Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A Bleak Ride Home for Zimbabwe Depotees (Charlie Carter) 

In Zimbabwe the economy is so bad that the natives are forced to flee to nearby South Africa to find jobs. I really feel that the US needs to step in to make a change. Something definately needs to be done so that Zimbabweans can get jobs. Even if that means making is possible for them to work in South Africa. Currently there are 2,500 Zimbabweans deported from South Africa each month. A new Government was establishedin 2000 in Zimbabwe replacing the minority white controlled government. This immedietly changed for the better but soon fell in to an economic downward spiral. There is a 70 percent unemployment rate so virtually nobody is working. With so much US attention on issues such as the war in Iraq there isn't enough time to look at maybe some more important issues such as controlling hunger and poverty in third owrld countries.

"Elderly People" Who is really taking care of them? 

Have you ever thought about all of the elderly people that are left to die in a nursing home. Well I read the article, “Feeding Rules for Nursing Homes” in the Monday edition of the New York Times. The people that end up putting their parents or their grandparents in nursing homes don’t ever think about who is going to be taking care of them. Obviously the elderly can’t be taken care of by all of the nurses that are there on staff. That would just be inhumanly impossible. So they higher assistants to come in and take care of the elderly. Feeding and changing the elderly are just a few things on their list of things to do while at work. Did you ever stop to think about those people that are working at these nursing homes? How much schooling did they actually have before getting the job that they are assigned? If it was between you and me I think I would rather have a qualified nurse taking care of me rather then some high school kid that thinks its great to make that much money but not great to help the elderly people. Who would you want helping you if you where in a nursing home? What person do you think should be able to feed your grandma? I don’t know, so let me know what you think about the topic.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Should Natives Recieve Financial Assistants from our Government? 

Native Americans are a topic that has come up this past weekend. Are Native Americans getting too much financial support from the government? As I was headed to the casino with a group of friends to have a good time we went through the area where all the Natives had their houses. Nice houses for that matter. I believe that the American public as a whole is suffering and the Native Americans are reaping the benefits. The houses that we passed on the way in to get to the casino were at least 300,000 dollars plus. What upsets me the most is that these people make so much money from their casinos and give a portion to each Native family that lives on the reservation? Then the Natives that receive a portion from the tribe also get financial assistants from our government. With all of their tax breaks and being able to go to college for free there has to be a point where it all stops. When will it stop? I am part Native American, but I haven’t seen my check in the mail. I believe that the American general public should finally get back what they deserve. Americans deserve to get back their taxes that are given to the wealthy Natives. I want to hear what you have to say on this topic.

Running For President 

Running for presidency. One of those things not a whole lot of people think about. Just this last week a bunch of friends and myself from English class was having a discussion on what we thought would be fair for Americans running for presidency. Who should be able to run is the question that we kept asking one and another. The thing is about this particular topic is that it is very controversial. I myself believe that anyone that is a child born in the United States of America, and is a descendent from true-blooded Americans should be able to have the opportunity to be able to run for presidency. Those who are descendents from Americans but are born in a different country then later come to the United States. I don’t believe they should have that same equal opportunity as those that are born in the U.S. and is a descendent from a true-blooded American. That was just to give you an idea of what I think about the topic leave me a message and let me know what you think about the topic.


Sunday, September 28, 2003


An interesting article in last Wednesday’s edition of the New York Times prompted me to ask a few questions. CASTING A COLD EYE ON ARTIC OIL was the name of the article and it concerned the oil situation in the great artic. Many people agree that Alaska is full of many useful resources, oil being the greatest. But those same people may also argue that drilling for oil in the artic would not only disrupt the wildlife but ruin decades, even centuries of heritage. President Bush recently made a heavy push to allow oil drilling in the artic so that our country can get back on track. I love how he ties the war and our economic problems in so that he can make it look like drilling for oil in the artic will solve all our problems. The truth here is that yes there is a lot of oil in Alaska that could supply us for a very long time, but drilling would not only be detrimental to the environment, but would inevitably take away the land’s beauty and heritage. For now, our country understands that oil is always in need, but we are still managing. If the need for oil becomes serious we know that Alaska will supply us. But for now, its important that we leave Alaska’s pride alone. Drilling in Alaska would no doubt bring more economic prosperity, but it could also hurt some things that are not replaceable; pride, beauty and culture and I think at a time like this, we need to retain our nation’s heritage and not sell it away. Nicholas Kristof, author of this article put it best when he said; "Bush's proposal would casually rob our decedents forever of the chance to savor this magical coastal plain".

