• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.



Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 7 months ago

(3/30/06) Final Project





(3/29/06) The National Anthem


Bush said yesterday The Star Spangled Banner should be sung in English rather than the Spanish version, Nuestro Himno. He claims immigrants who want to become Americans should learn to speak English. He forgets, however, that the United States has no official language. No one is forced to learn English in order to become American. It has been estimated that soon, within the next couple of decades, the most common spoken language in this country will become Spanish. Bush claims the national anthem should be sung in English, but he forgets our society is so intermixed with Hispanic culture. He cannot just ignore all of the influence Hispanics have on our nation, which is the "melting pot of the world." Our national anthem should be in any language the singer pleases, for it shows their love for America and the pride of their homeland in one patriot act.


(3/29/06) Mt. Rushmore


While this might seem like a very random argument, I do have a basis for it. I was listening to You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown the Peanuts musical. In one of the songs they referenced to the glamour of Mt. Rushmore. A couple of years ago I drove through South Dakota and stopped to see the famed national park, only to be extremely disappointed. It could only be viewed from a very far distance, so the sculpture was larger on the postcard my sister had just bought. Besides its small appearance, its grandeur was also lost. I do not see the honor is molding a gorgeous natural mountain into the faces of our great leaders. I believe there is a greater way to honor our great presidents than tear apart a natural landmark and form their faces on it. I was perhaps very disappointed for I had just come from visiting Yellowstone, one of the natural mysteries of the world. I did not understand why man felt he had to improve nature, when it was always gorgeous to begin with. To this day, the prospect of Mt. Rushmore frustrates me greatly and I do not see how anyone can get a thrill from such a boring and ugly destruction of nature.


(3/29/06) Da Vinci Code


With the release of the movie approaching, protestors are trying to make their cries heard. They claim the book is full of deceptive lies and it poisoning the minds of its readers. I, on the other hand, found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable book and a great piece of literary fiction. That is what most people forget. This is a fictional book. In the preface the book does proclaim that the "descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." However, people read this book and believe all of the discoveries the characters uncover are also accurate assumptions. The author never tires to claim this. While he may strongly hint that this is his view, he never inflicts that upon his reader if the reader is secure enough in their faith. If you believe strongly, than a fictional book should not be able to change your mind. These protestors are being completely ridiculous. They are taking a book meant for enjoyment and turning it into a fight against the church. These protestors need to realize the difference between fictional and non-fictional literature.


(3/29/06) Pre-Finals Week


As finals are approaching, I found it very hard to find a convenient time to study. I was constantly running from class to class, trying to finish up end of term projects and everyday homework and studying for the last few quizzes of the semester, etc. Studying for finals was not a first priority last week, while it should have been. I simply did not have the time to devote to such a large task. Thus, I was contemplating with one of my friends who felt the same way. We propose that classes should end on the Wednesday before finals week. Thus, each student could devote at least 5 days of studying before they take their finals. The worry of classes and homework would be completely eliminated and students will not feel so much pressure on this weekend, the only time where this occurs. The loss of 2 days in the semester should not affect the teaching or curriculum drastically, if at all. Perhaps one lesson plan may have to be dropped. However, the five days of free time could also promote longer and more in-depth review sessions set up by teachers, TA's, or students. I believe the students will spend more time to focus on studying and thus both relieve stress and improve their final grades.


(3/29/06) University Censorship


I was very relived to read in The Daily Collegian on Wednesday that senior Josh Stulman is allowed to display his exhibit entitled, Portraits of Terror. After seeing posters around campus, I was initially intrigued to see the exhibit. However, last Friday's Collegian reported the university is censoring the exhibit because it claims the artworks "did not promote cultural diversity" or "opportunities for democratic dialogue and the display would be cancelled." Stulman acknowledges that the artwork does portray a sensitive topic: the Palestinian and Jewish conflict. He painted what he saw in the conflict, such as anti-Semitic propaganda and the use of terrorism. While this is a sensitive issue and the university is responsible for the projects it funds, the exhibit should not have been cancelled. The student worked too hard on a project to be told 2 days before opening that it is cancelled. The university should have rejected it earlier when it was first proposed if they did not think it was appropriate. Or, the university could have put out a message saying the topic of the artwork was controversial to warn people of its strong nature. The canceling of the exhibit caused a large amount of embarrassment for the university, which they are remedying with the exhibit's opening next fall. However, the initial cancellation was too large and drastic a step that caused more shame than good.


(4/7/06) Final Project Proposal


The White House has recently written a revised bill regarding stricter enforcement to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the United States. Bush proposes to put more personnel on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Since the beginning of his term, Bush has increased the Border Patrol force by almost 30% and increased the funding by 66%. And the government has seen significant results. Over 6 million illegal immigrants, 400, 000 with previous criminal records, were caught and denied entrance to the U.S. Over the past year, the Arizona Border Control Initiative saw a 50% increase of caught criminals. The new bill requests added protection. Bush plans to build a fence which will separate the U.S.-Mexican border. Bush has also wishes to create a temporary worker program, which will benefit both the American economy and the well being of those with long-term visas. They would be able to join the work force and earn a living without endangering the U.S. economy and job market. The White House claims this program will “help meet the demands of our growing economy and allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law.” The third part of this bill revision, however, has the nation in an uproar. It plans to increase the punishment for illegal immigrants caught inside the borders of the United States. Any “unlawful presence” will be considered a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor, as it is currently treated. This new legislature will cause illegal residents of the United States to serve jail time and denied any legal status or re-entry into the country. Any organization or individual who knowingly assists an illegal immigrant will be tried for criminal penalties and up to five years imprisonment. The Department of Homeland Security can continue to hold any individual past his or her sentence if he or she is found to be a “dangerous alien,” despite the Supreme Court ruling prohibiting indefinite detention. These are unjust and outrageous proposals. The United States Government needs to revise this bill by eliminating this last clause as well as the proposal to build permadent barriers between the neighboring nations. These are infringements on the rights of the American people. The bill, as it stands, is the antithesis of the definition of a true democracy and needs to be corrected by eliminating this last clause entirely.




