Tony Snow – A Good Guy

Tony Snow - courtesy AP

Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow died early
yesterday morning (Saturday, July 12th, 2008).

While this is not a particularly huge event in the broad
scope of history; it is most certainly worthy of a bit of discussion,
especially due to the fact that this man is being disrespected all over by the
ignorant, mainly here on the internet.

These commentators seem to feel that Tony Snow somehow isn’t
a good person due to their political differences.

I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised by the ignorance of
some people, considering the way they treat everyone that disagrees with them,
even on issues that are not in any way political.

Still, I find it quite saddening, as the great majority of
these people have no idea what kind of person Tony Snow was, they’re too
ignorant to do any research on him, they’re too ignorant to care.

They would rather spout their political ideologies and
demonize the man after his death. It really shows their character.

Having actually had the opportunity to speak with Tony Snow,
I can honestly say that he seemed like nothing less than a good person to me.

Not only was he a good person, but he had several
interesting political stances that differentiated him from many other people in
his political party.

Simply because of his association with the Bush
administration he has been unfairly judged and labeled. The fact is that he
disagreed with many decisions of the current administration.

Take a look at some of the articles that he has written.
While I certainly don’t agree with everything in them, some of his opinions and
beliefs are interesting, and they are quite different from the beliefs and
opinions that many of his current detractors believe he held.

Not only was he a good guy, quite different from how many
people are currently portraying him; but he was a loyal public servant, and by
all accounts a devoted family man. All of which are attributes that should be
respected in a person, sadly some have allowed politics to cloud their vision –
making such features difficult to see.

With that said: No
matter what your feelings towards him are, we should all be able to agree that any
article regarding Tony Snow deserves nothing less than a R.I.P. and wishes of
strength for the family that he leaves behind.

President Bush Has Kept Us Safe

There was a great article by Thane Rosenbaum in the Wall
Street Journal today. The article is entitled The President Has Kept Us Safe. In the article he goes on to
discuss how he believes that our President has kept us safe from terrorists in
the nearly 7 years since 9/11. Here is my commentary on the article:

I, as Mr. Rosenbaum, also did not vote for Bush in 2004 (I
wasn’t of age in 2000), but regardless of whom I voted for, President Bush was
reelected and I accepted that choice. I’ve never talked badly about him at all;
I realize that he has an extremely difficult job, much more difficult than I
can even imagine I am sure.

That doesn’t mean that I support absolutely everything that
the President and his administration have done, as the article mentions the
Patriot Act as an example: I certainly don’t agree with our government
infringing on the rights and the privacies of our nations citizens, in fact I
am very much against it; but I can at the very least understand why such
measures were taken. They were undoubtedly put into place to protect the American
people, not to hurt them. I also do not believe that they are wire-tapping my
telephone or reading my messages.

I was also in New York on 9/11, and it’s absolutely correct that the people had a completely
different mindset at that time. I can clearly remember the most liberal people
that I knew, people who now support Barack Obama, suggesting that our country
simply attack other nations without any evidence at all against them, nations
in the middle east, simply because they may have had something to do with the
9/11 terrorist attacks.

Those very same people quite suddenly changed their tune as
the years passed; now they’re against the war in Iraq and think that it was a
terrible idea from the very beginning. They’re vehemently supporting Barack
Obama and the Democrats, and they trash our President every chance that they
get.

Now you could make the argument that the people that I speak
with are simply ignorant, but if you actually read some of the comments made by
Barack Obama followers right here on the internet, you can see that the people
that I speak with are not much different from any other Barack Obama follower.

The article is absolutely correct in saying that the winds
of change take to the American people as a hurricane takes to a wind chime.
They forget that not even 7 short years ago they were the very thing that they
are now so against. They are the ultimate hypocrisy.

The Facts Behind The Gas Tax Holiday

So this whole gas tax issue has been popular lately; since
John McCain and Hillary Clinton both stated that removing the tax on gasoline
and other fuels would be something that they would do, and something that they
believe would be good for Americans; while Barack Obama opposed the idea.

