I have been reading a lot about how innocent people have had their lives ruined through the unscrupulous activities of the extortionist that run the mugshot websites like mughshots.com and others. It is really sad that Law Enforcement in Florida and many other states have allowed its residents to be mass-extorted without action of any kind being taken.
Many of the people arrested have been found innocent or had charges dropped for lack of evidence that there was even a crime committed. In the Tampa area alone over 100,000 people are arrested a year. It would only take 3 years then to arrest the entire population of the city once.
Others are young people that may make a mistake and learn from it and try to rebuild their lives, and yet they are forced to turn back to criminal activities to support themselves when they cannot even land a job because of the defamation of character created by these sites.
So someone needs to speak up. Someone needs to acknowledge that the real criminals are the guys perpetuating these scams. As luck would have it there is just such a movement starting to take place. It is a class-action movement.
Please visit the link below and sign the petition. When it takes you to the second page it will ask for funding. If you cannot afford to contribute financially you can just click back and go back out. Your signature will still be counted.
In American Government and Politics in the Information Age one of the key concepts discussed is Federalism and the reasons why it works. It states, “Federalism often works because national, state, and local governments specialize in different policy domains” (p. 65). The recent CNN article ‘Supreme Court dismisses California’s Proposition 8 appeal’ by Bill Mears affirms that it is indeed true that the various governments do occupy different policy domains, and demonstrates for us an example of Federalism working.
The article quotes Chief Justice John Roberts as having said, “We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend a state statute when state officials have chosen not to”. The reluctance of the Chief Justice to intervene in state policy or rule on the enforcement of state statutes demonstrates a respect for the stance that the various governments (or levels of government) occupy different domains, as was asserted. We can thus see here Federalism working as the higher court recognizes the jurisdictional autonomy of the lower court involved.
Many have implied that the ruling of the court was a ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage, but the article by Mr. Mears makes it very clear that the court did not rule on the constitutionality of permitting or forbidding same sex marriage, but rather that they decided that the appellants had no grounds for appeal before the Supreme Court of the United States, as this case did not fall in the domain of The Supreme Court. Yet one Justice expressed dissent.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, it says, stated his opinion, “What the court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around …” But despite the protest of Justice Kennedy the article is still clear that the decision of the court was whether or not those petitioning the court had standing to have the court hear their case. The ruling had nothing to do with the constitutionality of same-sex marriage or defining the essence of democracy, but rather the jurisdiction or domain of the court.
At the same time that this article provides an example of Federalism working it also exposes some short-coming of state governments when the Federal government has its hands tied. In our text we are told, “States and local governments adjust the policies as best they can to meet their political preferences and their residents’ needs” (p. 64). Clearly, as expressed in this article California has refused to meet the residents’ needs in favor of the political preferences of those in power.
This article gives us examples of the different views and approaches to Federalism. Chief Justice Roberts seems to support a Dual Federalism system in that he believes that the ability to exercise certain powers lies in the hands of different branches, and cannot be crossed over. Justice Kennedy seems though to support a Competitive Federalism, by which the national government would act by encroaching on the rights of the states.
The article did a decent job at presenting both support and opposition to the idea that Federalism works, and I would thus say that in some ways it was informative. At the same time this article attempted to focus too much what the rulings meant for gay marriage as oppose to just what the rulings meant. As a student studying American Politics I wish it would have expanded more on the Court’s reasoning about why the appellants had no standing, and why the court had no jurisdictional authority. In this way the article was very limiting in its coverage of the topics at hand.
The following is the result of my investigation into the U.S. Constitution for my American Politics class, where we were instructed as follows:
"It is important to understand what the framers of the Constitution (or Founding Fathers if you like) were attempting to create in the design of the U.S. Constitution, however it is equally important to understand what they were trying to prevent. From what you now know about the Constitution, what do you think the framers were afraid of and how did they set out to avoid it?"
I will start by saying that I do not know as much about the reasoning and intent behind the Constitution as I once believed I knew, when I was younger and more naïve. I use to believe that its intent was to put the power in the hands of the people of the United States. This is an easy conclusion to draw as the wording starts out saying “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union … ” I believe that most Americans hear the words “We the people” and ignore the words “form a more perfect union”, or they associate those words as meaning ‘a better government than the monarchy of England under King George’, but this is not the case from what I understand today.
In this case the idea of forming a “more perfect union” was a slight at the already established Confederation of American States under the Articles of Confederation. It was an effort to consolidate power in the hands of “the people”, but we mustn’t forget that not all people were considered people to some of the fathers of this document.
Alexander Hamilton is quoted as having made this statement during the proceedings:
“This government has for its object public strength and individual security. It is said with us to be unattainable. All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people. The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by a change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.”
His words are none less than a power-grab by a wealth elite and further examination of the Constitution seems to support his view as well. The Constitution goes on to give the government the right to tax the people, to put down internal insurrections, the ability to declare martial law in cases of rebellion and public safety dangers (of course not everyone is the public), it forbids the individual states from entering into agreements with other states, restricted the rights of states to coin money, et cetera.
It also established a manager over the functions of government and gave the manager the title President of the United States. It decided who could hold the position of manager as a natural born citizen and again consolidated power to those of English and maybe Irish descent, as the Dutch and others who did not actively participate in the Revolutionary War for reasons of conscience began to have property confiscated and were driven northward to Canada.
Finally, it named itself successor to the Confederation of States previously in force with the words, “All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.”
It can be concluded then that the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution was to consolidate power in their own hands, whether they convinced themselves that this was for the good of the entirety of the states or if they had other motives I am not for certain. The framers were thus afraid of loosing power and possibly afraid that power would slip back into the hands of a monarchy, other nation, or even worse into the hands of the masses.
“Your paper did a wonderful job at capturing the Dionysian response to the feeling of powerlessness that all of us humans experience at some point in life.”—Me complimenting a paper I did not really like.
“It often seems that so much of biblical study is based on interpretation. As the introduction to the Quran talks about, different translations of the Bible are often considered acceptable with any differences due to translation issues. It raises the question about how much the texts may have changed since their first writing. I have heard that the Quran, in Arabic, is still the same as it always has been, though I do not know where I heard this, or if it is correct.”
You are right and yet the statement made is misleading at the same time. It is easy to maintain that the text of the Quran has always remained the same, but given context this argument isn’t as solid as it sounds. Muhammad, the man who apparently received visions and compiled what is the Quran lived between the years 570 and 632 A.D. or C.E. This means the Quran is only approximately 1400 years old.
"The Bible" was composed by an edict of Constantine the Great; it was compiled from many different much older sacred texts that had already spent 360 years floating around the Roman Empire. One can only imagine that in 360 years a piece of parchment changing hands many time becomes a little worn out. The Bible as a composite is at least 200 years older than the Quran. It would have been necessary to re-scribe it in order to preserve it.
Now, if you have faith that God actually appeared to Muhammad and told him what things to put down and that Muhammad did so accurately with no misunderstandings in what God was telling him than I would say by all means follow the Quran. BUT …
Before you follow the Quran consider this. Muhammad was a trader by profession; he made trips to Syria where he would have come into contact with Judaic or Christian beliefs in his day to day transactions with others. In fact it is documented that he did interact with a Christian Monk regularly during this time.
