Table of Contents Table of Contents ...................................................................................................................................... - 2 ARGUING FROM EXPERIENCE: .......................................................................................................... - 5 THANK YOU, MR. TSUHA: A CALL TO SUPPORT TEACHERS AND ARTS PROGRAMS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS (By Katrina Agnew-Yanabe) ............................................................... - 6 CHILI (By Alicia Meyerink) ........................................................................................................... - 9 BIRDS OF A FEATHER DON’T ALWAYS FLOCK TOGETHER (By Tobias Bjerre)............ - 12 INSIGHTS ON OUTSOURCING: A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECT OF OUTSOURCING ON AMERICAN CONSUMERS (By Shawn Crowley) ................................. - 15 PADDLING: A WORLDWIDE SPORT (By Ali Ishaque) .......................................................... - 21 WAR: IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING (By Heidi LeBlanc) .......................................................... - 25 APPRECIATING HAWAI´I’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS (By Jennifer Yamaguchi) ......................... - 28 -
REVIEWING THE ARTS...................................................................................................................... - 33 MR. MOLLY WHUPPIE (By Mhary Grace de Francia) .............................................................. - 34 RENT: BUY IT! (By Camille Sarmiento) ..................................................................................... - 37 LUCK OR CLEVERNESS?: AN ANALYSIS OF “THIRTEENTH” (By Hafid El Alaoui) ....... - 39 TWIST, LICK AND DUNK: HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, OREO! (By Melissa Crews) ............ - 42 TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE BUTTERFLY: FROM NEWS STORY TO PLAY (By Gabryn Kaai) .............................................................................................................................................. - 44 -
CHANGING THE WORLD .................................................................................................................. - 46 WRAPAROUND: CREATING A STABLE AND NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED HAWAI´I PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS (By Jasmine Fujimoto) ..... - 47 OH SNAP! SOME CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE HERE (By Amanda Faver) .................... - 51 HYDRAULIC FRACTURING (By Katie Peterson) .................................................................... - 58 SEX ABUSE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? (By Hunter Ranon) - 62 HOMELESS IN PARADISE? (By My Nyander) ......................................................................... - 66 SOFTWARE PATENTS (By Damien Lee) .................................................................................. - 70 -
TALKING BACK ...................................................................................................................................... - 76 HEADSHOT! VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES DON’T MAKE DEGENERATE CHILDREN (By Caleb Davidson) ............................................................................................................................ - 77 TRUTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING (By Emily Mueller) .................................................... - 81 THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM (By Linn Therese Skulstad) ........................................................................................................................................ - 88 KAMEHAMEHA DEATH TOLL (By Sarah Soden) ................................................................... - 92 -2-
PELL GRANT: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL? (By Jessie Scohier)............................................... - 94 ON THE NECESSITY FOR INCREASING GOVERNMENTAL REGULATIONS ON THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY (By Krystal Woods) ............................................................ - 97 -
CONTRIBUTOR NOTES.................................................................................................................... - 104 MAHALO! ................................................................................................................................................ - 108 -
EDITOR’S WELCOME Kathleen Cassity, Associate Professor of English & Coordinator of First-Year Writing Welcome to our inaugural issue of Fresh Perspectives: An Online Anthology of First-Year Writing at Hawai´i Pacific University. In this volume, produced in the Spring 2013 semester, you will find twenty-four essays written by HPU students during Fall 2012, addressing a variety of topics and invoking a range of approaches, linguistic registers, and audiences. Selections have been gleaned from our full range of first-year writing courses—WRI 1100: Analyzing and Writing Arguments; WRI 1150: Literature and Argument; and WRI 1200: Research, Writing and Argument. (Because transfer students sometimes take these courses, not all of the writers included here are freshmen.) Promising essays were nominated by the students’ teachers, and we received a far greater number of fine submissions than could be included here. Congratulations to all the nominated students, and thank you to all participating instructors. In future issues we hope to expand the range of entries by including other courses in the same General Education category. We initially developed the idea for an anthology of freshman writing after I attended a thoughtprovoking panel on “Real Purposes, Real Audiences” at the 2011 College Conference on Composition and Communication in Atlanta. The research in our field of composition studies demonstrates that writers—even novices—are most successful when they know their work will reach actual readers and could potentially have a meaningful impact. Yet it is rare for the essays produced by college writers to reach audiences beyond their teachers (and in some cases, classroom peers). The goal of this project is to create a venue for publication and dissemination of ideas, not just for experienced writers who have “paid their dues” (faculty, graduate students, upper-division honors students), but to those who are new to the academy as well—fresh voices, fresh perspectives. In order to promote fluency and student engagement, our writing program encourages a range of rhetorical and discursive approaches, including but not limited to the traditional source-based argumentative research paper. As such, the pieces here include personal essays, evaluative reviews, hybrid forms that combine personal reflection with research—and, of course, the traditional academic research paper, some of which are cited in APA style, others in MLA. (Please note that because these writers are relatively new to the academy, we do not expect disciplinary mastery.) The viewpoints expressed are the opinions of the writers themselves and are not necessarily endorsed (nor denounced) by HPU, the English Department, or the editor. Rather than selecting pieces that toe any “party line,” we have attempted—in the spirit of academic freedom—to present a range of viewpoints. What connects this eclectic selection, I believe, is a commitment to HPU’s mission of global citizenship—a collective vision of a more inclusive and compassionate world. We are excited about our inaugural issue, the hard work demonstrated by the students represented here, and the possibilities that this anthology creates not only for the future of HPU’s Writing Program but for our university as a whole. We hope you will enjoy hearing the voices of this emerging generation of young scholars, gain insight into how today’s students hope to change the world through their actions and words, and perhaps become inspired to write a few world-changing words of your own. -4-
ARGUING FROM EXPERIENCE: connecting personal experience to the wider world
THANK YOU, MR. TSUHA: A CALL TO SUPPORT TEACHERS AND ARTS PROGRAMS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS (By Katrina Agnew-Yanabe) Thank you, Mr. Tsuha, for all the life lesson lectures, and for the speeches on how every person has to pull their weight. Thank you for teaching me the importance of pride, respect, independence, teamwork, and for summing all of that up into an 80-minute class, three times a week. I can honestly say that I would never have stayed in band class and continued to practice my clarinet religiously if not for what I learned in band class, beyond how to read music notes and play a concert F in tune on my clarinet. I always feared you would yell in your loud and deep voice to “sit up straight and sit at the edge of my seat.” But to this day, I always sit up straight and sit at the edge of my seat in any academic setting. Thank you for always staying to keep the band room open until 5:00 pm, sometimes even 6:00 pm, so your students had a place to stay after school and practice, even though you had your own family to go home to. The list of lessons I learned from you in just two short years would go on for pages, and it would not be close to conveying what it truly meant to be in your class. Until I joined the Moanalua Middle School Band, I had no idea that a public school teacher could care as much for his students as you did. For decades our teachers, more specifically public school teachers, have been negatively stereotyped. A common belief is that public school teachers, because they are very much underpaid and underappreciated, do not give the same quality education to their students as a private school teacher would give his or her students. Private schools have access to more resources, allowing them to buy supplies and technology that helps their students to learn. Public schools are provided with limited resources and limited funds; therefore, teachers are forced to use their own money for classroom supplies to aid students’ learning. Granted, a percentage of public school teachers do fall into the stereotype of “bad teacher,” and as a student in our public school education system from kindergarten through 12th grade, I had my fair share of “bad teachers.” For example, in one of my high school classes, I continuously observed my teacher grade 30 essays in less than 15 minutes. She would quickly collect our essays, sit at her desk, and carelessly flip through the pages looking for the minimum number of pages and paragraphs. Then, without any regard to the content or information within the essay, she would give the essay a letter grade, which was usually an A, mark the grade in her grade book, and store the essays in her desk to be handed back next class. Her teaching methods and actions expressed a lack of care for her students’ education. It is teachers like this who give all public school teachers a bad reputation. However, what many people do not realize is that there is also a handful of “good” public school teachers—like my middle school band teacher, Mr. Tsuha—who would go above and beyond in order to help their students learn, grow, become better students, and succeed in life. Each year our middle school band would put on six performances for our friends and family to showcase our progress on our instruments. This was never required by state education standards, but Mr. Tsuha knew that our parents would love to see their children playing musical instruments in time with 70 other students. Every year the eighth grade band went to band camp for a weekend. Again, this was never required by the standards, but Mr. Tsuha gave us the experience of how hard professional bands practice. And every year the eighth grade band would go on a trip to one of the -6-
neighbor islands to put on a performance tour, along with sightseeing and other group activities. Again, this was never required by anyone, but Mr. Tsuha put in the work and effort to make it possible for our band to travel. The performances, camps, and trips taught each student lessons that could not be taught in only four hours in class per week. The performances taught us how to put in hard work and dedication in our rehearsals and our practice at home, to produce a final product at our concerts that we could be proud of. The camps and trips taught us responsibility, leadership skills, teamwork, perseverance, and many other important values that will help develop more mature students. All band members learned to be responsible for at least a small part of band events, from making concert programs or copying music to scheduling sectionals. Mr. Tsuhaâ€™s students learned how to take charge of their learning by taking the initiative to practice on their own and working together to plan everything from sectionals to activities, in order to get the most out of each opportunity and to gain knowledge out of each experience. A teacher who would not want to put forth the effort might do the absolute minimum necessary in order for his or her students to meet the state standards. However, teachers like Mr. Tsuha go beyond what the standards require, to provide not just the minimum but the best educational experience for each student. Today there is a lack of state support, school support, and parental support for public school teachers, especially of the arts. Funding for performing arts programs such as band, orchestra, and chorus is being cut, leaving nothing for teachers in the arts programs and making it difficult for public school teachers who want to offer their students more learning opportunities. Music programs particularly need significant funding for instruments, instrument repairs, music stands, and performance music. Thankfully, my middle school principal always supported our music program and did as much as possible to help our band. Also, there was strong parental support at my school for our band program, with parents volunteering their time and money for the band. But the State in general lacks support for the general performing arts programs in schools. In recent years, the Department of Education has been more focused on having students pass standardized tests that supposedly measure how much a student is learning. In turn, many arts programs have lost support. Sadly, Mr. Tsuha retired a few years ago in order to relax and spend more time with his family. He worked hard as a teacher to build up our band program from nothing to something reputable, putting in extra effort in order to help his students get the most out of their educations. He never saw any reason to treat us less than our best, and always held us to the highest standards possible. The State needs to better support music and art programs in public schools. Numerous studies show how beneficial the arts can be for a student. Daryl W. Kinneyâ€™s 2008 study in the Journal of Research in Music Education found that by studying middle school students who participated in instrumental music programs and students who did not, the instrumental music students had higher English and math test scores compared to non-music students (Kinney 146). With more support and funding for the arts in public schools, we can help teachers like Mr. Tsuha, who want the best for their students, to make an excellent public school education possible. Our public -7-
school system includes many other great teachers, and in order to keep them teaching our students, we all need to give them the support they deserve. Work Cited Kinney, Daryl W. â€œSelected Demographic Variables, School Music Participation, and Achievement Test Scores of Urban Middle School Students.â€? Journal of Research in Music Education. July 2008: Vol. 56, No. 2, pp. 145-161
CHILI (By Alicia Meyerink) The sweet, spicy smell of garlic, cayenne peppers, and cilantro lazily rolls through the hot kitchen, spilling into the rest of the ranch style home. The enticing aroma attacks my senses and beckons me. The kitchen, newly remodeled by my father, has cabinets with that just-from-the-lumber-store sheen; .the floor is so smooth I can skate across it in my socks. The dishwasher hinges still squeak, and the beautiful, gleaming granite counter top is littered with opened bean cans, tomato paste, and bits and pieces of vegetables that did not make it into the boiling pot. Creating a shadow over the entire mess is my loving dad. His white legs, poking out of his robe, gleam are like shining beacons. The heat from the kitchen and the steam from the pot create a light pink flush on his already rosy cheeks that starts from the base of his neck, creeps up behind his ears, and comes full bloom on his face. His eyes are a little watery and his glasses slightly foggy. His whiskery chin says it’s Sunday morning like nothing else. His grey hair is fighting a losing battle with baldness. The brave hairs that still cling to hope form a ring around the outside of his head. He usually wears his deep maroon cap, but this morning he forgoes it. His height and quiet demeanor would frighten another girl of my age, but I know him better than that. The sun beams through the window, lighting up my dad and the stove where he works. I slowly creep through the entry near the island and slide—so I think—soundlessly into the plush leather stool. As I sit, I watch my dad chop vegetables. The “thunk” of the large, shining knife lulls me into a trance. He cuts up celery and the distinct, crisp scent reaches me. I scrunch my nose; I hate celery. The clang of the knife being set down on the counter sounds distinctly different than the sharp edge on the wooden board. The sudden noise pulls me out of my stupor. My dad slides the chopped up pile to the side of the board and onto another plate. His big calloused hands reach for a green bell pepper. Cutting it in half, he cleans out the seeds into the chili. He then slices the pepper into smaller, more manageable parts. I can almost taste the sharp yet slightly sweet taste of the pepper on my tongue. My mouth waters and I crave the crunch of it between my teeth. I climb out of my seat, still thinking that my dad doesn’t know that I’m watching him. I ninja-crawl over to the counter and stick my hand up, searching for the scrumptious snack while my dad has his back turned. Quick as a snake, I snatch a pepper. He turns back just as I’m sneaking away from the counter. We both stop in our tracks and stare at each other. The moment stretches, finally broken by his laugh. His laugh, his deep, beautiful laugh, comes from a well deep inside his heart. When you hear a laugh like that you know it’s genuine. You can almost feel the richness in it, the happiness rumbling around the room. My cheeks tinge a deep red and at that moment I know I look exactly like him. I rise from my crouch and peek up from under my wild blonde hair. “Morning, sweet pea.” “Hi Dadda, I just wanted a pepper.” “It’s okay, kiddo. You hungry?” I nod vigorously. “Well, how about some cereal?” -9-
I shake my head, point to the chili. “I want some chili, but not too hot.” He laughs again, “What? You don’t like my chili spicy?” I shake my head. “I feel like my tongue is gonna fall off!” I say with a giggle. I’m being silly and I know it. I love how his smile touches his eyes, like he actually likes my little joke. He beckons me over to him. I flounce my way across the kitchen and wait for what he is going to say. “You wanna help me?” “I dunno, Dadda, is it gonna take a long time?” “No, silly goose. Chili is a real easy recipe.” “Are you sure?” He can tell I’m slightly skeptical. “Yeah, Lise. Here let me show you.” He takes the plate with the peppers and celery already diced into submission, loaded with colors: dark green, light green, yellow, black, brown, deep red, and magenta. All the beans and vegetables mix together to make something delicious, something that tastes like home. “Okay, kiddo. The first thing you do is put the broth in here like this, and then you let it heat up real good. Then you chop up all the veggies and beans you need and slide ‘em right into there, yeah, sweet pea, just like that. Good. Then you take the cooked burger meat and put it in there for a while. Perfect, and bada bing, bada boom, you got yourself some good chili makin’ for ya for dinner.” We wait for the chili to cook all day. When Mom calls to tell us she’s on her way home, we set the table. Dad gives me three spoons and three bowls. I set them all out on the table and race back to the kitchen to get the napkins. Dad is hauling the chili out to the dining room table. We get the food on the table just in time for Mom to walk in and see what we have prepared while she was out. Though there is nothing fancy or amazing about the chili, what is really special is the love and ease of my little family as we sit down to eat the meal we have prepared together and for each other. This memory pops into my head as I bustle around the kitchen one lazy Sunday morning, making my own batch of chili. I am by myself, years later, missing my dad. Cancer took him when I was twelve, yet surprise recollections are still popping up, memories that make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. They sneak up on me often. I’ll be doing dishes or riding horses and they attack, bring me to my knees. I suppose making the chili was the trigger. I should have been ready, but there really isn’t any preparing for something so raw, so rich in emotion. Sometimes I have to let things wash over me, let the waves of remembrance drag me away from shore, pull me to the deep and then, finally, wash me back up, dizzy, disoriented and exhausted, on the sandy beaches of sanity and hope.
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Though I wish he could have been with us longer, my memories of him are special. Making chili with my dad is a moment I will keep with me always, locked away in the deepest part of me, only to resurface when least expected. To the day I die I will remember the way he looked at me, like I was the most important thing in the world to him. The love that seemed so natural is something I think many children crave from their fathers. He gave that to me, the time he did have to raise me, and he gave me his heart and life. I wish other fathers who have the time and ability would just take a moment out of their busy lives and give their child a memory like my dad did for me. It didnâ€™t take long, really just about a half hour, and there may have been other things we could have been doing, but instead we made a meal, a memory, something I know that many families today donâ€™t take the opportunity to do. As I sit in the kitchen, the smells of newly cut bell pepper, celery, tomato, and cilantro swirl around the kitchen. Memories of my father float around in my head.