I’m not going to argue whether I believe John McCain, Barack
Obama, or Hillary Clinton is correct in their stance and their beliefs on the
issue. What I am going to address is what exactly all of these tax payer
dollars in fuel tax revenue are supposed to be going to:

You may have seen the word hypothecation used in reference
to the gas tax; what that means is that the revenues from the motor fuel tax
are supposed to go directly towards the infrastructure used by motor vehicles,
such as roads, bridges and highways; as well as to help with the infrastructure
for the fuels themselves.

Many people’s main argument against both John McCain’s and
Hillary Clinton’s idea to relieve the American people of this motor fuel tax
for the summer has been that this money is indeed going towards the repair and
upkeep of our roads, bridges and highways; and why would we not want better and
safer roads, bridges and highways.

Yet just last summer we had two different bridges collapse
right here in the United States; including the absolutely devastating Minneapolis
I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota; which sadly cost the lives of 13
innocent Americans and hurt at least 60 more. A horrible and unnecessary travesty,
that undoubtedly could have and should have been prevented.

Several independent research institutions have also pointed
out several other bridges in need of repair; as well as vast stretches of other
infrastructure that is in need of upkeep. So where is all of this tax money
going if not on this very necessary infrastructure maintenance?

In fiscal year 2005, nearly 36 Billion Dollars in revenue
from the Motor Fuel Tax was received by state and local governments across the
United States. An additional 18.4 cents per gallon in Federal Tax is also
currently charged; which is also the tax that the three Presidential candidates
and their supporters are debating over. That is a lot of money that is supposed
to be used to keep Americans safe.

The 18.4 cents per gallon Federal tax, if voided for the
summer as John McCain and Hillary Clinton wish to do, would “cost” the
government 10 Billion dollars. What “cost” actually means in this case is that
the American people would be able to keep 10 Billion of their hard earned
dollars over the summer, while the government would theoretically have 10
Billion less tax dollars to waste.

The argument of those against the tax holiday is, as I
stated above, that this summer tax holiday is going to “cost” the government 10
Billion dollars, which would otherwise be going towards the upkeep of our nation’s
infrastructure.

Yet from our recent history, as well as simply keeping our
eyes open as we drive on, ride on, and walk along our roads, we can see that
our infrastructure is in terrible shape. From this we must come to the
conclusion that the Billions of dollars in taxes that are supposed to be going
towards our nation’s infrastructure are actually being wasted. Which is not a surprise;
the government wastes the vast majority of our tax dollars.

The other argument against the gas tax holiday is that it is
not going to reduce prices at the pump at all. Those greedy oil companies are
simply going to add another 18.4 cents per gallon to their bottom and top lines!

That argument is simply ignorance. Why? Because the Motor
Fuel Tax is added onto the price of gas set by the oil companies, it has no
impact on the price that fuel companies charge for their fuel. It is an added
tax of 18.4 cents on every gallon of fuel sold in the United States.

That doesn’t mean that the price of your gasoline will not
continue to rise over the summer, as it does every summer. That is simply due
to the increased demand for the product during the summer months. The tax being
there or not being there is not at all relevant.

If the tax was there, then the price for gasoline over the
summer would be the oil company’s price plus an added 18.4 cents extra in tax.
If the tax was not there, then the price of the gasoline would be 18.4 cents
cheaper.

Hopefully that clears up the issue for everyone that was confused
about it, and for those unsure of whether your candidate’s stance is
intelligent or not: Simply look at the facts and come to your own conclusion.

Rethinking the war in Iraq: Why we have to stay in Iraq

Why we have to stay in Iraq

 

The people of Iraq are depending on us. The population of
Iraq is estimated at well over twenty-seven million; twenty-seven million of our
fellow human beings that have had their country and their lives turned upside
down by this war; twenty-seven million; twenty-seven million people that are only
going to be affected negatively by our withdrawal from their country in its
current state.

You don’t have to believe that us going into Iraq was a good
idea in the first place, I certainly don’t believe that it was. But that does not
change the fact that we are now in Iraq and that those twenty-seven million
Iraqi children, women, and men, both young and old and every age in between,
are in a much worse situation than we are.

We are certainly going to be affected as well: There is a
huge cost to us staying in Iraq for the long haul, a cost of many American
lives and a large amount of Americans tax dollars. But it is the Iraqi people that are
going to end up paying the greatest price, a far greater price than we could
possibly imagine, if we choose to abandon them and their country, leaving them
with the mess that we have started.

