About Me

My photo
Earned Bachelor Degree from the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (Class of 2013) Major: Political Science Minor: Sociology ------------------- I am your typical nerd/geek/otaku. I like to ride my bike, read, write, and surf the internet. Otaku(noun)(おたく/オタク)- is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime, manga, and/or video games.

Subscribers

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blog Post #10 -- Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

Blog Post #10 -- Barack Obama's Inaugural Address (pg. 199-204)
Blog Started 9:19p.m.

In Barack Obama's Inaugural Address, Obama expresses his concern regarding the economy of the nation and his goal of expanding equal opportunities for all Americans. Most importantly, Obama reminds the public that "For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and the determination of the American people upon which this nation relies." In addition to this concept is a message rallying behind the notion that democracy and the values of humanity should be spread to other nations. He proposes that swift and decisive action must be taken to stimulate growth. I wholeheartedly agree with Barack Obama that America needs to "step up to the plate" so to speak and take responsibility (with regard to our federal deficit, among other things...) for our obligations and to embrace them with honor, respect, and dignity. Lastly, I also agree with Obama when he states that "...we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals". Our government should be able to manage both effectively, efficiently, and with the quality that is most necessary.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog Post #9 -- "The Problem That Has No Name"

"The Problem That Has No Name" by Betty Friedan
Blog started at 8:35 p.m.

This passage by Betty Friedan shed light upon the dilemma of women of the 1960's. The Feminine Mystique discusses the role that American housewives had become fed up with. Women were questioning their purpose in life and if there was more to it than taking care of the household and children. It would appear that women wanted more independence and self-reliance. However, one has to question if that is truly the right fit to the void that women were trying to fill (pg. 464, READER pg. 126) I'm somewhat disappointed that Betty Friedan doesn't mention the possibility and potential that religion may have had upon these women nor the success or failure of the referral. I'm not advocating that women have no place in the workforce, not at all! I just think that it's a shame to see that when one DOES have the "American Dream" (a house, children, a spouse, white picket fence, etc.) they end up unsatisfied, with sentiments of unfulfillment, and a lack of purpose. Even after women gained the right to vote and work, how many of them can say that they are happy with their lives and the state of the world? In addition, how many women vote in today's day and age? A right so virtuously and fervently pursued, now with not as significant of an impact as it was thought to have. I suppose that it can be said that more things change, the more they stay the same. It would seem that people believe that the purpose of life is to be happy, and perhaps that's an achievable dream for many, but for others, it's an impossible goal, and for others still, they lie to themselves and force themselves to believe that they are happy when in truth, they are still tormented by these very same thoughts of ambition, regardless of gender.

I find that women are equal to men is some aspects of life and unfortunately unequal in others. I would be more than happy to work alongside a woman in nearly any given occupation. However, one must acknowledge that there ARE natural differences between men & women. For instance and generally speaking, women have less upper body strength than that of men. Thus, men are perhaps best suited for manual labor as opposed to women. There are double standards in society. Lastly, it is most pitiable that the age of chivalry and gentle-manliness is long gone. It may not be a direct consequence of the feminist movement, but one can see the irony in the lack of "damsels in distress".

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blog Post #8 -- "The Port Huron Statement" (READER pg. 107-114)

Blog Post #8 -- "The Port Huron Statement" by the Students for a Democratic Society
December 1, 2011 Started at 8:43 p.m.

In this essay, the Students for a Democratic Society criticize society's lack of democratic action and acknowledge the many contradictions of American values, for instance, the belief that "all men are created equal" not being fully realized as African Americans were being unjustly treated by Jim Crow segregation. Among other criticisms, the Students for a Democratic Society mention that in educational facilities, moral and social values are not being taught and that "theoretic chaos has replaced the idealistic thinking of old,", perhaps so much so that men and women alike are "unable to reconstitute theoretic order". Thus, as the Students for a Democratic Society put it, "men have condemned idealism itself". Unfortunately, I have to agree with this sentiment. It would appear that even in this day and age, there are traces of neglect with regard to even the most fundamental of human principles. The SDS wanted the "establishment of a democracy of individual participation, governed by two central aims". One of which being that individuals participate in the decisions that determine their quality of life and the other goal being that society be restructured to encourage independence in men and the perpetuation of media for the purpose of extending their participation (pg. 67 or 110 in the READER). Perhaps we have achieved the latter of the two goals with the implementation of the internet (or worldwide web) towards politics, but as for the actual involvement of individuals in political choices and the recognition of the correlation between politics and the human nature, there is certainly room for improvement.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Post #7 -- Chapter 10: What is Exploitation?