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BIRDS OF A FEATHER DON’T ALWAYS FLOCK TOGETHER (By Tobias Bjerre) I grew up in a Swedish village, one of those close to a big road, where the only reason for people to have moved there was because of the big factory that once stood there. That factory was now a ruin: a ruin inside which we used to spend our leisure and spare time, exploring the space and playing hideand-seek. Our parents didn’t know we were there. Our playground had once been a workplace with hundreds of employees. So why did people continue to move to a small town with 800 inhabitants out on the countryside called Östra Grevie, a town that many people would call an idyllic place to grow up in, with scenic views of fields and sky? What we later came to realize was that this was one of Sweden’s richest and politically most right-winged municipalities. It’s so quiet and peaceful out on the countryside. Like all parents, ours wanted us to grow up in a safe environment. I had two best friends in this village named Charlie and David, and from the first day of school, we were together. Our village didn’t have its own school, but one was located in the village next to us. Here gathered children from the nearest villages and farms. I remember meeting a lot of new people, which was at first scary. But we all got used to it and even though I didn’t know anyone in my new class at first, we all quickly became friends. Here I was educated from the time I was six years old, till the day we graduated from elementary school at the age of 16. What I enjoyed about school was learning something new every day and spending time with friends. School develops characters: there are the cool kids, the almost invisible kids, and the outsiders. We had the beauty, the troll, the nerd, and the well-behaved. I quickly became the clown of the class and that’s the person I’ve continued to be. Even though there were a lot of characters in our school, we all looked the same, from the point of view of someone outside our school. We all came from middle- or upper-class families. We were all white, and almost everyone spoke the same dialect. In my grade there were three people with foreign background. One had a mother from Sri Lanka; one was named Anders and was adopted from Colombia (we called him “Negro-Anders” through our ten years in school); and the third one, Robert, was born in Sweden but both his parents came from Slovenia. Robert had a hard time communicating with people, which had nothing to do with the way he spoke. Instead of trying to make contact through playing or through speaking, he tried to get attention by making up lies—for example, his brother’s fake Ferrari—or through fighting, fights he always lost since he was alone. My friend’s mother once told us that Robert tried to make contact with her daughter and play with her, but he didn’t really know what to do, so he just stood outside their fence and called her names and bad words. I think he really tried to be accepted and get friends, but he just didn’t know how to do it. In sixth grade we discovered the difference between being children and becoming adolescents. I began to think for myself instead of always listening to my parents, although my parents had already raised and “indoctrinated” me to be the child they wanted me to be. I wouldn’t say that my parents had racist opinions; they used some prejudiced phrases, but not as many as plenty of my friends’ parents, who all were affected by this tippy-toe-racism. We liked to listen to them explaining and hearing funny conclusions about, for instance, why Muslim women wore veils, or why immigrants “didn’t like working.” Kids’ brains are easily manipulated and they can’t see several sides to stories, so we
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listened to our elders, which made our parents’ points of view end up in our schoolyards and classrooms. I wish we had learned more about different people and different cultures both in school and outside. We didn’t really meet people from outside our school or from outside our villages, not until we started to drink alcohol and hear rumors about the “bad people from Oxie.” Oxie, a suburb to Malmö, was the closest town outside our municipality. We had been in contact with it before when students were transferred from Oxie to our school. Often the reason why they got transferred was because they had been bullied. The cool girls in our school got to know people from Oxie, and soon we started to have parties and drink alcohol. This was the first time we had come in direct contact with immigrants. We were at first scared of the people from Oxie, perhaps because some of them were violent, took drugs and stole—but perhaps also because they were from different countries. When we started to go to Malmö for nights out and dancing, we also began to come in contact with foreigners. Usually the nights would start with us drinking someplace where our parents couldn’t find us. After taking the bus into Malmö we would end up in some club, dancing and having fun. Even though we didn’t drink anything inside the clubs (since we hadn’t turned 18 yet), the night often ended with us arguing with people from Malmö or in fights with them. Normally, some of us got punched or pushed for looking in the wrong direction. The clubs were always filled with people who wanted to fight, and they saw us as easy targets. The racism and xenophobia within our group grew. Even when we played soccer against teams from Malmö made up mostly of immigrants, we ended up arguing; they called us farmers and cursed. We called them racial terms and then the argument was over. With impressions from Robert, Oxie, and these fights in Malmö, we had a perception back then that it was us against them, and the idea that there was something wrong with them grew stronger. Yet when it was time for me to attend high school, I choose a school in Malmö. I even chose the school where 75% of the students had foreign background. I wanted to start all over, “tabula rasa” as John Locke phrased it. I wanted to see for myself, get out of our municipality of Vellinge, and find new friends who didn’t have the same background as I had. I started to learn personally from different cultures and I started getting to know people of various ethnicities, from all over the world. My class included people from Bosnia, Iraq, Tunisia, Kosovo and Serbia. Plenty of my classmates were, or had parents who were, refugees from the former republic of Yugoslavia, and many of them had relatives who had been murdered in the wars in Yugoslavia. After I began socializing with my new classmates and began getting to know them better, I came to understand that everyone is not alike and that it’s important to understand people from different cultures who don’t have the same background as me. One of my classmates had emigrated from Serbia and only been in Sweden for two years. I admired him for speaking Swedish after such a short period of time, and I realized that many others have had a rough and insecure childhood. This made me discover individuals instead of just a homogenous group of “foreigners.” My new multicultural experience changed my perspective about who the immigrants actually were, and we started to spend time together both inside and outside of school. I had always believed that children who are alike play together the best or that “birds of a feather flock together,” but when my new classmates and I started to have fun together, I wasn’t so sure anymore. *** - 13 -
Recently I met my two old friends Kurt and Stephanie in a restaurant in Malmö. We discussed, amongst other things, racism. Kurt told me that he had stopped seeing a lot of our old friends, just because of their racist opinions and behavior. We also discussed my childhood friend David’s father, one of those who told us stories and often gave racist opinions about immigrants. This got me thinking, and a couple of days later I still remembered what William had said. I realized that my former racist opinions had changed, that my travel and experience with different cultures had changed me and my opinions of people. I also realized—though I couldn’t remember when—that I had stopped calling my friend Anders (the one from Colombia) “Negro-Anders.” But consider our assumptions we had about immigrants. Who can blame us for having racist opinions? The problem lies within the segregation in our society. Since we often meet people through school, sports or different clubs, schools should arrange that we from areas like Vellinge meet children from places like Malmö and Oxie during calmer circumstances. Racism develops from the fear of the unknown. If we get to meet people from different cultures earlier in our lives and if we can share our cultural experiences with each other, perhaps people can live and grow up in societies that are better integrated, without prejudices.
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INSIGHTS ON OUTSOURCING: A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECT OF OUTSOURCING ON AMERICAN CONSUMERS (By Shawn Crowley) Computers help to connect us, bring us closer together, make us more efficient in our everyday lives— and most importantly, lower our stress. At least I thought these were the major benefits of owning a laptop. Of course my system would do just that, helping me dutifully to carry out my day-to-day technological needs for a period of a year and a half. That was until one lazy Saturday afternoon in September when I was faced with what would be a technological apocalypse of sorts—with worldwide implications. My computer started acting funny. It no longer was a skilled expert in binary, but rather a space heater of sorts. No longer would my computer guide me through life’s inquisitive moments; it quite simply became too hot for its head, metaphorically speaking, and overheated. After practically bursting into tears at the sight of my computer’s pain, I realized it was time to seek help for my beloved machine. While that pain was short-lived, the struggle that would ensue proved just how painful it is to have a computer system serviced in our new “global economy.” I called Dell Technical Support using a number I would forever have memorized after that fateful day. I went through the standard prompts and aimlessly entered all sorts of numbers into my telephone keypad, all in search of that expert with the knowledge and skills required to diagnose my problem. Knowledge and skills are hard to come by, unfortunately, as the “America’s Best Standard Support” (Dell Support Forum, 2012) really is nothing of the sort. Rather than being connected to the highly trained technical analysts that Dell touted to me during the purchasing process, I was routed another 6,000 miles away to the up-and-coming technological super-country of India. India, the second most populated country in the world, is now home to a number of the world’s largest corporations’ call centers (“Economy of India”). Outsourcing has become such an important development in the business world that industry experts have begun to refer to this strategy as Business Process Outsourcing, or BPO for short (Di Pietro & Freedman, 2008). BPOs have taken the Indian economy by storm, outpacing every other industry at the rate of 3:1, according to leading Indian economists (Arundale, 2012). While this process is clearly powering the Indian economy into record growth, as recognized in the newly released GDP information that ranks them fourth largest ("2012 Index of Economic Freedom”), certain externalities at play mean this is not all good news on the world front. One component of this growth that could use further exploration is the growth of BPOs at the expense of the everyday consumer. This comes back to my opening point: No one in the Indian BPO office in Bangalore could assist me with fixing my problem, which became a constant power struggle between support representatives in India and myself. That’s why I ventured to learn if outsourcing might be the reason it became so incredibly difficult to have an issue rectified by Dell in this age of globalization. The research I found has been troubling, to say the least. First, I wanted to get into the psyche of a BPO prospect in India and find out what the whole process of becoming a call center specialist is like. I found a wealth of resources on job opportunities on the - 15 -
internet; specifically, job advertisements providing excellent insight into just how competitive the job market for these positions in India is. These positions all require at least a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related studies, as well as considerable time dealing in customer support situations (Gurgaon, 2009, p. 10). The job posting goes on to discuss, in detail, additional skills that are vital to the occupation such as “empathy,” and the ability to read, write, and speak English well; the whole posting seems pretty generic, besides the one comment at the end of the message saying that any interested candidates will be required to have a mandatory walk-in “voice profile” for further consideration (Gurgaon, 2009, p. 10). This last part caught my attention: a voice profile? I scoured the Web for hours trying to locate a story of an Indian’s time in a BPO. I finally found just that, in an essay by Andrew Marantz (2011) entitled, “My Summer at an Indian Call Center.” Marantz chronicles the journey of an Indian man who returns home for work after living in the United States for several years. Marantz discusses the application process quite vividly: Every month, thousands of Indians leave their Himalayan tribes and coastal fishing towns to seek work in business process outsourcing, which includes customer service, sales, and anything else foreign corporations hire Indians to do. The competition is fierce. No one keeps a reliable count, but each year there are possibly millions of applicants vying for BPO positions. A good many of them are bright recent college grads, but their knowledge of econometrics and Soviet history won't help them in interviews. Instead, they pore over flashcards and accent tapes, intoning the shibboleths of English pronunciation—"wherever" and "pleasure" and "socialization"—that recruiters use to distinguish the employable candidates from those still suffering from MTI, or "mother tongue influence." (Marantz, para. 7) Mother tongue influence—what an interesting yet troubling concept. Marantz continues by giving us insight into what happens after one gets a BPO position: mandatory cultural training that takes six weeks, in which “we memorize colloquialisms and state capitals, study clips of Seinfeld and photos of Walmarts, and eat in cafeterias serving paneer burgers and pizza topped with lamb pepperoni” (Marantz, 2011, para. 71). This is all in an effort to try to de-Indianize employees so that they may be “more understanding to the large differences between cultures” (Marantz, 2011, para. 71). This got me wondering: How much time does one actually spend learning how to solve problems such as mine? Marantz provides excellent insight on this as well: Indian BPOs work with firms from dozens of countries, but most call-center jobs involve talking to Americans. New hires must be fluent in English, but many have never spoken to a foreigner. So to earn their headsets, they must complete classroom training lasting from one week to three months. First comes voice training, an attempt to "neutralize" pronunciation and diction by eliminating the round vowels  of Indian English. Speaking Hindi on company premises is often a fireable offense. The last two days deal with techie knowhow—but that’s the least of our worries. (Marantz, 2011, para. 122) This is what truly upset me—that the BPO priority is simply to make the technicians sound “American,” and that little to no emphasis is placed on actually providing quality knowledgeable service beyond the
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mannerisms present in 1990’s sitcoms. However, this really brought to light some of the major differences between BPO and local workforces. The fundamental difference that seems omnipresent is that while BPO labor may be cheap, due to training this work force is grossly inadequate compared to its American counterpart. The research suggests likewise. Specifically, in a recent study conducted by the IT Magazine Information Week, Tony Kontzer (2005) provides excellent insight into the minds of the companies that order BPOs: Although many companies are outsourcing customer-related processes, only half consider improved customer satisfaction to be a barometer of success, according to a survey of 200 BPO customers InformationWeek conducted in conjunction with sister publication Managing Offshore and outsourcing advisory firm EquaTerra. More important are cost reductions, which two-thirds of surveyed companies use to measure BPO success, and improvements in process performance. Less than a third of those surveyed say they're seeing improvements in customer satisfaction. (Kontzer, 2005) Kontzer closes by echoing a statement that I have already made: The competence of BPO partners could be what's holding back customer satisfaction. Less than a third of those surveyed say their BPO providers are delivering strong customer service—and if you don't give good customer service, then you can't expect customers to be very satisfied. (Kontzer, 2005) This really is the cusp of the argument: BPOs simply aren’t as competent as their North American counterparts. This is exactly what I experienced with Dell’s BPO in Bangalore. I spent nearly two weeks trying to speak to someone well-trained enough to listen to my concerns, but this was all met on deaf ears by BPO “executives” from Dell Global Escalations. Rather than finding solutions to problems, the BPO simply attempted to get me off the line in order to keep to their quotas—one of the most disturbing parts of the whole ordeal. The solace in this case would come after hours of research trying to find a number for Dell Corporate office. This was no easy task, as even the switchboards are given to BPO firms. It was only after I found a number to Dell Media Relations that I finally received quality service, as I threatened to have an article written about this process in the HPU newspaper. I promptly received a call back first thing the next morning (which is 2:00 a.m. in Hawai´i) a customer executive in Texas, apologizing since— paraphrasing—“something went wrong.” He immediately replaced my entire system and shipped it the next business day. When I continued to probe as to why the problem wasn’t rectified earlier, I got this answer: a lack of training. When I asked why the training would be different from BPO to North America, he said something to the effect of their quotas being different than ours—it is all about the bottom line. While I greatly appreciated the executive’s comments and candidness, it gave me a harsh realization regarding the way customer service is handled now in our global economy. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the bottom line and increasing profit—and less and less on insuring that each customer receives quality customer service from trained, certified, industry professionals, whether BPO or otherwise. - 17 -
Some make the argument that the United States is already heading down the path of decreased customer satisfaction across the board, and that no matter where you call, there is always the chance that you’ll run into an incompetent individual along the way; why should BPOs be any different? This question, while valid, has a simple solution: it boils down to the policy decisions that are made. Oberili commented that the BPOs are held to higher standards of call turnover—essentially, quotas. How can one be able to provide the same level of quality and courteous service as one receives locally while being held to completely different standards? While my personal story is complex, it is unfortunately not unique. A quick search of discussion groups about the topic of “outsourcing” led to thousands of search results. Customers across the nation are upset and are voicing their concerns, even on the corporate website: I honestly don't care where they are, providing they can speak English and are competent. My beef is when someone doesn't understand the problem but really wants to help me solve it anyway. I get to the point where I have to say, "Look, it doesn't matter how much longer we discuss the issue, you will not be able to resolve it so could you please save us both some grief and escalate the call?" If they don't take offense and send me up one level, things usually go smoothly. It's only when they get stubborn and insist on trying to figure it out themselves that I get upset because now we have two people who don't know what the answer is. [sic] (Dell Support Forums, 2012) These concerns are quite common; BPOs do not have the training necessary to complete their jobs the same way their American counterparts do. The forum posting goes on to provide further insight into this: If it's so basic it's listed in a book, I would already know of that solution. I am quite good at googling information, and if I can't get my problem solved myself, you better believe it is buried deep in that help book they rifle through when I call. The good old days I would call and get some other tech geek like me and they would work just as hard as I do to get the problem fixed because they LIKE doing that. For them it's like doing a crossword puzzle… But some of the Indian techs INSIST I take the most basic steps before they believe me I've already done them [sic]. (Dell Support Forums, 2012) I appreciate this comment, as it gets to the essence of many people’s aggravation: It is time for companies that use BPOs to start being accountable for fixing problems. It is apparent at this point that the issue is not about any particular culture or country, nor is it about a race or an accent. Rather, this is about customer service and it is an issue that, like many others, has to start at the top in order to be fixed. The problems are well documented, and most people are growing more aware. One has to wonder at this point why Dell (as well as other companies) has not looked more deeply into these issues. The answer lies partly in a conflict of interest that occurs at this point with Dell’s vested interests in BPOs. As it turns out, Dell offers corporate clients the ability to utilize their BPO networks and sells the support to others (“Business Process Outsourcing”, 2012).