Is it not possible that what the Quran actually is are Muhammad’s interpretation of the things he came into contact with while he was a trader in this region; a result of his contact and lack of acceptance with the text or possible partial exposure to text that he could not perceive as true?
Such things as Virginal Birth, Son of God, and Resurrection!
Finally, we must consider the reason for all of the translations. Scholars who dedicate their lives to such things often create new translations to make Biblical text understandable to modern readers. Over the course of time language changes, the meanings of words change, styles of writing change, and in order to present the same work with the same meaning to new audiences the text must change to fit new vocabulary and changing definitions so that the text can be preserved with original meaning. Thus, the fact that the Quran is still exactly as it was when it was written means that it is inherently flawed, as modern readers will not interpret everything the same way that readers from antiquity would have.
If my theory on the true origins of the Quran are correct, that it came from Muhammad’s interaction with Christians and his disbelief, then his writings also would come from the same original source documents that were composited into the Bible, only he was a trader and not a scholar, or you could say he lacked the education and contextual information to form a valid conclusion as to what the text were actually saying. In addition to this it means that the Quran is no more original than the Bible is, and in fact even less so.
* (Post-text): What would have been amazing would have been if he had received a vision revealing God to him without having ever come into contact with the Christian world. That would have been more amazing, and yet we know he only had his alleged vision after being influenced by Christianity.
I am trying to define freedom in my mind and figure out the reason why I have never fealt truely free. Maybe it is social constraints that have kept me bound for so long and a desire to please those that I love. Maybe it is a fear of loosing some of the people I love if I were to violate any of those social constraints. Maybe it is because poverty and injury has kept me dependent on others for so long that I now fear the independence that my heart desires.
I see so many people in the world that break free of certain bonds and are able to define themselves and their own reality. But my bonds mean much to me as well, and being all that I have ever had in life it would be a scary thing to let go of them even if it was to find myself.
My favorite photographer in the world started out in Poland and eventually left her country for England where she attended University. She quickly went in a different direction from the one she attended school for though. She was an English major as well (I believe) and now she is a world renowned photographer who leads workshops, is sponsored by Nikon, and has a contract with Vogue. She seems to have found herself so easily that I both love her for her magnifcent work, and find myself a little jealous of her as well.
When will my professional life define me in a positive way? Will it? When will I be able to break through the chains and know who I really am? When will my injuries heal and my poverty become wealth? Am I doomed to remain chained like this forever? I certainly hope not!
I really hate to see people on Tumblr, or anywhere for that matter, intentionally trying to make race-relations bad. A girl recently created a post that blamed white people (all white people) for all oppressions of black people through-out American history! It was ignorant at best. I had to comment. My mistake. Never try and talk sense to an ignorant person.
The girl then cut my message in half and posted only the part that was convenient to her in an attempt to make me look like the racist. She then went on in her post saying how we (white people) have oppressed blacks since the birth of our nation, and then blocked me from being able to reply.
Here is some news for you chica, maybe your ancestors oppressed someone else because of their race, maybe they have done it since the birth of our nation, but mine had no part in it, trust me I know. I have traced my family back to 1530 and my family has a history of fighting for the rights of all people! Your misguided history lessons need to be revised.
Anyhow, the girl who wrote the blog calls herself Fantastically Ficticious, so maybe she knows that this propoganda B.S. she is promoting is just that! Shameful!
This next line is a direct quote from her blog about what she and her blog really are:
"Reality is awful, I prefer to reinvent it."
The fact is that not all white people had slaves or oppressed others. There was a small elite class of white people that had many slaves, and of those even a smaller number which acted in an abusive manner towards those enslaved. Furthermore, the slave trade existed long before America, and was practiced by people of all races world wide. There was a boom in the African-Atlantic Slave Trade before the founding of this country, but in fact many white Americans were always against it.
Yes, it took a while to overthrow those powerful elites and put an end to slavery, but less than 100 years after American Independence was established slavery was abolished. I am proud of my country. I wish they could have done it sooner but I understand that it is very difficult for impoverished people to overthrow an abusive elite. For those same impoverished people to then take the blame upon themselves for something they did not control, and by all means had no way to control and to hate their own kin for it is deplorable.
I don’t normally do this. Open up this much to my reading public, which actually probably only consist of one person other than myself if that person still even tunes in. Despite the fact that I don’t normally open up to this extent this is an issue that has been bugging me all day long and bugs me pretty much whenever I think about it.
It is the issue of friends that simply vanish off of the face of the earth, they go off the grid, and are never heard from again, they delete their social media accounts and it seems that other than an outdated Myspace account that they haven’t logged into for half a decade that there is no longer any record that they ever existed. Yes, I have a particular friend in mind.
In March of 2008 I moved to South Carolina, leaving my best friend behind in Florida. I was sad about it but at the time it fealt as if I did not have a choice in the matter. A little more than a year later my friend also left Florida and she returned to Alabama. We still talked regularly on the phone at this point and I was certain that we would one day reunite and things would be just as they always were, and our friendship would go on.
Sometime about late 2009 or early 2010 though my friend suddenly got a new boyfriend, deleted all of her social media accounts, took a trip to Costa Rica, and then eventually even gave up her phone number which now comes back to someone new. I don’t know whether to be concerned that something has happened or be happy that perhaps she is so happy with her life now that she doesn’t feel a need to connect with anyone from the past.
My friends name was Francis Abigail Ingram and she lived in Alabama for most of her life. Her other close friend Shannon has since moved to Scottland, and I believe the two of them have lost contact as well, though getting ahold of Shannon is not exactly an easy task either. I miss my best friend.
I am curious to hear from others. What would you all do in this same situation?
I am now a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. I feel privelaged that this is so. But I recently discovered a disheartening fact. That is that there are small fraternities also using the same Greek Letters as many National Honor Societies. Has anyone else had this experience? Does it not create some confusion?
Well either way I am still aiming for membership in Sigma Tau Delta one day. I am sure I can do it if I can keep my grades up during the required math courses that I have to take. Ugh. Math is always in the way.
Still just really bugged about the false prophet Bill Johnson and the anti-Christ activities of this group, and the fact that they are deceiving so many. I came across the statement below about another group from the 1800s, but the statement seems to me that it could be applied so well with the things this group is teaching.
The auguries drawn from the sacred chickens and the flight of birds, dear to the Romans, were strange enough; but that sane, wise, learned men should suffer themselves to be tricked by a few artful ventriliquist and one trick conjurers is something that strikes those who do not share this belief as the only marvel of the thing. -Lynn Linton Cranks and Crazes > The North American Review > Vol. 161, No. 469, Dec., 1895.
I beg anyone thinking about becoming involved in this group to read over I Corinthians 1:22-24. Furthermore, consider how eager this group is to throw out the Bible in exchange for mysticism and prophecies from each and every member of their congregation (covens). The Bible does say that the anti-Christ would deceive even the very elect were it possible, seems to me that Bill Johnson fits this description to a tee. He has the carisma of a Jim Jones figure.
To learn more about this group you can do a google search with the words ‘Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry Cult’ and there is a wide range of information available.
I couldn’t help but notice that Obama’s education plan will force children out of home and into a government indoctorination system at a younger age. I also quickly realized that he spoke of predetermining our children’s future careers based on their childhood studies. He wants to create more “clean energy” which means more government jobs (likely in nuclear industry).
Does anyone else see the communistic agenda he is setting forth?
