Oil, Danger in the Air: A Classical Argument
Thursday, November 30, 2006

The plague had spread. It seemed as if every minute the price rose. Everywhere I went I could see employees altering the prices on their billboards. At that point I thought to myself, “I need a new job.” I mean everyone knew this was coming, and now it had. Gas prices were at an all time high. As I pulled into Mobile, I could see mothers and fathers shaking their heads in frustration as they swiped their credit cards through the credit card machines. I pulled up to a pump, stepped out of my car, and glanced at the prices, which had nearly doubled. I was in shock. I didn’t think things could get any worse, than I realized the station was out of regular gasoline. I hadn’t heard of this ever happening before. I paused to think and arrived at the question, “Is the United States of America running out of oil?”

I departed from the station in search of cheaper gasoline. Every station I reached had sold out of regular gas. Premium gas was out of my price range, and I was wasting enough gas driving around in search of a place to buy it cheaply. I finally found a station that I could afford. I filled up my tank in dissatisfaction. What is our economy going to do? The lack of oil in the U.S. is an issue that needs to be seriously addressed. First, there are not enough natural resources to meet the demand for oil. Also, the economy can’t continue to rely on other countries for gas. Finally, if the oil consumption continues at the present rate, the United States is going to run out of oil supply entirely.

People need oil because it is used everywhere in America. From heat to gas, it plays a big part in the life of an everyday citizen. Oil is being consumed at an extremely high rate, and it’s going to be hard to meet the nation’s demands in the near future. The United States does not have oil as a readily available natural resource. Although the country does have some resources in Alaska, it’s not enough. The main source of oil is based on purchases from foreign countries. 

A direct consequence of importing oil is that other countries can charge whatever price they desire and the economy will pay for it. Oil has an inelastic demand because it is a necessity. Many factors can come into play and cause the nation to suffer because it is so dependant on foreign countries. The U.S. relies on third world nations that may encounter wars or depletion in natural resources. These problems could virtually destroy the United States’ economy. The more money that is spent on gas the more money is spent on foreign countries. Because of this citizens are spending less money in the U.S. and less money towards our economy. As a result, the economy will decline and ultimately fail.

Oil usage needs to be cut back on immediately. Oil is not unlimited and will run out eventually. Many items in our society are oil dependent: anything high in technology, medicine, water distribution, national defense, and plastic. A solution could be having more citizens carpooling. The government could also help by investing money in public transportation. Buses could be cleaned and made more user-friendly, therefore people would be more inclined to use them. By doing this money and oil would be preserved.

Some people may suggest that the government expand the country’s natural resources by mining in Alaska and exploring more in its own environment. This would make it so the U.S. had its own plentiful supply of oil, ultimately lowering prices and ridding dependability on foreign countries. Also, the U.S. has always had exceptional intellectual resources, making it likely that a replacement could be produced before oil is depleted. The government wouldn’t allow the economy to fall apart. The government has saved the United States every time the country has been in danger. For example, when Edison Utility was about to go out of business, the government provided funding because it would be difficult for America to function without light bulbs.

Ultimately, America is advanced enough to find an alternative resource before oil is depleted, and if it doesn’t our own territory can be explored. However, this may never happen. Most alternative systems of energy such as nuclear power and hydrogen fuel cells are reliant on sophisticated technology. These systems are extremely expensive because of the process needed to develop nuclear power and hydrogen fuel into energy. Therefore, these alternatives ultimately could be looked at as derivatives because there is no way of scaling these alternatives enough to power the world. Also, environmental exploration is too much of a risk. The world is already becoming overpopulated, and digging into the country’s soil in search of oil would limit the production of houses.

Americans can’t rely on the bureaucracy of the government to save society. Individual citizens can’t continue to abuse nature and not expect consequences. Action needs to be taken now. People need to realize that the economy is in danger if this problem is not solved. Oil can be cut back on by taking the cab or bus. Individuals should not use heating systems when it is not needed. If every American can cut back on their usage of oil a small amount, whether they realize it or not, these conservative practices could save our world.

