Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Post #3

Road- Tripping on Father’s Day

Father’s Day is a family’s chance to demonstrate their profound appreciation for the hard work and dedication of fathers. However, the line between gratitude for fathers and an excuse for sales on beer and power tools has long been crossed. In the article Road- Tripping on Father’s Day, Garrison Keillor rants about the hypocritical Father’s Day promises that spouses make with tacky Hallmark cards and cheap cologne. Keillor continues to challenge this so- called, “holiday," when he bluntly declares he never wanted to be a father- it just, happened. He then changes his focus from father’s day in general to the impossible task of being male. Keillor refers to this task as, “our dilemma.” The same dilemma that all men sign up for the day they read their wedding vows; the same dilemma that men put up with when their menopausal wife wants her husband to quit her job and move to Alaska to avoid hot flashes. Keillor’s droning complaints continue throughout the article, yet only one solution is offered- move away. Garrison Keillor is simply the voice of millions of hopeless fathers who do not dare to make these complaints in public, and it would not be a surprise if Keillor is currently under witness protection. However, these harmless rants were the source of new hope for fathers-- Keillor is not alone.
Road- Tripping on Father’s Day lacked any intellectual backing, yet Garrison Keillor’s rants were witty and entertaining. Keillor’s objective in writing this one-thousand word complaint was not to change Father’s Day or to provide a factual synopsis of a male’s response to an annoying wife. It was simply a mindless article for men to relate to. Keillor did, however, effectively use humor to portray his, “dilemma,” and as a result he made a personal connection with the reader. A male reader would feel a bond with Keillor because they are fighting the same battle. Contrarily, a female reader would be aggravated by the claims made in the article, and as a result take it out on the closest male—her husband. The ironic correlation between the male and female readers parallels with the argument presented in the article. Although there was no factual premise to the article, this article is unique in its ability to stir the reader’s emotions. Keillor’s humor was light and appropriate, and as a result the article was effective. This tirade about the hardships of fatherhood was refreshing, and his amusing prose is evidence of a man’s fight to survive another Father’s Day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Glanville's Ultimate Home Run

Doug Glanville composed an inspiring opinion editorial for the newspaper in the spirit of Father's Day. A professional ballplayer turned columnist, Glanville wrote his article not only as a sentimental memoir, but rather as an illustration of the discovery of a new passion- writing. With the loss of his father, followed by that of his baseball career, he wandered blindly, trying to fill the void in his heart, eventually finding solace with a pen and blank sheet of paper. What he found in his previously-untapped talent for writing was peace in both regards; that of a postmortem bond with his father, a gifted poet, as well as a new profession.

As a result of the double subject matter, one being in honor of his father, the other a stirring bit of wisdom regarding the pains of life, Glanville was able to strike a chord in the hearts of many. He united these topics seamlessly by using a chronological storyline to introduce his theme, which he then enhanced with sparks of perception originating from a deeper personal level. As a result of this approach, a reader feels like the trusted apprentice of an older and wiser mentor. Glanville's writing doesn't just go in one ear and out the other, so to speak; rather, it was written with the purpose of touching hearts and deeply affecting those who come by it. Because this benevolent, advisory intention of the author is so clear, few can resist being touched by his carefully-chosen words.

My Trip

In recent news, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina found himself in a lot of trouble and controversy surrounding his whereabouts this past Father’s Day weekend. This past weekend, the Governor was untraceable to the point where his wife, kids, and committee did not know where exactly he was. It was assumed that he was on the Appalachian Trail, but in reality, it was found that Mark Sanford was really in Argentina with a former mistress. Op-ed contributor of the New York Times, John Kenny, chose to make light and poke fun at Governor Sanford’s bizarre weekend and past lifestyle with an article written like a journal entry by the Governor himself. Though the intention of this article was to show how corrupt the Governor of South Carolina is, one cannot help but to laugh at the way John Kenny portrays Mark Sanford’s foolishness.

John Kenney’s humorous outlook on Governor Mark Sanford’s recent controversy allows the reader to make light of an uncomfortable situation. John Kenney wrote this article as a documentary of events from the Governor’s point of view which made the article very easy to read, and it felt more like a story rather than a news report. John Kenney made the Governor seem like a very unwise and irrational person with the way he handled certain situations. Kenney was able to make fun of the Governor’s reasoning by making all of his mistakes seem like something any person could make, but in reality no one would accidentally call “Escort” instead of “Ellen”. The use of humor and sarcasm was not only enjoyable to the reader, but it also helped show that even people held in high esteem fall short of perfect.

Betraying the Planet

Krugman starts his blog with stating that voting no to the Waxman-Markey climate change bill is treason to the planet. Krugman goes on to explain that the climate is changing very quickly: ice caps are shrinking, temperatures are rising, and arid zones spreading. The effects of green house gases rising and the ocean not absorbing enough carbon dioxide could be disasterous.Krugman questions how we can just stand back and watch this happen. The polititians and opinion-makers show no sign in being interested in the truth. Krugmans ends the article by calling these people traitors, and have betrayed their country.
Krugman is a very opinionated man with a lot to say against people who believe global warming is a "hoax". He spends most of the article showing evidence of how these scientists and polititians are ridiculous in their thinking and cannot see the information that is infront of them. He rights them off as a joke. He gives evidence of why he is right and wants to show the disaster that could come from ignoring the numbers. Overall Krugman's articles was refreshing to read because he did not just sit back keep his thoughts to himself but stood up for what he thought was right.
This Op-Ed article is about steroid use in Major League Baseball. Baseball, unfortunately, has so much drug use it is a regular occurrence. Sammy Sosa has been in the news lately about testing positive for steroids in 2003 and other famous players such as Mark McGuire also have been labeled as a steroid user. Performance enhancing substances date all the way back to 1889 when a player took testosterone. Baseball writers try to drive drug users out of the game but today’s player have lawyers and tons of money to fight back. The writers fight back by not voting for drug users when they become eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Zev, the columnist, states that the game constantly changes and will continue to change with or without drugs. His solution to the drug problem is that the use of steroids and other drugs should be regulated by the government like alcohol or tobacco. Major League players are adults in a very competitive environment and are old enough to decide if they should or should not use these drugs.

This op-ed article analyzes a major problem in today’s society with both sides of the argument presented in the article. He picked one side of the argument and clearly showed why he has chosen this side. He uses materials and facts about steroid use and the history of baseball to back up his decision. He also showed how the game constantly changes even without drug use. Zev also came up with a interesting solution to the problem at the end of the article.

Stephen Marcopulos

Human Nature Today

Human nature is perhaps one of the most complicated and most disputed topics in human history. As columnist David Brooks asserts, everyone has his own opinion regarding factors that shape human nature and individualism. Some of the most highly regarded opinions come from evolutionary psychologists. These scientists believe that most human traits are innate and have existed since the beginning of human subsistence. They claim that men are automatically programmed to be attracted to thin women, women are hardwired to prefer slightly older men, and all other human choices are essentially predetermined by millenniums-old genetic traits. Individuals who argue the opposing viewpoint, such as the author, contend that much more influences human nature, including socialization. They also argue that conditions for humans were vastly different thousands of years ago, and through the process of evolution, human nature should and does change with the circumstances. Opponents say that if the theories of evolutionary psychologists were true, every individual would share the same beliefs, would make the same decisions, and, in effect, would have the same personality.

Brooks uses the opinions of the evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller as the counterargument for his view. Brooks describes Miller’s philosophy, and then goes on to write several original examples of Miller’s principles with pop culture references. These examples are humorous, although slightly ridiculous, and show a lighter side to the argument. Perhaps Brooks’ goal in including these references is to show the insensibility and preposterous aspects of the evolutionary psychologists’ arguments. Brooks own argument, however, does not have the humor and charm of his examples for Miller’s opposing viewpoint. Because of the lack of wit in his own argument, Brooks’ opinion does not have quite as much impact as Miller’s beliefs. Nevertheless, Brooks accomplishes his goal of making Miller’s philosophy seem outdated and unrealistic, and to ironically go against the process of evolution. The topic of the dispute, as the title austerely states, paradoxically does not seem relevant to the present, as the piece does not connect any of the arguments to current events or poplar news topics. Brooks successfully challenges Miller’s argument, but his own claims do not leave as much of an impression as Miller’s philosophy.

