools of thought.  A totalitarian state has its own self-contained set of values and rules, that operate within a single ideology.  Arendt defines an ideology as '...isms which to the satisfaction of their adherents can explain everything and every occurrence by deducing it from a single premise.’(Arendt)  A totalitarian state prefers citizens who cannot tell the difference between right and wrong to a thinking citizen that agrees with the state.   A totalitarian state expects each citizen to be able to perform one of two roles:  Victim or Executioner.  If the state perceives that certain citizens are enemies, it relies upon the other citizens to identify these enemies and execute them, thereby protecting the state as a whole.  It was a successful ideology to couple terror with ideas because it brainwashed the people into believing anything and everything that the regime said and did.  Hitler held supreme power right up until the end of the war.  His use of Darwinist tactics as a way of gaining control of the country and support of his people was quite ingenious way of taking advantage of the weakened and rebellious mindset of the German people.   Stalinism and Nazism were considered the best examples of totalitarianism because the two regimes were able to fully transform these nation and people into a total takeover of the country by a leader and his ideology.  Stalin and Hitler did just that to take over their downed nations.  They used their ability to connect with the people to gain full control of the country, but in the end they persecuted their own people because the people not only feared the regime, but the regime feared the people at the same time.  In the end, terror and Total Domination destroyed the capacity for human action because people were no longer allowed to have opinions, and this ideology destroys self-thought and progress.  The ability to have free-will is the key to have consistent movement forward as a nation.
When one person or political party makes one forget his/her beliefs and ideas because of money and manipulation, I believe that society has a problem.  What makes us different and the same as humans at the same time is the fact that we are able to use morality and reasoning to help make conscious decisions.  When a person or party makes this ability seem wrong or illegitimate, that your ideas and ways of thinking are wrong simply because one says so.(i think that is what a kindergarden teacher says to the student when the student says, "Can i eat glue?" "NO!" "Why" "Because I said so.")  I will be damned as a young adult with a mind of my own, if i let anyone of any power or money use the phrase, "because i said so", as a means of giving me an explanation of why i should think or do something in a certain way.  One can see it all around us in our house, community, city, state, country, and world how people try to change the way others think or feel because their way is right or better than mine.  In life, there are a million paths to the same end, so why should it matter how you get their as long as you do it in a legal and proper way.  Where should a society draw the line between a government or leader who wishes to make change for the better for all, or wish to make change better for those who have helped you financially in the past, present, or foreseeable future.  The vicious eyes of a totalitarian state can peer upon you behind the body of a nation full of wishful thinkers.  Complacientcy or vulnerability of a nation shall allow those eyes to ponder and control even deeper into the lives of those living in that place, but the thoughts and ideas of one or several men who wish to blind or correct those eyes, are often blinded or corrected by those vicious eyes looking back at him because we the people allow them to because some of us have forgotten how it is to think for one's own self.  Will you let those eyes scare you into complacientcy, or play the same game as them while being yourself at the same time?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Obama's Executive Order On Natural Gas

As of this moment on April 13, 2012, President Obama has signed an Executive Order on Natural Gas in America.  Natural Gas extraction has become a controversial topic in American politics as of recently.  Many Americans see the industry has a way to create energy for our ever growing world.  It is way to create jobs for many unemployed and unhappy Americans.  It is a way to kick-start a lackluster, but improving economy.  It is way to create a reliance on domestic energy rather than worrying about rising prices and animosity in the Middle Eastern World caused by political turmoil.  This rising industry has decreased the average price on natural gas to just below $2.   So what is the big deal about the government taking measures against such an industry that is all about American made energy and job creation you might ask?

             Well now we have several government agencies spending more money diving into an industry that has more holes in its legislation than a New York Bum has in his socks.  The president’s fluctuating opinion and policy on the idea of hydraulic fracturing has led me to wonder what he is trying to accomplish.  I believe the American political system is quite a mess right now over the future of our country.  You have Republicans that want to extract all this natural gas that is affecting the lives of people in and around the extraction sites to help increase economic activity and prosperity of the companies that wish to exploit this land.  This is an industry that will only be around for another 100 years because by then we will have consumed all of our Gas supply, and then look for new ways to fuel our ever growing world.  Natural Gas and Oil industries profits and public outcry over leaks, spills, prices, and environmental problems are only at the beginning stages of detrimental problems.  We have a society that has increasing energy demands, but a system that wishes to fulfill those demands in any way possible even at the expense of those they wish to provide for.  We have a government that is split between finding new ways of using and conserving energy, and government that wishes to go full-steam ahead at the cost of the health and financially well-being of a country, and worry about what will come when it comes.  Even a young age, my parents have always taught me to make well thought out and planned decisions especially when those decisions will affect millions upon millions of people.