Paying College Athletes: A Resemblance Argument
Thursday, November 30, 2006

College athletes have become extremely popular without being featured on a video game or receiving a shoe deal. Should colleges pay their athletes? Absolutely not, but should companies like Adidas send a college athlete a check for the amount of jerseys they sold because of that players name? I believe so.

Paying college athletes to play at a university is like paying an 11 year old kid to go to Disney World. College athletes are participating in sports because they love it. They want to go to college and play the sport that they love. This is just like an 11 year old boy. The child is going to Disney World because he wants to enjoy everything that it has to offer. He does not want money because just being there is all that he could ever want.

If a company like Sony wants to market a product and promote it they have to pay for market awareness. Why should companies like Nike be able to do this without paying? They are not special and should be required to pay athletes for profiting from their names.

The NCAA has strict regulations restricting athletes from receiving money in any way. The NCAA will confront an athlete even if he or she is taken out for dinner. College athletes are considered amateurs. When an amateur upgrades to a pro, they simply get paid to play for an organization. Payment to play in an event is the only difference between an amateur and a professional. Because of this, athletes receiving only scholarships at a university as an incentive will not change.

If colleges were allowed to pay their athletes, big division one schools would become unfairly superior to the mid-major competitors. They would be able to pay the best athletes the most money. This would create an unfair advantage in the college sports world.

When endorsements become involved with athletes, factors become more complicated. Featuring an athlete on a video game cover doesn’t make that athlete a professional. Companies wouldn’t be paying athletes to play sports; they would be paying for the athletes name so it can be featured on a cover or placed on the back of a jersey.

It’s apparent that companies profit from unpaid athletes, especially the video game industry. Video game companies use college athletes in games without name recognition. These video game companies are profiting from the players image and accomplishments. Athletes used in game should receive a check for helping the success of a company product.

People argue that if this were to happen companies would then pay athletes based on their performance, changing the way they play. This may be true, but the NCAA would not allow companies to pay athletes based on their performance. Players would only be paid for the sale of a jersey or game.

Also, fans are concerned if competition and in-game play would be affected by endorsements. Endorsements would motivate players to play well just as scholarships do. In college sports, nothing is guaranteed. Because of this players strive to do their best. A scholarship can be taken away if a player is injured or decides not to play a sport. Endorsements possess similar power. Companies aren’t going to sell the shoe of a player who drives drunk or murders a person. This motivation would enhance an athlete’s competitive nature and help their financial situation in life.

The difference between amateurs and professionals needs to be officially determined. Direct payment from a university to a player should never be acceptable; however, money received from the use of an athlete’s name should be allowed. Some college athlete’s jerseys sell for 100 dollars and no money is issued to the player’s name that is used. These athletes would be receiving money because a company sold an item with their name or number on it, not to play a sport. Professionalism and amateurism are related, but they are different in specific ways. The NCAA should look into this situation immediately, since the results may benefit college sports.

Animal Testing Is Wrong: An Evaluation Argument
Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Animal testing is an act of cruelty. I believe it is morally wrong to cause an animal to suffer in order to benefit the human race. Millions of animals have been used as test subjects for research purposes, but research has proven that less than 25 percent of medicinal side effects are correctly predicted. Based on these details, I ask what are we really getting out of animal experimentation?

What rights do animals have? Who are humans to decide what meaning an animal’s life will have? I believe that animals have rights. There are different methods for testing that should be pursued. People differ in their opinions. Some think that the tests are unneeded and incorrect. Others believe that they are required in order to benefit society and further medical research.

One reason I am opposed to animal cruelty is because animals can’t speak. They can’t express emotion through words or tell a researcher to stop causing them pain. Numerous companies conduct tests that are inhumane and hurtful to animals. Animals require our support because in this situation they are defenseless. Just because they lack intelligence and can’t become members of society doesn’t mean they don’t have rights. Because animals aren’t as intelligent as humans, they deserve our care and respect. An animal can be compared to a newborn baby; they both do not possess extreme intelligence and require support of a human.. Animals can’t defend themselves therefore we should defend them. What makes humans superior to them anyways, our feelings? Animals have feelings too. It is unfair to conduct tests on them when they have no say.

