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High School Seniors

     Should high school seniors be allowed to get a half day job during school hours if they have enough credits to graduate with a passing grade?  I believe that high school seniors should be able to get a job if they have a passing grade.  Many high school seniors have many financial obligations and need some form of income.  Seniors would get a chance to start a job before they graduate to see if this is what they want.  Give the students a chance to get their foot in the door for a long-lasting career.  The high school senior will get a chance to earn money for college.

Global Warming

     Is global warming fact or fiction?  We hear on the cable networks channels about global warming and the effects it is having on the earth’s climates.  They gave Al Gore a Nobel Prize in 2007 for claiming that there is a dangerous level of man-made carbon dioxide that threatens the earth (Gore).  I believe that this global warming is another get rich scheme that governments are using.  The reasons why I think global warming is a myth, because there is not enough greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere to produce warmer climates.  The earth’s poles are staying the same temperature which is not causing the polar ice caps to melt or the ocean level rise.  Lastly, I have not read anywhere that causes more storms or other weather anomaly.  What is global warming?

     Global warming, scientifically speaking, is a worldwide increase in atmospheric temperature.  Such increases have alternated with periods of global cooling throughout geological history in regular, natural cycles.  When sunlight strikes the earth, infrared radiation is emitted by the earth. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere absorb this radiation, which results in a warming of the earth.  The same way water vapors work, but there is a lot more water vapor in the air.  The greenhouse effect is a very large effect: without greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the earth’s surface would likely be below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing since the industrial revolution began, due primarily to the burning of fossil fuels and cutting down the rain forests (Gore).  This increase in greenhouse gases cause an enhanced greenhouse effect, which warms the earth.

     A straightforward estimate reveals that when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reaches twice the pre-industrial level, the enhanced greenhouse effect alone will warm the earth by 1.2 to 1.3˚C. There is no significant disagreement among scientists about this part of global warming (Muller). 

     Climate is controlled by a number of factors, including changes in the earth’s orbit, possibly solar variability, possibly volcanoes, and the greenhouse effect. All but the last factor are entirely natural. Human activities are not the only contribution to the greenhouse effect.

     Carbon dioxide levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and other carbon dioxide production, just as they have throughout geologic time. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has increased.  However, there is no proof that carbon dioxide is the main driver of global warming. As measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, carbon dioxide levels move up and down after the temperature has done so, and thus are the result of, not the cause of warming.  There is solid evidence that, as temperatures move up and down naturally and cyclically through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences, the warming surface layers of the earth’s oceans expel more carbon dioxide as a result.

     Greenhouse gases shape about 3 % of the atmosphere by volume. They consist of varying amounts, (about 97%) of water vapor and clouds, with the remainder being gases like carbon dioxide, Methane, Ozone and nitrous oxide, of which carbon dioxide is the largest amount (Oppenheimer, Wang).  While the minor gases are more effective as “greenhouse agents” than water vapor and clouds, are thought to be responsible for 60% of the “Greenhouse effect”.

     Carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth, it is necessary for plant growth since increased carbon dioxide intake as a result of increased atmospheric absorption causes many trees and other plants to grow more vigorously. Accurate satellite, balloon and mountain top observations made over the last three decades have not shown any significant change in the long-term rate of increase in global temperatures. Average ground station readings do show a mild warming of 0.6 to 0.8.  Cover the last 100 years, which is well within the natural variations recorded in the last millennium (Coleman).   

     Receding glaciers and the calving of ice shelves are not proof of global warming.  Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years.  Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries.  Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating.  It’s normal cycle.  Besides, glacier’s health is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature (Myth).  The earth is variable.  The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer, due to unrelated cyclic events in the Pacific Ocean, but the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder.  Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.  Ocean level monitoring in the Pacific and Indian Oceans has shown no sign of rising levels.

     Global warming has not caused more storms or other weather anomaly.  There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claims on a global scale (Myth).  Regional variations in jet streams and warmer water currents may claim to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms.       

     Is global warming fact or fiction?  I believe that it is a myth and a get rich scheme, but you can be your own judge.  People hear different stories on networks channels about global warming and the effects it is having on the earth’s climates.  Do you know of anything that has burned up because of global warming?  They gave Al Gore a Nobel Prize in 2007 for what, the earth has not burned up, people can still breath and it’s still snowing in the northern hemisphere.