             Is it right to push forward in this industry where illegal activities are Ok’d by the judicial, legislative, and executive branches from a local to federal level?  Is the money spent trying to regulate the industryworth it when the industry is so corrupt and entangled in politics that the government agencies may not even be successful in stopping problems that arise  Should the well-being of the people come before increasing economic stature, or is it the American way to put business and money before everything for the ALL-MIGHTY dollar takes importance over ethical and environmental issues?  The American government needs to stop putting things aside until they get so bad that they forced to make abrupt and untimely decisions that are never in the interest of the whole, but for those that help fuel the giant perpetual wheel on commerce. 

What the Internet Means To Me?

As I look back along the path I’ve taken to this point in my life, there is no greater technology that has impacted my life than the internet.  I can remember my first AOL screen name back when I was in 4th grade, until now where the world of internet databases, social networking, and virtual stores has taken over the world.  The implementation of the virtual superhighway I call the internet has connected people, ideas, and information from across the globe at the "click of a button."  At the same time, people's culture, ethics, opinions, and ideologies of the internet have brought us as a society to a crossroad.  The internet was created with idea that this new technology would not be subject to hackers, spyware, viruses along with a variety of other concepts and devices that could send this new world spiraling downwards.  As I see it, the internet will continue to revolutionize the future of how we as humans carry out our lives, and I hope that proper government laws with the cooperation of society and business to take this new tool to new heights where the world is connected across a safe and secure network. 

The government has a lot of control over the forward progress of the information superhighway.  Just recently, the government tried to pass laws such as SOPA which would allow the government to block and censure the internet where they see necessary.  In my opinion, who has the right to tell the users of this created world what is allowed to be viewed and accessed and what is not.  At the same time, the government should protect and provide services to protect the rights and privacy of a new world that has been opened up for those who wish to dive into the depths of this virtual society.  Should the government be allowed to have any interference over the social networks that are now prevalent in our everyday lives?  This idea leaves many people scared to post certain ideas, pictures etc., that they have come to while doing research on the internet.  The internet is now a way for people to gather and discuss ideas about how many controversial topics especially politics, so in a way the internet is a great tool for politicians and his/her constituents to interact and discuss plans and policies that could affect the internet and others aspects of their lives.  The government and internet companies should also protect the money of its citizens by increasing its watchful eye on identity theft by watching patterns of use which could be done by computers which track and remember your frequent stops on this information highway.  In the end, protecting and maintaining privacy, but making sure the rights of those they are protecting are not tarnished can be a tough job. Keeping that space between protecting and interfering can sometimes be a daunting task, and on a lot of occasions that boundary is breached because it’s considered a “matter of national security”, or people use their power to their advantage which we see and hear about each and every day.

The internet is also a place to really promote yourself and ideas.  Look at the idea of the Google blog.  I have taken this opportunity to speak my mind in ways I've never been able to before.  The internet is a way to express thoughts and ideas that up until now were confined to one's mind, notebook, classroom, or USB Drive, but now can be seen by people from all over the world.  In just three short months of having this blog, I now have 64 posts that now amount to some 300 pages of work which has been read all over the world.  At the same time, I can research and interact with other's views, ideas, and facts by going on Google and typing in the name and ideas of those who came before me.  The internet has led me even further on my path of self-discovery for now if I have a question about a particular thing, I can simply look it up, and fortunately I have an uncanny ability to retain information at a quick and easy base, the internet is now put limitless boundaries on my intellectual capacity, and has driven my ambition faster than ever before.  For the first time, I am able to talk to someone from across the globe who has similar views on the world as I do without people next to each other or on the phone.  In the end though, this information superhighway should be respected because people put a lot of time and effort to contribute to the construction to this global network. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Story Of Ammajan Amina: The Rise to the Modern Standard Of Living and its Effect on The World