Also, the minimum wage being raised does make a huge difference! It puts all of those that were making just a little above minimum wage into poverty. Companies laying off and unable to pay employees, charging more for goods and services, et cetera, meanwhile anyone that was already making $9. an hour is now thrust further into poverty.
I have to say that during the last year working at a mall surrounded by commercialism I saw alot of people with a false sense of self entitlement. It often made me sick thinking about it. But now and for a couple of weeks I have seen something else that I find to be even worse, something I call “self disentitlement”.
This is where a person goes out of their way to destroy any positive things that may come into their life. If it is a person who cares for them, a job with generous pay and a wonderful boss, or any of lifes other rewards these people feeling undeserving create reasons in their minds to tear these things down and see to the utter destruction of whatever it may be. It is very sad when this happens.
Why am I writing this? Because these types of people don’t only destroy their own joy but also the joy of those who decide to put love, faith, & hope in them. If you spot one of these types simply tell them Jesus loves them & keep walking. Don’t let them rob the smile from your heart. Thank you Tumblr people for being true to your selves.
In the utilitarian moral philosophy, as viewed by John Mill, a person’s interest and happiness is best served when action comes into alignment with the things that best serve the entire community of persons involved, and the action is not for the fulfillment of selfish desires. To align one’s desires to everyone’s interest, and to act accordingly, in effect, would produce the greatest happiness and therefore would be the most moral path one could take.
In contrast to utilitarian philosophy, Immanuel Kant proposed that moral values have little to nothing to do with the results of an action or happiness. Rather, in Kant’s view it is the action, and the motives behind the action, that determine whether something is moral or immoral. Happiness and moral correctness are not one and the same, according to Kant.
Kant’s theory on punishment was that punishment is an evil in society, but he seems to suggest that it was a necessary evil when he says, “When someone who delights in annoying and vexing peace-loving folk receives at last a right good beating, it is certainly an ill, but everyone approves of it and considers it as good in itself …” (Rachels & Rachels, 2012, p.140). This statement would seem to imply a small degree of utilitarian thought process at work in the mind of Kant, though he certainly was no fundamentalist when it came to utilitarian thought.
The statement shows deviation from utilitarian ethics because it does not appeal to the concept of the most happiness for all involved. As Rick Roderick points out in his lecture, in order to achieve the most happiness for everyone involved, when it comes to theories of punishment, the only true way for everyone to be happy involves deception. For the harassed masses to be happy the offending party must be punished, and for the offending party to be punished would no doubt strip the offender of happiness. Therefore, the masses must believe that punishment has been carried out even while the offender is being rewarded for his actions.
In utilitarian thought, as applied to theories of punishment, there exists a paradoxical flaw. Certainly, should the offender against society be rewarded for his or her mischief it would only serve to reinforce such behavior. The offender, no doubt, would then offend again, and in doing so would decrease the overall happiness of the entire community, minus the offender him or herself. Kantian ethics solves this problem.
Kantian philosophy, by treating the action itself for the sake of the action itself involves no deception. It reinforces that the behavior that was engaged in by the offender is unacceptable with the rest of society, and discourages the offender from reoffending. By discouraging offenses against society it can be stated that society will also, on a whole, be happier. The only issue then being that it is an offense against the offender.
Some would argue that society as a whole is not happy if this person (who was offending) is unhappy. This is an area in which most rational people would have to disagree. We have already established that this person is ‘an offender against society’, and therefore for the sake of punishment it can be argued that this offender has made him or herself an outsider to society proper. In punishing this person for the offenses committed it is hoped that this person can be later integrated into or back into society, but before this happens society as a whole is happy with the punishment of this outsider.
While utilitarian and Kantian philosophers may never agree on the core of what defines morality and moral issues such as punishment, it can easily be seen here that their conflicting principles of punishment can be reconciled so long as both are willing to give a little, and consider their philosophical guidelines as just guidelines and not absolute law.
In coming to this conclusion another question must be considered. What is punishment, and punishment for punishment’s sake? Is punishment simply stating, “I am going to do unto you as you did unto me”? This certainly would make punishment seem like a petty act at best. Does punishment within society serve a greater purpose? Perhaps punishment is for punishment’s sake in the sense that it leaves a lasting impression on the offender as to why his or her actions were wrong. This explanation would satisfy both Kant’s requirement for a moral motive and the utilitarian call to exclude whichever evil was greatest, as well as allow for the greater happiness of all (in the long term).
Rachels, James & Rachels, Stuart. (2012). The Elements of Moral Philosophy (Seventh Edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Rachels, James & Rachels, Stuart (2012). The Right Thing to Do (Sixth Edition). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Excerpt from The Praise of Folly by Erasmus (1511).
Now what else is the whole life of mortals but a sort of comedy, in which the various actors, disguised by various costumes and masks, walk on and play each one his part, until the manager waves them off the stage?
Moreover, this manager frequently bids the same actor go back in different costume, so that he who has but lately played the king in scarlet now acts the flunkey in patched clothes. Thus all things are presented by shadows; yet this play is put on in no other way …
[The disciplines] that approach nearest to common sense, that is, to folly, are held in highest esteem. Theologians are starved, naturalist find cold comfort, astrologers are mocked, and logicians are slighted …
Within the profession of medicine, furthermore, so far as any member is eminently unlearned, impudent, or careless, he is valued the more, even in the chambers of belted earls. For medicine, especially as now practiced by many, is but a subdivision of the art of flattery, no less truly than is rhetoric. Lawyers have the next place after doctors, and I do not know but that they should have first place; with great unanimity the philosophers- not that I would say such a thing myself- are wont to ridicule the law as an ass. Yet great matters and little matters alike are settled by the arbitrament of these asses. They gather goodly freeholds with broad acres, with the theologian, after poring over chestfuls of the great corpus of divinity, gnaws on bitter beans, at the same time while waging war against lice and fleas. As those arts are more successful which have the greatest affinity with folly, so those people are by far the happiest who enjoy the privileges of avoiding all contact with the learned disciplines, and who follow nature as their only guide, since she is in no respect wanting, except as a mortal wishes to transgress the limits set for his status. Nature hates counterfeits; and that which is innocent of art gets along far the more prosperously.
