Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Men With A Gun: the .17 HMR

This is my Manufacturing 130 group video about the American Made .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire rifle's ammunition technology and production.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Making a Self-Reliant America: Independence Brings About Ingenuity

Did you lose your paycheck, or did it blow away at the gas station? Many sources like Time Business have already predicted that the price of fuel will surpass a painful five dollars this summer (Schuman). Not only is the price of fuel too high, but you probably remember the massive British Petroleum spill in 2010, and the economic and ecological damage that resulted. Just recently, this past March, BP agreed to a $7.8 billion settlement for “property damage, lost wages, and loss to businesses;” not to mention the long-term health problems that are arising from the chemical dispersants (Burdeau). Our dependence on oil must come to an end by rewarding U.S. automakers and schools that produce highly competitive and efficient vehicles, which use other sources of energy at a cost that the average American can afford; although the oil companies will fight to keep selling their products, as the consumer, we can no longer accept the monetary and environmental costs. By discussing how to gain independence from foreign oil and oil in general, along with the destructive consequences of oil to our economic and environmental security, and finally new technology and how it can help us hold onto more of the money in our pockets, the average American consumer can better understand their role making our nation gain independence from oil for a better tomorrow.


If we truly want to break our addiction to oil, we must initially loosen the grip of foreign oil producers. The price of fuel has been continuously rising. Why the surge?  The main reason is the increase in global demand and insecurity. Although America is producing less crude oil than in the past and significantly decreasing the amount of oil we import, Asia and South America have greatly raised the amount of vehicles on the road and gasoline intake - China alone added more than 10 million vehicles last year (Congressman Fortenberry). As for uncertainty, the Middle East has been and continues to add concern for oil security, which Iran’s nuclear desires have become a great contributor to the pilfering. However, too often, most people overlook that Wall Street adds to the spinning dollars. The Commodity Futures Trade Commission recently stated that an additional fifty-six cents are added to each gallon, since they view gasoline as a “speculative premium” (Congressman Fortenberry). Additionally, it is only natural that anything that is shipped thousands of miles will have an elevated cost for its weight and volume. Since the U.S. imports nearly 50% of its oil, Americans pay about five percent more at the pump. Finally, the American consumer pays an additional cost for the refining of the crude oil and federal taxes. The average state gasoline tax in 2009 was about 50 cents per gallon or roughly eleven percent more, and refineries add an additional twelve percent to the price (U.S. Energy Information Administration).


According to the Department of Transportation, our nation was driving more than 254 million vehicles in 2009, which average only approximately 17.6 miles per gallon; we obviously cannot go cold turkey from oil (Research and Innovative Technology Administration ). So, what can we do? For starters, we should cut our ties to foreign oil by increasing our own nation’s drilling and refineries. Second, all the fuel being produced on our land and waters should be reserved primarily for the American people. While thirty-seven percent of people may argue that by doing this, we are moving in the wrong direction, sixty percent of Americans say that it is time to increase U.S. offshore drilling and exploration (Saad).  By doing this, the number of American jobs would increase, no longer would we have to accept the high premium prices from foreign companies or their shipping costs, and finally, our demand and security would be much more stable. By lowering the cost of a commodity such as oil and increasing the number of American businesses, our own economy would boom- that’s how you create an effective stimulus package and national moral.


Some people may be thinking, “That’s great that we’re saving money, but how does this help us defeat our obsession for oil?” Well, since our nation would be losing less money to outside sources, we should use a percentage of that federal revenue to provide grants to universities and automakers that make profound technological advances and produce efficient, practical, and reliable vehicles which use an alternative source of fuel. Because our goal is to become independent from oil, this will give the American people time to transition from their gas guzzling vehicles to something more affordable. Currently, the government is awarding up to $7,500 as a tax incentive for those who purchase an electric car (U.S. Department of Energy). Although most electric vehicles that are practical and highly competitive against the performance and range of today’s internal combustion vehicles, too often they are expensive. In order to further America’s transition to become self-reliant, the federal government should award conditional grants to help that company lower their vehicle’s price and continue technological advances. By integrating more vehicles that do not use oil as the main source of their fuel and lubrication, the less amount of oil will need to be produced, prices will begin to drop, and the risk of environmental harm will begin to diminish.