Amina’s story brings a lot of sadness, but also a great amount of gratitude, empathy, and respect for Amina’s struggle out of poverty and starvation.  Her experiences as a whole really made me put my life into perspective to really understand how life is quite different here than in many places in the world.  From a utilitarian perspective, there are a few things I found particularly disturbing.  For example,   while she was out making buying and making food/money for her family, her brother-in-law sold the tin roof that was on their house, subsequently leaving the mud walls to collapse due to rain.  Why couldn’t the brother-in-law support his brother’s widow with her business and drive to take care of her children, instead he’d rather betray her by selling the very roof over her head.  Another event I found disturbing was the fact that the husband spent all the families money on a cure for his ailing disease, which in turn left the family in poverty and hunger because he wish to waste his life earnings away on a cure, rather than balance his budget to make sure his family is taken care of.   

As the economy of China continues to grow, it will have to feed a population of an ever-growing country.  “Between 1950 and 1998, China's grain production went from 90 million tons to 392 million tons. It was one of the world's major economic achievements in the last half century. But then, after 1998, grain production started to drop. One of the reasons was because of spreading water shortages. Between 1998 and 2003, grain production fell from 392 million tons to 322 million tons.”(Brown, World in the Balance: The People Paradox)  As a result of this food shortage of grain in China, they will look to the world market for more grain to meet their countries consumption needs.  As a result, this may lead the price of grain in the United States to go up because of the globalized market.  Will we be able to feed a billion people in the future along with the needs of our own country and other countries abroad.  In the end, to solve this problem, Brown says, “We need to restructure our global economic plan if we are to live in a sustainable world.”   Another issue is that of global warming.  It’s a proven fact that our world is getting warmer as a result of several conditions which in itself includes the excessive increase in carbon emissions.   “Recent research at the International Rice Research Institute looking at the precise relationship between temperature and crop yields indicates that each 1°C rise in temperature above the optimum during the growing season leads to a 10 percent decline in grain yields—wheat, rice, and corn. Those results have been confirmed by crop ecologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”(Brown)  This leads to water shortages in key areas in the country, and the water beds and aquifers start to decrease because nature cannot re-fill itself at the same rate as which we consume our resources.  If we do not start taking action against global warming or climate change, our food supply and water supply will start to diminish at a quicker rate.

                India is a country that has seen exponential growth in the past decade or so.  They have hit a boom of industrialization.  Their agriculture industry grew incredibly as well.  In 1965, a team from the Department Agriculture with Brown as a member went to India to work on a project dealing with high-yielding wheat.  “The result of these improvements was that India doubled its wheat harvest in seven years. No major country had ever so rapidly doubled a major food staple as India did with wheat. And since then India has more than doubled its total grain production.”(Brown)  Unfortunately, today that increased production has slowed down over time, to barely any increased capacity of grain production on such a large scale today.  The ever-growing population has an exceeded the speed at which the grain can be produced causing food shortages on a large scale.  “We can get 2 percent here, 5 percent there, and maybe 10 percent some other place. But the doublings of grain harvests in major producing countries now appears to be history.” (Brown)

                As the economies grow all over the world, the food, water, and energy needs of the people will only grow as modern industrialization takes place in lesser developed nations.  The speed at which these resources can be provided will not match that of the need of an ever-growing modernized society.  The world must devise a plan on how to manage the issue in order to sustain a working global economy.  How can we feed a growing world when numbers have already peaked, but are maintained for now unless population growth is not curbed.  How can a world with human rights stop the growth of the human race that which is free to do as they wish in the modern world?  How can we provide for people all over the world without sky-rocketing the prices at home because of the need on a global scale?  Will the world work together to help fix our part with the burning of fossil fuels that cause CO2 emissions in our atmosphere which has directly reflected on global warming.  In Texas, the natural gas fracking, has led to water contaminations and shortages as well as a direct reflection on the crop production.  This can also be said to true about the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.  Many experts say that the unregulated fracking industry can lead to significant environment issues.  For example, due to the drilling taking place in a flood plain area, effects on the water table are a cause of serious concern.  Fracking could lead to contamination of the entire drinking water supply for the entire area that benefits from the fresh water supplied by the Delaware River and its tributaries.

Interview of Lester Brown conducted in December 2003 by Sarah Holt, producer of "World in the Balance: The People Paradox," and edited by Peter Tyson, editor in chief of NOVA Online


How The Passing Of The Healthcare Bill Could Work?

