AP English 11 Summer summary assignment #3 (A-L)


Way to go future Advanced-Penglish-11-sters!  You've turned in two summaries, and now it's time for #3.

For this one, you're actually going to be using all the stuff your peers have already done.  Here's how:

Read through everything, looking for articles and subjects you're interested in.  When you find a few, follow the essayists' links to their source articles and read the original essays they summarized.

THEN, Write your personal reaction (this means that you will be writing in the first person, as well as the third) to one article and its student summary;  your job is to answer each of these 3 questions, in a paragraph each: (I've worded each a few ways so that you see the point:  you will answer most, though not necessarily all parts of each question)

1.  What is significant about the subject of the essay?  What critical controversy does it address?  Extend the original summary by adding more (this may include your own research) about the context of the essayist's opinion.
2.  As you read the summary, and the original article, what would you add about what you see as the author's MAIN idea and PURPOSE?  You may end up agreeing with the original summary, but you may also indicate that "I really felt that the most important idea was actually more about...rather than..." etc. (of course use your own language, and you're entitled to point out a main idea that you feel that they "underemphasized."
3.  What makes the issue addressed by the original article important?  This will be your opinion, but should be based on your analysis of the subject:  what's at stake with the issue?  Who's affected?  Why do they care?  Why should we care? ( If you answer this well, you will also have logically concluded.)


  • Critique your peer's essay, its style, or approach:  your job is to discuss the ideas, not your peer's  writing technique.
  • Praise their essay, talk about how much you liked it, or bring in your own examples of how it applies.  (We will do this on assignments this year, but with the short length of your post, focus on the actual content of the article and its examples, looking for interesting specifics that are already there to bring to light!)

Have fun looking at, and interacting with, each others' work.
I'll be back on this blog after August 15th.


JayTeeFreedman321 said...

Reaction to Madduh_line.STef_an_I's summary of "With Testing, Where Do We Go From Here?" by John Merrow

In today’s society, numbers and test scores are used to evaluate a person’s worth and, often times, entry into a job. Looking beyond the surface, one with high test scores from college and high school may know just as little as the one who dropped out of high school because of the way teachers evaluate their students. With numbers and shortcuts that only prove knowledge through a series of bubble-tests, students are not really learning. The main question is: how do schools come out of this quick and formulaic style of teaching into a learning process that is real and helpful for life after school? There lies the main point of “With Testing, Where Do We Go From Here?” by John Merrow.

Merrow invites the idea that schools should “ask [themselves] what we want young people to be able to do upon graduation and figure out how to teach and encourage those behaviors” and, additionally, creates other plans to change the way of modern teaching. Although Madduh_line does an outstanding job of summarizing why modern teaching techniques do not work, I believe the main point of Merrow’s article is the idea of how we, as a society, move on from those techniques of bubble testing and cheating-firewalls.

Merrow points out that “life is not all about work” and schools must base their teaching on what students want to be (“good parents, concerned citizens, informed voters, discerning consumers” etc.). I agree with Merrow and hope a change of that manner will be implemented in the near future. It is great to know how to dissect a bubble test for the SAT, but what makes that useful in our lives beyond schooling? This is an issue that affects everyone and the future generations of this world. As Merrow says: “Tests drive public education right now. But what should be driving the enterprise are agreed-upon goals that come from the real world.” I believe the latter technique is a step in the right direction to where we, as a society and as people trying to improve our world, can go from here.

DanielBurnedtheStein5737 said...

Ignore the post above--the essay starts here. Sorry!

Reaction to Nicoeorozco's summary of "Finish the 710 Freeway" by James E. Moore II

Nicoeorozco’s summary, based on the essay “Finishing the 710 Freeway,” by James E. Moore II, accurately and coherently addresses the current issue of whether or not to connect the gap between the two ends of the 710 freeway, one of which terminates (northbound) at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, and another which terminates (southbound) in Pasadena. For decades, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has attempted to push this plan forward, says Moore, but strong opposition from the cities of Alhambra, South Pasadena, and Pasadena, the cities that would be directly affected by the plan, has prevented any construction from taking place.

However, in researching this topic myself, I found that Moore, who enthusiastically supports the construction, had not accurately expressed the widely differing opinions between the residents of Greater Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley and Pasadena and South Pasadena, specifically. According to proposed construction plans, the freeway would travel directly though the southern end of Pasadena as well as through South Pasadena, seriously disrupting established and historic communities. Alhambra residents, on the other hand, express much greater favor towards the construction because the freeway only brushes the westernmost edge of the city, leaving the rest of the large community intact. While Moore does mention that “a review of poll results collected by Godbe Research in 2004 and by the Rose Institute in 2000 shows Los Angeles voters favored completion by 5.6 to one, and San Gabriel Valley residents by 5.7 to one,” these poll results were taken from virtually all communities in the Los Angeles area, not focusing on the communities directly in the path of construction, Pasadena and South Pasadena. Moore fails to recognize the opinion of those communities that are affected first-hand by the freeway construction, and so his argument is therefore diminished upon this claim.

Nicoe very accurately captured Moore’s specific main point that “the regional need for building the last 4.5 miles of the [710 Freeway] is beyond any informed dispute,” and his summary also described the key policy steps, which Moore names at the end of the article, needed to push the construction forward in the coming years. For example, Nicoe pointing out Moore’s suggestions that the MTA should stay “staffed-up and focused,” and that voters should “embrace the toll-option,” along with “tunneling techniques funded by a public-private partnership,” strengthened NIcoe’s argument just as it did Moore’s. With the exception of Moore’s claim that funding the project would be easier than most others because the 710 is a state route and would not require federal dollars (this is incorrect because the 710 is part of the interstate system), Nicoe assembled these arguments into a convincing and comprehensible position.