What need we say about practitioners in the arts? Self love is the hallmark of them all. You will find that they sooner give up their paternal acres than any piece of their poor talents. Take particularly actors, singers, orators, and poets; the more unskilled one of them is, the more insolent he will be in his self-satisfaction, the more he will blow himself up … Thus the worst art pleases the most people, for the simple reason that the larger part of mankind, as I said before, is subject to folly. If, therefore, the less skilled man is more pleasing both in his own eyes and in the wondering gaze of the many, what reason is there that he should prefer sound discipline and true skill? In the first place, these will cost him a great outlay; in the second place, they will make him more affected and meticulous, and finally, they will please far fewer of his audience …
And now I see that it is not only in individual men that nature has implanted self-love. She implants a kind of it as a common possession in the various races, and even cities. By this token the English claim, besides a few worthier things, good looks, music, and the best eating as their special properties. The Scots flatter themselves on the score of high birth and royal blood, not to mention their dialectical skill. Frenchmen have taken all politeness for their province; though the Parisian, brushing all others aside, also award themselves the prize of knowledge of theology. The Italians usurp belles lettres and eloquence; and they flatter themselves upon the fact that they alone, of all mortal men, are not barbarians. In this particular point of happiness the Romans stand highest, still dreaming pleasantly of ancient Rome. The Venetians are blessed with a belief of their own nobility. The Greeks, as well as being the founders of the learned disciplines, vaunt themselves upon their titles to the famous heroes of old. The Turks, and that whole rabble of the truly barbarous, claim praise for their religion, laughing at Christians as superstitious …
[Next come] the scientist, reverenced for their beards and the fur on their gowns, who teach that they alone are wise while the rest of mortal men flit about as shadows. How pleasantly they dote, indeed, while they construct their numberless worlds, and measure the sun, moon, stars, and spheres as with thumb and line. They assign causes for lightening, winds, eclipses, and other inexplicable things, never hesitating a whit, as if they were privy to the secrets of nature, artificer of things, or as if they visited us fresh from the council of the gods. Yet all the while nature is laughing grandly at them and their conjectures. For to prove that they have good intelligence of nothing, this is a sufficient argument: they can never explain why they disagree with each other on every subject. Thus knowing nothing in general, they profess to know all things in particular; though they are ignorant even of themselves, and on occasion do not see the ditch or the stone lying across their path, because many of them are blear-eyed or absent-minded; yet they proclaim that they perceive ideas, universals, forms without matter …
Perhaps it were better to pass over the theologians in silence, [for] they may attack me with six hundred arguments, in squadrons, and drive me to make a recantation; which if I refuse, they will straightway proclaim me an heretic. By this thunderbolt they are wont to terrify any toward whom they are ill-disposed.
They are happy in their self-love, and as if they already inhabited the third heaven they look down from a height on all other mortal men as on creatures that crawl on the ground, and they come near to pitying them. They are protected by a wall of scholastic definitions, argument, corollaries, implicit and explicit propositions; … they explain as pleases them the most arcane matters, such as by what method the world was founded and set in order, through what conduits original sin has been passed down along the generations, by what means, in what measure, and how long the perfect Christ was in the Virgin’s womb, and how accidents subsist in Eucharist without their subject.
Has America learned from its past? This is a question for which the answer is more complicated than what most people give it credit for. Usually when people answer this question they base it on one decision made by the government that is in opposition to their personal beliefs on an issue rather than focusing on positive changes made afterward. In order to answer this question completely one has to look at a broad spectrum of past events.
Key events in the history of America have to be examined along with the decisions made surrounding these events and the final outcome once the event and the decisions surrounding them had passed. Key events can, for this case, be defined as occurrences which altered the course of American policy. Some of these key events are found in issues such as slavery and civil rights, nuclear power and nuclear war, and issues of foreign policy such as how much America should rely on diplomacy or coercion through sheer might.
The first key point we must examine is the issue of slavery and civil rights. According to Brycchan Carey, an Associate Professor at Kingston University in London, the trading of African slaves began in 1441 by the Portuguese. At this point slavery was not a new concept in Europe as it had survived in one part of Europe or another since at least the times of Roman rule. Slavery itself, however, can be traced back as far as 2100 BCE, in some parts of the world, as an already well-established institution.
In America slavery was established as a branch of the institution in Europe. Traditionally slaves were used for domestic duties, as soldiers and as scholars, but what would become known as the Atlantic Slave Trade represented a major shift in both how slaves were used and how they were treated.
In the early days of the Atlantic Slave Trade many countries of Europe had laws prohibiting the activity within their borders. Many others actively participated in the slave trade. Few people knew the realities of what was going on, and of the ones that did even fewer opposed it on moral grounds. The English seemed to hold the biggest opposition to the trade, with Queen Elizabeth I giving the reason, “There are of late diverse black moors brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to many”.
It would, by this, seem that the institution of slavery was so ingrained in the fabric of society that many did not question the issue of whether it was morally right or wrong. By the time that it began to be questioned in American society it had already firmly established roots here. The backbones of the slaves had become the backbone of the economy within the United States. Despite the economic dependence on slaves more and more people were coming to the realization of the way in which modern slaves were being treated, and an outcry began to develop from a moral minority.
In the late 19th century the issue had come to a boiling point and not even the President of the United States could afford to ignore it any longer. In 1862, three hundred and thirty four years after the first slave stepped foot in the territory that was to become the United States came the first acknowledgement by a U.S. President that he wished that all men everywhere could be free. Shortly after this proclamation slaves were made free throughout the United States.
It would take just over another one-hundred years for the descendants of the freed slaves to obtain the God-given rights guaranteed to them in the Constitution of the United States. Looking back at how long it took for these people to obtain equal rights it would be easy to say that the United States had not yet learned from its past.
In the 1960s the Civil Rights movement brought these issues to light, and though there was much opposition, all people in the United States were eventually guaranteed equal rights by law. Through the trials of the people that would not give up on what was right we have come to a point today where there is no chance of slavery being established again in our country any time in the foreseeable future. The road may have been rough, many may have received cuts and bruises, and we may have proved that Americans have difficulty learning from the past, but we also have shown that since this lesson has been learned it has not been abandoned.
A second key point to examine is the development and uses of Nuclear Energy both as a way of powering the infrastructure of our nation and as it pertains to weaponry. There have been around 80 nuclear accidents recorded since the 1950s. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki instantly killed approximately 137,000 people with thousands more injured. For generations the survivors of the Chernobyl incident have had continuing health problems. Even the father of the atomic bomb, J.R. Oppenheimer, said, “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, as he quoted a Hindu proverb to emphasize the seriousness of the first ever nuclear detonation.
Despite the devastating effects of nuclear energy America continues to dabble in it to this day. There have been significant changes since the accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979 and no new nuclear plants have been built from that time until now. This is changing though as President Obama has just recently pledged 8 billion dollars in loans for the construction of “the first new nuclear power plant in our country in three decades”. This issue leaves one wondering what, if anything, America has learned from its past in relation to this issues.
Finally, we can look at American foreign policy to decide if America has learned from the past or not. America holds such large amounts of influence within world politics and culture that it has often been accused of being imperialist. The accusers are both American and foreign.
It is relatively easy to see how America can be viewed as being imperialistic when it is willing to spread its form of government through military force, which most recently it is known for having done in Iraq. However, the form of government which America is most notable for spreading is democracy. America uses its military force to give control of governments to the people of nations which have fallen under tyrannical rule, and this is in direct opposition to what it means to be imperialistic.
Some argue that while America spreads internal democracy that the governments that are set up are puppet governments meant to sway local policies to favor the United States, and that the true reason for American military force is to secure various resources, but when one considers the billions of dollars spent on these wars and rebuilding such nations afterwards this argument falls apart.
Rather than viewing American foreign policy as being something to benefit America financially one should look at how America came about and consider that American foreign policy is likely based on this. A tyrannical king once refused Americans (British Colonist) representation in government, robbed them regularly in the form of ridiculous taxes, and sent troops to occupy the colonies, conduct warrantless searches, and harass the people. America, fed up, decided that the government should be by the people and for the people.
Furthermore, America believes that humans have a right to self-governance, this belief has existed since the founding days of America, but the view has been reinforced since America has witnessed the cruelties and irrationality of the Nazi regime, the Soviet regime, the Iraqi regime, and the Taliban. In this America has truly learned from the past. It is a past that America had to endure with the much of the rest of the world, but yet there was one difference between America and the rest of the world. America said, “No more!”
