By Kyra Azzato

America and Saudi Arabia are at War!

Gas prices that continue to decrease around the nation- some as low as $2.50 a gallon- certainly have people talking. A congressional debate has broke out regarding increasing federal gas taxes to help fun infrastructure projects.

So what is the gas taxes for?

  •  rebuilding roads, sidewalks and bridges
  • eliminating the $16 billion dollar funding gap in planned construction costs and actual funds

What is the likely hood of it being passed?-

  • Passing a gas tax in a republican controlled house and senate is not very likely
  • Barbara Boxer (D) and Nancy Pelosi (D) both argue for higher gas taxes saying because of the low gas prices Americans can afford to pay a higher tax
  • There is a small amount of support from republican senators

It is important to understand why gas prices have dropped so low.

Saudi Arabia has declared war on the American energy industry.

Saudi companies have begun losing market shares, as people invest in American oil companies.

Between 2001 and 2011, the weekly U.S. field production of crude oil averaged 5.5 million barrels per week.

The weekly U.S field production of crude oil in 2014 averaged 9.1 million barrels. According to international energy experts America is predicted to be the number one producer of oil by 2015.

Needless to say- the Saudi’s are not happy about losing their market.

In recent weeks Saudi Arabian drilling companies have been producing double if not triple the amount of crude oil they were before. By drastically increasing their supply, they were able to drive down the price. In fact, the Saudi drilling companies were so successful at this that many American drilling companies including WBH Energy (located in Texas) were unable to compete and had to declare bankruptcy.

America is in an all out energy price war with the Middle East, and losing.

I live near a American drilling site. About a month ago the rigs were running up and down the road 24-7. I couldn’t believe the amount of rig traffic there was, it seemed like they never stopped working. Then about 2 weeks ago it all stopped. The American drilling company was unable to compete with their Saudi counterpart. The stock prices of American drilling companies are falling right along with the gas prices.

The Saudis recent push for production coupled with increasing fuel efficiency in vehicles has not only begun crippling American companies, but also American infrastructure.There is not enough money being spent on gas- therefore there is not enough money to fix the roads.

by Kyra Azzato

HEY! Lets Arm Criminals and Leave Law Abiding Citizens Helpless!

Every year Rotary Clubs across the nation sponsor a speech competition, encouraging high school students to examine an ethical problem and measure it against the four-way test.  I wrote the following speech in 2013 as a high school senior. At the time I was frustrated and unable to understand how anyone could possibly think it is a good idea to implement gun control. Two years later- I still don’t understand how anyone could think this is a good idea, which is why I thought it was time to dig up the ol’ speech.

Rotary Four-Way Test

Rotary Four-Way Test

Speech Given in the Four-Way competition 2013:

Everyone on the ground! Hands on you head! Anyone moves I shoot!  Get on the get on the ground! These were the terrifying words spoken by armed gunmen attempting to hold patients in medical clinic hostage in Colorado Springs last February.  He would have easily succeeded, if it wouldn’t have been for an armed citizen.  Jeff Ferguson, a doctor at the practice who shot the gunmen and saved over 40 lives.  There have been many attempts to pass laws that prevent men like Jeff from owning guns, but we need to preserve this right.  Let’s measure this right against Rotarian Herbert J. Taylors four way test.  This test, which uses four questions will help us to determine if allowing citizens to own guns is ethical. Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build good will and better friendships and is it beneficial to all concerned. Through this test we will see why American citizens desperately need to be allowed to own firearms.

Question number one. Is it the truth? Right now there is an estimated 300 million firearms owned by U.S. citizens. Guns are in and of themselves a tool, the same way chainsaws, or matches are tools.  In the movie Texas Chainsaw massacre, the crazed killer uses a chainsaw to brutally murder his victims.  Yet, there isn’t a single person who would argue for the prohibition of chainsaws. Chainsaws are tools used to cut down trees, not kill people. When an arsonist lights a match that burns down a building, is that match at fault? Are match manufacturers responsible for the fire? Should laws be passed prohibiting you from having and using matches, or restricting which types you can have, and in what quantities? The answer is of course not. Matches are tools; the same match that was misused by the arsonist is used to light the fireplace that keeps your house warm. Guns are tools and their sole purpose is not to kill people. They are a part of our culture; they are used for recreation, sport, hunting and defense.  Guns as a creation fundamentally change certain dynamics of violence. For example they allow the weaker individual to fight the stronger.

