Sunday, October 31

Because everyone loves blogs

It was recently pointed out to me that some teachers are starting to read blogs and pass them around the break room, and that's all well and good. I beleive Welker said as much in his editorial type thingy. Fine.


I just ask them to keep their personal feelings about me out of the classroom. Start your own fucking blog and make fun of me there and all that other shit that y'all seem to enjoy to do. Don't mark my tests down b/c you don't like me or i don't like you.

Other than that, fuck off ^_^

Sunday, October 24

Concerning Distric Flags and Fall Camporees [updated]

Disregarding my usuall "style" of writing, I think I'll just list what happened this weekend.

Friday, went camping with the Boy Scouts. We had to carry everything down there we needed for the District campsite contest thingy. Basically we had to build a model campsite and it's in essence a bunch of bullshit, anal retentive shit that really doesn't need to be done. But, we do it anyway. (already you can tell this is gonna be a positive and uplifting post, right?)

blahblahblah, someone tells me to go the wrong direction on teh compass course, we end up at least 5 miles off course and at a general store called Priddy's. They're giving away free fries, and since teh guy in charge of the compass course said, "If you consume anything on the trail, bring me the wrapper. If you get a drink from priddy's, i want teh can. If you get a candy bar, i want the wrapper.", we gave him teh bowl. He didn't say anything about french fries but I assume they applied as well. heh

We lost teh competition b/c some dumbass, i want say names *COUGHDAVISCOUGH*, put the latrine right on teh fucking river. taht was a hundred points, and we would've won with them =
Oh well.

all in all a good weekend..ish.. yeah.. right not at all. I almost lost my retainer and i'm sure i had a minor concousion from hiting the fucking trailer door, and i'm damn well sure my shin is broken, but i'm gonna say it isn't anyway, b/c it doesn't hurt anymore.

Thursday, October 21

KICK ASS ESSAY!

Honors English II – I

October 25, 2004

Third Party Candidates in a Two Party System

At the last Presidential Debate two third party candidates, Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party and David Cobb of the Green Party, were arrested for trying to gain entry to the Presidential Debate in Arizona. Before the debate they had petitioned the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) but were refused. On the night of the debate, they walked their way through the crowd and across the police line to submit another petition and gain admittance to the debate, but were stopped and arrested. This kind of two-party control hurts American democracy as well as Americans themselves.

The current system for elections does not accommodate third party candidates at all. The first noticeable setback for third-parties lies in the election itself. American voters, called the electorate, unknowingly make the mistake of assuming there are only two candidates. When they’re presented with a third (or fourth) option, they either ignore it or believe they’re “wasting their vote.” Our bipartisan government does not alleviate this problem, but rather exacerbates it. The government passes laws that hinder third parties ability to gain admittance on the ballots. Right now, Cobb is on the ballot in only thirty states; Badnarik fares slightly better with forty-eight. How can people be represented fairly when they cannot even have the chance to vote for all the candidates?

The Electoral College elects our leaders based on the majority vote winner in the individual states. This system itself conflicts with the will of the electorate. Often times it skews the election, giving Americans presidents that haven’t received the majority of the votes. This has happened several times in American history, the most recent being the 2000 election, were Democrat Al Gore received roughly five hundred thousand more votes than the current president, George Bush. Most everyone remembers the “Floridian Fiasco” in which chads and questions of voter intent muddied the waters of the election. There, the third-party choice of Ralph Nader supposedly drew votes away from Gore, allowing Bush to win the majority of Florida’s votes. This in turn conceded all of Florida’s Electoral votes to Bush, granting him to win the Presidency. Allowing third-party candidates to only influence, not win, elections is decidedly unconstitutional.

Running for president requires pools of cash, usually ones big enough for an average child to go swimming. In the 2000 election alone, George Bush and Al Gore combined for more than 400 million dollars in funding. Third-party candidates can simply not afford to spend the exaggerated amounts of money required to have your name recognized by the average voter.

Because of this third-party dominance the government has become complacent, simply refusing to advance any beneficial or progressive legislation. In biology, when a population breeds among itself and doesn’t receive any genes from others, it develops genetic disorders and diseases. The same can be said of government. By limiting itself to two ideologies, it denies itself the opportunity to grow in new directions and evolve. With politicians worrying only about reelection, they sometimes forget what they’re being reelected for. Politicians adopt moderate policies that differ just enough from their contemporaries to attract notice. To fully represent the people fairly, a change is needed in the political system of the United States.

One method of broadening America’s political horizon requires a change in voting style. Most of the time people don’t agree with every policy of the politician running for office: they’ll like the drug plan, but not like the economic plan. But by being able to cast our ballots for one or more candidates, as is allowed in approval voting, voters more accurately express who they wish to represent them. Assume that John, a fictitious example by trade, likes the benefits plan offered by Jeanne, an imaginary lawyer with big ideas, but likes Ivan’s stance on the pursuit of parole violators. Under the current system, he would be torn between these two candidates and be forced to pick one over the other. In approval voting, John would be able to choose all the candidates that he supports; he could vote for Jeanne, Ivan, and not to mention Bob (who has a decidedly good record on ink control). All the while he can exclude the candidates that he does not support (e.g. Opgeven, Martinez, and Codger). The candidate that claims the most votes wins office and people are no longer forced to choose “the lesser of two evils.”