So what can be made of this, when in one circumstance America learns its lesson, in another it abandons its lesson, and in the third America rises up and demands that not only America, but no place on earth should have to repeat such harmful lessons ever again? This is what can be said: America is not perfect, never was and may never be, but what sets America apart is that it constantly strives for perfection regardless of how unattainable its goal might be.
Sometimes America learns from the past and adjusts contemporary policies to correct whatever problems may exist. Other times its leaders will not recognize these problems at all and may not even realize that the problems are a continuation of, or similar to ones already experienced. Regardless, America views human lives as sacred and worthy of a freedom that is worth a sacrifice to obtain. Even if America does not remember what it is like to live without personal liberties, self-governance, or any of its other privileges, it always remembers the things which it holds sacred.
Geography Class Blackboard: Multicultralism vs. Assimilation
To me assimilation in the United States means that the individual is to conform to societies standards. While I have next to no experience with Canadian multiculturalism, from reading our text, I take it to mean that society sort of conforms to accept new cultures.
With one part of my family having arrived in the United States in the 1620s and the other part in the first decade of the 1900s; my having the knowledge of this and stories passed down to me from my grandparents I believe I have developed a sort of objective view to this situation. To add to this my paternal line is of English roots and yet I grew up in Florida, a former Spanish Colony. My grandmother’s family is of Italian roots.
In one way or another, my family has for generations had to deal with assimilation and multiculturalism. My ancestors from the New England area had to deal with waves of immigrants coming to their land that did not hold the same values as them or speak the same language. It was so hard for many New Englanders (called WASP to mean White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) to deal with the influx of immigrants that organizations such as the Immigration Restriction League formed, obviously to restrict immigration.
One of the reasons it was so difficult for WASP to deal with the influx is because immigrants were arriving in such great numbers that it threatened to undermine their own culture and political power. These immigrants did not seem interested in giving up their own culture or language or religion, and what was worse was that they were beginning to outnumber the older generation of New Englanders.
On the other side of this issue were the immigrants. They came from impoverished regions to seek work, to try and give their families a better quality of life. Often they left everything they knew. In addition, they would not be able to learn a new language in just a night. Religion, language, and culture were sort of comfort blankets for them while they were in a new and strange place. They meant no harm to the preexisting society, yet they did not understand all of the foundations of the pre-existing culture or how to function in it fully.
During World War II assimilation efforts became accelerated among the immigrant communities, particularly among Germans, Italians and Asians. The reason for this was a government campaign which labeled these languages the enemy’s language. People who still spoke these languages began to be sent to concentration camps out west. It became dire to speak and live a more English (American) lifestyle.
My grandparents were alive to experience this. It carried over into my education as a young child. My grandmother of Italian descent, married to my grandfather of English descent, and she emphasized every morning that we read out of a King James Version Bible. That we pronounce out the words, that we pause briefly at commas and break at periods, and that we emphasize the words that are meant to be emphasized. She told us stories about how other Italians would throw rocks through her windows when she was a girl and say that her family was not Italian and that they were traitors because they had converted to Protestantism. She had us make promises never to convert to Catholicism, now so obviously a false religion. We promised, after all Italians revere their grandmothers.
As I got older, and was beginning to gain a little more freedom to get around town (my grandfather gave me his Cadillac) it became more and more obvious that I had embraced multiculturalism, though I did not realize it yet. Of my best friends my two closest friends were of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent respectively. We did everything together. We went out and tried to meet girls, we went to the beaches, and tried to get into night clubs. It was a fun time and taught me more Spanish words then I ever learned in Spanish class, though not all of them can be repeated in a proper English environment such as University.
A few years later one of these friends went to prison for a three year term. When he was released he was hired to a job where he was paid $13.50 an hour. I, with a high school diploma, was only making $9.00 an hour. What was the difference? He was bilingual. This situation repeated itself over and over with people I met. Bilinguals with no education were constantly being paid more than Anglos with education. It seemed to me that bilingualism had become more important in American culture than education. I could not help but understand the frustrations of my ancestors who felt that all of the descent jobs were going to the immigrants while the people who fought to establish the country in the first place were largely being abandoned.
Despite the feelings of abandonment I still had many fond memories with my two best friends. I couldn’t find any hatred for Hispanics or blacks or anyone else based on a difference of culture in my feelings about the issue. I understood that others wanted a fair opportunity as well and that they did not mean any harm. All of this brought me to pay attention to the immigration issues going on a little more than I otherwise would have. Yes, foreign born labor does take away from American born labor. Yes, our economy is largely dependent on this foreign born labor. Yes, our Constitution does guarantee that all men are created equal. No, it does not say “All men born in the U.S.A. are created equal, but everyone else is of lower status.”
Through all of this I have come to the personal conclusion that both assimilation and multiculturalism are needed. Immigrants should attempt to learn the culture and language and sacred beliefs of a country they immigrate to. Likewise, natives of said countries need to be more understanding and embrace immigrants as friends with similar ambitions. Don’t just demand the immigrant convert, but learn about the immigrant as well. It will not only bring a higher level of mental prosperity for you to know what others refuse to know, but it will also open up a new world for you where you can more easily establish meaningful and lasting relationships both personally and professionally. The other group, regardless of which side of the issue you stand on, will always appreciate your efforts to better understand where they are coming from.
End Note: I believe America has become more xenophobic in the past few years. I also believe that it is partially because of large waves of immigrants who are now gathering in protest to laws that they feel are unfair to them. The media coverage of these protest are putting mobs of Hispanic people into the homes of every American. Seeing these large mobs of people that disagree with the way one may feel on these issues escalates the situation because it leaves a feeling of near invasion among those who have had little contact with people outside of their race. Not everyone has had experiences like mine and not all Americans are familiar with past events in the history of our nation which were very similar, many have not made the connections of how they were raised to these past events because of this. People fear the unknown and the outcome or future of America in relation to the waves of immigrants coming here is unknown. The only way to change the course of the tide as far as xenophobia goes is education, cooperation, and understanding.
The New Deal of the 1930s and the Great Society of the 1960s were programs created in response to the economic and political conditions of the United States and its people during each programs respective time. During both periods the nation was facing severe tension. One of the aims of the New Deal was to provide relief for the impoverished. One of the aims of the Great Society was to wage war against poverty and more particularly to further equality for African-Americans which was something the New Deal took only small strides towards.
The times in which each program was established were not the same either. The New Deal was established during a time when the nation as a whole was suffering through some of its worst financial and educational woes ever. The nation and its people were looking for hope anywhere they could find it. In contrast, the Great Society came at a time when the nation had grown accustom to great prosperity, but yet was at the beginnings of a downward slump.
The New Deal and the Great Society were similar in that they both addressed related issues of racial inequality, financial and educational woes, but they differed in how far they went to address these issues and who would receive the greatest aid from each program.
Some of President Johnson’s objectives in implementing the Great Society were an end of poverty and racial injustice, education reform, environmental reform, and to bring society together and make it more productive. In promoting these ideals Johnson (1963) said, “It [The Great Society] is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.” It was his way of telling people that a great society is never stagnant and is always using its resources toward improving the lives of the people.
A couple of the programs implemented by the Great Society are the Job Corps and the Bilingual Education Act. The first of which was modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps in an effort to help disadvantaged young people in developing skills necessary to establish a meaningful career. The latter was aimed at providing educational instruction in the native language of students in order to increase the chances of success for immigrant groups and others that did not speak English as a first language.