Speaking of the environment, the ecological and economic damage from oil spills are devastating. In the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (a.k.a. the B.P. Oil Spill) alone, the so called “spill’s” destruction was substantial. The marine kill zone covered more than eighty square miles in the gulf coast (Netter and Gutman). Later, from that same spill nearly eighty-eight and a half thousand square miles were closed from any shrimping and fish harvesting due to excessive oil and tar on June 2, 2010 (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). It was estimated that over 205.8 million gallons of oil poured into the Gulf Coast, which is approximately equal to 93 million gallons of refined gasoline- worth $360 million at the pump today (Hoch ; U.S. Energy Information Administration). It was later found that the ocean floor had over two inches thick of oil on it in the fall of 2010, stretching for miles around the wellhead (Harris). However, not even six months later, the thickness had increased to ten inches by January 2011 (Klein , 3). If the adverse effects of the oil itself weren’t enough, the methods to remove the oil included the pollution of burning the oil and the toxic chemicals in the water reduced the amount of oxygen in the water, which marine life need to survive. From an economic standpoint, of the $20 billion that British Petroleum owes to the American government and people, as of last summer, it had not even compensated for $5 billion. Of the thousands of large and small business that harvest fish and other marine life, BP denied over 350,000 of their claims by last August; ultimately, it caused many to lose their income and way to pay the bills (Clifford). Since then, it has been reported that there is seventy-five percent less caught because the fish either moved from the area or died; losing that amount of their product greatly reduces fishery catcher’s income- if their business survived (Hernandez). Not only did the fisheries take a toll from the oil spill, but tourism to the beach greatly decreased, which in turn decreased the revenue those states would normally receive and the businesses that depend on tourism- approximately $22.7 billion lost (Tourism and Oxford Economics , 3). Keep in mind, that all of this devastation was taking place during our nation’s most recent recession. Because of these significant factors, it was reported that an increase of twenty-five percent of people were found with severe depression and many more with other forms of mental illness (Reeves). Had BP followed the correct inspection procedures and guidelines, the entire spill could have been avoided (British Petroleum).


If we plan to increase our nation’s production of oil, our first priority should be safety- the very reason why the BP spill occurred. Recently, a Canadian oil line called the Keystone XL Pipeline has been in great debate lately. Not only is it a pipeline that travels through the United States for a Canadian company, TransCanada, but it would have also laid above the largest fresh water source in the world- the Ogallala Aquifer. Should there have been any failure in the pipeline, the oil could have caused a major threat to many endangered species and native prairies, millions who currently drink from it, and deduct $20 billion produced from agricultural revenue each year. To make matters worse, the pipeline would also lie above an active seismic zone, which had a 4.3 magnitude earthquake recently (Dembicki). After Nebraska Governor Dave Heinemann and State Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson put forward their safety concerns (with the help of many political demonstrations against the chosen path) congress and Transcontinental decided to allow a change in the rout of the pipeline (Senator Johanns). While the effects of the BP spill were still being cleaned up, President Obama and Transcontinental wanted to shove the Keystone XL Pipeline down our throats like the HealthCare Bill without taking the time to observe major safety issues. Sadly, right after congress had made the appropriate safety changes, the president decided to “play politics” and to not allow the pipeline, which would produce income and jobs for Americans (Senator Johanns). After, much scrutiny and congressional action that took place to ensure the safeness of the Keystone Pipeline, nearly sixty percent of Americans approved the pipeline, which obviously helped President Obama change his decision to allow a smaller portion of the TransCanada’s pipeline (Mendes). With the new technology and inspection methods in place and the implementation of the new rout, the risk of an extreme catastrophe has been essentially eliminated.


With the increasing amount of modern technology, a remarkable advancement has been the electric car. The idea of an electric vehicle is not new, in fact, Stephen Anyos Jedlik was the first to conceive the idea, which he built an electric motor and attached it to a small scale electric vehicle in 1828. It wasn’t until 1890 that the first actual electric car was developed by William Morrison in Des Moines, Iowa (Electric Vehicles News). Many people have developed the notion that electric cars are not reliable or practical after the “electric car is dead” generation. During the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s major automakers made an attempt to create effective electric cars: the Chrysler TEVan, Ford Ranger EV pickup truck, General Motors EV1 and S10 EV pickup, Honda EV Plus hatchback, Nissan lithium-battery Altra EV miniwagon, and Toyota RAV4 EV. Not only did the 1990’s battery technology bring down the range, but these bulky and heavy batteries took many hours to charge, failed or lost most of their efficiency in temperature changes, lasted only a few thousand miles, and were very expensive to replace. Some people have also speculated that the oil companies found a way to buy out most of the automakers and helped force the majority of these cars to be confiscated from their owner and demolished (Paine). Since then, most auto manufactures have produced electric vehicles with extremely low performance and reliability. As some can recall, the hype of the Chevy Volt quickly died after the public found out that it was just another hybrid car with a maximum electric range, in perfect conditions and at low speeds, of just 36 miles (General Motors). Not only do many current auto-manufactures produce low range electric vehicles, but most EV’s are limited to hours of charging. Until recently, Tesla Motors, an American electric car manufacture has brought forth the future of automobiles. After producing the famed Tesla Roadster, the economy crashed and the small American business almost disappeared as many did. Without any federal help, Tesla began to beat the odds on Wall Street.


