Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Op-Ed Entry SIx

Sarah Reichenbach
Op - Ed Entry Six
August 11,2009
AP. Language

Can You Eat in Bed?
By: Maureen Dowd
Published: August 1,2009

Nora Ephron is the current director of the big screen movie “Julie & Julia.” Nora Ephron is a “competent cook” herself and in this interview with Maureen Dowd they discuss the importance of food in life. She reveals that the only reason 21 Century Fox previous owner Joe Roth only let her make the movie “Julie & Julia” because “[She] told him exactly what to order (the cabbage borscht, which [he found] delicious).” When asked “Do couples that cook together stay together?” she declares “No. I have cooked with men I am no longer married to.” Nora Ephron is candid and straight forward in her interview. She promotes cooking and food as more than an ingredient to life; but rather the main course.
Maureen Dowd does a fantastic job of asking questions that lets you get to know Nora Ephron better and gets you answers to lingering questions you might from her previous interviews. The interview is light, entertaining, and rather humorous so much so that you even find that you silently chuckle to yourself. Maureen Dowd always finds a way to write interesting articles even when it’s an interview. She rarely, ever fails to show how brilliant she is and in this interview she far from fails. Maureen Dowd is a wonderfully marvelous writer and this interview is a laid back read.

Is it now a Crime to be Poor?

The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. At least, that's what it looks like. There has been an increased enforcement of the law against the poor and the homeless. This includes things like "loitering" and sleeping under bridges. Of course, the police justify by saying that they would arrest rich people that slept under bridges as well. One man, named Mr. Szekely, had to go to jail because he had once slept outside on the streets, even though he was in a shelter when they arrested him. Not only did that traumatize him, but it also made him lose his spot, and now he sleeps outside the Verizon Center sports arena. Why is this the case? It's sort of a "fundraiser" to help with the economic downturn in the city. While the city gains a tiny bit of cash, innocent people, including people who weren't poor before, are going through an endless cycle of poverty and destitution.

The writer speaks informally by addressing the reader as "you" and adding personal anecdotes. She does not bother going through flowery language and gives us her message through the quotes of others. Her mode of persuasion is through witty comments while going through statistics. She persuades us through an appeal to pathos; she explains the situation of the poor and the undeserving. Ehrenreich also makes it clear that it could be the reader that also falls into this death cycle.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Danie Frederickson
North Korea’s Nuclear Blackmail by: Henry A. Kissinger
Kissinger’s article points out the obvious contradicting messages being sent by the United States of Americas’ government. It is agreed upon that American citizens travel live across the globe, none of them are in harms way. With the bargain made with North Korea, foreign policies could easily hold hostage any citizen and get their way as long as they have enough nuclear weapons developed to destruct billions of lives. This specific instigation should be a worry for the American government. The government is inadvertently persuading cultures to create more bombs that are perceived to be threatening if they were to capture U.S citizens.
My personal taste of writing does not find this article sweet in any manor. The article lacks in substance and facts of the previous event. Furthermore, it fails to explain the significance behind Kissinger’s arguments. In spite of the intensity of a hostage situation, Kissinger weasels his opinions into downplaying the importance of a super-hero government.

Averting the Worst

In this article, Paul Krugman relieves the public by stating the chances of an economic depression are gone. Sure, Krugman does concede that the economy is doing really poorly still, but he still substantiates his claims with evidence. First is that the financial panic in 2008 is nowhere near as severe as the one in the 1930s. This is significant because it proves that although consumer confidence declined it did not decline to the point of a depression. Second, and one of the biggest reasons, is that the government played a much bigger role in helping the economy now than they did back then. Policies such as the toxic assets, stimulus, and bail outs are all examples of government involvement that was not there during the Great Depression until the presidency of FDR.
Krugman writes with very convincing evidence and distinctions, but I believe there are other contributing factors that made the impacts of this recession much less devastating than the Great Depression. First, is that economics have became an international business. International trade and economic relations allow countries to help each other out. Second, is that this recession deals only with economic, while the depression of the 30s dealt with far more problems. The distinction between a recession and depression is that depression is defined by the lack of production and more towards the material wealth of a nation. Back in 1930s the dust bowl and many factory close downs resulted in depression. None of that is happening now.

G.D.P. R.I.P.