Invent Invent Invent

Op Ed 3
June 28

In this article, Thomas Friedman attempts to tackle one of the most pressing problems facing our world today: the current economic recession. His proposal is a simple, yet multifaceted one, beginning with the advice of another man. Craig Barrett's advice is to only give driver’s licenses to those who have graduated highschool, encouraging students to finish and get educated. The more educated the population, the more innovations. The more innovations, the greater the opportunities to dominate diverse markets. Friedman backs up this argument with more instructions from Barrett and comparisons to other countries, such as Russia and China. 
Friedman states his opinion in an innovative and positive way with his hopes of increased research and small business ventures. This, along with the prospect of receiving intelligent students from out of the country presents a bright future for the United States when the present is so bleak. Friedman does an excellent job pointing out all of the things the government could do better by getting readers excited about all of the new opportunities for prosperity available.

It's Time To Start Learning From The Frogs

It’s Time To Learn From Frogs
Danie Frederickson
06. 28.09

“It’s Time to Learn From Frogs” is an in-depth article discussing the birth defects frogs and tadpoles started showing in early 2003. These birth defects are starting to be mirrored identically with humans and the chemicals they are exposed to are a direct factor to both statistical studies. Especially in recent years, the importance of health and disease regulation has been a top priority. When the Journal of Pediatric Urology issues an article, it should not be taken lightly by citizens, or the government. It is discouraging to have the government turn their cheeks to the issues of birthing abnormalities, various cancers, obesity, and brain development. These issues are fresh and relevant in society today. A question that was not answered in the Times Op-Ed article written by Kristof is why the government sitting by and not taking a proactive stance to help persevere forward? The government should ban all endocrine distributors and put a halt to the chemicals harming their citizens. With a solution in front of their faces, it is disheartening to see them not snatch it at the first chance of an opportunity to lower the worries of Americans.

“For now, these chemicals continue to be widely used in agricultural pesticides and industrial compounds. Everybody is exposed.” With impactful stances such as this one, Kristof has successfully published yet another brilliant document. The balance between evidence and persuasion was enough to capture any reader. Another writing aspect used in, “It’s Time To Start Learning From The Frogs” is the blunt tone. When using this, the reader feels as if nothing is sugar coated and the information that is being given is legitimate. Moreover, the reader finished the article with a sense of being an aware citizen in a country that is so oblivious to the issues.

Invent, Invent, Invent

New York Times Op-Ed Contributor Thomas Friedman recently wrote an article titled "Invent, Invent, Invent" which focuses on ways for America to get out of its current economic crisis. The former chairman of Intel, Craig Barrett, suggested that any American teen who wanted to get a driver's license must finish high school. The country needs to be filled with smart and innovative people who can find new, cheaper ways to do things. Recessions are a time when new companies form and the good companies separate themselves from the bad companies. Friedman feels that the country that uses this crisis to make its population smarter and more innovative is the one that will not only survive but thrive down the road. With the necessary tools and research, we can invent our way back to prosperity. According to Friedman, America has the best assets to be taking advantage of and we should be pressing those advantages to the max right now.

In his article, Friedman compares America to Russia and China. The Chinese government has recently began to censor the Internet and limit what people can view. The filter is used to block politics and other things that restrict the ability to imagine and innovate. This is telling the Chinese youth that they must go abroad to explore. In Russia, oil at $35 a barrel forces the country to diversify its economy but oil at $70 a barrel this change comes from an enormous act of "political will". In these times in America, we should be looking for anyone willing to help our country in this difficult time and anyone willing to create jobs. We need to do all we can now to get more brains connected to more capital in order to spawn more new companies faster. As Jeff Immelt put it,"this moment is an opportunity to turn financial adversity into national advantage, to launch innovations of lasting value to our country."

Iran's Second Sex

Brittany Liebenow

Third Blog Response

29 June 2009

Roger Cohen’s “Iran’s Second Sex” explores the sexism that ensues in Iran. Although women helped fuel revolutions for Iran, the post-1979 world still does not offer what women fought for. These women in Iran continue to fight for their rights only to be held back by age-old social restraints and passive men. Even though Iranian men and women crave reform and modernism, Iranian women continue to be pushed aside and denied rights while men blame their inaction on tradition and religion. Despite the fact that women fought just as hard for reform as men did, women have now been denied the very rights they died for. This sexism does not just stop at negligence of basic rights like being able to show skin in the hot sun, it extends even be life threatening. Cohen describes a poor woman who is afraid that an earthquake will prevent her from putting on her hijab. Because punishments for women are so severe and strict, this woman does not fear the earthquakes, she fears her punishment for showing skin. This sexism, Cohen argues, cannot continue, and modernized countries with more influence, such as the United States, must start taking a closer look.

Roger Cohen’s ideas and arguments in “Iran’s Second Sex” are lively and interesting. He fully describes both sides of sexism in Iran. Cohen also supports his diverse arguments with quotes that show consideration of outside opinions. Using frightening scenarios of women being punished for almost nothing, Cohen convinces the reader that sexism in Iran must be stopped. Unfortunately, his writing style does not have the same spirit. Cohen tried to convey an irritated and strict tone; however, his tone came off as weak, detached, and uninterested in the subject he was writing about. “Iran’s Second Sex” is a very lengthy and very well developed article. All of the paragraphs are generally the same length, but the paragraphs get slightly shorter towards the end of the article. Cohen does use advanced vocabulary but in awkward ways. “Iran’s Second Sex” is overall well written and very refined but lacks the fire and anger over sexism in Iran that Cohen tried to reveal.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Op - Ed Entry Three

Sarah Reichenbach

Op - Ed Entry Three

June 27, 2009

AP Language

Vice and Spice

By: Maureen Dowd

Published: June 23,2009

Smoking, not only does it lead to countless health problems for the smoker but there’s that nasty little thing called “second hand smoke” which effects the health and possibly kills the smokers loved ones. That and it just smells disgusting; but there are worse things a person could do. President Obama is a struggling ex-participant of smoking and as far as Maureen Dowd is concerned that’s nothing compared to the life stylings of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A notorious play boy, with his very own harem ( “L’Harem di Berlusconi” as their known); he’s labeled as “sexist” and “offensive” towards woman and prefers his “special female companions” to call him “Papi,” as if that isn’t bad enough. Fed up with his attitude a troika of academic woman in Italy wrote an “Appeal to the First Ladies” of world leaders urging them to boycott next month’s G-8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy. In Maureen’s own words about Obama “It’s interesting someone with such daunting discipline can’t apply his will power to cigarettes.” Here we have reporters and news casters calling him out as wimpy because he doesn’t retort back to their endless hassling. Though if Obama can resist the ability to sleep around, than it’s true with the things Obama has to deal with “it [is] enough to make a guy sneak out to the Truman balcony for a smoke.”

Maureen Dowd is an extraordinary writer who has once more proven she’s witty and smart. She calls out Berlusconi on his womanizing while telling off news reporters who seem to find pleasure is messing with Obama. Dowd does her homework, researching and finding everything she can to back up her point and then she puts her talents to use writing articles that inform and engage the reader. Her style is fun and entertaining almost like Carrie from Sex in the City but she’s writing about her opinions on political happenings not her love life. Dowd’s captivating style is a spectacular difference from other writers jejune sound. She’s a marvelous writer and I plan to read more of her work in the future.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3rd Op-Ed

Thrid Op-Ed Assignment
“The States of Iraq and Afghanistan”
By: Jason Campbell, Michael O’Hanlon, Jeremy Shapiro, and Amy Unikewicz

In this article, these three contributors teamed up to show the public how complicated the situation is in Iraq and Afghanistan. In both situations, we have stationed troops in the country to stabilize the area and by doing so; make the world a safer place. But, there are many people out there that think this is a waste of time and money. They do not understand that if the Middle East would be allowed to continue to decline at the current rate, we could be facing another world war. So, these contributors tackle to sensitive issue of how many troops. This is difficult because there is a fine line when enough is enough for most Americans; and they will call for the withdrawal. With any war, it is important to have the support of the citizens back home, so President Obama must decide for both of these countries, what is the perfect number of troops for the job. The contributors talked about how although there is no perfect equation, by tracking some specific numbers, we can see if more or less troops are needed. Some of these factors are: US/Foreign Forces Deaths, Native Security Forces Deaths, Civilians Deaths, Telephone Subscribers, and Children in School. These numbers can show if these countries are closer or farther away from being a stable, self standing democratic nation. In this area, victory must be achieved, even if it takes time. We must not criticize and trust our leadership to make the best possible choice.