Since its genesis, Tesla has built a sporty convertible, sedan, and has plans for a crossover model next year. With a range of 300 miles, 0-60 in just 4.4 seconds, and access to the Supercharger Charging Stations to regain 160 miles per half hour- the new Model S couldn’t seem better (Tesla Motors). Even further, this model can come with: leather seats, premium sound, a battery warranty of 8 years and unlimited miles, performance brakes and chrome rims, a 5-7 seat option, a high performance 85 kWh battery storage, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour, etc.- what could be the catch? Due to the “Cadillac Standard” of Tesla’s electric vehicles, it lives up to the metaphor: the base price for the Model S retails for nearly $50,000 after the $7,500 federal tax credit. Keep in mind, an all American premium luxury-performance vehicle with the most advanced technology and a company that just skipped through a tough recession, “you get what you pay for.” Luckily, Tesla Motors has made the statement that it hopes to produce a more affordable vehicle in the future with a base price somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000; “Every tesla and EV using Tesla Technology is a step towards making increasingly affordable electric cars available to the consumer (Tesla Motors).” Speaking of GM’s lavish marque, after making a huge statement in luxury-performance when Cadillac produced its V-Series, many have made the sad assumption that the Cadillac ELR will be just another Chevy Volt with “Caddie Glitter” on it (Burns).


While the range, performance, luxury, and esthetic elegance of a Tesla is nice, because of its price, most people would like to look at other current offers. Electric vehicles available in the US market today include: the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, CODA Automotive sedan, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i EV, Wheego LiFe, or one may lease the Smart Electric Drive or Honda FCX Clarity. Should someone decide to buy any one of these electric cars, they will be eligible to receive the $7,500 federal tax incentive and additional rebates from your state; they may even be eligible for even lower annual percentage rates for loans in their state (U.S. Department of Energy). These vehicles mentioned above range anywhere from $21,625 to $32,500 after the federal tax break, and also have an EPA tested maximum range from sixty to one-hundred miles or 240 miles with Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Although refilling the FCX Clarity with compressed hydrogen gas takes only a few minutes, like filling up a car at the gas station, the biggest issue currently is the inaccessibility to hydrogen gas stations- whereas a plug-in electric vehicle can charge anywhere there is a working outlet. Now that electric cars are beginning to become more popularized, if one is away from home or at work, they can find a nearby charging station with a CarStations app which is free- so are most of the charging stations (Electric Car Stations). With the simplicity of plug-in all electric vehicles, even more money can be saved because there is no oil or other fluids that require routine and regular inspection or replacement. Along with minimal maintenance and extensive warranties, most the electric auto manufacturers have included yearly servicing for the first few years and at least one-hundred thousands of miles in your sticker price. So, if someone pays for an electric car which costs about the same that any other internal combustion vehicle would, get the equivalence of 100+ miles per gallon, and save money from all the time and money required for a common car’s maintenance- why wouldn’t they call up or go online to reserve their own custom electric car today?


The shortcoming with the energy being made in America is an overlooked concept; most of the electricity made in the U.S. is created by burning coal, petroleum, or natural gas. So, these “full-electric” automobiles in essence, continue to consume fossil fuels, because the energy that they require utilized about 69% of fossil fuels to generate the electricity in 2009 (U.S. Energy Information Administration). Thankfully, coal and other fossil fuels are not the only sources of energy that we use to make electricity. Some other ways include: methane, alcohols, and other renewable biofuels; nuclear reactor facilities, dams, geothermal services, and the smaller energy sources of solar and wind. With greater technological advances, each of the above alternative fuels are becoming more efficient and available. Also, there happen to be many other methods that are being further developed and tested at various universities today. In 2007 alone, France produced nearly 90% of their electricity from non-fossil fuel/ renewable resources (French Republic Department of Ecology , 18). Though their country may be small in comparison to America, we can relate the size of France to one of our own states. Now, it may be nice to think that less carbon dioxide emissions are being created, but the real issue is our reliance on a fuel source that is depleting at an increasing rate. Our main focus should be doing our part to help transform and transition America into a country that will take the initiative to become self-reliant and innovative – before an exhausted oil reserve crisis transpires. By reducing the amount of oil derived products for vehicles and electric generation, the demand for oil will in turn decrease; if the demand decreases, so does the price. With each electric company that chooses to use less oil for their energy production and each person who makes the decision to purchase an electric vehicle, it allows those who require exceptional heavy duty machinery and persons unable to afford the new electric vehicles the ability to meet the expense of oil-based fuel until the technology and price is realistic and accessible to them.