There was a bang at the door.  A 14 year old boy rushes his younger siblings who were 12, 10, and 8 upstairs, and grabs his father’s pistol on the way. On his way up the stairs he turns to see an armed man burst through the doorway. That 14 year olds name is Michael Bates. Michael took drastic measures and shot the man in order to protect himself and his younger siblings. Without his father’s pistol, Michael would have been easily victimized by the gunmen.  Now imagine if suddenly a law was passed prohibiting the 300 million guns that are currently owned by private citizens. Wow, well your first thought is great! No more gun related violence. But when you really think about it you’ll realize that only the law abiding citizens would actually give up their guns, criminals who misuse guns will break that law, just like the all the other laws they break. Laws can’t control the lawless. So where would that leave law abiding American citizens? Well, they would be at an extreme disadvantage against criminals with firearms and have to rely solely on law enforcement. Guns as the great equalizer would no longer exist. The hope for the weaker individual to combat the stronger is gone and along with it vanishes the private citizen’s sense of security.  The truth is, Americans need guns.

Question number two:  Is it fair to all concerned? The founders of America, our fore fathers certainly thought that allowing citizens to own guns was not only fair, but a fundamental right. The bill of rights the second amendment to the constitution states a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.  All American citizens are born with the right to own a gun.

“This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

That is what Hitler decreed in 1935 upon initiating gun control in Germany. The citizens of Nazi Germany had no way to prevent their government from doing what every they wanted. This later resulted in the horrifying events known today as the holocaust and World War two. As Americans we are lucky that our founding fathers put in place legislation that prevented our right to bear arms from being taken from us.

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government.”  Thomas Jefferson. Life isn’t fair, but our fore fathers wanted us to have a fighting chance at fairness.

Question number three: Will it build good will and better friendships?  Guns are not only a part of our American history but they have also become a part of our culture. They are a part of our background, our heritage, our upbringing, and our world view.  Restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms amount to the destruction of a valued way of life, and are in that way a form of cultural genocide.

An  alarm clock barely buzzes before its eagerly switched off, it’s still dark outside,  there are seven or eight pairs of mud covered boots just inside the door, and you can hear the excitement mounting as everyone bundles up and begins anticipating what the day has in store.  This is how my family starts the first day of buck season, it’s a tradition that brings my family together and has created many lasting memories.  Every year my family gears up, eats a huge breakfast prepared by my grandmother and heads out with high hopes of getting a 12 point buck. Anyone who doesn’t go hunting waits anxiously for the hunting party to return so they can hear the many stories they are sure to bring back. This is how I was raised. I was also raised to know gun safety and proper usage. My father is a State Police Corporal and he holds gun safety in high regards.  The ownership of guns has brought my family closer by creating traditions like the one we carry out every hunting season. There are about 50,000,000 U.S. families just like mine who own firearms, and hardly any of these families have ever harmed anyone with their guns, and virtually none ever intend to. Nearly everything these families will ever do with their guns is both legal, and largely a part of their tradition and heritage. So when we advocate restrictions on their rights to own guns, we are casting aside a part of their lives.  Lasting friendships and good will are based on trust, security, values and lasting tradition. Guns are part of what brings us together, ensures good will, and builds relationships on tradition.

Question number four: Is it beneficial to all concerned? Of course allowing Americans to own guns is beneficial. Gun owner ship has declined crime rates and prevented genocides. In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.  China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves and were killed, The tragic history of civilian disarmament cries a warning against any systematic attempts to render innocent citizens ill-equipped to defend themselves from tyrant terrorists, despots or oppressive majorities.  Proof of the benefits of private citizens owning firearms can best be seen when guns were taken away. The genocides that resulted and the corrupt governments that took control were direct results of gun control. When Florida passes a right to carry law, allowing citizens to carry a weapon, their crime rates dropped an average of 36% .When Texas passed its right to carry law in 1995, the murder rate averaged 30% lower than when guns were ban.  Lower crime rates are simply one of the benefits that come along with private citizens owning guns.

