Tag Archives: Elizabeth Anton

Send More Troops, Protect the Nation

In spite of the mounting criticism of the President taking too long in making his decision concerning the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, I feel a decision of this magnitude demands as much time as necessary. I am hopeful that his decision will permit a successful resolution to the local issues affecting the region while at the same time protecting the long-term security of the United States.

Because of the gravity of the decision to commit more U.S. troops to the battlefield in Afghanistan, Obama should not be in a hurry to please his critics by making a rash choice. Rather he should use this time to evaluate the pros and cons of further involvement in the conflict. There is precedent for “due deliberation”; President Lincoln exposed himself to similar criticism when he was debating whether or not to commit the United States to a Civil War against the South. Obviously, the outcome of that decision was very positive: the preservation of the Union. Hopefully President Obama’s assessment of the appropriate actions in Afghanistan will lead to a similar outcome.

There are sufficient arguments to support increasing troop strength and successfully stabilizing the political and economic situation in Afghanistan. First, among these would be the security of the existing troops on the ground. By taking an offensive posture, made possible with the additional troops, our strategies can focus on attacking the Taliban strongholds rather than defending stationary positions currently designed to protect local towns. Typically when the strategy is to defend stationary encampments there is a higher risk of injury or death to the soldiers within the compound than when conducting aggressive campaigns against the enemy.

Second, by stabilizing the political situation in Afghanistan, the U.S. can hopefully develop a strong ally in the region, who can work with Pakistan and India in lessening the tensions between the three countries. Obviously it is important to neutralize the Taliban’s pressure on Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities and prevent a lethal threat to India’s democracy.

Finally, a definitive commitment by the U.S. against terrorism in this region will lessen the threat of further terrorism against the United States. Our resolute pursuit of all identified terrorists will keep the insurgents off balance and in retreat.

I recognize there are counter arguments to each of these points that are probably contributing to the delayed decision from the White House; however, this country needs leadership that rises above partisan politics. I feel this is the time for President Obama to recognize that the needs of the country should take precedence over trying to appease both sides of the argument. The stakes in this debate should start and stop with the safety of our troops and the preservation of American democracy. These principles need to be the guiding force behind the President’s ultimate decision.

I am confident that a commitment that supports military build up in the region, coupled with determined support of the economic and political development in Afghanistan, will increase Afghani safety and long-term security for the United States. We all have a stake in this important period in our history and regardless of your position you should make your opinion known. It is imperative that each of us stays involved in the political negotiations affecting our country.

BART Prices Increase, Environment Suffers

BART raised their prices recently, making it more expensive for the thousands of San Franciscan commuters to get around the Bay Area.  BART is a vital mode of transportation, and its importance was most evident last week when the Bay Bridge was closed. BART was supposed to be an easier and cheaper way to get home from various locations for people trying to stay environmentally conscious by keeping their cars off the road.

However, prices of BART tickets are continuing to increase, which gives less incentive for commuters to leave their car at home when gas costs just about the same as a BART ticket.

In August I took the BART from the station on Mission Street to the San Francisco International Airport and paid $10.70 for a round trip ticket.

I recently looked up the prices now to get to the airport from the same station and it is $16.10. It has only been three months and already the price has increased. Thankfully my roommate informed me of the Super Shuttle, which only costs $20 including tip. The Super Shuttle picks you up at your home, helps you with your bags, and drops you off at your designated terminal at the airport in a timely manner.

The problem with BART, besides its price increase, is that you have to take different buses or a cab to get to the BART station if you live near USF.

If you are going to the airport with luggage, this is a huge hassle. Super Shuttle will come to you and you don’t have to spend money on Muni to get to the BART station.

I do not understand why the city is increasing the price of public transportation, like BART and Muni, if they want us to be “greener” by not using cars as frequently. The previous prices were more reasonable and encouraged people to take BART or Muni instead of their cars. Now it costs $2 instead of $1.50 for an adult to take Muni, and $6 more for people to get to the SFO from downtown San Francisco.

San Francisco has better public transportation than other cities. It is clean and available almost 24 hours a day. But the transportation was also a cheaper way to get around San Francisco. That aspect is changing.

San Francisco is a environmentally conscious city and its public transportation should not make it more expensive for people to help the emissions of greenhouse gases. Something needs to be done and fares need to stop increasing.

It is quickly becoming more economically efficient to drive around the city and pay for gas instead of continually paying for bus fares and BART tickets that increase every time you hop on board. Bay Area public transportation agencies need to keep fares low in order to encourage commuters to ride transit and help the earth.