In this article, the four contributors had the goal of helping the public understand the many figures that goes in to consideration when troops are sent in. They started the article off by talking about the job that President Obama has to do in choosing the number of troops. Next they communicated that there is no easy way to find the perfect number of troops because even if the right number is achieved, other factors could play into it, causing a need for more troops. Then, the contributors (with help from a graph) showed some of the figures that are used to track progress in these hostile areas. In the end, the message was that everyone should be patient. It will take some time to find the right number of troops, and when we do, it might take even longer for them to achieve their goal. But, for the sake of our own safety, we must stay in these areas until they are stable enough to handle the enemy insurgents trying to hurt the cause of democracy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Privileged and Their Children

The Privileged and Their Children is written by Clark Hoyt. He explains how in this time of war and recession people are writing articles about privileged celebrities and their children instead of the issues that really matter. He believes that "The Times should not devote precious resources to overexposed celebrities." Everything we have right now is in moderation. In this economy we can not waste ink and time on stories that do not matter. For example, Angelina Jolie and her children have been overexposed on The Times magazine. Hoyt explains "There is no question that Jolie has a history of trying to manipulate coverage of her, and it is frustrating..." There are other issues in the world right now that the public needs to read.

I agree with Clark completely. We should not be worrying about another celebrity's life when our own life is in trouble. I believe the reason people aren't taking this recession very seriously is because they are not education on the matter. People are spending too much time and money reading about purposeless stories. The articles of The Times especially should be focused on our situation in American with struggling to survive in the recession. Clark also has a point with the celebrities manipulating their coverage. They should also understand this recession. The privileged should help the less fortunate instead of showing off how great their lives are. They are only human too, and life does come at you fast. You never know what will happen, might as well be kind and do good deeds.

Iraq's Road Ahead

From Stephen Marcopulos:

In this article, Douthat takes the readers on a long explanation of the controversies of abortion through the experiences or an abortion doctor, Dr. Thiller, and ends with a few short paragraphs that expose his own opinions about this subject. During the exposition, Douthat explains that third trimester abortion (late abortion) is the most controversial because the fetus is considered a living being by then. He then goes on to argue that abortion should be restricted. Douthat proclaims that anti-abortion laws are laws that preserve the respect for human rights and promote democracy. He also proclaims that those who perform abortions, such as Dr. Thiller, are murderers.

Though I do not take sides in this abortion debate, I do not think Douthat does an adequate job in debunking the opposing arguments. Sure, he provides his own arguments that claim that stricter abortion regulation is essential to our politics, but he does not address the problems that he, himself, stated about these regulations (rape victims, underage pregnancies, etc). He does state that these special cases should be subjected to a state of exception; however, that only contradicts his own argument that anti-abortion is respect to human life. If abortion is murder then wouldn’t the 10-year-old (or any “special” cases) also be committing murder if she decides to have an abortion? If so, then what constitutes the difference between someone who has respect for human life and someone who doesn’t? Another problem with Douthat’s argumentation is that he does not back his claims with any warrants. After reading this article, I felt that many essential questions are left unanswered. How does anti-abortion have anything to do with democracy? What political regulation would be one that respects both of the “victims’” lives? How could politics address special cases? I do not wish to take a side for this controversial issue, but I do believe there are far too many holes In Douthat’s arguments to make it a viable reason to side with anti-abortion.

Not All Abortions Are Equal

From Steven Zhang:

In this article, Douthat takes the readers on a long explanation of the controversies of abortion through the experiences or an abortion doctor, Dr. Thiller, and ends with a few short paragraphs that expose his own opinions about this subject. During the exposition, Douthat explains that third trimester abortion (late abortion) is the most controversial because the fetus is considered a living being by then. He then goes on to argue that abortion should be restricted. Douthat proclaims that anti-abortion laws are laws that preserve the respect for human rights and promote democracy. He also proclaims that those who perform abortions, such as Dr. Thiller, are murderers.

Though I do not take sides in this abortion debate, I do not think Douthat does an adequate job in debunking the opposing arguments. Sure, he provides his own arguments that claim that stricter abortion regulation is essential to our politics, but he does not address the problems that he, himself, stated about these regulations (rape victims, underage pregnancies, etc). He does state that these special cases should be subjected to a state of exception; however, that only contradicts his own argument that anti-abortion is respect to human life. If abortion is murder then wouldn’t the 10-year-old (or any “special” cases) also be committing murder if she decides to have an abortion? If so, then what constitutes the difference between someone who has respect for human life and someone who doesn’t? Another problem with Douthat’s argumentation is that he does not back his claims with any warrants. After reading this article, I felt that many essential questions are left unanswered. How does anti-abortion have anything to do with democracy? What political regulation would be one that respects both of the “victims’” lives? How could politics address special cases? I do not wish to take a side for this controversial issue, but I do believe there are far too many holes In Douthat’s arguments to make it a viable reason to side with anti-abortion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I was originally drawn to this article based on personal interest in the subject matter, and was thoroughly pleased with my choice. Not only is it skillfully composed, but it also offers insight into a world that is usually puzzling to the general public- the world of horseracing. Sean Clancy, a jockey-turned-journalist, shares his thoughts on the probable outcome of the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the renowned Triple Crown. The fact is he has no definite opinion. The purpose of his editorial is to reveal to television viewers void of "horse sense" the truth about the sport to which he has devoted his life; the truth that nothing regarding racing is ever absolutely certain. As someone who has spent her whole life around horses, I can agree wholeheartedly that this aspect is too often overlooked when placing bets. A living, breathing creature is bound to react differently and unpredictably to racing conditions than a carefully-tuned stockcar. With horseracing, it's anyone's game, and those who take it too seriously find themselves neck-deep in trouble. As both a cautionary admonition and a sliver of insight into a complicated game, Clancy's piece works wonders.
Clancy's writing style enables him to communicate his opinions smoothly and memorably. His more in-depth explanations present themselves in paragraph form, but the little snippets of interest and importance stand alone. This was extremely effective because it helped make the text easy to follow, and showcased Clancy's main points. In addition, several clever similes and metaphors were utilized. My favorites related the horses to modern human figures of prominence, giving newspaper readers a connection to the subject matter they mightn't have otherwise had. One other prevalent technique throughout the piece was the use of incomplete, choppy sentences that gave the reader a conversational impression. This method made it seem almost as if one were sipping black coffee while musing to a fellow trainer, watching jockeys don their silks and weigh in, and inhaling the dust stirred up by prancing, polished hooves. Overall the composition was pleasing to read, and a useful addition to the newspaper.

A Threat in Every Port

Op Ed Entry #2
A Threat in Every Port
By: Lawrence M. Wein
President Obama’s “profound “vision of a world without nuclear weapons was reassured in the article A Threat in Every Port, when author Lawrence Wein reveals a possible plan to prevent terrorist attacks on United State’s soil. Wein states that the prevention program, referred to as the game theory, is plausible and necessary, but the funding for the project is raising problems. The government has recently spent $2.8 million on a non-specific, inefficient anti-terrorist program. The game theory presents an alternative to these uneconomical programs. The game theory analyzes 132 different ways a terrorist could import nuclear weapons to the United States in four likely modes of transport: cruise ship, container ship, cargo airplane, and commercial airplane. The article continues to illustrate each possible situation and how the game theory will predict, analyze, and prevent each situation. The major issue addressed in the article is the lack of funding for such a program. The Domestic nuclear Detection Office has been working to develop a funding program to pay for a specialized terrorism program, but such a plan has not been put into place. Without funding, this “ingenious” game theory is nothing more than a bright idea.
Lawrence Wein wrote in refreshing and alerting prose. In order to more effectively convey the graveness of the issue at hand, the article included many situations of certain terrorist attacks. The use of actual situations made the reader feel nervous for his or her own well-being. These hypothetical attacks on the U.S. proved to the reader that a plan such as the game theory is a necessary investment of government money. Yet, there is an absence of concrete, factual evidence due to the fact the situations are all hypothetical. Wein presents a variety of circumstantial and supposed evidence, but there is no experimental evidence that proves that the game theory actually works. As a result, the credibility of the article as a whole becomes questionable. While attempting to explain the technology of the game theory, Wein tended to include too many details regarding the minor aspects of the theory. A more succinct article may have been more effective in relaying the purpose of the article. Despite the article’s factual vagueness and occasional wordiness, the article presented a crucial problem with our anti-terrorism program, and provided a possible solution to this problem.