The four-way test shows that gun ownership is ethical. It is the truth guns are a tool that level the playing field.  It is fair and it is a fundamental right given to us by the founders of America, our fore fathers.  It absolutely builds good will and better friendships through our culture, heritage and traditions.  Lastly gun ownership is beneficial to all concerned because it lowers crime rates and provides the American people with a sense of security.  A very wise person once said that nothing worth having comes without a fight. As Americans we need to have the courage to fight for our right to bear arms. It is my hope that as a nation we would recognize the value of gun ownership and stand up for our second amendment right.  Thank you for your time.

By Kyra Azzato

 

New Korean Celebrity on the Rise

While many people believe that the actions of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un are his way of showing that he is not to be trifled with, the recent controversy pertaining to the movie The Interview has lead to a very different theory.

If you are out of the loop because of the holidays here are a few things you should know:

  • North Korea threatened all out nuclear war if the movie the interview was shown in theaters
  • On Monday, November 24th Sony Pictures Entertainment’s headquarters in Culver City is hacked.

    Sony Guardians of Peace

    The image displayed on the Sony employee computers after the hack. Photo Creds Sony Entertainment LLC

  • 3 days after the attack 5 Sony films (Fury, Annie, Mr. Turner, and To Write Love on her Arms) were leaked onto the internet, and downloaded millions of times- effectively beginning to cripple the entertainment business.
  • November 28th the first speculation of North Korean hackers emerges.
  • December 1st  pre-bonus salaries of the top 17 Sony executives are leaked to the press, the files also contained the salaries of more than 6,000 current and former Sony employees. Following the leaks Sony hires FBI SealMandiant, a cyber-security firm.
  • December 2nd- 4th more and more of Sony’s secret information is leaked and hacked
  • December 5th information pointing to North Korean Hackers and more threats on the company and its employees emerge.
  • James Franko jokes about the hacks, and North Korea while at the same time promoting his new film The Interview on Saturday Night Live.
  • December 7th-10th North Korea denies any connection to the hacks, the hackers demand that Sony not show their film The Interview, and continual leaks of the President Obama, and several celebrities personal lives.
  • December 11th The Interview premiers regardless of the hackers threats
  •  December 13th the hackers give Americans an “early Christmas present” by once again releasing several new Sony made films
  • December 17th Sony decides to stop the planned Christmas day release of The Interview after bomb threats to theaters that show the film emerged
  • December 19th The hackers send their approval to Sony for pulling the film
  • December 23rd Sony recants previous statements regarding pulling the film and decides to once again release it Christmas day
  • December 24th The Interview is made available for rent via YouTube Movies for $5.99

If you got bored reading the time line half way through here is the short end of it…

Hackers (probably North Korean) infiltrated Sony and released a ton of movies, got really angry about The Interview and made lots of threats to the theaters that would potentially show it, causing Sony to provide the movie much cheaper that usual via VOD, not to mention the hacks caused wide spread sensation over the movie- aka free advertising .

In other words good ol’ Kim Jong-un made the movie much more accessible to Americans, and sensationalized it- which made even more people want to watch it.

So consider this… maybe Kim Jong-un wanted us to watch it after all. Maybe he is hungry for celebrity and fame. Maybe just maybe his plan was to get us all to watch it.

After all the Arabs never once complied when we made the movie The Dictator. 

 

PhotoCreds: IMDb

PhotoCreds: IMDb

Not to mention North Korea didn’t have any qualms about the 2004 film Team America: World Police that portrayed Kim Jong- il,  Kim Jong-un’s father.

So you decide. Kim Jong-un – celebrity wanna be, or threat to American security.

While you decide please enjoy this fantastic theme song.

WARNING CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE.

By Kyra Azzato

Anti White Supremacy 101

I pay for my education, so I take it very seriously. I try really hard to learn as much as I can in every class. This semester I took a women and gender studies 101 to fill a requirement. Lets just say I got much more than my moneys worth.

3 Things I Learned in My Women and Genders Studies 101 Class:

1. People of color are not afraid of home intruders.

I thought the last day of class was just going to be a quick wrap up but no, my diligent professor made sure to throw in one last lesson. How dedicated is that?