War & The Intellectuals: Collected Essays, 1915-1919 by Randolph S. Bourne
[Edited with an Introduction by Carl Resek]
Blog Started: November 26, 2011 8:03 p.m.



Featured: Inigo Montoya [The Princess Bride]
Please note: This image was added merely for a comedic and aesthetic effect. There is no direct correlation between the image and the actual context of this blog.


This passage describes a debate between the author and his "western friend who runs a prosperous stove factory" (pg. 134). Both men had differing views regarding the term "exploitation". Bourne himself believed that he had been a victim of exploitation. Randolph S. Bourne apparently had his first job cutting perforation in music paper for a musician (pg 136). He felt cheated when he discovered that his employer received 15 cents per every foot of paper that Bourne made. The musician also reduced Bourne's pay from 5 cents per piece to 4 and a half cents (pg. 136). Bourne felt that if his effort was worth five cents per foot while he was learning the craft, then he should be worth more, because he had mastered the basics (pg. 136). Thus, it was seen as a great injustice to him that he would have his value reduced. However, when he confronted his employer about this problem, his "master folded his arms" (presumably in contempt). Bourne did not have to work for him, but the lack of any other marketable skills caused him great fear. Bourne could have left as he saw fit (according to his capitalistic employer), but the position would then (most likely) be given to someone else for (perhaps) the same rate of pay. Thus he stayed. Bourne expands this concept to an industrial model and eventually one begins to see his position, especially with regard to the Mesaba pamphlet which he supports.

Bourne and his friend's testimony (as told in Bourne's words not those directly of his associate, making the credibility of the analogies stated questionable...especially considering Bourne's tendency to scornfully chastise any opinion not parallel to his own...) can be seen as drawing from personal experience with regards to exploitation (to which end, I myself believe that exploitation is just as subjective as "truth" is. I tend to quote Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) from the television series Lie to Me, who, when asked to "Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth..." replies that truth is subjective and that it passes through our own filtering system. Furthermore, Dr. Cal Lightman states that it was rare for the whole truth to ever actually be stated honestly in a courtroom. When applied to the concept of exploitation and the world as a "courtroom" one can see the similarities). There is somewhat of a bias on an individual level for this type of definition, whereas exploitation is perhaps more predominantly visible and undeniable from an abstract, observational standpoint.

I think that in Bourne's case, he WAS exploited, but can it truly be considered exploitation if he just acts as an enabler to the system by offering information to his friend to apply for a position himself? If anything, that's just perpetuating the cycle...
I feel as though people tend to believe that their effort is worthy of a value that is not proportionate to the actual product of that work. That's not to say that the work one does is not of ANY value or merit, however it can be seldom said that anyone would complete a service or deed out of the kindness of their hearts without any expectation of gratitude. There used to be a time where one would take on apprenticeships in the hopes that the skills gained would be used to allow that person to become self-sufficient. That skill was of more importance at the time than the profit that would be gained from it. Craftsmanship and attention to detail was the true gain back in the day. Now, for instance, internships have an expectation of monetary compensation.

I'm all for giving people the "benefit of the doubt" but it's just that people do not volunteer to work without some sort of compensation for their "valuable time & effort" (outside of learning a new skill or doing something selflessly for their fellow man). It's a sad world we live in where money talks louder than the need to be humble, kind, and sincere...

Bourne trusts power, his associate however trusts in one's rights. Where Bourne's companion recognizes the individual, Bourne recognizes classes (pg. 138).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blog Post #6 -- Woodrow Wilson's War Message to Congress

Woodrow Wilson's War Message to Congress
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 (Started) 2:55 p.m.