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The irony here lies in the specific ways Dell markets its BPO operations. They do this in very careful language, outlined briefly here: “By choosing Dell, you benefit from market-driven best practices designed to help: • Reduce IT capital and TCO through enhanced business process tools and methodologies • Reduce operating costs • Optimize operations through consolidation, transformed processes, and enterprise-wide collaboration • Improve data security”(“Business Process Outsourcing,” 2012) Again, it is apparent that the goal of this operation has nothing to do with the customer service and everything to do with the bottom line. Dell’s brochure goes on to tout increased revenue and reduced capital expenses for several additional pages. However, a quick search of the PDF file and the word “customer” only returns two search results. The numbers truly speak for themselves regarding what the primary motives are for creating more BPOs. The evidence is clear that BPOs were not designed with the interests of customers in mind. Businesses have caught on to this as well, opening market specialty North American-based call centers—for a premium. For example, Hewlett- Packard sells a contract they call “HP EXPERT ONE” for an extra $150 a year. This added service allows customers front-of-the-line status to contact expertly trained staff, all based in North America (HP Expert One, 2012). It is amazing that individuals must now spend fortunes just to have access to the same support that they had previously received free of additional charge. Herein lies the question—or possibly debate—regarding where capitalism stops and customer service begins. This is not an easy one to answer, but unfortunately for us as consumers, big business has already figured that out for us. As evidenced above, businesses such as Dell and HP have made the calculated decision that as consumers, we would rather have cheaper prices and lower-grade support than have access to first-class service at whatever additional cost. This is how the system is set up, plain and simple. But it does not have to be that way, and it should not be that way. Support should most certainly rest on a continuum. People should be able to invest in North American support if avoiding BPOs at all costs is their motive. However, at the same time, consumers who want basic support that is still of high quality should have access to that, free of additional cost. BPOs might be acceptable, but only if workers are properly trained to carry out the terms expressed in our warranties. (The question of how workers in BPOs are treated and compensated in their home countries, of course, can form the basis for an entirely new argument.) From the American consumer’s point of view, however, we can and should be afforded the basic rights of customer service. The time is now to finally demand these rights from big business. References 2012 Index of economic freedom. (2012, March 20). Economic Data and Statistics on World Economy and Economic Freedom. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.heritage.org/index/explore?view=by-variables - 19 -
Arundale, S. (2012, April 22). BPO role in India's economic growth. India Technology Times. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://business.mapsofindia.com/bpo-services-india/roleindias-economic-growth.html Business process outsourcing: Transforming end-to-end performance to enhance enterprise efficiency. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://i.dell.com/sites/content/business/solutions/brochures/en/Documents/bpo-insurance.pdf. Dell support forums. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://en.community.dell.com/supportforums/default.aspx. DiPietro, M., & Freedman, F., Jr. (2008). BPO companies-- an introduction. How BPO's Can Improve Profits in Five EASY STEPS. Retrieved from http://www.ncogroup.com/Informative_Articles/BPO_Companies.html Economy of India. (2012, December 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 09:02, December 13, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Economy_of_India&oldid=527805776 Gurgaon, D. (2008, September 22). Technical support engineer specialist - a job description for HR professionals. GENPACT India's HR Resource. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://jobsearch.naukri.com/job-listings-Ites-BPO-kpo-lpo-customer-Service-Operations-MegaWalkin-18-oct-GENPACT-Delhi-NCR-Gurgaon-Delhi-1-to-4-171012002873?xz=3_9_2 HP Expert One. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.hp.com/certification/. Kontzer, T. (2005, July 25.) Behind the numbers: Customer satisfaction not a BPO priority. Information Week. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.informationweek.com/behind-the-numbers-customer-satisfaction/165702831 Marantz, A. (2011, July/August). My summer at an Indian call center. Mother Jonesâ€”A Collection of Essays. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from http://www.motherjones.com/print/114946
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PADDLING: A WORLDWIDE SPORT (By Ali Ishaque) I’ve been a dedicated paddler for four years now, with many more to come. Throughout those four years I have competed in over 30 races, including the Henry Ayau, Queen Liliu´okalani Ironman, and the Kailua Bay Ironman Challenge. However, next year will be the biggest race of my paddling career. The kupuna (elder paddlers who have paddled their whole lives) say that this is the race that changes you from a youth paddler to an adult paddler: the Moloka´i Hoe. According to the Moloka´i Hoe web site (2012): On October 12, 1952, three Koa outrigger canoes launch[ed] through the surf at Kawakiu Bay on Moloka´i 's west side. Powered by six paddlers, each of the canoes was bound for Oʻahu across 38+ miles of open ocean in the Kaʻiwi Channel. Eight hours and 55 minutes later, the Moloka´i canoe, Kukui O Lanikaula, landed on the beach at Waikiki in front of the Moana Hotel. Thus began . . . one of the longest-running annual team sporting events in Hawaiʻi, second only to football. The Moloka´i Hoe perpetuates one of Hawai´i's and Polynesia's most important and historic cultural traditions, while honoring outrigger canoe paddlers around the world. The Moloka´i Hoe tests the limits of physical and mental strength and endurance, courage determination and teamwork, and paddlers must also battle nature's most extreme elements. Each year over 1000+ paddlers from around the world compete in the Moloka´i Hoe, the men's world championship in outrigger canoe racing. This year marks the Moloka´i Hoe's 59th crossing of the treacherous Kaʻiwi Channel. (Moloka´i hoe.com) On November 24, 2012, I spoke with one of the older paddlers for Keola O Ke Kai Canoe Club. I asked him about this race and he said the same thing as my coach: “This is a really tough race. It’s not for beginners who think they know everything. Only paddlers who are experienced are ready for this race. I’ve done this race for about five years now and it’s still tough for me. But I do it because I love doing it. And to see future paddlers like you who are so passionate about the sport, that’s a really good sign. I’ll see you out there next year!” (Anonymous, personal communication, 2012) I was with my fellow teammate who has also had the same length of experience as me, and this made us even more excited and determined. After hearing what the kupuna had to say, I looked back on my unforgettable experience as a paddler. I remember when I would watch “Ocean Paddler” on OC16 and think, “Wow, that looks like a fun sport!” After initially trying it, I came to find out that it really is fun. Every time I see a race, I get excited for the time it will start again for my crew and me. I’ve learned a lot about paddling not only as a sport, but as a culture. There are two main types of paddling: recreational and competitive. I’ve done both, but primarily competitive. Paddling represents freedom from everything on land. Being on the water is a whole new world. You don’t move forward by using your legs like you would on land; instead you use your core and arms. Paddling requires considerable learning, strength, skill, motivation, and teamwork. “Teamwork is the main goal,” my coach always told us. “If there are six of you in the canoe, it takes all of you to move it forward. One person can’t move the whole boat forward.” I learned this a while ago. Back when I first started paddling as a high school freshman, I had no idea what paddling was or how to do it. After conditioning for the first few weeks, we finally got on the - 21 -
water. We had no clue how to paddle so our timing was off; some of us were pulling more than others, and the canoe wasn’t really going anywhere. After our coach told us that we need to work as a team, we eventually got the hang of it and we noticed our canoe started moving faster. In order to win a race, you need to have very precise timing because once one person is off, it messes up everyone’s timing behind you, and your canoe will slow down. Paddling also has allowed me to travel to other places and experience what the sport is like elsewhere. I have seen many different types of canoes, paddles, and water conditions, along with learning different paddling styles. For example, Lake Tahoe paddlers actually wear some type of long-sleeved shirt or sweater while paddling, most likely because the water is so cold. Meanwhile, the sport of paddling in Tahiti is a whole lifestyle; paddling is like the native sport there, and almost everyone is a paddler or has paddled at some point in their life. The canoes look different, the style is different, and the water conditions are different. Their canoes are more slender and pointed at the bottom, with builtin water guards to prevent water from getting inside. The paddling style in Tahiti is also different from Hawai´i; the Tahitians are all about fast pace and speed. They paddle faster, shorter strokes while still using power. Their water conditions are also very different; the water in Tahiti is warm, calm, and contains a lot of salt, making it feel thicker and heavier. It’s harder to paddle there because there are no winds to help push you and little to no current. Adding to the list of differences is the list of the rules and regulations. As an example, in Tahiti you must use a life jacket whether you can swim or not, and you must wear a bright colored uniform. Also, the courses are straight. Here in Hawai´i, they can be straight or may include a turn. One afternoon in August after competing with my crewmates in an eight-mile race, my coach introduced us to two of the oldest paddlers whom he’s known for a long time. I could tell they were long-time paddlers because they could rig and unrig the canoe without even looking at what they were doing. I asked one of them, “So what was paddling like when you were young and what does it mean to you?” He told me, “It’s more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. Paddling is an escape from all that happens on ground. Back in the day, paddling was our source of transportation. Our ancestors used it to go out every day and catch fish for the family. Of course it wasn’t the same kind of boat like how we have today. We used smaller, older boats with just one paddle. They would fish out on the boat and use it to transport the food. Like I said before, it was our way of life. We used to paddle out on the water just for fun. We would try to catch some waves and even race each other just for fun. That’s what it has become today. It evolved into our Hawaiian sport. Now there are many different kinds of canoes. Most are made with fiberglass, but the best ones are the ones made of Koa wood. If you own a Koa canoe, then you’re one of the big dogs. Having a Koa canoe shows a lot about you, your culture, and your reputation. By owning a Koa canoe, you show that you are a real club and you are a soul paddler” (Anonymous, personal communication, 2012). His words taught me a lot about some of the values of paddling; I had no idea that owning a Koa canoe shows and means that much. Every time I look back on how far I’ve come, I am amazed at what it has taken to become the paddler I am today—a lot of work. Most of the kids in high school thought paddling was easy; some even believed it shouldn’t be considered a sport. Once, I and my paddling friends invited some of those people to come and try it out. Some of them did; others still think what they want to think. But for the ones who did come out, we proved them wrong. When I went to practice one Saturday, I asked some - 22 -
of the freshmen and sophomores some questions: “Why did you come out here?”, “What are your thoughts on it so far?”, and “How do you see the sport now compared to what you first thought?” After recording answers, I noticed a commonality among the responses. The most common answer was: “It’s a lot harder than I thought.” They first thought that paddling would be easy and would exercise just the upper body. But they were proven wrong when they were assigned to run one mile twice every week by the head coach and then were assigned to do sets by the junior coaches—my crew and myself. Another common response was, “I didn’t think we’d run this much in paddling since it just uses upper body.” We junior coaches then explained why there’s so much running. You need to build up and condition your cardio so you don’t die out during the race. Cardio, motivation, and teamwork are the main key elements in paddling. I asked the same people how they like the sport after a few races to see if their response is still the same. Their answers show that paddling is not an easy sport. It is fun, but you will be pushed to your limits and then some after you’re all. Paddling doesn’t require just your upper body and core; it also requires your heart and mind. You need to do a lot of running to train your heart to last a long time during the race, because you don’t know how long the race will be or how long it will take your crew to finish. In September I raced my last race for 2012, a 32-mile long race from Hawai´i Kai to Nanakuli. That is another milestone race. There were nine of us total and we switched out every 15 minutes or so. This race was long and hard; even with our experience, we barely made it, with four to five hours of straight paddling. It took a lot out of us, but we still made it. For a long time after that race, my back was messed up. It still gets sore every now and then and I know it’s because of that race, since the same pain occurs in my shoulders. But I can deal with it because I’ve been trained to do so. Regardless, we were all proud of each other. That’s the kind of mindset and willingness you need to have when you start a race. Nothing else matters out there but you and your crew. It’s up to you six whether or not you make it back or not. You need to be comfortable with each other and trust each other because your team is all you’ve got. Eventually, the newbies who just started paddling will learn this, if they stick around long enough. Equipment is another important aspect of paddling, which requires some unique items. The main piece of equipment is of course the canoe. The types include: a regular six-man canoe; one-man (OC-1), two-man (OC-2), three- and four- mans. The “choice of weapon” is the paddle. Hawaiians believed that all the equipment for this ancient Hawaiian sport had a heart or was a living thing. I was taught by my coach that it is disrespectful to “hop” or “climb” over a canoe, and that it’s also disrespectful to “stab” your paddle into the ground. This shows that you don’t care for the sport and the equipment, which leads to you not showing respect to ancient Hawaiian beliefs. To see some of the new kids still doing that is really frustrating, but all we can tell them to do is to stop. Only the head coach can yell at them, but he doesn’t always see them. As you can see, respect is another important concept. I am a part of Keola O Ke Kai canoe club, the foundation of my paddling career. I have learned everything mentioned above within my four years and I’m still learning new things. Because my four - 23 -
years of high school have finished, I am now taking the next steps into the adult paddling scene, and I am now a junior coach. Paddling is a growing sport that is making its way around the world as far as Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Fiji, Tahiti, California, New York, and other places. I am glad to be part of this and I am excited for my paddling future. Experience will take you places, along with hard work, team work, respect, willingness, dedication, determination, and passion—all of which is taught in the sport of paddling. References Anonymous. Personal communication. (November 2012). Moloka´i hoe.com. Retrieved from http://www.Moloka´i hoe.com/. [Last accessed December 3, 2012].
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WAR: IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING (By Heidi LeBlanc) My Great Uncle Day fought in Vietnam, and it was not until years after that he was struck with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. The day this happened, he was home alone while his wife and son were at work. He sat in the living room watching television; behind him hung the guns he had begun collecting soon after retiring from the military. As he watched TV, the sound of cars passing could be heard above the volume. The sound of a tailpipe backfiring caused him to jump in fright. The next thing he knew, he was sneaking out of the back door in the kitchen with one of his guns. He low-crawled his way to the ditch in front of his house by the mailbox; there he waited for hours. During that time the mail truck stopped in front of the house, right in front of where Great Uncle Day was hiding. Before the mailman knew what hit him, Great Uncle Day had pulled him from out of the truck and dragged him into the house, where he held the mailman hostage. Eventually the police arrived, but only after someone called to report that the mail truck was parked in front of the house all day. Following the crisis, my great uncle was taken to a mental hospital for PTSD treatment. This story relates a severe case of PTSD where the affected veteran re-enacts scenes from war. Even if one is not apparently affected by PTSD immediately after returning from war, it may still affect the veteran later in life. War clearly has a great effect on veterans, whether physical or mental. The physical effects are often apparent; in many cases it is what we don’t see that we should worry about. The mental and emotional effects of war can lead a good many of our veterans to suicide. When you see sights like our veterans have seen on almost a daily basis, with the threat of death constantly present, who would not snap under that kind of pressure? And what exactly are the effects of war? War affects veterans’ minds whether they are strong or weak, and a mental health condition can take down even the strongest of men and women. The Veterans’ Families United Foundation website lists some of the more common conditions that veterans can return with after a war: “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depression), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Sleep Disorders, Substance Dependence, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” to name a few (Veterans’ Families United Foundation, 2007). The common denominator among these disorders trauma, and war is an extremely traumatic experience that takes a huge toll on veterans. Not all veterans are in combat situations where they are forced to kill; there are some whose job is just to order parts, drive military vehicles, or even ship the dead back to the States. Yet no matter how simple the job is, there is always the potential for stress and always the risk of death. During their first deployments, my dad and my uncle were deployed to the same place in Iraq. Their job was to order parts and to make sure they had everything logged. One night they heard a loud noise throughout the base as something struck the wall, shaking the barracks where the soldiers slept. My dad fell out of his bunk from the force of the object hitting the wall. He got up, and everyone evacuated. Later they were told that the loud noise and the shaking were caused by a stray mortar - 25 -
round hitting the barracks next to them. The only damage they suffered was smoke damage, and one of the barracks was set ablaze. After my dad came home, he would duck for cover every time thunder struck because he said it sounded like a mortar round. Although my father was never in combat situations like my Great Uncle Day, war still impacted him significantly. When people think about PTSD they most likely think about severe cases like my Great Uncle Day holding the mailman hostage, but in reality most cases of PTSD are less severe, like my dad’s. In any case there are always warning signs that people must look out for, as mentioned in the Iraq Veterans Against the War website; these include “re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidant behaviors, nervousness, over-reaction to sudden noises, difficulty relating emotionally to others, feeling of extreme alienation and meaninglessness, and isolation” (Iraq Veterans Against the War, 2012). Everything in the military has a protocol, and thus there is a protocol for how to treat veterans with PTSD. The first step is for the affected veterans to go for mental health care, where they will talk to a mental physician at the military hospital who performs a mental evaluation. The evaluation will investigate whether the veteran has PTSD and/or any other mental illnesses. If so, he or she has two options. The first is to work it out through support group. The second is to take medication to help them cope with the effects of PTSD or other mental illnesses. After this they are supposed to go back and continue to work. However, sometimes this protocol is not followed, and this needs to change. As an example, my uncle, recently diagnosed with PTSD, has been on multiple deployments and, like my dad, has seen traumatizing sights even though he was never in a combat situation. His job in his last deployment was to search for body parts; because of this he went from being a very quiet person to showing signs of mild PTSD. Since he is unable to be deployed again to Afghanistan, the military decided to fast track him to kick him out. By doing this they broke the protocol stating that they must follow guidelines to get him help before discharging him. Yet they are still determined to kick him out before his unit deploys. Though finally they started to help him with his PTSD by prescribing helpful medication, concerns remain. He is up for retirement next year, and he risks losing his pension if he is unable to deploy due to PTSD—even though it was obtained from serving our nation for over five deployments. Suicide is yet another risk for many of our veterans, with veteran suicide rates increasing significantly over the past couple of years. According to Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno, the suicide rate has recently doubled and is the most frequent cause of death among Army forces, surpassing combat deaths and motor vehicle accidents (Mulrine, 2012). Between the years of 2004 to 2008 the veteran suicide rate skyrocketed by 80%; during 2010 and 2011 the rate seemed to level out, but by 2012 it spiked by an 18% increase (Thompson & Gibbs, 2012). Thompson and Gibbs point out that while no one can pinpoint exactly why suicide rates are so high, it is believed that the stress created by war, frequent deployments, often cruel choices, loss of comrades, and family separation play a major role (Thompson & Gibbs, 2012). In 2007 the Veterans Crisis Line was launched. They have answered over 650,000 calls and have helped save over 23,000 lives (Veteran Crisis Line, 2007). Sadly, these are just the numbers of veterans who have inquired about help; not everyone does, and the outcome for those who don’t is quite depressing. The traumas experienced by veterans often follow them for the rest of their lives. It is - 26 -
not something that they can just push back and pretend never happened, yet that it is often what is expected. Veterans may also resist getting help when the media paints a picture of veterans as “monsters” who are broken and no good. For instance, Dr. Phil, a well-known talk show host, aired a segment entitled “From Heroes to Monsters.” On this segment he started by referring to soldiers who have returned from war with PTSD “monsters” and “damaged goods” (Cruz, 2012). His three guests all had severe cases of PTSD. Dr. Phil portrayed PTSD in this segment as either black or white, never grey. Severe cases, although many exist, are not the norm, as David Browne from the Washington Post states: “Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury can increase a person’s anger and hostility and diminish his or her self-control. But the link between those disorders and outright violent behavior is weak and hard to pin down with certainty” (as cited in Cruz, 2012). In fact, Dr. Phil’s show caused problems within the PTSD community because while many had hoped his show would help them, many veterans received backlash from the negative impression the segment gave to people (Torrence, 2012). Bad press like this can cause many veterans who suffer from war-related mental illnesses to resist getting help. War takes its toll on our soldiers, our heroes, who risk their lives for our nation. It takes a toll on their minds and their bodies. Although some of our veterans come home from war, we must remember that war often never leaves them. It may always be something that haunts their lives and although no one can take away that memory, there is still much we can do to make the situation more bearable. We all need to be supportive, make sure they get the help they need, and develop more programs to help our veterans. References Cruz, N. (2012, April 2012). Dr. Phil calls vets with PTSD 'Monsters' and 'Damaged Goods'. The Inquisitor. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://www.inquisitr.com/223202/dr-phil-calls-vets-with-ptsd-monsters-and-damagedgoods/ Iraq Veterans Against the War. (n.d.). PTSD. Retrieved October 23, 2012, from http://www.ivaw.org/resources/ptsd Mulrine, A. (2012, April 17). Suicide 'epidemic' in Army: July was the worst month, Pentagon says. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/0817/Suicideepidemic-in-Army-July-was-worst-month-Pentagon-says Thompson, M., & Gibbs, N. (2012, July 23.) The War on Suicide. Time, pp. 22-31. Torrence, S. A. (2012, April 22.) Dr. Phil faces backlash from Veterans for PTSD show. Digital Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://digitaljournal.com/article/323446 Veterans Crisis Line. (2007). About the Veterans Crisis Line. Retrieved October 25, 2012, from http://veteranscrisisline.net/About/AboutVeteransCrisisLine.aspx Veteran's Families United Foundation. (2007). Common Diagnosis, Medications & Side Effects for Combat & War Trauma. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from Veteran's Families United Foundation web site: http://veteransfamiliesunited.org/2011/06/06/common-diagnosis-medications-and-side-effects-of-veteranreadjustment-problems/
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APPRECIATING HAWAI´I’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS (By Jennifer Yamaguchi) After a long day of work, you might turn on the television and tune in to the local evening news. You might hear top stories regarding problems with our public schools: furloughs, tougher graduation requirements, and budget cuts. You may open the newspaper the next morning to see grim data, graphs, and statistics regarding these issues. Often these stories cause the public to make negative assumptions about the quality of our public education. These assumptions may shape parental decisions about where to send their children, and may also negatively affect the number of students who want to become public school teachers after college. Yet despite the media negativity, my experiences have given me a different perspective and allowed me to gain a stronger appreciation for public schools in Hawai´i, in spite of the many challenges they have faced. I hope other people will learn to see the positives and support our public schools, to ensure that quality education can be given to our youth. Throughout my twelve years in public school, many teachers showed they cared about my learning and success. Mrs. Wakumoto, my eighth grade social studies teacher, dedicated her time on the weekends to help us with our History Day projects. For me, this project was my essay on teachers’ rights. I will always remember standing in a circle in front of Mililani High School’s cafeteria on the morning of our presentation day. She shared with all of her school finalists how her husband felt she became dedicated to us, treating us as if we were her own children. She believed in all of my classmates and made sure we understood that even though we may not place as state finalists, she would always be proud of us. As we heard her words, tears started to flow down our faces, and we realized how much she cared about each of us. Ms. Donnelly, my Senior Project and Advanced Placement literature teacher, also gave up her afternoons to help my classmates and me get through the Senior Project process. She always pushed me to challenge myself. Once my Senior Project was completed, I was so excited to tell her how successful it was. She told me I would become a great teacher someday because of my dedication to impacting children’s lives. It was overwhelming to hear her encourage my dream. For my Senior Project presentation, my judge was an elementary school principal. I felt nervous while presenting my project, but once I saw the smile on his face when I said I wanted to become an elementary school teacher, I felt relieved. After I completed my presentation, he told me my project impressed him and said that in five years he will consider hiring me as a teacher. I knew for sure then that I wanted to declare my major in Elementary Education. Yet while attending public school for twelve years, I also listened to the many news broadcasts, read the news articles, and witnessed how various issues affected students, including me. A typical school week consisted of five days until my junior year in high school, when school weeks devolved into four-day weeks due to furloughs. Less time in the classrooms combined with tougher high school graduation requirements meant students and teachers had to make sacrifices and work more outside the classroom. But despite the obstacles I needed to overcome as a public school student in Hawai´i, I feel proud to say that I graduated from a public elementary, intermediate and high school.