She began telling us about Oscar Pistorius the South African Paralympic champion, who became the first double legg amputee to participate in the Olympics. In 2013 Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend through their bathroom door, because he throughout she was an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius- Please note the pigmentation of his skin. (My professor made sure we realized this was the most important fact about him.) Photocreds- Wikipedia

With all of her expertise, my professor went on to explain what caused Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend. She first made sure that everyone in the class was aware Pistorius is a wealthy WHITE male, who lives in an affluent neighborhood. She then when on to say “white fear” caused him to shoot his girlfriend.

Try to stay with me, I know this is a difficult concept. I was confused by this at first too, but don’t worry my amazing professor explained it!

Pistorius claimed he thought the person behind the bathroom door was an intruder. My professor posed the question “what do you think he thought the person behind the door looked like?” After a long pause someone in the class called out “Black!” My professor quickly said “you don’t have to answer it out loud, just consider it….”

Of course my professor wasn’t insinuating that oscar only shot the intruder because he thought it was a person of color was she? and if she was… does that mean if Pistorius was a person of color he wouldn’t have been afraid of an intruder?

My take away from that lesson- only white people are afraid of intruders- because all intruders have to be a person of color, and no people of color are afraid of people breaking into their homes. MAKES PERFECT SENSE RIGHT?!

2. A child called IT

We learned about “political correctness” and sensitivity. We talked about pronouns and how to correctly address people. My professor told us that it is better to ask what pronouns a person would be called. Personally I identify as a straight female and like the pronouns “she and her” to be used for me.

Of course there are going to be situations where it is either inappropriate or too difficult to ask someone what pronouns they like to be called, but no need for worry! My all knowing professor told us the best way to deal with this is to refer to someone as “it”.

She pointed out a perfect example of this. She told my class that in his testimony that Officer Daren Wilson said “it looked like a demon”, and then she went on to say HOW UNACCEPTABLE AND HORRIBLE it was that Officer Wilson called Michael Brown an “it”.

He should have asked what pronoun he wanted to be called…

Oh wait… I decided to look up the piece of testimony so that I could fully understand how awful Officer Wilson is…

Officer Wilson's testimony.

Officer Wilson’s testimony.

Oh! By “it” he was referring to the intense aggressive face.. not Michael Brown. So the lesson isn’t ask people what pronouns they want to be called, the lesson is take things out of context and porput them as truths and mislead people to make your point! Duhhh?!

3. The Single Story

My professor told us that if we didn’t learn anything else, she wanted us to make sure that we understood the concept of “the single story.” She explained this as the idea that history and the media, well society in general portrays everything through the perspective of the white male.

She told us that it is important to destroy the idea of the single story, and instead entertain multiple perspectives from all different kinds of people.

She then went on to teach the entire course saying things like “ALL police officers are white supremacists” and she even had members of the campus protest group THE general body come in and talk to us… but she never had anyone from the administration come in to talk to us.

Hmm seems like if you want to entertain multiple perspectives you should have both sides of the issue talk to your class…

Oh no. I’m sorry! I misinterpreted what she meant by multiple perspectives. By “Multiple” she actually meant perspectives that line up with hers! Silly me, why would I ever think that dissonance could actually be used to teach a college course!

By Kyra Azzato

What You Really Learn at College: 5 Surprising Things You Could Put on Your Resume

The Beatles - AllYou Need Is Love

Can you eat love? No. What about use it to heat your house? Well not exactly. Photocred: Wikipedia

The Beatles told us “All you need is love.” But unfortunately love won’t put a roof over your head, and although I’m sure your local grocer is a wonderful man, I don’t think he wants to trade milk and bread for hugs and kisses.
Luckily unemployment rates seem to be rebounding, and have hit a six- year all time low.  So what does this really mean what we think it does?

 

84f4792a2ca0be6d4c5d949374254a29

This is a picture of the U.S. unemployment rate, not a rollercoster. Photocred: The Motley Fool

No one likes the bearer of bad news… but unfortunately these low unemployment rates are not as transparent as they seem. (If you’re a little tired and bored skip down to English Translation, I don’t want you falling asleep).  The rate at which unemployment is decreasing is much slower than it used to be. According to the Labor Department the U-6 rate is much lower than usual.  Meaning the gap between the hiring rate, and unemployment is much larger than before the financial crisis.