It doesn’t matter why we are in Iraq now, or why we went
there in the beginning. Yes, we all know that Barack Obama voted against going
to war with Iraq; we all know that Hillary Clinton voted to go to war with Iraq; and we
all know that it was the idea of the Republicans, George Bush, and Dick Chaney
in the first place, but none of the matters any longer. The reality of the
situation is that there are millions and millions of innocent Iraqi civilians,
people just like you and I, that are going to end up paying the real cost of
this war. Think of those people the next time you are discussing, listening to,
or reading something about the war in Iraq. Think of those people the next time you hear
a person or a politician say that we need to abandon Iraq.

Why Are Atheists So Pompous?: The Problem With Atheism

The Problem with Atheists

 

The problem with modern atheism is that its followers do not
seem to have a firm grasp on the fact that religion is a part of our modern
culture. We have people making outrageous claims and making attempts at
refuting religious beliefs, and denying the fact that many religious values and
concepts are ingrained in our culture as a people.

Many atheists are so against having a belief in God that
they would infringe on the rights of others who do choose to believe in God.
Many atheists will persecute any and all people who freely choose to follow a
religion and have a belief in God. They will bring up petty, minor, nearly irrelevant
issues such as whether or not the word God is used in our Pledge of Allegiance;
or that In God We Trust is printed on our money and used as a motto; simply to
continue their efforts to persecute and look down upon those that choose to
believe in God and follow a religion.

Certainly some people are going to disagree with our
feelings on religion and beliefs in God, and they should of course be free to
do that without being persecuted for it. Just as you or I, or Richard Dawkins
should be free to at the very least state our feelings, our thoughts, and our opinions
on the subject. I just feel that a great many atheists are very invasive with
their beliefs, and that stems from the more popular atheists in the world.
People see Richard Dawkins being extremely arrogant with his opinion everywhere
that he goes, increasing his popularity with these extreme atheists, and indeed
they are building his ego up as they continue to follow in his footsteps, which
is just going to make the issue worse. It’s a vicious circle.

Of course there is an issue if and when religious beliefs somehow
change our policies and laws, in our free country, in these modern times. I do
not agree with that at all, and believe it to be a much greater issue than the
word God being in the Pledge of Allegiance, using the example above; or the
fact that many of our and much of the worlds holidays take place on dates that
are particularly important to various religions throughout history, or are for
various figures of Christianity and other religions. Religion is an undeniable
part of our history and culture as Americans and of humans as a whole, and it
should be respected as such.

The top three reasons why Oil prices are so high

Why Oil Prices are So High

 

  1. The first reason that I will mention is that Oil is
    priced in US Dollars. That’s why when you see the value of the dollar fall; you
    see the price of oil rise. The people that produce the oil are generally
    getting US dollars in return for their product. As such, when the dollar falls,
    they are making less money on their product, even if the amount of dollars that
    they receive for their oil is equal, and so the price goes up. This applies to
    the people buying and selling the oil beyond the producers as well, who are
    also simply trying to profit. There are of course several other reasons why oil
    continues to rise, and why the dollar continues to fall. I was just pointing
    out why the dollar and oil currently move together.    
  2. The second reason is that many people are and
    have been investing in Oil as it has had quite a run up as the US Dollar has
    dropped like a rock. Investors, having a good feeling that the Federal Reserve
    would continue to cut interest rates, have continually bought into Oil to make
    some profit off of the amazing bull-run that it has had. 
  3. The third is an ever increasing growth in the demand for Oil.
    This isn’t the 1970’s where we can simply stop using as much Oil here in
    America, and prices will fall in relation to our drop in demand. No, these days
    the entire world is using more and more Oil. As countries continue to develop
    and expand into modern times, there is an ever increasing demand for Oil. This
    is the key reason that Oil will never again be as it once was.

2. 

Those are the three main reasons as I see them. There are of
course other factors behind the rising price of Oil, such as turmoil and lack
of security in many Oil producing lands, to things such as the weather, which
can cause rather large jumps in the price of Oil in its own right. But those
three issues that I listed above are the key factors behind the current of Oil;
they should be known and understood by everyone.