Economy, economy, economy; it's all we talk about and it's all we hear about. But what is telling us that the economy is in such a terrible state? In a recent Op-Ed entry in the New York Times, Eric Zencey, a professor of historical and political studies, discusses the mechanism used to measure the economy. Gross Domestic Product, or G.D.P., is what the nation relies on to tell us what the economy is like. If someone buys a bar of soap at Walmart, the economy becomes more stable. But if someone takes a twenty five minute shower, the economy starts to shake a little. Seems simple, right? There isn't any problem here... Wrong. In the article, Zencey discusses that the G.D.P. should be extinct with the dinosaurs. Claiming there are so many gaps in the system, he explains the multiple reasons why. Things like volunteer work, child bearing, and quality of life aren't being measured. If someone spends their last dollars on cans of soup, it doesn't mean that the economy is benefitting from it. If that person goes and throws the cans of soup at his or her neighbors house, the people living next door's quality of life is decreasing. The economy consists of many things that the mechanism doesn't take into consideration.
I agree with Eric Zencey. The way we measure the economy isn't the best. People using more 'green' ways or doing things themselves are not registering to the progress. It isn't being noticed at all. But all of these life choices are good for everything. If there is a positive effect of an action, and it isn't being recognised, then the choice of measurement is extremely off. On the other hand, I see no way how something like hanging your clothes out to dry instead of using a dryer, can be measured. Who would even know and how would they find out? They wouldn't. So even though the process is inaccurate, it's realistic.

Is It Now a Crime to be Poor?

Due to the economic recession, poverty has become a major growing issue in America recently. More and more people are finding themselves filing bankruptcy, losing jobs, and more importantly losing hope. As Americans, always striving to move onward and upward, we may find ourselves looking down on people who are homeless or who are feeding their families with government aid. However, when did such issues actually become illegal? With the government being as unreliable as it is, you would think the officials would take into consideration those factors. People everyday are being thrown into the streets. While it is directly the government's fault, they find the need to arrest people begging for money and sleeping on sidewalks.

The author of this opinion editorial seemed very dismayed by the news she received before writing the article. Her voice seemed disappointed in her country's government and I don't blame her. I personally agree with the article because you would imagine that in such a time of need the government would feel even the slightest bit of sympathy. However, that is not the case. In my opinion, I believe President Obama should be rallying for people's support because even though he won the election, many people are still against him. A good and beneficial way for him to gain respect and leadership value to Americans would be to give some people a break. In the article, the author mentions a Vietnam war veteran who was shot in the back during the war and now cannot work. The government benefits and pension are not doing enough for him because he still has to sleep on the sidewalk. In my opinion, the government should just give everyone in need a break for now.

Op Ed 6

In the Unfunny Truth, Ross Douthat takes a refreshing view on an interesting topic. Though "conservative" is not the word that initially comes to mind for Judd Apatow movies, Douthat explains that this is exactly what they are. Beginning by refreshing his readers on recent conservative failures, Douthat proceeds to point out the importance of Judd Apatow, and the results his movies have on non-conservatives. 
Though the general population looks down upon conservative morals, Apatow and his unlikely fellow cast members do the impossible and help convey messages in relatable ways. With current interests vested in dirty jokes and constant stupidity, the approach taken in movies such as "Knocked Up" and "Funny People" is unexpected. Perhaps these movies have done well in theaters not only because of their deliverance, but because the viewers feel better morally about watching a pro-abortion movie than an action packed movie with constant violence. When talking about the effects of these movies, Douthat expresses his concern for the juxtaposition of America's responsibilities. In his opinion, Apatow is just getting started on his more mature films, and will be able to extend his views towards an even larger audience. 

"Confidential, With an Asterisk"

A retired professional baseball player, Doug Glanville, uses an opinion-editorial article to release his anger about the steady leaking of the supposedly confidential pro-baseball league drug test results that were gathered in 2003. Glanville is disgusted by many professional baseball players drug habits, but is even more upset that players who were assured that their drug test results would remain confidential are slowly being betrayed by an anonymous testing organization. He believes that it is unjust and illegal to later reveal information that was intended to remain secure. By revealing the players who tested positive for steroids in 2003, the testing organization is discouraging players from being willing to participate in any "confidential" drug tests that they conduct in the future.