The United States has been built on the principals of a laissez faire economic standpoint to politics.  Many rich politicians of the early United States even up until today, have said that politics just ruins economic progress.  At this particular moment, politics has ruined the economic progress of the greatest country on Earth.  There is a way in which this plan could work if both sides play the right cards.  Here is my story:

Healthcare is an important guideline for the health and well-being of everyone.  To this day, the United States has one of the highest age-expectancies of any country on Earth.  The United States is also one of the sites for the funding of scientific research into medicine of all sorts.   The U.S. has spent billions of dollars on research to help drive this industry.  It seems as though they only bring to light bits and pieces to the bio-medical puzzle that they show you on television.  One is left to decide what is right nor wrong for one's self.  I agree that if we are to not go into socialized economy of healthcare, than the government should do everything in its power to help promote the harmful things that cause health issues in your body.  If they do so insurance companies can make more money because people will get sick less meaning less paid out.  The government's role in this should only be that of a protectorate of the people, for business is but an entity with no conscience awareness but that of the people that represent that entity.  If the government, instead of worrying about health insurance, and worried about creating jobs for a sustainable economic future for its people, then people would not have to worry about insurance because everyone would have a job to buy health insurance.  If you this bill is to pass and work, then we the people, must be given the opportunity to have almost full employment because that is the only way that people will be able to have insurance. 

            In the end, the only way this Bill will work is if the United States creates domestic jobs that will create a growing economy that gives equal health-care to everyone no matter your socio-economic stances.  In providing information on ways to sustain a healthier lifestyle, than insurance companies can profit because people who live better lifestyles go to the doctor less.  By promoting a healthier lifestyle through educational media, and creating better job opportunity will lead this country in the right direction into the future.

Is there a higher order to things On Earth?

As I sit here and ponder on the thought of the events that are unfolding in the world today, it makes me think about the laws of nature.  The fundamental laws that govern this universe that we live in have brought us to exist on this planet at this very moment in time.  Over our 4.5 billion year history, the right conditions have culminated with our very existence in our world we call reality.  This higher order has given rise to the fundamental forces of nature: the electromagnetic force, the weak and nuclear force, and of course gravity.  The way in which these forces act upon our reality has given us everything that makes our world of what we see.  As I ponder the idea of consciousness, I start to think that everything may have a form of consciousness, but it may be seen or portrayed in many different ways.  Here is my story:

                   Humans see consciousness as a state-of-mind or the ability to be intelligent.  To me consciousness is the ability to be aware or conscience of one's surroundings.  Let’s take the seasons for example:  In the spring and summer months, anyone living in the northeast portion of the United States, mostly Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, think about the future summer season, and are able to await the summer season because of the changing weather, the interaction between one another, and of course the calendar (book of time) tells you that summer is approaching.  When the summer is here, we all look to get tan, and we all become a little more easy-going rather than in the winter we are quite different, or at least some of us.    At the same time, plants and animals, in my opinion have this idea of consciousness or ability to understand their surroundings.  For example, plants somehow have a biological clock that begins the growing cycle when conditions are just right for optimal growing.  In an ideal setting though, plants like consistent temperature differentiation between peaks and lows just as humans think about in regards to weather.  Plants are also affected by the sudden increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.  The ocean’s habitats are experiencing change as a direct result of this.  We make a conscience decision to allow this to happen, as a result of our altered way of thinking, another part of this system shall suffer to give rise to this change.  This higher order is like a system of balances where you add something it must be canceled out somewhere else.  As you increase something to one side, (the atmospheric composition), another part of nature must be taken away. (Oceanic life) 

The higher order is in question on Earth these days.  Some ponder the idea of consciousness or self-awareness.  Self-awareness is one's perception on reality and how you adapt to that "awareness."  With that being said, everything in our world is aware of their surroundings because we can see that with the changing of the weather with plants and animals.  We humans think awareness comes with our senses, and our ability to act upon them.  Do you think if humans do not accommodate to this altered opinion on awareness that the awareness of those without the ability to communicate, will do so in a manner that could potentially be harmful to the whole system?  Could the entire system have to right itself to bring it back to its perfect balance, or is there a way to help create conditions that will benefit the conscience nature of all things.