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In first grade, I remember watching television, playing outside and just enjoying not having to go to school for a couple of weeks. My parents told me that our teachers were on strike, but I had no idea what that meant. During my eighth grade year, I had to write an essay on a topic that impacted history through conflict and compromise. I wrote my essay on teachers’ rights in Hawai´i to develop a better understanding of public schools. Through a year’s worth of research, I realized how much public schools have changed and how much still needs to improve. I took a closer look at how in the early days teachers had few or no rights, to the many strikes that took place and contract negotiations that led to more rights for teachers today. While researching this topic, I spoke by phone to Joan Husted, former Hawai´i State Teachers Association’s executive leader. I asked Husted many questions, in particular about what teaching conditions were like in the 1960’s prior to the establishment of the Hawai´i State Teachers Association. I remember Husted telling me that cleaning bathrooms, serving cafeteria food, and monitoring classroom cleaning were once among the list of teachers’ responsibilities. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what this must have been like for the teachers. After writing this essay and placing as a school finalist, I realized the many sacrifices teachers have made through the years, and I grew to have a deeper appreciation for them. I felt impacted the most by the many budget cuts and stricter requirements for public school students during my high school years. In my freshman year, my counselor told all of us we needed to graduate with 24 credits. This meant I couldn’t fail one single class if I didn’t take summer school. At the time I didn’t worry too much about it. However, during my sophomore year when we were faced with furloughs, I began to worry about my last three years. Although the day off and the three-day weekend were easy to get used to, I knew this was affecting the amount of content we were covering in our classrooms. In many of my classes, I noticed that we were spending more time doing our work at home, which meant less time for extra-curricular activities. My high school implemented a new schedule in order to make up for the loss of one day each school week. I felt the most impacted by furloughs in my Advanced Placement class. One day after getting our new schedule, we wrote down all the dates we were going to have that particular class. We also wrote down all of the chapters, lectures, projects and tests we needed to complete before the end of the school year. I remember having to eliminate some of the things we anticipated doing because we didn’t have enough time. Some days we were combining two PowerPoint lectures into one class period. It was then I realized how negatively I felt about furloughs and their impact on our lives and futures. The furloughs altered education in countless infuriating ways, creating challenges that we as students needed to face. The reduced amount of time spent in classrooms disrupted the education we needed for the “real world” and for our futures. Some of my friends were attending private schools such as Mid-Pacific Institute and Punahou. During this time, they were often jealous of me since I had school only four days a week and enjoyed a longer weekend. However, I knew having one less day of school wasn’t necessarily a positive thing. I asked my friends if they were faced with any scheduling conflicts throughout high school; but because they didn’t have to deal with furloughs, they were able to follow the syllabi given to them at the beginning of the semester. Their teachers didn’t need to eliminate anything.
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Even though we got our typical five-day school weeks back in my junior year, I now had another challenge to face. As a public school student, I needed to take Senior Project in order to graduate with honors and earn a Board of Education diploma. However, taking Senior Project meant having to take English 4, which would prevent me from taking Advanced Placement Literature since I wouldn’t have room in my schedule. I honestly didn’t think it was right for us to have to choose between the two. Yet those of us who wanted to graduate with honors had no choice. It was a difficult decision to make, knowing that there just wasn’t enough time in a typical school day to take the classes we needed and wanted. Many of my classmates had to give up either graduating with honors or challenging themselves with an Advanced Placement class. I recall long conversations with our teachers about the unfairness. A couple of days before we needed to turn in our registration cards, we spent a whole class discussing our senior year schedules with our English teacher. Many of us agreed that we wouldn’t be proud of ourselves after working so hard to maintain a high grade point average throughout high school if we couldn’t graduate with honors; we knew we wouldn’t be recognized at graduation for our accomplishments if we didn’t take Senior Project, and we couldn’t see ourselves not graduating with honors after taking all of the possible Advanced Placement classes. We felt we would let our families and ourselves down. At the same time, we believed if we took an English 4 class and not AP Literature, we wouldn’t be challenging ourselves during our last year in high school. We didn’t want colleges to think we gave up and decided to slack off during our senior years. Luckily, our concerns were shared and due to many sacrifices on the part of both students and teachers, we initiated an after-school class that allowed us to take both Senior Project English 4 and Advanced Placement Literature. I asked my friends at private schools if they had similar decisions to make. One who attended Punahou School said she had difficulty because she found so many classes interesting and wanted to take them, but she didn’t have room in her schedule. She said the only major conflict her classmates dealt with were an overlap of classes, but that could be easily resolved by moving to another section, working out a schedule with teachers, or in the more unfortunate cases, switching to a different class. Another friend who attended Mid-Pacific Institute said they often had to take classes after school as well. This shows that no matter what type of school, private or public, students are faced with challenges and sometimes need to make sacrifices to create a schedule that works best for them. When it came time to decide on my topic for my Senior Project, I decided to focus on promoting literacy to children in creative ways, by bringing literature to life, motivating children to use their imaginations, and teaching them the appreciation of reading books. I organized a literacy event at Waimalu Elementary School for their second graders on December 1, 2011. I invited three secondgrade classes of about 25 students each to come and listen to me read The Gingerbread Story and to make foam-shaped reindeer, penguin, gingerbread men, or snowman popsicle-stick bookmarks. After they were done, they were able to use their library skills to find their wrapped “Christmas gifts.” These gifts were books, which not only promoted literacy in an enjoyable forum but provided the children with something they could take home, share with their parents and pass on for others to enjoy. My project cost me about $90.00, but luckily I received donations. Still, I had to buy the necessary supplies to create my final portfolio on my own. I believe tougher requirements to graduate are important to ensure Hawai´i’s children are learning everything they need to. It’s difficult when there are budget cuts in the school systems and low - 30 -
funding for newly implemented programs. However, once I saw the joy in the children’s faces while I was reading The Gingerbread Boy, I knew that this project and journey was worth it despite the stressful times when I wanted to give up. When the students came up to me before they left the library, hugging me and thanking me for reading to them, I felt rewarded. Prior to the event I was concerned about not making an enough difference in their lives, but after it was done, I was touched by how much they appreciated my efforts to promote literacy. Receiving the children’s thank-you letters made me realize that I had touched their lives and perhaps made a difference. Had I not taken the extra effort to take Senior Project and Advanced Placement, I would not have been able to graduate with honors, but even more importantly, I wouldn’t have gained important experience and knowledge. Despite the many challenges posed by budget cuts and schedule limitations, I believe Hawai´i’s public school system has affected me positively and I feel in no way embarrassed to say that I attended our public schools for twelve years. Of course there are problems in the system, but I strongly believe that we learn from everything we experience. If I didn’t write the essay I was asked to write in eighth grade, I wouldn’t have developed a deeper understanding of why that strike in 2001 took place. I wouldn’t know what it was like for teachers back when they had few rights. If I hadn’t been affected by the school’s budget cuts and furloughs, I wouldn’t know what it means to take initiative for my own learning and strive to succeed no matter the circumstance. If I hadn’t been faced with tougher graduation requirements, I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to do a Senior Project and promote children’s literacy. Therefore, even though I needed to overcome many challenges, I have also become a strong supporter of Hawai´i’s public schools. Public schools provide youth with many opportunities not only to grow and learn, but to develop skills needed beyond the classroom. Kain points out that programs such as Career and Technical Education prepare many students for jobs after graduation, offering six career pathways which include “arts and communication, business, health services, natural resources, industrial and engineering technology, and public and human services” (Kain). Other innovative programs include Kids Vote, which teaches students about the importance of voting and allows them to participate in casting their own ballot. This program “introduces students to the concepts of citizenship in the earliest grades and continues throughout their school years. This ongoing education develops strong skills and habits for living in a democracy” (Kids Voting USA). These are just examples of various programs available that not only instruct students from textbooks, but expose them to real-life situations. Certainly, many improvements still need to be made, starting with the reputation of our public schools. Some people may mistakenly assume that individuals who attended public school are not welleducated. We need to show the public the positive value by recognizing quality educators and showcasing the success and accomplishments of our public school students. When schools earn achievement awards, students earn academic awards, or teachers earn quality educator awards, local news companies should do more to cover these accolades. The public needs to hear about the many positive outcomes. If more parents can see the value of public school education, perhaps they more of them will want to send their children to public schools. Knowing a particular school has won awards or employed award-winning teachers, parents will feel comfortable because every parent wants their children to have the best education possible. It is also important for future public school students to recognize and appreciate their schools.
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Public school students should take pride in their educational system, realize that they can make a difference, and improve their schools. If they are not happy with the way their school looks, they can organize beautification days. If they feel their school does not have a strong reputation, they can become the students who take rigorous classes, strive to enter contests and place as finalists. If more students do this, the community will start to recognize that their local public school is capable of producing students who care about their educations. If everyone can see the importance of public schools in Hawai´i, changes can be made. When I was younger, I assumed I would not be able to do anything to our school system. However, after being a public school student for twelve years, I am worried that the quality of education children receive could potentially get worse. It is not only parents who should care; others can do their part by voting for politicians who support our public education system. I believe it is essential for everyone to recognize that saving public schools should be a number one priority. Everyone can play their part by supporting organizations such as The Learning Coalition. Parents can voice their concerns and learn how to take action for the success of their children. We can’t continue to sit in front of our television screens watching grim news broadcasts about the negative quality of public school education without doing anything. We must let our voices be heard. We must write to our state legislators, our politicians, our Board of Education and Department of Education representatives, and ask for more funding to be given to public schools. We need to encourage others to see the value of public school education. We should motivate college students majoring in education to teach in our public schools. It is also essential to have strong requirements and to set high expectations for future teachers in order to ensure that public schools have highly qualified teachers. We might not necessarily notice all improvements immediately, but with more public awareness and support from the community, I believe our public schools can be saved. Works Cited Kain, Matthew. Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow at Hawai´i's Public Schools. Web. November 8, 2012. Kids Voting USA. n.d. Web. November 8, 2012.
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REVIEWING THE ARTS essays evaluating creative endeavors (and cookies)
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MR. MOLLY WHUPPIE (By Mhary Grace de Francia) While the fairy tale of Molly Whuppie expresses the clichéd theme of “hero prevails in the end,” the women in Joseph Jacob’s version of “Molly Whuppie” display dominant, streetwise and paternal characteristics that are typically assigned to men. The story begins when three girls are left stranded in the woods by their parents due to poverty. While searching for food and shelter, they encounter a giant’s house. When they knock on the door, a woman asks them to leave hastily because the giant will kill them if he comes home. However, the girls plead and plead until the woman concedes to let them stay. Though the giant arrives and notices the girls, his wife stands up for the girls, saying, “Ye won’t touch ‘em, man” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 4). Even though the giant attempts to kill the girls, Molly outwits the giant and escapes, along with her two sisters. This sudden protectiveness and outright defense by the giant’s wife shows her timely yet surprising domineering presence. The title alone, “Molly Whuppie,” foretells that a heroine will dominate, contradicting the typical male hero or “knight in shining armor” seen in most fairy tales. Molly’s dominance is exemplified by constant role reversal. Instead of the classic—men doing the courting and asking for the woman’s hand in marriage—Molly is assigned to accomplish the tasks given to her by the king to marry off her sisters and eventually her to the king’s sons. The king states, “If you would manage better, and go back, and steal the giant’s sword that hangs on the back of his bed, I would give your eldest sister my eldest son to marry” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 6). The king demands to be given the giant’s purse in exchange for marriage to his second son and the giant’s ring for his youngest son. In addition, Molly shows authority over her older sisters when she switches the straw ropes that were tied around her and her sisters’ necks to the gold chains on the giant’s daughters. Molly then “wakened them and told them to be quiet, and they slipped out of the house” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 6). In this scenario, her dominance helps them escape from the clutch of the giant and their supposedly “impending” deaths. The story of Molly Whuppie is similar to the other “Jack and the Beanstalk” tales, thus showcasing Molly’s dominance. Though Molly Whuppie is the only fairy tale based on this story featuring a heroine, the other “Jack and the Beanstalk” tales follow exactly the same pattern as the story of Molly Whuppie. “Esben and the Witch,” a version of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” clearly displays similarities with the fairy tale of Molly Whuppie in its plot and outcome. Just like Molly, Esben is the youngest child, demonstrating that being young doesn’t always mean being inferior. Also, both Molly and Esben help their siblings escape from a near-death experience by switching an object and ordering their siblings to flee. Esben orders his brothers “to change night-caps with the witch’s daughters” (Lang, 2007, paras. 11-12), which is the same pattern used by Molly when she switches her and her sisters’ straw ropes to gold chains. Molly and Esben both demonstrate their dominance by successfully fulfilling their king’s demands, obtaining the items of either the giant or the witch. Instead of their brothers or sisters completing the tasks, they step up and used their ingenuity to accomplish their missions. The outcomes of the stories are also identical: Molly and her sisters and Esben and his brothers gain wealth and prestige. Therefore, their dominance positively affects their lives. In addition to Molly’s dominance, she and her sisters wouldn’t have been able to get away from the giant’s confinement without Molly’s “street smarts.” The night Molly and her sisters sleep in the giant’s house, she notices “that before they went to bed the giant put straw ropes round her neck and - 34 -
her sisters’, and round his own lassies’ necks, he put gold chains” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 4). She outsmarts the giant by switching the straw ropes to gold chains, thinking that it was strange that all the giant’s daughters are wearing a different ornament around their necks. By attentively observing the giant’s actions, she saves them all from the giant’s attempt to murder them. After running away from the giant, Molly Whuppie and her sisters seek refuge in the king’s house—the first house they pass by. When Molly narrates her adventure with the giant to the king, he praises her by saying, “Well, Molly, you are a clever girl and you have managed well” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 6). The king tests Molly by ordering her to steal several of the giant’s belongings. Having been inside the giant’s house before, Molly knows it is was better to wait below the giant’s bed until the giant finishes his supper and falls asleep: “Molly waited until he was snoring, and she crept out, and reached over the giant and got down the sword” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 7). In order to steal the sword, she devises a plan to wait until she can confirm that the giant is almost powerless and consumed by sleep. She knows her limited physical capabilities and knows that “fighting fairly” would hinder her goals. Without a doubt, an awake and enraged giant could have eliminated her in an instant. However, a sleeping one would have a slow reaction time even when Molly awakened him by her careless actions. When Molly is unfortunately captured by the giant, it is her street smarts that free her. The giant asks how Molly would punish him if she were to put herself in the giant’s shoes. Molly replies, “I would put you into a sack, and I’d put the cat inside with you, and the dog aside you, and a needle and thread and a shears, and I’d hang you up on the wall, and I’d go to the wood, and choose the thickest stick I could get, and I would come home, and take you down and bang you till you were dead” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 12). Before the giant realizes the significance of the actions that Molly enumerated, Molly has already formulated a strategy on how to escape from the giant once again. Molly craftily pretends to see a fascinating object by singing, “Oh, if ye saw what I see” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 15) to the giant’s wife. The giant’s wife is easily deceived and asks to see what Molly saw. Her gullibility leads her into Molly’s trap of making her curious to the point where she would trade places with her. Molly’s devious plan to let the giant believe she is inside the sack by using the cacophonies of the cat’s meows and dog’s barks to hide the voice of the giant’s wife then pave the way for Molly’s freedom. From the moment when Molly’s parents abandon her and her sisters, Molly assumes the role of their caretaker. The night they slip away from the giant’s house, Molly could have easily kept the straw ropes around her sisters’ necks and left before the giant caught them in the morning. However, “Molly took care and did not fall asleep . . . then put the straw ropes on the giant’s lassies and the gold on herself and her sisters, and lay down” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 5). Molly realizes that since their parents got rid of them, they only have each other to depend on. She also feels a sense of responsibility because she chose to stay with her sisters in a near-death situation even though she could have left. When the king designates the tasks for Molly in return for marriages and promises of better lives for her and her sisters, “Molly said she would try” (Jacobs, 2007, para. 7). She adapts to the role of a breadwinner, normally a man’s role. After learning about the potential rewards, she ventures out and uses her ingenuity to ensure that she and her sisters will rise to higher social and economic positions. Molly selflessly provides her sisters with even richer husbands than herself when she marries the youngest son of the king. Being the youngest son, Molly’s husband will end up inheriting the least amount of money and will have a less likely opportunity to succeed the crown. Instead, Molly’s eldest sister, who marries the eldest son, will be named as Queen once her husband becomes King. Molly - 35 -
ensures that her sisters will not starve and become homeless by setting them up with financially capable husbands. In order to survive and prosper, Molly adjusts her qualities to more “paternal” features like acting as breadwinner and providing security for her dependents. In “Molly Whuppie,” Molly, the strong-willed heroine, is the epitome of a woman in modern society. Her governing presence helps her in times of jeopardy, along with quick-wittedness in “life or death” situations and a paternal instinct to support her dependent sisters. Her exceptional leadership, despite being the youngest, shows her maturity. She breaks the status quo: Arranged marriages became ladders to upward mobility. “Happily ever after” doesn’t mean marrying for love but gaining wealth and reputation. Subversive acts, rather than virtue, lead to success. An authoritative woman, not a man, gains prestige. A heroine who is neither morally superior nor extraordinarily magical—an ordinary woman—triumphs in this story. Molly embodies an average woman whose only foundation and weapon is her ingenuity. Molly demonstrates that anyone can be victorious without coercion and weaponry, enchantment or sorcery, and without the usual “goody two-shoes” personality. Molly’s and her sisters’ advancements to higher social statuses and greater prosperity come about due to Molly’s adaptation of traditionally masculine traits. In a society where men are prominent, Molly models success by adopting dominance, street smarts, and paternal qualities, all features commonly associated with men. References Jacobs, J. (2007, July 6). Molly Whuppie. Retrieved from http://surlalunefairytales.com/jack beanstalk/stories/mollywhuppie.html (Original work published 1890). Lang, A. (Ed.). (2007, July 6). Esben and the witch. Retrieved from http://surlalunefairytales.com/ jackbeanstalk/stories/esbenwitch.html (Original work published 1897).