Too Poor to Make the News

Barbara Ehrenreich

Nick Jeon

Second op-ed

As the economy falls, people becoming “poorer” and the media portrays us as becoming closer to the Nouveau Poor. That is essentially when all of the classes become poor enough for the class distinction to slowly ebb away. However, the opposite is true. The people who are already poor in this country comprise of twenty to thirty percent who are in bad shape even when the economy, as a whole, is not. The poor and unemployed people in LA get hit hard by the recession because of job losses. In fact, more unskilled blue-collar workers get hit by unemployment than the white-collar workers. The poor begin to become desperate and some even take up urban hunting in order to survive. They live off of stewed squirrels and rabbits, and sell dead raccoons for a living. Others try to share the burden of poverty with others by sharing, leading to cramped quarters and an increase in domestic violence. Yet the media focuses on the middle class falling into poverty and chooses to ignore the ones that are already poor. The media and officials make claims of the Nouveau Poor, yet history shows us that harsh economic times actually increase the class distinction.

The author, Ms. Ehrenreich, supplements her writing with her own personal experiences. For instance, she gives us a story about her family’s rooming problems. Also, she backs up her arguments with statistics and facts, using real numbers to prove her point. She likes to quote people as well, and uses their credentials as support for her argument. She likes to tie in the details of stories of the impoverished. These include her friends from Walmart and the catering business. She likes to get us thinking by asking us questions and later answers them. She also does a wonderful job in making us actually feel the gravity of the situation.

Pixilated Over Pixels

Pixilated Over Pixels
By: Maureen Dowd
Published: June 13, 2009

With popular culture becoming more obsessed then ever with perfection, the phrase "high-def" has taken a new meaning. From make up products in Sephora to new technology used in eye exams, this phrase has penetrated into the heart of culture, in an attempt to turn day to day images into flat screen worthy sights. In Maureen Dowd's latest Op-Ed, she muses about the benefits of seeing everything in in HD, and if it is really favorable for the people shown on television, such as actors and news anchors.
Dowd's first point is that women don't seem to appreciate the alleged wonders of high definition television as much as men. The main reasoning for this is that men watch sports, where the experience is augmented by making viewers feel as if they are there, whereas women dont find seeing every wrinkle and stain in their favorite star's clothing soothing or entertaining. After bringing up the necessary assertions concerning television, Dowd turns to culture. Throughout her editorial, satirical remarks directed towards the promotion of high-def products are intergrated. At the end of Dowd's list of ridiculous ways culture is marketing the idea of high definition, she clears up any uncertainty a reader may have with her stance, stating that she'd rather keep it fuzzy.

Can The One Have Fun?

Can The One Have Fun?
Danie Frederickson
As author Maureen Dowd discusses the issue of the Obamas’ interacting with the world as a normal family, the clearer it becomes that his social actions are all positive. “What a relief to have an urbane, cultivated, curious president who’s out and about, engaged in the world. Not dangerously detached, as W. was, or darkly stewing like Cheney. Not hanging with the Rat Pack like J.F.K. or getting bored and up to mischief like Bill Clinton” wrote Dowd. All of Obama’s efforts of normalcy should be admired and looked upon, not scorned. He is setting an example for other American families to get out into the world and spend time together in a positive atmosphere. Not only is Obama contributing positively to the world politically, he is providing a role model for working men and women by showing that work is important, but family is vital.
In “Can The One Have Fun?” by Maureen Dowd, the writing was light hearted and playful with a sharp edge of reality placed in the underlying tones. Her delivery of this piece was flawless. Dowd’s jabs at other presidents and other facts that were presented really helped to sway the reader into believing that Obama is genuinely an outstanding president and human being. While doing all of this, the comedic flare and subtle punches to people made the article a quick and delightful read.

This Time, We Won't Scare

Healthcare reform has received extensive national attention, exemplified by the 2008 presidential election campaigns. Each candidate gave his/her idea for healthcare reform, and some, including Barack Obama, supported the move toward government-controlled healthcare. Government-run healthcare is already established in Canada and most countries in Europe. Skeptics of this system have pointed toward citizen’s disastrous waits and other horror stories in emergency situations. In his column, Nicholas Kristof tries to prove these cynics wrong. He tells the story of Diane Tucker, who has had experiences in both the Canadian and American healthcare systems. She had a stroke while living in Canada, went to the emergency room, required months of physical therapy and paid nothing in addition to her standard $49 a month for healthcare. In the U.S., Ms. Tucker fainted, went to the emergency room, stayed for a quarter day and paid nearly $9000 even though she had insurance.

Kristof uses mainly anecdotal evidence in his piece, focusing primarily on Ms. Tucker’s experience to support his argument. Ms. Tucker’s story is unique because she has encountered both healthcare systems with extraordinarily different results. Ms. Tucker’s remarkably positive experience occurred as a result of her treatment in the government-controlled healthcare system in Canada. Kristof’s argument only has one facet, and fails to gain the depth which one or two more positive experiences could have provided. At the end of his piece, Kristof uses surprising statistical evidence to further prove his point. While Kristof uses substantial evidence to support his argument, he fails to address counterarguments, including the possibility of horrendous waits at not only specialists, but in emergency rooms. Ms. Tucker admits that she had to initially wait two to three months to see a specialist, but neither she nor Kristof seem to see that as an issue. In the U.S., however, a wait that long is unheard of and unacceptable, considering Ms. Tucker’s condition. Until mainstream America sees the appeal in this kind of healthcare system, which could be accomplished through more articles singing the praises of government regulation, opposition and cynicism will prevent this reform from becoming reality.

Tobacco Regulations, At Last

With the increase in death by consumption of cigarette smoke and other tobacco related products, an Op-Ed columnist from the New York Times states that the Senate has finally decided to increase tobacco regulations. After more than ten years of struggle between anti-tobacco activists and large tobacco companies, a compromise in tobacco policy has at last put some activists at ease. Though this bill approved by the senate will not cut the production of tobacco products entirely, the op-ed columnist describes this bill as “An enormous victory for public health”. Though this bill is not perfect, the op-ed columnist commends the fact that it could order a reduction in nicotine levels, elimination of other harmful ingredients, and cut the tobacco advertising driven towards children and teens entirely.

The arguments and statements of the author are fact based and well researched, but one could assume that the author over-exaggerates some of his points, thus providing a false encouragement to the public. Though this bill is a positive step in the right direction, the author seems to praise its contents to the point that he or she comes across biased. One can establish from this article that the author is very “anti-tobacco” and has some strong thoughts on the distribution and consumption of tobacco products. The author uses harsh words and phrases when he or she describes tobacco companies as “manipulative” and “deceitful” as though to convince the readers that what he is saying is true, without a second argument from the tobacco companies themselves. The author’s persuasion is made complete when he states in his final sentence that this bill will “Help prevent more Americans from losing their lives to smoking”, thus leaving the reader encouraged by the work of the Senate even though this bill will only reduce youth smoking by 11 percent over the next decade and adult smoking by 2 percent.

Pixilated Over Pixels

In the New York Times Opinion article titled “Pixilated Over Pixels”, columnist Maureen Dowd takes a look at the new digital and high-definition revolution that is taking over households across America. Dowd says that women are far less excited about high-definition than men are because women don’t seem to notice a major difference on their television screens. Phillip Swann, founder of TVPredictions.com, says that sleek flat screens are shrinking the gender gap because women are beginning to think of the television as a stylish piece of furniture. In this new high-def culture, we are seeing companies advertise everything from high-definition makeup to high-definition eye exams. The Sephora makeup company is now offering high-definition makeup so that it appears a person is wearing nothing at all. Los Angeles makeup artists are saying that high-definition is causing actors and actresses to appear older because the heavy makeup once used is now evident to others. Many television actresses in their 40s are insisting that they be shot slightly out of focus or from the waist up to avoid tight shots of their faces. Sadly, many women are turning to cosmetic procedures and Botox to fix their problem, but in reality, high-def can act as an X-ray to show bumps and ripples from surgery.

The intensity and accuracy of a high-definition picture is causing actors and actresses to be nearly perfect. The slightest blemish or spot is magnified on a HD screen. One reporter said “you go in knowing every mole and random facial hair will be visible to somebody watching closely.” Despite the clarity and precision of high-definition television, HD seems to be causing many problems and misery for the people behind and in front of the camera. Maureen Dowd summed it up perfectly when she said “I don’t get the high-def glasses. I don’t want more acuity. I’m keeping it fuzzy.”