Realizing that approval voting will never be able to take hold in this country, another option presents itself: abolishing (or at least reworking) the Electoral College. America by ridding itself of the Electoral College will be able to uphold its time honored tradition: “One man, one vote.” As a result of having a president that wasn’t elected by the majority, America undermines its core values of equality. By at least changing the “winner-take-all” system used by states to calculate electoral votes, America will better serve its people. If states change their laws to award electoral votes proportionally there will no longer be states in which the minority is ignored. Swing states will be eliminated and candidates will have to campaign everywhere equally. Eliminating the Electoral College all together would allow the popular vote winner (such as in elections for minor offices) to reach office.

Unless candidates have enough money to match their weight with the weight of their money in twenty dollar bills, they will remain unrecognized by the general public. Advertisement prices are high enough to make anyone with a tight mouth and even tighter wallet jaw drop. If producers were required to give all qualified candidates an equal amount of free television and radio coverage at approximately equal times of day then every viable candidate would be equally represented and thus known by the public. The government also should distribute an unbiased, nonpartisan document with every candidate’s position and record accurately displayed. They should then mail it to every house and thus inform the electorate of their choices and options. When every candidate receives equal coverage then the public can make an informed vote based on information, rather than on appearances. In doing so, the exorbitant amounts of money required for campaigns would be reduced to a manageable sum that everyone could afford.

By combining all of these solutions, America greatly increases its ability to move forward in an ever changing world. But even by adopting only one of these answers America takes a step toward progress. Two-party dominance does nothing but stick the U.S. in the dreaded “quagmire” so feared in Vietnam. It’s time to give other options a chance.

Tuesday, October 19

My Friend test. Careful... there are many trick questions.

Knock your collectiveselves out

Oh, and tsk tsk Jeremy. Only 20%? Only residence and author? You dissappoint me. Your spies must not be as good as you thought they were. And my hair is not orange (hint to the rest of y'all)

Monday, October 18

Another Goddamned Essay

This one is on tragedy and tragic heroes. More specifically, the ones displayed by Oedipus Rex and Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Please read and give insights. Only Mark read the last essay I published =P (ty, btw)

Oh, and Mark, how about another shipment of Penguin Mints?



Honors English II-I

October 18, 2004

Tragic Heroes in Global Literature

Great literature is found all over the world from different cultures, time periods, and countries. Each culture, not surprisingly, has the same types of literatures as the others. For example, Oedipus Rex and Things Fall Apart are both tragedies. A tragedy tells of a main character that is destroyed by some character flaw and by forces beyond his or her control (Writers Inc., 425). This main character, called a tragic hero, is a high ranking character that experiences a downfall because of his or her character flaws and some even beyond control. Oedipus of Oedipus Rex and Okonkwo of Things Fall Apart are both prime examples of tragic heroes.

Oedipus is king of Thebes in ancient Greece. His downfall is a result of his arrogance, pride, and contempt for the gods. These character flaws and the will of the gods drives Oedipus to kill his father, sleep with his murder, and blind himself. His arrogance is evidence in his accusation that Creon employed Teiresias to announce Oedipus as the murderer of King Laius:

“Do you think I do not know
That you plotted to kill me, plotted to steal my throne?
Tell me, in God’s name: am I a coward, a fool,
That you should dream you could accomplish this?
A fool who could not see your slippery game?
A coward, not to fight back when I saw it?
You are the fool, Creon, are you not? hoping
Without support or friends to get a throne?
Thrones may be won or bought: you could do neither.”

Oedipus wrongly jumps to the conclusion that Creon is responsible for Teiresias’s assertion. He then places himself over Creon and denounces Creon as an inferior fool. Oedipus also shows his arrogance with his encounter with Laius. While traveling to Thebes, Oedipus encounters Laius at a crossroads and demands the right of way. This resulted in a slaughter of the king by the future king. Oedipus’s arrogance here seals his fate of incest and patricide.

Pride also consumes Oedipus in this tragic drama. From the very beginning Oedipus parades his accomplishments and abilities as king. “I would not have you speak through messengers, and therefore I have come myself to hear you - I, Oedipus, who bear the famous name.” He also encourages the masses to sing his praises. “Great Oedipus, O powerful King of Thebes!”; “O mighty King”; “A king of wisdom tested in the past.” He also flaunts one particular bit of pride over and over throughout the drama: his defeat of the Sphinx. “Then once more I must bring what is dark to light.”; “When that hellcat the Sphinx was performing here... It demanded a real exorcist.” His pride ultimately leads to his downfall.

