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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finally Out of Iraq: Was it Worth it?

The last convoy leaves the country.
On Sunday, December 18, 2011, the last of American troops finally exited the country of Iraq, effectively ending the Iraq War. The last convoy withdrew from the last active military complex, with the soldiers buzzing with excitement and relief. The departure marked the end of an aggressive nine-year skirmish that has left the government and people of Iraq shattered and seemingly misplaced.

Over these nine years, over 100,000 Iraqi citizens and 4,500 United States troops were killed. The war cost an overall 800 billion dollars to fund.

The tirade against Saddam Hussein and insurgent threats was steeped in a widespread cat and mouse chase across the entire country. The American government reached its goal to displace Hussein in 2006, when the Iraqi leader was hanged and killed. After this victory, however, the American government knew that there was more work to be done to establish a new democracy in Iraq and counter several insurgent threats.

The original motive of the United States was to take action to stop impending nuclear weapons development within the country of Iraq. Instead, the military discovered that these nuclear weapons were non-existent, and failed to prove that Iraq was a real threat to America. The skirmish resulted in a devastated country and thousands of unhappy inhabitants.

4,500 soldiers were killed in the war.
Additionally, now that thousands of innocent citizens have perished and the United States has wreaked tremendous havoc on the balance of secure government within Iraq, citizens of the country have shown great distaste for the American occupation. Some Iraqis celebrated the departure of American troops as an answer to the damage that the United States has done to their country.

The question still remains whether the Iraq War really accomplished anything at all. Many who believe so fail to recognize the big picture and point out seemingly minor benefits.

The real benefit to the United States’ Arab campaign, however, is the fact that the military was capable of assassinating two influential Arabic leaders that were potentially threatening America.

Regardless of your opinion on this issue, the departure of the overseas troops and the closure of the Iraq War is something that everyone should celebrate.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Really Hard to be the President!

Day-to-day interviews and speeches...
If you really consider it, Barack Obama has a much more challenging and less rewarding job than preceding presidents like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He is obligated to partake in much more modern-day drudgery on a day-to-day basis than any other president has had to experience before.

Here are the top five reasons why it’s harder than ever before to be the President of the United States:

1) Engaging with the Public
With the onset of advanced communications starting in the early twentieth century, presidents have had to engage the citizens of this country with hours and hours spent on speeches and interviews.

The leader of the country is obligated to explain his motives to the general public, and while that may be a very good thing, it is also very hard work for the President. Barack Obama spends hundreds of hours each year delivering press release speeches and answering the media’s questions.

2) A Lower Salary
The presidential salary has been increased at least five times since George Washington, but so has international inflation. If you take today’s money into account, a President in 1900 would have earned 1,500,000 dollars a year, while a President in 2000 would have only earned 400,000 dollars a year. That means that Barack Obama would be earning less than a third of the salary of the late Theodore Roosevelt.

Bill Clinton dealt with the scandal.
3) Attacks from the Media
Remember Bill Clinton? His Presidential career took a big hit when he was struck with several sexual misconduct allegations. A big reason why this was big news for America the media was empowered by technology and the news spread like wildfire.

Media attacks are much more common nowadays than they were in the past. For example, back in the 1700s, if George Washington was entangled in a sexual scandal, it would have taken months for the entire country to know about it. By then, it would have become old news.

4) So Many Ethnicities and Classifications
If you’re running for office and are seeking to effectively represent America, you’re going to have to be appealing to Caucasian, Asian, African American, Hispanic, and a vast collection of other ethnic groups. You’re also going to have to be appealing to LGBT communities, religious crowds, and worker unions.

At the time when Thomas Jefferson was President, a lot of choices were answered with “Yes” or “No”. Now the presidential stage offers a colorful mix of choices.

5) A Volatile Economy
Technology continues to make things faster, and that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do the same for the economy. As more and more people take business and investing to the internet, the international market is becoming an up-and-down rollercoaster. Because the stock market never rests, neither can the President, because he is responsible for ensuring the safety of the American economy, or it goes bust.

The President has the loneliest job in the world, so they say. In a post 9/11 world, I don’t deny it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Awesome Facebook Status Generator

"...was tenderizing meat, missed the kitchen counter and
tenderized an old friend."
The reason why I haven't been posting articles the past few days is because I have been working on a new project, called StatusGen!

StatusGen is a simple application that allows users to browse through and use a collection of randomly generated statuses. To create a status, the application browses through a comprehensive list of possible terms that could be used and selects one of them. The application combines these terms to create a full sentence. These statuses can then be posted to Facebook, Skype, Twitter, or any other network that supports status posting.

I started building StatusGen two days ago, and now the website is capable of calculating over 10,000 unique statuses.

"...is watching a hilarious monologue about purple lardfaces."
There are several buttons lining the bottom of the interface that allow users to select the number of statuses that they want the application to generate. For example, if I click on "Get 5 Statuses", the application will deliver a selection of five randomly generated statuses. This feature is useful for users that want to grab batches of statuses at once. I think it's very useful.

I also set up a Facebook page for StatusGen, so if you like this application, I would encourage you to like the page.

That really is all I have to say. If you have any suggestions on any changes I can make to www.statusgen.tk or any ideas for another project, feel free to leave a comment!

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Taxi Models for New York City

The Nissan NV200 will have facilities for electronic devices.
It takes a durable vehicle to take on the often rugged streets of New York City. In both Manhattan and Greater New York, taxis must be able to endure hours of constant usage everyday for years.

It is the responsibility of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to choose and regulate the vehicles that are released to commissioned taxi drivers all throughout the city. Recently, they have been shaking things up a bit by choosing vehicles apart from the usual Crown Victoria models.

This year, they have chosen the Nissan NV200 as the Taxi of Tomorrow. This durable and fuel-efficient vehicle will be integrated into the transportation system as New York City's sole taxi model starting in 2003. The commission plans to keep it as the standard for over five years.

The "New York Avenue" is a testing ground for NYC taxis.
Some prominent changes that can be found within the Nissan NV200 are USB ports, power outlets, and other facilities for electronic devices. The taxi will also be painted a shade of yellow that is a tad brighter than previous models.

The Nissan NV200 beat out two other finalists in the Taxi of Tomorrow competition, including the popular Ford TransitConnect.

I hope that the new model will serve as an efficient transportation choice for commuters for years to come!