"Bush urges 'civil' immigration debate." CNN. 24 Mar. 2006. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/23/bush.ap/index.html>.


Gorman, Anna, Michelle Keller, and Kelly-Anne Suarez. "Many Stories, a Single Theme." LA Times 26 Mar. 2006. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.latimes.com/>.


"Immigration fight looms after vote." CNN. 27 Mar. 2006. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/03/27/immigration/index.html>.


"Fact Sheet: Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Securing Our Border, Enforcing Our Laws, and Upholding Our Values ." The White House. 27 Mar. 2006. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/03/20060327-1.html>.


"House Bill." Immigration Reform Now. 6 Apr. 2006. Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.immigrationreformnow.org/ immigrationreformnow/Bills.htm>.


Prengaman, Peter. "Immigration March Draws 500,000 in L.A." The Washington Post 26 Mar. 2006. 7 Apr. 2006 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>.


(4/25/06) Gay Marriage


Massachusetts is the only state to legalize gay marriages. But it is not the first governing body to do so; Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and Spain all have laws stating same-sex marriages are legal. While many Americans claim marriage is a title that should only be given between a man and a woman, "marriage" is actually a legal term. A state sees a couple as legally married once the license has been signed. The traditional ceremonies are to have the marriage recognized by the church. While many churches refuse to perform same-sex marriages, the state has no right to deny this legal status to any individual. The legal title gives each partner rights, such as custody over children, being active in one's medical decisions, etc. These rights should not be denied simply due to the church's view on homosexuality. This would be discrimination and thus defy the bases upon which this America was founded.


(4/25/06) Rising Gas Prices


With the national average for a gallon of gasoline exceeding $3.00, people are pleading for the White House to take action. Americans want to see that price drop as soon as possible. However, there is no immediate remedy. Any long-term problem has a time consuming resolution. While I expected Bush to advocate more ties to generous oil supplies, on Earth Day he spoke of finding alternative fuel sources. He advocates the use of hybrid cars, and proposes a $4,000 tax refund for all people who purchase one. They use solar and battery power to run in addition to gasoline, thus using much smaller amounts of gas. Bush also suggests using hydrogen fuel cells that power a car with no gas and the only waste product is water. This is a solution that may not see immediate results, but in the long run will stop our strong dependency on oil. One flaw in this is the cost of a hybrid car and hydrogen fuel cells are extremely high; not many will be willing to make such an investment. Others simply cannot afford the environmentally friendly vehicles. The tax credit may help some, but in the end the hybrid solution may not be as successful as Bush anticipates. The hybrid cars need to be made more accessible and less costly to the common public for this plan to work. Then Bush also proposed to drill in Alaska' Wildlife Reserve, which is an unnecessary and excessively destructive act. While it will decrease gas prices in the near future, it does nothing to stop our oil dependency problem. Oil is a limited resource and thus a solution needs to be found to stop our immense dependency. Drilling in Alaska will cause permanent damage to a nature reserve to try to temporarily resolve a lasting problem. The price is not worth the advances.




(4/25/06) Death Penalty


This has been a very popular topic to argue, particularly with the current trial of convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Many are hoping for a death sentence on this extremist Muslim activist, but a surprising group is not: the families of some 9/11 victims. They feel revenge is no way to solve any problem and they refuse to "get caught in a whirlpool of sadness and anger." This is precisely my view on any case in a pending death penalty: killing just causes more problems than it solves. I understand loved ones of victims have an irrepressible anger and endless blame on the convicted, but neither disappears with the death. The hurt and sadness continues to linger. However, harsh punishments do need to be instilled upon these guilty individuals. I believe life in prison is worse than any method of the death penalty. Many people, I assume, do not fully understand the horrible conditions that an inhabitant in jail must suffer. One example: Upon entrance, your shoelaces and belt are taken away so you cannot hang yourself. Some individuals, I feel, fail to see the true horrors of jail, and thus jump to the conclusion that people who commit very serious crimes should all be killed. To be sentenced to life in jail would in my opinion be the worst punishment: to live in a nightmare with no hope of escape until my natural death. A death sentence may seem to some as a release and an escape from the terrors of life in jail. Some claim they do not want their tax dollars wasted to keep such horrible criminals alive in jail. By killing them it is one swift process. Yet, they do not realize undergoing the death penalty actually costs more money than non-death penalty cases. The actually killing process does cost about half as much as incarceration, but the trial length and cost is significantly higher. Investigation cost were tripled, trial costs were 16 times greater, appeal costs were 21 times greater, and the trial averages 25 days longer. Thus, undergoing a death penalty uses a significantly larger sum of money and time, gives the convicted some sort of escape, and still does not heal the pain or loss of the survivors.