By discussing why it is imperative that we distance ourselves from foreign oil and our dependence on oil completely, how to transition into an oil-less transportation environment, how we can save the money in our pockets, and improve the air quality through new technology, we see just how significant this issue is and what each of us can do to make a difference. With all the devastating problems from oil that we as nation face, economically and environmentally, it only makes sense that we as the people of this nation have to make the change without waiting for automakers and Washington to decide for us. If you to make a positive difference in your checking account and children’s health, refuse the grave consequences of oil by speaking to your representatives, neighbors, and investigate whether an electric car is right for you. 




Works Cited

British Petroleum. "BP Releases Report on Causes of Gulf of Mexico Tragedy." BP Global Press (2010). 15 March 2012. <http://www.bp.com/genericarticle.do?categoryId=2012968&contentId=7064893>.
Burdeau, Cain. "BP settlement includes new health claims process." Associated Press (2012). Online Journal Article. 20 March 2012. <http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bp-settlement-includes-health-claims-205741532.html>.
Burns, Matt. GM Announces The Next Volt, The Cadillac ELR. 17 August 2011. 14 March 2012. <http://www.cadillac.com/elr-electric-car.html?seo=msn_|_Cadillac_Awareness_|_Cadillac_ELR_Awareness_|_Cadillac_ELR_Exact_|_cadillac_elr&utm_source=MSN&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Awareness-Cadillac-Cadillac_ELR_Awareness&utm_content=Search&utm_term=cadill>.
Clifford, Catherine. "BP oil spill fund: $5 billion in claims paid out." CNN: Money (2011). 16 March 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/23/smallbusiness/BP_oil_spill_claims/index.htm>.
Congressman Fortenberry, Jeff. "Rising Fuel Prices." Fort Report. Washington D.C., 2 March 2012. E-mail. 2 March 2012. <http://www.fortenberry.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3643&Itemid=300031>.
Dembicki, Geoff. "Gulf Disaster Raises Alarms about Alberta to Texas Pipeline." The Tyee (2010). 19 March 2012. <http://thetyee.ca/News/2010/06/21/AlbertaToTexasPipeline/>.
Electric Car Stations. Find Electric Car Stations. 2011. 20 March 2012. <http://carstations.com/>.
Electric Vehicles News. Electric Vehicles History Part II. 2010. Amish Pleasures, Inc. 21 March 2012. <http://electricvehiclesnews.com/History/historyearlyII.htm>.
French Republic Department of Ecology. "Report to Parliament: multiannual programming of the electricity generation investment ." Department of Ecology: of the building of the sustainable development and the managment of the territory (2009): 18. 28 March 2012. <http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/ppi_elec_2009.pdf>.
General Motors. Fuel Efficiency. 2012. 16 March 2012. <http://www.chevrolet.com/volt-electric-car/features-specs/>.
Harris, Richard. "Scientists Find Thick Layer Of Oil On Seafloor." National Public Radio (2010). 21 March 2012. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129782098&ft=1&f=1007>.
Hernandez, Monica. "Fishermen angry as BP pushes to end payments for future losses ." WWLTV.com (2011). 15 March 2012. <http://www.wwltv.com/news/BP-wants-to-end-payments-for-future-losses-Fisherman-react-125252384.html>.
Hoch, Maureen. "New Estimate Puts Gulf Oil Leak at 205 Million Gallons." PBS Newshour (2010). 19 March 2012. <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/08/new-estimate-puts-oil-leak-at-49-million-barrels.html>.
Klein, Naomi. "The Search for BP's Oil ." The Nation (2011): 3. 19 March 2012. <http://www.thenation.com/article/157723/search-bps-oil?page=0,2>.
Mendes, Elizabeth. "Americans Favor Keystone XL Pipeline." Gallup (2012). 22 March 2012. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/153383/Americans-Favor-Keystone-Pipeline.aspx>.
Netter, Sara and Matt Gutman. "Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico." ABC News: Nightline (2010). 20 March 2012. <http://abcnews.go.com/US/exclusive-submarine-dive-finds-oil-dead-sea-life/story?id=12305709>.
Reeves, Jay. "Gulf Coast depression spikes post-BP oil spill." Associated Press (2010). 22 March 2012. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39394876/ns/us_news-environment/t/gulf-coast-depression-spikes-post-bp-oil-spill/>.
Research and Innovative Technology Administration . Number of U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, Vessels, and Other Conveyances. Washington D.C, 2011. 21 March 2012. <http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_11.html>.
Research and Innovative Technology Administration. "Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption and Travel." 2011. 21 March 2012. <http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_04_09.html>.
Saad, Lydia. "U.S. Oil Drilling Gains Favor With Americans." Gallup: Politics (2011). 19 March 2012. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/146615/Oil-Drilling-Gains-Favor-Americans.aspx>.
Schuman, Michael. "How High Will Global Oil Prices Rise?" TIME Business (2012). Online Journal Article. 22 March 2012. <http://business.time.com/2012/03/20/how-high-will-global-oil-prices-rise/>.
Senator Johanns, Mike. "Johanns Encourages Nebraskans to Attend Pipeline Public Meetings." e-Update. Washington D.C., 25 August 2011. E-mail. 25 August 2011. <http://johanns.senate.gov/public/?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=ece419cc-11c3-4da3-b54a-d893bc12989a&ContentType_id=bc82adff-27b4-4832-8fd6-aecbe3e7d8e3&MonthDisplay=8&YearDisplay=2011>.
—. "Johanns: President Obama Playing Politics Over Keystone Decision ." e-Update. Washington D.C., 18 January 2012. E-mail. 18 January 2012. <http://johanns.senate.gov/public/?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=04f46bfc-45b8-4f5f-9489-b47d64e59f1e&ContentType_id=bc82adff-27b4-4832-8fd6-aecbe3e7d8e3&MonthDisplay=1&YearDisplay=2012>.
Tesla Motors. Model S Options and Pricing. 2012. 5 January 2012. <http://www.teslamotors.com/models/options>.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill: Size and Percent Coverage of Fishing Area Closures Due to BP Oil Spill. 29 April 2011. 17 March 2012. <http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/ClosureSizeandPercentCoverage.htm>.
Tourism and Oxford Economics. "Potential Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill on Tourism." Prepared for the U.S. Travel Association, 2010. 16 March 2012. <http://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/page/2009/11/Gulf_Oil_Spill_Analysis_Oxford_Economics_710.pdf>.
U.S. Department of Energy. Federal Tax Credit Up To $7,500! 23 March 2012. 23 March 2012. <http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml>.
U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Electric Power Monthly." Electricity. U.S. Department of Energy. 27 March 2012. 28 March 2012. <http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1>.
—. "Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update." Weekly Report. 2012. Online Report. 21 March 2012. <http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/>.
—. "How many gallons of gasoline does one barrel of oil make?" U.S. Department of Energy (2011). 20 March 2012. <http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=24&t=6>.
Who Killed the Electric Car. By Chris Paine. Dir. Chris Paine. Prod. Jessie Deeter. Sony Pictures Classics, 2006. Documentary. 12 March 2012. <http://www.bing.com/movies/search/overview?q=Who+Killed+the+Electric+Car%3f&id=07473567-d4df-4169-8e5d-9159d956fb7c&qpvt=who+killed+the+electric+car&FORM=ENTCOL>.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ready For A Good Time