The War against Drugs

People think the war on drugs needs to end. We have spent a lot of money and and have seen no results when it comes to prosecuting the war.Drugs are now available at lower prices and higher levels of potency then before. In the United States the war has had three major consequences on our country: increase in the proportions of the popluation in prisons;empowering terrorists and criminals; squandering resources. The risk of legalizing certain drugs would be an increase of use and addiction. Different approaches are being thought of to handle the situation the best way.
Kristof uses mainly quotes and plain information in his article making it very impersonal and to the point. The reader has a hard time hearing Kristof's voice and his opinion on the subject. The use of all of the quotes does not make it enjoyable to read and hard to follow along with. The information was interesting and a nice update on what is going on with the war on drugs.
Op-Ed Entry 2
A Threat in Every Port
By: Lawrence M. Wein

In this Opinion Editorial, Wein shares his ideas to protect the country from terrorist bringing a nuclear bomb onto US soil. He goes on to say that Obama’s plan for a nuclear weapon free world is achievable, but the spending must be reorganized. Last year, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (part of Homeland) spent 2.8 billion trying to develop technology that could scan for nuclear weapons all over the world. Even with that massive amount spent, the Government Accountability Office said the detection office “lacks an overarching strategic plan”. The reason for this is that there are 132 ways a nuclear weapon can enter the US and travel to the target city. Wein then goes through the best way to stop this from ever happening. He proposes that the US look at how at all the areas where they could be in danger, and then take the first move instead of letting the terrorist have that advantage. Wein states that in order to create the most trouble for terrorist, we must have the same level of detection at all locations of entry. Otherwise, they will just turn to the easiest option. Then, we must fine the “pinch- point” where all possible bombs may enter. That place is any air/seaport in North America. Knowing that, if we can get radiation detectors on all cargo entering or leaving these ports, it will create or best line of defense. Wein goes on further to break it down more, but the bottom line is that we need the help of all North and South American nations to stop any nuclear threat in the future.
In this Op-Ed, Mr. Wein has a very logical way of writing. He starts off with background information, then moves to the current problem, and then addresses his solution. He also uses diagrams to further his point. This logical way of writing is easy to follow and it is easy to agree with. He states his solution clearly and is very convincing that it is a good plan. I would only question a few parts of his plan. The first is the money issue. If the detection agency has already spent 2.8 billion dollars, and it is not solving any problems...that is a problem right there. Everyone knows that there are money issues in this country and it doesn’t sound like anyone has any thought to limit spending. The second issue I see is the trust of other nation near us. We can rely on Canada, Mexico owes a lot to us, but other Central and South American countries may not be trusted. They sure don’t trust us and we shouldn’t trust them. It may be very difficult to get them to agree to the surveillance we want in there port. Besides those two problems I see, I believe it is a great start. As intelligence everywhere about nuclear weapons rises, so will the threat level. I guess it is in our blood to try to keep the whole world safe, and a worldwide nuclear detection program sound like a good idea... I just don’t know how long it will take with all the money and agreements needed.

The Danger of a Friendly Fire

The New York City police department has experienced many recent setbacks. There have been shootings, called "friendly fires". In these shootings, a police officer shoots a fellow police officer while undercover by mistaking them for a criminal. Of the four shootings that have recently occurred, three of the men were black and the other one was Hispanic. The friendly fires have increased racial tensions between officers and many families throughout the area of New York City.

Along with friendly fires, studies have shown that African Americans are beaten up by colleagues about twice a year. The police departments ensure its officers and citizens that it will better prepare its workers and make sure the rates go down. However, there's still the issue of racial hatred. The friendly fire shootings have been known to mostly occur while minorities are the subject of violence. Many people have been looking into this issue as a motive for hate crimes in the city of New York. These crimes also have the citizens undermining the law enforcement and blaming them. It's very difficult for the people in the city to feel safe while the "protectors" of their city are "accidentally" shooting each other. I believe the officer feels that this issue should be dealt with immediately and has very harsh feelings towards the officers involved in the shootings.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Op - Ed Entry Two

Sarah Reichenbach

Op - Ed Entry Two

June 13,2009

AP Language

Can The One Have Fun?

By: Maureen Dowd

Published: June 9,2009

Date night with the First Family seems to have stirred up some controversy in the political realm. Apparently they’re not allowed to spend sometime outside of the house together, or heaven forbid like each other. With all the sex, war, and drug scandals that have taken place in Washington through the years; a few harmless nights out on the town really should not be the ordeal that is it.  “I think, you know, playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.” A criticism from our former president on our new one seems to be, well contradictory. “... What sends the wrong signal is going to war with a phony justification, inadequate troop levels, insufficient armor, an inept Defense secretary and an inability to admit for years, deadly ones, that you needed counterinsurgency experts,” from Maureen Dowds’ “Can The One Have Fun?” this statement very well explains Maureen’s feelings towards any negative comments people have towards the Obama family spending time outside of the White House. If Obama is going to be a good president, he needs to have a clear mind to think with. If you ask any office worker staring to long and too hard at something for copious amounts of time is dangerous indeed, mistakes get made, and the letters start to blur. If Obama is going to correct the issues our former president left behind he’s going to need a clear brain to think with. 

A rave review for Maureen Dowd! Ms. Dowd does a fantastic job of using quotes and facts to support her opinions on the topic of Obama and his family spending time outside of the homestead. She writes in a style that doesn’t start to drag on, she keeps it light and fast with just enough passion to let the reader see how she feels. She has a modern tone to her style that makes reading about what is going on in the world seem interesting. If I had known the article was going to be about Obama and his family I probably wouldn’t have read the piece, only because politics is such a fuzzy issue and all people have their own thoughts on the topics, but after the first sentence I was intrigued and had no chose but to continue on. Full of sarcasm and quippy remarks Maureen Dowd does a brilliant job of reeling in the reader and keeping them interested until she’s spoken her peace. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Unreasonable Search

Op-Ed Entry Two
Sheryar Ali
AP Lang Entry Two

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guards the people against unreasonable searches and seizures. Many times this amendment has been breached in the school environment because there is a struggle between keeping the school setting safe and the privacy of student’s. With evidence and reliable information, schools are allowed to search for items that harm another student or disrupt the school atmosphere such as drugs and weapons. “Unreasonable Search” is an article written about the rash actions a school in Arizona took to strip search a 13 year old honor roll student because she was accused of having ibuprofen pain-relief pills. After having to reveal her chest and pelvic areas, the two female employees realized that the search was inconclusive. The mother then sued the school for searching her daughter without correct evidence. The lower appellate court ruled the search to be unconstitutional, but the case was then taken to a higher court. This article describes the uncalled for actions that the school took even though they could have take other actions such as waiting for the parent to come and resolve the situation with them.

The style of the author can be generally described as very factual and concise. The author uses facts from a specific event to show the irrational actions that a school can take to make sure the school environment is safe. It is clear that the author finds the actions of the school wrong and unjust. The author makes the article easy to read as well because the whole article is written in order from the incident to the after-effects. The author supports his/her opinion by stating the opinion of the school systems and giving examples of other actions the school could have taken to resolve the problem.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Not All Abortions are Equal

Brittany Liebenow
Op-Ed Response Two
June 15 2009

In “Not All Abortions are Equal,” Ross Douthat explains that extreme cases, such as the murder of Dr. George Tiller, are calling for more compromising decisions regarding abortion. Dr. George Tiller operated on women that most doctors would not consider for abortions because he respected that giving birth could be fatal for these women. Someone murdered Dr. Tiller in his own church because of the controversy of his work. Douthat identifies this murder as only one of many uprisings and incidents that occur due to the touchy issue of abortion. Douthat also recommends a straightforward way to end these incidents, compromise. Although this is what needs to take place regarding abortion, discussing abortion is a dangerous and controversial thing to do that most people try to avoid. Ross Douthat acknowledges the depth and difficulty of compromising on abortion but sticks strongly to the idea that, at all costs, America must deal with abortion. He also proposes a sensible compromise, returning abortion to the fair and reliable democratic process. With this compromise, few, if anyone, will be able to abuse abortion, and those who need to abort due to medical risks will have the fair ability to do so. Although this plan sounds foolproof, abortion is still a very controversial topic. The probability of a plan like this coming into play soon, although America needs it, is very unlikely.