(4/18/06) Nazi Archive


The United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, along with diplomats from France and the Netherlands, and trying to allow public access to the records currently boxed in a former Nazi barracks. The International Committee of the Red Cross was granted access to record the missing of dead victims of the Holocaust. These groups are trying to be able to also have access to the documents, which contain the names of the 17.5 million victims of the Holocaust. They wish to open these documents to be able to make digital copies to study them outside Germany. Also, these new documents could assist historians in their research of the Holocaust. However, these groups are finding some harsh opposition. German officials claim releasing these documents is a violation of their privacy. Others simply show a resistance to change. Paul Shapiro, director of the Holocaust Museum, said, "Invariably, at the end of the day, the German representatives always put restrictions back on the table that they are absolutely insistent about." Some claim Germany fears liability and lawsuits, but officials refused to comment. I don't see any reason to keep these documents closed. While the Holocaust was one of the worst periods of human history, only by learning about it can we prevent it from repeating. And while Germany claims opening the case is violating the victim's right to privacy, I believe all of their rights were already all stripped away by the Third Reich. Their families now deserve the right to know the nature of their ancestor's deaths. The knowledge shouldn't be left buried with the dead, there is does no good. But if allowed to be viewed by the public, the entire world benefits in a horribly painful, but extremely necessary, way.


(4/10/06) The Last Five Years Review


On Sunday, I went to my first No Refund Theatre production. I read that they were putting on one of my favorite musicals most people don't know: Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years. I must admit I came in with low expectations. The previous night I saw Footloose, and while it was a good show, it was not the spectacular production I was expecting. And the music in The Last Five Years is not easy to perform, and neither is the story to portray. It is a show with a two-person cast. It tells the love roller coaster of the man and a woman in a relationship and its evolution over five years. However, the couple never seems to make it work. Cathy, starts at the end of the relationship and moves forward, starting with the hurt of a break-up and ending with the adoration of courtship. Jamie goes through the relationship conventionally, starting at the beginning with the newly discovered passion in a new relationship and ending with the pain of a terminating love. While this is a difficult concept to stage, the directors and the cast did it beautifully! Simple staging and color coordination showed the opposing emotions of the two lovers. The entire stage was cut in half, one side white and the other black. The costuming also was entirely black and white to help the audience notice the transition of the opposing passages of time. The presence of a live orchestra added the finishing touch to the wonderful vocal performances of the actors. The pit was small enough not to be overpowering and was thoroughly enjoyable. The vocal performances by both of the actors were phenomenal! Being able to hold the attention of an audience with just a two person cats is a daunting task, and they excelled at it. It was a wonderful staging of a difficult show and great taste of excellent theatre!






(3/27/06) Stigmergy Definition


Stigmergy is a form of communication between the environment and each individual in a society. While each individual seems to be on their own path, their collective work improves the entire environment. For example, a termite in a colony seems to be on an independent task. However, its work benefits the entire colony, along with all of the other's tasks.


(3/22/06) Proposal Proposal: Campus Dorm Security


“Don’t allow piggybacking” is a phrase Penn State is trying in instill in the students’ minds, and for a reason. Campus security has always been an issue, but recently I have read so many stories of students assaulted while in their dorm rooms. Even though there has been a decrease in the assault rate from past years, the numbers are still startling. While installing a 24-hour card access to all dorms was a necessary procedure, more is required to ensure the safety of the students. The university needs to address the necessity of locking dorm rooms at night, increase security inside the dorm building, and have a security guard positioned at the entrance as an id check point. While the campaign of avoiding piggybacking is well presented, it is very difficult to comply. One does not want to seem rude or mean by slamming the door in someone’s face. Holding the door open for someone is common courtesy and doing otherwise creates an unfavorable first impression. Thus, the advertising needs to change its message: simply lock your door at night. All the university needs to do is to publish the dorm assault and crime statistics, and the message speaks for itself. By having security guards inside the dorm building at selected times, especially checking each person’s id upon entrance, would help reduce the crime rate. Since students are allowing others to piggyback, a security guard could confront those piggybacking students and escort them out if necessary. That task is too much pressure and stress for the average student. Thus, these two added security measures are necessary to reduce the dorm crime rate on campus.


First, you'll want to state clearly what 'piggybacking' is and how that concept is used in the current campus publicity campaign. And then, you'll want to give some evidence of how that campaign isn't so successful. That is, there's still a problem (which you've promised to establish with the reports from the paper--there may be additional sources for this). Doing those things will help you to argue effectively that your recommendation for an alternative publicity campaign will be more fruitful in addressing the problem. TheKemBlog





Funk, Lynne. "Police arrest man in dorm assaults ." The Daily Collegian State College 27 Aug. 2001. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


Goldfarb, Sarah. "Officials blast schools for not reporting crimes." The Daily Collegian State College 20 Jan. 2006. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


Goldfarb, Sarah. "Woman sexually assualted." The Daily Collegian State College 20 Mar. 2006. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


Kepner, Alison. "Police arrest PSU student in assaults ." The Daily Collegian State College 14 Sept. 2000. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


Kopacz, Krystle . "PSU student attacked in dorm room." The Daily Collegian State College 15 Feb. 2006. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


"Two students report sexual assault in dorm." The Daily Collegian State College 9 Dec. 2002. 22 Mar. 2006 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/>.


(3/20/06) Casual Paper




(3/20/06) Communist Manifesto


The manifesto claims the bourgeois has "stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe,....torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation." While the Communists speak of these as negative acts, that is precisely what they are striving to do. They are trying to make everone equal, no one inidividual has any more power than the next. Only respect can be earned through one's work for the party, particually before its reign. The next step is then to become a governing official, a leader over a small region. This leader, however, cannot show favoritism in any form. He must treat everyone as equals, thus making his family nothing more than any other stranger in his territory. Thus, what the Communists look upon in an unfavorable light, the acts of the bourgeois, is exactly what their party advocates in a sense.