The most outrageous character flaw, and the most damning, of Oedipus was an appalling sin in ancient Greece: contempt for the will of the gods. Oedipus’s first episode of this was in his attempt to flee from his step-parents in the hopes that he wouldn’t kill his step-father and fulfill the oracle’s prophecy. In doing this, he says to the gods that he will not do as fate commands him. Later, after fulfilling the prophecy unawares, he confides with his wife, his mother. They reach an agreement that the Oracle was wrong and that the prophecy will remain unfulfilled. Combined with his arrogance and pride, this contempt of the gods’ will brings the full wrath of the gods upon him. He is no more able to stop the impending storm than a squirrel is capable of stopping a forest fire with an acorn and two pinecones.

Okonkwo is also an excellent exemplifier of a tragic hero. He too was swept up in a storm of fate and incapable of adapting because of his character flaws of arrogance, pride, and rigidity. His arrogance and pride is manifest throughout the entire book. The most striking example of this is at a town meeting to discuss a matter of importance. An agbala (woman; man with no titles) exclaims his opinion and Okonkwo coldly replies without glancing up, “This meeting is for men.” The irony here is quite funny because this is the same insult that the children call his father. His pride is also apparent when he reflects on the days of his youth. He was a renowned wrestler and loves to reflect on those days. “At Nwoye’s age Okonkwo had already become famous throughout Umuofia for his wrestling and his fearlessness.” Always the memories of his past, when he arose from nothing and achieved greatness, float through his skull and he always falls back on his warrior background, even while in his motherland. “‘Let us not reason like cowards,’ said Okonkwo.” “Okonkwo made a sound full of disgust. This was a womanly clan, he thought.”

Okonkwo’s critical flaw is his inflexibility. The major theme of the novel Things Fall Apart is that flexibility is the key to surviving change. Okonkwo is unable to deal with the rapidly changing lifestyle that the Englishmen have brought with them. This inability is the key component responsible for his demise. By not being able to adapt to the shifting ways of the new life brought about by the settlers he has been sentenced to death- by his own hand or another’s.

These completely different stories by two very diversifying authors from two highly contrasting cultures and time periods both reflect the perfect tragedy. Both Okonkwo and Oedipus fulfill the role of tragic hero flawlessly. Oedipus in the end is doomed because of his hubris to blindness, humility, and exile. He could not prevent nor prepare for the devastation caused by the uncontrollable act of realizing his grave errors. Okonkwo is condemned to hang himself when he cannot cope with the change brought about by the white man and his religion. He murders a messenger and takes his own life after he realizes that he will not be able to live in his new world of Christianity and judges.

Sunday, October 17

More chess ^_^ LMFAO to the first one





Friday, October 15

Action packed night on the town!

Hell Yeah!

This is where I would post a screen shot of my chess win (I was 1-1-1 tonight). But alas, there are no print screens in life.

I can't beleive I stalmated >_<;;;;; I had skooma too. >---< <-- I was that close! (Not to scale) And he beat me when I wasn't paying attention and then too far down to come back.

We also played scrabble. OH SHUT UP! We're g33ks, okay?! I spelled ostentatious. <<;; No I didn't. The best word I could've spelled was quaintly, but skooma had to go and steal the fucking "t"! Woulda got the bonus for using all my letters too ;.; It would've been worth at least 150 points all together, quaintly would've.

Whoo what a fun night. Exciting indeed. I'm on the edge of my seat just describing it to you.

Then, with thirty minutes remaining we decided it was time to go outside. The coolness was refreshing, especially after the heated scrabble match.

Wondering around Main Street with no sense of direction and a serious lack of oxygen to the brain is difficult under most circumstances, add into that a violent, abusive dealer of skooma and you get a walking disaster, well, more accurately, a stumbling disaster.

Maddie had to leave soon so we all sat down in teh gazebo and then Maddie had to leave so I thanked her for her prestent... she left.. skooma and i played...gotta go *truncates*

Tuesday, October 12

15-2 ; 1317

He's getting marginally better, though, folks.







Sunday, October 10

Honestly, why does he even try?








Obviously it didn't work:


Even Better




This was after taking my performance enchancing drugs:


Saturday, October 9

I KNEW IT

Jeremy and I decided to create new accounts specifically for our chess battles. I chose the name OpgevenChess. Jeremy chose a less flattering name. Here I have documented Jeremy's coming out of the closet, so to speak.





In response to Skooma's comment...

...in the previous update. Blogger comments don't recognize the [ul] tag, and plus, the general readers should know about my desired system so they can get an idea of how much money they need to give me.

Dell can go fuck themselves in a flaming fireball over a cliff.

I'm thinking HP, Sony, or Toshiba.