Ross Douthat does an excellent job of both supporting his arguments and crafting them. Because abortion-related medical terms fill the article, Douthat’s word choice is not too advanced but still scholarly. Douthat starts his article with more generally lengthy paragraphs but ends the article with more short ones. Like most advanced authors, Ross Douthat uses a variety of both short and long sentences. Douthat also supports his arguments with a blunt yet sympathetic tone. Supporting the bluntness of his tone are straightforward comments that address abortion freely even if it is controversial. Douthat draws the outside story of Dr. George Tiller into his essay to let the reader know that the topic he is addressing, abortion, is a very real and very dangerous topic. Ending his article with a reminder of Dr. George Tiller, Douthat does an excellent job ending his argument regarding Dr. Tiller by mentioning it in the last sentence, so it can burn in the readers’ minds. Because he addresses both sides of the abortion argument and even supports a compromise, Douthat opens up his opinions to all types of readers and is not offensive despite the fact he is addressing a very touchy subject.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Poverty Plan

Abdulkareem Al-Eryani

Nick Jeon

First Op-ed

As Obama gets ready for a speech, Mr. Al-Eryani, a former prime minister of Yemen, gives some advice. He points out that the Islamic world has done its part by fighting terrorism with the US, yet the US has not helped the Muslim world with its poverty situation. Mr. Al-Eryani goes on to accuse poverty as being the root cause of terrorism, as the poor and the jobless sometimes seek help from Al Qaeda, and he even names it “the twin brother of terrorism”. In order for the speech to make an impact, Obama needs to begin by apologizing for America’s failure to help and by telling the truth. Asking for the truth and isolating poverty as one of the main causes of terrorism sound great. However, has the Islamic world really kept its side of the bargain? The counterterrorist laws of a handful of the Middle Eastern countries, including Yemen, barely deter terrorism and seem ineffective. Honesty and poverty assistance are priorities, but how about the Islamic world keeping its promise as well?

Mr. Al-Eryani writes the article in a straightforward way addressing the needs of his country and America’s. One noticeable thing about the article is that the author uses the word, “we” when addressing the Islamic world. He makes his points bluntly, by sharing the statistics of his country’s unemployment and poverty. Also, he flat out tells us that if we do not help them, it’s not going to be pretty. His reasoning makes sense; we should help now to prevent throwing expensive missiles at terrorist tents in the future. Mr. Al-Eryani’s article is not a request. Rather, it is a demand as he does not explain what America should do or what America can do. He explains what America must do and what America needs to do. Not only that, but there also isn’t a single “please” in the article.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Op-Ed Post One

Sarah Reichenbach

Op - Ed Entry One

June 6, 2009

AP Lang.

Would You Slap Your Father? If So, You’re a Liberal

By: Nicholas D. Kristof

Published: May 27, 2009

            Growing up most people have at one point or another come across the labels of Conservative or Liberal. The people that claim one of these two labels are in a world all on their own. The Liberals are stereotyped as more free and almost “tree-hugger” like. The Conservatives are stereotyped as a narrow-minded Christian or wealthy business man. The two sides are both as stubborn as the other and both sides refuse to see things the other sides way. So when presenting the opposing sides with facts and figures to persuade them doesn’t work, what does? The best way to have people understand and open their mind to someone else’s way of thinking is to have those people become intimate with those ideas. For example, someone who has very negative feelings towards gay rights, might start to see things differently if they found out a close friend or their child was gay. The idea isn’t to force the person to change what they believe but rather to have them fully understand what it is that they disagree or agree with. People have the right to believe whatever they want; but its giving them the opportunity to understand what it is they believe thats important. So that people don’t just believe things because their “morals” tell them its what they ought to believe.

                Kristof’s title for this piece was witty and refreshing. Disappointingly so, there was not as much wit as I expected. Kristof starts off by talking about how to tell if a person is a Liberal or a Conservative using a couple of socially acceptable questions. By the end he’s talking about how people tend to start to see things differently, if they truly understand what it is they agree or disagree with. I found myself writing and rewriting my analysis on the article countless times before I realized that possibly my confusion with this article wasn’t entirely self induced. Kristof does a great job of supporting his statements by saying the way to make different people understand different situations is to have them sit down to dinner with these things and get to know them. The problem is he doesn’t keep a constant thought process. The title of the article lead me to believe the piece would be revolved around the differences between Liberals and Conservatives, while in actuality the article was about morals and how persuasion of a person needs to be more than just facts and figures, it needs to be an intimate adjustment. The tone of the title leaves one to believe their going to be reading about something their not. If Kristof could keep one thought the center of the article and elaborate on that thought the piece wouldn’t be as inconsistent as it is now. He does a great job supporting his stance, he just needs a little work on starting his topic and making that his main idea. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Desperately Seeking Susan

Elizabeth Schriver
Op-Ed Response Two
June 15 2009

Ricky Jay, a slight of hand artist, actor, and author has recently contributed to the New York Times by composing an article that addresses the phenomena that is lovingly called “Susan Boyle”. The popular English television show, Britain’s Got Talent, has gone state- side this season with a rush of interest in one of its contestants, Ms. Boyle. The 47 year old Scottish woman who dreamt of being able to sing like Elaine Paige has rocketed to stardom within the past few months. During the shows auditions, Susan’s frumpy look led the judges of the show to doubt her ability and as soon as she set foot on the stage the audience was snickering. But as she gave the crew the thumbs up to start the music and opened her mouth to let forth her first note, the world was hooked. Susan Boyle’s stunning performances earned her a place in almost every tabloid, website, and newspaper in Great Britain and across the globe. Jay points out that in Susan’s case, her appearance worked to her advantage. When a frumpy old woman stepped onto the stage, the viewer’s expectations were lowered. The media favors performers that are both talented and attractive, so when an unattractive performer is exposed, less is expected from them. Boyle’s age and looks made her an underdog but combined with her exceptional talent her “flaws” made her an instant emotional favorite.

Jay interweaves other success stories with his rendition of the Boyle fairy tale. He seems to be desperate to prove that physical traits greatly affect the success of performers, and that select few “underdogs” are able to rise to the top because audiences are shocked that an unattractive person could have an extraordinary talent. Jay does not undermine Susan Boyle’s talent, but he does seem to question her success. He states that her success relied on her unlikely appearance as much as it did on her actual vocal talent. As soon as she was no longer a shock and a brilliant performance was counted as ordinary, she was no longer a favorite. Jay closes his argument by crying “She’s unknown, we’re surprised. She’s embraced, we’re disenchanted. Next?”

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Drawing by Stephen Savage

Op-Ed Entry One
Sheryar Ali
AP Lang Entry One

In today’s media, athletes are constantly pressured into using performance enhancement drugs so that they are still in demand by both teams and by fans. The influence that young athletes get from watching these pros have caused a dramatic increase in the usage of illegal drugs such as steroids. GDCADA’s data concludes that there has been a 4% increase in the usage of steroid because of commercial influence to high school senior athletes. “Drawing” is an article written by a high school athlete that talks about the feeling of competing with other athletes who have a clear advantage by using these. He also states the help that the involvement of his mother in his life has caused; she has kept his opinion in check by showing him the disadvantages that using performance enhancement drugs have. The greatest point of his was the thought that all athletes who refrain from using these drugs have the right to feel superior because their skill is authentic and has been earned the hard way. This article depicts the younger athletes who have been educated in the vices of using performance enhancement drugs and shows the influence that the media has on athletes.

Stephen Savage, the author of this article, is a young athlete who is beginning to question pro athletes and their motives for using performance enhancement drugs such as steroids. The author’s style of writing is admirable because he brings in his own personal thought into the matter. Stephen Savage uses the media as the source for his confusion. He finds the increasing number of athletes using steroids appalling because these are people that many look up to as a role model and hero. I think the best part of this article is reading the thoughts that Stephen goes through. He first contemplates the advantages and disadvantages of using steroids and then comes to a conclusion that the decision he has made is the right one. I agree with his opinion on steroids completely because of how closely this topic is to his everyday life. His final point is that not using steroids helps you because it shows you how far you can go by giving you reliable results based on your own hard work and training.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Foreign Study in Foreign Countries

From Julia Wayne:

Nicholas Kristof’s realistic article about a “gap year” in a foreign country provided encouragement for taking a year off from school and seeing the world in a safe way. Starting off the article with an insult aimed towards narrow-minded colleges, Kristof begs his readers to understand the pragmatic reasons for an out-of-the-country experience. He then refers to how dangerous these eye-opening countries can be, and the easy precautions that can be taken by travelers of all ages. Through these not-so-subtle hints, Kristof presents a logical endeavor intending on broadening students’ horizons through travel.

What Kristof seems to lack understanding in, though, is that high school and college students are still at the age where they don’t always comprehend straightforward advice. While the advice may seem legitimate and logical, these ostensibly necessary precautions may cause other more common precautions to be forgotten. These students go to foreign countries to not only learn, but also have adventures, which sometimes includes close encounters with death and theft. Kristof’s comical stance on the subject reduces the severity of his warnings and gives the impression that in the end, every trip will turn out fine.

