On Pro: Ethanol scam drives up food prices and stifles economic recovery
The problem with articles such as this one is that they don't provide a straight argument. What is also always the most striking is how gasoline is readily prescribed as being ultimately better. Yet, if gasoline wasn't without its own inherent issues, there would be no need to seek alternatives such as ethanol. Look, there are plenty of issues that have developed as a result of the growing ethanol industry. Some of these issues deserve every bit of criticism they receive. Yet, so many of the biggest issues stem from the manner in which ethanol is being produced. What is most troubling about all of this rhetoric toward ethanol is that many people will quickly reiterate these negative opinions. However, there are times that it becomes increasingly apparent that many do so without much critical thought. For instance, I have heard people voice angry complaints regarding how much they HATE ethanol; only to then see them purchase liquor at the same gas station.
I mean, when someone complains about all the problems that such a chemical will cause to their vehicle, but is then willing to ingest the same substance, who needs logic.
On Biden says consensus emerging on gun safety
The fact that gun control legislation is being debated should indicate to most people the necessity for greater gun control. These debates wouldn't be happening if there were not problems with the manner in which firearms were kept. The way I see it, there are people who realize that guns are weapons designed specifically to inflict potentially lethal damage to a target; thus requiring an exceptional level of respect and caution. Fortunately, most gun owners are this type of person. Then there are those people that see firearms as something else. The type of person that falls into to this category can vary greatly. There views can range from guns creating empowerment to flat out recklessness. These types of people, like criminals, should have their access to guns restricted. Now, with that said, I am for some form of gun control legislation; pertaining to guns instead of people. Since one of big issues is 'assault' weapons, perhaps some things can be done to curb the use of these weapons inappropriately; while preserving the rights of law abiding citizens. Since much of the suggested legislation aims to restrict the access to semi-auto rifles and large capacity magazines, why don't more of these gun owners come together to do that themselves? Why not have these type of weapons restricted to areas that can provide better security? As I see it, gun clubs would do a much better job of regulating the use of such firearms than an all out prohibition would. And, since this type of rifle generally serves little practical purpose, restricting access to where it will be used shouldn't be much hassle. Sure, such requirements wouldn't be without any downside. But, the level of protection that could be offered by moving such weapons, from the home to a facility regulated by peers, is most likely worth it. Doing so would reduce the likeliness that such weapons would fall into the hands of those that shouldn't possess them. I'm sure there are going to be those who disagree with this idea. But, I put it out there because this is the type of debate that needs to be happening. Pointing fingers hoping that the issue will go away won't help. Instead, we need sensible precautions to prevent future tragedy.
On Domestic partners must prove commitment, city council says
The argument being made about this policy being a fiscal issue is mostly a red hearing. Sure, the initial implementation of a policy such as this will cost more money. However, not implementing the same such policy in no way guarantees the city will avoid such cost all together. Here's why. If the city had maintained the status quo, the dependents and spouses of married couples would still be covered. Domestic partners would not. Yet, there is no guarantee that those individuals that would benefit from domestic partnership would continue their employment if the policy remained the same. In the event that they were to leave their positions, the need to replace them would exist. Now, lets say that the positions held by these individuals must be filled. New employees would be interviewed. To retain the monetary benefit provided from not providing domestic partnership benefits would require the city to now discriminate against Married individuals and those with children. Do we want to do this just for the purpose of saving the taxpayer. Bottom line, when you begin to argue segregation on the basis of cost, it will ultimately work against your own principles and values.