I really liked the issues paper. Even though it was ten pages long, I thought that it was neat to learn about my topic and read about some of your issues. Best of all, our papers are done and it’s finally Friday! “I’ve been workin’ all week and I’m tired; I don’t wanna sleep, I wanna to have fun, it’s time for a good time!”


Monday, March 19, 2012

Burn Rubber, Not Gasoline



My issues paper will be advocating, independence from oil and transitioning into vehicles that are more efficient, affordable, and reliable than common internal combustion cars today.

1. Intro- typical introduction, with the use of some ethos, pathos, and logos attributes to grab the audiences’ awareness of oil’s adverse effects

2. Statement and division of subject- my thesis will address the need to become independent from oil- to promote economic and environmental health/ security

3. Reasoning and explanation:
A. The destructive costs of oil
B. How to gain independence from foreign oil and oil in general
C. New technology and how you can become “self-reliant” today

4. Conclusion- summarize the entire paper and use mainly logic and emotional rhetoric to leave a definite lasting impression on the reader

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's America

The American Dream, Ingenuity, Freedom, and Sacrifice are the things that make America so great. The fireworks on Independence Day are sure pretty to look at with their beautiful colors and patterns; however, each burst in the sky represents the sacrifices of American men and women on the battlefield. Without sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy the blessings of liberty or the life we know. Whether you help someone on the street, buy products from a local business, provide relief to a local town that was destroyed by a tornado, campaign for political office, or serve in the military - you are what makes America what it is today. God Bless the USA

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wait! ... What did you say?


The research place was great; unfortunately, the only thing on my mind was the fact that at 6:30pm I would be opening my mission call with my family. Thank goodness, I just realized that I took notes! Have a great weekend and good luck on your first draft everyone! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Few Background Sources

Rising Fuel Prices
E-mail from Congressman Jeff Fortenberry sent: March 2, 2012
In his e-mail, he spoke about the dramatic increase in gas prices today and what he is currently doing to help the American people.

Less US Foreign Oil Reliance, Yet Higher Gas Prices
Yahoo News written by S.L. Carroll March 2, 2012
This article gives more information that helps support the thoughts and claims Congressman Fortenberry mentions in his e-mail.

United States foreign oil policy since World War I: for profits and security
Book found on Google Scholar:  By Stephen J. Randall 2005
This book goes into great depth about the foreign oil policies that our country holds.