My desired specs:

  • 1 gig of RAM

  • 1.7+ ghz AMD processor

  • DVD-RW/CD+RW

  • Floppy drive

  • 30-ish gig harddrive

  • Small-ish screen (no 17"-ers)

  • Something with Microsoft office. *shudder* But I'll need it at NCSSM

  • Port Replicator


Work -> $$$ = ^_^

Unfortunately:

Work != ^_^


Scrapping paint of the porch so I can paint it. How redundantly stupid. Then I had to straighten up the wires behind the computer so that we can take down wallpaper and put up more wallpaper. Now, I had to straighten the wires to hang wallpaper because my Dad couldn't stand to look at it.

Bleh

But there're steaks for dinner! ^_^

And money to come soon! ^_^

Which means I'll be well fed and have a laptop! ^_^

Friday, October 8

Carnival! {car - NAY - vall}

No no, not the day before lent. Silly Catholics

Today was just so fucking splendiferous to defy words.

But my ability to describe stuff is so great as to defy splendiferousity.

6 friggin' 30 a.m. is an ungodly hour anyday, let alone friday, let alone a day without school, let alone the start of a festival of grand(ish) preportions. But, by the time I regestered my alarm clock is making it's grating "errrrr errrrr" I knew I couldn't escape this hellish day.

Now answer me this if you can: what's worse than going to the dentist in the bloody a.m.?
Going to the dentist in the a.m. with dry, cracked lips; waiting for an hour; then waiting another 30 minutes for x-rays you didn't even know you had to have.

Next riddle: what's worse than being stabbed?
Being stabbed 3 times and having jello injected into your arm each time, then waiting for thirty minutes afterwards just to make sure you don't die from it.

Then Wendy's. Wendy's was good. Really good.

Tip for eating at Wendy's

  • Order off of the dollar menu

    • 2 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers

    • 2 Chicken Nugget things

    • Fries

    • Water\drink with free refils

    • Total:$5

    • Summary: More food than the value meals at teh same price


  • Don't make eye contact

  • Don't look at teh bottom of the tables....trust me

  • Sit at a table, not a booth. Tables are cleaner and provide easy exit in case of a gang war



Then I got to go do Tech Support for my mother at my father's friend Bud's house. Joy. She works there as an accountant for his "duct work" business.

Dunno. All I know is I was forced to fsck around with windows to fix her wireless access problems. There was no payment for my services. (well, unless you count the fact that they room, board, and feed me) So, I just kept the damned thing and surfed all afternoon, all the while listening to CNN bitch and bitch.

Then to World Market to search for my Bawls. No luck. Though, I did find quite a few other caffeinated necessities.

Then home. Yay. But not for long. Boo.

Off to the Festival of Autumn Leaves! Joy! Which, would've actually been extremely fun and all that (presumabley) if Maddie had been there. Instead she was sick, so, I guess she's forgiven ( =P )

So I stood beside Brad on a street corner as he played "Army" -Ben Folds Five. As the social situation unfolds itself I find myself with Alexander and Katelyn. An odd trio, if I do say so myself. And I do. Alexander leaves, I leave, other people leave. And I came away one barbecue sandwhich, 2 frisbees, and one funnel cake richer.

Ending up here, with nothing to do, noone to talk to. Minus Rob, who has yet again, somehow, miraclously, shed an insightful light into a deep, dark topic. Whoo. Go Rob. "Shibby"

Oh, I made a new CD for the day. Quite a good one. Though, all you bastards will care to disagree.


  1. Cocaine(live) - Eric Clapton - 7:49

  2. Too Many Hands - The Eagles - 4:42

  3. Promises - Eric Clapton - 3:02

  4. Layla - Eric Clapton - 7:08

  5. Journey of the Sorcerer - The Eagles - 6:40

  6. Visions - The Eagles - 4:00

  7. After the Thrill is Gone - The Eagles - 3:58

  8. Life in the Fast Lane - The Eagles - 4:48

  9. Cocaine(live) - Eric Clapton - 7:49

  10. I'm Fat - Weird Al Yankovich - 3:39

  11. Legs - ZZ Top - 4:33

  12. Eat it - Weird Al Yankovich - 3:16

  13. Layla - Eric Clapton - 7:08

  14. Cocaine(live) - Eric Clapton - 7:49



Songs that didn't make the CD:


  • What if God Smoked Cannabis - Weird Al

  • Army - Ben Folds Five

  • Good Day in Hell - The Eagles (Because I didn't have it ;.;) If you have it, please Gmail it to me ;.;

  • And a few others too numerous to name



Time to go sleep now, though, as I have said before, "Sleep is for the weak" or possibly it was "Sleep is for the week" . Either way, by my own logic I should not sleep yet. At least not till another.....2 mintues or so......before it becomes the weekend.

*stalling* *stalling*

Ok, cy'all.

Wednesday, October 6

Oh fuck, not again.

Guess who was one step closer to death than y'all today.

That's right. ME!

I rolled my four wheeler up a tree and fell off the back. No big deal except it's tottering back and forth like it could fall on me in a minute. So I literally jump from my ass somehow and hit the seat cushion and it rolled back down the tree. With me awkwardly perched on it. Could've lost a limb at that last bit.