Obama Should Not Have Won Nobel Peace Prize

On Friday, October 9, 2009, President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize, which has caused quite a stir in the political realm and leaves politicians and citizens with questions like: Why did he win it? Does he deserve it?

President Obama has been in office for merely nine months and has already received a Nobel Peace Prize for his achievements. He was in office only two weeks before being nominated for the award.  According to nobelprize.org he was awarded this prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” Other people who have received this prize include Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, and others. While President Obama has strengthened the spirit of the American people, we have yet to see any implementation of the ideals he has proposed in his speeches and in his promised improvements in health care or the economy. Obama has fostered goodwill and hope in America but he hasn’t actually completed anything.

There are many different views on Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but this award and recognition was definitely given prematurely. This puts too much pressure on the president to live up to these great expectations. While I am an Obama supporter, the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to someone who has demonstrated his or her ability to bring greater peace to the world, not someone who simply has the potential to do so.

There are those who believe that Obama deserves this Nobel Peace Prize because he has shown that his leadership and goals are better than those portrayed during the Bush administration. Obama has helped with international affairs, raised our spirits, and has given very inspirational speeches with the motto “Yes We Can.” However, all of these things haven’t actually done anything to improve anything besides morale.

President Obama is taking many steps to bring more peace to the world, but America is still involved with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama, being a president at war, should not be given the Nobel Peace prize. War and peace are on two opposite ends of the spectrum. Giving him this award seems very irrational and will affect how people see and recognize the Nobel Peace Prize. People will start thinking that the Nobel Peace Prize will be given to anyone who is an engaging speaker and who can inspire others. President Obama should definitely not be awarded with this honor while the country he leads is at war with two countries; it does not make any sense.

President Obama is a great orator, has made significant steps to bring peace to the United States, and has opened up the international dialogue. But the award should not have been given to him at this point in his presidency. He will probably better deserve the award towards the end of his first term, when he has spent more significant time in office and has had the chance to actually execute the change in America he claims to be.

San Francisco Off the Beaten Path

Each year I always have a friend or family member visit me from outside of San Francisco and each year I show them the same tourist attractions. After talking to some people around campus, I have discovered many different things in San Francisco that would be fun to do with tourists.

I spoke with senior Perry Arnold about what he likes to do around San Francisco that is not in a typical tourist activity. Arnold said, “On my trip to the beach I walked through Golden Gate park and found bison. I could not believe there were bison in the middle of a city!”

On John F. Kennedy Drive and Chain of Lakes Drive E. there is a small herd of bison. When Arnold accidentally ran into the bison he was on his way to ocean beach where he likes to watch the kite surfers “because they are really cool and do awesome tricks”. These are two interesting attractions that are not typical tourist traps where you will have to wait in line for hours surrounded by a huge crowd. It is nice to escape from the city in the parks of San Francisco, like Golden Gate.

Junior Gina Minutillo also had a good experience in Golden Gate Park last weekend when she discovered Stow Lake. At Stow Lake, you can rent out paddleboats by the hour and take your friends on a ride around the lake. You can see many different parts of the park that you will not see when walking around. Minutillo said, “The water was very green but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I liked being in nature. It is a nice place to walk around and have a picnic as well.”

Stow Lake usually isn’t crowded or full of tourists; it is a nice trip to take and get away from the city noise and into nature.

Close to Golden Gate Park is Haight Street, which most tourists like to visit because of its known history.  Last weekend, senior Kaity Green was giving her mother a tour of the city but she did not want to do typical tourist things. While walking around the Haight she discovered Lynn Gentry, also known as “the poem man”. Green said, “I was walking down Haight Street and on the corner of Haight and Ashbury I saw this young man typing on this old school typewriter. I found out that he was ‘the poem man’ and he writes customized poems about anything you want. You name the price and tell him about yourself and he will write a poem for you. My poem was so moving I almost started to cry!”

Haight Street has new surprises to be found on every corner.

Now you are not limited to show your friends and family Pier 39, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Chinatown. Instead you can take a break from the city and wander through Golden Gate Park to check out bison and maybe have a picnic near Stow Lake. Or if you really enjoyed being in San Francisco, you can get a customized poem for you or a loved one to remember this crazy, wonderful city.

How Safe Do You Feel On Campus?

At least once a week I receive an email from public safety informing me that a student or a person in the area around USF has been robbed, hurt, harassed, etc. It seems as though these emails are neverending and something needs to improve in order to decrease the amount of crime on campus. These emails are scary because it is happening to University of San Francisco students and it could possibly happen to anyone at any time.