Glanville's article is entertaining as well as convincing. He passionately supports the confidentiality rights of professional baseball players but at the same time he successfully appeals to the American public by agreeing that steroids have had a negative effect on how the game is watched and played. The ex-pro baseball player discourages the use of enhancement steroids, but defends the players' basic rights. "Confidential, With an Asterisk" is a well planned and carefully written article that is able to provide readers with new and captivating information.
Op-Ed Article #6
E.R's May Be the First Victims

This article is about the growing problems in Hospitals. The problem is to many patients being in the emergency room at once. The author of this article is Eric Toner. Many patients in the emergency rooms are in the hospital with mild symptoms of the H1N1 flu. They really do not need to be in the emergency room and can treat their symptoms with over the counter medicine and rest. Most of the cases are lower levels of the flu and do not require hospital care. If they did not go to the hospitals, the emergency rooms can be less crowded and provide more and quicker care to patients who really need serious medical attention. Some communities should educate the public about the flu and how to treat it. They should teach citizens how to know when he or she should go to the hospital and when not to. Communities should also set up flu centers to help flu patients directly instead of sending the patients to hospitals. Another possible solution is having hospitals work together to send patients evenly to each hospital.

The writer wrote an informative and persuasive essay with a clear problem stated. Eric clearly states the present problem at the beginning of the article. Then he states multiple solutions to the problem throughout the article. With each solution he specifically states why he thinks this should occur and how the public could arrange it to happen. Eric’s writing is very precise and informative. He creates a clear picture of what is going on and what should change. This essay has a very serious public problem within it and very good possible solutions to the problem as well

Op Ed #6

Clunker Class War
By Timothy Egan

Op Ed Entry #6
Robert Overholt

Republicans and democrats have clashed throughout history when regarding the role of government in the private sector. Conservatives are supportive of minimal government interference in private corporations. Liberals have a different approach, as they are more open to government imposition on private enterprise. Timothy Egan, in the article Clunker Class War, has accused the Republicans of disapproving the “Cash for Clunkers” program because it is working. “They hate it, many of these Republicans, because it’s a huge hit. It’s working as planned, and this cannot stand. America must fail in order for President Obama to fail.” Wrong. Conservatives don’t want the President to fail. They just know he will because government intervention is for the Soviets. Granted, the “Cash for Clunkers” program is a creative way to jump-start the currently dormant economy. However, government should not sponsor such an event, nor should it redistribute taxpayer money to fund it. Despite each party’s conflicting opinions on government involvement in our economy, redistribution of wealth is simply…socialism. Republicans and Democrats are Americans-- plain and simple. America was built on competition in the marketplace motivated by the hunger to live the American dream. Once government enters the private market, we will essentially be the U.S.S.R. “Cash for Clunkers” would be more effective if the car companies sponsored and funded it, but a taxpayer should not be responsible for paying for someone else’s new car. Republicans disapprove of this program, not because it is working (also questionable). Rather, because government facilitated programs designed to revive the economy represent socialist ideals. If you prefer socialism, move to Europe (no offense).
Timothy Egan wrote Clunker Class War out of spite towards Republicans, and rightfully so, for Democrats have received their share of criticism. As a result, Egan focused on his argument and not his rhetoric. The article is neither formal nor clear. Jumping from argument to argument, the article was written quickly and petulantly. The article presented many facts, yet Egan’s emotions were excessive and overpowering. The format of the article seemed to parallel his thought process. The paragraphs were short and abrupt, not in any specific order. Argument after argument, the author critiqued the Bush Administration (once again, rightfully so as the criticism goes both ways). His facts, however, were jumbled and not pertinent to his arguments. He assimilated many random situations and contorted them to fit his argument. For example, he criticized Bush’s $700 billion bank bailout. This bailout was to prevent global economic collapse, and was funded by many countries around the world. Democrats misinterpreted the bailout, and for once supported Bush!

Women at Risk

Brittany Liebenow

Mr. Glenn

AP Lang

6th Response

10 August 2009

“Women at Risk” by Bob Herbert emphasizes the hidden discriminatory violence towards women that permeates America. I am a feminist myself, and even I did not connect the dots with current events to realize that many mass killings target women in some way. The fact that many recent mass killings have some root in misogyny is a very shocking truth. Herbert also brings up an interesting point when he notes that if that many massacres targeted a race or ethnic group, news stations and political figures would make that information widespread. Dissecting modern and horrific examples, Herbert pulls in and convinces the reader that women are the targets of many hate crimes. While scrolling through the opinion editorials, I usually do not find articles about women’s rights. “Women at Risk” is not only a slight shock to me but also a delight because Herbert supports women so well. This article does an excellent job of speaking up on women's rights in America that are still, despite popular belief, restricted. An interesting part of this article is that Bob Herbert, a male, is the author. The fact that a male is writing an article about women’s rights shows that, although there is much sexism in America and the world, some people other than feminists are starting to realize this and do something about it.

