Learning About Traffic Lanes

Traffic lanes are not as simple as they first appear. When you start off driving, at the young innocent age of 16, you see two lanes of traffic; one going one way, another going the opposite. That may be the case for some simple roads, but often it can get much more complicated. You should familiarize yourself with the many different types of traffic lanes, so you can be prepared next time you see them.

Passing Lanes

It is important to learn about passing lanes, particularly if you are going to be doing any traveling in between cities. Single lane highways are common. There will be one lane for each direction of traffic. These lanes will be separated by a solid line. As a rule, you can never cross solid lines with your car. Treat them as if they were a brick wall. Dotted lines can be passed over. Streets and highways with multiple lanes separate their lanes using dotted lane lines. You can pass over these freely.

Tricky Lanes

There are complicated lanes out there. In a reversible lane, traffic can flow in either direction depending on the time of day. This is typically dictated by peak flow times and rush hour. A reversible lane should be marked overhead and on the street itself. HOV lanes, or high occupancy vehicle lanes, are becoming popular in large cities. These lanes are designated only for vehicles with more than one occupant. Because of this, there is typically less traffic in HOV lanes.

Impressive Lanes

With 26 lanes, the Katy Freeway is the widest in the world. It was built in the 1960s and now sees over 219,000 vehicles a day passing over its surface. This section of the I-10 actually possesses 6 HOV lanes, 12 main lanes, and 8 lanes of access roads.

Drowsy Driving is Bad, so How do We Avoid it?

We all know the dangers of drowsy driving. It slows your reaction time, impairs your decision making, and makes it difficult to focus on the road. Driving drowsy leads to accidents and costs lives. Avoiding drowsy driving is simple. All you have to do is get enough sleep. However, there is a catch. If you have trouble sleeping or lead an extremely busy life, getting enough sleep may seem impossible. You can do it though. You just need a little help.

How Much Sleep is Enough Sleep

On average, it is recommended that people sleep 7-9 hours every single night. Sleep is a necessity. It allows your brain to relax and recuperate. Getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night can be difficult. Proper time management is key. One of the best things you can do for yourself is establish a dedicated bed time. Know what time you have to wake up, and subtract at least 7 hours. Force yourself to go to bed at this time every night. Do not make up excuses.

Getting Better Sleep

Now that you are getting enough sleep, you need to make sure it is quality sleep. True rest comes when you enter REM sleep. This doesn’t happen right away. You need to be in the proper mental state. To reach this state, avoid all caffeine after 3 PM. Avoid exercise if there are fewer than 3 hours before your bedtime. Exercise releases adrenaline and endorphins. These are stimulants which remain in your body for several hours, making it difficult to fall asleep. Your brain has been programed to sleep when it is dark out. When it is time to go to bed, turn off all the lights in your room. Even the soft blue lights given off by plugged in electronics could impact your sleeping.

Rhetoric: The Art of the Argument

We have all been in arguments before. They are a part of life. We argue with our friends, we argue with family, we argue with our coworkers, and we definitely argue with our significant others. Arguing is one of the first things we learn to do when we start talking. Isn’t “no” every 2-year-old’s favorite word? If that 2-year-old grows up and becomes a lawyer, they are going to love arguing even more! And what is the best way to truly enjoy an argument? By winning it! And the best way to win an argument? Rhetoric!

What is Rhetoric?

Rhetoric is a Greek word that means, “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.” Rhetoric is basically your shortcut to winning an argument. It is a way of organizing what you have to say, and delivering it in such a way that you can convince the person you are arguing with, that you are right! The best part of rhetoric, is that you don’t actually have to be right. You just have to make someone think you are right.

The History of Rhetoric

Rhetoric has been around for a long time. The Ancient Greeks viewed rhetoric almost as an art form. One of rhetoric’s original masters, and a pioneer of the technique, was Aristotle. He viewed rhetoric as a combination of logic and politics. He called it, “the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.” He created a rhetorical system, built upon the five canons of rhetoric, which he taught to his students.

Rhetoric Today

Rhetoric is not a thing of the ancient past. It still surrounds us today. Every advertisement you see is employing rhetoric. Every political act is full of rhetoric. Rhetoric has become so ingrained in our culture, we almost don’t even notice it anymore. Keep an ear out, next time you are having a conversation with someone. Find out if they are trying to convince you of something and figure out how they are trying to do it.