According Job Corps’ website (21012) it is still affecting lives across the country today. One of the most impressive testimonies that it gives is that of Judge Sergio A. Gutierrez, who is quoted as saying, “I was not going down the right path, and the program literally saved my life”. He credits Job Corps for helping him realize that he could do something with his life and says that his story repeats itself all over the nation.
The Bilingual Education Act was initially designed to provide educational opportunities in a student’s native language for students who did not speak English as a first language. It also taught them the English language, but the general concept was to help them excel in all academics despite this barrier.
In 2002 the act was reformed under the No Child Left Behind program and is now called, “English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act”. Under its current form the act is considered a failure because it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying children access to a federal program based on race, though before this change it was considered a great success.
The Great Society was a success because it drew attention to so many ills of our society and addressed them directly and openly. Some of the changes that were made did not always turn out positive. Despite this it was a success. It was a success in the same way that a person push starting a car has success. It was tough at times and the road to the Great Society often seems bumpy, but without making that effort and giving the initial push we could have never started down that right road.
In order to decide where May’s article fits into my understanding of American influence and manifest destiny I first would need to define what my understanding and definition of American influence and manifest destiny are, and from there decide if I agree with or hold objections to such things.
In trying to determine what my definition of manifest destiny is I came across many websites which stated that it was the belief that Anglo-Americans were destined to occupy the continent from one coast to the other. I find this interpretation to be inaccurate. To begin with, the very term manifest destiny is void of any language of expansionist ideas.
John L. O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny (1839) said:
… freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality. This is our high destiny, and in nature’s eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it.
Sullivan recalled the distant memory of past tyrannical monarchs, and corrupt aristocrats, and referred to their place in the world as “the gates of hell”. To Sullivan it would seem that manifest destiny was a responsibility to ensure equality for all. Recalling the past fallacies of governments gone by he attempts to persuade his readers of the greatness of the country of the United States and install in them a sense of national pride and an adoration for their place in the world.
It is only when Sullivan adds the words, “to overspread the continent,” after the use of the term manifest destiny that ideas of expansionism are incorporated. The problem in the use of the term manifest destiny lies in the fact that different people saw our countries manifest destiny in different lights, and often one person’s view of what it should be would conflict with what others thought it should be (Tuveson).
In May’s article we are told, “The violent traditions and martial spirit of the United States of America fostered filibustering.” This fits full well into my understanding of American influence, but not my understanding of manifest destiny. This is because I can search through the pages of history and find many examples in which America acted with intense violence to accomplish its goals. From King Phillip’s War in 1675 (when Anglo-Americans were still British), to the bombing of Hiroshima, therein lies ample proof of America’s martial spirit.
However, manifest destiny is a different beast, perhaps one that at times has been known to bite, but overall is not as ferocious as America’s desire to influence the actions of others. And here is where I feel I must defend manifest destiny and make sure that it is seen for what it is, separate from all of the violent acts that have been carried out in its name. It is not merely an American ideal, it is not merely a concept it is (for lack of better words) a destiny.
Manifest destiny has its roots in Anglo-English culture, and in bringing print and learning and equality to all people, in rescuing people who still exist in the equivalents of Europe’s dark ages under oppressive governments that do not believe in sacred rights of the people. It is a call to educate, to bring liberty and actual justice for the wronged, to provide care for the sick, and to promote cordial relations between individuals as well as differing peoples. That being said, I do not feel that the glorification, in May’s article, of raising private armies to impose the will of America onto people who do not wish to have our will imposed fits at all into what my understanding and definition of manifest destiny is.
Ernest Lee Tuveson. (1980). Redeemer Nation. (p. 91). The University of Chicago Press. Chicago, Il. London.
Robert E. May. (1991). Young American Males and Filibustering in the Age of Manifest Destiny: The United States Army as a Cultural Mirror. The Journal of American History. Organization of American Historians, Bloomington, In.
In 1973 Kurt Vonnegut wrote a letter to a school administrator because of his decision to burn copies of Kurt’s book.
In 2012, I, Larry Warner, was given an assignment to respond as if I was the person to whom Vonnegut’s letter was written to. Below is my response, with a link to Vonnegut’s letter provided below my response.
First of all I would like to address your implication that my request to burn your book is an un-American ideal. I agree with you completely that in some circumstances burning a book is not conductive to a free society, however, I also believe in other circumstances it is an expression of the fact that a society is free, and allows for a freedom of expression. I am certain you will need further explanation of what I mean.
Traditionally, when one states that the burning of a book is a sign of a society that is not free, they are speaking of a government sanctioned book burning, in which all copies of a book are rounded up, and burned, to prevent the information from being disseminated. I did not in any way, shape, or form collect all copies of your book, under order of the government or otherwise, and attempt to remove them from the public mind as a whole as you have implied. Rather, the people of my community and I have decided that this is not the type of material we want to circulate in our community.
How can I say that burning a book is an expression of a free society? It is an expression of distaste for something which the people of my area and I find vulgar. I agree with you that our children will be exposed to such vulgarities in time, and even those words which you used in your book, however, it is at my discretion as to when an appropriate time for that is, and that clearly is not at such a young age in which children should be free to be children, and innocent in thought. It is not un-American to decide how your own children should be raised, though you may disagree if you wish.
Secondly, I think I should address your statement, “books are sacred to free men for very good reasons”. I am in agreement with you on this matter. Books are sacred to free men and with very good reason, but the problem I find here is the fact that you do not realize the reason why books are sacred to free men even while you make this statement.
Books are sacred because other men embrace the ideas, concepts, and thoughts of the writers of books. Books are sacred because it gives us an opportunity to understand how others view things, and open our minds to concepts we may have not previously considered. Your book may be sacred in your own mind, as it expresses your own thoughts, however, your ideas, concepts, and thoughts are not what we want our children to embrace, and therefore your books are not sacred in our community. I am sorry if that is disappointing news to you.
Next let’s consider your implication that all soldiers and hardworking men speak so coarsely. This is an errancy in thought if I have ever seen one. I ask you to spend a day among an Amish Mennonite community or even the Chaplains and Chaplains assistants in the military, the people truly devoted to the God upon which our country established its principles, and show me one among them that speak so vulgarly. All hard-working men should be offended at your stereotypical portrayal of them.
You mention that you feel I am uneducated and that I have not read your book, but in fact it was an educated decision to burn your book, at the outcry of a community that fealt that it violated the standards that our community has put forth. My educated decision making process is the reason why I am the chairman of Drake School Board.
Finally, if you would like to see an example of a sacred book in which you might enjoy the writings, you should read the Canterberry Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, who said, ” No matter how full of vice we are within, we like to be thought wise and free from sin”.
Yours Truly, Charles McCarthy (Fictional Letter, not actually by Charles McCarthy).
The title jumped at me. I pictured a mega-corporation suing small time farmers. I feel the company did themselves a discredit by the title of this article.
I also found it next to ridiculous that any corporation would spend 2.6 million a year studying a seed. Furthermore, I found their argument to be a little on the self righteous side. I mean really, “We sue farmers … to help foster innovation”.