(3/3/06) Causal Proposal


Global warming is caused by the build-up of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and act like the glass in a greenhouse: trap the heat provided from the sun, causing very high internal temperatures. Over the past couple of decades, an increase in the earth’s temperature has been observed. Greenland's glaciers are melting at double the expected rate. The Antarctica ice sheet has lost as much as 36 cubic miles of ice each year. The Himalayas and Bolivia have also have noted significant melting. The water added to the earth’s oceans from this melting is causing sea level to rise, which will eventually affect global weather patterns, scientists say. The presence of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere has increased exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century and the birth of the industrial revolution. The excess carbon acts like a barrier and prevents the radiation from the sun from being absorbed, thus trapping it in the earth’s atmosphere. While some tests have confirmed this hypothesis, many are still skeptical. Some believe global warming is a natural occurrence and thus no action is needed to reverse or stop it. They claim humans cannot accurately predict the change in temperature because we have not been observing it long enough to be able to follow nature’s pattern. And scientists know that the cuase of glabal warming is complex, but the build-up of carbon monoxide and other gases in the atmosphere seem to be the most logical and accurate cause to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets globally.




Brown, Theodore L, H Eugene LeMay, Jr, and Bruce E Bursten. "Chemistry at Work: CO2 and the Greenhouse Effect." Chemistry: The Central Science. 1977. Ed. Nicole Folchetti. 10th ed. Upper Saddle Rover, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2006. 103.


"Climate Change." New Scientist. 3 Mar. 2006. New Scientist Magazine. 3 Mar. 2006 <http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change>.


Eilperin, Juilet. "Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Rapidly." Washington Post 3 Mar. 2006: A01. 3 Mar. 2006 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/02/AR2006030201712.html>.


Global Warming. 3 Mar. 2006. Cooler Heads Coalition. 3 Mar. 2006 <http://www.globalwarming.org/>.


Global Warming. 2 Oct. 2002. US Environmental Protection Agency. 3 Mar. 2006 <http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/index.html>.


"Global Warming." Energy Environment Education. West Whales ECO Centre. 3 Mar. 2006 <http://www.ecocentre.org.uk/global-warming.html>.



(3/1/06) Political Leanings


After reading the spectrum, I was not too surprised to find I was a liberal. But I very much enjoyed how each group was broken down and their belifs were clearly stated, so any person would be able to classify themselves somewhere one the spectrum. IN the Friday, February 24th edition of the Daily Collegian, an editoral was printed entitled, "Affirmative Actions debate shows current inequalities." The author complains about an earlier Collgeian headline reading, "Black leaders trade opinions in affirmative action debate." He claims that if the races of the debaters has to be proclaimed, then it is obvious that affirmatve action is necessary. Affirmative action is suppossed to create a perfectly equal society. People who appose affirmative action state that we already live in a racially equal society. But the author states that is the races have to be defined, then the would is not yet colorblind. Only when the headline reads, "Leaders debate opinions in affirmative action debate," has an equilibrium been reached, the author writes. This author is most defintely a liberal: wanting peace and equality and seeing that action needs to be taken for progress to continue.


(2/27/06) Darfur Conflict


Sudan's government needs to do more than just sit back and let time smooth things over. Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering daily, and the government just wants to wait it out. And since Sudan does not seem to care about the safety of its citizen's the UN needs to take more action than just say that a genocide is occurring. I understand negociations need to be discussed bewteen the different groups: Sudan's government, the AU, NATO, and the UN; however every day waited more and more people are suffering.


(2/27/06) Evaluation Paper




(2/24/06) Smoking Ban


State-wide smoking bans have just been rejected by both Maryland and Virginia. However, the bill only fell short of two votes in VA, a surprisingly close result from one of the main suppliers of tobacco. The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association have all been supporting the ban and urging the House to to pass the bill. The dangers and damages of secondhand smoke have been scientifically proven, so they say actions must be taken to protect the common non-smoking public. Sen. J. Brandon Bell II. told reporters, "We're talking about my right not to breath in 4,000 chemicals and 60 known carcinogens that are associated with secondhand smoke." While some delegates note the dangers of secondhand smoke, soem fear how it will affect small businesses. Their smoking customers will be drawn away, thus hurting these private businesses. Yet, perhaps these current smokers draw away non-smoking customers, thus the busniess will be unaffected. Perhaps once it all becomes a safe, smoke-free environment, the busniess will become more successful because it will attract a large non-smoking public. As a non-smoker, I find it extremely difficult to enjoy myself when around smoke. For example, I went to a concert at the Crowbar downtown and I came back with a huge headache and feeling a little lightheaded due to the secondhand smoke I had been inhailing all evening. I wish I could go to enjoy more functions at the Crowbar, but the smoke made the experience unbearable. Thus, I have been drawn away from the club due to smoke. If a smoking ban is ever put in place, I would love to go listen to the great concerts they house there! I am sure small businesses will welcome a large amount of non-smoking customers, like myself, if a ban were ever put into effect. My county in MD has installed a smoking ban. It is currently one of the fasted growing counties in the nation and is thriving with small businesses. Thus, a smoking ban does not automatically mean failure for privately own companies. Besides, smokers are affecting millions of people with their secondhand smoke. Everyone's life is at stake. I don't think people's habits should ever have the power to dictate the heath of other innocent individuals, no matter what it costs. It is not fair to the heath conscience public that avoids smoking to be exposed to its dangers in a reckless manner due to the lack of suffiecient restrictions.