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RENT: BUY IT! (By Camille Sarmiento) Though I had almost no knowledge of Rent when I first watched it, its eight talented actors never failed to entertain or amaze me with their beautiful voices. With songs correlating to the plot, Rent—a movie adapted from a Broadway musical written and composed by Jonathon Larson—deals with controversial subjects such as homosexuality, cross-dressers, HIV/AIDS, non-working “bohemian” artists, and the homeless—important issues in the place’s setting of New York City, 1989 to 1990. While these subjects may seem too risky or sensitive to some, many of these issues are still very real to us today, making Rent relevant and captivating. At first glance, Rent is simply a story of eight friends and everything that has happens to them within a year, as depicted in the musical’s most well-known song “Seasons of Love:” “Five hundred twentyfive thousand six hundred minutes,” repeat the lyrics, saying that a year is “measured in love” (Columbus, 2005). But the year in this story is nothing but simple. The friends consist of aspiring filmmaker (Mark), a once-semi-successful musician (Roger), a rich man through marriage (Benny), a cross-dressing drag queen (Angel), a struggling teacher (Tom), a lawyer (Joanne), a drug-addicted club dancer (Mimi), and an outspoken activist (Maureen). Most of them have HIV/AIDS and are struggling with money. Three couples fall in love and experience their own kinds of problems. One friend becomes fatally ill. Along with that, various situations cause the friends to drift apart. A year after the movie’s opening, they are reunited due to the critical health condition of another friend. Yet the movie ends happily—or as happily as it could, after what they have gone through. Rent allowed me to experience just a bit of the fear and struggle encountered those who live with a high possibility of dying soon. It features scenes of “Life Support” meetings, where people with AIDS gather and help each other cope. During a song accompanying a montage of conflicts, a special effect shows the Life Support members fading away and disappearing. This foreshadows the death of one of the friends (my personal favorite). As in most stories, there are romances, and in Rent they are both heterosexual and homosexual. Though some people still view homosexual relationships as inappropriate for such shows, today there are many more proud homosexuals as well as many more people who are accepting. Rent helps demonstrate tolerance by including a gay couple, a cross-dresser, and a lesbian couple. The film portrays their relationships with as much dignity as heterosexual relationships, their love being no different; it is actually the gay couple who has the ideal relationship that everyone wants. Another character exclaims in a song, “I’d be happy to die for a taste of what Angel had.” In one song Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) buys Tom, his lover, a jacket after his gets stolen; though the purchase was not significant at the time, the jacket appears again after someone’s death, taking on great emotional value. The concrete reason for the title, Rent, is that Benny wants to evict the homeless from “tent city,” where many homeless and low-income people reside, as shown in the story’s first title song. In its place he wants to build a “virtual interactive studio.” Though many are already struggling to pay their rent, now they have to deal with the prospect of being evicted—a major issue in New York at the time. Many scenes were filmed in certain areas of New York City that still cope with homelessness, helping to put the audience in the actual place and time period and to have an accurate sense of what it is like - 37 -
to live in that situation. The term “Rent” also has a symbolic meaning-- “torn apart,” which describes what will happen between the friends. Unlike Across the Universe with its weak storyline and disjointed music videos of The Beatles’ songs, the songs in Rent flow very well with the scenes and the story. The eight actors, six of whom were original cast members of Rent on Broadway, are talented singers and play the roles of their characters effectively, having had years of experience with their roles long before the production of the movie. The voice of Adam Pascual, who plays Roger, stands out with a singing style that differs from the rest. When he sang the line, “All your words are nice, Mimi,” I felt chills. I also enjoyed Heredia’s style of singing with attitude, allowing us to experience Angel’s drag queen perspective. The variety in the singers’ styles combines to make an amazing sound; Larson’s compositions included counterpoints in which two or more songs are sung together. One weakness lies in the deletion of two songs, available on the Special Features disc. Both are important to the story and express considerable emotion during the most distressing part of the plot. One, an extended addition to “Goodbye Love,” reveals the hidden feelings and internal issues of Roger and Mark (Anthony Rapp). This is one of my favorite scenes because they argue with each other while singing, basically throwing each other’s flaws in their faces. Mark, the character who seems to be watching everything happen, always has his camera ready; he sings the other deleted song while walking through a cemetery, questioning why everything that happened throughout the year had to happen the way it did. He questions why he has to be the one to witness it because, since he still has his health, he may end up alone. This gives a deeper look into Mark’s true feelings and should not have been deleted. The movie begins with the eight characters singing “Seasons of Love” onstage, individually spotlighted. This felt unnecessary, like a pre-movie performance. How Roger’s ex-girlfriend died is not totally clear (it is stated that she died shortly after finding out she was HIV+, but it turns out that she committed suicide). Nor is it clear whether or not Benny and Mimi have a romantic attachment, considering that Benny is married and Mimi is in love with Roger. The movie could have been improved if these points were made clearer. Still, Rent is a great musical that touches on taboo but very real issues. I highly recommend this movie, preferably the DVD with the special features. The music is genius, including the two deleted songs, and is performed beautifully by the cast. Rent will have you feeling like you were part of this group of friends. You will not be disappointed and may not only want to rent it, but buy it. Trust me: after watching it, you’ll have at least one of its songs stuck in your head long after . References Columbus, C., De Niro, R., Rosenthal, J., Barnathan, M., and Radcliffe, M. (Producers) & Columbus, C. (Director). Rent [Motion Picture]. (2005) United States: Sony Pictures. Todd, J., and Todd, S. (Producers) & Taymor, J. (Director). Across the Universe [Motion Picture]. (2007) United States: Sony Pictures.
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LUCK OR CLEVERNESS?: AN ANALYSIS OF “THIRTEENTH” (By Hafid El Alaoui) Dedicated to the Memory of Dr. Denis Florent Céra una volta. Il était une fois. Once upon a time. Whatever the language, Italian, French, or English, this universal entry to the world of fairy tales opens the door of a strange universe of magic and fantasy. When we were children, these magic words aroused emotions and dreams. Though we listened to the same story, each of us had our own fantasy and unconscious interpretation. Now as grown-ups, with more experience in life and a broader view of the real world, our interpretation of fairy tales becomes more real and profound. As we will see, my interpretation of the popular Italian fairy tale “Thirteenth” involves many realistic aspects of our daily lives; this realistic interpretation may cause us to lose part of the dream and fantasy yet gain understanding of the human condition. In this version of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” the author, Thomas Frederick Crane, introduces us to a peasant who has thirteen sons and has a hard time feeding them. The youngest child, Thirteenth, gifted with a sharp sense of cleverness, arouses the jealousy of his brothers. To get rid of him, his brothers bring him to the king and convince the king that Thirteenth is clever enough to meet the challenge of the king’s proclamation about stealing the coverlet of the ogre. After successfully meeting the challenges posed by several of the king’s proclamations, Thirteenth is rewarded for his acts of bravery; moreover, the king keeps him close to him as a person of high valor. With the use of symbolism that the young audience will not grasp, “Thirteenth” depicts how “luck and cleverness” are complementary to each other, and how they enable a young boy from a lower class to ascend to upper-class society. Having an ordinal number as a name in Italy is not unusual; it is an old tradition that finds its source in the ancient Roman civilization. It is interesting to note that in Italy, luck is often symbolized by the number thirteen. This Italian fairy tale is entitled “Thirteenth,” which is also the name of the youngest in his family. Moreover, many fairy tales include a pattern in which the youngest child is lucky. With these clues, one may surmise that luck could indeed be a major theme. Being a peasant, the father works hard to feed his children. Despite this poverty, perhaps motivated by hope and belief in luck, it seems likely that Thirteenth’s parents have kept having children until reaching this lucky number, thirteen. Their wish is granted and luck comes to them reincarnated in cleverness in their thirteenth child, but this luck at first remains unrevealed. Unconsciously, using his cleverness, “Thirteenth always returned the first, and soup always fell to his share, on which account his brothers hated him and sought to get rid of him” (Crane, 2007/1885, para. 1). The fact that he returns home first could not be luck since he “always” succeeds in being the first at home, and luck does not happen often. By using the word “always,” the author stresses that the main reason for his success is cleverness and not luck. This cleverness causes his brothers to plot against him and to take advantage of the proclamation that the king issues in the city: “Whoever brings the king the coverlet of the ogre will receive an amount of gold.” Not knowing the intention of the king, his brothers are eager to get rid of Thirteenth, and paradoxically, it turns out that this machination of his brothers and the king’s intention trigger luck that enables Thirteenth to ascend to the upper-class society: “Majesty, we have a brother named Thirteenth, who is confident that he can do that and other things too,” say his brothers to the king (para. 2).
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However, the first time Thirteenth encounters the king, he says, “Majesty, how is it possible to steal the ogre’s coverlet? If he sees me he will eat me!” (para. 2). In contrast to what his brothers say to the king, Thirteenth seems to lack the confidence to steal the ogre’s coverlet, but he succeeds in this first challenge by using his innate sense of cleverness to deceive the ogre by pretending to be a cat. When the king issues his proclamation he does not reveal his goal, nor neither his motivation which is stated in the last sentence: “The king gave Thirteenth all the riches and treasures he could bestow on him, and always wished him at his side, as a man of the highest valor” (Para.9). Thus, we can argue that the king’s goal is not to get the coverlet, the bolster, the horse or even the ogre, because if the king wanted these objects, he could send a group of soldiers to bring them to him, and even the ogre himself. Moreover, due to the nature of these challenges, we can argue that the king wants someone who displays qualities such as ruse and persuasion. For instance, in the fourth challenge, to bring the ogre to the king, Thirteenth uses ruse to persuade the ogre to enter the chest. Luck results also from the intelligence of the king, enabling Thirteenth to ascend to the upper class. The first time Thirteenth encounters the king, he is no longer master of his own fate because when he says, “Majesty, how is it possible to steal the ogre’s coverlet? If he sees me he will eat me!” (para. 2), the king responds, “I know that you are bold, and this act of bravery you must perform” (para. 2). Of course the king’s answer to Thirteenth is motivated by the information that the king got from Thirteenth’s brothers, and thus we see that the king trusts what the brothers have told him. Using his intelligence, the king forces Thirteenth to perform this challenge despite Thirteenth’s lack of confidence. This is luck because the king does not choose another person. Thus, we can say that the king’s clairvoyance enables Thirteenth not to miss this chance to be close to the king. The relationship between Thirteenth’s cleverness and his ascension to the upper class is emphasized by many symbols. For example, to perform his second challenge, stealing the ogre’s horse, Thirteenth uses a silk ladder to gain access to the ogre’s stable. The climb on the ladder symbolizes his ascension to the upper class. Moreover, a horse is often known as a symbol of intelligence: “‘Let me mount you….,’ said Thirteenth to the horse” (para. 3). This act of mounting the horse symbolizes the use of intelligence to ascend to the higher class society. The success in his first challenge brings a change in Thirteenth’s life represented by silk which, in many cultures, symbolizes rebirth and reincarnation; it is also connected with metamorphosis, as it changes from the caterpillar to the moth. This happens in Thirteenth’s life since he is poor and then becomes wealthy. When Thirteenth wants to steal the ogre’s horse, he gives the horse cake to coax him and says, “Do you see how sweet it is?” (Para. 3) The author wants to establish the contrast between the life that Thirteenth had when he was taking herb soup and the sweet life he will have. Instead of giving herbs to the ogre’s horse, he can afford to give him cake, which is considered a luxury. Thus, cake is a symbol of belonging to the upper-class society. As depicted in the third challenge, luck and cleverness are complementary. The sound of the bells that alerts the ogre appears to symbolize the beginning of one thing and the end of something else. This seems to indicate that the luck Thirteenth has had so far abandons him, announcing the death Thirteenth will face when he is caught by the ogre and put in a barrel. His fate seems to be sealed despite his attempt to find something in the barrel to trick the ogre. Taking advantage of the ogre’s absence, he seizes this opportunity to trick the ogress by saying in a convincing effective tone, “Ah, mother ogress, what is that black thing in the corner of the oven?” (para. 6). Besides luck, cleverness - 40 -
also helps Thirteenth to avoid death when the ogress says to him, “Come here Thirteenth; we have got to put the lamb in the oven” (para. 6). The lamb is a symbol of innocence and sacrifice, and Thirteenth seems to know this symbol since he guesses the ogress’ intention. As we have seen in this story, luck comes from an unexpected situation; furthermore, when the situation becomes desperate and luck seems to abandon Thirteenth, cleverness resuscitates it. Confronted by death, Thirteenth does not resign: instead he uses his intelligence to seize any lucky opportunity. These two complementary factors, luck and cleverness, allow Thirteenth to succeed in the multiple challenges; consequently, he ascends to upper-class society. The driving point is the idea that success in life is related both to cleverness and luck. As we have seen, this interpretation of the version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” (with references to the Bible story of Joseph) offers a myriad of symbols that children could not have perceived by focusing only on the fantasy aspects of the story. When we were children our view of the world was limited; but now as grown-ups, our view becomes broader, and the world of fairy tales acts as a bridge between these two periods of our lives. References Crane, T. F. (2007, July 6). Thirteenth. Retrieved from http://surlalunefairytales.com/ jackbeanstalk/stories/thirteenth.html (Original work published 1885).
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TWIST, LICK AND DUNK: HAPPY 100th BIRTHDAY, OREO! (By Melissa Crews) Happy 100th, Birthday, Oreo, the leading brand of cookies in the world! Oreos were first introduced in 1912 (Rosenburg). Since its first appearance, more than 362 billion of these delicious chocolaty cookies have been sold; that many Oreos could circle the world about 381 times (Grossman). When I think of all packaged cookies, Oreo is the most original of all. Not only does it have a fabulous one-of-a kind taste, in many flavors and varieties, Oreo knows how to present itself in an appealing and fun way. However, this cookie sandwich is not a healthy everyday snack. Not only is the Oreo milk’s favorite cookie, but it is mine as well. The 71% chocolate wafer, 29% cream filling combination is nothing but satisfying (Grossman). It was long ago when I had my very first Oreo, so long that I can’t even remember how delicious it must have been. All I know is that I have been enjoying them since I was a child, until I turned into a young teen, and just as much now as a young adult. Over the years I have tried the different varieties of Oreo, including the Oreo Pie, with an Oreo chocolate wafer crust and a creamy filling much like the Oreo’s. I also would recommend Oreoflavored ice cream or milkshakes. Oreo additionally sells holiday spirit cookies; on Halloween the cream filling is orange and on Christmas it’s red or green. I have never personally tried these cookies for fear of my mouth turning a bright, scary color. Yet I can always rely on the classic Oreo cookie sandwich. People have different ways of eating this versatile little cookie sandwich. My favorite way to eat Oreos is covered in peanut butter and soaked in milk. The perfect harmony of crispy chocolaty cookie with the nutty, creamy peanut butter, creates a symphony in your mouth as it blends with the cream filling of the Oreo, causing your soul to smile and your inner child to emerge. Another method is to drop your cookie into a cup of milk until it gets soft, then scoop it up with a spoon. But the most popular way, as Oreo commercials will tell you to eat them, happens in three steps. First you twist your cookie apart; second, lick the creaminess inside; finally, put the cookie back together, dip it in your milk, and enjoy! Nothing can make me crave this delightful treat more than those silly Oreo commercials. The company that produces Oreos, Kraft Foods, has made numerous commercials all around the world. Kraft likes to appeal to the emotions by targeting your inner child. In some advertisements, the company says, “Hanging out with your friends is more fun when you’re eating Oreos.” These advertisers do a great job of selling this product since the cookie really does bring out my inner toddler. With fun advertisements, the Oreo looks like a cookie sent from the heavens. Kraft Foods has also established an effective, easy way for you to get to your sweet cookie. With the peel-open packages you can pull back the packaging and get access to all three rows of Oreos, making it easier to get to that last cookie. In addition, this invention allows you to lay the peeling back down to reseal the cookies, keeping them as fresh as when you first bought them. The days when you used to rip the bag open, Oreos spilling and breaking all over your kitchen floor, are over. It’s a revolutionary step in the cookie packaging industry. Even though eating the entire bag of Oreos in one day is a lot simpler now, I would not advise it.
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Oreos are a high-calorie, non-nutritious snack. A good healthy cookie has three key ingredients that the Oreo cookie is lacking: real milk, sugar, and vanilla. The sweet creamy inside is full of trans fats, and the cookie itself contains a great deal of high fructose corn syrup (Rosenburg). Sadly enough, a serving of two Oreo cookies contains 140 calories; 60 of those calories come from fat. My solution to staying healthy but still being able to eat my favorite cookie is to keep my consumption to a minimum; I suggest you do the same. I recently discovered a knock-off brand of the Oreo, and I have to say I was not impressed. The Tuxedo chocolate sandwich cookie is a Safeway brand and visually resembles an Oreo. However, the taste is not nearly as crisp and delicious. The first thing I noticed was that the double stuff was not nearly as thick; it contained only as much cream as the normal Oreo cookie. As I was carefully letting my taste buds investigate the Tuxedo, this cookie bold enough to try and compete with the Oreo, I noticed the chocolate wafer was not nearly as crisp or crunchy, but rather, stale and slightly soggy. The cream, which is supposed to marry the two chocolaty wafers in perfect harmony, tasted less than lackluster. The cream inside a real Oreo is thick and abundant, clinging to the crumbs, keeping the marriage alive while you chew; whereas the Tuxedo cream dissolves upon its first contact with your tongue, leaving you with soggy cookie and an off-putting sugary taste. When you open a package of Oreo cookies the second time, you know that the cookies will be as delectable as when you first open the package because the freshness has been sealed inside. Tuxedos, on the other hand, require you tear open the side of the package like a hungry bear, making the cookies less fresh the second time you eat them. Inside the package of Tuxedo, it is obvious that there is little quality control because all the cookies are filled with an uneven amount of cream. Overall, I would give these Tuxedo chocolate sandwich cookies a D-, and I will eat nothing but Oreos from now on. Like most sugary snacks, Oreo is delicious—though fattening if eaten to excess. Still, the next time you are deciding on what cookies to keep in your house, consider the unique and mouthwatering taste of the Oreo cookie. Here’s wishing the Oreo cookie another 100 years. Just enjoy it in moderation. Works Cited Grossman, Samantha. “100 Years of Oreos: 9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Iconic Cookie.” Time: 6 March 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. Rosenburg, Jennifer. “History of the Oreo Cookie.” About.com. n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2012.
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TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE BUTTERFLY: FROM NEWS STORY TO PLAY (By Gabryn Kaai) In 1986, two men—French diplomat Bernard Boursicot and Chinese opera singer Shi Peipu—were sentenced in Paris in a case of espionage. Even stranger was the fact that they were romantically involved because one of them had pretended to be a woman for twenty years (Bernstein 7). Based on these events, David Henry Hwang created his own dramatic version called M. Butterfly, a play that circles around the interaction between Rene Gallimard and Song Liling, who first meet in China. Having chosen not to undertake further research, Hwang altered many aspects of the play (Hwang 85). The changes Hwang made help portray his theme of disparaging the stereotypes that Asian equals “feminine” and Western equals “masculine.” Besides the name replacements, one of Hwang’s more notable changes occurs when Gallimard kills himself in his cell. Not only that, Gallimard kills himself in the image of Madame Butterfly, the Asian woman whose helpless femininity is idealized by Westerners. Had Gallimard committed suicide as himself, he would have been seen (or even seen himself) as “weak.” Hwang says: Consider it this way: what would you say if a blonde woman fell in love with a Japanese man? He treats her cruelly, then goes home for three years, during which time she prays to his picture and turns down marriage from a young Kennedy. Then when she learns he has remarried, she kills herself. Now I believe you would consider this girl to be a deranged idiot, correct? But because it’s an oriental who kills herself for a Westerner--ah! you find it beautiful. (Hwang 18) As a Westerner himself, Gallimard finds it honorable and beautiful for “Orientals” to be submissive and gravitate towards a “stronger” power. In order for him to die honorably, he needed to fit the correct role: that of the submissive Oriental. Another change made by Hwang was the ages of the characters. According to Bernstein, Boursicot and Shi began their romance at the ages of 21 and 26, respectively (Bernstein 7). However, the fictional Gallimard and Song are much older when they began seeing each other. The fact that Boursicot and Shi were younger could be a viable reason why Boursicot failed to realize Shi’s true identity; his ignorance could be chalked up to his inexperience with women and life in general. Since Gallimard is older (and married), we could conclude that he sees Song as a woman instead of a man because of his generalization that all Asians are more feminine than Westerners. On the other hand, an aspect that wasn’t changed was Song’s occupation of opera singer. Because of this, it is seemingly easier for Song to slip into the role of a woman and to seduce Gallimard. He states that “the Orientals simply wanted to be associated with whoever shows the most strength and power” (Hwang 37). His view of Asians, both male and female, causes him to generalize that they are all equally “weak” and to look toward a “stronger” force. This blinds him from seeing Song as who he really is, as he also views Asian men as “feminine.” Yet another major alteration was made in the play’s reference to the opera Madame Butterfly. At the start of the play, Gallimard and Marc (an old friend of Gallimard) spoof portions of the Italian opera as - 44 -
Pinkerton and Sharpless, respectively. In Madame Butterfly, Pinkerton and Sharpless are both Western sailors stationed in Japan; Pinkerton is known to be cruel and when he marries Butterfly, he eventually leaves her to return to America (Hwang 10). Throughout the play, Gallimard undergoes a dynamic character change; upon courting Song, he tries to get “her” to be his and treats her cruelly as Pinkerton does (Hwang 30). In the end he becomes Madame Butterfly and kills himself, showing the irony of how he perceived his role. Gallimard tries to be strong and powerful, but ultimately turns into a personification of his very idea of weakness and submission. Many people speculate that Gallimard knows all along about Song’s identity and ignores it so that he can enjoy his fantasy and live in denial. His avoidance of seeking information—not just about Song, but about Chinese culture as well—eventually leads him to quite the unhappy ending. Despite this, David Henry Hwang’s deliberate lack of intensive research on both the story and opera resulted in changes a play that emphasizes its potentially controversial theme. Works Cited Bernstein, Richard. “France Jails 2 In Odd Case Of Espionage.” The New York Times 11 May 1986: 7. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2009). Web. 1 Dec. 2012. Hwang, David Henry. M. Butterfly. New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service Inc., 1988. Print.
