Wednesday, July 29, 2009

5th Op-Ed

5th Op-Ed
Science is in the Details
By: Sam Harris

In his article, Sam Harris steps outside the line to attack Francis Collins’ way of thinking and try to win people over to his side (him being the author of The End of Faith). In this article he first lays out all that Mr. Collins has accomplished (like leading the Genome Project) to then question his compatibility for the job of head of the National Institute of Health. Harris explains what Collins believes by using his slide show that he showed a group of students at the University of California at Berkeley. In short, what Harris finds troubling is the fact that God, at the particular time in evolutionary history, gave man a soul, free will, and the knowledge of good and evil. This small belief which has had no affect on his success in the past is a serious concern to Harris because Mr. Collins will be in charge of a $30 billion health budget and will be representing the USA. Harris then goes on the subtly call anyone who believes in anything but total evolution an idiot. He compares it to understanding that there are particles in air. That it may be hard to understand, but we higher level people know it to be true. Also, thinking like a scientist is at the very hardest with religion. Harris is worried that Collins’ religion will not allow him to accept the truth in certain situations. That when confronted with a new scientific truth, that he will just insist it is God’s doing and can not fully understand it.
In this article, Harris basically just attacks Collins’ views and tries to make his ideas seem immature. He writes by starting out stating his concern, then giving some facts, informing us why we should be concerned, and then finally ending it by making it seem that Obama has made a very bad decision. I believe that this article is unreasonable and unnecessary. First of all, Mr. Collins has accomplished a ton in his scientific career and his faith has never held him back. This is a minor issue in this country if that. I can’t believe that there are many other people out there like him (as his says) that are losing sleep about such an issue. Even with Harris’ doubts, Mr. Collins will do very well in his position.

4th Op-Ed

Warrantless Criticism
Michael Hayden director of the C.I.A

In this article Mr. Hayden comments about the various criticism that the National Security Agency and specifically the Surveillance Program has gotten. He argues that the program was effective, lawful and necessary. The first concern he addresses is that the many levels of the program hurt its effectiveness. Because of the many levels of classification, what information professionals call “connecting the dots” did not happen during the 9/11 attack. Hayden agrees that this can be an issue, but it is completely necessary to insure the safety of the country. The next claim he tackles is that Congress was not aware of the full capability of such a program. Hayden says that actually, Congress could not use the program to its full extent because of the restriction placed on the program by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. When he briefed Congress in 2001 through 2005, he continuously made the point that the CIA could not fully act under these restrictions. The next topic he deals with (and most likely the most discussed) is the lawfulness of this program. In response he first says that agency lawyers assisted in the review of the program. Lastly, Hayden addresses the people that believe that their personal lives are being invaded by this program. He assures these people that any wiretapping done is done with Congress in the loop. Also, he mentions that in a recent review the reviewer noted that the program has had: “No evidence of intentional misuse”. In his final words he stresses that he tells his men that since this is a sensitive issue, they must do exactly what the President says and nothing more.
Michael Hayden writes in a very direct manor. He essentially is writing a 5 paragraph essay. He has an introduction, he proves that the program is effective, necessary, and lawful and finishes off with the conclusion. It seems that he somewhat aggravated with all of these claims and is now happy to clear up all confusion. He writes a manor to quickly address the concerns and answer all complaints that he has heard. As the head of the CIA, I think he might know something about what he is talking about. It is good that someone as high up as him can talk to a large amount of people to clear up their concerns.

4th Op-Ed

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Giant Leap to Nowhere
Tom Wolfe

Nick Jeon

Reach for the stars. Does that sound familiar? It should, since we constantly look towards the stars in our life. However, NASA doesn't seem to be thinking on the same level as us. Ever since Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, we haven't made any leaps in space exploration. Instead, we've been focusing too much on the Earth. Why? It is simply because there doesn't seem to be a reason to go any further. The force driving us to landing on the moon was simply the necessity to beat the Soviet Union. After we beat them, we were left with a pretty tough question. Now what? There are some men that advocate reaching out to the heavens. Yet, they have a small voice, especially since we are at, as Wolfe calls it, "the teeth of Depression II.
Mr. Wolfe persuades his readers by going through the history of the space race and explaining it as he goes. He also appeals to pathos by telling us about our destiny. Out of the previous op-ed articles, this was one of the most persuasive. He ends it well by sending us out to build a "bridge to the stars".

"The Angel's Cocktail"

"The Angel's Cocktail" is an interesting work, consisting of political ideas, personal reflections, and scathing remarks. Garrison Keillor, the author, reflects on a conversation in a restaurant that he overheard in which a group of college girls joke about the practice of euthanasia. Although Keillor seems disturbed by their humor, he seems to sympathize with their situation by blaming the changing ground of American politics and economy for the instability of today's youth. He reflects upon the irresponsibility and loss of his college years and seems to relate to the joking girls. In the final paragraph of his article, Keillor's thoughts wander from politics and morals to the loss of a lover from his college years.

Keillor's article seems scatter-brained and poorly organized. He begins to address intriguing ideas but fails to follow though. The article begins to read like a personal journal, causing the reader to be slightly repulsed by the sensuality of his memories. His personal reflections do not connect well with the rest of the work and do not belong in an opinion-editorial article. Keillor has the potential to be a skillful author but needs develop his organizational skills. Despite its flaws, "The Angel's Cocktail"presents interesting concepts and shows potential for a meaningful article.

"Too Poor to Make the News"

Barbara Ehrenreich, the author of multiple non-fiction books, has traveled around the nation to study how the recession has effected the class whom she has titled the "already poor". She believes that although the stories of fallen middle-class families make gripping headlines, it is the lower-class that is experiencing the most difficulty. While the average family is having to cut back on vacations and entertainment, the "already poor" and being forced to cancel prescription medications and move in with relatives who are already attempting to squeeze a five member family into a two bedroom apartment. Her studies show that blue-collar jobs are being cut back more swiftly than white-collar jobs, leaving janitors, maids, and other already low-wage workers without sufficient income. While most families are finding the recession inconvenient and worrisome, the "already poor" are finding it difficult to place food on the table.

Ehrenreich is a proven and successful author whose most recent op-ed article is compelling and enlightening. Her use of personal experiences and direct quotations bring the stories of the "already poor" to life and reveal the true victims of the recession. Ehrenreich's article contains many quotations for those who are suffering, revealing a type of heartbreak and desperation that is typically hidden by today's mainstream media. "Too Poor to Make the News" is a stunningly unique and beautiful work that should be read and appreciated by all are attempting to thrive in this financially trying time.