But if that wasn't enough, I also had to weed eat the fencline afterwards >.<;;

I won frisbee golf against my father and brother, though.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to type up "reporter" for Mrs. Rhoden.

Tuesday, October 5

OH GOOD LORD. HE DID IT!

Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
install gmail notifier
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
its real nifty
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
i don't see the pt
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
i already idle at gmail
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
i kNOW when i get an email
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
but now, you dont have to!
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
i LOVE idling at gmail
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
*looks with excitement in his eyes* =D
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
it's WHAT I DO!
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
damn
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
well, i used to too
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
but now i dont ;p
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
i let that prog do it for me
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
click, and it pops up in firefox
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
with the message
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
hehe
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
but..then i'll HAVE NO MEANING ON THE INTERNET
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
THINK OF THE CHESS
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
AND THE GOATSE
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
....
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
and.....
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
yeah
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
>..
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
>.>
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
maybe not so much teh later
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
<.<
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
lol
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
yeah
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
maybe for you...
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
haha
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
oh. IS that you?
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
i don't even know what it IS
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
what is it
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
whats the address
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
....
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
you don't want it
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
im scared to find out, but i will XD
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
http://images.google.com
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
goatse
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
have fun....
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
and hurry
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
k ahng on
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh
Opgeven - Some people ask God why he created people, I ask people why they invented God. says:
LMFAO
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
HOLY MOTHER FUCKING SHIT
Stray [Playing MU] lv52DK says:
*cries8

Monday, October 4

Hmm

Well, our rather stupid editor(ialer) has moved on from blogs, at least for now. Now he's talking about rocks. Good for him. Mr. Johnson would love him for it. Though, also admonish him for not mentioning Pilot Mountain. Now I don't need to flood the place with crap and filth. You can stop now, too, Jeremy =P

Sunday, October 3

Pause...reflect...move on

If the night turned cold and the stars looked down
And you hug yourself on the cold cold ground.
You wake the morning in a stranger's coat,
No one would you see.
You ask yourself, who'd watch for me?
My only friend, who could it be?
It's hard to say it, I hate to say it, but it's probably me.

When your heart's empty and the hunger's so real
And you're too proud to beg and too dumb to steal,
You search the city for your only friend,
No one would you see.
You ask yourself, who'd watch for me?
A solitary voice to speak out and set me free.
I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but it's probably me.

You're not the easiest person I ever got to know
And it's hard for us both to let our feelings show.
Some would say I should let you go your way,
You'll only make me cry.
But if there's one guy, just one guy
Who'd lay down his life for you and die,
I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but it's probably me.

When the world's gone crazy and it makes no sense
And there's only one voice that comes to your defense.
The jury's out and your eyes search the room
And one friendly face is all you need to see.
And if there's one guy, just one guy
Who'd lay down his life for you and die,
I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but it's probably me.

I hate to say it, I hate to say it, but it's probably me...

A whee lil change

I changed the widths of my blog so it'll look better my 1024 x 768 screen resolution, if this is an annoyance to anyone, I'll make it smaller so it fits his or her resolution if he or she asks nicely.

Take that Mrs Rhoden! I used proper grammar and it sounds like shit!

Saturday, October 2

Woooh! Internet Regulation!

I don't like my English teacher, and I know she doesn't like me. She's an elitist-pedantic without a clue. So arrogant and stuck up. It's like nothing I've ever seen in an English teacher.

Anyway, here for your viewing pleasure are the two essays I wrote about Internet Regulation. I say two essays even though it was one assignment because the first one was of the wrong format. It was a "definition" paper and it needed to be opinion. whatever....here they are:

The Internet and Our Rights:
A Look into the Regulation of the Internet

The Internet is not a modern, fresh idea like is popularly believed. In fact, its earliest roots date back to 1969, when the government established ARPAnet. ARPAnet connected four major colleges in the Southwest: UCLA, UC Santa Barbra, the University of Utah, and the Stanford Research Institute. The first computer network was established between these four schools with the direction of the United States government. Networking, though, was not a new idea. One early network everyone is familiar with is the telephone system.

Telephones differ from the Internet, because the Internet is a “packet switching” network. A packet switching network is one that gathers information into groups called packets and transmits these packets where they are eventually received by another computer. Telephones, on the other hand, use strings of data to send information between parties. And while the telephone once limited calls to only two parties, packets enable the Internet to connect to several different hosts.

The mysterious aura that surrounds the Internet is unfounded, as the structure of the Internet is quite simply. Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, connect users to the Internet through phone lines or satellite links, and from there, they are free to circumnavigate the globe from their computer chair. Websites, stripped of their mystery, are simply documents uploaded to a server (host computer). These files are written in HTML and its variants. In these files are images, text, and hyperlinks leading to other pages on other computers or on the same computer. These files have many different forms and uses. The many uses of this vast network of networks are many and wide ranging. Some of the most common uses include gathering, sharing, and publishing information, selling and purchasing wares, playing games and other entertainments, and chatting.