On Testing passes the test
While standardized testing does have certain benefits, mainly the ability to quantify results, there are inherent limitations. Regardless of how well designed any test may be, the data will only address what is being tested. Meanwhile, a multitude of other traits and skills will be ignored; providing an incomplete picture of anyone being tested. Personally, I feel standardized test can be a great tool to assess certain aspects of the learning process. However, the limitations that the test have should be considered greatly when making conclusions toward a student. Additionally, for those students that are an outlier, extra effort needs to be applied to determine the reasons. As a proponent, the author fails to acknowledge this concept in her argument. Yet with any statistics, failure to acknowledge the limitations is as good as misinterpreting the data itself. As with any tool, you can only expect results relative to the users ability. Additionally, comparing standardized testing to the use of statistics in industry isn't necessarily a good thing. While it is true that the use of statistics has resulted in huge gains of efficiency, obtaining the same such gains from students is quite disturbing. Much of the successes of industry have come from narrowing the accepted range of output. If we did the same with students, we would essentially be working toward a 'one size fits all' graduate. Education shouldn't ever become a product that needs to be produced. Instead, it needs to be seen as an experience where students learn as the go. For anyone to rely too heavily on the outcome of such test, will surely lead them to the former over the latter.
On New grading system seeks to improve schooling by the numbers
This change indicates that the grading process is being adapted to account for the portion of the education process that doesn't typically get measured. Sure, for any student to rise to the challenges presented to them by their teacher, they have achieved an accomplishment. Yet, for those students that excel beyond what is required of them, the previous grading standard fail to recognize them for doing so. In many ways, this new way of grading also eliminates the failure associated with learning new material. The connotation carried with a 'D' or 'F' gets replaced with an acknowledgement that the student needs to address those areas with a '1' more specifically in some way. It may be that they just need to put more effort into it. Or perhaps they need extra help understanding the subject. Hopefully the new grading system will get parents, teachers, and especially students to reflect more on the individual nature of learning. Sure, students are taught in a group setting. Yet, life and learning is all about progression. To be successful, more often than not, people need to apply themselves actively to the task at hand. For a student to receive a '1', they are being told they need to do more work. When a student receives a 'F', they are told they failed. Sometimes in life, people take a failure as a challenge to be overcome. Yet, more often than not, they see failure as simply an opportunity to reassess there abilities and focus on things they are better at. The distinction may be subtle. But in making that distinction, students will be less likely to get discouraged from trying to overcome their difficulties. Also, those that do well will begin to grasp the distinction between 'good' and 'great'. Either way you look at it, this new grading systems seems to base achievement in a more similar fashion to the 'real world' And that is a good thing. Because eventually the 'real world' is where these students will be headed.
On Frustrated by lack of qualified candidates, business starts grow-your-own internship
I took a look at United Alloy's advertisement for welders. One thing that stood out that may be restricting the number of potential applicants is the following: "The desired candidate should have exposure to metal fabrication concepts and processes and have at least 1 year of welding experience and/or welding degree." Granted, this is a very reasonable requirement for the positions they are looking to fill. However, I'm fairly certain that there are people, that may be strong candidates, that would be discouraged from applying because of this. Personally, when I was fresh out of high school, I had a strong aptitude for many things. That would have allowed me to gain the skill needed to preform a number of jobs, with a short amount of training. Yet, because of wording similar to that above, I never applied to a number of companies simply because such wording informed me that I didn't meet their basic requirements. I'm quite certain that this is the case for many potential job seekers. There seems to be a trend of companies projecting a desire to hire individuals with a minimum amount of experience. And often, this minimal amount may be above the true minimum necessary. Doing so limits the company significantly. They are excluding a significant group of people that likely need only minimal training to become the asset a company is looking for. In the article, I read of the intern program United Alloy had. Yet, on their website I saw no mention of it in their Job Openings section. Perhaps all that is needed is a more aggressive use of this approach. With unemployment being over 50% for those fresh out of school, I find it hard to believe that there aren't any trainable individuals out there.
On Can ethanol weather storm?
Much of the criticism directed at ethanol directly compares it to petroleum based gasoline. Yet, this approach presents a false dichotomy. What tends to be ignored is the benefits associated with ethanol production that aren't directly related to its use as a fuel. One of the key benefits to producing ethanol is that there are virtually no waste products by the end of production. As a result, the many byproducts from the initial production are used to create other products that are needed. Whether it be the CO2 from the yeast or the distillers grain that is left over, these byproducts are essential ingredients for other products we consume. Sure, ethanol as a fuel source is inadequate to entirely replace oil. Yet, this doesn't mean that it doesn't have a place in the market. Even as better sources of biofuels such as algae become more prevalent, ethanol production will continue because it offers more than just fuel. Granted, much of the criticism of ethanol stems more from the government policies that drive the market than production itself. To this point, there is much to be discussed and debated in ways that have merit. Yet, too often people try to discredit ethanol as a means to ending policies they disagree with. This shouldn't be the case, but is.