"Overseas, Under the Knife"

Recently, many Americans have been traveling overseas in pursuit of cheaper medical care. Most seek cosmetic surgeries but a growing number of American citizens are recieving more complicated procedures such as heart surgery and joint replacements in nations like India, Singapore, and Thailand. Mercer Health and Benifits, a consulting group, has gathered data reveiling that well-regarded hospitals overseas charge 60 to 90 percent less than the average American medical center. And although the fees are consistantly lower, overseas care often achieves the same high standard of well ranked American hospitals.

The opinion-editorial authors of "Overseas, Under the Knife" have done a magnificent job of presenting the positive aspects of oversea medical care but fail to address the possible complications. For instance, the money saved on medical expenses could be quickly used up for purchasing airline tickets to and from the nation in which the hospital is located. Also, when overseas, patients are seperated from their family as well as their routine care doctor. Though the prices may seem tempting, the details of travel expenses and comfort should be considered before opting for overseas care.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whirling Dervish Drivers

Cellphone usage while driving has become increasingly controversial as causes for car accidents have been attributed to talking or texting on the phone while driving. In Marueen Dowd's article, she reflects about her own cellphone usage, and about usage in general. The various studies about cellphone usage that Dowd brings up are enlightening. They prove that drivers who talk on their cellphones are as likely to get in a car accident as someone who has been drinking alcohol. Even more frightening is when Dowd shares her personal fear of crashing while in a taxi. If taxi drivers and bus drivers can't be trusted to keep their hands off of their electronics, then who can?
Dowd skillfully maneuvers from cellphone usage in moving vehicles, to cellphone usage in general. Though her observations on society are nothing new, she reiterates the important point that humans are too tech oriented, and one day robots will take over the world. She describes blackberries as creating "self-destructive cravings" and exaggerates, saying "we spiral out of control". Finally, at the end of her article, after mentioning a Will Smith movie and examples of accidents, Dowd gets back to her main point, stating a fine should be put in place for all cellphone users for $10,000.

President Obama, Professor Gates and Cambridge Police

President Obama, Professor Gates and the Cambridge Police
By Brent Staples

Op Ed #5

African- American Henry Louis Gates was arrested by Cambridge Police while trying to break in to his house. A Harvard Professor, Gates managed to lock himself out of his own house. Police saw him trying to enter, and, as all cops are trained to do, arrested him. The man furiously insisted that it was his own house and swore at the cops, deeming them racists. This simple misunderstanding turned into a massive ordeal of racial profiling. President Obama jumped into the situation and agreed with the racist accusations when he claimed the Cambridge Police acted, “stupidly.” Brent Staples, author of the article President Obama, Professor Gates and the Cambridge Police and friend of Professor Gates, insisted that the arrest was simply a precaution and in no way racist. However, Staples centered the focus of the article not on the arrest itself, but on racism in general and how this situation will concern President Obama. He asserts that this issue may negatively affect the media’s perspective on Obama’s ideals regarding racism. President Obama did say he may have been harsh, yet he refused to apologize to Cambridge Police. Despite his attempts to justify his previous statement, it is still apparent that Obama’s responsibilities as President do not include criticizing local police for making a precautionary arrest. The threat of nuclear invasion from three countries seems like a more appropriate matter to address as President.
Brent Staples’ article was neither informative nor factual. The lack of facts about Professor Gates’ arrest and Obama’s remarks following the arrest made the article almost pointless. However, he made several points about racism that were pertinent to the case. He admits that racism is still a problem, and it will never just “vanish.” He also addresses the point that racism in America is no longer a force threatening enough to prevent any dream from coming true. African Americans dominate athletics, entertainment, and now the White House. He also insinuates that discrimination is just an excuse. His dramatic claims about racism are controversial, and not supported by fact. This dangerous combination may raise havoc in the media.

Bad Timing

Danie Frederickson
As harshly as Greenway accuses Obama for not achieving his hopes in the article, Bad Timing, the assumptions of failure may be rash. “So far, however, Obama has failed on two important fronts.” This statement is highly disagreeable. Failure happens when one throws in the towel before accomplishing their set goals. Obama has not thrown in the towel, stopped his meetings with Netanyahu or Saudi Arabia. It could be compromised on the fact that Obama has faced some hurdles on his way to the finish line, however to use the word failure is a destructive mindset on negotiations. Most negotiations, in fact, are not made without obstacles. Saudi Arabia has their own set of priorities as well as Palestine and without Obama in there influencing things could have gone down hill faster than we could comprehend it.

An element of stance in an op-ed is always admired, however is there a boundary in which something is done tastefully? In truth, the answer is yes. Greenways style of writing is meant to sway an audience to one end of the spectrum or another. While respecting this genius, I disagree. I felt his rights of free speech were taken a little too far with his accusations of failure toward the president of the United States. No, Obama has not had a super-hero-moment but that is not what this globe actually consists of. The media presents society with negatively glamorous shots of different political figures. When reality comes down to the nitty gritty that is not how the earth orbits.

Poor New Jersey

The article starts off by saying "once again it's time to look for the silver lining." The reader automatically knows this is sarcasm and therefore the article must be pointing out the mistakes that the people leading our country have made. Collins' main point is that there are a lot of mistakes and problems, but New Jersey is in the worst position. A corruption sweep in NewJersey caught three mayors, two state assemblymen, five rabbis and a guy running an organ-trafficking business using the population of Moldova. Of course this all leads into a mess of firing and imprisonment and so on. At the end of the article she quickly adds in a little humor that so far everyone still has their kidneys.

Collins' writes her article with sarcasm and humor. The reader can feel her laughing at who she is writing about, portraying them as idiots, and this makes it more interesting to read. Her view lightens things up and makes it less boring and serious, which is refreshing and needed once in a while. I like reading her articles because all of them seem to have this same theme of sarcasm and laughter about what mess the government is in this time and not many of the other columnists write this way.

One Giant Leap to Nowhere

This article is about the slow decline of NASA’s momentum of exploring additional planets once Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. The columnist, Tom Wolfe, was a child during the first lunar landing and explored Cape Canaveral after the landing. The man describes how the government was given an operation plan to take man to Mars as early as the 1950’s but the government would not approve it. During his tour at the Cape He discovered that his tour guide was actually a very special engineer who on the Apollo project. This man could not be replaced but he was laid off by the government once the landing occurred. Tom states that the whole team of scientist and engineers were being laid off because once the U.S beat the USSR to the moon, the government really did not care anymore about going farther beyond the moon. Tom describes how the government saw the space program as a military operation, not a scientific operation or exploration. He describes how the government was worried about the USSR being able to hurl down such as “thunderbolts” upon US cities and the US not being able to do anything about it. Tom is appalled how the US did little to advance space exploration once we reached the moon.