BP Settles with Justice Department

Just before 10 AM on April 20, 2010, a massive explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon semi-submersible offshore oil drilling rig. The oil rig was home to a crew of 126 individuals, employees of BP, Transocean, Anadarko, Haliburton, and M-1 SWACO. They attempted to save the oil rig, but failed. Safety precautions, which had been put into place to prevent an oil spill in the event of a catastrophe, failed as well. The result was one of the largest oil spills of all time.

The Immediate Consequences

BP and Transocean underwent a great deal of scrutiny following the oil spill incident, however penalties were not quickly enacted. Rather, Transocean received a $401 million insurance pay out for the destruction of the oil rig. This was above the estimated total value of the rig. Litigation followed a few years later. Transocean actions were found to violate the US Clean Water Act, and in 2013 they were ordered to pay the US $1.4 billion. BP was fined $2.4 billion as well, however they faced the prospect of additional sanctions from the Justice Department.

Today’s Deal

Recently, the final terms of BP’s settlement with the Justice Department have been made public. BP PLC has resolved to pay $20 billion dollars to resolve all remaining claims held against the company. BP will not be held responsible for this $20 billion all at once. They spread out payments over a period of 15 years. $5.5 billion is owed directly to the United States government for violation of the Clean Water Act, while $7.1 billion is owed to Gulf Coast states who will be using the money to repair the environmental damage which has been done. US Attorney Loretta Lynch mentioned that the deal was, “a strong and fitting response to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. History.”

Hybrid Cars: Cutting Gas by Going Green

Hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular all around the globe as people are becoming more inclined to commit themselves to green, sustainable energy. Hybrid cars are one of the best ways they can do that. They are rising in availability, increasing in efficiency, and falling in cost. Mules better watch out, because there is a new type of hybrid rolling into town.

What Exactly is a Hybrid Car?

It is as simple as it sounds. A hybrid car uses not just a single power source like a standard car, but two. The two sources of power most commonly combined together are those of the internal combustion engine, and the electric motor. These types of vehicles are usually referred to as HEVs, or hybrid electric vehicles. They are popular because they combine the efficiency and renewable energy of a strictly electrical engine, with the power of a traditional internal combustion engine.

Not Just for Cars

Cars are not the only type of hybrid vehicle out there. In fact, cars are rather later adopters of hybrid technology. Hybrid electric bicycles have been around for a very long time. They are perfect candidates for hybrid power because their light weight frame can be easily propelled by a small electric engine. Additional electric power can even be generated by riders pedaling. Hybrid trains have long been popular. Many electric trains use diesel engines, to power electric generators, which then drive the train forward.

The Future of Hybrids

Hybrids are here to stay. It is likely they may even drive traditional vehicles out of the market in the long run. As hybrid technology moves forward, these vehicles will become more cost effective to manufacture, produce, and run. The day when hybrid cars rule the streets is still a ways off, however, so enjoy gassing up while you can!

The Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

It is a legal requirement in the United States to be insured while you are driving a car. Driving is an inherently dangerous act, and accidents do happen. Insurance protects not just your car, but your health as well. The legal and financial consequences for driving without insurance are severe. Drivers should always make sure their insurance is paid for and up to date.

Legal Consequences of Driving Without Insurance

The exact penalties for driving while uninsured vary from state to state. Depending on where you live you may have your driver’s license suspended, your vehicle license may be suspended, or you may face heavy fines. For most states, repeated violations are associated with more punitive penalties. In Arizona, if you are caught driving while uninsured, you face a fine of up to $500 for a first time violation and a possible three month suspension of your license and registration. The consequences rise from there. For a third violation, you will be fined $1,000 and face a yearlong suspension.

Possible Financial Consequences

If you are involved in an accident while you are uninsured, you open yourself up to legal actions which could be devastating financially. If you cause damage to property, or are found responsible for causing injury to another person, you will likely be liable for the costs. If you do not have the protection of insurance, that cost may be very high. The aggrieved parties may decide to sue you. Driving without insurance is never worth it. You may feel like you are saving money. It may cost less now, but it could end up costing you everything in the long run.

Learning About the Power to Veto

The term “veto” comes from Latin, and means “I forbid.” The concept of the veto has been around for thousands of years. It first appeared in the Roman Senate. The power to veto still exists today and is, in fact, one of the most unique and interesting abilities held by the President of the United States.

Getting Vetoed

It is the job of Congress to create laws. In order for a law to be created, it starts off as a bill, which then needs to pass through both the House of Representatives and the Senate. After passing through Congress, the bill appears at the desk of the President. For the bill to become a law, it needs to be signed by the President. If the bill is not signed within ten days, it is returned to congress, and the President is required to provide his objections to the legislation in writing. This return to Congress is a veto.