(2/21/06) My America by Andrew Sullivan


I found reading a British man's perspective of America was very interesting. We broke from them and gained our independence, and in time became a more friendly and bonded nation. We are a more futuristic society in our ideas of classlessness, political strageties, and equality. A six year old boy saying "Hi." to a 55-year-old writer says that they are on the same level. I would never have seen this conclusion. I saw the boy's greeting to be friendly politeness, not as an inappropriate comment due to the age difference. It seemed so natural to me (to greet stangers in a friendly manner), which is why I appreciated reading an outsider's view. It allowed me to see how America is different from the rest of Europe, even if it is small.


(2/21/06) Global Warming


While some will deny the existence of the issue of global warming, new satellite data has confirmed it. Greenland's glaciers were found to be melting at a rate twice as fast as expected. The sea level is rapidly rising, as predicted by many scientists as a due to the excessive build-up of greenhouse gases. Greenland is not the only case, either. The same results have been noted in Bolivia and the Himalayas. Glaciers there have been melting and the sea level has been increasingly rising. In 1996, the amount of melted glacier water in Greenland was about 90 times the amount of water used in L.A. in one calendar year. Last year, the total water melted was 225 times the amount used annually in L.A. People who argue global warming is a natural occurence, is not a threat to our planet, and is undetectable are all proven wrong by this new factual data: The glaciers are melting, more water is being releasing into the sea, and the water level is rising on a global level. The rise of a couple of feet may not seem devastating, but flood-prone countries, such as Bangledesh, are severely affected as well as the weather patterns across the globe.


(2/21/06) Gay Adoption


I was appalled to find an article saying that many states have banned homosexuals from adopting children. It differs from state to state: Florida allows gay couples to be foster parents but they cannot adopt, Mississippi allows gay singles to adopt, just not gay couples, and Utah prohibits adoption from all unmarried couples. A person's sexual orientation does not affect their kindness, their gentleness, or their capability as a responsible parent. These states are denying children the comfort of having a place to call home based on the politican's view of homosexuality and parenthood. A gay male couple in Florida takes in foster children, but are unable to adopt them due to the law. They are excellent parents: caring for their children so all of the kids are developing into happy, heathly, well-adjusted people. Why should these children be taken away from a happy, heathly environment simply because the family is run by two gay men? Their homosexuality provides absolutely no threat to these children. They are still wonderful parents. now in the case of Utah, does the state believe all unmarried individuals are incamaple of being a parent? Does their single status make them unable to love a child and care for him/her? Again, a person's personal love status has no affect on their credentials to become a sucessful and responsible parent.


(2/15/06) Evaluation Proposal


I am going to review one of my favorite movies: a foreign film entitled Y Tu Mamá También, translated to And Your Mother Too. It is a Mexican movie known to the common public as “Spanish porn” due to its strong sexual nature. However, I believe it is one of the greatest dramatic films ever to be made. It is not only an example of an entirely unique filming style, but it is also a story with a powerful and unforgettable message. It fulfills the criteria for an excellent dramatic movie: the human connection that goes beyond the bounds of the screen and bonds the audience to the characters. A movie without that element is still a movie, but Y Tu Mamá También is an experience. Casablanca, a well renowned dramatic classic, definitely portrays this audience-character relationship. The viewers feel the same emotions as Ilsa and Rick: the love, the anger, and the hurt. The movie envelops each individual, thus making the film an emotional experience rather than just a movie. This same characteristic can be given to the lesser-known film: Y Tu Mamá También.


Okay. We talked about this in class. You'll have prolepsis by mentioning the 'Spanish porn' (though I'd never heard that about the movie!). I think the comparison with Casablanca will work most effectively if you use it to establish the standards. Make sure those are clear. TheKemBlog




"2003 IFP Independent Spirit Award winner Best Foreign Film." Rev. of Y Tu Mamá También, by Alfonso Cuarón. IFCFilms. 16 Feb. 2006 <http://ifcfilms.com>.


"Casablanca (1942)." The Internet Movie Database. Internet Movie Database, Inc.16 Feb. 2006 <http://imdb.com/title/tt0034583/>.


Cuarón, Alfonso. Y Tu Mamá También. IFC Films, 2001.


Curtiz, Michael. Casablanca. Warner Bros., 1942.


Hornaday, Ann. "'Y Tu Mama': The Ride of Their Lives." Rev. of Y Tu Mamá También, by Alfonso Cuarón. The Washington Post 3 May 2002: C1. 16 Feb. 2006 <http://washingtonpost.com>.


Reyes, Andrea, and Mike Szymanski. "Here's Looking at You, Kid! 'Casablanca' Becomes a Classic." Rev. of Casablanca, by Michael Curtiz. Zap 2 It. 14 Aug. 2002. Tribune Media Services, Inc. 16 Feb. 2006 <http://zap2it.com>.




(2/14/06) The Declaration of Independence


While I also knew the Declaration was somewhat hypocritcal, I was never aware to exactly what extent. The Colonists claim they all believe "all men were created equal" and all deserved these "unalienable Rights," yet the majority of Colonists still participated in the slave trade. While Jefferson wished to add a clause in an effort to abolish slavery, it was not well accepted and eventually taken out. However, the document does make a reference to the "merciless Indian Savages." The men who signed it obviously did not see the Native Americans as "men", which defeats the main purpose of the document: equality and the freedom for all people. The Colonists believe they have to right to their own government and freedom, but do not wish to grant the same courtesy to the orginial inhabitants of the Americas. I always knew of the hypocrary of the document because slavery was still in place, yet it had never before occured to me that Native Americans were also in a similar situation to the Colonists, but still not granted the rights the "Americans" demanded.