English Translation – The big boss man is not hiring as fast as before.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.02.57 AM

Can’t fool this employer…AGAIN! Photocred: smoch.com

Not to worry- Here at The Modern Common Sense we have come to realize college life is truely providing students with skills that can help to bolster their resumes so they are more likely to be hired. We highly suggest immediately adding these skills to your resume if you haven’t already.

1. Works Well Under Pressure

Uh oh! Its 11:00 Sunday night, you know what that means! Time to start your 8 page paper that is due 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Sleep? Thats for the weak, what do you think I bought 4 red bulls, and 2 coffees for!

Studying-late-with-Red-bull-ammunition

This college student is a prime example of success. Photocred: funny.st

2.  Good With Change

The night seems to be going perfectly when all the sudden… blue flashing lights, and sirens cut through the party music. Looks like its time to go somewhere else! Flexibility is a must in the workplace. Future employers will appreciate your ability to quickly change based on the situation at hand.

the daily mail. co

The police officers just wanted to join the party. Photocred: thedailymail.co

3.  Innovative

Lazy? No, innovative! That is exactly what your future boss will think when he sees how creative you are. College students are continuously coming up with newer better ways to increase productivity while minimizing work.

davinportlibrary.com

Innovation at its finest. Photocred:davinportlibrary.com

4. Dedicated

Do you know how difficult is is to watch every episode of House of Cards on Netflix in one sitting? That takes serious commitment. Not everyone has the ability to sit alone in a dark room for over 24 hours doing nothing but looking at a screen.  In the 50’s this may have even been considered a form of “cruel or unusual punishment”.

House_of_Cards_Season_1_Poster

House of Cards will be back this February for those of you dedicated students. Photocreds: Netfix

5. Excellent People Skills

We all know it can be extremely difficult to get along with others, especially in the work place. Which is why it is important to know when to turn on the charm and really create positive relationship with your coworkers. Employers tend to value workers that are able to get the job done and keep everyone happy.

much pics.com

we all know the truth. Photocreds: muchpics.com

clothing crasher.com

Although college students like to pretend they are anti social….Photocreds: clothingcrasher.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With these 5 skills there is no need to worry about the volatile job market. These skills will open up a wealth of opportunities and help employees to earn promotions.  And if not, well theres always welfare.  The hard working Americans who slave away probably won’t mind the government taking away their hard earned money to pay for your cell phone and cigarettes anyways!

Photocreds: Rottenecards.com

By Kyra Azzato

Speak For Yourself: A Petition Against THE General Body and the Consequences Their Actions Have on the University

If you do not agree with the actions of THE General Body sign this petition.

Although THE General body calls for increased diversity, they attack their fellow students because they are “privileged” because they’re white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.  All things they did not choose to be.  They purport that they are speaking for those “who can’t” on campus, meanwhile bashing their fellow students for being things they can’t help…

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.27.47 PM

Syracuse Student Ben Castaneda refutes THE General Body’s idea that only white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled students can disagree with them.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.10.06 PM

Student Conner Renaud explains he is at Syracuse because of his hard work, even though THE General Body says it’s because he is privileged.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.10.36 PM

Syracuse Student Keelan Erhard informs a THE General Body supporter about diversity.

THE General Body even admits they do not represent the entire population saying “WE DONT SPEAK FOR YOU” referring to those members of the university that are white, straight, male, christian, cisgender, able bodied, and class enabled.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.34.15 PM

Sierra Lee posts admitting THE General Body does not represent ALL the students at Syracuse.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.14.02 PM

Student Kevin Spectre notes that THE General Body contradicts itself by demanding diversity, yet condemning the privileged.

THE General Body is making demand as if the university were a democracy, even though it isn’t.  I would like to remind students of THE General Body that they choose to come to school here fully knowing the level of diversity, and accessibility.

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.40.15 PM

THE General Body supporter Kareese Kirby complains about going to a school she CHOOSE to go to, because it’s “not diverse enough”.