In essence, the proposed construction of the 710 Freeway has been blocked for very good reason: The freeway extension, either as an above-ground highway or an underground tunnel, would indubitably have negative community, geographic, and environmental effects, especially for those communities directly in the “line of fire.” For example, the city of South Pasadena would be divided east from west, affecting street traffic patterns, air quality, and noise levels, in addition to the likelihood that homes would have to be removed in order for the freeway to follow its direct path. Even the indefinite proposal of an underground tunnel is potentially dangerous, as Southern California has never before seen a freeway inside a tunnel, leading to an increase in driver anxiety. Such an idea may even be useless for some, especially commuters traveling to or from Alhambra or South Pasadena who would not be able to enter or exit the freeway at the most convenient place.


DanielBurnedtheStein5737 said...


Because of all of these factors, the decision to build the 710 Freeway has implications for the communities it passes through, as well as all Southern California drivers. The 710 Freeway will affect thousands of Southern California drivers and the traffic patterns they deal with each day; the opening of this new stretch of freeway will likely cause more congestion in certain areas, particularly those in the vicinity of the freeway, such as San Gabriel, Sierra Madre, and Pasadena. The issue also involves a wide range of concerns that will affect how we approach future transportation issues: Is the answer to alleviating congestion to build or extend more freeways? Or is the answer to develop more public transportation, such as light rail? If we choose to build the 710 freeway extension, will we be undermining the Metro system of public transportation that has been progressing for nearly twenty years? These matters certainly impact all of us throughout Southern California.

J3R3MY_C0R_5518 said...

"Religion Poisons Everything" by Christopher Hitchens
Assignment #3

In “Religion Poisons Everything,” Christopher Hitchens points out the major flaws in religion and juxtaposes them with what he sees as the advantages of atheism. First, he argues that atheism is best because an atheist’s decisions are not affected by a desire to reach Heaven or Hell. Also, Hitchens remarks that history has shown that religion has not helped people to behave better, but caused war, suffering, death, and persecution, often in the name of a certain faith. Lastly, he criticizes the idea of God and a divine plan in which individual people have greater or lesser roles. He also attributes lack of self-respect to the significant religious belief in original sin.

I feel that this article’s main ideas were articulated well, but I believe the writer could have given more examples to support Hitchens’ claims. For example, when Hitchens states that religious people often cause more damage to the world than those without faith, it would have been helpful for the writer to provide situations or events in history to confirm Hitchens’ statement. However, all of the important ideas of the article were mentioned and summarized to a decent extent.

The controversy over whether religion actually helps people is a complicated issue. While Hitchens has viable arguments for why religion has a negative effect on people, he fails to acknowledge the good that organized religion has done in recent years. His attack on the ideals and concepts of religion may be justified, in his opinion, but it is important to note that according to studies over the years, religious people are often much more likely to donate to charitable causes, or volunteer to help the poor and elderly. In a large study conducted in 2000, it was found that religious people volunteer more than twice as many times a year than secular people, and people of faith contribute more than half of all donations to charity. In conclusion, people should be measured by their actions rather than what they believe happens after they die or what the laws of the universe are. And while I don’t agree wholeheartedly with religious people on their ideas of original sin, the afterlife, and other otherworldly concepts, I believe strongly in their idea that people are obligated to help those less fortunate then themselves.

7nationAriBH said...

"Show, Don't Tell"
By Dahlia Lithwick

Dahlia Lithwick’s “Show, Don’t Tell,” makes the case for why Justice Anthony Kennedy should not have included photos in his lengthy report on the overcrowding of California prisons. According to Lithwick, the photos have the potential of striking an emotional chord, and swaying one’s opinion for the wrong reasons. She believes that if the statistics are really as appalling as stated, then they should stand alone, without the use of “visual aids to prompt emotional responses.”

I believe that although the article’s points were explained, the author spent more time explaining examples of past cases that Lithwick brought up than examining the ethical issue of using photographic evidence in a court case. For example, when Lithwick brings up the 2007 case of Scott v. Harris, the issue was not that the tape was used to sway people’s opinions, but that members of the jury reversed their positions entirely “and the court admitted it.” The issue is not that these events occurred, but rather why they occurred.

The issue of using photographic evidence to conjure an emotional response is often overlooked, however it is terribly important. Although Lithwick claims that the facts should be able to stand alone without the use of a visual aid, when dealing in a case such as overcrowding prisons, it may be a necessity. The case is one of ethics and morality, and although images may provoke an emotional response, I feel that emotions should play a valid role in a case of ethics. For example, beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany instituted a practice of eliminating political dissidents and those that the state deemed unfit for society by placing them in large prison camps and killing them in heinous and inhumane ways. At the finish of World War II, many high-ranking Nazi officials were tried for crimes against humanity committed in these camps at the “Nuremberg Trials” in Nuremberg, Germany. Although the written descriptions of the camps were appalling by themselves, I find it difficult to believe that anyone could adequately describe the living conditions of the camps and the physical conditions of the surviving prisoners in detail as accurately as the images provided by the prosecutors. Without those images, perhaps the culprits would not have received punishments fitting their crimes, and for that reason I believe that photographic evidence is important, especially in a case of ethics.