And one other interesting thing. I had never really read the names of the signers of the Declaration. Under Virginia, Benjamin Harrison was listed as a signer. I know that I am related to Benjamin and Willam Henry Harrison, who were both presidents of the United States. So, after further investigation and a double check with my mother, I can offically say I am related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence. I thought that was a pretty nifty fact.


(2/13/06) Definition paper




(2/7/06) Editing


I edited on the blog of ArtVandalay.


(2/5/06) Definition Proposal: Life


Claim: “Life” begins at birth, as opposed to conception, and ends with “death,” which constitutes both mentally and physically dead persons.


Reason(s): “Life” should be defined as a state of a human being in which they are able to make conscience responses to their surroundings and to have an animate, growing existence.


Warrant(s): A fetus is not “living.” It is relying solely on the mother for all of its needs. A fetus cannot make conscience responses to its surrounds since it still requires the protection of the womb until it if fully grown. While a fetus may by animate and growing, it is not yet in existence as a human being.


Obviously a person who is physically dead, whose heart stops beating, is no long alive. They are not making conscience responses to their surrounds or having an animate, growing, existence. An individual who is in a persistent vegetative state, in a coma, or deemed brain dead is also dead; he/she is unable to fulfill my definition of “life.” The person is in a state of complete, and usually irreversible, unawareness. He/she is unable to adapt to their environment and ceases to have an animate existence. While it can be argued that a person with a mental or physics handicap does not succumb to my definition of “living,” this is not the case. A child with down syndrome is still growing, is an animate individual, and although his/her responses to their surroundings may not be the same as the average individual, he/she is still making conscience responses to his/her environment.


So from this I take it you are for abortion? I think this paper sounds interesting because I think it would be interesting to hear you argue that someone in a coma is not living or a fetus is not living (counter arguments). Because someone in a coma may not be able to think but there is still brain activity, especially if they are still breathing, the brain keeps the body breathing. Also, a fetus is defined as (according to the oxford english dictionary) The young of viviparous animals in the womb, and of oviparous animals in the egg, when fully developed. So that means a fetus is living. But anyway, I think to make your argument better you should include other definitions of life other than just the one you are claiming. DazedNConfuzed







"Abortion Does Not Violate Human Rights" by Brian Elroy McKinley. Abortion. Mary

E. Williams, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2002. Reprinted, with permission, from "Why Abortion Is Moral," by Brian Elroy McKinley, 2000, found at http://elroy.net/ehr/abortionanswers.html.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006



"Advances in Medical Technology Have Complicated End-of-Life Decisions" by C. Lee

Parmley. The Ethics of Euthanasia. Nancy Harris, Ed. At Issue Series. Greenhaven Press, 2004. C. Lee Parmley, "Ethical Consideration in End-of-Life Medicine," Internet Journal of Law, Healthcare, and Ethics, vol. 1, January 2002, p. 1. Copyright © 2002 by Internet Scientific Publications, LLC. Reproduced by permission.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006



"All Human Cloning Is Immoral and Should Be Banned" by The Vatican. The Ethics of

Human Cloning. John Woodward, Ed. At Issue Series. Greenhaven Press, 2005. The Vatican, "The Views of the Holy See on Human Cloning," www.lifeissues.net, February 2003.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006



"Life." Def. 1a. __Oxford English Dictionary__. Second Edition 1989 ed. __Oxford

English Dictionary__. 2005. Oxford University Press. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://dictionary.oed.com>.


"Persistent Vegetative State." __Wikipedia__. 31 Jan. 2006. Wikimedia Foundation,

Inc. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_vegetative_state>.


"Terri Schiavo." __Wikipedia__. 6 Feb. 2006. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo>.





This is the first time Penn State has ever disappointed me. I recently learned that a student who wishes to transfer to the University Park campus from an institution that is not a branch campus is required to have 60 credits. However, only 18 credits are needed to transfer directly to a branch campus. I have a friend at Ithaca College who is absolutely miserable; she does not like her major anymore but is in such a specialized program that she cannot change while at Ithaca, it is over eight hours away from her home in Maryland and feels the distance is too great, and she feels constantly excluded from the other students at her college. After hearing these complaints, I suggest that she transfer here to Penn State University Park. It has a vide variety of majors to pick and choose from (including the one she wishes to pursue), it is half the distance from home, and if she ever felt excluded here (which I doubt will happen), she already has me as a friend here. It sounded like a flawless plan, until she started the transfer process and learned that 60 credits are required to join me here. Why does only University Park have this limitation? This rule is denying an extremely unhappy and self-conscience individual the comfort of being with a friend after having a terrible first impression of college life. Instead, she is being forced to transfer to a smaller and more limited branch campus until she can gather enough credits to transfer here, which luckily is only one semester. However, I see no point to this 60-credit rule. The application states that it only wants students after their second year of college, but what is the point of only taking on juniors? If a person is unhappy and decides they want to dramatically change their life after their first semester, is Penn State University Park suggesting they just suck it up and go in the wrong directions until PSU is ready to accept them? Are they also suggesting that only juniors have the capability of making a smart enough decision to transfer to the proper school for them? Because my friend is in such a specialized program at Ithaca, she is nervous about how her credits will transfer over. If she stays there for another semester, she will have to start from the beginning as a freshman at Penn State University Park as a second semester sophomore. While Penn State does benefit from this by gaining more money, it is at the cost and risk of an extremely miserable soul.