On Unrelenting Obama jabs at Romney's job record
usaret -- There is just as bad of information being perpetuate by those on the left as there is from the right. Yet, both sides often have facts that are honest. Much of the time however, the distortions come from certain sources that put a spin on things that don't reflect the reality of the facts that they cite. Often, this is simply because the source has an agenda of sorts that makes them see things a certain way. This type of spin is quite damaging to the credibility of the information. Yet, much of the time bending the truth works. Fox News is notorious for this. Yet, so are many of the Global Warming groups. What both have in common is that they strongly believe their agenda deserves the little boost that comes from delivering the message in the way that they do. However, this only serves to create mistrust in the information they present by everyone but those who already feel the same way they do. The worst thing about all of this is that there are genuine problems that need to be addressed. If however people are constantly fighting over the information at hand, no discussion of solutions ever takes place. Sometimes this is the point of all the distraction. If only people could get past all of the child like debate tactics, perhaps some things could move forward to a resolution. Now wouldn't that be an interesting conclusion?
On Obama proposes $1B for science, math teachers
whz_bng -- Food stamps and welfare won't save an economy. However, the reason why they have such a high impact on the economy is because they drive consumption in one particular market very effectively. Given a choice between food stamps and tax breaks, the former will almost always have a higher impact. Yet the main reason such spending won't save the economy is because people that receive welfare, by virtue of their low income, have little extra to spend. This means that while the dollars they have to spend on food do a great deal, they have few other dollars to contribute. As far as tax breaks, the dollars retained have great potential to create activity. Yet, if those dollars don't move, they have little impact. Given the state of lending, even saving those dollars does little for the economy these days. Sure, if companies and individuals decide they have reason to start spending rapidly, the economy would then bounce back. Right or wrong aside, companies have been downsizing and cutting cost to remain profitable. Until there is a substantial increase in employment, and thus disposable income, full economic recovery will likely not happen. Sure, the debate of whether the government is to blame will ensue. Yet, until the private sector bounces back, the economy will likely continue to only sputter along.
While there are many people that may disagree with the program being suggested, there also is ample justification for the goal such a program tries to achieve. Let's face it, without increasing the amount of people capable of fulfilling these types of roles, the edge we hold in developing technologies will diminish. Further, existing businesses will become strained trying to obtain/retain the engineers and scientist currently needed; as more engineers retire or move to more lucrative professions. Now this may seem a little off topic, but think of the current state of energy demand in this country. Any way you look at it, engineers will become more and more necessary as we move into the future. Whether they are needed for the growing bio-fuel and solar/wind markets, or the more traditional energy markets, the role they play will become much more crucial. And without an adequate supply, the cost to hire engineers will rise. Now granted, the above is only one area where these people will play a role. There are many newer technologies gaining momentum that offer similar potential to the boom that came with the adoption of computers. Things such as smart materials and 3-D printing offer strong promise to being the next big thing. Yet, without engineers and scientist to develop the processes necessary for implementation, the boom may just be a fizzle. Many of the comments here take issue with the amount of money it will cost; and how that affects the typical persons income. Yet, without an investment like this, the expenses of many things will rise. Much of the reason cost haven't skyrocketed over the last few decades is because of the amount of cost savings provided by the innovations from engineers and scientist. Yet, because most people don't see these things on a day to day basis, they take them for granted. All too often, people complain that something isn't necessary because they don't see the value in it. Yet, when businesses continue to request visas for engineers from other countries as a stop gap, one thing becomes clear: this country needs more engineers. The big question is, do we work at producing more from this country in order to reap the benefits? Or do we just remain idle and let all the opportunity drift away?
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