By far, the prime use of the internet is for sharing of information. Sharing information was in fact the reason ARPAnet was created in the first place. The internet is the largest, most easily useable collection of information there is. There are a few drawbacks, however, with a database as large as the limitless Internet. Users must be careful when searching for information on the Web; information may be biased, truth may be stretched, or data may be made up to fit the author’s agenda. Because many people of different beliefs use the Internet, the user cannot always trust what he finds.

Users should always check for the source of the author’s authority. For instance, information from a professor at a major university would have more authority than a construction worker. Also, a professor’s work would, for the most part, be more impartial then the outspoken, disgruntled worker. To help determine validity, users should look for an author, publisher, and any obvious biases. Also, they should look at the advertisements on the page. Generally, ads target the demographic of the people that visit that site, so if there are ads for Kalashnikovs and grenades, then it’s safe to assume that that site is not impartial. Finding multiple sources is a good way to ensure the information found is accurate.

Another, more frightening, drawback of the bottomless pool of information on the Net is the abundance of unsuitable and usually damaging information. Users can find how to build bombs, split the atom, and various ways to cause miscellaneous anarchy. So what are we to do? Everyone knows that almost everything that is said is protected by the first amendment. Two very similar forms of ‘expression’ not protected by our Bill of Rights are slander and libel. Slander is spoken untruths that damage a person’s reputation, while libel is written. Also illegal is planning to kill a public official or even threatening him/her. A good rule to remember about American freedoms is that your rights stop when another person’s rights begin.
Still unanswered is the question: what do we do? I believe individuals visiting suspicious sites should be flagged and stored in a database. When it’s apparent that they’re up to no good and weren’t simply redirected to an improper sight, then they should be tried and imprisoned. But I believe the ISPs, not the government, should track people’s movement at such sites that are deemed suspicious, and ONLY those sites that are marked. The added financial burden and the added work to the ISPs might be resented at first, but in our ever failing economy, people could use the jobs.

At some point, most users have purchased something online, or have considered purchasing it. An integral part in the exponential growth of the popularity of the Internet is due to the rise of electrical-commerce (e-commerce). E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over electronic media, most commonly, the Internet. The popularity of e-commerce is shown in its rapid growth from its start in the early 1990s. In 1998 e0commerce sales reached over $7.2 billion, twice as much as in 1997 (“E-commerce” 1). The source of the growing consumer confidence was found in the advancements in data encryption.

Encryption is the scrambling of information as to make it unintelligible for parties other than the intended receiver who can then read the data with ease. Some form of encryption protects users’ credit card data and any other data that only the user should know. Encryption, though, has the government a little riled up, because encryption can threaten national and homeland security. The government even went so far as to make a law once that required the government be able break any encryption, but it has since been overturned.

Some users, though, are still hesitant to use the Internet for trade, mostly, because of the threat of crackers stealing their personal information, in spite of encryption. The emphasis is placed on crackers, not hackers. Hackers are simply people that have a different approach to a problem. Hackers generally worry about making their own computer better, and don’t particularly care about other people’s computers. Crackers, on the other hand, maliciously “crack” into computer systems and steal information, take money, and place viruses. This is of course illegal, and rightly so, and the government does everything they can to track down and punish these bank robbers of the Internet. Will more regulation help? No, there isn’t a sane law today that could be created to prevent crackers more than we already do.

The Internet is known for its innumerable sites containing eye catching flash graphics, funny jokes, goofy games, and any other of a million fun things found on the Internet. Games are a common form of Internet entertainment. These games can be found at such sites as www.freearcade.com and www.candystand.com. There, small, arcade style games are embedded into the web page. Playing these games runs the risk of receiving viruses and other harmful scripts hidden in their code, but they are easily stopped by the browser’s security settings. When users go to sites they know might contain harmful scripts it’s up to them to protect themselves from malicious scripts.

By having an up to date anti-viral software and strong personal firewall, users will be able to stop most harmful programs. Of course cracking is illegal, and that’s the way it should be. That doesn’t mean the government has the authority to impose other forms of regulation on the entertainment industry of the Internet. The user must recognize and accept the risk of visiting these types of sites. It is up to the users to educate themselves and to protect themselves from malicious crackers when they browse the Internet for their own entertainment. The government though, shouldn’t stop from advising users about safety issues. One example of how the government has helped users safeguard their computer against viruses hidden in web pages was when the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team suggested that users using Internet Explorer (the most popular browser) disable ActiveX and use a different web browser. ActiveX is a HTML rendering machine that is easily manipulated into running harmful scripts.