(1/31/06) USA Today: Intelligent Design


The teaching of intelligent design in public schools has been a debate for many years. However, this on article from USA Today caught my attention. I am used to hearing the issue of the theological aspect being taught in science classes, mainly biology. Yet, a school in El Tejon school district in Fresno, California was teaching intelligent design in an elective “Philosophy of Design” course. While I believe advocating creationism in science related classes violates the separation of church and state, I do not find the same argument can be made in this case. Most public school students require biology classes, thus forcing every student to be subjected to its teachings, both scientific and theological. The student has no choice but to take this certain course; for the elective philosophy course, this is not the case. It is strictly an elective, and it is the student’s choice whether to enroll in the course. Even though the course is still funded by the state, it is not subjecting religious messages on unaware, unwilling students. I am an advocate of education in all subjects, as long as the conditions are clear to everyone and the religious aspects are solely optional.


(1/29/06) Definition of Terrorism


While many of the definitions overlap and coincide with each other, some aspects are drastically different. The UN’s “academic consensus definition” is the only definition that states “terrorism” is a repeated action. I don’t believe that if only one plane were hijacked and crashed into a building that it would no longer be considered terrorism. Other references say that “terrorism” is designed to bring about political change. This point I also do not see. I perceived terrorism as an act that had no other motive but to frighten and intimidate: to cause terror. The UN short legal definition, which associates “terrorism” with the “peacetime equivalent of a war crime,” is in my opinion a necessary compenent of the definition. A violent act against a government or state or its people to alter its political structure, while sometimes defining terrorism, also defines war in general. During the American Revolution, the colonists sought to use violent acts against Great Britain to cause the political structure to change. However, it is not viewed as terrorism. First, they had made their demands to Great Britain, tried to find a consensus, failed at the peaceful negociations, and then formally declared war. Most definitions of terrorism seem to lack the separation between acts of war and terrorism.


(1/27/06) George W. Bush: Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Terrorist Attacks


Bush really struck an emotional chord in this speech. It is by far the power powerful and compelling speech I have ever heard him deliver. Pathos and logos were interspersed throughout the address. One point that affected me greatly was how even in a time of suffering, support and compassion are everywhere: in the kindness of strangers, in the donations of people of all races, and in the bond that unites humans throughout the entire world despite political borders. “In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed… the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong.” The affirmation of America’s strength and global support is exactly what a wounded American people needed to hear. It made us all realize that we are never alone, and this horror should never be allowed to repeat itself. This is where Bush uses logos: “This is not, however, just America's fight…its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere…But the only way to defeat terrorism as a threat to our way of life is to stop it, eliminate it, and destroy it where it grows…Terror, unanswered, can not only bring down buildings, it can threaten the stability of legitimate governments.” He follows a logic path for a plan of action. No organization has outwardly fought against terrorist groups, which may be one reason these groups have been prospering thus leading to an attack of this magnitude. The goal of a terrorist is not to win a battle, but only to cause destruction and terror to engulf all democratic nations. One cannot negotiate with a group whose only plan is to kill; the group must be sought out and destroyed from where they make birth.




In our textbook Everything’s an Argument, a discussion arises stating that a writer needs to establish common ground with the intended audience. As an example it uses Alice Walker’s essay, “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens.” The use of the first person tense shows to whom the essay is intended: young, black women like herself. The book claims creating this common ground is extremely effective, but only to that intended audience. I found this not to be the case. The provided quote, “Did you have a genius great-great-grandmother who died under some ignorant and depraved white overseer’s lash?” does not leave me unaffected because I am not a part of the intended audience. On the contrary, I found this statement to be an extremely powerful one! The rhetorical question made me take a piece I initially regarded as too distant for me to connect with and turned it into a piece in which I was an active participant. It forced me to apply the situtaion to myself. Although I did not read this passage through the eyes of a black woman, as planned by the author, but instead through the eyes of a person. The second person verb usage connected me to the piece and made me better understand the suffering the African American race when through as a whole because I am a compassionate human being, not just one whose ancestors also underwent such oppression. While I agree with the book saying that a common ground can be extremely useful and powerful if manipulated correctly, the common ground does not inhibit the rest of the world from connecting to the piece, as suggested.


(1/24/06) The UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Upon reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I began to ponder the enforcement the UN has on such a contract. Very little, I am forced to conclude. Sudan had sponsored a mass genocide within its own borders for over a year before the UN decided to take any action. Official war broke out in early 2003, but it took until 30 July 2004 for the United Nations Security Council to propose a resolution giving the government 30 days to disarm the Janjaweed, the terrorist organization responsible for the genocide. While the UN has made progress in the International Criminal Court, the horrors of genocide still affect millions every single day. The repeated torture of Iraqi prisoners by American Troops is another example of the lack of enforcement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


While reading this document, I found something that intrigued me:


Article 1.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


The much-debated topic in American politics is the issue of abortion. Some claim that an embryo is still a human life, and thus abortion is viewed as murder. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that a human is “born” free. Shouldn’t this same policy apply to United States, since it is such a prominent member of the UN? If so, then the above argument fails since life is defined as beginning at birth rather than conception.