How dependent are we on foreign oil?
An article written by the U.S. Energy Information Administration June 24, 2011
This article gives some statistics of recent information about our dependency on foreign oil- along with some charts and graphs.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Grip of the Oil Giants

Our dependence on oil must come to an end by rewarding U.S. automakers and schools that produce highly competitive and efficient vehicles which use other sources of energy at a cost that the average American can afford; although the oil companies will fight to keep selling their products, as the consumer, we can no longer accept the monetary and environmental costs.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Issues of Today


* U.S. Automaker Bailout

* Are Small Businesses the Economic Engine?

* Independence from Foreign Oil and the Oil Industry

* U.S. and China’s Relations

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Mormon for President? Influences in the Nevada's GOP Caucus

Is there a Mormonism phobia in this year’s presidential race? With the republican nomination approaching, the chief editor of Gallup Inc. (Frank Newport) successfully overstates the influence that LDS voters have in Nevada by directing his audience to American Citizens who are not “Mormon.” Newport convinces Non-Mormon Americans by using rhetorical fallacies in conjunction with statistics, logical arguments, allusions, and overstatements to evoke strong emotions and logical questioning to exaggerate how significant Mormon voters are for Mitt Romney; in the Nevada GOP Caucus, “The Mormon Vote in Nevada’s GOP Caucuses.”

Throughout the article, factual statistics are used to inflate the political significance of LDS followers. In the blog post, Newport states that, “95% of these Mormon caucus participants voted for their fellow Mormon- Mitt Romney.” It shouldn’t be a surprise for most of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to vote for a fellow member of their church; their values and beliefs are very similar to each other. Would it be absurd that a Democrat voted for Barak Obama? That question can hint at the notion that Mitt Romney is “guilty by association” and less credible for most of his church advocating him. Therefore, this rhetorical strategy causes the reader to question Romney’s validity, because Newport implies that Mitt is heavily backed by people who only vote for him because they are members of his religious group.

When Newport stated: “Mitt Romney most likely will have a strong foundation of assured votes in Saturday’s Nevada Republican caucuses if this year’s voting patterns duplicate those in 2008,” an argument by deduction was made by Newport. This specific rhetorical tool expresses a logical sounding conclusion, while the true result is not necessarily the same or definitive. Thus, a reader of Newport’s article might think that simply because Mitt stole Nevada in 2008, he will do so again this year. Why? Because the author infuses the idea that Mitt Romney will very likely win this year since he did in the past. Thus, Mr. Newport places the conclusion as his opinionated ending result. Also, Newport insinuates that Mormons are simply coerced into the “ad populum” bandwagon that they should vote for a Mormon because they are. Although, this may be the case for some in the LDS Church, it could easily be said that parental political influence affects voters just the same. Even further, in the 2008 election, many voted for President Obama because he is black. Some voters chose Obama because they didn’t want to appear bigoted. They chose to forgo ideals and parties to support a history in the making moment by backing the first and only black president of the United States. The editor uses the “ad populum” ideology to express that many Mormons do this, and that it is wrong-- while others perform this very action in another instance without any question.



Later, Newport makes the allusion that: “Mitt Romney most likely will have a strong foundation of assured votes in Saturday’s Nevada Republican caucus,” because “Mormons are highly likely to be Republicans.” However, that statement is both a “sweeping generalization” and a “red herring” to the issue at hand. Those living in more rural areas are likely to be conservative, while those in more populated areas or cities usually have a more liberal opinion. Regardless the political view, every regional social group or religious culture has their own collective preferences, making it neither wrong nor right. Each social/cultural voice is equally important to the entire society as any other. By using the rhetorical fallacy, “sweeping generalization,” the author causes the reader to assume that most Mormons are Republican. Newport uses this strategy to distract the reader from the real issues, and makes him or her think that more LDS members will vote for Mitt Romney.

It is quite interesting, towards the beginning of his article, Newport creates a huge overstatement that, “Romney will have a built-in cushion of support in Saturday’s voting… There is no reason to believe that [he] will not try to duplicate that feat this year.” Although, Newport later comes forward saying that, “It's important to note that Romney would have won in 2008 without the strong Mormon representation. The entrance poll data showed that he won at least a plurality of the vote of every religious group participating, except for those who said they had no religious identity, and those were just 7% of the GOP caucus-going population.” While the LDS voting population contributes to the percentage of Mitt’s support, even without their presence, Romney would still have won the caucus. Though, it isn’t until after the editor has brought forth his case, he uses a form of “stacking the deck” throughout the article. Thus, the ideals of most Mormons reflect the rest of the general public. Newport did not use the true version of stacking the deck, but he did withhold information for his benefit to convince more people. If you think about it, most people will read or scan an article to get the most information from it without reading the entire thing into detail; most skipping the ending because they already know what the main thoughts and arguments have been made in the editorial. Thus, many readers will have experienced a form of “stacking the deck” by withholding information without the author directly keeping the truth from the reader. Finally, if this is the case, the reader will have received a bias information and most likely believe those previous statements to be honest and factual.