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Before You Grab Those Cheeseburger Fries 

I agree with the letters to the editor in the Friday, September 26 issue of the New York Times. After David J. White read an article entitled "Cheeseburger and Fries, Wrapped Up in One," about the new deep fried cheeseburger sticks, he said he would have loved to run right out and sample them. But on second thought, he said that at a time when obesity and the illnesses that come with it are rampant in this country the food industry is hurting Americans rather than helping them. People should eat less deep fried foods, not more. Ted Pollock, who also commented on the article, said that over the decades we have attacked littering, using drugs, not using seatbelts, smoking, talking on a cellphone while driving, and other things. It's about time that we attack the development and marketing of unhealthy foods. Obviously people should be able to make their own decisions about the kinds of foods they eat. The problem is that children pick eating habits and usually stick with them into adulthood. Why is obesity such a problem in this country? Look into any school cafeteria and you'll have your answer.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Mosquito Be Gone 

Did anyone read "A Bug's Death" from Thur's NYT? In an effort to combat malaria in Africa, scientists want to engineer an "extinction gene" to kill off the type of mosquito that carries the the disease. Once inserted into the bug's DNA, the gene would prevent a vital organ from functioning. They estimate that the malaria mosquito could be eradicated in 10 years. The issue would probably be whether their absence would drastically affect the ecosystem. The article also mentioned the unlikely possibility of the gene entering other species. Maybe they should create an enclosed ecosystem with the mosquito in it, to see if the gene transfers. It would take a number of years, but I think it would be worth the wait to make sure it's really safe. And if it did turn out to be safe, they may as well take care of the mosquitos in Minnesota while they're at it.

Humanitarian Kidnapping 

Today's NYT contained an interesting op-ed, Kindness's Cruel Reward.
The article told about the August, 2002 kidnapping of Arjan Erkel, a Dutch humanitarian aid worker in Russia. Erkel had led an effort to provide medical services to a part of the country that was "ravaged by war." The thanks he received was to be kidnapped and driven away by gunmen. It was later found out that Erkel's kidnapping was being watched by the Russian Federal Security Service, who did nothing to stop the abduction. The author points out the lack of respect the world has come to have for humanitarian workers. I think that Erkel's kidnapping is a good example of how corrupt governents can be. The US government is by no means perfect, but at least it doesn't condone the kidnapping of innocent people.

The Completed Dog Genome 

Scientific Team Puts Together A Rough Draft of a Dog Genome

In today's paper (September 26) there was a very interesting article on the genetic makeup of a dog's genome. A genome is the sequence of DNA that includes the genetic instructions needed to make a dog. We need to note that the draft is rough and there there will be many modifications to it. The knowledge of the genome allows scientists to understand the nature of dogs. The draft was created by a team under Dr. J Craig Venter in Rockville, MD. The main point of doing this genome research is because dogs contract many of the same diseases that human can contract and if scientists can figure out the background of the diseases they can learn more to treat and prevent them. Scientists also want to know the links between behaviors and genes through this discovery. To me, doing this kind of research is incredibly interesting. I think these practices and advancements will do a number for future medical research. I know there are arguments against using animals for testing and research but I feel it is a moral thing to do. Do any of you feel its wrong to do this? Or would you want to be a part of it?

Cameras watching your every move 

In Biloxi, Miss they have installed cameras in all of their classrooms, hallways, and other rooms. They have rushed to do this because of the recent school shootings. They say it also has helped students perform better and not screw around too much. They got all of their funding from the casino revenue. The project cost was more then 2 million dollars. Other schools have installed cameras for control in parking lots and hallways. What do you guys think? Is this pushing it a little too far? Would this make you uncomfortable in class? I think it would for me. Whatever happened to trust?