KAYTEEthetheatergirlbasuuuu said...

Same-sex marriage: Married but unequal
Douglas NeJaime


original summary (#2) by vick_hb_5504

In Same-sex marriage: Married but unequal, writer Douglas NeJaime pauses to consider the complications caused by the New York state law allowing gay marriage. In a climate of general rejoicing and overwhelming support from the gay rights community and its activists, the law remains highly controversial and has certainly encountered its fair share of criticism. Although NeJaime makes clear that he fully supports homosexuals’ right to legal equality, he believes that this new law will actually complicate the legal status of gay and lesbian couples, even though it appears to be purely beneficial. As he outlines his argument, it becomes clear that NeJaime has done his research. That is to say, he has noted, most accurately, that the law will only apply in the state of New York. This seems adequate and logical until he details some of the current situation’s possible dilemmas. These include the problems presented when a gay or lesbian couple attempts to move to another state (such as California, with its own complicated legislation on the issue), get divorced in another state, or share some of the benefits that a heterosexual couple gains through federal, not state, law, including spousal social security benefits. In order to provide such detailed supporting examples, especially those requiring knowledge of various federal and state laws, NeJaime would have needed to perform extensive research on the issue prior to drafting his essay. Because NeJaime’s ideas are both well presented and researched, he makes a strong argument in favor of a federal recognition of the constitutional right to marriage for gay couples.
In the summary, NeJaime’s main point is presented by focusing on the disadvantages of the New York state law allowing same-sex marriage. While I think that each section of the summary addressed and effectively summarized a good portion of the examples and supporting details that NeJaime provides, it sometimes failed to connect them to the larger point that NeJaime was trying to make. Furthermore, although NeJaime uses the New York state law as a jumping-off point from which he can began his essay, and from which he can draw several specific examples, he ends by arguing in favor of gay rights, not in opposition to the law. In other words, NeJaime’s article is really about the need for more states and federal laws to adjust to accommodate fair rights for gays, as New York has, because without universal gay rights in place, gay couples will find themselves in “legal limbo” due to contradictory laws in various states. His article is therefore not actually as focused on the New York state law as it seems to be. Although the summary does quote the concluding sentence from the essay, it mainly focuses on the individual laws and detailed differences between states, thus failing, in my opinion, to connect them to NeJaime’s larger main idea of the need for country-wide equality. Purely for this reason, I feel the summary has underemphasized NeJaime’s overall support of gays and his plea for more states to adopt similar same sex laws as New York has, but more importantly for constitutional recognition of the rights of same sex couples, which would of course eliminate the cross-state obstacles that exist now.
Part three to come in a separate post!

KAYTEEthetheatergirlbasuuuu said...

Part three- I believe it was too long!

This article addresses, in a very opinionated tone, one of the most debated and controversial issues in the United States at the moment. This issue is a source of deep social disagreement. For instance, a state’s decision to allow, or prevent, gay and lesbian marriages affects many people, including of course the couples who wish to be legally married as well as their families and friends. Furthermore, a monumental decision on the subject may sway candidates in a political environment, depending on their position in the debate, and may therefore also influence thousands of citizens. In this debate, many people would argue that not only are legal rights and constitutional freedoms at stake, but also the sanctity of marriage, which has traditionally been viewed as a union between a man and a woman. Most organized religions in America continue to teach this view. As the issue has grown over the years, most people have taken a definite side on the matter and some are deeply invested in their opinion. Even if a person isn’t devoted to a side of the argument I think it would be hard for them to be completely oblivious or indifferent to the matter. Thus, because so much is at stake, because so many people are affected, and because even those who aren’t affected care very much, the debate over gay legal rights throughout the United States and within each individual state rages on and continues to be an undeniably significant issue in modern everyday politics and life.

DNGNikkai5521 said...

Reaction to DutinC-O5651's summary of "The Sleepover Question."


Amy Shalet, author of the article “The Sleepover Question,” weighs the different cultural views of American parents and Dutch parents on their teenager’s sexual life and how it plays into their family life. Shalet believed that the teens experience different reactions and actions from their parents because of the “divergent cultural ideas about sex” and “what responsible parents ought to do about it.”

For instance, Shalet points out that the reason Dutch families “exert more control over their children,” directly relates to the fact that parents “[normalized] ideas about teenage sex” as opposed to letting teenagers believe that “it is easier for [their] parents not to know.” In fact, the American teenagers who Shalet had interviewed felt that “they had to split their burgeoning sexual selves from their family roles.” The slight differences between the two cultures are what cause the split in the experiences that teenagers have when sharing their intimate, personal lives with their family.

After reading both the entire article and the summary presented by DutinC-O5651, I feel that Shalet didn’t stress what an important role the parent plays in their teenager’s life. In the Netherlands, a national survey said 7 out of 10 Dutch girls “reported that by the time they were 16, their parents had talked to them about pregnancy and contraception.” Consequently, the author mentions that the “widespread use of…contraceptives” in the Netherlands contributed to teenage pregnancy rates that were “more than 4 times lower in the Netherlands then in the United States.” Shalet also observes that kids reinforced by their parents’ belief that “…teenagers, girls and boys, [are] capable of falling in love, and of reasonably assessing their own readiness for sex,” became more willing to “share the good news” and “win approval” from their parents. Because these parents made the first move, their kids are not under the impression that “it is easier for [their] parents not to know.”