One of the most controversial topics of the Internet regards the thriving pornography industry. With as few as 4 clicks a child can access these lewd pictures and videos on the net, and this has some legislators and parents worried, and rightly so. Internet pornography, as with the type found behind the counters at book stores, can only be legally viewed by people eighteen years old and older. Also, everyone involved with the production of the pornography must be of eighteen years. The Communication Decency Act of 1996 was one example of the government overstepping its bounds. The Act denied the pornography industry of its right to free speech, and so the Supreme Court overturned the Act. Another regulation regarding pornography is the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2001. This Act requires every computer connected to the internet through government financing must have pornography filters installed. The Internet industries in light of these legislative acts, have adopted a policy of self-regulation.

Illegal and offensive materials on the Internet harm the ISPs financial gains and prohibit the growth of the Internet. With the creation of the “Internet Hotline Against Child Pornography” in 1996 in the Netherlands by a group of ISPs, the Internet entered an age of self-regulation regarding child pornography. The Hotline was soon followed by the Internet Watch Foundation in the United Kingdom in the same year. And finally, the American ISPs started their own hotline called the Cyber TipLine in 1997. Near the end of 1997 an Online Summit was held in Washington, D.C. where several ISPs made a “zero tolerance” policy regarding child porn. Now, they simply report violators to the FBI.

One of the most prevalent reasons for the rapid expansion of the Internet was the inventing of electronic mail (e-mail) in 1971. In 1972 the “user@comptuer” format that is still used today was created by Ray Tomlinson. E-mail has evolved through the years and the led to the development of instant messaging services. Instant messages are messages that are shared with one or more parties instantaneously over the Internet. Some examples of instant messaging clients (program used to send instant messages) are: Instant Relay Chat (IRC), ICQ (I-seek-you), AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Microsoft Network Messenger (MSN Messenger), and Trillian. This ability to chat, as instant message conversations are known, has lead to some new concerns. The main worry is of perverse adults conversing with minors. Sometimes they send lewd comments, sometimes they scare them with threats, and sometimes they even arrange to meet the kids in person. These people are sick and should be punished to the full extent of the law. Right now, the law has it that you cannot send inappropriate messages to minors, and while that doesn’t stop abductions, it’s the extent of what the government should be allowed to control. The rest is up to the parents. The parent’s must teach their kids about the dangers on the Internet, and they must start at an early age.

The Internet is a tool, something to be used, not feared. If we just educate ourselves about the dangers of the Internet, and make illegal activity on the Net socially immoral, then we can keep the Internet clean from regulation and from malicious users that prey on the ignorance of others. I say make cracking socially wrong, because too many movies (Swordfish, The Matrix) are giving cracking a good reputation. Condoning cracking as something that is “cool” is not the way to keep the Internet clean. Crackers should be looked upon as an evil, and treated as such, with three square meals a day and a nice cold prison cot to sleep on.


My New paper:

The Internet and Our Rights:
A look into the regulation of the Internet

The Internet, invented in 1969 in the form of ARPAnet (“History of the Internet, 1”), has been the subject of concern and debate. This controversy stems from the belief that the Internet is a harmful, dangerous place filled with pirates, vandals, hackers and crackers, perverts, and pedophiles. While the fact remains that some sites do cater to those types of people, the actual number of those sites is exceptionally small. Therefore, to regulate the Internet because of a few bad apples is an unjust crime. The structure of the Internet demands for it to be uncensored and unregulated.

A mysterious aura surrounds the Internet, hiding its structure and function from the uneducated user. Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, connect the user to the Internet through satellite links and the phone lines, thus allowing users to circumnavigate the globe from their own computer chair. These websites, stripped of their mystery, consist of documents uploaded to a server, or host computer. These files contain text, images, sound, and links to other web pages. Thus, unlike radio or television, where messages are broadcast in an unending stream over every frequency and wavelength, the Internet requires that a person manually enter the address or manually click on a link to visit a site. Essentially, broadcast media (television and radio) sends the information to the user, and with the Internet, the user must find the information (“Nani, 4”). With a rudimentary knowledge of the structure of the Internet, one can see that the government has no right to regulate this network of networks. This can be likened to the government prohibiting highways. Roads are necessary in today’s modern world, but there is always the chance that a child will wander into the highway and get hit. This doesn’t mean the government should take away the roads and thus set the world back one hundred years. No, it means that parents should educate their children how to behave safely around the road. If perhaps the child does not get the lesson, then one can consider fences or limiting play to a back yard. When people educate themselves and their children, we will be able to enjoy our information super-highway.

Supporters of censoring the Internet claim that offensive and obscene materials should be censored so as to protect children from harm (“Nani, 3”). How these so called “obscene and offensive” materials harm our children in the first place has yet to be shown. While some of these contents may be unsuitable for children, maybe even down right gruesome, they are still not “harmful” to them. Images are just pictures, and passages are just words. Text, or even images, will not jump off the screen and attack a child. To censor the Internet because of a few pages of pornography and a few “offensive” sites borders madness.