- crunchy

6 Months to New Iraq 

Powell and the American Government just stated today in the paper that they will be giving Iraq 6 months to write a new constitution. Powell said they were doing this cause they need to get them going in the direction for them to govern themselves. They can choose either a Parliamentary or a Presidential system for governing. I think that this is a smart idea for the U.S. because it shows Iraq that we will be giving the country back to Iraq as soon as they start to govern themselves again. I think this helps the citizens in America cause it tells us how much more time we are going to be in the country and as well as how much more funds we will need for our occupation over there. What do you guys think? Do you think that Iraq will ever be in peace? Right now it kind of is chaos because the people in Iraq are resisting our help. Hopefully we dont screw up that country and have other countries hate us for taking over the country. That isnt what America needs right now, is more countries hating us.

- Crunchy

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Push in Massachusetts for a Death Penalty 

Death Penalty

I was recently flipping through the New York Times and my attention was caught by this article. The Gov. Mitt Romney and lieutenant governor, Kerry Murphy Healey, claim that they have assembled a panel of experts to help come up with a law to institute capitle punishment in Massachusetts. They believe that with these experts they will be able to manage only charging the guilty, and to not kill innocent people. I was shocked to learn that only 12 states in the U.S. do NOT have capital punishment, I thought it was a lot more. A lot of states however are starting to turn away from using the death penalty. Illinois' Governor George Ryan in 2000, imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, and in a sense let 167 inmates off the hook (granting them a shorter sentance or clemency). I am wondering how do you guys feel about capital punishment? How do you feel about all the innocent people that have lost their lives by being wrongly accused? Do you think that by inforcing capital punishment people really learn a lesson, or is it another way for the greiving families to feel a sense of closure?

-molly k.

Surrendering U.S. Troops to Bugs? 

I read “Malaria, the Terrorist’s Friend” (Amir Attaran NY Times 9/25/03) and found it really disturbing. In Liberia, Malaria is a big problem right now, all the troops that we are sending over are at risk for malaria. Not even the vaccinations are helping. Last month 50 out of 225 service men were hospitalized for treatment of malaria, these people had the best vaccinations and bug repellant suits that the government could provide. Not only are American's not immune to this but the natives our and this also reduces are effectiveness. The current budget for the vaccinations and medicines total a mere $13 million, $8 million of which comes from the Department of Defense. However, it is said that a more appropriate amount, from the congress, would be a whopping $200 million. If this much money was spent on curing the problem, it would help not only our troops, it would also help more than a million cases of malaria yearly (worldwide). Although the money necessary is quite high I think that it is worth it, by sending our troops over seas without proper equipment for disease defense we are only hurting our own country. I think it is much more reasonable to spend the extra money, after all, what is the point in sending people over seas with a high risk. The government knows that by spending more money they are reducing the risk, so I don’t understand why they continue to let it be an issue.

Malaria the Terrorist's Friend /a>

Cheater Beaters 

For any of you out there that are still interested in the "How Teachers
Can Stop Cheating" article from the New York Times. I was paging
through old magazines I found lying around the house. To my surprise I
found a very familiar article in a two week old Newsweek. This article
takes the same basic stance as the New York Times article, in that
cheating has increased dramatically due to cut and paste style tactics
using the internet. This article differs slightly however by offering
another method of cheating deemed "A and A," "Alteration and
Amendment." Aside from this main detail this article reads pretty much
the same as the other, including both authors coming to almost exactly
the same conclusion! Just thought someone might be interested that
other media sources are carrying the same types of information. The
real question that came to me as soon as I had finished reading was...if
these two articles are so similar; does that make the latter author a

Cheater Beaters

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

School Shooting in Cold Springs 

I was watching the news today and I heard about a school shooting that happened in Cold Springs, MN. The suspect (a high school freshman) shot two boys, a freshman and a senior. Before the suspect was able to attack any more than two, a BRAVE teacher coaxed the boy into putting the gun down. Of the two boys in critical condition the medics had to choose one to be medflighted to the hospital in St.Cloud. The boy that was not transported by medflight died about a half an hour after arriving at the hospitial. I think that school shootings are so terrible, I can not imagine being the mom (or dad) of either of those two children. I think what is even worse is how the media makes a big deal of it. The news reporters said that the suspect didn't have very many friends and was often teased. To some extent everyone gets teased in high school, thats just the way it is. I think what bothers me the most is the way the media exploited Littleton, CO a number of years ago. I personally feel that if that particular incident hadn't been broadcast all over the nation it wouldn't have become such an epidemic. Although kids will be kids, once they learn, gee I could really get a lot of attention by doing this, that is when it gets out of control.