Now What?

A Presidential veto does not kill a bill off for good. After being vetoed, the bill returns to Congress, where it will be subject to votes in both houses. In order for the bill to become a law without the President’s approval, it must be approved by a two-thirds majority vote. Following a passing vote, the bill can become law without the President’s approval. The passing of a law into a bill following Presidential veto is extremely rare and only takes place approximately 10 percent of the time.

Why the President has Veto Power

The Presidential power to veto is part of the system of checks and balances. In order to prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power, each branch is granted power over the others. The Judicial Branch holds power over laws which have already been enacted. Laws brought to the Supreme Court of the United States can be deemed unconstitutional and thus be abolished entirely.

The Statue of Liberty, Inspired by Law

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic images in the world. Located on Liberty Island, and viewable from Manhattan, in New York City, it has long stood as one of America’s strongest symbols for liberty and freedom.

The Statue Itself

The Statue of Liberty was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, and built by Gustave Eiffel. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886. Built entirely out of copper, the Statue of Liberty weighs several tons, and measures in at 151 feet tall.The statue is designed to look like the Roman goddess Libertas, who was the embodiment of justice. She holds a torch in her right hand, which is meant to light the way to justice for those who are lost, and in her left hand she holds a tablet which symbolizes the law of the land.

Further Links to Law

The statue itself was inspired by a French law professor named Edouard Rene de Laboulaye. He first dreamed up the idea of the statue early in 1865. He believed that the citizens of France owed a debt to America for spearheading the twin causes justice and democracy. He proposed that they pay the debt by commissioning and delivering a great monument, a dedication to liberty, to the people of the United States.

The Statue Today

The Statue of Liberty has had to undergo extensive renovations during its nearly 130 years of life. Most recently, from 1984-1986, when the torch and most of the interior of the structure were replaced. They had deteriorated to such a degree, that the statues structural integrity was at risk. Today the statue is in excellent shape. It is open to tourists, who are welcome to ascend to Lady Liberty’s crown, and take in a spectacular view of New York City.

Great American Speeches: President Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

In times of need, when things are tough, the leaders of American always respond. Following the devastation of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, which began a long period of healing for the Nation. In the darkness of the Cold War, with the world on the brink of total annihilation, President John F. Kennedy rallied the nation imploring, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Following his election, with the nation gripped by economic depression, President Roosevelt delivered his iconic first inaugural address.

President Roosevelt began his presidency by stating, “first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself.” President Roosevelt believed first and foremost in the strength, perseverance, and courage of the American people. He believed that as long as we stood with each other, and held bravery as one of our highest values, we could overcome anything. For a nation devastated by economic depression, this was not only a vote of confidence, it was a call to action.

He went on to say, “Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.”

President Roosevelt knew deeds held power over words. For America to escape the Great Depression, it needed to get to work. President Roosevelt used his first inaugural address to begin this work. His words inspired not just the citizens of the United States, but lawmakers in Congress as well. Five days after his speech, on March 9, the Emergency Banking Act was signed, and the nation took its first steps towards withdrawing from economic depression.

The History of Phoenix

For Phoenix, which has grown into the 6th largest city in the United States, the future holds great things. For our beautiful town, they sky is the limit. Before we get too concerned about where we are going, why don’t we take a moment or two to learn about where we have been? Let’s dive into the history of Phoenix, Arizona.

Early Days

Long before Phoenix was settled by American citizens, it was home to the Hohokam people. For thousands of years they thrived in the desert. They dug over 140 miles of ditches and irrigation canals to deliver water to the valley, and to create arable and farmable land. They turned the desert into a paradise and lived happily until the 1300s when drought stuck. As water dried up, the Hohokam were forced to abandon the area.

Early Modern Phoenix

Phoenix as we now know it was founded following the Civil War. One Jack Swilling, a confederate veteran, was one of the town’s first settlers. He looked at the Salt River Valley and saw that it had potential as a farming town. Phoenix was officially incorporated into the United States on May 4, 1868. In the 1880s the first railroad reached the town, and Phoenix’s growth exploded. In 1889, Phoenix officially became the capital of the young territory of Arizona. Finally, on February 4, 1912, Arizona was granted statehood by President Taft.

Phoenix’s Rapid Growth

Once Arizona officially became a state, Phoenix really took off. In 1929, the first airport, Sky Harbor opened its doors to travelers. From the period of time between the end of World War II and today, Phoenix has been one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. Its population has swelled from approximately 65,000 in 1940, to well over 1.5 million today.