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CHANGING THE WORLD essays arguing for a more humane world
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WRAPAROUND: CREATING A STABLE AND NURTURING ENVIRONMENT FOR UNDERPRIVILEGED HAWAI´I PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS (By Jasmine Fujimoto) Do you remember in elementary school when you got that A on your spelling test, or planted a seed and watched it grow in science class, or when you went on a field trip to a cool history museum? School is a place where you can learn about yourself, others, and the amazing world around you. It's a place where you can grow, discover new things, and achieve your goals. Yet lately, education would seem to be the least of Hawai´i’s governmental concerns. With rapidly decreasing funds being allocated to Hawai´i’s public schools, we have fewer programs than we once had—and that is even if students have school, given that in 2010 to 2011 Furlough Fridays were created to reduce spending, leaving students with fewer days of precious and valuable learning time in the classroom. With education being such a huge determinant of who and what students will become, it is irresponsible and dangerous to leave them out in the cold, unprepared for what lies ahead of them. The amount and quality of resources that a young person has available to them, or what they can afford, are key factors in the opportunities that one will receive. Things you may have taken advantage of in the past such as school lunches, medical care, and a loving family and home environment may not have come so easily to others. Getting a quality education is more difficult for students who are living in poverty or in dangerous neighborhoods, or who have to deal with substance abuse, frequent moving, and/or parents who are young, single, uneducated, or unemployed (Xaxx). As summarized by Reece L. Peterson, wraparound social services are the means through which families that lack medical care, or who need drug abuse counseling, violence intervention, food, or housing, can get the help they need to provide a nourishing environment for their children to learn and grow. Wraparound social services are resources assembled and planned around children to meet their needs and interests (Peterson). These services are planned and provided by the child's family, school, and community. To support underprivileged children in Hawai´i’s public schools, we should introduce wraparound social services. Peterson points out that creating a wraparound program involves a combination of elements. To implement a wraparound program, we start off by assembling a team of individuals invested in the well-being of the child and his or her family, including service providers and agency representatives from mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems (Peterson). Then subcommittees are developed to coordinate identification, referral, and confidentiality issues and processes. Next, one would seek out an agency and coordinator to manage financial and service delivery issues. Once a qualified child and his or her family is identified and information releases are signed, a coordinator evaluates their needs to see which services and supports the family is in need of and what kind of resources the wraparound service can supply. This team then develops a specific plan of care for the child, implements the plan, and evaluates its progress and effects on the child. Using this method of evaluating the services will confirm the plan’s accuracy (Peterson). We need wraparound social services because mental illnesses and emotional disabilities are much more common among children today than once thought. If we do not act soon, these conditions may have a dire effect on students’ ability to learn, or even just to be present in school. According to Families First, one in 10 U.S. children suffer from a mental health problem, with the most common being depression and ADHD (“Facts”). Sixty percent of children with mental health issues fail to - 47 -
graduate from high school, perhaps due to the fact that less than 10 percent of U.S. public schools offer mental health services (“Facts”). In juvenile justice systems, approximately 20% of kids have a mental illness (“Facts”). Thirty-seven percent of kids who leave foster care had been incarcerated, while 35% became homeless (EMQ “Facts”). By providing wraparound social services in schools, beneficial programs become more accessible and widespread, able to serve more children in more places. When wraparound was applied, although not yet from the school system, of youth served, 93% of the recipients found themselves living in safer communities and about 82% of them graduated (“Facts”). These statistics indicate the wraparound plan’s positive impact on children. According to the Devereux, Pennsylvania Community Service Program for Children and Adolescents, wraparound service requires a variety of specialists to be utilized for different jobs. One type of provider is a behavior specialist consultant. This person works with the family, the child’s teachers, and the child’s other sources of treatment. He or she creates a behavioral support plan to supply the individual’s and family’s requirements. The wraparound team then conducts assessments, designs programs, and oversees treatments and interventions. Next there is the mobile therapist, who finds the child and identifies his or her family’s strengths and needs. Based on these evaluations, the mobile therapist prescribes the kinds of support services that the family needs. With the types of help needed in mind, the team develops a crisis plan with other professionals and the family (Devereux). Therapeutic support staff administers interventions according to the child’s behavioral support plan, as made by the behavioral specialist consultant. They work with the child or teacher to minimize socially inappropriate behavior. They help the child participate in the activities specified in the treatment plan. They support parents or caregivers in providing instant rewards as consequences and reinforcement for good behavior. The therapeutic staff support also records data and charts progress toward goals. They transfer appropriate interventions to the child, family, and teacher through collaboration. The role of the case manager is to schedule psychological evaluations, coordinate team meetings, assess community resources, coordinate services, and ensure quality of services (Devereux). The children will best benefit from each specialist and their professional training for particular treatments. Wraparound social services are more efficient and advantageous than simply separate services because with wraparound, the service providers team up and coordinate with one another to best benefit the individual. With group cooperation amongst the providers, the services, processes, and procedures that the individual is receiving could complement each other and work in cohesion rather than opposing, contradicting, or overlapping upon another. With wraparound, the plan received by an individual very flexible enough to meet the unique needs that stem from all domains of life, including living environment, safety, academic, social, emotional, educational, spiritual, and cultural demands. Also, with a whole collaborative team of support networks and organizations looking after an individual, team members can work together to fix the plan and treatment of the person if the current arrangement is not working out. Implementing wraparound social services is both highly important and realistically attainable. We need the funds to support these kinds of programs from the government. As Mari Matsuda explains, “Teachers are doing the best they can for these children, but they do not have the ability, training, or time in a crowded classroom to serve as nurse, social worker, psychologist, and translator, and they - 48 -
cannot provide what this child really needs to learn- a stable living environment” (Matsuda 95). Hawai´i’s government needs to meet the true needs of the community; rather, Matsuda points out that beginning in the 1980s, Hawai´i’s government slowly decreased investments in vital things such as public education, building roads, and continuing to improve energy, water, and waste systems. The government reduced taxes from the general public to fund these things but even more so for the upper class population, spreading wealth inequality. The DOE started appointing its friends and associates for positions rather than the most qualified people for the job (Matsuda 98). This led to waste and inefficiency (Matsuda 95). To locate the best people for the job, people whose top priority is Hawai´i’s well-being, we should “organize to vote out politicians who strip-mine public education, imposing furlough days on public schools while their children attend private academies” (Matsuda 98). These people are either oblivious to or do not care about the lack of a good public education system in Hawai´i. Children should not have to suffer from inequality or from educational factors that are outside their control, especially the amount of privilege they are born with. The impact of wraparound social services could be monumental if provided in the correct places and to the aspiring young minds who need it the most. We live in a world where too many people are not only failing to be taught basic math, reading, and writing skills, but are being abused or who have learning problems they don’t even know they have. They are neglected and don’t have the basic life resources to make something of themselves and to harvest their capabilities. If we could have intervened early enough and gotten such people into an effective learning environment, then their whole lives could have been turned around. As Matsuda states, “A child who gets a quality early childhood education is more likely to graduate, to get a job, to stay off welfare, to avoid teen pregnancy, to stay out of prison, to go to college, to stay off drugs” (Matsuda 99). You can pay sooner for good education or pay later for an uneducated citizen’s damage, because not educating a child costs. Funding education will help our economy because when we are more knowledgeable and involved in the community, we spend more locally, lessening the chances of local businesses going bankrupt. The effect of better educating Hawai´i’s youth will include bringing in fresh innovation as well as revenue (Matsuda 99). Ultimately, Hawai´i should implement wraparound social services through public schools. They will provide underprivileged kids with more coordinated and therefore more efficient sources of medical care, drug abuse counseling, violence intervention, food, and housing. Wraparound social services will help Hawai´i’s public school’s students learn better because the quality and quantity of a student’s learning is affected by their home and community environment and resources they can afford. Wraparound will make social services more accessible for students who need them. Wraparound is different from ordinary social services kids typically receive because in wraparound, the child, their family, their teachers, and the service providers create a unique system that is the best fit for that particular child. The correct plan of services is found by analyzing the child’s needs, preferences, and lifestyles. This program is worth the time, money and effort involved because it will help provide the future citizens of Hawai´i with the knowledge and preparation necessary to become productive community members and contribute to the maintenance of a thriving state. Also, if we choose not to fund the education of Hawai´i’s students, then it will come back to haunt us in a - 49 -
declining local society filled with members unable to help, and may even contribute to the decline and destruction of Hawai´i. Either we pay now or pay later; not investing in educating Hawai´i’s children will cost. Works Cited Department of Human Services. State of Hawai´i Department of Human Services. Web. 18 November 2012. Devereux, Pennsylvania. Community Service Programs for Children and Adolescents. Web. 11 November 2012. Facts About EMQ FamiliesFirst's Wraparound Program. n.d. Web. 18 November 2012. Matsuda, Mari. "Public Education." Howes, Craig, and Jon Osorio. The Value of Hawai´i: Knowing the Past, Shaping the Future. Honolulu: University of Hawai´i Press, 2010. Print. Peterson, Reece L. “Wraparound.” Indiana.edu. Web. 18 November 2012. Xaxx, Jagg. What are the effects of home environment on learning? n.d. Web. 11 November 2012. .
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OH SNAP! SOME CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE HERE (By Amanda Faver) You are what you eat: This saying was something I heard often as a child. My grandfather would joke around and say that if I didn’t stop eating carrots I would turn orange, just like my mid-day snack. I always thought it was sort of silly having someone suggest that I could actually turn into what I was eating, but now that I am older I see why the saying came to exist, and there is actually a good amount of truth to it. Although I didn’t grow up to be an orange carrot or a green bean, I have seen countless news stories and statistics labeling me, as an American, as fat and unhealthy. This is definitely a stereotype but, unfortunately, sometimes stereotypes develop for a reason. In the United States we use a system called the body mass index, or BMI, to determine if a person is obese or not. The BMI is a number calculated based on a person’s height and weight and helps determine the amount of body fat a person carries. According to BMI measurements accumulated between 2009 and 2010, “more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) were obese” (United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The solution seems like it would be simple—put down the doughnut and you won’t have a doughnut belly. What if it isn’t so easy? What if obesity is more of a side effect of a survival technique? What if obesity occurs because people were never given nutrition knowledge? What if obesity isn’t the result of laziness, but of highly stressful situations? These questions have been answered and they are no longer “what ifs,” but harsh realities for a specific group of the American population. Over the past several years it has become increasingly evident that families and individuals in poverty suffer from obesity and its related diseases more so than their wealthier counterparts. According to Seth S. Martin, author of an article in American Economist regarding the correlation between obesity and poverty: “there is no doubt” that in the United States, elevated levels of obesity and the diseases it causes are strongly linked with poverty (78). Because 48.5 million people surveyed by the United States Census Bureau in 2011 were reported as having income “below their respective poverty level,” this seems to be a good place to start tackling America’s obesity problem (Bishaw 1). Asking individuals to take on the task of keeping the impoverished healthy, or even trying to get community leaders to start programs for literally “poor” eating habits, is unrealistic. Such attempts would result in scattered, unorganized plans, and would rely too much on hoping for good-natured volunteers to be successful. Instead, there needs to be a large-scale movement that will improve the diets of impoverished people across the entire nation. Fortunately, America already has one organization in place with the potential to make such a change. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously referred to as the Food Stamp Program (FSP), is orchestrated by the United States Department of Agriculture to give underprivileged families extra food allowance so they do not go hungry. A program with the power to provide a food budget has also has the power to decide how that budget should be used so that its benefits to families are optimized. SNAP needs to realize the authority is has and the role it can play in preventing obesity and disease in people of lower socioeconomic status. It is clear that it will take a reconstruction of SNAP and some of its policies to help solve the issue of obesity and obesity-related illnesses that disproportionately affect the poor.
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In order to create a program that will be maximally effective, it is important for the USDA and SNAP to pinpoint the reasons that obesity plagues those that are struggling with money. The first is one that can be recognized by anyone who has gone grocery shopping: Junk food loaded with sugars, fats, and high carbohydrate content is substantially cheaper than healthier protein, fruit, and vegetable options. According to Drewnowski and Specter, it is because these “energy dense foods” have been made affordable due to agricultural development and a rise in food technology (9). Shopping for unhealthy but inexpensive foods has become the logical choice for people trying to feed themselves on a limited income and SNAP allowance. In addition to the alluring low price tags, science reveals why high-calorie foods are more enticing to those people restricted to the tightest budgets. It’s easiest to think of energy-dense foods as bargain deals that give you a “bigger bang for your buck.” Energy density is measured in the amount of kilocalories per 100 grams of food, while the cost of their energy is measured in the dollar amount paid per 100 kilocalories of food. When different food items and their costs were plugged into these equations, “grains, beans, and fats were associated with higher energy density and lower energy costs” while “vegetables and fruit were associated with lower energy density and higher energy costs” (Drewnowski 1185). This means that in terms of calories, a person who buys a bag of Cheetos instead of a bag of apples is purchasing themselves more energy for a smaller amount of money. As humans, we need food to sustain life and energy to accomplish necessary tasks. The higher the energy density and the lower the cost of that energy, the more it appeals to poor people as a survival method, and this is one of the reasons obesity is rising in poorer communities. To persuade participants to go against their initial instincts and make the healthier food choices rather than the cheapest, SNAP should create a policy limiting the amount of grocery money issued that can be spent on snack foods and candy items. SNAP already lists pre-prepared hot food items on a list of items not eligible for purchase under the program. However, on the same webpage, bakery cakes, ice cream, cookies, candies, snack items, and sugary soft drinks are considered appropriate grocery items that can be purchased using the SNAP monthly stipend. A person could even spend their SNAP allotment on energy drinks as long as they display some form of nutrition label on them (UDSA). SNAP has already put rules and guidelines into place, but it seems power has been misplaced here. A program with the authority to choose items its participants can purchase should be using that authority to limit bad eating choices and promote good ones. A slight change in food eligibility policy would gently push the poor away from energy-dense foods, lessening obesity and all related consequences within this class of people. The creation of a policy to limit the amount of government-issued money spent on junk food is not a new concept. Back in September 2000, a report was done assessing the dietary quality of members participating in the original Food Stamp Program and WIC (Women Infant Children) program. The study noted that the diets of the participants in the WIC were “associated with significantly lower intake of added sugars,” most likely due to the fact that the WIC substituted sodas and sugar cereals with “authorized” fruit juices and cereals (Wilde, McNamara and Ranney 8). Twelve years ago the Women Infant Children had a policy that only replaced sugared cereal for regular cereal and soda for juice, and this was able to make a substantial impact on its participants’ diets. There is no reason that SNAP should not follow in this direction, or possibly even take the lead by reconfiguring their own eligibility list. Of course to avoid limiting participants too much, a small portion of the SNAP allowance for candies and snacks could still remain. By doing this, people might learn about - 52 -
moderation by monitoring what they are putting in their cart. This will show them what their eating habits previously looked like in comparison to their new shopping list. For some people, however, it will take more than a SNAP policy. As members of poorer communities know, there is often a lack of access to fresh fruits or vegetables in their neighborhoods. When SNAP was referred to as the Food Stamp Program just a few years ago, there were a select few number of supermarkets where participants were allowed to shop. Many FSP users found it both “time consuming and costly” to reach the FSP-approved stores. In fact, it seemed the FSP was biased towards convenience-like stores selling candies and snacks and little to no fresh produce, making it frustrating for those participants who did want to be healthier (DeBono, Ross, and Berrang-Ford 754). At first glance it seems like a terrible thing for the Food Stamp Program to have been biased towards candy-filled convenience stores, but the motive may not necessarily have been malice. As mentioned by the participants, full-service grocery stores aren’t always located close by. This could be because chain grocery stores like to locate themselves in neighborhoods where residents can afford their goods. It could also be that supermarkets like to locate themselves in safer, well-off areas to avoid theft and maintain a higher reputation. Whatever the reason is, it is not likely that a store owner will be swayed to open a store in an impoverished area where customers will not be able to afford most of the products or splurge on anything other than the essentials. It is a reality that convenience stores are going to be one of the easiest and most accessible resources for many poor communities, and consequently many current SNAP members. Instead of breaking the relationship FSP originally created with convenience store owners, it would be better for SNAP to continue and improve upon that relationship. Once a good relationship has been formed, it will be easier for them to persuade convenience store owners to start stocking fresh fruits and vegetables for the community. SNAP could explain that many of their participants are regular customers in these stores and they would rather purchase produce close to home than have to go out of their way to the more distant grocery stores. Also, if there was a policy to limit junk food purchases as suggested earlier, it would be in the convenience store’s best interest to start carrying fresh produce and healthier snacks so they won’t lose too much of their existing business from SNAP members. A policy change and a strategically planned relationship is a good start for SNAP to begin breaking down the links between obesity, disease, and unhealthy eating habits, but there is still a large group a people whose issues still need to be addressed—people who simply do not like eating healthy food. For these people, the decision to eat foods high in energy density can ban be as straightforward as taste preference; to them, sugary and fatty foods just taste better. For some people, however, a desire for unhealthy snacks is unconscious, based on brain functions that occur when eating these foods. After eating a doughnut for breakfast or perhaps a tub of Ben and Jerry’s after a long hard day, the high sugar content consumed has been said to “result in neurochemical changes in brain regions involved in reward” (Levine, Kots and Gosnell 832S). People who live at or below the poverty level have many added stressors in their lives. Many of them stress over their labor-intensive, low-paying jobs, or the fact that they can’t find work. Pressure to work up to their bosses’ expectations weighs them down. Vacation days are rare, if there are any at all. Even if vacation days are available, they likely have no money to unwind with a relaxing getaway. When people suffer from these hardships, and more, they naturally are going to want to find some - 53 -
form of release. Subconsciously their minds take them back to the time they last felt satisfied, and food is associated with those memories because of the happy chemical release provided. Sugary food has become an affordable escape from the pressures a poor person goes through on a daily basis. This sugar reward phenomenon is something that is not easy to part with, either. Socioeconomic status can be established as early as childhood, and “depression may well be a result of lower SES” (Beydoun 1084). With depressive symptoms starting at an early age and sugar being the go-to remedy throughout an entire lifetime, many poor people are increasing their body fat and their risk for numerous diseases with each passing day. Sugars have brought literal meaning to the term “comfort food.” For anyone who doesn’t understand the implications of energy-dense foods on their bodies and who only experience the glimpse of temporary joy such food brings them, there is no urgency to change their eating habits. As explained, energy-dense foods are cheap (especially for the amount of energy they provide), they are easily accessible, and they provide a source of happiness in a wrapper. Without any other knowledge, an energy-dense diet can seem like the smartest way to go. This is why it is necessary for SNAP to establish a mandatory nutrition class on the consequences of a poor diet. SNAP participants need to have a place to learn about obesity or this will never be seen as an issue worth caring about. Obesity is more than a matter of some weight gain and appearance; obesity is the leading cause in many diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many hormonal and metabolic imbalances. More problems like stroke, heart attacks, and reproductive issues can then stem from obesity-related illness (“Understanding Obesity”). A mandatory class may seem like a forced or unfair obstacle for a person applying for their SNAP allowance, but it does not necessarily have to be. When applying for a scholarship for college, students need to attain good grades, fill out applications, get recommendation letters, and write essays. In some special cases students may even need to sign a contract with a company stating they will be employees of that company for a certain amount of years after college to fund their education. When applying for car insurance, members may have to watch safety videos and pass a test to receive any kind of discount. Because SNAP is supplying families with money for food, SNAP has the right to require a small course of action before the amount is released to the family. This may peeve some families, but overall it is not something that should deter individuals or families from participating in the program and receiving money for food. It would not be something that would hurt people, and it only has the potential to help. Recently, the USDA started taking steps in the right direction. In October 2008 the Food Stamp Program gained the new title Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This was more than just a name change, though. The USDA wanted to make this government assistance program more about nutrition and helping people become healthy, rather than just passing out food for families to get by. One of several changes made was an increase in funds for nutrition education and obesity prevention programs. When visiting the SNAP website, I found not only that SNAP has taken the initiative to study and survey the dietary habits of its participants; in addition, they have formed a lesson plan on nutrition that includes the importance of the food pyramid guidelines (Bishaw 1). After the first set of changes, it is clear that SNAP is becoming more aware of its impact on the lives of the less fortunate. SNAP sees that in the past they may have encouraged poor habits, but now they want to make up for it by becoming a good influence, promoting nutritious foods and educating their - 54 -