When Shalet interviewed different American parents trying to protect their children from the dangers of sex, she noticed that they “actively discouraged promiscuous behavior.” Face it: it’s bound to happen anyway, because teenagers who feel they need to hide it will go behind their parents’ backs if they have to-- whether or not these kids are aware of sex and the risks and dangers that come with it. A happier, safer household for everyone here in America—moms, dads, teenagers and their beloveds—first starts with the parents: when teenagers start getting the idea that their families have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, they are going to follow it.

EllenOrGaret5539 said...

John Merrow discusses the problems that testing creates, and especially how testing affects writing in his article “With Testing, Where Do We Go From Here?” Specifically, he declares that testing leads many students to cheat, while substandard teaching that is a product of “teaching to the test” often means that students don’t learn how to write properly, and only learn how to write to the test format. Merrow continues by claiming that educators are trying to solve these problems in the wrong way, that rather than focusing on eliminating cheating, teachers should instead focus on figuring out “what we want our youth to be,” and making sure that they are prepared for the “real world.”

Merrrow discusses his concerns with “teaching to the test,” and how this kind of mediocre teaching doesn’t prepare students for the future. For example, Merrow asserts that “employers want to hire people who can write clearly, accurately and well;” however, students are instead “drilled in the ‘constructed response’ process,” and are given no “time for reflection or rewriting,” two processes that are essential to a good piece of writing-“there are no shortcuts” when it comes to writing well. Merrow also claims, “cracking down on cheaters...won't fix our problem,” because “cheating is not the real problem; it's a symptom of a larger problem.” According to Merrow, the larger problem is that “we rely too heavily on the scores of relatively simple...machine-scored ‘bubble’ tests as the measure of educational accomplishment.” Merrow asserts that neither getting “rid of testing” nor endorsing “’multiple measures’ of achievement” is enough: Instead, he claims that “we have to ask ourselves what we want young people to be able to do upon graduation and figure out how to teach and encourage those behaviors.” Only after we have done that can we discover “what sort of school-based experiences teach or sharpen those [certain] skills and attributes,” instead of the tests that “drive public education right now.” In general, standardized testing in schools is a very controversial topic. While many people agree with Merrow, and believe that standardized testing needs to be changed so that it is more applicable to real life, many more believe that standardized testing works, and rely heavily on it. The conversation between these two factions is ongoing, and the problem of how to resolve this conflict is very messy.

The author’s purpose in writing this essay is very clear: it is, as Madduh_line.STef_an_I says, to advocate for less testing or at least better testing, in this country’s school system, and to base teaching and testing on “agreed-upon goals that come from the real world.” Although some argue that tests can be fixed by stopping “cheating,” Merrow argues that changing the tests themselves, and the thought process that surrounds teaching and testing so that tests are a more accurate measure of a student’s skills, is what needs to be done. Madduh_line.STef_an_I clearly and concisely sums up this main point in the final paragraph of her summary.

EllenOrGaret5539 said...

Continued from above:

Testing is a very important issue, especially to students and teachers, as they are the ones most affected by testing and the teaching that essentially leads up to these all important tests. For every major moment in a student’s life, there is a test; a test to pass a class; a test to graduate from high school; a test to determine whether you go to college. Standardized testing is supposed to be a way to hold schools and teachers accountable, which means that teachers no longer have the freedom to teach how they choose, and because of this, their ability to teach is severely hampered. Because of this, most teachers teach their classes not so that their students can learn, develop, grow, and explore their interests, but so that their students can perform well on the panoply of tests with which they are constantly bombarded. How a student does on a single test could ultimately affect their future, their career. This seems plain wrong. If, instead, students were given the opportunity to learn properly how to write and think, they would be much more well-rounded people, and much more likely to achieve in life than if they were taught how to write a preformed essay, or perform well on a standardized test. This would mean that the world would have many well-educated, thoughtful people in it, which would lead to a brighter future and a better world.

Based on Madduh_line.STef_an_I's summary of "With Testing Where Do We Go From Here?" by John Merrow, writer for the Huffington Post


vick_hb_5504 said...

In “Why America has to get off coal,” the authors Michael Brune and Michael Bloomberg discuss the disadvantages of coal energy, despite its “popularity” in America. Coal's health risks has caused 13,000 premature deaths caused by coal soot, and has been held accountable for “$100 billion in health costs.” Not only is it cheaper to build clean energy plants, it is also cheaper to use clean energy. On top of that, the clean energy industry has already been proven to provide more jobs than the coal mining industry. Despite popular opinion, America does not need coal to “keep our economy running.” At the moment, yes, coal is a necessity that our economy currently needs, although that can definitely be changed. America can not immediately make the switch from coal to clean energy alternatives like wind power and solar power, but eventually she can. Companies like Beyond Coal have already been “pushing” for existing coal-fired power plants to be shut down, “starting with the nation's oldest and dirtiest plants.” It is estimated that by 2030, America will have successfully “end[ed] our reliance on coal,” which will result in positive effects such as “clean[ing] our air, improv[ing] our health, creat[ing] jobs, and expand[ing] our economy.”
The authors' aims were to let us know about the negative effects that coal energy had on America, and to explain that they themselves have taken steps to do something about it. I feel that 7nationAriBH did a great job summarising and including all the necessary key points mentioned in the original article, although I feel as if he could have mentioned more about the alternatives to coal energy, and the benefits that come with them.
Once America has stopped relying on coal energy, the economy will benefit a lot from it. The cost of spending [in regards to health] will go down significantly, since the $100 million spent on coal-related injuries will cease to exist. Medicaid and Medicare costs will stop “breaking our budget,” and death rates will not have the added 13,000 premature deaths that occur every year from coal soot. Statistically, wind farms provide “far more jobs” than coal-mining does, so more jobs will be available for the unemployed. Switching to clean energy sources is “a fight that we can win at the local level,” therefore, our community should do what we can to promote the idea of clean energy plants. Doing so can only benefit us and expand our economy.