Afghan Women's Rights 

I read the most appalling news in the New York Times today. In an article called "Afghan Women's Rights" I read about how the women of Afghanistan traveled to Kandahar,considered one of the most dangerous cities right now, to create the Afghan Women's Bill of Rights. They asked for rights such as a guaranteed education, health care, personal security, and support of widows. As a woman living in America I know that I take my rights for granted. I know that I have pretty much the same rights as everybody else and that I am considered an equal. I think that it is horrible that the people of Afghanistan are treating women with such little respect. I am not just saying this because I am one, but women deserve a lot of respect. After all, creation could not continue without us (and yes I realize that men are a big part of that as well). The article goes on to say that violence to women has dramatically increased since the war and though America has promised support it is weak at best. I respect these women so much and I'm not sure about all of you, but I have a greater appreciation for living in this country and for having these rights.

Everything is Not Always So Beautiful at the Bolshoi Ballet 

I couldn't believe the article in last week's New York Times about the ballerina. The article, written by Eleanor Randolph and printed in the Friday, September 19 edition, describes how a ballerina's weight has caused a national frenzy in Russia. Anastasia Volochkova is said to have been fired from the ballet because she was getting too heavy for her partners to lift. Her exact proportions are unclear but she is probably 5-foot-6 and 109 pounds which is considered underweight on the American body mass index. Although Ms. Volochkova may also have had problems with her managers, I find it unbelievable that a country chooses to focus on a woman's weight and make it the national gossip. Dance is and has always been one of Russia's obsessions. It is considered a beautiful, graceful art form but now we see the dark, unpleasant and rough side as well.

Low score from the U.N. in its world whide fight against aids 

I was kind-of shocked to read that despite the U.N.’s efforts to overcome ignorance about AIDS, some of the world’s countries didn’t provide information about the disease and access to prevention measures. Only a fraction of people at risk of developing AIDS has meaningful access to basic prevention services. Sub-Sahara Africa is primarily one of them but I know conditions there are not always the best. The article provides some alarming numbers that hopefully will inspire countries to try and achieve their goals better than they did this time around. It is estimated that and additional 45 million people will become H.I.V. infected by 2010 and AIDS has left and estimated 15 million orphans. Tuesday’s paper (23rd) on page A10. What do some of you think about these possible projections?

Response to Robyn 

I don't think that lowering the drinking age will deter teenagers from drinking. I think it is going to be a problem for many generations to come, but I do agree with you that teenagers are going to rebel matter what. The problem isn't just high school seniors thought because in my school most people starting drinking in 9th grade. It sounds bad and it is but I think parents instead of being naive to the fact their child drinks and enforcing rules, they should be understanding and let their child know they are there for them. If teens knew they could call their parents when they needed a ride and not be afraid of getting in trouble, it would probably keep them off the roads while they are intoxicated or they would know that spending the night was the best thing. I know if I wasn’t worried I would disappoint my mother by calling her for a ride, I wouldn't put myself in the situation to drive drunk.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003