In this particular blog post, the editor successfully convinces Non-Mormon Americans that the LDS community’s impact in politics is greater than what it truly is. With multiple rhetorical fallacies and tools, the head Gallup political writer suggests strong feelings and sound claims to drive the image of a heightened influence that Mormon voters have for Mitt Romney in the Nevada GOP Caucus. Just as Frank Newport eventually mentioned, although the LDS members do contribute to the former Governor of Massachusetts’ support, their influence is not worth the hype.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Thoughts About Rhetorical Analysis’

I really enjoyed writing the opinion editorial, but analyzing someone else’s thoughts and the way they express it is awesome. Even more intriguing is seeing their thought process and how they attempt to convince their audience through different rhetorical tools. Also, I realized that this assignment helped me look more closely to my own writing and how I can better persuade my audience.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Op.Ed. & R.A. Peer Review Faceoff

I think that the RA peer review process was much better. Each of us had a chance to become familiar with the other person’s paper, and there were more people that conveyed their thoughts about my paper. I really liked the fact that each person discussing my paper said something new, different, but equally helpful and important.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beef IS What’s For Dinner

After enjoying a perfectly marinated Top Sirloin Steak with my sister and brother tonight, it brought me back to days in Nebraska. Sometimes, my dad, grandpa, and I would be in the field harvesting during a Cornhusker Football game; suddenly after a great play, the radio would go to a commercial and the speakers would rumble with the deep voice, "Beef… it’s what’s for dinner!”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Power of Words

(Just to give you a heads-up, the blog that I am analyzing is pretty straight forward; the following rhetoric strategies are a bit of a stretch.)

Overstatement: “Romney will have a built-in cushion of support in Saturday’s voting… There is no reason to believe that [he] will not try to duplicate that feat this year.”

Analogy: “Although there is a Super Bowl going on this weekend, for political junkies, of course, the relevant action will be in Nevada.”

Allusion: “Mitt Romney most likely will have a strong foundation of assured votes in Saturday’s Nevada Republican caucus…”

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 2012 GOP Nevada Caucus


Rhetorical Analysis Thesis:
In Gallup’s “The Mormon Vote in Nevada’s GOP Caucuses,” it effectively uses imagery, allusions, and various rhetorical fallacies to evoke strong emotions and logical arguments to push how influential Mormon voters are for Mitt Romney in the Nevada GOP Caucus.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hot Topics in the 2012 Presidential Election for This Week

By Gallup’s Polling Matters Chief Editor, Frank Newport
Audience: American Citizens who may not be “Mormon”
Issue: Examining the influence of voting Mormons in Nevada

By NBC’s First Thoughts Editors, Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Brooke Brower
Audience: American Citizens who may have not decided on Romney or Obama
Issue: Things to consider about both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama and the building conflict between them

By CNN’s Election Center Editor, Alan Silverleib
Audience: American Citizens in Nevada who may still be deciding between the GOP Candidates
Issue: Arguments made for and against each GOP candidate that you may want to mull over

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thoughts About My Editorial

Throughout the process of creating my opinion editorial, I feel that it went very well. I think the most difficult things for me were deciding on a topic, sticking to it, and finding ways to trick my mind into revising it. I really enjoyed doing more research, writing, and contemplating on my topic. Even though I wrote about six renditions of the paper, I would gladly write another opinion editorial! Thank you Chris for asking us to write one! (If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention the subject of my opinion editorial… it’s only a couple scrolls down- enjoy!)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Popular Voting vs. The Electoral College


The Honorable (Representative):

On behalf of each American citizen, I evoke a proposal of true significance. In this coming presidential election, nearly 40% of eligible citizens will not vote, simply because they feel that their voice is insignificant. As you know, the President of the United States is chosen by the Electoral College, which limits the proper amount of popular sovereignty that registered American citizens should be entitled to. Gallup, Inc. produced an article which showed over 60% of Americans would prefer a direct election instead of the Electoral College. Although the college of electors is part of our constitution, that does not validate it as the most effective election system. As a representative of the people, you have the responsibility to reflect and magnify their desires within reason. Therefore, I invite you to thoroughly consider amending the Constitution, to use a popular voting system when electing the President of the United States of America.

Our current presidential election system uses the process of filtered consent. The founding fathers’ fear was that a direct vote would lead to “temporary passions” of mob rule or become subject to the desires of the majority alone. The practice of an indirect vote encourages minority consent while still allowing majority rule. Popular voting exhibits the true thoughts of the people; though, in elections where the votes between candidates are close, the accuracy of the poll decreases as the number of votes needed to be counted increases. An instance in the 2010 congressional election, over 4,000 votes were misplaced and unaccounted for a seat in New York, and the error was found. Fortunately, if there is a miscalculation of votes, they can be recounted and submitted faster and more efficiently than ever before.