Yet supporters of THE General Body protest as if it is their right to be able to change the school they choose to go for and are paying a service for. Even though it is a private university- AKA a corporation.

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

THE General body is clearly confused about the meaning of “corporation” .
Photo Credit: THE General Body

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 7.14.27 PM

Student Sarah Mikal understands the meaning of a private university, and explains to THE General Body coming to Syracuse was a choice.

Next thing you know they’ll be camping out in Macy’s and Target saying there is not enough diversity, and demanding that the store force customers to also buy culturally diverse attire. Then they’ll protest and refuse to leave because the store reduced a sale from 30% off everything to only 20% off everything.

Sounds a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

But this is exactly what THE General Body is fighting so hard for.

They want to force other students customers of the university to pay for services they don’t want diversity classes. They’re mad the university the private corporation cut back one of the many scholarships sales they graciously provided.

Theres nothing wrong with wanting change. But lets put an end to this ridiculous protesting and go through appropriate channels. Join the Syracuse Student Association. Their mission is “to represent and be the defender of the students.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 8.03.42 PM

Hmm now this might just be me… but doesn’t it seem like a better idea to go through the Student Association instead of camping out in the administrative building with an outrageously long list of demands, protesting that immediate change be made (which is unrealistic), even though as students we really have no say because it is a PRIVATE university. In case you’re unsure, the answer to that question is YES,  it is a better idea to go through the Student Association! 

Please stop this protest so that the productive members of this university, including Chancellor Kent and his administration, can get back to work.

By Kyra Azzato

The Modern-Day Evil Mastermind

Unlike cartoons, and movies it can be a little more difficult to identify an “evil villain” or “bad guy” in real life.  They don’t wear condescending capes, live in creepy castles on hills surrounded by perpetual rain and laugh menacingly as lightning strikes (at least most of them don’t.)

So if you have suspicions someone might actually be evil, follow these easy steps to put your uncertainty to rest!

As an example I will apply the steps to Jonathan Gruber– an economist highly invested in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.”

Step One- Power

We all know villains are power hungry.  In most cases the villain’s power lies in his resources; he may have a highly trained army at his command, or magical power. But in the real world you should look for one key thing: influence.

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

Influence is central to being a villain. PhotoCreds: Disney

For example Jonathan Gruber is a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is an associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics.  

Sounds like he has a pretty decent amount of influence to me.

Step Two- Money

Whether they’re trying to get it, or already seem to have boatloads of it, villains are almost always connected to money in some way.

Gruber created a model, that was designed to statistically verify the changes in health care spending in relation to public and private health care costs, based on changes in heath insurance benefit design, public program eligibility criteria, and tax policy.

He called the model the Gruber Microsimulation Model, and in 2009 earned nearly $95,000 in the first 4 months after contracting with the Department of Health and Human Services, and another $297,600 when he renewed his contract for another 8 months.

In 1 year Gruber made nearly $400,000 dollars off the Model.

Which seems to be the running price for his model. This is just a small sample of his what he has been paid:

Wisconsin$400,000

Michigan: $481,050

Vermont: $400,000

Minnesota: $329,000

OH YEAH! Not to mention in the last 7 years Gruber has made over $ 2 million assessing the choices made by the elderly in Medicare’s prescription-drug plan.

I think its fair to say Gruber definitely has money!

Steps 1 and 2 are not enough to determine if someone is evil, though: these steps simply help you see if they have the means and resources.

Step Three- Exploitation

Villains are often egotistical (which is often their downfall). They consider themselves better in almost every way and try to use this to take advantage of the common person so they are able to carry out their ultimate plan.

In this video Gruber suggests that the “stupidity of the American voter” helped Obamacare pass:

…And here he details the exploitation of the American voter:

“It’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.” – Jonathan Gruber, at the Honors Colloquium 2012 at the University of Rhode Island.

Once you’ve established a that a persons is influential, and has a great deal of money, the next step is to determine whether or not they are using their power and money to exploit a group of people.

And if the shoe fits…

Americans should be outraged by Gruber’s blatant disregard for the voter. They should be furious he feels that he has the right and ability to take advantage of the very people he is pretending to be helping… and getting paid to do so.