In Monday's edition of the New York Times, an interesting article was posted on college athletes and their somewhat isolated lives. It's obvious that being an athlete requires a mass amount of time. These people are not only dedicated athletes, but hardworking students as well. If they aren't practicing for their team, they're busy being tutored for the classes they've missed. They live sheltered, stressful lives. Their day consists of school, food, sleep, practice, and homework. Social mingling isn't usually an option for dedicated athletes. Although these kids face tough social lives, making friends isn'tt the real problem. These dedicated athletes seem to get too focused in one area, and it isn't academics. An increasing trend in academic performance is giving truth to the fact that student athletes lack in their studies. A good amount of athletes who play in college are under scholarship, which means that sometimes the students recruited aren't always the type of student the academic portion of the school is looking for. Student athletes are sometimes given an unfair advantage over regular students. They get tutoring, help, and extensions, that otherwise wouldn't be offered to other students. These stereotypes aren't always the case for all athletes, buts it's an obvious fact that athletes are sometimes forced to chose. Either they practice their heart out so they can play in their games, which mean their studies lack, or they study a lot and practice a little, risking the loss of their scholarship or worse. I think that athletes are favored and protected by their coaches and teams so that they can continue to play. There has been evidence in the past that proves, athletes are sometimes given free rides to play. Meaning that their homework isn't always done by them but yet, as long as it's in, they can play. This is completely unfair to those students who work hard and study everyday just to get by. I think the NCAA is in part to blame for the way college teams are sometimes run. I believe there needs to be a fair system. One that not only caters to the athlete, but the plain ordinary student as well. What do you think? Is the system fair or do alot of students get the easy way out??

Teenage Drinking 

In the recent New York Times, the teenage drinking article has caused quite a stir in our class. Personally I feel that teenage drinking is an activity that parents and government cannot eliminate. As much work and as many programs government sets up, I feel they will have little effect. In the article it mentioned that high school seniors admitted to drinking five alcoholic drinks in a row in the past two weeks. This study has gotten people all excited over practically nothing. To me that amount of alcohol is significantly lower than what is actually present. I have seen people drink more that 5 drinks in one night let alone two weeks. Another point is that the crack down on stores that sell to minors isn't going to have an impact because minors have of age people buy for them and the people who buy for them usually don't use their real names anyway to get traced. If parents feel that grounding their child because they were caught drinking will be effective, try again. Teenagers want to rebel and in that situation they would sneak out of the house anyway. The question to impose is whether or not to lower the legal drinking age in the United States as it is in other nations. If the age is lower, drinking won't become a bad habit. It will be more accepted. What do all of you think? Do you really think that new provisions will reduce teenage drinking? Or do you think it would be better to lower the legal drinking age?

Monday, September 22, 2003

Doing work 

Something that has struck me is the change in my work ethic beginning this school year. I have been timely with, and put reasonable effort into everything assigned this year. My first thought in response to this is that being late or turning in bad work is simply not an option if I wish to do well, whereas in high school, I could blow things of indefinitely, then bs them and do well. The other answer is that for the first time in my educational career, I am actually engaged with and caring (gasp!) about my course material and my learning. I would like to think that the latter is responsible for the change, but a good part of me knows that the former has a lot to do with it. Higher education is a choice (aside from the economic necessity) and I hope that it doesn't become too much of a chore. Now I go to do all of the editing to my summaries that I have put off till tonight. I blame my high school habits.

To any upperclassmen: Do you still (if ever) find value in your coursework, or does it just become another 4 (or 5 or 6) year drag? Honestly please.

Telemarketing-A Thing of the Past? 

"Call Centers in Survival Mode," featured on the front page of the Sept. 22 New York Times presented some interested perspectives about telemarketing. Earlier this year, the federal government put some new regulations on telemarketing, and the result is a Do-Not-Call Registry that anyone can put their number on to prevent being harrassed by phone calls. I think this is a great idea, and long overdue. However, the article also mentioned that millions of jobs will be lost if phone solicitation companies are put out of business. Telemarketers claim that they provide a "valuable service" to Americans, and that the regulations violate their first amendment right to free speech. I'd have to say that while it's too bad that so many jobs will be lost, it will be nice to not have any more annoying calls in which the phone rings three times, but when you pick it up there's no one there. And shouldn't the line be drawn when your right to free speech begins to obstruct other people's rights to privacy? What do the rest of you think? Are we better off with or without telemarketers?