There are laws, though, that do regulate who can access certain items on the Internet. For instance, one must be at least eighteen years old before one can view pornography legally. This has been law long before the Internet emerged, and yet printed pornography itself is not regulated. More regulation is not needed to “protect the children,” though. The laws are already in place; what good is it to add more laws that would outlaw what is already illegal? The only way to actually “protect the children” is to implement filtering techniques that block certain types of sites and pages. While still a minor, the parents are responsible for a child, and thus should be responsible for monitoring the sites children visit. Many products, such as AOL Parental Controls and Norton Internet Security Parental Controls, are available that restrict children’s access to certain cites and still allow adults to visit all the sites they please. It is the parents’ job to educate children about the dangers of the Internet and enforce the guidelines they set for their children.

The main guardian of pornography is the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, includes Internet communications, and thus it protects pornography (“Clayton, 99”). Like it or not, pornography will be something users must put up with on the Internet. Just like there will always be people with differing views, there will always be “offensive” content on the Internet. Users must prepare themselves by installing filters and firewalls. The government has set a good example in enacting the Children’s Internet Protection Act (2001), which required all computers with Internet access provided by the government to install pornography filters (“Censorship, 2”).
Another anxiety of the public’s dealing with pornography concerns the apparent abundance of child pornography. Child pornography has never been legal since its emergence, yet advocates of regulation use child pornography as a cornerstone in their agenda of further regulation of the Internet. People in favor of regulation also fail to consider exactly how new laws would help eliminate child pornography. New laws will do nothing if stiffer penalties for offenders are not instituted. To keep governments from regulating the Internet, ISPs from several countries have formed organizations that, upon receiving complaints, remove illegal material from the Net. In the Netherlands the Internet Hotline Against Child Pornography was founded in 1996, the Internet Watch Foundation in Great Britain also in 1996, and the CyberTipline in the United States in 1997 (“Hughes, 1, 3, 5”). These self-initiated forms of self-regulation will keep the Internet safe from all, child pornographers and politicians alike.

The main use of the Internet, and in fact the reason for creating the Internet, is for the sharing and publishing of information. Some advocates of regulation point out that harmful, “illegal information” can be found on the Web that some people can use to for less than legal means (“Nani, 3”). One must remember, though: information itself cannot be illegal. The First Amendment protects our right to express ourselves, and no act of Congress can change that. What is illegal though, is what some people might do with the information. It is not immediately possible to allow dangerous information to be freely displayed on the Internet, and then be able to discriminate between the innocent learners and the criminals wishing to do harm. That’s why the government should allow ISPs to have limited tracking abilities to such sites that have been deemed of dangerous content. When these ISPs notice a pattern of someone visiting flagged websites, they can prosecute them, while leaving the curious and innocent alone.

Another major worry of regulators revolves commercial uses of the Internet. Commercial activity on the Internet is known as e-commerce. Such popular sites as E-bay and Amazon allow users to bypass retail shops, and buy from the comfort of their own home. E-commerce sales in 1998 topped 7.2 billion dollars (“E-commerce, 1”). That is a lot of money being transferred from consumer to company, and that requires encryption to keep that data secret. Encrypting something means to scramble it so that only the intended receiver may read it. The government though, thinks of encryption as a national security threat and has therefore regulated its export. This has caused the United States to lag behind in the international trading centers (“Data Encryption, 1”) and it has also allowed crackers to equal themselves with the latest encryption methods. E-commerce has some advocates of regulation worried about crackers that will steal personal information such as credit card numbers. What these pushers of regulation do not know is that gaining illegal access into a computer system was already made illegal by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which was passed in the mid 1980s (“Davis, 2”). Again it must be stressed that it is essential that the current laws are enforced and legislatures aren’t congested with extraneous laws. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act also made the transferring of viruses over the Internet illegal (“Davis, 2”). No plausible way exists to regulate any aspect of the Internet that can effectively eliminate viruses. Only by users educating themselves and installing antiviral software will they be able to defeat the hackers that create these viruses.

One pressing issue that exists on the mind of most everyone was featured in a Pepsi/iTunes commercial: “I fought the law and the law won!” Music piracy and other forms of copyright infringement plague the Internet and discourage artists, regulators argue. To that one must think to oneself sarcastically, “That’s a very astute observation!” Everything from artwork to music to games to software has been affected by piracy and copyright infringement. Again, the advocates seem not to notice that copyright infringement has been illegal for quite some time through the Copyright Act. Once again it’s shown that new legislation is not needed, but in fact enforcement of old legislation (“Davis, 2”).

The recurring theme in the fight for regulation is that what advocates wish to regulate is already illegal or protected by the Constitution. They need to realize that more laws will not help stop what they deem inappropriate. The people should stop lobbying for new laws, and start lobbying for tougher sentences for offenders and more resources to find and convict offenders. With the Internet growing daily in size, the government and the users need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing Web. As of 2004, Google’s index of web pages topped four billion (“History of the Internet, 5”). The growing and evolving Internet must be embraced and allowed to grow; it should not be hampered by extraneous government involvement.