Public Safety should be constantly moving around, especially on campus, so they are constantly looking out for the safety of the community. Also, there needs to be more information and advertisement about the night shuttle so students know that it is  there to get them home safely. Instead of just sending us emails about something bad that happened to a student, they should be sending us tips on how to protect ourselves. Walking with a buddy is the general rule, but that is not always an option.

Jennifer Baldwin, a sophomore at USF, really wanted to live on Lone Mountain this year; however safety was an issue that pushed her to stay on main campus. She is a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and their meetings usually run late. After going to the meeting and then the library to work on homework, it would likely be too late to take the shuttle up to Lone Mountain, and she would have to walk home alone. Baldwin said, “I am nervous walking between campuses because of the stories from Public Safety and also because it is really dark on the streets between campuses.”

Most people who have been attacked are those who are walking in between campuses on those dark small roads. These roads are very deserted and make people look like prime targets. Baldwin said a good idea would to make the shuttle run later and make sure it is driving all around campus so people can see it and catch it. Instead she walks a couple of blocks and does not see Public Safety at all.

Gina Minutillo, a junior at USF, lived on Lone Mountain last year and had to walk home alone late at night. Minutillo said, “I was not aware of the shuttle service Public Safety offers until the middle of the year; I found out about it through a friend.”

There needs to be more signs around campus, or when Public Safety sends out emails they should just write the number and the shuttle times. Minutillo also said, “When I called Public Safety, they would either not be able to give me a ride, or I would have to wait outside by myself for about 15 minutes. Fortunately, nothing happened to me, but the shuttle service put me in danger several times.”

Public Safety needs to work out these kinks by driving around more or even adding more drivers or vans to make sure that everyone in the USF community is safe at all times.

Students should be able to feel safe walking around campus at night or walking home near campus. It is the school’s responsibility to protect us. Public Safety needs to make a few improvements like having a greater presence on campus at night and providing suggestions to protect ourselves, besides walking with a friend. Hopefully, if improvements are made, we will be receiving fewer and fewer emails from Public Safety informing us about another attack.

Is Technology Making Us Rude?

With new technology, people are starting to forget their manners. People are constantly on their phones or computers chatting to others who aren’t even in the room. It is getting hard to pay attention in class with all of these technologies tempting us as we type our notes, and we need to find a way to stop these temptations. It is important to pay attention and give respect to those we are around instead of surfing the web. Our manners are disappearing and transforming with these new technologies.

Today, almost all students have laptops and bring them to class to take notes. However, most students are not just taking notes; they are on the internet updating Facebook, checking their e-mail, chatting to friends, etc. Instead of paying full attention to the teacher and actively participating in class, students can be found engaging in other activities.

Teachers are not getting the respect they deserve for coming to class with a planned lecture and practicing their passion for educating. Also, our fellow classmates are not getting the respect of maintaining the attention of their peers when everyone is multi-tasking with their electronic toys. The attention span of our generation has shortened dramatically and we find ourselves updating our facebook statuses to pass the time.

Students should at least try harder and give teachers and their fellow classmates the respect that they deserve.

Another issue that came with the advent of new technology is how much people use their cell phones even while they are with their friends or family. Our generation has their cell phones glued to them.   When you go out to lunch with friends, almost everyone is on the phone texting other people or surfing the web. It is not respectful, and why even go out to lunch with someone if you cannot even talk for a full meal without being distracted by getting a text? This habit might make the people around you feel as if whomever you are texting is more important than them. It seems that people spend more time talking to others on the phone or through the Internet than in person.

Have we remembered any of our manners that our parents taught us? Or, because of these new technologies, are there new sets of manners that we have to learn? It seems as though everyone needs to stay connected to the world and they cannot take a break from technology by turning off their phone or internet for a week, or else they will feel lost or out of touch. How did anyone survive before the Internet?

Don’t get me wrong, I love going on the internet and using my phone to chat with friends. However, I think there are times and places to use these new gadgets and those times are not when you are in class and not while you are out to dinner with someone. Those are times when you are supposed to be paying attention to someone else instead of the mini-world created by our technological advances.

We need to give respect to others and not be preoccupied with other daily tasks; those can wait until after class or after lunch. Our lives have become so fast paced. We need to slow down and just enjoy the moments that we are in instead of thinking about what we are going to do tonight.

Elizabeth Anton is a senior media studies major.