Many people believe that if animal testing were to be stopped, medicine and scientific advancements would halt. It would be difficult to learn new information about humans, behavior, or dieting. It is believed that the development of cures for diseases would also stop. It seems as if animal experimentation is needed. It provides society with medical advancements and new discoveries; however, there are alternatives.

Since it has been proven that certain results derived from tests are obsolete, other possibilities for testing become realistic. First, society has the technological resources to use computers for testing. Also, tests could be conducted on smaller organisms such as bacteria. In order to produce accurate results, animals do not always need to be tested. Animals are different from humans psychologically and anatomically. This makes them a poor comparison to humans. Diseases that affect humans, such as AIDS, have been injected into animal test subjects and were unaffected by the HIV virus. This is proof that testing in many ways is meaningless. These kinds of tests are also done repeatedly, only to produce the same results. Animals are becoming endangered because of corporation’s excessive testing. 

More than 500 million animals die as a result of animal testing each year. This is ludicrous. There are other methods available that could significantly decrease the number of animal deaths. There are artificial environment methods called in-vitro. Also, the amount of duplicate tests could also be cut down on by using a database to keep track of tests. Different tests would reduce costs, predict human injury more effectively, produce results faster, and eliminate animal cruelty.

Labs have become breeding grounds for animal test subjects. They treat animals with no respect, forcing animals to live their life in a cage only to be killed because of a test. This is immoral. Just because their lives are spent in a cage doesn’t mean their lives are worth less than any human. Sure, a large amount of tests are done on animals such as mice, but they are still animals. They are a part of the food chain just like humans. Their role in life is not to be tested.

It’s difficult to predict whether or not animal testing will ever end. There needs to be more of an effort in the direction of animal life preservation. By replacing animal testing with computer simulation and in-vitro methods numerous lives could be saved. Procedures could be better and an effort could be made to reduce the pain administered to the animal. Alternatives to animal testing will become stronger as they become known. Innocent lives can be saved. 

“How should I act?” – V (Old Bailey), “Speaking of Courage”, Thoreau: Reflection
Sunday, October 29, 2006

Civil Disobedience is fascinating. How is the world different now compared to when Thoreau was alive? Do these changes affect his message and its meaning? For example, government has changed in America since his time. Currently, government programs are much more persuasive than they used to be. This affects many phases of American lives. Is it impossible separate yourself and get away from such a powerful government? Most people today would agree with Thoreau’s stance on the evils of slavery, and it is easy to convince Americans that it is good to protest these evils. But would Americans agree with Thoreau on his stance about it if he were using civil disobedience to support slavery?

Not all people think that war is bad. One person might support war simply because they feel strongly about it, such as the Nazi regime. When America was at war with Hitler, almost every American supported the soldiers and the United States’ cause, at least after Pearl Harbor. But, when the war in Vietnam occurred, Americans were less one-sided. Obviously Americans practiced civil disobedience in protest of the Vietnam War. Thoreau’s principles are convincing, yet some of his examples are unclear.

Thoreau also discusses the importance of non-conformity. He is extremely concerned about the injustices practiced by the government and their intolerance toward non-conformity. He thinks that many problems in society arise from the fact that majorities make it improbable for others to seek justice as they see fit. He has an idea of a place that allows for people to choose to live separate from the government itself, thus becoming independent. He presents this idea assuming that citizenship is a matter of choice. People are born into certain situations that they can’t control. They can’t simply disconnect themselves from their world or the government. They have feelings of obligation towards friends, family, and themselves. However, Thoreau believes that a person is responsible for themselves and should see him or herself as liberated.

Thoreau states that he’ll pay highway taxes because he desires to be a good neighbor. However, he mainly avoids paying most all taxes. His refusal to pay taxes isn’t because he wants to boycott government practices. He is actually repudiating loyalty to the government. In his novel, he states, “"I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make what use and get what advantage of her I can, as is usual in such cases." When referring to the person who paid his debt in order for him to be let out of jail, he says if that person helped him out of sympathy, then that person was helping injustice. If the person did it order to aid him, then that person allowed their feelings to impede with the public good. Thoreau says he sometimes desires to respect his neighbors, knowing they have good intentions. However, he realizes that there are people, such as slaves, who would be upset if he were to keep to his neighbors. He doesn’t think that he has to accept people for who they are and give up on thinking of how they should be and act. He thinks that he can have some influence and impact when going against his fellow people.