(1/23/06) FDR's "The Four Freedoms"


To ignite patriotism, FDR uses all three methods of constructing an argument: ethos, pathos, and logos. His use of formal and proper diction shows his professionalism and competence to run one of the most powerful countries in the world. To win the people’s support to join in World War II, he attacks what Americans hold most dear: their freedom. He reports that not every individual in the world has the liberty of exercising the rights that we are granted; our freedom would easily be smothered if a dictator were to win the war. Many Americans were skeptical over U.S. involvement. Why should we send over money and troops for a European war? If we remain silent, perhaps we can avoid the bloodshed. As a retort, FDR uses logos: “They did not wait for Norway or Belgium or the Netherlands to commit an act of war.” The dictator’s of Europe did not wait for an offensive move before attacking its neighbors, so it is not likely that the courtesy American’s expect will be granted. Overall, FDR presents a thorough and convincing argument. However, I do not fully understand the structure of the speech. In the middle of his case on American involvement, he starts advocating domestic issues he supports: old pensions and unemployment insurance, medical care, and a better employment system. I find these arguments to be distracting to the original topic. These are issues that are too big to just be thrown into another case. They each deserve a speech of their own. I feel FDR would have been better to avoid these arguments until he could take an appropriate amount of time to justify his point of view; despite this, his argument rise for patriotism is absolute and convincing.





Over winter break I heard about this and have been waiting to argue it ever since. Apparently, the Bush administration has decided that peace activists and anti-military recruitment groups are now a considered a “threat” to the War on Terrorism. The White House has been spying on the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) with surveillance cameras, eavesdropping devices, and by taking the names and license plate numbers of peaceful protestors. The AFSC is a Quaker organization that promotes social justice, humanitarianism, and peace. Throughout history they have aided escaping slaves, been activists in the civil rights movement, were active in all anti-war protests, and rescued Jews from Hitler’s wrath. Now why, one may ask, would the U.S Government now see these people as a threat? NBC reported about a month ago that a secret Department of Defense database focused mainly on “potential terrorists threats.” Such potential threats now include a group of six people, five of them being Quakers, holding a conference at a Quaker meeting house discussing how to protest military recruiting that was occurring at the local high school, handling out anti-war text in front of the recruiting station, and observing the second anniversary of the war in Iraq. None of these are crimes. Thousands of people were being spied on just by exercising their rights: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. I understand that the government has numerous issues to deal with, one of the main concerns being homeland security. However, the government is wasting both time and money by spying on a peaceful anti-war organization. I see no threat in people who obey the laws our founding fathers set forth.



(1/20/06) USA Today Snapshot Evaluation


I found a chart that promoted gambling. The caption boasts, “Among the 30% of Americans who went to the casino during the past year, more than half say they came out even or won more than they lost.” This is true according to their graph; 53% of American gamblers had no loss. However, 76% came out with no profit. Only 20% said they came out with winnings, 33% broke even, and 43% lost money some sum of money. While the caption states that more than half made money or broke even, the majority of gamblers are in debt or just broke even. The chart does not give the amount by which each group of people lost or won. A profit of $1.00 would still be classified as coming out with more than you came in. The majority of “winners” may in fact have gained a low sum of money. The chart fails to address this question.


(1/17/06) My Appropriated (from CandyLand) and Adapted Personal Narrative


I was having trouble thinking of a name for my blog and this was what came to my mind. In my Junior English class we created a literary magazine. To name it we all wrote one suggestion on a slip of paper and then we voted on our favorite. One of my friends wrote, "I wish I was creative..." My teacher instantly corrected him and said, "Well, actually its 'I wish I were creative.'" My class was so amused by this little known grammar rule, that it won the most votes and is now the title of our collected works. I also thought it summed up my thoughts accurately. My major is Astronomy and Astrophysics because the celestial bodies have always fascinated me. My roommate is a Microbiology Major and she is one of my best friends at PSU. I love Penn State and am eager to meet new people!



(1/17/06) Martin Luther King, Jr. Reflection


Martin Luther King, Jr. creates a carefully constructed argument. He takes the time to address his audience, the men of the Church, and focuses his argument to appeal to their beliefs. When he was accused of being an extremist, he compares himself to respected religious figureheads who could also be classified as extremists. He takes a word with a negative connotation and turns it into a compliment by relying on the religious faith and knowledge of his audience. King answers all accusations against him by first questioning both sides of the issue, and then highlighting facts that supported his view and cause(s) for action. This method of argument allows the audience to observe that King's method is the only possible way to resolve the racial issue of segregation, for he disproves all other proposed solutions. While I admire King's argument, I found one point with which I feel should have been addressed in more detail. I agree with his definition of just versus unjust laws in the case of racial segregation. However, would this definition also apply to a law that restricts a certain age group from participating in an act that the rest of the population partakes? Is the law saying the legal voting age is 18 years an unjust law, and thus it is moral to break it? King states that extremist actions will lead to anarchy, but puts no other limitation on the breaking of these laws.


(1/12/06) My Personal Narrative


Here goes my generic, and hopefully complete, bio. I play mellophone in the Blue Band, which is a French horn for marching band, and trumpet as a hobby. I love almost all types of music: classical, musical theatre, ska, alternative, Bhangra, and movie soundtracks, to name a few styles. I enjoy hiking, camping, reading, museum hopping, and traveling to obscure landmarks (Hell’s Half Acre in WY being my current favorite). I am very clumsy, which tends to restrict my athletic ability drastically. And with that said, my word count runs out.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.