They go on to say that when farmers purchase seeds from them they sign an agreement not to save and replant what they purchase from them. They attempt to legitimize this process by telling you the number of farmers which buy seeds from them, but that in no way really tells us that these farmers think that this process is fair. It is kind of like when you need money so bad you borrow it, and with it comes a ridiculous interest rate of 300% APR. You sign it anyway out of desperation, not because the process is fair.
The article goes on some more, and tells us that other seed companies sell their seeds under simular provisions. I wonder then, just how widespread is this corruption, that farmers cannot find a seed company that does not make them sign with these provisions. If I were to buy a cow, and the company told me I was not allowed to use the cow I bought to breed other cows I would go get my cow somewhere else. They have no right to tell people what they can or cannot do with what belongs to them, and the laws they fail to mention in this article that support this kind of activity need to be overturned. They are unethical.
Monsanto’s claim that farmers support them in this endeavor is misleading, as farmers have been known to strike and sue the company over these patent issues.
Monsanto has developed a monopoly over our means of food production. This type of thing is what I witnessed the evil villians of the cartoon DarkWing Duck do, when I was a kid. They would take the city’s water supply and then force the people to pay if they wanted water. This is no different.
I like that their company donates money to help youth organizations, but I find that it is trivial at best, only money from lawsuites they say. But they also mentioned that many suites are settled out of court. I wonder how many of those are in their favor. Furthermore, every reference I found about their donations when doing a google search implied that the donations were very small, $2,500. here or there, given to help the needy, by a 10 billion dollar company.
The following is my response to an article in Rolling Stones. You can see the article by following the web address provided at the bottom of this page.
I felt that the author of the article The Keystone Pipeline Revolt, Bill Mickibben, had more than one agenda in the article. One of his agendas was not specified, though anyone with an ability to read between the lines probably would spot it. The second agenda being the stated one of convincing Barrak Obama (POTUS), not to allow the pipeline.
First I would like to cover the secret or hidden agenda. While I disagree that any of the protestors should have been arrested based on the information provided, I could not help but have the feeling that Mickibben was exaggerating a bit on the conditions of his time in jail in an effort to demonize the police and therefore establishing himself as a sort of pseudo-martyr for his cause.
Speaking from the viewpoint of someone who himself has been unjustly arrested in the past I quickly realized that nothing he experienced was out of normal protocol, most of it for safety reasons, when one is arrested. I am also certain that Mickibben was aware of this, but intentionally left this bit of information out. The bigger injustice is the fact that he was arrested for exercising his right to protest and that his right of freedom to assemble was violated. Even this is just supposing that he did not leave any other facts out regarding the circumstances under which he was arrested. Though I have to call the possibility of him leaving this out to question, as he has already established precedence for not giving all of the facts.
Only after his demonization of the police and a little more pseudo-martyrism did Mickibben get to the topic at hand, which of course was the reason for which he and the other arrestees were protesting. The Pipeline!
In Mickibben’s description of the negative effects that building the pipeline will have, he uses many extremist visions of a desolate planet to try and persuade his readers, and the President, to support his cause. He says, “Burning up Saudi Arabia is the biggest reason the Earth’s temperature has already risen one degree from pre-industrial levels, that epic flood and drought have become ubiquitous, and that the Arctic is melting away.” By doing this he is trying to appeal to reader’s emotional response of fear and their abilities to reason, but he does it without actually offering any evidence that his statement is true.
While I will not argue against McKibben on the afore-mentioned issue it is only because I have not researched it in depth, but it seems to me that you cannot say that Burning up Saudi Arabia caused a temperature rise that started rising at the end of the pre-industrial era, before Saudi Arabia supposedly even had burned.
McKibben goes on to use other exagerations and fooleries to persuade his audience that his ideas are the correct ones, seldomely offering enough supporting evidence, throwing in names of expert witnesses and shocking images of a countries citizens covering their flags in oil, et cetera
In the end I have to say though, that he is right in saying lobbyist are out of control, that politicians should not be able to receive such outrageous backings in exchange for supporting a cause, and that something needs to be done to protect our environment sooner than later. All of this could have been explained with better supporting evidence and without the demonization of others.
For more information about McKibben I decided to look into him a bit, and found him at www.billmckibben.com/, where he says, “Imagine we live on a planet. Not our cozy, taken-for-granted earth, but a planet, a real one, with dark poles and belching volcanoes and a heaving, corrosive sea, raked by winds, strafed by storms, scorched by heat. An inhospitable place. It’s a different place. A different planet. It needs a new name.” With this example it seems that this type of extreme illusions are his typical way of raising support for his cause. So I urge anyone that reads Mckibben’s article to conduct further research into all the issues. Ask yourself, if the 14 spills that he mentions had harmed our environment so much why haven’t we heard more about them? Perhaps no more than a single teaspoon leaked, back into the ground from whence it came?
The issue of nuclear power has always been a touchy subject. For many decades debates have been heard around towns within proximity to nuclear power stations throughout America, in which someone would argue the benefits of not having to rely heavily on coal and oil sources, as the mining of these sources decimate the natural environment, and another person arguing that nuclear contaminates would eventually destroy us all.
On the 28th of March, 1979, just south of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and down the Susquehanna River, on Three Mile Island, occurred America’s first commercial nuclear accident. It came in the form of a core meltdown in which the reactor overheated, a hydrogen bubble formed, and radioactive steam escaped from the plant.
The reaction of local residents varied depending on their proximity to the plant at the time of the occurrence. Reporter Al Donaldson, reporting for the Pittsburg Post – Gazette, interviewed fellow reporter Susan Cassel from Hummelstown. In the interview Susan said, “In town people were screaming and carrying on. Everybody was frightened to death. I don’t want to ever go through anything like that again.”
Diane Beaty of Crescentville, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a ninth grader at the time of the incident told me in a recent interview,
A teacher in a neighboring class to mine had yelled that we are going to die. However, the majority of the people around me sat quietly listening to the news as the governor came on the television and assured everyone they would be okay. The majority of the people where I was at were not panicked, but I remember seeing people on television that were closer to the immediate area, which seemed to be in a complete state of panic.
The occurrence brought immediate attention to nuclear power at the national level, with politicians demanding inspections of other plants designed by Babcock and Wilcox, the builders of the Three Mile Island nuclear facility. America wanted to know who was at fault, whether it was human or mechanical error. The Report of the Presidents Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island seems to indicate that it was a combination of mechanical failure and human error. It states,
feed-water flow stopped, causing the temperature of the reactor coolant to increase. An employee did not see two lights that indicated a crucial valve was closed because one light was covered by a yellow maintenance tag, and the other light was missed for unknown reasons.
Many Americans tuned in to the evening news that night to hear CBS reporter, Walter Cronkite, say, “It was the first step in a nuclear nightmare; as far as we know at this hour, no worse than that.” The CBS broadcast went on to show local residents reactions at the time of the incident and many of those interviewed were of the belief that the incident was more serious than they were being lead to believe.
Robert Shackney of CBS stated, “The experts say, the risk of catastrophic consequences are very small. A lot of less serious consequences are far more probable. But they say they are not absolutely sure.”
According to Diane Beaty, “many of the news reports at the time were contradictory, and while the initial reaction to the news led to fear, the fear was quickly replaced by a feeling of total confusion about what was happening, and what the consequences of what was happening would be.”
