Monthly Archives: July 2013

Goal of Two-State Solution Requires Diplomatic Boldness, Consistency

Middle East peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

 

After a three-year hiatus in Mideast talks, Secretary of State John Kerry invited Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to Washington, D.C. to set up a plan for future negotiations. While there’s plenty of hope, no breakthrough is expected anytime soon.

First of all, such a complex problem with security; territory; refugees; and geostrategic interests at stake probably cannot be resolved with just one diplomatic push. A consistent multi-year effort is needed.

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High Gasoline Prices Keep Lid on Consumer Spending, Recovery

Gas prices are on the rise, once again, and they are leading to higher prices in other commodities as well.

The price of gasoline has reached $4 per gallon again in some U.S. cities, hurting consumers and businesses, especially those who are poor and middle class. High prices are containing the U.S. and world economy.

Before the onset of the war in Iraq, oil was $25/barrel, higher than normal, because of the strong economy up until 2000, and then September 11.

Not only was the Iraq War long and bloody, but speculators found opportunities to invest in petroleum due to the declining value of the U.S. Dollar; occasional outbursts of terrorism globally; or, even a hurricane.

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Revitalize Detroit with R&D Tax Credits

 

Detroit filed for bankruptcy because it’s reached the point where the city can’t pay its bills anymore, including pensions to municipal employees. It’s terrible and shows why pension funds must be invested even more conservatively, because municipal bonds are only as secure as the municipality’s finances.

There is no quick or painless solution, but it shouldn’t take long to motivate people to grab opportunities; find jobs; and make money.

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Reading for Fun vs. Reading for School

I definitely think reading for fun vs reading for school has something to do with the free will involved. People, especially when children, do not like doing what they are told to do. We like choices. For the classes I had that gave me a few choices of what to read, I actually enjoyed the books more than I did the books that the teacher picked out for us.

I also believe it may have something to do with maturity level and interests at a younger age. Some of the books we read, although very important, were not of much interest to us simply because we would rather read about dragons and wizards than Orwell, for example.

I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird and it got me thinking of my old high school days (all of three years ago).

I was remembering reading To Kill a Mockingbird my sophomore year as a class. I remember laughing at the obvious funny parts in the story but I didn’t really read the book. I read it just enough to write a paper but I didn’t really get into the novel.

I found that this time round with To Kill a Mockingbird, I actually read it… and thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me sad that I could have read this five years ago and felt the way I do now.

Then I got to thinking, this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened.

I ‘read’ Pride and Prejudice my senior year– I didn’t get past the first page. I just wasn’t interested in even…

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Consoles Wars Aren’t Won But Endured

Beat 'Em Up

BuzzFeed, posted probably the best article condemning the very idea of a console war and the impending one coming this holiday season. It boils down to what I feel so strongly about: There are no true winners in a console war.

Yes, consoles do die while in battle. But they aren’t long fought wars. It’s either a quick defeat or a long, difficult tussle that later no one really gives a shit about.

I remember 2006, my “first” E3. The first E3 where I paid attention to everything video games. It was that E3 where the rest of that generation of consoles were unveiled. While the Xbox 360 already had a head start, it was the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 that had their debutant ball. And I remember the Carrie-like hell unleashed right after.

Sony’s arrogance lit up the internet with memes and Nintendo placed itself warmly…

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What is ‘Fracking’

I read a BBC.com article on ‘fracking’ in the US. More specifically, this article discusses a new $20 billion project to open an export terminal in Louisiana where extracted natural gas will be shipped abroad. To give a brief overview, when the terminal was first started it was intended as an import terminal for natural gas. However, with recent discoveries of plentiful reserves, the US is moving towards exporting the energy source to countries such as the UK. A factor in this recent boom is the new innovations in the processes of discovering and exploiting natural gas reserves.

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, occurs when pressurized water is forced into the shale. Granules of sand in the water help make the fissures in the shale larger, allowing the natural gas to flow out. The 90 degree turn allows for a wider field of exploitation.

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Universal Health Coverage Required, But….

We all need some health service sometimes, even young and healthy individuals, so having health insurance is essential to pay for expensive services. However, the objective must be to achieve universal coverage by lowering costs, so people can afford it, not with mandates that increase everybody’s expenses.

ObamaCare has once again surfaced into the attention of the media and, once again, is stirring up controversy.

The Obama Administration delayed implementation of the employer mandate, requiring employers with 50+ full-time employees to provide them with high-quality health insurance, until 2015 after the midterm elections. Major corporations have been asking and receiving exemptions after ObamaCare became law. Although most of these employers already have health insurance for their workers, the employer mandate will increase costs for employers and employees alike. Employers have to determine whether hiring is possible, many are hiring part-time now to avoid paying these cost.

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Short Story: The Orb

The following is a short story I had to write for one of my summer classes. I ended up spending  a lot more time on it than I originally thought, and am proud of the finished product. That is why I am sharing it here! I may write a follow up to continue the story depending on reviews and how much time I have. Please enjoy and feel free to leave comments:

Part I(?)

The hooves pounded on the ground as the three horses raced to their destination. The riders pushed their horses to the limit to return to Androsia, capitol city of the island nation of Theras. These three men and their mounts were scouts, sent out to patrol the mountain passes and cliff overlooks. While out on their latest patrol they had spotted the sails of their enemy’s ships along the horizon of the Afasian Sea. The scouts of Androsia were expecting the attack. What they were not expecting was the magnitude; several thousand individual ships had been spotted, and there seemed to be a never ending tide of them. This was the burden placed upon the scouts as they raced back to Androsia, to warn of the oncoming tsunami that the enemy had mustered.

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