I find the information provided within the column is well written about NASA’s space program history and possible future. He provides many historical facts and personal experience to prove his opinion of NASA’s effort and enthusiasm on taking man pass the moon. He states the question about why they are this way, provides his opinion on why and backs it up thoroughly in his column. This is a example of how thorough his reasoning is and why his opinion is the way it is, “Physicists were quick to point out that nobody would choose space as a place from which to attack Earth. The spacecraft, the missile, the Earth itself, plus the Earth’s own rotation, would be traveling at wildly different speeds upon wildly different geometric planes” (Wolfe 1). You can see how thorough his information is and how much he researched this topic. Overall this was a very informative Op-Ed article and I found it interesting to read. Especially since the new rocket is going to replace the Space Shuttle to take man back to the moon sometime next year. This might mean that NASA is going to show more enthusiasm on taken man pass the moon someday.

Whirling Dervish Drivers

“Whirling Dervish Drivers”, an article by Maureen Dowd, focuses on America’s addiction to technology and the risks of driving while using this technology. Americans are addicted to cellphones and computers so much that they try to juggle them all simultaneously. Studies done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that there are “negligible differences” in accident risk whether you are holding the phone or not. The so-called safer hands-free devices may actually be more dangerous than holding the phone. Police in many states will pull you over if they see you using a cellphone that you’re holding to your ear. A recent study showed that drivers who talk on their cellphones are more likely to be in a crash and drive just as erratically as people with a 0.08% blood-alcohol level. The highway safety agency found that many drivers found it easier to drive drunk than to drive while using a phone, even if it’s hands-free. Dowd feels that states should outlaw drivers from talking on phones and using digital devices that cause you to swerve or drift. If it isn’t outlawed, she feels that there should be at least a $10,000 fine for getting in an accident while using a cellphone.

The issue of driving while on a cellphone has gotten the attention of Hollywood in more than one way. In Will Smith’s “Seven Pounds”, Smith ruins his perfect life when he uses his phone while driving and crashes into another car, killing six strangers and his fiancée. Tony Gilroy, screenwriter for the films “Michael Clayton” and “Duplicity”, was involved in a nightmarish accident when his cell-chatting taxi driver ran a red light and hit another car. Luckily, Gilroy only suffered a fractured rib and hip. The automobile companies are busy fueling America’s self-destructive cravings. One company, Ford, is developing a system that allows drivers to use phones, music players, and the Internet with voice commands and audible responses. Americans are so addicted to their technology that they are willing to risk their life and the lives of others just to answer a stupid message or phone call that could likely wait. The technology industry is like a drug dealer, creating social and economic pressure to stay in constant touch with everyone in our lives, and Americans are addicted.

A Lot Said, and Unsaid About Race

This past week, there was a lot of report on the “racial duel” between a white police officer Sgt. James Crowley and black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr. The “duel” began after Gates started yelling at Crowley, accusing him of racially profiling him, thus leaving the officer feeling vulnerable and Gates feeling victimized and insulted. When the story of what happened that night at Gates home is heard from both Gates and Crowley’s point of view, one would only become confused as to whose side of the story should be believed. In this Op-Ed article written by Judith Warner, one should learn that though racism is still prevalent in America, it is driven mostly on circumstances, and if Crowley and Gates had both been white, the scenario would not have gone as far as it did.

Warner’s straightforward and to the point writing style made her article very easy to read, and her fact based research was also interesting at the same time. I liked how Warner showed how Gates and Crowley’s testimonies contradicted one another by the way that she used direct quotes from their accounts of that night. Warner used the example of Crowley and Gates to show that the way we act is driven by many things including who we are as people, and who we are as people is in fact conditioned by our race.

In Alaska, Qiviters Never Win

The state of Alaska has had a very industrious past. However, the recent economic downfall has prompted some future problems in the arctic state. It's very difficult to maintain prosperity in Alaska and it becomes especially painstaking when the governor becomes a "qivit", or quits. Governor Sarah Palin had made many influential plans for Alaska. Evidently, the economy's decline halted those plans. Plans had been made to create a pipeline to increase oil productivity and in turn giving thousands of people jobs in this rough time. Time has passed and still no progress has been made, leaving the people who live there questioning whether or not the opportunity has passed.

William L. Iggiagruk Hensley, the author of this article, seems to be disappointed by ex-governor Palin's choices. He defends the state of Alaska by stating poverty, school drop out rates, and drug and alcohol abuse rates have risen. Hensley also mentions how Palin could have potentially helped the state but instead she abused her power by quitting in the middle of her term.

Drastic Times Call for Drastic Measures in the National Security Field

In his article, Micheal Hayden, previously director of the National Security Agency, and currently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, addresses criticism of the President’s Surveillance Program. He believes the program to be both lawful and necessary, solidifying his reasoning in layman’s terms so that the general public is capable of understanding. He brings forward the positive details of the inspectors general report, details often downplayed by critics in favor of those with a negative connotation. As a pivotal, high-ranking official of our nation's security and intelligence agencies, Hayden is highly qualified to communicate his knowledge of the subject. His opinion should be considered trustworthy and is worth an objective read-through by those who question the validity of the program.

Hayden did an admirable job of retaining an objective tone throughout his composition. In an editorial regarding a controversial topic, a somewhat detached feel is sometimes useful because angering people rarely succeeds in converting them to one’s beliefs. By reiterating the fact that all sides of the situation must be considered before forming a negative or hostile view on the program, he not only instills trust in readers and increases their undrestanding of the President’s Surveillance Program, but also encourages them to become better decision-makers concerning other contentious matters. Thus, reading the article can be beneficial to readers in many facets. As a result, I would recommend this editorial to those who strongly oppose the program or do not fully understand it, as it may be an effective eyeopener. Hayden’s choice to publish his opinion in the widely-read newspaper highlights the certainty of his beliefs and his eagerness to project them on a national level.

A Nation Hard to Short

A Nation Hard to Short was written by Roger Cohen, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times. Being this, he has much experience with the culture and tribulations of numerous countries. Addressing the bright New York City skylines as the sun rises; he recalls the hardships and celebrations of America. It seems that no matter how far our country has slipped behind, we always seem to catch up with ourselves and proceed to take strides to move forward and beyond. Following September 11th, the devastations that had occurred remained a reminder for years as buidlings and monuments needed care. We survived with the city looking just as beautiful as it was before, even with the void to remind us all the harshness of reality. Then the US economy started to take a turn, the percentage of unemployment shot straight up, and many industries and businesses were shut down. Even through this, Cohen reminds us that we progress each and every day; because that just seems to be the way this nation works.