One of the major results of the Three Mile Island Incident was the restructuring of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Some of the major changes that took effect are that the location of the major offices of the commission were moved closer together to allow greater communication, an oversight committee was placed over the NRC, a requirement enacted that the NRC report annually to the President and Congress, the strengthening of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) to have a greater capacity for independent analysis of nuclear facilities, and to make safety in the age of nuclear power its primary mission. In addition to this, another result is that not a single new nuclear plant has been built since the time of the Three Mile Island Incident.
It would seem that in all the years since the Three Mile Island Incident some Americans still have a distrust of nuclear energy. One can only speculate if this is a result of the fact the incident occurred or that so many conflicting reports about what occurred were released. While some people such as Diane Beaty remember the day of the incident clearly, a close friend of hers, Joanne Klim, who was two years her senior, says she barely remembers the incident at all, due to the fact so much time has gone by since the incident and it has had little to no effect on her life.
The Three Mile Island Incident, the fear, the panic, and the confusion caused by it are lessons for this and all future generations to ponder. The possibilities of what could have occurred on that day and the unknown possible consequences of this disaster, and future disasters of a similar nature, are enough to make any nation considering nuclear energy question whether the risks are worth the rewards.
One of the positive effects that the accident had on America is that it opened Americans up to consider the issue of nuclear power and its pros and cons on a level more appropriate to the seriousness of the issue, it forced Americans of the time to consider the consequences. It may have robbed America of an innocence once possessed towards nuclear energy, but that too may have been a positive outcome, as before this innocence was taken most Americans were naïve, or did not consider the possible effects of such an accident. Today almost every American of the age of majority realizes the potential danger in the use of nuclear energy, whether or not they remember the occurrence on Three Mile Island.
Despite the negative effects that nuclear energy brings however, many still view it as a positive force overall. Marvin Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute recently said, “… the United States recognizes the importance of expanding nuclear energy as a key component of a low-carbon energy future that is central to job creation, diversity of electricity supply, and energy security,” when speaking about President Barak Obama’s recent decision to grant funds to Southern Company to build two new reactors at Vogtle plant in Georgia (Belogolova). Obama’s decision for America’s investment in nuclear energy seems to be a reversal of the three decade old caution that America and the NRC have had since the incident at Three Mile Island. With this reversal though, even Obama reminds us that safety is a critical concern. We mustn’t throw caution, or anything else for that matter, to the wind!
-An Essay by Larry Nathaniel Chadwick Warner
Written for English Composition 120, Southern New Hampshire University
Beaty, Diane. Interview by Larry Warner. Personal Interview. 1 March, 2012 and 3 March, 2012.
Belogolova, Olga Nuclear Industry Hails Approval of First New U.S. Plant in 34 Years. 9 February, 2012. National Journal Daily P.M. Update. Proquest.Web. 3 March, 2012.
“Crisis at Three Mile Island”. The Milwaukee Journal. 31 March, 1979. Page 8. Print.
Donalson, Al. “Life’ll Never Be Same, Nuclear Refugee Says”. The Pittsburg Press. 2 April, 1979. A4. Print.
Klim, Joanne. Interview by Larry Warner. Telephone Interview. 1 March, 2012 and 4 March, 2012.
President’s Commission on The Accident At Three Mile Island, The. Report Of The President’s Commission On The Accident At Three Mile Island. 16 October, 1979. Web.
Three Mile Island. Columbia Broadcasting Systems. CBS. 28 March, 1979. Walter Cronkite and Robert Shakney. Television.
(Three Mile Island) Exeloncorp. Exelon Business Services Company. 23 December 1997.Web. 2 March 2012.
A recent assignment of mine, for my ENG-120 class, was to argue whether Cats or Dogs were better. Below is my argument and my professors response to my argument.
In the ongoing debate, as to whether dogs or cats are better, a new approach to looking at the question is needed. For many years the debate has been going on as to whether cats or dogs are better, usually asking which is smarter, but few people look at it analytically. This ongoing question needs to be looked at from the perspective of cats and dogs, and not based on the human idea of what intelligence is. Let’s take a look into their respective worlds from their viewpoint.
The argument usually goes: Dogs are smarter because of their capability to take orders. Cats are smarter because of their highly developed sense of independence. I argue that every creature is uniquely designed in its capabilities to achieve survival in both the way that they are built physically and mentally. A testament to the intelligence of every living creature is the fact that they still exist as a species. I am left with the conclusion that neither dog or cat is smarter than the other, but that each has an intellect that is designed to meet its own needs. Cats and dogs are therefore unique in how smart they are or what type of intellect they posses, with one not being superior to the other as it is not a comparative issue. In asking then which is better it only depends on which you prefer.
Prof. K’s Response:
Clever response, Larry, to what many, including myself, would consider to be a superficial prompt at the elementary school level. Thankfully, the principles of writing an argument stand even for the preference for cats over dogs or vice versa. Thanks for the chuckle at your opening statement. Seriously, this response shows some imagination. You take us in a more interesting direction by bringing in the evolutionary perspective. Think about it. I prefer cats; you prefer dogs. This doesn’t get us anywhere, does it? We’ve learned that different people have different preferences and can sometimes make them appear rational with logic. Your perspective is more objective. Evolutionary success is objective and doesn’t depend on subjective personal preferences. From this point of view, the issue is decided once and for all. Good work. This is what I mean when I talk about bending or “spinning” an assignment creatively to take it in your own direction, one that’s personally interesting.
Basicly, I chose an indisputible fact to base their intelligence on, the fact that both species still survive. Then I made the term BETTER, a relative term. This left the only way for someone to argue against my point to have to say, “No, it is not based on which you prefer, it is based on something else.” This would only make the person that I am arguing with look illogical as I have already conceded that whichever he or she prefers is better. Go ahead, give me a reason why I am wrong. I would love to debate it.
Note: Written as my first assignment for my I.T. class at Southern New Hampshire Univeristy. Lord help me! (It has not been graded yet).
First I must confess, my google search for “new technology” also included the words “2012 and popular science,” mainly because I have always found Popular Science (magazine) to be a wonderful source of all types of new technology, some that become a huge success, and some that fade on pages of old technology such as books and magazines.
Second, the new technology I was introduced to by conducting this search is astonishing; it is that of a new Stealth Bomber, to replace the aging B2’s. The new stealth bombers, according to the article, will use cenospheres covered in various metals which allow it to deceive different defense systems, and from my understanding, adapt to trick various sorts of radar systems.
For the development of this new technology the U.S. Air Force is willing to spend 3.7 billion dollars, and it is in this that I have concerns about this project. As technology is improving every day at a more rapid pace than any time in history, there is no assurance that this technology will not already be outdated by the time it is in use, and 3.7 billion is a hefty price tag. However, in military terms, success isn’t always something that a dollar sign can be applied to. Sometimes success is the one life that may be saved on one mission, due to extensive research and preplanning, and as I do not believe the U.S. Air Force would frivolously spend such a high dollar sign on something not beneficial to the military’s mission, I do believe that this new technology will be a success.
A success in what form? That is harder to define. If the primary goal is just to design a Stealth Bomber that can avoid current radar technology there will be success. If the primary goal is to save human lives, there will be success. If the primary goal is to let the rest of the world know that we still have the most powerful military on earth, again success. But, if the primary goal is to have a logistically operational Stealth Bomber, at a reasonable dollar amount, then I still have my questions. What is military success in our modern world?