Camran-Covel5697 said...

Reaction to “Legalize drugs — all of them” by Norn Stamper
Originally Summarized by Alexxa_R_hehehe

In “Legalize Drugs—all of them,” written by Norm Stamper and summarized by Alexxa_R_hehehe, the author argues that in order for the nation to confront the crimes and deaths caused by the “drug scene,” America should legalize “all drugs.” Stamper believes that by doing so, crime rates will go down, drug wars that are caused by competition for drugs will cease to exist, the amount of “drug abuse” will decrease, and the U.S will become a “healthier” and “safer” place to live. Due to studies conducted by Robert L. Maginnis, Stamper’s solution to the rampant drug problem, according to Maginnis, does make “economic sense,” would bring the “crime rate” in America “down,” and would even provide “heath benefits” to those who need drugs for medicinal purposes.

I agree with Alexxa_R_hehehe, when she explains that the main point of the essay is that “all drugs should be legal in America.” Additionally, I agree that the purpose of the essay is to convince the reader that it is time to “accept drug use as a right” of the American people and begin to treat the misuse of drugs as a “public-health problem” rather than as a criminal offense. Despite this, I believe that Alexxxa_R_hehehe could have put more emphasis on how the drug war has lasted “longer than any other” national conflict, since it is one of the main reasons that Stamper believes it “is time” for the policy to change.

I believe that the controversy over the legality of drugs must be addressed immediately, given that millions of Americans, along with the entire national government, are negatively affected by it daily. Specifically, 1,678,200 people were arrested on drug accounts in 2003, and each prisoner costs the U.S. an average of $20,000 a year for food and prison upkeep, meaning that if drugs continue to be illegal, the national debt will increase by about, $33,564,000,000 a year. Additionally, because the government is not regulating the quality or quantity of drug output, “two to five” million people a year die from dirty drugs consumed in unsafe quantities. Also, the competition for drugs often breaks out in “drug wars,” which makes many U.S. cities and neighborhoods “unsafe” for adults and children to live out their lives. In conclusion, I believe that the American people must do something in order to, as Stamper says, “end the madness of an unwinnable war” and make the U.S. a safer place to live.

VIVIANH5559 said...


“Paying for Their Crimes, Again” by Tina Rosenberg and summarized by Daniel82Wants988Moore

In “Paying for Their Crimes, Again,” Tina Rosenberg deems courts aren’t giving former criminals a chance to get back on their feet again by imposing various fees the moment they get out. Since most ex-cons are released from jail with “very few job prospects,” Rosenberg argues that the states’ demands aren’t keeps the ex-cons from “[living] a law abiding life” and are pushing them right back into committing crime for the money instead. Adding on, the author feels that a program, namely the Clapham Set, “could help them get their lives back on track” and “get rid of their debt.”

I agree with Rosenberg in that the courts aren’t exactly giving former criminals a chance to start off fresh. As most of the former offenders reenter society with dim job prospects and burdening debts from the courts to pay off, it almost seems natural that they would getting the money illegally or doing drugs and drinking alcohol to temporarily ease the stress. Since Rosenberg also points out the fact that courts rely heavily upon the fines placed on former criminals for funding, it leaves me wondering about whether or not the courts have considered the idea that their demands are driving ex-cons back into committing crime or if they have considered alternative methods to funding their system. Furthermore, I feel that the Clapham Set is a course that should be offered to all criminals, out or in jail as it seems to be more effective in keeping former criminals out of jail.

In my honest opinion, it all really comes down to this: is there corruption within the court systems? Are the courts purposely posing such demanding fees out of the offenders just to get more money or the least keep their jobs? Although it’s somewhat expected, I find it ironic that there would be corruption in the court systems. I’ve grown up believing that the courts serve to guard people’s rights and justify the wrong, not protect their own private welfares. Law enforcements are always encouraging people from committing crime; however, the courts’ current system of getting funding is only keeping the former offenders from making right.

CeruhSKUOTIENT5582 said...

Article: When Food Kills by Nicholas D. Kristof
Peer: Ellenorgaret5539

In “When Food Kills” by Nicholas D. Kristof, Kristof addresses an epidemic that “kills one person every two hours.” He discusses how although “our farming system.... is a marvel for producing cheap foods,” it fails to see how these methods are deeply damaging for the animals and for us humans. He encourages Americans to act against animal cruelty, namely, “recklessly stuff[ing]” antibiotics into “healthy animals.” This is an immoral marketer’s attempt to make up for the “confined,” “squalid” and “crowded [living] conditions” that animals are forced to live through. This causes the birth of harmful antibiotic-proof viruses that become basically “untreatable.” “Vegetarians,” Kristof adds, are also not “immune” to these strong viral diseases. The recent “European E. Coli outbreak” actually “arose from… an organic farm,” showing that even vegetables and organic foods can become lethal. To emphasis the need for action on this topic, Kristof points out that the “most common antibiotic-resistant pathogen,” MRSA, “kills more Americans annually than AIDS” and even adds to the country’s “medical costs.” In addition, Kristof states that these diseases spread fast; already has a farm been found with “70% of [their] hogs” infected with MRSA.