We all realize that Oil usage is a problem for us here in
the US, and that we need to find a viable alternative, regardless of the
current price of Oil. The heart of the issue is how we move from our high use
of oil, to something better. Clearly the way that the US as a whole operates
has to change, the whole car culture that we have built and glamourized to the
rest of the world has to change. People need to realize how ridiculous it is in
the first place, they have to realize that it is not sustainable in the long
term, and that something has to be done about it, and the sooner something is
done, the better off all humans will be.

I don’t have all of the answers myself. But it is clear to
me that more public funds need to go to public transportation, and other,
better forms of transportation. A huge amount of money is spent rebuilding
roads in the US every year so more and more cars can drive on them. This is an
utter waste of public funding and in reality should not be done. That money
should be spent towards better forms of transportation for all people, not just
those that own cars. Sadly a majority of people want better roads, so they can
drive their SUV’s and other vehicles down the street.

Driving is a part of our culture and it’s what most people
want to do, but that in no way makes it right or good for the future progress
of our country, or humans as a whole. I realize that driving has given people
much more freedom than they previously had, and that is not a bad thing in any
way. But it is an undeniable fact that there are and were better options to
allow all people the freedom that they want and deserve, that is completely
sustainable for a very long length of time. I can’t blame past generations for
wanting to drive and to exercise their freedom to travel around on their own
will, as they didn’t have the insight that we do in our current time. But now
that we do have such information and understand that driving huge vehicles all
over the country on expensive roads is a waste of resources and is not
sustainable in the long term, then something must be done about it.

Every day that passes wherein people continue to go with the
flow and majority feeling is setting back humanity as a whole. It’s setting
back our future generations by hurting our stability and our environment. We
have to step up as a people and bring it to an end. We have to sit down and put
our minds towards progress, rather than selfish deeds, for the good of our
country and the world. We have to realize that suburban sprawl is not necessary
and has only led to us having to rely more and more on our vehicles to get us
away from and back to our homes.

There are better, more modern forms of transportation
available to us right now. They are more efficient and are more sustainable in
the long term, which will lead to a better life for our future generations.
Anything at all will help; simply moving away from overly large vehicles that
are completely unnecessary would be a huge improvement. And I do realize that
we are beginning to move in the right direction, but there is undoubtedly resistance
in many areas that we need to overcome. It has been too long already and it is
time to help our fellow citizens along.

Improper use of Guns is a Cultural Issue

From Various Thoughts and Opinions

===

Think of this: How many people in America owned guns in the early days
of the colonies, up to the revolution and through the 19th century? I
don’t know if there are actual statistics available, but even without
any statistics I would be more than comfortable in saying that a large
portion of the population owned and used guns regularly without issue.
Those were different times, a completely different culture from what we
have today. The same basic idea can be applied to various countries in
Europe: You have countries with rampant gun use, ownership, and general
knowledge, such as Switzerland, and then you have countries with heavy
handed gun laws, such as the UK. The reason that you end up with
different statistics of gun usage between those two countries and the
US is due to culture. The people are very different.

Another
issue that was just brought up a few posts above this one is that a
large majority of gun related crimes are happening in poor, uneducated
areas. Areas with a completely different culture, way of life, and way
of thinking, than other areas just a handful of miles away in many
cases, which are not having the same issues with gun related crime.
That isn’t something that is going to be fixed by pouring money into
the problem areas either, it’s an issue of general education of young
people in our country. And not just public education, but parental
education and guidance as well, perhaps even more importantly.

School shootings on the other hand, are another issue entirely:
They
are caused by emotional issues on the part of those committing such
crimes. First of all, anyone that would even have the thought of doing
such a thing is not well mentally. They should be given proper mental
treatment before it comes to bringing a gun to their school and ending
the lives of many innocent students and teachers. There’s a huge issue
with the treatment of those with mental health issues in the US, it’s
not just the crazy homeless guy that needs proper treatment, at one
point that guy was in school and very likely had the same exact issues,
but they went untreated and that is how he ended up. People need proper
mental treatment, in my opinion it is a far bigger issue than the
physical health of the public, which is generally all that is mentioned
by the politicians and everyone else.