I completely agree with Roger Cohen. The United States always seems to find a way to recover and be stronger than ever. Countries like Germany, who practically self destruct due to genocides and hatred, contain the power to stop, rethink and fix their issues. They may not be the best and the strongest countries,but they all learn from their mistakes and that just makes them stronger.I believe that even the lowest countries can make things work. It's human instinct to not repeat something that hurts them. America has had some issues, but we're still standing. Whether it's our fault or someone elses, we still need to have pride, move on, and repair whatever has been done.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Welcome to the ‘Club’

We have been hearing lots of news about our economic short-comings, but that is not to say that is the only thing happening in the world. Charles Blow refocuses our attention to some of our more local problems…racial discrimination. Blow wrote this article in response to the recent arrest of a Harvard professor…who was black. This discriminatory action by the legal system reminded Blow about his own experiences with the unjust justice system. Blow reveal to the readers that this kind of legal discrimination towards black people is not a unique circumstance and that it has been happening for decades if not centuries. Blow concludes with a touching narrative about his regrets that his children will have to face this kind of injustice in their lives.
The New York Times columnists all write arguments with cold hard facts backing them up. Blow wrote his article based on personal experience. I believe these types of writings have both a negative side and a positive side. Writing arguments solely based on personal experience could potentially make the argument bland. The author takes away room for opinions and replaces them with a universal truth, his truth. This creates a lot of bias in the writings that are based on experience. Though that is a severe downside to this kind of writing, but this type of writing is effective in that it allows the author to extract real organic evidence for whatever he or she is advocating. People tend to fully understands things after they experienced it firsthand.

Op-Ed Entry Five

Op-Ed Entry Five

Sarah Reichenbach

July 26, 2009

AP Language

Not a Victim, but a Hero

By: Nicholas D. Kristof

Published: July 25, 2006

Assiya Rafiq was only sixteen when she was kidnapped by a group of thugs who for endless years raped and beat her. Then one day they delivered her to the police. She finally thought that all of her suffering was over; but the four police officers that took in Assiya then took turns raping and beating her. In Assiya’s culture the next thing to do would then be to commit suicide “as [it’s] the only way to cleanse the disgrace for her entire family.” Alternatively, Assyia conjured up the courage to fight the abuse; she is currently trying to persecute both her kidnappers and the police even though she’s received threats against herself and her younger sisters. She’s doing this because she “...[doesn’t] want the same thing to happen to anybody else." Assiya isn’t the first person to have such courage. “In 2002 Mukhtar Mai, a young woman from a remote village in Meerwala was ganged raped on the orders of the village officals; she persecuted her attackers and used the compensation money to start a school.” Mukhtar is Assyai’s inspiration.

Assiya’s story started two years ago when a friend of the family sold her to two criminals who have family ties to prominent politicians. Those two men then spent the next two years raping and beating her. The men were linked to a gold robbery, so they struck up a deal with the police; for Assiya and a $625 bribe the police were going to pin the robbery on Assiya. While Assiya was there three police officers and the police chief beat and raped her over the course of the next two weeks. When Assiya’s family heard she was in jail they petitioned the bailiff to get her out, but the police hid Assiya and locked up her ten year old brother which they hoped would bully the family into backing off. The bailiff took bribes from both sides but in the end he let Assiya free. Furious more then shamed Assiya told her story to the Magistrate, who ordered a medical exam and an investigation. Her family is currently $2,500 in debt and has gone into hiding. Her family and life will never be the same but she’s standing up for herself. Assiya’s mother, Iqbal Mai said, “ At first [ I ] had prayed that God not give poor families daughters, but then [ I ] changed [my] mind, God should give poor people daughters like Assiya who will fight.”

To give Mr. Kristof his credit he wrote a fair article on a sincerely stunning act of heroism. Though if I remember correctly if we’ve written a blog post on a columnist previously we’re allowed to comment on the actual article; well I’d like to take that opportunity. For whatever reason this article has inspired so much love in my heart for Assiya Rafiq and her family. Probably because I feel like too many acts of violence much like this are committed not just all over the world but here in America as well. Though instead of standing up for themselves and taking a stand for the respect they deserve girls and woman a like just suffer with the pain or kill themselves. I can’t even begin to imagine how horrific an experience like that must be, but despite the threats on herself and family Assyia has found the courage to stand up and fight. She shows a kind of courage I don’t think I’ve heard of in a very long time. With the princess complex that many girls of my age have (the idea that they need to be saved buy a dashing prince on a great white stallion) it’s refreshing to see something so magnificent. I simply couldn’t read this article and then write about how the style and tone of Mr. Nicholas D. Kristof was simply smashing because it’s not the writing of the article that makes this story so awe-inspiring it’s Assyia Rafiq and her courage that does that all on it’s own.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Whirling Dervish Drivers

Op-Ed #5

Since their inception, cell phones have been considered a driving distraction and danger. Several states have passed legislation which bans drivers from using cell phones. However, headsets have been considered safe alternatives for cell phone use by these state governments and the general public. New research, which had been mysteriously withheld for years, released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that headsets are just as dangerous as cell phones, implying that conversation is the real distracter. Maureen Dowd explains how dangerous cell phone use is by drivers, and also contends that cell phone use while driving may just be an example of a bigger problem in America. Many Americans, including Dowd herself, are addicted to technology, which is probably a bigger problem than most are willing to admit. Constantly checking email messages, voicemails, and, to a relatively new extent, Twitter are simply signs of a technology obsession. Dowd compares this addiction to a drug addiction, highlighting its severity, and that mainstream America’s “drug suppliers” are technology companies constantly creating new ways to stay connected. Dowd also asserts that many Americans believe they can multitask better than in actuality, which also leads to traffic accidents.

Dowd uses the frightening comparison of technology and dangerous drugs to explain exactly how reliant Americans are on various forms of technology. Dowd also uses a personal experience to warn of the dangers of multitasking while driving. She admits her fault while driving, and her meek promise to never use a cell phone while driving again, which she broke. Dowd’s experience provides an anecdote to which other readers can relate, and she uses other personal stories from her friends to prove her point. While her opinion is the general consensus across the country, Dowd’s piece serves as a kind of public service announcement with witty comparisons and pop culture connections. These lighter elements do not detract from her message, however, which is powerful enough to make even the most technology-addicted person hang up the phone while driving. Dowd accomplishes her goal in writing an op-ed which presents the horrifying dangers of driving while using a cell phone, and is memorable enough to serve as a reminder every time a person enters his vehicle.

Lost in the Cloud

Lost in the Cloud was written by Jonathan Zittrain who is a law professor at Harvard. He has much experience with saving data on a computer. Being a professor, he would have to grade papers and have much of his work saved on a computer. He explains that recently Google has created a new program called Chrome. Its a data base where instead of saving things on your PC, it would save everything in Google Chrome, also known as the cloud. " With your stuff in the cloud, it’s not a catastrophe to lose your laptop, any more than losing your glasses would permanently destroy your vision." Many people have been too depended on their electrical devices. Computers and data bases can crash at anytime, it is always good to have a back up.