Although incredibly informative and compelling, the article left me with nothing to do. After telling the reader about all these awful things about the food we see every day, I felt it lacked direction after inducing a call to action. It could have mentioned petitions sites against animal cruelty like force feeding healthy animals antibiotics mentioned in the article. Or at least gave us a list of manufacturer names that have been found performing such conducts such as “Big Al.” Then we could do something, anything to prevent catching the deadly diseases discussed in the article.

Nevertheless, Kristof’s examples and statistics should not be taken lightly. I had no idea death rates caused from food were so high until reading this article. Chances are, not many people know the severity of the topic, either. Lives of our family, friends and other human beings are at stake all because of an unnecessary abuse to animals, including our own lives. If you eat three meals a day that’s almost a hundred chances in a month you could catch a disease like E. Coli or MRSA. In Kristof’s article he enforces a solution that would hit two birds with one stone: stop force feeding antibiotics to healthy animals.

m1a_rae_lew1s001 said...

"Censoring 'Huckleberry Finn' is an act of literary graffiti" by Leonard Pitts

In “Censoring ‘Huckleberry Finn’ is an Act of Literary Graffiti,” Leonard Pitts criticizes publishing company NewSouth Book’s decision to remove all occurrences of the “reprehensible N-words” from Mark Twain’s classic book “Huckleberry Finn.” Although Pitts understands that NewSouth editor Alan Gribben brings good intentions by attempting “impose political correctness upon the most politically incorrect of American authors,” this act of “literary graffiti” completely alters Twain’s portrayal of the time, ultimately skewing readers’ views of this timeless tale. First, Pitts argues that any artist, whether in music, art, or literature, has the right to “share what is in his or her soul” through a series of “conscious choices,” and that while the audience is free to accept of reject these choices, “it is emphatically not free to substitute its own.” Next, Pitts states that Twain’s use of the N-word was an accurate reflection of life in the late nineteenth century, and that editing his original words is in fact “sugar-coating” the past, that of which is “immutable and nonnegotiable.” Finally, removing this word from Huckleberry Finn prevents readers and students from asking important questions about the mindset of the past, in addition to decreasing their “intellectual capacity” and protecting them from interpreting and critiquing Twain’s “masterpiece.”

I agree with the author in that the main point of this article is to show that “sugar-coating and censoring” the work of a great author is ultimately detrimental to readers, in addition to the fact that altering Twain’s original words proves how our country has become an “intellectual backwater.” I think it was also important that the author put emphasis on Pitts’ view of our country’s reading comprehension, and that removing this word shields students “nuances of a masterpiece.” However, I personally think the author could have included more of Pitts’ response to the intentions of the NewSouth editor, specifically that “many teachers feel they can't use the book in their classrooms because children simply cannot get past that incendiary word.”

I found that this article raised an important question about the boundaries of censorship and art. I personally agree with Pitts in that editing out reprehensible words from a classic book alters the tone and intentions of Mark Twain, while also giving readers a false impression of the past. When Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn in 1875, he was simply writing in the language used at the time, and although this makes the “N word” any less politically incorrect, readers should be able to look past it and instead analyze the book for it’s theme and important message. Prejudice against race, religion, and sexual orientation is found everywhere in history, but like Pitts argues, “the past is what it is, immutable and nonnegotiable,” and can’t be “sugar-coated.” It is important for people, especially students, to be able to critique and evaluate periods in history when such racism was the norm; simply shielding them from it just narrows their “intellectual capacity.” Ultimately, Mark Twain wrote Huckleberry Finn for people to read: we can judge it, or we can praise it, but to edit his original words shows a complete disregard to the eloquence of his writing.

victoriapantone400_5546 said...

Response to alberto5618 "Can't We Do This Right?"
In the article “Can’t We Do This Right?” by Thomas Friedman discusses the pivotal argument that was the debt ceiling, pointing out the unproductive way the Republicans and Democrats were dealing with this issue. Additionally, he believes that the prospect of the debt ceiling being raised without proper planning is perhaps more frightening than the Republicans and Democrats being unable to come to an agreement.

Upon further research, it became apparent that it was unwise for the government to tie discussion of the debt ceiling, which was related to money that had already been spent, to discussion of the budget, which was related to money that the government planned to spend. The debt ceiling, usually a relatively uncomplicated process, became a huge problem when both problems were trying to be solved at once.

After reading both the article and the summary, I felt that the main idea was well addressed in the summary. Friedman was essentially stating how the government should go about solving the problem with the debt ceiling efficiently, warning the government to plan before trying to cut or raise anything, and these points were well stated by the summarizer.

This was important to us as citizens because if the two parties failed to come to a decision, then America would have defaulted on its loans, and the economy would have been irreparably damaged. Even now, with default technically averted, the fact that the normally simple procedure of raising the debt ceiling became a point of contention between the parties is already affecting America’s ability to borrow money. For example, America’s credit rating has been lowered and stocks have begun to come down. In our current situation, America is at liberty to borrow money very cheaply, and if the Democrats and Republicans do not figure out how to come to effective agreements over debt and balance budget it may ultimately lead to economic collapse, affecting everyone in America.

daniTHEelaHERRer-uh5552 said...