Muller, Richard A. “A Global Warming Bombshell.” 10 Oct. 2004. Web. 3 May 2010. http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/13830/.
“MYTH MANNERS THINKS.” Grinning Planet. 15 Jan. 2005. Web. 3 May 2010. http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/06-21/global-warming-facts-article.htm
Coleman, John. “John Coleman.” Myths vs. Facts: Global Warming. OSS, 11 Aug. 2008. Web. 3 May 2010. http://www.uscentrist.org/about/issues/environment/john_coleman.
Wang, James, and Oppenheimer, Michael. “Global Warming.” EDF. 18 Jan. 2007. Web. 3 May 2010. http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=1011.
Gore, Al. “Al Gore Sounds Global Warming Alert.” NPR. 31 May 2006. Web. 3 May 2010. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5441976&gt;.
 

Oral Composition

 

1. What is the authority of the commentary?

2. What type of argument is attempted (definition, evaluative, other)?

3. What evidence is cited? Is the evidence convincing? Valid? Verifiable?

4. Where do the two viewpoints conflict? How and why?

5. Which do you judge to be the most convincing? Why?

College Football Polls

The college football system for picking a national champion team is flawed.  When you pick a national champion from one football bowl game, you are only getting a sample of the 293 division I college football teams from 31 different conferences.  That is like saying because the kid is bigger, he will be the winner, but the little kid is faster and he actual wins.  This year in college basketball, only one of the top four teams made it to the finals.  Butler was a #5 seeded, which they played Duke, #1 seeded team, for the championship game.  In college football, Butler would not have been given a chance to play.  Is this fair or is it time to change division I football bowl series and make a playoff system that will work for everyone. A computer, associated press sports writers or college coaches should not be picking the two teams that will battle out for the national title.

     The associated press college football poll has a long history in college football. The news media began running their own polls of sports writers to determine who was, by popular opinion, the best football team in the country at the end of the season. One of the earliest such polls was the associated press college football poll, first run in 1934.  Due to the long-standing historical ties between individual college football conferences and high-paying bowl games like the Rose Bowl and Orange Bowl, the NCAA has never held a tournament or championship game to determine the champion of what is now the highest division, NCAA Division I.  As a result, the public and the media began to take the leading vote-getter in the final associated press poll as the national champion for that season (College Football Weekly).

      In 1997, the bowl championship series was developed to try to unify the poll results by picking two teams for a “real” national championship game. For the first several years the associated press poll factored in the determination of the Bowl Championship Series rankings, along with other factors including the coaches’ poll and computer-based polls (Lunt).  The season that the bowl championship series system broke down was when the bowl championship series poll ranked the University of Southern California at #3 and two human polls in the system had ranked University of Southern California at #1. As a result, University of Southern California did not play in the bowl championship series designated national championship game. After defeating another highly ranked team, Michigan, the associated press poll kept University of Southern California at #1 while the coaches’ poll was contractually obligated to select the winner of the bowl championship series game, Louisiana State University, as the #1 team (Schoffel). The resulting split national title was the very problem that the bowl championship series was created to solve, and has been widely considered an embarrassment.

     Division III college schools found a way to fix the poll problem.  They have a 32 team playoff which lasts 5 weeks and at the end they crown a division III national champion. These college players are no different from the Division I schools, so there would be no problem for the same type of playoff system.  College football could pick the top 32 or 64 teams by records or associated press poll. Start the playoffs a week before Thanksgiving Day weekend.  After you get down to the top two teams, they can play for the national title games in January.  If they still want to keep all the bowl games, they can group the teams that lost and have the bowl games the last two weekends in December.  The teams with the better record can be the home team or flip a coin to determine home team.  This would also be another way to help colleges make more money for players scholarships.

     Here is a system that is broken and needs major fixing.  To pick a national champion football team only having two teams playing for the title is not right.  Too many people have ties to a college by attending that college or living in the same state.  To have a playoff would give a true winner and the correct national champion without a computer, coaches or sport writers picking who is going to play for the title.

College Football Weekly. Rep. College Football Poll .com. Web. 13 Apr. 2010. <http://collegefootballpoll.com/games_recap.html&gt;.

Lunt, Macie. BCS Good for Football. Rep. no. 700024035. Deseret News. Web. 14 Apr. 2010. <http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700024035/BCS-good-for-football.html&gt;.