Not only does “Women at Risk” sport some well-developed ideas, it also flaunts literary excellence. The article starts off with a quote that is the epitome of what this article is about, hate against women. Right from the beginning Herbert shows us sexism in modern America, something people easily overlook. He uses this quote to envelope the readers into this world of sexism. What makes this work so well is his follow through. Herbert does not stop at that one profound example; he takes his ideas deeper and deeper, adding and analyzing more examples as he continues through his article. All of his examples are solid, and all of his support is thorough. Herbert does a good job of using different sentence and paragraph lengths. He does seem to use more short paragraphs than most other writers but does it in a way that complements his ideas and writing.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

How to Recharge Your Soul

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote a how-to column titled “How to Recharge Your Soul”. In a pervious column, Kristof wrote about “nature deficit disorder”- the problems that occur when young people spend their time indoors deprived of the chance to experience the outdoors. He says: “When I was a kid being cooped up inside was called ‘juvenile detention’; now it’s called ‘leisure’.” Kids these days are spending way too much time inside not being active. As Kristof put it: “Here’s how to pry yourself and your family off the keyboard and venture into the wild – without feeding a bear. In the same way that you recharge your BlackBerry from time to time, you also should recharge your soul”. He encourages families to go take a hike or go backpacking. Backpacking is a very cheap vacation, it links you directly to the world around you, and it reminds us that we are just a part of the natural order.

In the article, Kristof give a simple 10-step guide on how to recharge your soul by enjoying a nice camping trip with your family. Some of the steps Kristof includes are: take the path less traveled, wear an old pair of running shoes, skip a tent and a change of clothes, use hiking poles if necessary, and most importantly, avoid bears. Kristof provides these steps in order to encourage people to spend time in the outdoors. He provides people with advice that will make it fun and enjoyable. Personally, I have been hiking but never been camping. After reading this article I have a greater desire to get off the couch and into the wilderness. Kristof makes camping sound fun and adventurous. Kristof concludes by saying: “So before the summer ends, try overcoming nature deficit syndrome and recharging your soul- and happy trails!”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6th Op-Ed

Why Won’t Obama talk to Israel?
By: Aluf Benn

In this article, Aluf Benn (an editor for an Israeli newspaper) asks the question of why Obama has not talked to Israel directly as he has to other nations. Because of this, the Israeli view of Obama is of his demands (of various settlements involving the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine). This view of Obama hurts his image and of the country. In a survey of Israelis, 50% believed that the Obama administration is pro-Palestine. Only 6% believed they were pro-Israel. Because of this, the nation as a whole is not willing to give up anything to Palestine to achieve peace. Thus, the Israeli Prime Minister doesn’t feel any pressure to end the situation from his own people. Benn goes on to say that one explanation for this behavior is as follows: During the Clinton and Bush years, Israel was a close ally of the US and the US and Israel worked together to build a peace plan for the Middle East. But, then when Israel went into controversial military operations, the US stood back. This made Israel happy and content, but the European and Middle Eastern allies mad. To repair these damaged relationships, Obama could try to look like the opposite of his predecessor. Thus, he is now ignoring Israel. Also, Benn shares that the view of most Israelis is that Obama is a softie and is trying to make friends with everyone (even after being embarrassed by Iran and North Korea). This policy of not talking has led the Israelis to harden their minds and stay closers to their leader’s ways than of these new talks peace.
Aluf Benn writes this article as if a FYI to Obama of what his not-talking is doing to the relations in Israel. The ignoring of Israel (either intended or not) does not help Obama’s plan for peace between Israel and Palestine. Mr. Benn first presents the problem that he sees. Then he backs it up with solid evidence. After he presents his evidence, he then puts himself in the Americans shoes, to give an explanation of how Obama came to the conclusion that he needs to ignore Israel. Once he set the stage for Obama’s recent actions, he then gives five distinct examples of how Obama has misinterpreted Israeli behavior. For his conclusion… he doesn’t really have one. At the end he simply hangs all that he has to say out, but also declares that maybe he is wrong and Obama is right. It seems a strange way to end an article but as a newspaper editor, I think he knows more than me. Either way, it still makes an interesting article and I believe the point will be well received. As for Obama, I think as a PR specialist, I think he will take this criticism well and manage the situation to the best of his abilities.