participants. These are all good changes, but if anything they show how much work is still left to be done. Now that it is clear that SNAP understands the correlation between obesity and poverty and that it is an issue many of their participants will be facing, all eyes will be on them to see if they can change this relationship. Currently there is a good starting effort on SNAP’s part, yet they are still being a bit too timid. For instance, SNAP has made its nutrition information an optional read. SNAP employees can push pretty pamphlets all they want to, but if learning is not mandatory, it will be moved to the end of the to-do list or be turned into a bookmark. Although produce is available as an eligible item for purchase, it seems that the right to purchase candies and baked goods is still a main concern. This law needs to be examined considerably before obesity statistics in the program will make any substantial decline. Furthermore, there is no current effort to deal with the accessibility issue. Even if participants read the pamphlets and feel encouraged to eat better, where are they going to go? SNAP needs to start cultivating relationships with convenience stores or local businesses if they are really concerned for their members. In order to see obesity rates go down in poor communities and make a start at lowering the nations obesity rates, SNAP needs to undergo a tough and radical makeover. This radical makeover needs a push, however. SNAP seems to be pretty slow in moving on the improvement process. The WIC is twelve years (and counting) ahead of us as far as policy change is concerned. Who will start the push, though? Will the poor take the time to write letters to SNAP’s leaders? Maybe some will want to, but most of them don’t even realize that anything is wrong; they just want to collect the food money and feed the mouths of their families the best way they know how. They need someone to notice the issue and be their voice. Who are the best people for this job? The logical answer is the everyday American citizen. But why would there be any motivation for us to stand up for the poor? The money they already get for food is from American taxpayers; the only reason we should care if they are fat is because they are spending too much of our money on food, and the only policy we should then be pushing for is a reduction of funds to the SNAP program, right? Maybe poor SNAP participants are not the only people who need some education on the effects of poverty and obesity. Pushing for a reconstruction of SNAP is not a matter of a value for the system or an emotional connection to the obesity epidemic and/or poor people; it is a matter of saving money for America and all its taxpayers. As mentioned before, obesity is only an issue because of the many serious conditions and diseases it causes. According to Devol and Bedroussian, research findings from the Milken Institute on Chronic Diseases confirmed this by including obesity on its list of chronic diseases. When studying the economic burden of each condition, Milken found that preventing obesity reduces the number of related treatments and procedures, saving America around $60 billion. They continue: “The single most important way to reduce the burden of disease and reduce costs to society is to reduce obesity” (Devol and Bedroussian 22). It makes good economic sense to support obesity prevention, but it takes even better economic sense to see why Americans should support SNAP’s renovation and attempt to keep poor people healthy. Average citizens with money for health insurance and extra expenditures can pay some, if not all, of their health care bills. People of low socioeconomic status who need assistance with food money do not have the funds for health care; therefore, they will likely go to taxpayer-funded emergency services like Urgent Care for any treatment they need. Because it is proven that poverty is associated with - 55 -
obesity, it is likely that a large portion of the money spent on obesity-related health care procedures is due to the impoverished population. An issue that still remains is that although obesity in general receives significant publicity as a public health issue, the connection between obesity and poverty is still not well-known or publicized. Though medical and scientific research looks complicated, the issue and solutions are really rather simple: First, recognize obesity as a public health issue. After that, understand why people in poverty are disproportionally affected by obesity and therefore account for a good portion of the obese population. Next, realize the power and ability of programs like SNAP to make changes and push for those changes to be made. The result of these changes only leads to healthier, happier people and more money in the pockets of Americans. If this process could be set into motion within the near future, maybe my daughter or granddaughter will not be labeled as a “fat American.” If the saying “you are what you eat” is still around then, future generations will have more potential to be healthy. Works Cited Beydoun, May A., Marie T. Fanelli Kuczmarski, Marc A. Mason, Shari M. Ling, Michelle K. Evans, and Alan B. Zonderman. "Role of Depressive Symptoms in Explaining Socioeconomic Status Disparities in Dietary Quality and Central Adiposity Among US Adults: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 90.4 (2009): 1084-095. NCBI. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. Bishaw, Alemayehu. “Poverty: 2010 and 2011.” US Census Bureau, Sept. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. DeBono, Nathaniel L., Nancy A. Ross, and Lea Berrang-Ford. "Does The Food Stamp Program Cause Obesity? A Realist Review and A Call For Place-Based Research." Health & Place 18.4 (2012): 747-756. Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. DeVol, R. , & Bedroussian, A. (2007). “An Unhealthy America: The Economic Burden of Chronic Disease.” Medical Benefits, 24(22), 1-2. Print. Drewnowski, Adam. "The Cost of US Foods as Related to Their Nutritive Value." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 92.5 (2010): 1181-1188. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. Drewnowski, Adam, and S.E. Specter. "Poverty and Obesity: The Role of Energy Density and Energy Costs." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 79.1 (2004): 6-16. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. Levine, Allen S., Catherine M. Kots, and Blake A. Gosnell. "Sugars and Fats: The Neurobiological Preference." Proc. of Sugar and Fat—From Genes to Culture. N.p.: American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 2003. 831S-33S. Google Scholar. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. Martin, Seth S. "From Poverty to Obesity: Exploration of the Food Choice Constraint Model and the Impact of an Energy-Dense Food Tax." American Economist 49.2 (2005): 7886. ABI/INFORM Global, ProQuest. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. "Understanding Obesity." Obesityinamerica.org. The Endocrine Society, n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. - 56 -
United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult Overweight and Obesity. n.p., 27 Apr. 2012. Web. 17 Nov. 2012. USDA. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. Wilde, Parke E., Paul E. McNamara, and Christine K. Ranney. "The Effect on Dietary Quality of Participation in the Food Stamp and WIC Programs." United States Department of Health. Economic Research Service, 2002. Web. 18 Nov. 2012.
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HYDRAULIC FRACTURING (By Katie Peterson) Hydraulic fracturing is a process done to extract natural gas from shale layers deep in the ground—a process also known as “fracking.” Crews start out by drilling more than a mile into the earth to create a well. Once they are finished drilling the well, it is cased with cement to protect groundwater. They then pump pressurized “fracking” fluid into the channel. The pressurized fluid cracks the shale, releasing natural gas. The natural gas is then extracted back up through the channel. The drilling process may take up to a month to complete. The first fracking experiment took place in 1949 in Kansas, but the procedure didn’t become common until the 1970’s (“History of Fracking,” n.d.). Hydraulic fracturing has become much more widespread over recent years. Advancements in technology have created pressure at higher levels and can last longer for a single frack job. More water is used for a longer time, horizontal drilling is used instead of traditional vertical drilling, and chemical structures used in fracking are more “complex” (“History of Fracking”, n.d.). Shale plays are spread out all over the United States. Almost every state has a shale area. Some of the major shale plays are located in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Texas, and Michigan. The rest of the shale beds are smaller in size compared to these larger sections. According to Mayer’s article for WNYC News, the Marcellus shale is the largest shale play in the U.S. and is believed to contain about 84 trillion cubic feet available for drilling. A shale bed also lies beneath the Marcellus shale, known as the Utica shale play and covering an area from upstate New York to Ohio. This is estimated to have about 38 trillion cubic feet of reachable natural gas (Mayer, 2012). The fluid used in fracking is a mixture of many components. The mixture is made of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand, and 1.5 percent of chemicals (“Fracking Fluids,” n.d.). The exact number of chemicals is unknown, but hundreds of different types are used. Not all of the identities of chemicals used have been released, but some have been identified through testing. There are too many chemical names to list in this briefing, although more information is available through websites. The majority of the chemicals used in the fracking process can cause brain damage, cancer, and birth defects (“Drilling 101,” n.d.). The amount of water that goes into the process is enormous. According to Exploreshale.org, one frack can use three to five million gallons of water. In Pennsylvania, they may use eight to ten million gallons of water a day on the Marcellus shale. After the process is finished, approximately 10 to 30 percent of the water returns to the surface with the extracted natural gas (“How Much Water,” n.d.). The remaining water that doesn’t come up is absorbed by the shale rock formations underground. Hydraulic fracturing offers both positives and negatives. Viewpoints vary from one person to another, depending on their personal views and their experience with and knowledge of hydraulic fracturing . According to an article on EzineMark.com about fracking pros and cons, some advantages include effectiveness, a large enough supply of gas to support the country’s energy needs, and a possible increase in jobs (“Hydraulic Fracturing Pros and Cons”). Fracking could be considered effective as far as the process of extracting natural gas because it has been done successfully for decades. Improvements have also been made in the methods used for extracting the gas. Instead of traditional - 58 -
vertical drilling, advancements have been made for horizontal drilling, allowing for deeper drills into the shale. Another reason why some may be in favor of fracking is because there is a large enough supply of natural gas to meet the energy demands. According to America’s Natural Gas Alliance (n.d.), or ANGA: “It is now the established scientific consensus that we have enough natural gas here in North America . . . In fact, already today, IHS Global Insight forecasts that the typical household will save $926 annually in disposable income from 2012 to 2015 . . . from this new age of shale gas abundance. The savings are forecasted to rise to nearly $2,000 by 2035” (“Shale Plays”, n.d.) However, many think we should use the resources within the U.S. rather than importing oil. Yet the employment increase that would come from fracking is also something to consider. Fracking may not provide permanent jobs, but there may be more jobs for extended amounts of time. One example of job increases comes from James M.D. Taylor’s (2012) article on hydraulic fracturing. Taylor states, “In Texas, where fracking is a primary reason Texas is leading the nation in oil and natural gas production, the state saw substantial job growth even during the recent recession. More than 40 percent of jobs created during the national recession were created in Texas”(Taylor, 2012). Some sources also say that natural gas is cleaner than some other fossil fuels. In regards to the argument that natural gas causes pollution, J. Skorup (2011) writes, “In electricity generation, coal is the main alternative to natural gas, and coal mining poses significantly higher risks to both the environment and workers who extract it” (Skorup, 2011). He goes on to say that “coal mines kill off workers at twice the rate of oil and natural gas extraction combined” (Skorup, 2011). Although these seem like sufficient advantages, there are some serious disadvantages to be considered in the debate on fracking. Although some may argue that the chemicals used in the process only make up a small amount of the fluid, fracking uses a lot of chemicals that are dangerous and detrimental to the people and environment that come in contact with them. Casey Junkins (2010) puts things into perspective with the following statement: “If 1.5 percent of a fracking fluid mixture is something other than water and sand, then 75,000 gallons of chemicals found in products such as antifreeze, laundry detergent, and deodorant are being pumped deep into the ground” (Junkins, 2010). These chemicals can leak out of the wells and into ground water supplies. Water contamination could cause a number of problems, including the impacts on health of people around the work zones and the pollution levels in the environment. Also, if jobs were created from fracking, there could be health dangers to the employees working the fields. Water in residential areas could became polluted, causing worries about water catching fire in the faucet and house explosions (“Hydraulic Fracturing Pros and Cons,” 2012). The film Gasland shows several instances where the director, Josh Fox, visits multiple residences and people are able to light the water from the faucet on fire (Fox, 2010). But some groups against his film argue that the areas Fox visited were in Colorado, and they had already had problems with flammable water before fracking took place. The film states that drilling industries denied that it was due to fracking; however, in other states without a history of flammable water, there were also families that could light their faucet water on fire. A report on ProPublica.com shared by Abraham Lustgarten (2011) states, “In at least a dozen reported cases in Colorado, ProPublica’s investigation found, methane had infiltrated drinking water supplies - 59 -
that residents said were clean until hydraulic fracturing was performed nearby.” He continues, “The drilling industry and some state regulators described some of these cases as ‘anecdotal’ and said they were either unconnected to drilling activity or were an isolated problem” (Lustgarten, 2011). The film Gasland also shows some of the health effects of polluted water on animals. One family showed their cat who had suffered fur and weight loss. When the family confronted the gas company about this, the company said it was because the cat was near the power lines outside, although the family said the cat was not an outside pet. Their horse showed similar conditions. These were just a few of the negative impacts that were filmed (Fox, 2010). Braswell (2012) reports that one new method of reaching gas wells has been proposed, called the Slot Drill method. The difference between this method and hydraulic fracturing is that the Slot Drill method doesn’t use a random hydrofracture where thin cracks are created. Instead, it mechanically cuts a substantial slot perpendicular to the well bore along the production zone of up to 100 feet deep. The slots can have nearly half a million square feet of surface area in the production zone. The aim was to develop a design that would involve cutting deep slots that could increase volume of reservoir rock exposed to the well bore. This would supposedly increase gas production (Braswell, 2012). This method has been created to be more effective than fracturing, as well as more environmentally safe, using less water and reducing the costs. Impacts from this could include lower costs and lower consumption of water resources. This process would also allow the exact location of the slot to be selected, unlike hydraulic fracturing. The total cost is expected to be less than half of the cost of hydraulic fracturing. The method has not been used yet because it is still waiting for funding to perform a test run. If this new idea is developed, it is predicted that it could lead to better recovery of gas from reservoirs, development of reserves in fields that would not be produced in other situations, and production of gas at rates that were once considered unconventional. Finally, improved methods of recovering the gas could help reduce the environmental impacts of the natural gas extraction process. References Braswell, G. (2012, April 26). Slot drill method provides alternative to hydraulic fracturing. JPTOnline.org. Retrieved from http://www.jptonline.org/index.php?id=1639 Drilling 101. (n.d.). Shaleshock.org. Retrieved from http://shaleshock.org/drilling-101/ Fox, J. (Director). (2010). Gasland [Motion Picture]. Fracking fluids. (n.d.). EnergyFromShale.org. Retrieved from http://www.energyfromshale.org/hydraulic-fracturing-fluid History of fracking. (n.d.). SaveColoradoFromFracking.org. Retrieved from http://www.savecoloradofromfracking.org/basics/history.html
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How much water is used to frack a well. (n.d.). Exploreshale.org. Retrieved from http://exploreshale.org/ Hydraulic fracturing pros and cons. (2012, May 23). EzineMark.com. Retrieved from http://safety.ezinemark.com/hydraulic-fracturing-pros-and-cons-190733f5f9c.html Junkins, C. (2010, December 19). What’s in the water?: Fracking chemicals under the microscope. The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register. Retrieved from http://www.newsregister.net/page/content.detail/id/549992/What-s-In-The-Water---Fracking-Chemicals-UnderMicroscope.html?nav=515 Lustgarten, A. (2011, May 9). Scientific study links flammable drinking water to fracking. ProPublica. Retrieved from http://pimlico.phys.appstate.edu/JSRESA/phillips.2-1-eprint-FINAL.pdf Mayer, J. (2012, October 5). Natural gas estimate released for Utica shale. WNYC News. Retrieved from http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2012/oct/05/natural-gas-estimate-releasedutica-shale/ Shale plays. (n.d.). America’s Natural Gas Alliance. Retrieved from http://www.anga.us/why-naturalgas/abundant/shale-plays Skorup, J. (2011, August 12). Why true conservationists should cheer “fracking”. Mackinac.org. Retrieved from http://www.mackinac.org/15543 Taylor, James M.D. (2012, March 6). Backgrounder: Hydraulic fracturing. The Heartland Institute. Retrieved from http://heartland.org/policy-documents/backgrounder-hydraulic-fracturing-0
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SEX ABUSE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? (By Hunter Ranon) Throughout its 2000-year existence, the Catholic Church has experienced many scandals involving its credibility. From the time of the Middle Ages when the Church used the Knights of Templar to launch a crusade to retake Israel, to the present day, the Catholic Church has engaged in many disputed actions. Recently a major case stirred up difficulty in the Catholic Church: the sex abuse scandals that first came to light in the 1980s in the United States, creating one of the biggest controversies the Catholic Church has ever experienced. Two articles, “The History and Consequences of the Sex Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church” by Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea, and “Investigating attitudes of Catholic priests toward the media and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Response in the Sexual Abuse Scandals of 2002” by Michael N. Kane, present views on the scandals and display the perspectives of the priests, church, and victims. As the scandals worsened and were brought into courts of law, the Catholic Church attempted to cover up the incidents, creating an entirely different scandal: Does the Catholic Church think that they are not responsible for the actions of their priests? Because of the scandals, three situations changed the perception of the Church: first, children being abused by priests; next, the Vatican trying to cover up the sex abuse cases by denying the incidents and its own liability; and finally the Church, mostly within the United States, reforming its ministry by employing several policies to prevent another scandal like this from happening again. When the sex abuse cases first entered the U.S. court system, some children told their experiences of being sexually abused by priests. But some held it in until they could find a trustworthy person to confess to, while others just kept it in forever. These children didn’t always understand exactly what was happening during the molestation; they just wanted to help out in church, and many thought what happened must be okay because they were dealing with a priest. According to Frawley-O’Dea, a psychiatrist specializing in trauma survivors, especially from childhood sex abuse, many children who were molested by priests were altar boys, and every time they were at church the priests would sexually harass them after Mass. Frawley-O’Dea describes the possible scenario as follows: It is a bright, cold February Sunday and you have just finished helping Fr. Bill, your favorite priest, serve Mass…The priest—your priest—offers to help you pull the cassock over your head…as Fr. Bill lifts the cassock up, he holds it over your face with one hand, unzips his trousers with the other,…You feel funny-scared but not really sure if you have any reason to be. It’s Fr. Bill, after all. Your favorite priest. Can you imagine? (Frawley-O’Dea 19) O’Dea describes in this paragraph how a child, an altar boy, might respond to this account of molestation; the child accepts it because the molester is a priest. This gives a broad picture of how other cases of sexual abuse might have happened. These priests who committed abuse took advantage of these children because they were too naïve and innocent to become aware that their priest was a sexual predator. These stories of sexual predators did not appear until recently, but the problem began several decades before the recent accounts of molestation came to light. Unknown to the public, many children were sexually abused by priests across the country dating back to the 1960s or even earlier. In a blog from - 62 -
the Washington Post website, Dr. Thomas G. Plante, psychologist and author of several books on church abuse, clarifies what happened ten years after the sex abuse crisis in 2002. This blog contains a paragraph stating what was revealed after the ten years about the victims: We have learned that more than 10,000 youth were victimized by perhaps four percent of Catholic priests in America during the past half century, with the vast majority of cases occurring during the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, 94 percent of all cases occurred before 1990, according to the recent John Jay College of Criminal Justice study on the causes and context of the crisis. (Plante) This fact, that over 10,000 children were victims of unknown sex abuse before the 2002 charges, means that the Catholic Church was keeping these all of the cases hidden, and the children were afraid to tell someone because they didn’t know who to turn to regarding this issue. This conduct by the Church is not acceptable. Many priests were molesting children throughout the decades, and they were not charged for it until 2002. Keeping the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church hidden for multiple decades is a terrible thing, but when the Vatican, the headquarters of the Catholic Church, started to intervene to protect the integrity of the Church, the scandal transformed in to a worldwide crisis. The Vatican used its power to cover up the whole dilemma and denied all responsibility for the actions done by the priests. In “Catholic Church Denies Legal Responsibility for Sexual Abuse,” Jane Molland, an award-winning writer who investigates various topics in the fields of education and women’s and children’s rights, argues that the Catholic Church denied all legal liability for the molestation by stating that priests are not considered employees of the Church: The Roman Catholic Church took the unprecedented step of arguing in a court case earlier this month that it is not responsible for sexual abuse committed by its priests, arguing that the relationship between a Catholic priest and the bishop of the local diocese is not an employment relationship and therefore the diocese does not have vicarious liability. (Molland) The Church argued that they are not responsible for the sex abuse charges because there is no association of “employment” between the local diocese and the priests. Molland, however, argued that the Church is accountable for the charges because the diocese decides the where the priest resides and provides an annual salary: “Catholic priests are employed by the diocese in which they live, and receive their stipend from that diocese” (Molland). This denial from the Catholic Church made the whole situation more scandalous, and left the Church with several consequences. The Church’s many excuses to avoid being accountable for these charges left it in in an even more difficult situation. In one court case in Australia, the Catholic Church used the “Ellis Defence” to make it difficult for victims of sex abuse to sue the Church for the molestation. Glen Coulton, professor of government and politics, describes a court case in which the High Court was told that they can’t sue the Catholic Church as a whole because the Ellis Defence doesn’t allow it: “The Ellis Defence is a legal technicality used by the Catholic Church to revoke its financial responsibility for the abuse committed by its priests on parishioners” (Coulton).