This is a speech given to Congress on April 2, 1917 addressing them of the circumstances and situation in which the German U-boat campaign had put the American nation in. Wilson did not want to immediately go to war, but he rallied behind the notion that America was obligated to:

"...vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power and to set up amongst the really free and self-governed peoples of the world such a concert of purpose and of action as will henceforth ensure the observance of those principles." (pg. 305)

The German Government was sinking ships regardless of whether or not they were neutral (carrying cargo filled with medical supplies or non-combatants). Woodrow Wilson urged that this utter disregard for human life should not go unpunished and unhindered. I would most assuredly agree with Woodrow Wilson's plea seeing the devastation and malicious acts committed against unmistakably neutral targets. Due to the relentless sinking of ships (such as the Lusitana, a British ship carrying American passengers, 128 of which perished, in 1915), it was rather obvious that even an armed neutral stance could no longer be taken by Germany. Woodrow Wilson made it rather clear that the participation of America in World War I would be only in the fairness of self-defense and the protection of human rights. There was to be no ill will towards the people of Germany but sympathy and a hand offering friendship towards them (pg. 305).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blog Post #5 -- Proclaimation of Amnesty and Reconstruction

Abraham Lincoln: Selected Speeches and Writings with an Introduction by Gore Vidal (pages 411-414)

Monday November 7, 2011 8:47 a.m.

This official proclamation was enacted by President Lincoln in order to "grant reprieve" to those in the South that seceded from the Union. Essentially President Abraham Lincoln gave pardons to all of those that participated in the rebellion so long as they solemnly pledged their allegiance (under oath) to the Constitution of the United States, Congress, and the Union. As a condition of the agreement, all rights of property would be restored to the former rebels except that of slaves. Those that were excluded from the pardon included civil and/or diplomatic officers of the Confederate government, military or naval officers above the rank of colonel or lieutenant, and all those whom left their seats in the United States Congress to aid the rebellion. As part of the reconstruction, Abraham Lincoln demanded that the State governments re-establish republican governments.

I believe that the conditions for the pardon were fair and somewhat paternalistic, in the sense that Abraham Lincoln was not out to harshly reprimand the separatists. More or less, there was a compelling desire to simply restore the state of the Union. If anything, Lincoln was giving the Confederates a clean slate for their past transgressions. I feel as though it was a noble act.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog Post #4 -- Civil Disobedience

Saturday, October 15, 2011 (10/15/2011) 5:40 P.M.

Henry David Thoreau in his writing titled Civil Disobedience, discusses a multitude of aspects regarding the role of government and that of the individual. In addition, he mentions that there is a lack of consciousness in the military, navy, air force, etc. In America, we have what is known as "the draft" or selective service agreement. One is to register to serve his country (this only applies to men) or otherwise be punished by law.

Thoreau states that "Law never made men a whit more just; and by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice." (Thoreau, pg. 669)

He continues to argue that "A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain...and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?"

I wholeheartedly agree that there is no price worthy of a single man's life. The risk and burden is simply too much to bear. Life is fragile, precious, and brief. However, there are times, in the midst of conflict, that the time for words has long past and unfortunately, one must lay down his (or her) life to fight in order to bring about peace.

That is no reason to say that the militia is absent-minded or merciless as Thoreau claims them to be. In every man, there is a self-consciousness that although can become severely repressed to the point of being but a murmur in the minds of even the most noble of men, it will always remain present. We are all human beings with our own faults, sins and transgressions. Yet, we are all capable of great potential and of great empathy. I refuse to believe that atrocities such as the Nazi regime and concentration camps were implemented without some serious moral questioning from those in charge.

It is when more than one man, rallies together others of similar or corresponding interests, that person or leader becomes quite powerful. Large groups of people are capable of monumental change (for the better or worse). If for example, a person decides to take more territory, for whatever reason (to increase his or her own resources, to obtain more space, etc.), from his neighbor without negotiation, there will be a zero-sum game. Their neighbor may feel that his or her own land boundaries are being threatened and may at first simply request that  the invaders leave. If this warning fails to be heeded, there is a right to defend the territory that has been bestowed upon them and rally others to support him or her on a belief (or perhaps even fear) that their land may be compromised as well. In retaliation from this new defense, the opposition may rally their own party and thus war breaks out. It is more effective when a group is unified and equal that it becomes the most effective. There is a natural instinct to protect one's resources. Unfortunately in this world, people are not inclined to share...