I agree with Jonathan Zittrain completely. I cant tell you how many times my computer has crashed. Just recently when turning this Open-Ed in, my computer decided to freeze and not save. Sometimes I feel like technology is getting way ahead of itself. I feel like we should always have a back up and somethings can be done like they were done "back in the day". We should also not be so depended. Technology should be looked at as a blessing or privilege not a need.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Evil Spirits

Brittany Liebenow

Mr. Glenn

AP Language

27 July 2009

5th Response

“Evil Spirits” is a compelling article by op-ed contributor James Abourezk challenging a major problem in our nation. This problem is alcohol abuse. In “Evil Spirits,” Abourezk specifically attacks President Roosevelt’s decision to abolish the buffer zone on the Great Sioux Reservation. Alcohol industries and politicians Abourezk tried to contact in the past say that the lack of a buffer zone does no harm to the community. Abourezk wittily shows that unless providing alcoholics and bootleggers with what they crave is harmless, these politicians and alcohol industries clearly do not see what is in the best interest of the reserve. Once Abourezk gives the alcohol facts in numbers, however, the readers faithfully believe in his side of the story. Four liquor stores in the small area of Whiteclay to support a whopping 24 people. Abourezk also notes that nothing good has come of removing the buffer zone besides monetary gain for the alcohol companies. In fact, the only things that continue to rise are family abuse and crimes.

This article is short, but, as Mr. Glenn once said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” Abourezk definitely tries his best to prove Mr. Glenn right; each sentence has an obvious purpose, and no fluffy words appear to try to coax the reader. Abourezk gets straight to the point with every argument using past experiences and valuable data to support his arguments. He also does an excellent job of mixing tear-jerking evidence of abuse with indisputable and number-based evidence. Creating an even feeling throughout his article, Abourezk writes his paragraphs all at about the same length. He also uses differing sentence structures but never uses any sort of long, overdone sentences. His vocabulary matches his paragraphs and sentences; he uses an educated but not showy selection of words. Abourezk’s literary style compliments his structured ideas creating a strong and convincing article, “Evil Spirits.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chrome vs. Bing vs. You and Me


Nick Jeon

The constant war between Microsoft and Google is not what it looks like at first glance. We see constant updates from both sides as they try to one-up the other. Yet, what is their true motivation? Contrary to popular belief, these guys aren't branching off to Bing and Google Chrome to make money directly off of it. For instance, Google gives Chrome away, so why bother? It is "to keep Microsoft on its toes". Google is afraid that Microsoft will do something one day that will devestate it, such as "accidently" disabling the google search engine on all microsoft computers and taking forever to fix it. This would cost Google billions of dollars. So Google keeps Microsoft on the defensive by introducing "new" technology. Although this technology is indeed creative and the competition helps us reach greater heights, Mr. Cringely hypothesizes that we would get further in technology if we stopped competiting pointlessly.

Mr. Cringley's argument make seem to make sense, but he never goes to explain how competition does not lead to innovation. His only argument was that Google and Microsoft should have "more guts". The competition between the two has led to faster browsers and more efficiency in our lives. History has proven that competition leads to more efficiency. When the countries around the world started to innovate during the Industrial Revolution and create more efficient machines, would Mr. Cringley criticize innovation then?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Flash of Memory

A Flash of Memory was written by Issey Miyake. She is a Japanese clothing designer but her article was about much more. She explained how in April of this year President Obama eliminated nuclear weapons. He declares that he wants peace without these harmful weapons. Issey Miyake agrees completely. When hearing about President Obama's speech, "a flash of memory" hit her. "On Aug. 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb was dropped on my hometown, Hiroshima. I was there, and only 7 years old. When I close my eyes, I still see things no one should ever experience: a bright red light, the black cloud soon after, people running in every direction trying desperately to escape — I remember it all. Within three years, my mother died from radiation exposure." I believe no one should go through that kind of torture.

When reading about Issey's experience, I agree with President Obama with vanishing these nuclear weapons. Most nuclear weapons do unnecessary damage. For example, Issey's mom, she didn't have to die in this situation. If the weapons was weaker, more lives would have been saved. I personally believe no weapons should be used. In no way should anyone be harmed because its not our right to declare who lives or dies. That decision is not in our hands.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two-Legged Motors for the New Motor City?

Toby Barlow proposes that as the legacy of Detroit's automobile industry crumbles, a new one- similar but distinct- may rise from the ashes. With the absence of gaz-guzzling, fast-moving, ozone-depleting cars in the city streets, an older form of transportation, the bicycle, has room to make a comeback. Barlow believes that the city is a potential hotspot for cyclists based on its ideal geography and recent drop in the number of cars. This adds up to safety, convenience, and overall enjoyment for hobbyists, not to mention a "greener" place to live. In the future, Bartow hopes that bicycle transportation in Detroit might exceed hobby status and become a way of life. Despite these dreamy propositions, I don't personally believe that Detroit is capable of such a 180 degree spin based on population drops and crime rates. If this bicycle enthusiast wishes to promote such major change, he should seek help in places other than the Op-Ed column of the newspaper: within the city council, with local law enforcement, and perhaps even with a tourism agency.

Although I have doubts of the impact this article will have on turning Detroit around, I cannot deny the artistic writing of the author. He began his piece with a personal story, instilling interest and a sense of connection in the reader. Throughout the passage, clever metaphors and witty remarks come into play, not only retaining reader interest, but also gently persuading in favor of his cause. By the end of the article, I am convinced that his ideas, albeit far-fetched, have some validity. Most of all, the article presents readers with hope that Detroit isn't falling forever, maybe just experiencing metamorphosis. My favorite parts of the article are the last two sentences because they are powerful while still containing humor and a sense of irony. Because the author ends his piece on this good note, readers are left with a positive take on his views.

Would You Let This Girl Drown?

Humanitarian aid is an increasingly popular topic in the media today, with every celebrity seeming to support their own cause. In his op-ed piece, Nicholas Kristof analyzes the dynamics of humanitarian aid at both the world and personal levels. At the G-8 summit, world leaders discuss a variety of topics, one of the most prevalent being humanitarian aid. Some countries present at the summit, including the U.S. and Canada, have already met their donation targets for 2010, but others, including France and Italy, have come up short in their pledges. Kristof suggests that if these same world leaders witnessed a drowning girl there would be a unanimous desire to offer help. This same concept is then explored in the average citizen. Kristof asserts that people would be more likely to donate to a cause when a single person is the benefactor than if they are donating to a large-scale cause, such as finding a cure for malaria. He then offers reasons for this phenomenon which range from ineffective “advertising” by humanitarian groups to the degree of personal responsibility. In the latter rationale, Kristof contends that people will feel more compelled to donate to a cause if they feel that they are the only ones who hold responsibility.