Reaction to “m1a_rae_lew1s001” summary of "New Republic: In Defense of ‘Marriage Vow’ Passage" by John McWhorter

In “ New Republic: In Defense Of ‘Marriage Vow’ Passage,” John McWhorter supports a controversial observation, made by The Family Leader, a Christian group, in their “conservative” pledge, “The Marriage Vow,” that black children during slavery were more likely to have been raised with both parents than black children of today. Although many saw the statement as disrespectful, making slavery appear “good,” McWhorter describes the observation as a truth of the “oft-forgotten toughness of black families during slavery,” where even though families were sold and torn apart they still managed to be united. Moreover, McWhorter claims that while today single parenting might be seen as a “normal” issue, a neighborhood where “fatherlessness is a norm will not do.” He indicates that statistics prove not only that “the reason so few black children grow up without fathers today” has to do with what “inner city neighborhoods” see as “normal,” but also children are “better off being raised by two people.”

“m1a_rae_lew1s001” summarizes the article in all its glory, mentioning the difficulties that black people have suffered throughout slavery all the while managing to maintain a “two-parent-family” “norm.” Additionally “she” describes the detailed statistics of single-black family whereabouts and the importance of having “two
parents around. I believe however, that another important point is the rise in single parent black families along with the rise in welfare. From the 1960s until 1996, new welfare policies made it possible to stay on welfare as “a mother indefinitely without job training”, this helped a man leave the kids he fathered to be raised alone, knowing that welfare would supply. Additionally, the mere fact that morals and values from times of slavery have definitively evolved makes for another under-emphasized point. For instance, divorce has not always been legal, it wasn’t until the late 1940s that divorced was legalized in South Carolina, making “single family homes” immoral and illegal, unlike today where divorce is not uncommon. Furthermore “two-parent” families do not ensure happiness nor a healthy environment for children to be raised in, especially if the “two-parent[s]” are constantly fighting.

John McWhorter points out an important observation about the increasing number of single black families after slavery but fails to mention the various reasons why this trend is possibly occurring. For instance, slavery either forced families apart causing a longing for love and togetherness or they forced families together that didn’t want to be together, while today “black people” are no longer forced to live a certain way, therefore if they become unhappy with someone they can leave to be happy with someone else or on their own. McWhorter additionally purposes that we should learn from “how uncommon single parenthood was among black people familiar with slavery,” yet he is unsuccessful in recognizing the importance of happiness, which in the end is what matters most to all humans.

RaArena5488 said...

Reaction to m1a_rae_lew1s001
"White Flight to the City"
by Gregory Rodriguez

In “White Flight to the City,” Gregory Rodriguez addresses the new phenomenon of the white middle class making the switch from suburbia to the “inner city.” These well-off suburban families seem to be remaking cities by bringing with them their suburban tastes. Rodriguez questions whether or not this change will be beneficial. On one hand, more affluent residents could push to improve schools thereby making the city more family friendly, but on the other, a lack of diversity could result in a less tolerant society.

“m1a_rae_lew1s001” successfully highlights Rodriguez’s concerns on the cultural effect that this change will have on the “urban experience.” She balances both sides of Rodriquez’s argument by stating his main concerns mentioned in the original article. However, the essay might benefit from mentioning the Los Angeles example of “manufactured promenades and brand names.” This example emphasizes the suburbanizing of major cities.

The diversity of wealth, ethnicities, and class are what make up a city, and these contrasts add to the overall experience and excitement of city life. Suburbs were formed as a way for people in the city to move away from the demanding lifestyle, in order to live a more quiet existence that many people find beneficial when raising a family. However, if these aspects are implemented in city life, you loose the tolerance and acceptance of different cultures as well as the liberal edge that defines a city. I agree with Rodriquez’s analysis of the subject. It is important to keep our cities rich with the sharp contrast of the “glitz and grime,” having suburban values separate from the budding new ideas of the diverse community.

Alyssa Garfield(cia) said...


Rodriguez- “White Flight- To The City” L.A Times
- Alyssa Garcia in response to Mia Rae Lewis

I would say that in “White flight- to the city”, an article by Greogory Rodriguez, there is a very optimistic feel to the change from urban life to suburb life in the city. In both Gregory and Mia Rae Lewis’s point of view they express a sort of Russian roulette type of air that essentially says mixing “cultures” like this will make or break our gritty city life. In my opinion you should’nt fix what isn’t broken. With that being said, most people are under the influence that the city needs transforming from its once dirty and urban feel to a clean cut place for families. By the new trend of moving upper middle class to high class families into some of the most minority populated areas of cities they have changed the whole feel of it all. Once proud to get a street hot dog and a can of coke now we rush toward the nearest gourmet lunch truck. All in all, only time will tell how much this new found civilian diversity in city life will change the overall aura.

After reading both the article and article review i have a sense that there was a point missed regarding the actual change that wasn’t stressed enough. We’re talking about re arranging an entire area in multiple states. I completely agree with trying to add a slice of every ones culture to the city since, in a way, that is the whole allure of it ll in the first place but maybe we’re getting a slight overdose of the “white” culture now. although, under close inspection i would say that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Early on there was an on stream of Latin races taking over city life that people all around are still trying to recuperate from so is this really a plan to fight fire with fire? Or would you just say that this is a natural urge to be more in touch with the world by moving into the capitals of entertainment and business life? Well, the real question is: is this sudden change a plan to clean up the city of just a coincidence where culture has spread?