Schoffel, Ira. “Bowden to Vote in College Football Poll.” Newsherald.com. 14 Apr. 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2010. <http://www.newsherald.com/sports/poll-83069-bowden-football.html&gt;.

Demolition Racing

     Growing up in the small town of Elderon, Wisconsin, there was not much excitement going on around here.  Living on a hobby farm made it even worst, because there was always something to do on the farm.  When I would get done with my chores, I would help my dad work on his demolition car tearing it apart and building it back up.  This was the first time I ever seen a demolition race.  I watched my dad race, which it looked like an action movie when the intersection lights turn green each way and car smashing into each other.  Five years later, now it is my turn to smash into other cars.

     I went to auto dealer to find a car that did not look like an old rust bucket.  I found a Chevy Impala in good shape and it actual ran.  It still needed some work, to make it a creditable race car.  One hundred dollars later, I drove it home with a little help from my dad.  When I got it home, my dad help me tune up the engine.  When I started the car, the whole area was a cloud of blue smoke; fire was shooting out of the exhaust pipes as it sounded like a thunder storm.

     The demolition race was held on Labor Day weekend at the Rosholt State Fair.  There were 60 cars racing that day and I was getting extremely nervous by now.  My number on my car was 33, third car in the third heat.  My dad was the second car in the sixth heat.  One of my dad’s friends was my pit man, his name was Danny.  We had to get there early to set everything up and get the cars inspected.  As the morning went on, I was getting more and more nervous by the minute.

     It was finally my turn to drive out on to the sandy square pit, surrounded by large telephone poles set into the ground.  When I got into position, I started to get more nervous and scared.  In the last heat, they had to carry one person out on a stretcher, because his car flipped over and pinned his leg against the door.  We are lined up with three cars on each side which looks like the side of a dice.  The blue smoke plumed through gunshot holes in the car body like steam out of a kettle.

     All at once the race started and my nerves went away as I took my first shot on the side of the car.  After that it was how hard I can hit the other cars next to me.  The sand made it hard to get any speed, but still fast enough to put a damaging lick on the car in front of me.  Blue smoke and sand was flying all over the place as one after another car was knocked out.  I was the last car running and won my heat.  I was feeling pretty good because my dad and our friend that was racing with us lost their heats.  I took some serious damage to my car.  My pit man had to weld my steering rod back together to make the final race.  I ended up taking second for the final race.  The next day my body felt like I was in a boxing ring going ten rounds with the heavy weight champion of the world.

     I started out very scared and extremely nervous about my first demolition race in my young life.  To this point, I had only watched my dad and his friend’s race demolition cars.  I started out with a bad situation and with time it seems to get much better.  That was my first race and I won $200 dollars.

Presidential Campaigns

     The length of the U.S. presidential campaigns forces candidates to become too much influenced by big-dollar contributors.  The presidential campaign now days cost millions of dollars.  President Bush spent 270 million dollars on his 2004 campaign and that’s no small drop in a bucket. The president inauguration celebration will take $35 million to $40 million which includes a four-day celebration with fireworks, the swearing-in, a parade and nine balls (Edsall, Birnbaum).  Who covers these high dollar expenses?  Where does all this money come from?  What will it cost the president to raise this type of money from contributors?  Contributors can come in a lot of different forms. 

     Big companies, lobbies, government, colleges, banks, etc. donate money to the campaign and inauguration celebration.  People can also give money thru the internet.  There are other ways the presidential campaign receives money.  President Bush wants to lower barriers to building nuclear power plants, and the lobbyist that promotes nuclear energy could not be happier.  To show its thanks, the group has given $100,000 to help pay for his inauguration (House, Dempsey).   You may have voted for the president, but I will bet you that you did not vote for a nuclear power plant in your backyard.

     A spokesman for the Boeing Company, which gave $100,000, said the money is “to help in celebrating the defining event in the American democratic process.”  Boeing is dealing with federal probes into the tactics it used to win a contract to lease and sell to the Air Force 100 refueling tankers for $23.5 billion (Edsall, Birnbaum).   Is this fair to the other candidates?  If a company has the president’s ear and donations money to the campaign, they will have the edge when it comes to contract time.  Is that fair practice for all companies or money talks and other companies walk?  Does that make you feel a little sick to your stomach?