Kristof backs up his explanations with study results conducted by universities. In one such study, an overwhelming majority of bystanders helped an injured individual when they were the only witness. However, when more than one person was present, the number of Good Samaritans decreased to less than ten percent. Because of these study results from reputable institutions, Kristof’s argument is convincing. Kristof’s reasoning eventual boils down to an ultimate cause: human nature. His writing also follows a logical procession, and at the end offers his suggestions for increasing humanitarian contributions. The G-8 summit, currently being held in Italy, is Kristof’s apparent motive for writing this piece, but his conclusions are timeless and will still be appropriate and pertinent years from now. The importance of humanitarian aid is intensified, as Kristof uses shocking statistics of the impact of human aid rather than the usual depressing statistics proving why aid should be given.

A Homespun Safety Net

Op-Ed columnist, Barbara Ehrenreich, has come to the conclusion that the current economic conditions of the United States has been a test of the American safety net. Ehrenreich believes that what has happened to the government as a result of the recession can be compared to what happened to the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina. Ehrenreich uses a story of a lower class American family who found themselves out of work and on the brink of poverty to explain how the government was ill-prepared for such a huge recession.

Ehrenreich does a good job using a great deal of examples to emphasize her point that though the government can “talk the talk”, they can’t “walk the walk”. Ehrenreich’s arguments are very factual and to the point. Instead of just writing from her own point-of-view, she uses direct quotes and incorporates a story into the article which, in turn, supports her firm stance in the argument. Though most political writers only look at the big picture, Ehrenreich’s chose to dig deep and cover a real life story about things that most people and politicians choose to ignore.

Is America like a Frog?

Krugman compares American to frog in the sense that it never realizes the danger it's in while the water is heating and is eventually boiled alive. Creeping disasters are what we are facing these days and as of now we are just sitting while the water is getting hotter. We face disasters in both the economic and environmental realms. While economics are pointing to a second wind of the Great Depression the environmental points towards a total catastrophe in climate change. Krugman points out that climate change is "a creeping threat", the catastrophe will not be apparents for a while and then it will be too late. It's puzzling why the country won't take action when the president and the Congressional leadership now exactly what is happening.
Krugman uses this article as a "here's what's happening, what are you doing to fix it?" article. His analogy of boiling a frog gets across his hopelessness and view of the country's future.It is also a nice visual for the reader.He has a nice balance of facts and opinion.He ends the article by stating he doesn't know the solution, making the reader think about how they themselves might fix it, and again showing his hopelessness.

The Way We Love Now

Brittany Liebenow

Mr. Glenn

AP Language Arts

13 July 2009

4th Response

In “The Way We Love Now,” Ross Douthat reveals how, despite the public’s love of scandalous romance, responsibilities and pressures drain today’s relationships of spark and compassion. Douthat uses examples from two different essayists, Cristina Nehring and Tsing Loh. Although these women have different points to make about dying love in today’s society, they both trace it back to pressure on families causing the love to seep out of relationships. While this is true on many levels, Douthat also makes an excellent and shockingly true distinction between the upper and lower classes regarding relationships. Although upper class citizens seem to support wild and reckless love, they tend to be more conservative with their own relationships. The lower class, on the other hand, tends to indulge in wild relationships and have many more children. Douthat uses these two points to prove an excellent realization. Upper class citizens who could benefit from having a more reckless love life do not, and lower class citizens who could benefit from being more conservative about their love lives do not. In essence, Ross Douthat argues that relationships may not be living up to peoples’ expectations because of the expectations of love and relationships already established in social classes.

Ross Douthat does a good job of arguing his points by using the outside opinions of well-known essayists. Without these examples, however, I find that his ideas do not make much sense. Even while reading through the second and third time, I find myself having to refer back to the first few paragraphs where the examples begin. This is also fairly difficult because I believe that Douthat could have done a better job of not making those first few paragraphs so complicated and jam-packed. His sentences are long and filled with rich vocabulary, but, because of all the different examples he throws in, the vocabulary does more to confuse than impress the reader. The structure of this article was also very hard to follow. Douthat seems to be so excited with his ideas that he forgets to organize his thoughts in an understandable way. The tone in this essay was not very strong. From what I could gather, Douthat uses an ironic tone. Although this tone is slight, Douthat supports it well by pointing out that love among different social classes today is very ironic.

Boiling the Frog

In the article “Boiling the Frog”, Paul Krugman uses the metaphor of a boiled frog to represent a serious problem America is facing. That problem is the difficulty of responding to disasters that creep up on you a bit at a time. The boiled frog refers to the proverbial frog that when placed in a pot of cold water that is gradually heated never realizes the danger it’s in until it is boiled alive. Krugman asks “Is America on its way to becoming a boiled frog?” Our nation is constantly facing disasters these days and the recent policy actions take a substantial amount of time to have their full effect. Using the example of the economy, Krugman explains how the Obama stimulus plan wasn’t as strong as it should have been, therefore, all the signs are pointing to a “jobless recovery”. According to economic forecasters, we need another round of stimulus to help pull the economy out of its deep hole. Now that the free fall is over, all sense of urgency has vanished.

Along with the economy, another major problem is climate change. The rise in temperatures could completely disrupt life as we know it, if we continue on our present path. Climate change is a creeping threat that won’t be apparent for decades, but, if we wait to act until the crisis is obvious, catastrophe will already be inevitable. The alarming thing is that so little is happening when the political situation seems to be favorable to action. It is clear that the government understands the environmental and economic issues perfectly well but they are unwilling to put plans into action to fight off disaster. If we don’t fix the problems now, America could be like the boiled frog, not realizing its danger until it is too late.

Trials By Firefighters

The controversy over the New Haven multiple choice standardized testing firefighters are put through has reached a new level of chaos. Lani Guiner and Susan Strum forcefully expressed their opinions of the standardized test in the article “Trial By Firefighters”. Which, not only does the test decide which firefighter is ready for a promotion, the results have had consistently polar results when it comes to a white or a minority. Recently, the Supreme Court ruled for the test needing to stay in effect to help add rigor to the promotion expectations by using book smarts. With this a new question arises, if firefighters are mainly using street smarts and problem solving on the job, why would it be necessary to test them with book smarts to account for sixty percent of their promotional scorings? By using common sense and logic, one would come to the conclusion that it doesn’t. Standardized testing may have worked at some point in history however, with a fast paced society around, it contradicts most tools you need in life to be successful. Firefighters should not be tested at all with book knowledge. Doing this would eliminate the races getting treated differently and even the playing fields. This is not to say however, that firefighters should not have some sort of mental challenge. Firefighters need to be tested by problem solving under pressure in addition to tests done about the city, with various facts about the buildings included.