Op-Ed Entry One

Danie Frederickson
AP Op-Ed Entry One

The remarkable strides Obama is taking to fulfill his promise to cut-down green house gas emissions nationally is only a small stepping stone in the long pebble road towards global repair. “The Earth Wins One,” an insightful editorial article from the New York Times published on May 20th 2009, discusses the complexities of global warming. It discusses Obama’s optimistic plans of helping the nation reduce vehicle emissions. The President has set an admirable goal: by the end of year 2016, all automotive companies will have to have a minimum average fuel efficiency of 35.5 miles per gallon in all of their vehicles. Although this puts increasing pressure on automotive companies to come out with the most innovative engines and fuel-efficient technologies, reaching this target will advance the nation’s progress in cutting down global warming. “With this deal, America also wins back a bit of energy independence. But the biggest winner could be the atmosphere,” says the column.
This particular author, in my personal opinion, could have taken more personally approach and incorporated a firm stance about the subject’s benefit or absurdity. The editorial often felt purely fact based as opposed to the more embellished opinionated editorial writers. This editorial often felt ridged and vacant. Relating to this article was often difficult. Without strong background knowledge of the issue, it would be nice for the author to give the facts presented meaning by adding a personal interpretation and opinion.

Hips Are Bringing More Athletes to Their Knees

Hips Are Bringing More Athletes to Their Knees
By: Michael S. Schmidt

The increasing intensity of modern day sports has led to an influx of injuries that previously were unheard of in prior sports eras. In the New York Times article Hips Are Bringing More Athletes to Their Knees, this assertion is supported by noting the elevating rate of hip injuries in professional athletics, especially baseball, hockey, and soccer. Michael Schmidt, author of the article, claims that there is a direct correlation between athletes intense specialized training at a young age and the increased number of athletes experiencing hip injuries. He attributes this increase in hip injuries among these athletes to muscle overuse and overtraining. Schmidt suggests that athletes in the present era of sports are bigger, faster, and stronger than their counterparts in past history because of the rigorous training that they underwent at ages such as three or four. He states that athletics has become so competitive, that in order for an athlete to have a chance to compete they must begin training at an earlier stage of physical development. This, according to Schmidt, is the reason for this sudden increase in hip injuries. Schmidt begs athletes to stop overtraining and to become aware of this growing problem. In his plea, he quotes trainer Mackie Shilstone, “No matter what we do, as complex as we try and make workouts and training methods, we lose sight of other things.” This article serves as a wakeup call for all athletes who hope to be able to enjoy an active personal lifestyle when their professional athletic careers end.
The author’s style in this article is direct and concise. He is factual and supports all claims with medical evidence. However, there is an absence of any specific medical studies or experiments to substantiate his claim. Specific medical studies cited would add credence to his claims and create a powerful change agent for his readers and other athletes. While his conclusion appears logical, some orthopedic studies in kinesiology or anatomy would have been pertinent. His assertive style and informative tone all aid in the purpose of this article. His objective was to warn athletes of the dangers of overtraining and resulting hip injuries, and he accomplishes this objective. Despite his success in conveying the essential purpose, he failed to use certain emotional words that may have led to a more personal response to the article. A more personal message may have been more effective in creating a call to action for the reader. The article was informative and factual, but its lack of emotion and medical studies make the reader unaware of the dangers presented in the article.

The Lord Justice Hath Ruled

From Madelyn Kowal:

The author of the editorial, "The Lord Justice Hath Ruled: Pringles Are Potato Chips", seemed to have the opinion that the whole argument was very unnecessary. A debate over whether a Pringle is a potato chip or not, leaves the author feeling as if the whole problem is meaningless. Adam Cohen, the author of the article, stated that because Pringles don't have the same or greater amount of potato content as other leading brands of potato chips, it is not considered a potato product. The Pringle company has been very strongly presenting this case because if they are found to legally be a potato chip, they will have to pay taxes. However, Proctor and Gamble stated that Pringles can't be classified as a potato product because its not one hundred percent potato. Personally, I feel that if the Pringle company set out to make a potato chip, they should have just taken the responsibility and paid the taxes to begin with. Also, the company has been miscommunicating their product to many customers by calling themselves a potato chip. However, when talking to the court, they denied having any relevance to being a potato chip. I think that the whole debate between potato chip or not is not important and there should not be any gray areas simply black and white.

If Pringles potato chips are not legally considered a potato chip, then Cheeze-itz can not be considered cheese when realistically it's all chemically enhanced flavors. Many foods today are not truly made of the ingredients they are representing. For example, the cereal Apple Jacks has no real apple content in them besides lab created flavors. Parents and children may think they are getting the correct nutrition they need but in actuality, the foods they are consuming lack essential vitamins and minerals. I believe strongly that if a company is representing a product with "real" ingredients, they need to include enough to be "legal" in the food industry. In response to the Pringle debate, I believe the company that makes the chip should be required to pay the potato chip taxes. Their product is made to look and taste like potato chips so the only thing stopping it from being an actual potato chip is the real potato content. The company that makes Pringles should just include more information about what people are eating on the label instead of making consumers believe they are eating a "legal" potato chip.

Our Greatest National Shame

From Steven Zhang, currently in China:

Nicholas Kristof describes that our greatest national shame is in our education. He believes that education is the most important issue because it has the ability to lead the nation to a better economy. Despite its importance, the education sector in the United States has been falling behind the education sectors of other countries. Though Kristof believes that the stimulus package, which offered over $100 billion to education, provides an opportunity for the nation to reform its education, he also states that money is not the main issue that is facing our education. He argues that in order to improve the education in the United States, we must improve our teachers and our way of screening for teachers.

Kristof uses many rhetorical techniques to present his argument. In this article, he uses a casual tone as if carrying out a conversation to create a mood that is suitable to a common reader. He also builds his credibility by citing professionals and institutions, for example the education department, education secretary, etc. He substantiates almost all of his claims with these sources. Kristof also uses a rhetorical question denouncing those who reject education as a major problem in the United States. Kristof also strengthen his position by offering solutions to the problem he addresses. Professionals in the field of education also support these solutions. Although so far this article seems to be very logos-centric, Kristof also tap into people’s emotions by deeming this problem as a “national shame” and the “greatest injustice”.

Can literature transcend language? Ha Jin takes the worthwhile risk.

Through a recently published article, Chinese native Ha Jin defended his position in a struggle amongst conflicting loyalties of his immigrant and home countries. In the United States, freedom of expression is something often taken for granted. However, Ha Jin's decision to remain in the free states after the massacre of Tiananmen Square had roots deeply entwined with this principle. Because the Communist Party of China censors all published works, he felt that the literary value of his writings would be compromised. As a result, the budding author decisively began to project towards an American audience rather than a Chinese one, an act viewed as betrayal to many traditionalists of his own race. To justify his decision, Ha Jin conveyed his hope that "literature can transcend language," affecting China indirectly at first, but making a lasting impact later.
I feel that the article was well-founded in addition to well-written. It was clear, through the employment of simple but highly-impacting sentences, that the author was truly passionate about the subject. The reader became unavoidably wrapped up in the web of words making up Ha Jin's story, drawn in close; breath on breath, skin on skin. The paragraphs are not fluffy with excessive wording, but rather cleanly round the edges of raw emotion behind the life-altering decision of a man seeking truth. It is clear that neither fear of estrangement from his race, nor that of language barriers, nor that of gaining respect in a country of great literary geniuses could deter Ha Jin from attaining his goal to promote change presently rather than passively wait for it. I believe his risk was worthwhile and a great act of courage. Perhaps if more people would go to such lengths to promote positive change, the world could get on track and spin smoothly again.

The Commander in Chef

Michelle Obama has taken active steps to prove that eating locally and organically is possible for the average American. By doing things such as planting a backyard vegetable garden at the White House, Mrs. Obama is trying to show Americans that healthy eating is practical and feasible in mainstream America. However, guest columnist Amanda Hesser believes that these efforts are not enough to win over every American. Mrs. Obama has stated jokingly several times that she does not like to cook and is grateful that she has a White House kitchen staff to do the chore for her. Mrs. Obama’s feelings represent a paradox in the American culinary world. While cooking healthy, fresh food takes equal or less time as cooking pre-packaged convenience foods, most Americans still choose to cook preservative and chemical enriched boxed or frozen meals. This unique situation may be the reason behind the obesity epidemic throughout the country because of the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in Americans’ diets. Hesser points out that locally-grown, organic fresh fruits and vegetables are nothing unless prepared. While Mrs. Obama’s steps are commendable, as an average American, backyard vegetable plots and locally-grown produce still do not seem like a feasible, viable option, when supermarkets conveniently stock a variety of cheaper produce.