Thoreau believes that soldiers are machines and that they are no better than dogs. He states that soldiers can’t think for themselves and are shadows of men. He believes that people should act in accordance with their conscience. Norman Bowker is a soldier in the Vietnam War. He has a strong aura, but it’s belittled. Bowker is a peaceful man. He does not like violence and discourages fellow soldiers from it. However, he supports them when they are faced with decisions that war obligates them to make. This comes into play when O’Brien kills a person outside of My Khe. All of the men are effected when Kiowa is killed, Bowker especially. Bowker fears that he has betrayed his friend.

Bowker is faced with the task of telling the story of Kiowa’s death. The story is about both Kiowa’s death and the death itself. Bowker thinks that he was as brave as he could have been considering the situation. However, his bravery wasn’t enough to save his good friend’s life. This displays Bowker’s emotions towards Kiowa’s death as well as the death itself.

Bowker faces pain when war stories are recalled. “Speaking of Courage” displays how not speaking and speaking about the war affects characters in the novel. O’Brien’s guilt and memories are dealt with by writing stories. These stories help distance him from the terrors of war. When he writes, he separates his current self from the self that fought in battle. Meanwhile, Bowker can’t soothe himself through telling stories. He seems to have trouble expressing himself through words. He drives around aimlessly in silence. He can’t leave his war experience behind, but can’t talk to anyone about the war. While O’Brien can use his stories to come to terms with what happened, Bowker can’t.

Norman Bowker and his father don’t see eye to eye when it comes to medals. His father feeling is that medals measure someone’s worth when Bowker believes that medals are meaningless when it comes to war. It’s hard for Bowker to accept the fact that his father admires medals so much. It bothers him that his father admires him because of his medals, and not for his respectable war experience.

The war has lasting effect on soldiers and O’Brien uses the sewage field as an example of how it’s hard for a soldier to put the war’s effects in the past. None of the soldiers can put the sewage field incident behind them. Bowker believes that he may have been able to save Kiowa if the field didn’t smell so bad, thus earning the Silver Star. But did the smell of the field prevent Bowker from doing what he could to save Kiowa’s life? Just like Kiowa could not be saved from the field, Bowker can’t stop himself from thinking about Kiowa and the Song Tra Bong obsessively. He has a desire to go back in time and change what happened.

Bowker can’t help but live in the past and it ultimately results in his suicide. He can’t come to terms with the fact that there was nothing he could do to save Kiowa. He bears his burdens alone while O’Brien is able to share the things he carries. Bowker’s burdens ultimately lead to his death in a YMCA.

One of V’s actions he takes is blowing up the Old Bailey. It is a symbol of his feelings towards the government. Destroying the Old Bailey is the perfect way to initially gain citizen’s attention. Later, he displays a message directed to the citizens, exploiting the government’s injustices and asking the people to join him in his Vendetta.

Before he destroys the Old Bailey, he puts on an act. This act is amusing in the sense that he is sarcastic in his tone of voice, yet he displays her injustice and what she truly represents. He refers to her as Madame Justice, which is suitable. V believes in justice and the idea behind it. His newfound “love” is different from Madame Justice because she does not represent justice anymore. She has become corrupt. He infers that she has become a symbol of the conservative government that has taken over the country. She is a symbol of anarchy. V states that he has learned justice is meaningless without freedom. The government has stripped its citizens of their freedoms and he wants to change that. His actions have purpose and meaning, which ultimately wins over the citizens, causing them to join V’s vendetta. He uses symbols and actions to display meaning and change. He opens a door for the people to walk through, but does not force them to walk through it.

People should act in accordance to their feelings and beliefs. They should not feel caged by their government or be limited due to the influence of friends and family. They should do what is necessary in order to maintain their absolute freedom and justices. Thoreau, Bowker, O’Brien, and V act in different ways, but it seems as if they possess similar ideas. While Thoreau, O’Brien, and V act as they should, Bowker becomes subject to the influences around him, ultimately resulting in his death. So, how should we act? We should act with purpose. We should act in the name of justice. We should act to protect our freedoms. We should act as we see fit.

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