“Trials By Firefighter” feels as if the authors are trying to control your opinions bluntly. It is obvious that Guiner and Strum feel strongly about the issue, so much so that in many instances it felt as if they were fighting for a couple different issues instead of just focusing in on one and really going at it. At times throughout the article, it was a struggle to differentiate whether they were fighting because the tests were racist, illogical, or unneeded. The most troubling part as a reader comes with the last line, “In so doing, city officials demonstrate that their decisions are wiser than the Supreme Court’s.” In adding this last line to their article, it opened a whole new can of worms. Was the article talking about the issues within the test the whole time or was it trying, and epically failing, to make the reader realize the Supreme Court serves no actual justice when the city makes better judgment calls anyways?

Obama's Big Missile Test

Op Ed #4

Obama’s Big Missile Test
By Philip Taubman

A world without nuclear weapons is believed to be a world without war. This assertion has been made hypothetically for the past decade, yet it is only now within our reach. President Obama recently outlined a plan in Prague that might make this peaceful vision a reality. Many struggle, however, calling this vision, “peaceful.” Philip Taubman, author of the article Obama’s Big Missile Test, questions the validity of Obama’s attempts to remove all nuclear weapons off the face of the earth as well as whether or not his attempts are peaceful at all. His response to President Obama’s arms reduction is not stated plainly, yet the evidence he offers and the intended tone of the article reflect a negative stance on the issue. Taubman emphasizes how Obama has very little support from Congress and the Pentagon, and his influence on the periodic Nuclear Posture Review, a handbook issued by the Pentagon that regulates nuclear production, must be hindered. Taubman continues to stress that a world without nuclear weapons is not a peaceful world. A large nuclear stock has in previous years been an intimidation factor, especially during the Cold War. The United States has one of the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenals in the world, which despite the current economic turmoil has kept countries such as North Korea and Iran from taking over. Removing this arsenal would be devastating to not only our homeland security, but to the security of the world. Obama’s arms reduction plan seems irrational to Democrats and Republicans alike, and puts the well- being of our country at risk. His plan is raising concern to the public who are now wondering whose side Obama is on.
Although Philip Taubman did not openly state his opinion in the article, it can easily be inferred by his tone that he was concerned about the issue and disagreed with Obama’s plan. The article was well written and factual, and contained no opinionated statements. Taubman did, however, use factual evidence to reveal his opinion. A note at the bottom of the article stated that Philip Taubman is a consulting professor at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His position there seems to parallel with his perspectives on international security. His position also adds validity to his claims, because he must be knowledgeable about international security to work in that field. Taubman makes his opinion visible also by making slight jabs at Obama. He hints at Obama’s apparent lack of experience in foreign affairs, and mocks his vision of a world with no nuclear weapons. The article presents Obama as almost naïve. Each comment directed toward President Obama was, however, backed by fact.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Human Equation

As many of you may know; Obama is pressing to pass another stimulus. The whole country is impatiently watching and waiting for this so-called elixir for our economy. Even the economic experts of our nation are calling the end to this recession imminent. Amidst this optimism, Bob Herbert calls for a reconsideration of this euphoric attitude and reveals that an economic recovery is far more difficult than simply passing a few plans. What Herbert concentrated on was employment. He argues that Obama’s stimulus and other economic plans are all missing the “human element”, which is to say that they all ignore the importance and the severity of the unemployment rates. He also argues that the stimulus allocates too little to address this employment problem. Ultimately, Herbert wants the nation to reassess its approach to this economic recession and put employment as one of its top issues. He believes that joblessness is the main obstacle to economic recovery.
I believe Herbert makes a very good point in addressing the lack of positive results from Obama’s economic plans. I thought he does a really good job in pointing out the problem and offering a solution. He first supports his claim with statistics and then he explains why these statistics are important. He states that unemployment rates are important because a healthy economy needs people driving it. He also offers a solution to the problem; This solution he calls “rebuilding America”. In this proposal, Herbert affirms that the government should conduct programs that would get jobless people simple jobs such as repairing, designing, etc. Overall my beliefs are along with that of Herbert’s. I also believe that our economic problem could not be solved b just giving money to the free market, but rather it should be solved by getting people back into the free market.

Op-Ed Entry Four

Sarah Reichenbach

Op - Ed Entry Four

July 12, 2009

AP Language

Clean, Sexy Water

By: Nicholas D. Kristoff

Published: July 11, 2009

Even when he was left with nothing Scott Harrison truly gave back. A few years ago Scott Harrison wasn't a man who cared about anything but himself; but now he's running his own million dollar charity. While on a trip to South America he under went a spiritual crisis and decided to really give a helping hand. Mr. Harrison volunteered as a photographer for Mercy Ships,his experience while working with a boy who had a tumor that was literally suffocating him effected Mr. Harrison so much he decided to start a charity that would give clean water to the people that need it most. The charity does more than just give drinking water to these people, though. They supply latrines, they teach people how to wash their hands (which cuts back on forty-five percent of diseases), and the clean water helps keep children in school that would normally spend all day fetching clean water for their families. This charity makes sure every dollar donated goes straight to helping the cause. Mr. Harrison can make sure this happens because he uses his 500 most committed donors to covering all administrative cost. Mr. Harrison also is working on a way to show every single person (no matter how small their donation) how their donations help. He hopes to have a website up in september that using google earth will allow them to see how their money is helping these people. In three years Charity Water has managed to raise ten million dollars due to this marketing genius who uses the lastest social networking to get the message out about Charity Water. Charity Water is more than just a helping hand, the people behind Charity Water change lives.

The first article of Kristoff's that I read left me unsure of his ability to write consistently on one topic and make it interesting; with the article "Clean, Sexy Water" the title and the article are a hit and they're both intriguing. "Clean, Sexy Water" was brilliantly informative. The start of the article has a great pace; it sets the tone of the piece by appealing to the everyday audience and then switches the tone to a more enlightening earthy feel. Kristoff does a great job of explaining the charity, why the charity was started, the marketing, and how you can be a part of it. It's an article that will make you want to help Scott Harrison, his eleven employees, and his many volunteer workers. Kristoff writes about an extraordinary cause started by a man who had it all, lost it all, and got in all back again in the name of charity. This is a truly spectacular article.

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

This opinion editorial was different than most I had read. Firstly, the author seemed to have very little, if any, purpose for writing this editorial. Also, the article truly intrigued me. He described how the legend lived on after the death of superstar Elvis Presley and how he believes Michael Jackson will similarly follow in his footsteps. The author also went on to describe how ironically they are related by marriage; Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson uniting the two legendary men.