I believe that when one loses their purpose behind the confrontation in the first place, is when one loses his or her consciousness. It is only when all other methods of compromise and negotiation have been exhausted that one should even turn to war. Hate begets hate. In addition, it is when one feels superior to one another that problems arise. Conversely, a feeling of inferiority, may give cause to rises in power. If one feels as though they have more resources and influence compared to another individual, they are more inclined to use their abilities in abusive manners. We have governments to prevent these abuses on a grand scale. If the enforcing entity is unorganized and not unified, it becomes difficult to maintain order and peace.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Post #3 Waden & Other Writings -- Henry David Thoreau (Pages 85-93)

Thursday, October 6, 2011 (10/6/2011) Started 4:35 p.m.

Waden & Other Writings-- Henry David Thoreau -- Pages 85-93

In this excerpt from Henry David Thoreau's collection of writings, Thoreau claims that society is too distracted with trivial matters. As he puts it himself, "I went to the woods because because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."(pg. 86). He makes a rather interesting point however which I partially agree with, to a limited extent. Thoreau argues that one should live simply and should not look into things more than once with regard to the news and gossip. He believes that all news is gossip to a philosopher (pg. 89). He also states that one should not need to read of "one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one steamboat blow up..." (pg. 89) more than once. However, I completely disagree with this ignorant mindset. The news is not all gossip and such events may need to be thoroughly examined for linkages or recurrences that may explain their frequency. For instance, with regard to a steamboat exploding, if more than one spontaneously combusts, there could be a serious design flaw that could be resolved, thus saving countless lives in the process. As for some of the stories however, I concede that there is perhaps an excessive amount of information that is far too dismal in the news presently. If I had influence upon the media, I would, for every tragic story, add one of optimism and hope for changing society. While it is somewhat commendable to live a simple, perhaps humble lifestyle, it becomes self-centered and absent minded when one does not help his fellow man. People should educate one another and teach each other moral values as well as the consequences of such actions. It was once said that "evil triumphs when good men do nothing". I hold that truth to be self evident.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Post #2 -- The 63rd Federalist Paper

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 (9/27/2011) Started 7:01 p.m.

The 63rd Federalist Paper

In this document, most likely written by James Madison, the Senate is the topic of interest. Madison uses the great republics of the past (like Greece), as examples of how the government is to serve the people yet, maintain somewhat of a distance from public opinion and thought (although, he feels that they pale in comparison to America's setup). He also uses the constitution of Maryland as an experiment of how a senate should operate. I believe that the current electoral process of appointing senate members is based of the Maryland example and I feel that it's very well constructed. The Senate (as an add-on to the House of Representatives) is an institution that acts as a defensive mechanism against the delusions and self-interest of the public. It is difficult today for a bill to go through the House of Representatives, unaltered, and become law with Senate approval. The Senate ensures that the public will not make erroneous legislation that they will have to amend repeatedly or abolish altogether.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blog Post #1 -- Thomas Jefferson's Letter to Samuel Kercheval

Saturday, September 17, 2011 4:58 p.m.

Thomas Jefferson's Letter to Samuel Kercheval

In this writing by Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, Jefferson addresses what he believes to be the proper manner in which government should serve the public. In particular, he makes the grand argument that the government should be permitted to make adjustments periodically to the Constitution as deemed fit and necessary. He mentions that institutions should "go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind". As with all things, society must adapt to changing circumstances, sciences, advancements, and technologies. Therefore, it is an inherent necessity to modify and adjust our constitution to maintain the pace of change as well. A perfect example of how this applies would be best stated in the need for legislation regarding conduct on the internet. If a completely explicit  interpretation of the laws were only applied, people would take advantage of the "loopholes" that our Constitution would not address. Conversely, certain rights or liberties people would think to be commonly accepted, may become undermined. For instance, society believes that there should be a right to privacy granted within it, however, it's not expressly stated that citizens have that privilege. Granted, Jefferson makes the statement that he is not a supporter of frequent changes, but more or less an advocate for moderate modifications.