The authority to vote directly has been viewed by some, equivalent to bestowing all men and women of legal citizenship the privilege to vote. If the gravity of direct voting is deemed parallel to the magnitude of suffrage, then the constitution should be amended to appropriately grant true sovereignty. As a country that has continually fought for equality, many citizens perceive that the Electoral College violates their part in a democratic-republic. In the second section of the Declaration of Independence, it states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” Yet, those who are poor, of another race, a woman, or under the age of twenty-one, were once viewed intellectually incompetent with the important matters of policy and politics. Likewise, using filters of consent prevents politically detached citizens from voting for the popular passions; though, those who sacrifice the time to participate in and are willing to go to the polls, are most likely to become informed. Thus, if the people are considered intellectually competent and informed enough to elect their own representatives, then they should be equally qualified to vote for their president as well.

In addition to the handful of people allowed to select the president, the power of those in the Electoral College is limited by regionalism or whether their state is competitive. This method then also hinders the amount of electors and states that will essentially appoint the president. In this case, few states are acknowledged, leaving most states ignored. Not only are there few states that are likely to affect the election outcome, but forty-eight states including the District of Columbia’s electors engage a “winner takes all” system where all votes go directly to the majority in that state. This process of “winner takes all” falsely represents the proportion of actual votes, as each state has an amount of electors respective to its population. Alan Natapoff, during a conference debating about the electoral college at MIT said, “The advantages of a system that would use actual turnout instead of population as the basis for calculating a state's electoral votes… would increase an individual's voting power in poorly contested states...” In essence, the “winner takes all” approach diminishes the effect of the already less competitive and influencing states; the actual image of the public opinion is warped. If the people are given the power and responsibility to vote, then their individual vote should be directly and accurately displayed. With less power in the citizen’s voice, you must then expect less participation and interest that the people will have of their government’s affairs; the very fear that our founding fathers wanted to prevent in the first place.

In order to re-engage our citizens with the important issues that define our nation’s ultimate survival, we must allow the people’s say to be noteworthy by accepting a direct presidential election system. Although creating a direct voting practice may increase the possibility for the temporary passions of uninformed citizens, our current method is foreign to the real public interests of those who are politically involved; as citizens we ought to be offered the privilege of pure suffrage. By making this amendment to our constitution, the intended democracy will allow enhanced clarity of our public sovereignty and more fully engaged citizens who will advocate solutions to vital problems that our nation faces.

Thank you for your time, and as an American citizen and registered voter I hope that you honestly contemplate the critical nature of this proposal.

Sincerely, Owen O. Bond

You can follow daily updated polls and articles for the 2012 Presidential Election- HERE!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Testing One’s Patience and Tolerance


When I first saw this commercial I couldn’t stop thinking of all those early mornings or late afternoons, walking through the timber, and listening to the light flow of the crick. Finally, I’d climb into my tree-stand waiting for the monster buck that I’d been tracking all year for. Quietly waiting, just me and my freshly cleaned shotgun, feeling the great old tree gradually swaying in the breeze: nature’s own lullaby. Not even 20 minutes, you think you hear “the one” right behind you; you envision it’s bold and majestic strut along the trail. You’re prepared, the butt of the gun snug against your shoulder, and as it comes around the corner… you see a fluffy little squirrel. Instantly, you feel completely ridiculous for thinking that it was a deer; however, that isn’t the true torture- oh no. For the next few hours, that same squirrel will scatter all over the area until it spots you. As long as it knows you are not a tree it barks and barks ‘til it is literally in your face… and that is why you always bring a bow along.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos

“An article produced by Gallup showed that over 60% of Americans would prefer a direct election instead of the Electoral College.”

Pathos
“If the people are considered intellectually competent and informed enough to elect their representatives, then they should be equally qualified to vote for their own president as well.”

‘Alan Natapoff, a research scientist in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at an MIT conference debating the electoral college said, “The advantages of a system that would use actual turnout instead of [the Electoral College] as the basis for calculating a state's electoral votes… would increase an individual's voting power in poorly contested states like Massachusetts.”’

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reader's Rights

Claim:
Popular voting would be better than using the Electoral College for selecting the President of the United States.
Reasons:
* Re-engage Citizens- Increase voter interest
* Pure Democracy- Sovereignty of each individual
* Equality- Each voter is viewed with intellectual competence
* Electoral College Distortion- Current Distribution is not equivalent to the people’s interest
Assumptions:
Direct voting would increase the amount of: voters and their awareness, power to the people, impartial judgment, and transparency of American citizen views.