I believe the author may have wanted to compare and contrast the two legend's deaths. They are, and will be, very similar characters in history. Although they came from two very different musical and ethnic backgrounds, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley will be legends in the music and entertainment industry for a very long time. After his death, Elvis's manager was quoted saying, it's not the end. Likewise, Michael Jackson left over 200 tracks left unpublished. Even though Michael was a legend, he still has some very large shoes to fill if he is going to upstage Elvis.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Op Ed 4

When Gail Collins wrote her column Michael, a Foreign Affair, Michael Jackson had just passed away less than two weeks before. Beginning by mocking CNN, Collins catches her readers' attention, and more than likely angers them. Collins' satirical comments about Jackson's death may be true, but are not necessary to say so soon. Whenever someone famous dies, the media is instantly involved, reporting on new controversies and rumors with no remorse. Collins is right when she pokes fun at Jackson's dermatologist and a few that spoke at his funeral, but everyone gets carried away, especially when there's money and attention involved. 
Collins acts far more superior than the all other reporters, writing about how she would do things differently if in charge, and acts as if Jackson's death had absolutely no affect on her. While her point about the Foreign Affairs Committee is completely valid, Collins needs to chill. Her article will do nothing to slow the Jackson mania that has overtaken the media, and, if anything, generate more publicity for those seeking it by becoming involved in Jackson's memorial. Jackson was incredibly famous, but his death, like all others, will soon cease to be a money making news story, and Collins needs to sit back and wait for that day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

No Recovery in Sight

We are all aware of the ills of our current economic environment. There is no doubt right now that America is in a recession. Even in this bad situation, politicians tell us that the recession is going to end soon. Though these words serve to relieve our stresses, Bob Herbert takes us out of that fantasy and reveals the reality of the situation. Herbert claims that the economy is even worse than what it was forecasted to be; with the unemployment rate skyrocketing. He also claims that even if the economy is to recover, this recession has already left a permanent damage to our society by cutting employment to young Americans. In this article, Herbert argues that politicians are ignoring these daunting statistics and that these facts should be held with more importance.
Other than a few more fact to exploit the flaws of our economic structure, there is really not much I could say in response to Herbert’s argument. I agree with all of his negative remarks about our economy. Herbert uses qualified statistics and historical evidence to support his position. He also accompanies these facts with recent events and findings. I believe Herbert does a great job in affirming his point of view. I would suggest that he puts more statistic and facts to support his arguments. Our nations debt was over trillions back in 2008 before the recession. As our employment rate is decreasing, our wealth gap is increasing; more money is going towards those that are already rich and less is going to those that need it. Our middle class is diminishing meaning that even after the recession the poor does not have a bridge to obtain wealth. All these issues are challenges that are not explicitly addressed by the federal government that I believe could have made Herbert’s argument that much more effective.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Op-ed Article #4

This week’s article is about a boy who grew up without a dad. On a trip to India, he happened to see his father on TV and set up a meeting. After 27 years of life, he finally got to meet his father when they met in a hotel lobby. This was very interesting to read because a son usually benefits from having a father figure in his life. I am pleased to hear that the writer grew up successfully and has a great life but I know it must have been hard for him to do this. I know this when Jason, the columnist, states, “My mother struggled to raise my younger brother and me on her own; in one way or another we always got by without our father” (Burnett 1). It would be very interesting to witness a reunion of a father and son after 27 years of separation. There would be so many questions to be asked between them. It is a wonderful thing that Jason found his father but it would have been better if his father was in his life more often. He should have kept in touch and helped raise Jason instead of leaving it all up to Jason’s mother to handle it. On the other hand, since he had the inclination to run away, he might have been a terrible father and Jason may have actually turned out worse.

Jason uses a descriptive language to show his feelings. His feelings end up being completely different from what he expected. I found it interesting how he thought all the questions he had for his father from his childhood were no longer important because they had been answered for him. Jason realized that he was not searching for a father and did not have many expectations which were also interesting and unexpected. Rather, he wanted to know who this man really was rather than some mythical figure he had made up. He also realized that the closure he thought his father would provide already existed from his mother and brother. This was totally unexpected on my part.

He describes his feelings and thoughts clearly and descriptively for the reader. His writing provides an understanding of the emotions involved in his long quest to find his father and how this meeting relieves him from this burden allowing him to move on in his life. Over all, Jason wrote a very informative column about his dramatic and emotional experience meeting his father after growing up without him in his life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Dirty War Against Clean Coal

The fight to end the usage of coal has been a long one. Tedious research and inventions have been made in search of clean burning fuel. Recently, the quest to find such resources has become necessary to our environment and health. Obama has been working to make his cap - and - trade proposal work, which would lower greenhouse gas emissions. The Bush administration had started a plan called FutureGen. FutureGen would eliminate greenhouse gases completely. However, this plan has been under construction since 2003 and citizens hopes are growing weary. Financial aid has been cancelled for the plan because it would have cost billions of dollars to carry out.

In the opinion of the author, FutureGen was better being cancelled. His article states his opinion that the government is good at brainstorming for ideas on a small scale but when it comes to big projects, such as FutureGen, they often have trouble. The FutureGen idea, according to the author and many others, is not a well thought out one. The nickname for the project has become "NeverGen" because it has taken so long and the creators are losing inspiration as well as finanicial aid. Also, the author feels because coal is used as half the fuel source of the world, an invention such as FutureGen is impossible because you can't simply rely on wind, solar, and water power when they only make up two percent of our fuel source.

The Dirty War Against Clean Coal

-Nick Jeon

3rd post

The White House is recycling one of their previous ideas: clean coal energy, a technology that has already been developed. The Bush Administration had canceled financing, but this month, the Energy Secretary Steven Chu brought this project back to life – though the cost might go into the billions. According to Mr. Easterbrook, FutureGen was better off canceled – he cites multiple examples of government failure at commercial-scale alternative energy, including The Synthetic Fuels Corporation and the MOD-5B. This technology would turn coal into a gas like natural gas, which would lead to almost zero emissions, require about a third of the coal, and produce the same amount of energy. General Electric for Duke Energy is being created in Indiana, but a lot of states are refusing to allow these plants to be built. Mr. Easterbrook speculates that the reason Virginia rejected the plant was due to the monetary reasons, but he claims that it will pay for itself as Obama’s cap-and-trade would tax carbon. According to the author, renewable energy cannot possibly grow enough for us to replace coal as it is too much of our power supply. So we should start building new and improved coal plants instead of doing nothing and waiting for FutureGen to figure it out.

Mr. Easterbrook makes a good analysis on the direction that we should take in alternative energy. Yet, he makes a mistake when declaring our addiction to coal unbreakable. He explains that solar and other sources of energy cannot replace out need of coal. Yet, there are other forms of alternative energy out there that are also sitting on the shelf. For example, NASA has developed a technology called space-based solar power. By shooting up satellites with huge arrays of solar panels into space, and beaming the energy back down to earth using microwave technology, we could solve the world’s global energy crisis. Some scientists believe that this technology can fuel the entirety of the US. Working to make coal a little cleaner is nice, but we should shoot for the stars.