In my opinion this article stresses an important subject since, in the end, who inhabits a city is what makes the city what it is. In a matter of years a completely nice and “ritzy” kind of place can be swarmed by lower class families to be made into a so called “ghetto” which actually happens more than anyone thinks to acknowledge. In this case many upper class families will often end up moving out and finding new places to rest their roots. This directly applies to the article only in complete reverse: a once gritty neighborhood is getting turned into a proper place filled with trendy fashion and dogs in strollers. This, obviously, changes an entire lifestyle that directly affects everyone around. If you didn’t care before now you should understand how everything changes when dealing with different types of people in different environments.

DevBaladshaaaw5500 said...

Reaction to EllenOrGaret5539’s Summary of “When Food Kills” by Nicholas D. Kristof

In “When Food Kills,” Nicholas D. Kristof suggests that feeding antibiotics to livestock is causing strains of untreatable diseases which kill thousands of people. Even though when used for humans antibiotics are help prevent people from catching deadly diseases, the same cannot be said for when they’re used on animals. As Kristof clearly states, “antibiotics are recklessly stuffed into healthy animals to make them grow faster.” People are just feeding them antibiotics to keep them healthy while they live with poor sanitation and unhealthy diets. Also, since “80 percent of antibiotics in the United States go to livestock,” there are fewer antibiotics that can be given to humans. This misuse of antibiotics makes people more vulnerable to catching the food-borne illnesses that come from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause incurable diseases. Kristof concludes by stating that the government needs to fix this food-safety issue by closely inspecting the food system and better educating the public about how to avoid food-borne illnesses; one way to start reforms is “by banning the feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock.”

I agree with EllenOrGaret5539 when she states that Kristof’s main idea is that using a lot of antibiotics for livestock is causing strains of untreatable diseases, such as E coli. I also agree that the purpose of Kristof’s essay is to get readers to understand the severity of this food-safety issue and that in order to help solve this problem, “we need more comprehensive inspections in the food system, more testing for additional strains of E. coli, and more public education.” However, I believe that she could have mentioned more about the fact that the United States still remains in the same situation while other countries move toward banning antibiotics use on livestock, which would therefore lessen the amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

I believe that it’s incredibly important that the government addresses the issue of feeding antibiotics to livestock because it has caused so many hospitalizations as well as deaths. If the terrorist attack in 9/11 led the government to change our national security, then surely since almost twice the number of people die annually from diseases in food, the government needs to change the food system. Not only is this an issue for people’s health, but it also greatly affects animals. The animals used for livestock are generally kept in such poor living situations, such as living in confinement, in poorly sanitized places, as well as eating very unhealthily. So, people think that they can make up for it by feeding them antibiotics “to keep them from getting sick.” This actually ends up creating the “perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens” that will spread everywhere through food and the water supply, killing “one person every two hours.” Thus, the government needs to reform our food system, initially “by banning the feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock,” so that we can avoid diseases, such as E coli, that kill so many people every day.

pat.need.s.ham said...

Article: "Why TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional" by Jeffrey Rosen

URl: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/24/AR2010112404510_2.html
In his article “Why the TSA pat-down and body scans are unconstitutional”, Jeffrey Rosen argues against the security measures people must go through when attempting to board an airplane. He does this by making a legal argument, and showing how the pat-down procedures and electronic scanner machines used at U.S. airports are unconstitutional according to what the National Circuit courts have ruled in the past on this subject.

Rosen begins by summarizing the court decisions that he believes are relevant to the case of TSA pat-downs and body scans. Although according to Rosen, the Supreme Court hasn’t taken on the case of airport screening procedures, the 9th and 3rd U.S. Circuit courts have done so, ruling in 2007 that “a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.’” Rosen thinks even more highly of a 2006 opinion – published by now-Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito - which stated that in order to be legal screening procedures must be both “minimally invasive” AND “effective.”

Having established a legal precedent against which to evaluate the current standards in place at U.S. airports, Rosen moves on to emphasize the main idea of his article, and why he believes these standards don’t live up to the criteria established by the Circuit courts. Especially as compared to Dutch scanning machines, which return un-savable “blob like human images” of scanned passenger instead of the “virtually naked image[s]” generated in U.S. airports, American machines certainly cannot be considered “ ‘minimally invasive’ as long as images can be stored and recorded.” Discovering that the Dutch are using these minimally invasive scanning machines that are almost as effective as the American machines that invade privacy, I was appalled. Why can’t America transition to these machines in the security gates, and if they suspected a traveler as a threat, bring that traveler into a separate room where they can use the machines that although are invasive, are more effective. Moreover, Rosen argues that, “tests have shown that [American] machines are not good at detecting low-density explosives.” This means that in Rosen’s view the airport security machines used by the TSA are neither minimally invasive nor effective and are therefore unconstitutional. He makes a similar argument about pat-down procedures, stating that they can only legally be used when a “particular traveler” is already suspected of “wrongdoing.” They cannot constitutionally be used for primary screening.

Overall, Rosen looks at recent judicial interpretation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment against “unreasonable search and seizure” and determines that the combination of pat-down searches and electronic backscatter scanning machines currently used at U.S. airport security checkpoints is unconstitutional. Obviously, when considered against a standard of minimal intrusiveness and maximum effectiveness, these procedures fail on both counts and it is easy to see if you look at it from a perspective of the law. As Rosen says, “they reveal a great deal of innocent but embarrassing information and are remarkably ineffective at revealing low-density contraband.”

GabeLivin'18 said...
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