     Wall Street investment firms seeking to profit from private Social Security accounts; oil, gas and mining companies pushing the White House to revitalize a stalled energy-subsidy bill; and hotels and casinos seeking an influx of immigrant labor donate money.  I find it particularly interesting that Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley are all hedging their bets by contributing heavily to both candidates.  Why are they contributing to both sides?  There is only one reason; to gain influence and advantage with whomever becomes the next President of the United States.  

     Practically all the major donors have benefited from the Bush administration policies, especially from corporate and individual tax cuts, deregulation and the new prescription drug benefit that is part of Medicare.  Most also stand to boost profits further because of Bush’s second-term proposals, which include limiting medical malpractice suits, creating private investment accounts as part of Social Security and making a tax-code revision that is expected to reduce taxes on investments.  What to the little people who cannot give the big dollars donation to have their voice heard.

     In conclusion, the presidential campaign is way too long, forcing candidates to take money from unsavory people who want something in return.  You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.  The American people cannot stop the water from running over the dam.  It only gets worse, because this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are 100 more senators and 435 congressmen who may even be more dependent on the money they receive from special interest groups.

House, Billy, and Matt Dempsey. “McCain Raises Money While Exploring Presidential Possibilities.” USA Today. The Arizona Republic, 19 Dec. 2006. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-12-19-mccain_x.htm&gt;.

Edsall, Thomas B., and Jeffery H. Birnbaum. “Big-Money Contributors Line Up for Inauguration.” Washington Post. The Washington Post Company, 11 Jan. 2005. Web. 7 Apr. 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5058-2005Jan12.html.

Kolinski’s Obituary

James W. Kolinski Jr. – the son of Polish immigrants who grew up on the family’s 200 acre dairy farm and went on to serve 26 years in the United States Air Force – died Friday morning at the age of 88. Kolinski suffered from bouts of pneumonia during the past year, and he spent much of his time in recent years at his home in Bahamas.

     James was a volunteer giant who worked tirelessly to improve our community. Pennsylvanians of all ages have been and will continue to be beneficiaries of his spirited generosity, his hopeful vision, strengths and made life better for so many.  James built Chambersburg community in the second half of the 20th and into the 21st centuries. He had made significant contributions to strengthen education and community involvement. James made an immeasurable difference in the lives of Chambersburg’s citizens and demonstrated again and again, in words and deeds, his steadfast commitment to the welfare of this community. We will all mourn his passing, even as we celebrate the remarkable gift of his life and joy.

     Kolinski spent a lifetime in the military traveling where the Air Force needed him during the 26 years of service.  He changed the life of so many, by leading the young men and women under his command during times of war.  Helping them cope with substandard living conditions, tent city sleeping accommodations and being away from loved ones for long periods of time. During peacetime service, he taught and trained young airmen how to build and load 30 different types of bombs, missiles and nuclear weapons. 

     After the military, he volunteered his time and money-making savvy deals, while building the Chambersburg Special Olympics Chapter and Boys and Girls Clubs.  The biggest joy he received was to see the smiles on the children and young adult’s faces likes fireworks going off in the night.  He helped young athletes to complete in Special Olympics events and youth campers learn about the outdoors in the surrounding areas. As he neared his 80th birthday, a light bulb went off in his head, he decided to do something different.

     He began to give away his small fortune, lots of money and very publicly, for an array of community projects. He credited his late wife, Lori, for inspiring his new efforts.  They were married 41 wonderful years. “We had a little agreement between us that everything that we have will go to charity. And I tell you, one day I woke up to the smelled the roses”, Kolinski said in 2009. At 87 years old, instead of leaving the small fortune to the state to keep, he had some fun giving it away to the community.  And that is just what James did, it was like confetti floating in the air.

     Growing up he learned about hard work by working on the family farm, working from early morning to late at night, doing his daily chores. When he turned 14, he started to played baseball, basketball and football at Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, where he learn his leadership skills from his hard nose coach.  Apparently his baseball skills caught the attention of the Milwaukee Braves, where he earned a tryout with the pros.  But when he returned home after his tryout, he realized professional baseball wasn’t his higher calling. He graduated from Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School with All-State conference honors and earned an Aircraft Management Degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and graduated first in his class in 1975.

     While servicing in the Air Force, he met his wife, the former Lenore Gearhart-Kolinski. They married in 1969. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Chambersburg Pennsylvania in 1979.  Full military honors will be given at the Evergreen Cemetery, Chambersburg on Sunday, April 11, 2010, at 10 a.m.