Put It On Plastic 

I read the article "Caught in the Credit Card Vise" (New York Times 9/22/03). Some of the information just blew me away. In today's society especially America, we have so many credit card problems. For example, there is a couple that has $40,000 worth of credit card debt and continue to get credit card offers in the mail everyday. The credit card company, most likely, sees them as easy customers. I think it is outrageous that people are given opportunities to get into such debt. There was a statistic that credit card debt increased by 184% among very low-income families (annual income less than $10,000). Personally, as a credit card holder, I understand how easy it is to "charge it" but I don't understand how people can think of credit cards almost as a way to pay for something they can't afford at the time. I know, as everyone I am sure, how it is to want something but I don't understand how you could put your self in such a bad financial position. Many people these days say that America is becoming an "I want it now society" and I think this is helping the credit card companies tremendously.
I wonder why nobody else is trying to collect that sort of money. Are we talking insurance companies that promised money to jews because they knew they'd be killed? or insurance companies who wouldn't give money because there was no proof of death/ (death certificates didn't tend to be given in the camps). I wonder why ALL holocaust victems aren't going for insurance money. Jews were just the majority: many other people, from handicapped to queer, were put into concentration camps and/or murdered. I guess I'm kind of frusterated because the Holocaust is often seen as something only jews suffered through, when others suffered and died from the "ridding" of people who didn't live up to the "Aryan" ideals of hitler. Where does everyone think the upside down triangle comes from? Kind of went off on a tangent there.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

College and the older generation 

Do you ever "people watch"? You can tell so much about a person by their body carriage and language. Today on the bus after class and an older gentleman got on. Just by looking at him I could tell that he was weary and stressed. I look around the college campus and see so many people in our age range. You never ask them, "What's your story?" Everyone knows. We are here to learn and hopefully make more money in the long run. The older generations don't necessarily have to be here. I wanted to ask that gentleman what his story was. Why was he tired and stressed. Why did he go or come back to college. Did he just love to learn or was he required to be here. I saw him today and it compelled me to write this. Do any of you ever think this? Let me know

Steming off of Lauren's post 

I read in the New York Times an article in Wed 17th 2003 about Holocaust survivors trying to collect their life insurance (or family members claims) from European insurance companies. It has been costing them more money to try an collect their claims then they get in claim payments. They have already spent $56 million and have only obtained $42 million. Of the 54,000 people that have filed vaild claims only 6% (3,250) of them recieve any money. The US Government has endorsed the commission as the best hope for getting justice of Holocaust victims. I was really glad to hear that the Government was trying to do something to help these people. It was a horrible thing that happened in WWII and these people should get paid for their loses if they had life insurence. I understand that it was not the insurences companies fault for what happend, but things did happen and now the companies should pay the surviver's their insurance policies. The artice is on A21 if anyone wants to read it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

response to lauren 

Lauren I agree with your view of the article. I have not read the article but what you said is making me want to read it. I think that people should follow their own path and chose whichever religion they want to. But when someone tells them that the religion is disappearing it doesn't seem worthwhile to me. Even though I would want to decide on my own views, I would still want other people there to support me.

Not So Proud of Your Faith? 

I read an article from the New York Times (Sept. 17, 2003), "A Jewish Recount", that really got me thinking. The article starts off by telling the reader that "the nation's Jewish population is shrinking." The article then goes on to explain that the surveys conducted not only cost six million dollars but the results had been altered. Some think that they have been changed because they wanted to shock Jewish people who have become less serious about their religion. To me this is a crazy idea, why would you want to scare a group into staying involved. I think this could also have an adverse effect on the Jewish population, they may begin to think that their religion is diminishing and cause them to consider other religions. I believe that one's religious beliefs are sacred to them and no one should be influencing them to stay involved. I know that if a group of people from my religion were telling me that the population was diminishing I wouldn't be inclined to stay involved, everyone needs to make decisions that are best for them and no one should be misrepresenting information in order to keep a group strong.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Welcome Rhetoricians! 

After all the problems with blog titles, passwords, and comment codes we now have (I hope) a fully functioning class blog. Please post your thoughts, ideas, and (most importantly) your burning questions about the newspaper, class discussions and lectures, and anything else you may think will be interesting to your classmates or the world. The comment function now works as well so interact with your classmates' posts, but be respectful--big brother is watching. The two posts-two comments requirement starts today (Sept. 18). I am not grading content or length, but a worthwhile post would be about 150 words of substantial reflection or questioning (you'll find yourself writing more once you start I think).
Visit and post often. I look forward to a lively virtual rhetoric world.

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