By Kyra Azzato

Are We Losing the Space Race?

The Philae Spacecraft.
Photocreds: NASA

Unless you live under a rock (no judgement, if you do) then you’ve probably heard that today marks the first day a space probe has landed on a comet.  The European Space Agency’s Philae lander successfully touched down on Comet 67P/C-G (not that this name actually means anything to anyone). A live broadcast of the landing is going on now.

The Philae Spacecraft.  Photocreds: NASA

The Philae Spacecraft.
Photocreds: NASA

At the end of last month, an unmanned NASA rocket exploded just off the launch pad. Six seconds off the launch pad to be exact.  The video below shows the explosion. I suggest skipping ahead to 2:50.  Seriously don’t watch the entire video, I did and it’s really boring and nothing happens.

The EXACT SAME WEEK the United States saw a failure in their space mission Russia successfully completed a similar mission. The Russians were able to launch and dock their rocket, bringing about three tons of food and supplies to the space station.

Which brings me to my big question? Is the United States falling behind, or even losing the space race?

The term Space Race refers to a competition between the United States and Russia to prove which country had superior space flight capability.

So where does the United States stand? Europe and Russia have recently had immense success in their space missions displaying clear superiority over the American space program. Hopefully the U.S. will be able to step up their game and defend their title as the winner of the space race.

What do you think? Take the poll to vote whether or not the U.S. is losing the space race

What Makes You Qualified to Define a Hero?

Since 1983 November 11th has been celebrated as a day to honor those who have served in the military. Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and Sailors, veterans who dedicated their lives to selfless service are all hailed as American Heroes.

However some people disagree saying that  “Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.”

The author of this article applies what I like to refer to as the “everyone wins, so no one wins” philosophy, or in this case the “no one can be a hero because there are some people who are called heroes that don’t deserve it” philosophy.

This same concept can be applied to mothers and fathers. Why bother celebrating Mothers or Fathers Day when there are so many terrible parents. Every day social workers have to remove children from their homes because they are abused both mentally and physically. What about teachers? Teacher appreciation day should be immediately be stopped because of crimes committed by Mark Berndt.

Former Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt who was arrested for felony molestation of 23 kids.  Photocred: Ap Photo/ LA Police Dept.

Former Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt who was arrested for felony molestation of 23 kids. Photocred: Ap Photo/ LA Police Dept.

It’s obvious we should determine teacher appreciation day based off this guy.

If I were to suggest that mothers and fathers, or even teachers should all be judged based on the actions of the mothers who abandon their children or fathers that abuse their children, I would be called ridiculous. It doesn’t make sense to judge all mothers or fathers based on the actions of others. Nor does it make sense to stop celebrating Mother or Fathers day based on those judgements. So why is it okay to judge the military as a whole based on the actions of a few? Why is it okay to suggest that Americans should stop honoring and calling people in the military heroes?

By no means am I suggesting that people who commit terrible crimes should be considered heroes. Actually I’m suggesting that why not for one day, November 11th we dedicate to those who deserve it. The real heroes. The men and women who dedicate their lives to service. Cant we just have one day we don’t focus on the few who ruin it for everyone?

And yes; I mean few.  I’m not really sure why so many people feel that the number of sexual assaults that occur in the military is so egregious. Of course even one assault is too many, but being a realist I think we should speak comparatively and examine the national averages.

A comparative look at percentages of sexual assaults.  Source: The Department of Defense, and The Center for Disease Control.

A comparative look at percentages of sexual assaults.  Source: The Department of Defense, and The Center for Disease Control

 

We should be careful to fact check things we read. It’s easy to formulate opinions based on fictional or one sided information.  Suggesting that practically everyone in the military commits sexual assault crimes, or that we are no longer fighting for our freedom, or that the only real heroes are those who oppose war is obnoxious and ill informed.

Lieutenant Hal Moore once said “Hate war, but love the American warrior.”  Today at a Veterans day speech the speaker said ” Military personal are A-political, they’re just following orders.” I don’t care how much you hate the President, or the government, or what is happening in the Middle East, I actually encourage dissonance, however these are not reasons to strip the members of the military of their title of a hero.

God Bless America

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By Kyra Azzato