Hesser cites quotes given by Mrs. Obama to various news publications as evidence for her unwillingness to cook. Hesser uses these quotes to suggest that Mrs. Obama is not doing enough to convince Americans that backyard vegetable plots are a possibility for every citizen in America. The author also offers her opinion on how Mrs. Obama should go about deepening her message, which in Hesser’s opinion includes addressing the preparation of produce. Hesser’s argument does not address the main reason why Americans do not eat locally-grown produce, but instead focuses on a superficial rationale. Convenience is probably the main explanation for America’s addiction to processed, packaged foods. Until organic, locally-grown foods become a staple at supermarkets, Americans will still continue to rely on food processing companies such as Kraft and Nabisco for their nutritional needs. Mrs. Obama is surely a role model for the average American, but something as trivial as her disinclination to cook food grown in her backyard should not be taken as the basis for mainstream America’s reluctance to embrace the organic, locally-grown movement.

The Earth Wins One

With so much negative and passive attitudes towards the world’s current greenhouse gas and ozone depletion, an Op-Ed columnist has decided to focus on the positive, saying that “The earth has finally won one”. The author of this article explains that after many years poor environmental conditions, President Obama is finally trying to give back to the earth’s atmosphere what we as humans have taken away. Obama’s attempts at improving the environment by raising the standards for automobile emissions and mileage were very much praised by the author of this article, and it can be assumed that the he or she holds some contempt for the past Bush administration. Though the author may be simply stating that things are finally turning around for the environment, it seems as though he is focusing more on the political aspect of the whole ordeal.

The style of this author can be explained as persuasive and generally one-sided. Though in this particular article the purpose was to ultimately explain that we as a nation are taking a step forward rather than another step back environmentally, it seemed to me that the author could not resist to slyly “take a stab” at the previous Bush administration’s failure to be proactive in the environment. The author referred to Obama’s environmental plan as “aggressive and imaginative” and to Bush’s as “wearying and unproductive”. Though true or not, no matter what side someone may be on politically, a win for the earth is never considered a bad thing.

Dance With Democracy

Yiyum Li’s Op-Ed contribution describes the life of students in China who did not protest on the bloody day of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Her argument relates to how awful the Chinese government is towards its citizens and how much it affects the citizens lives everyday. She bases her argument mainly on the events around the Tiananmen Square massacre. She uses many statements and literary devices to show the reader the truth around the massacre and how horrible the government was during and after the massacre. Yiyum also creates a deep understanding of how the government affects the citizens in their daily life and also how the citizens’ minds are brainwashed by the government. Yiyum shows there is no true citizen who lives his or her life in freedom. She states that, “One does not have to steal to feel like a thief” (Li 1). This statement shows a corrupt state of mind created by the communist Chinese government. I think her article is interesting because she reveals what life was like for the students who did not go to the square. I have not thought about the response by the Chinese government towards students after the massacre and this reveals the harshness brought down upon them. She feels guilty even though she was not even at the square. I think that she should not feel this way and her feelings are due to the corrupt ideas her government instilled in her. Li’s point of view is an interesting way of looking at the effects of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. This view is not very clear and only the few that have escaped the communist country can tell the true story of the events on and after this horrible tragedy.

Li uses many facts and imagery to show the reader how horrible the massacre was by including a statement about a fellow student which states, “he saw a boy shot in the chest, a young man crushed under a tank and a girl’s forehead pierced by a bullet” (Li 1). This shows the true carnage that occurred at the square. Yiyum also describes how people try to stay out of trouble with the government due to the fear of their government. The reader is able to see the effect within Yiyum in her social and private life when she states, “In reality, while we were waltzing in silent fear, my hands became cold in his, and even before the song ended I began to withdraw from his life. Until then I had been one of his closest friends” (Li 1). Her statement helps further enhance her argument of the horrible treatment of the communist government towards their people and creates a deep sense of remorse within Yiyum. She also uses imagery to describe the true fear the police create within students when they just want to ask questions to them. She states, “He looked upset, and as he spun me to a corner of the room, his hands felt feverish in mine. He told me that he had been summoned to the headmaster’s office where two policemen questioned him about his whereabouts on that night in June” (Li 1). Usually, police are suppose to create a since of security and peace in the people they are suppose to protect, obviously this is not the case for young Yiyum when she lived within a communist world during the Tiananmen Square massacre.

A Bottle Bill That Will Rot Your Teeth

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a New York Times Op-Ed contributor, recently wrote an article on the topic of new bottle deposit laws. The article, titled “A Bottle Bill That Will Rot Your Teeth”, focuses on a bottle law that was passed by the New York Legislature last month. Kennedy writes that because the average person throws away almost 300 pounds of packaging every year, New York’s bottle deposit law must be updated to cover beverages like tea and bottled water. A good deposit bill has the opportunity to encourage recycling of new types of beverage bottles. This in turn could provide financing for curbside programs that collect other types of recyclable materials. In Kennedy’s mind, the law passed by the New York Legislature fails to accomplish recycling goals and will ultimately harm the existing recycling programs in New York. Governor David Paterson originally proposed a law that required deposits for the new beverage categories, but the new bottle law only covers bottled water. The Legislature excluded all noncarbonated beverages containing sugar from the deposit law meaning consumers are expected to pay more for healthier drinks than they are for sugar-filled drinks. Kennedy is “committed to achieving zero waste through recycling. To get there we need bottle deposit laws that require all beverage makers to take responsibility for reaching the highest possible levels of recycling.”

In his article, Kennedy uses other bottle laws to support his argument that New York’s bottle law needs to be changed. Oregon was the first state to implement a bottle deposit law in an effort to reduce litter from single-serving containers. California’s bottle law applies to more beverage types and helps finance curbside recycling for almost every household. As an avid water drinker, I completely agree with Robert Kennedy and his opinions on recycling in his article. People should feel that it is their civic duty to recycle and help the environment. New York’s law undermines recycling programs and that is unacceptable. I see eye to eye with Kennedy when he says “the law is a boondoggle that will give sugared beverage producers an unfair market advantage while undermining convenient recycling programs. Governor Paterson and the Legislature should trash it and get to work on the bigger and better bottle bill that New York deserves.” These new bottle deposit laws need to encourage people to recycle all types of bottles and containers and, additionally, provide financing for curbside recycling.

Preventable Deaths?

In “Preventable Deaths,” the author explains that, regardless of the crippling condition of the world economy, developed countries must continue to aid developing countries. The author describes how many deaths worldwide, especially in developing countries, are preventable and pushes the blame for these deaths onto developed countries that are merely trying to stabilize their own economies. This argument is very ignorant as well as one-sided. The author fails to take the world economy’s situation into consideration and brushes the economic depression off as a light excuse for historically rich countries to horde money; unfortunately, the author’s thoughts about this are too generous. Whether a country can contribute money and aid to help another country or not is a simple demonstration of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In order for a country to have a good economy, it must have a stable economic situation. In order for a country to have money, it must have a good economy. In order for a country to contribute money and aid to another country, it must first have money of its own. In today’s economic depression, the stability of previously rich nation’s economies is gone; consequentially, no money is available to contribute to other countries. Like in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, once a bottom level is gone, the upper levels can no longer exist. In this editorial, the author seems to forget this in his or her argument and implies that, although these supposedly rich countries are experiencing one of the worst economic downturns since World War II, they have money just lying around that they can use to stop preventable deaths. Because this, of course, is not true, the author of this editorial clearly has a single-minded argument that, if one analyzes closely, defies logic.

The author of “Preventable Deaths” does an excellent and incredibly convincing job of establishing his or her opinion. The author carefully crafts his or her specific arguments in such a way that he or she is able to use as many number-related facts and statistics as possible. Because most of the people reading this particular article probably live in the developed countries this author degrades, guilt is an obvious and effective tool the author uses to force his or her views onto the readers. The author also provides seemingly simple solutions, although they are less practical and more expensive than the author leads the reader to believe, encouraging the reader to help fight poverty and disease, two guilt-inspiring causes. To appear open-minded the author lightly addresses the positives and improvements regarding the world’s poor, or counterarguments to his or her argument that the world’s poor are continuing to slip deeper into poverty and death. Although the author only briefly discuses these accomplishments and dismisses them as trivial, the fact that he or she acknowledges counterarguments makes the author seem more open-minded and thus more trustworthy. Taking advantage of multiple paragraphs, the author uses multiple short paragraphs as well as one paragraph with only one short sentence for dramatic effect. Many of the author’s paragraphs also end in abrupt, sharp sentences that establish the author’s sharp and straightforward tone. Along with the short sentences, however, the author does an excellent job of incorporating numerous sentences of varied lengths. The author utilizes both simple and advanced vocabulary depending on the point the author is trying to get across and the place the particular word, and sentence, is in the article.