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The Ellis Defence does not hold the Catholic Church entirely responsible for the charges, but makes a portion of the Church responsible so they can reduce their financial compensation. Nevertheless, on November 8, 2011, “The High Court . . . ruled the Roman Catholic Church can be held liable for the wrongdoings of its priests" (Coulton). This ruling negated the details of the Ellis Defence, making the Catholic Church fully financially responsible for the sex abuse charges, with the Church owing large sums of money to the sex abuse victims. Including the large financial compensation the Church had to pay, the Catholic Church lost its credibility for many people, including those within the Catholic faith. This lack of trust made many Catholics skeptical of its ministry because if they denied responsibility, people would wonder if the Church has hidden anything else from the public. An article from the National Catholic Reporter entitled “Catholic Reactions to the Sex Abuse Scandal” describes how ordinary Catholics who witnessed the unfolding scandal reacted: “Most Catholics say that the scandal has had a significant impact on the political credibility of church leaders, with more than eight in 10 saying that the issue of sexual abuse of young people by priests hurt the credibility of church leaders who speak out on social or political issues either a great deal (47 percent) or somewhat (37 percent)” (NCR). Many Catholics believe that the authority of the Church has been damaged and have lost faith in its ministry. A loss of reliability in the Church is horrific from a political and social standpoint, and all because the Church tried to deceive the public by denying accountability. To prevent incidents like this from happening again, the Catholic Church finally decided to reform its policies. Dr. Michael Kane, a clinical social worker with expertise on the scandals, describes how the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops created a contract to hinder the likelihood of molestation, called “The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” This document requires background checks on clergy, employees and volunteers; policies on reporting suspicion of sexual abuse of minors; mandatory and permanent removal from ministry for any founded allegation involving the abuse of a minor by a priest or deacon (zero-tolerance policy); the formation of diocesan/eparchial review committees; education programs for clergy and laity about sexual abuse; and a national oversight committee composed of laypeople to review compliance with the document’s demands in each diocese and eparchy (Kane 583). This contract designates how the Catholic ministry will handle any priest who has been accused of sexual abuse. These policies are zero tolerance, which means if one is accused of any sexual abuse, one is obligated to follow the policies. Those who don’t follow these policies will be immediately dismissed from the Church. By creating these policies, the Church is taking responsibility for the charges and preventing a travesty like from happening again. As the Catholic Church was trying to resolve the molestation scandal, many priests who were associated with sex abuse resigned from the Church. The Church became so pressured by the many charges and cover-ups that they had to evict the priests who were accused. O’Dea stated that even bishops were charged and evicted for having sexual relationships with minors, and for keeping them secret: “The year witnessed the resignations of several bishops because of their sexual histories with adults or children. Bishops were hauled into attorney’s offices and courts to provide depositions and
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trial testimony, and judges demand public submission of diocesan documents that heretofore would have remained secreted within chancery vaults” (Frawley-O’Dea 16). The year 2002 was a catastrophic year for the Catholic Church because the sex abuse scandal was one of the primary media headlines. This gave the Church a terrible reputation, with many priests and bishops resigning during that year, severely wounding its credibility. 2002 was the pinnacle of the sexabuse scandal after over 40 years of hidden sex abuse cases. In this whole scandal the Church did not want to be held liable for the charges, but the history of the scandal showed the Church’s responsibility Within these many decades, many priests took advantage of many children. Throughout most of the crisis the Church decided to try to cover up the accusations and deny responsibility for them, escalating the entire scandal. The molestation charges and the subsequent cover-up ultimately led the church to modify its ministry by adding policies to prevent incidents like this from happening again, and by removing priests who were accused of misbehavior. By charging the priests who were guilty of molestation and implementing policies for future prevention, the Church is finally taking accountability. Because the Catholic Church initially wanted to cover up the story and deny responsibility, they lost their credibility and made the entire scandal into even more of a crisis. Neglecting accountability charges left a shameful mark on the Church’s history. If the Catholic Church had accepted those charges in the first place and immediately taken the steps they finally took later, the Church would have kept its credibility, rather than making this horrific scandal even worse. Works Cited "Catholic Reactions to the Sex Abuse Scandal." National Catholic Reporter 48.1 (2011): 17a18a. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. Coulton, Glen. “Is the Ellis Defence moral?” The National Forum, 2012. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. Frawley-O’Dea, Mary Gail. “The History and Consequences of the Sexual Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church.” Studies in Gender and Sexuality (2004): 11-30. Print. Kane, Michael N. “Investigating Attitudes of Catholic Priests toward the Media and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Response to the Sexual Abuse Scandals of 2002.” Mental Health, Religion & Culture (2008): 579–595. Print. Molland, Jane. “Catholic Church Denies Legal Responsibility For Sexual Abuse.” CARE2.COM, Inc., 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. Plante, Thomas G. “Catholic sex abuse crisis, 10 years later.” The Washington Post: July 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.
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HOMELESS IN PARADISE? (By My Nyander) They can be seen pushing shopping carts with all their belongings up and down the streets, going through the trash cans, sleeping on the streets and in the parks, sometimes begging for a dollar or talking to themselves. Homelessness is not only experienced by drug addicted or mentally ill people. It is the result of many factors, some of which cannot be foreseen or avoided, such as being domestically abused or losing your job. Even though the state and government are taking several actions to attempt to get the homeless off the streets, this is still not enough. Homelessness is a complex issue that affects our society in a negative way, and the government and we as individuals need to acknowledge the issue and start working together to help the homeless gain a better life. Some might say it is the homeless' own fault or even personal choice to live on the street. Others argue that homelessness is a result of the increasing number of immigrants and tourists coming to Hawai´i because of the tropical climate. Many people think that every homeless person has either a drinking or drug problem. It should not be assumed that all homeless people are mentally ill or unemployed either, because that is not the case. Numerous people who live on the streets are working, but a lot of the homeless here on Hawai´i are homeless simply because they cannot afford to pay rent due to our extremely high housing costs. Another misconception about homeless people is that they just do not want to work. Some also think that most of the homeless in Hawai´i are homeless people from the mainland who have saved enough money to buy a one-way ticket to Hawai´i. A rumor has been circulating that the other states have been providing the homeless with a plane ticket, to get rid of their own growing homeless problem. But the fact is, there are many reasons why Hawai´i has such a high population of homeless people, some of which go back to the time when the first immigrants came to Hawai´i. There is also a strong link between poverty and lacking a place to live, which is why increasing housing prices and decreasing wages have caused many people to end up on the street. According to the press release "New Report Reveals Renting Out of Reach for America’s Workers" by Amy Clark (2012), Hawai´i has one of the highest housing costs in the entire country and on top of that has below-average wages: "Hawai´i has the highest state Housing Wage, at $31.68 per hour" (Clark, para. 7, 2012). Housing Wage is defined as the wage you must earn per hour to afford rent for a twobedroom apartment based on the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in the area where you live, based on the idea that no one should have to pay more than 30% in housing costs to be able to meet their other expenses (Clark, para. 3, 2012). To earn at least $31.68 per hour living in Hawai´i will be difficult since Hawai´i has lower wages than the national average. It is not easy for someone working at an ordinary job to afford a decent place to live with these high housing prices. It makes me wonder how people with only part-time jobs, or others who are not fortunate enough to have full-time paid jobs are managing. These are people like you and me, doing what they can to keep their head above the surface and avoid being kicked out on the street. Therefore it is not that strange to find that more and more people are ending up with no place to live. It is irrational to keep raising the housing cost when people's wages are not keeping up with the increase. In her essay "Homelessness" in The Value of Hawai´i, Trisha Kehaulani Watson addresses the industrial revolution as the starting point for global homelessness. People started to move into larger - 66 -
cities and, no longer living near extended family, became segregated and excluded from the communities they lived in (Watson, 2010, p 128). The homelessness situation increased here because of Hawai´i’s “tropical weather and liberal public benefit law,” as homeless Americans from the mainland, people from Micronesia and other Pacific islands found their way to Hawai´i (Watson, 2010, p 127). In traditional Hawaiian culture the family was more than simply your biological family; it stretched to include your coworkers, your neighbors, and other people who were a part of your life. Everyone was a part of the community, helping and supporting each other. But due to the many diseases that came along with the arrival of foreigners in the early eighteen century, the well-being of the Hawaiian community "began to crumble" (Watson, 2010, p 127). Watson writes, "When a living system depends upon the health of the extended family, any illness, physical or social, will harm the entire community" (Watson, 2010, p. 127). In my opinion everyone in our community would benefit from it if we once again started treating each other as part of a big family. The fact is that Native Hawaiians have lived here a long time; it is their land and their way of living that we should adapt to, not the other way around. Hawaiians used to live off the land in a community where everyone took care of each other, where there wasn't such a thing as "mine" or "yours,” but everyone shared what had been given to them by nature. The collective community that used to dominate the Hawaiian Islands is long gone, replaced by individualistic thinking and acting: "Only in modern times do we prioritize the individual above the family or community, and believe that the individual must be cured first. But through the healing of the family and the community, individuals will heal" (Watson, 2010, p. 131). Is homelessness actually the fault of the people living in our community for not taking care of one another? It is an interesting thought that the homeless’ situation is not caused simply by them, but is an unforeseen consequence of the fact that people have become more egocentric. Since this is a problem affecting our whole society, we need to do something to change it, both as a community as well as individuals. Some of the short-term “solutions” the government has provided to the homelessness situation include moving the homeless around. When homeless people were forced out of Ala Moana Beach Park in 2006 by the government, more than 200 homeless had to sleep somewhere else, and one of the places to which they were directed was located close to the Police Department—close to the people kicking them out of the park (Blair, n.d, para. 11), but also close to the people who can protect them. However, moving the homeless around just causes stress and adds to the problems of homelessness, without solving anything from a long-term perspective. Some look upon homelessness as something only a certain kind of people experience, reckoning that we should not feel sorry for them because (some believe) they have “brought it on themselves.” That is not always the case; anyone could become homeless due to difficult financial circumstances. Since most of us do not have a direct relation or connection to a homeless person, it is easy to just look away. But it is our responsibility. Nothing good comes from seeing others' pain and doing nothing about it. In May 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie proposed a plan to help the homeless in Hawai´i in 90 days. The plan was able to help more than 500 homeless people from Waikiki, Waianae, Big Island, Maui - 67 -
and Kauai into "transitional or permanent housing" (Blair, n.d., para. 4). To do something is better than doing nothing, and many people have been helped by this plan. However, the fact is that this problem runs deeper and cannot be solved merely by providing housing to homeless people. The problem needs to be pulled up by its roots, not just made to look good on the surface. According to the "Statewide Homeless Point-in-Time Count" (2012, p. 10), the number of unsheltered homeless on O´ahu has decreased by 3.8% in 2011 compared to 2010. On the other hand, numbers have increased on Maui, Hawai´i and Kauai, the three other islands mentioned in this report. That leaves us with an increase, rather than a decrease, of unsheltered homeless—11.2% in one year. However, these numbers are not completely reliable since the methodology used for both years is the same but the execution is not. What this report does, though, is provide a suggestion about where we are heading if nothing drastic is done. The government seems to be focusing all its energy on the homeless people on O´ahu, forgetting about the other islands. Most visitors travel to O´ahu and to famous Waikiki, and it hurts the tourism industry when homeless people are camping in the parks and sleeping on the beaches. But it should not be for the fear of losing tourists that makes us help the homeless; it should be because of our genuine will to help people in need and improve living standards in our community. The number of homeless people has drastically increased during the last decade. Both people who live in Hawai´i and visitors have noticed more homeless people sleeping on the streets and walking around town, and people are starting to complain. It is ironic if tourists are unhappy about the high number of homeless and that this issue could ultimately cost Hawai´i’s tourism industry a lot if nothing is being done, since immigration to the Hawaiian Islands may have added to the homeless problem in the first place. If that is the case, if the helping hand reached out to the homeless is for a more shallow and selfish reason, I am not impressed. If Hawai´i had remained untouched and unexplored by the rest of the world, Native Hawaiians would still be living a peaceful life in which they all took care of each other. Reporter Chad Blair writes in Civil Beat (2010): "Homelessness is a government issue, a business issue, a public-health issue, a public-safety issue, a civil-liberties issue and a social-justice issue" (Blair, 2010, para. 7). Homelessness is not just a problem for those who are homeless; it is a problem that affects every part of our society and communities. Luckily, we have organizations and people who are dedicating their time and money to help the homeless here in Hawai´i. One of the organizations is the Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance (AHHA), a non-profit organization that strives to help homeless people obtain affordable housing. They have created a Homeless Resource Center Program, and their goal is to "establish a grassroots effort work on the homeless issues faced by individual communities" (AHHA, n.d., para 4). They are trying to create hope for the homeless, and believe that it is important for homeless people to believe there are people on their side fighting for them and that they are not alone in their struggle. The AHHA also provides various services to those who do not live in the urban area of Honolulu but instead on the Windward Coast, Central O´ahu and North Shore, where services for homeless people barely exist. The homeless people who are less visible than those living in Honolulu also need help. The main services AHHA provides to the homeless are "case management, mail services, clothing, emergency food, training, hygiene supplies" (AHHA, n.d., para. 6). AHHA depends on "volunteers, providers and community groups" to help them in their effort to make a difference in these people's - 68 -
lives (AHHA, n.d., para. 7). We need these people who are trying to do good deeds and fight for a more caring community. It is crucial that they exist, not only for the homeless people they are helping, but to encourage others to do the same. Without these kind of organizations and dedicated people, where would people in need turn? The government is helping homeless people in different ways: "601 new units of transitional housing and 260 new emergency shelter beds are now available throughout Hawai´i. This growth brought the state’s current inventory to a total of 1,188 units and 785 beds" (Blair, n.d., para. 53). But this is a drop in the sea compared to the number of people in need of support and help. Something drastic needs to be done to help get the homeless off the streets. The number of homeless people is still increasing, and it is not enough to provide short-term solutions. The government needs to address the problem at its very core. Keep the housing costs down in Hawai´i and make it easier for people to manage their everyday expenses with their wages. A homeless person is not just someone who does not have any place to live. It could be a person who was domestically abused as a child and got kicked out on the street. It could be a family that can no longer afford rent after a rise in real estate prices or a layoff from work. Long-term solutions must be developed and implemented. Homelessness is a complex problem; it has become so integrated in our community that it feels like that’s “just how it is supposed to be,” but it is not. The government needs to take care of the real problem, which is not just about how homeless people interfere with the tourism industry and cause people on holiday to feel uncomfortable when being at the beach or walking in the streets. In fact, the tourism industry is helping to cause housing prices to rise, and low average wages in tourism-related service industries are another major reason why so many people end up on the street. But it is not just the government that needs to be more aware of the problem; every single person in our community has a responsibility to not turn away from people who need help. Some organizations and people are already attempting to improve homeless people’s lives. If everyone did something and treated each other as they used to here in the Hawaiian Islands, homelessness would not exist anymore. References Affordable Housing and Homeless Alliance (n.d.). AHHA Homeless Resource Center. Retrieved from: http://www.Hawaiihomeless.org/ARC_Program.html Blair, C. (ND) Hawaii homelessness. Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved from http://www.civilbeat.com/topics/Hawai´i-homelessness/ Clark, A (March 13, 2012). New report reveals renting out of reach for America’s workers. Retrieved from: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/3-13-12 Department of Human Services (May 2011). Statewide homeless point-in-time count. Retrieved from: http://Hawai´i.gov/dhs/. Watson, T.K (2010). Homelessness. In C. Howes & J, Osorio (Eds.), The value of Hawai´i: Knowing the past, shaping the future (p 125-132). Honolulu: University of Hawai´i Press. - 69 -
SOFTWARE PATENTS (By Damien Lee) In 1871 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office was developed as a system to push new technologies into industrial deployment while simultaneously protecting the rights of inventors (“Patents”). In this paper, I will examine the purpose and qualifying criteria of the patent system and its current relationship to technology (primarily through software). I will present data from a variety of sources to illustrate that software is a pioneering invention that challenges the patent system in unique ways, thereby creating an environment rife with legal and ethical gray areas. I will also examine criticisms of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, and in conclusion, review some of the suggestions brought forth by industry experts as potential solutions for these problems. According to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted (“The USPTO: Who We Are,” p. 1). In simple terms, the patent system encourages inventors to reveal their work publicly in exchange for a legally protected stake—a patent. This is a mutually beneficial system; industry leaders, researchers and developers can review new technology as it becomes public (via U.S. Patent & Trademark Resource Centers), choose to utilize this technology, and gain a competitive edge in the market; inventors are paid for the use of their work, or else have a legal precedent on which to file suit. Comparatively stronger and more competitive industries, via the use of patents, also benefit the United States by providing tax dollars and employment. Patent Lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet (2005), on his website iusmentis.com, states that: The historical purpose of the patent system was to encourage the development of new inventions, and in particular to encourage the disclosure of those new inventions. Inventors are often hesitant to reveal the details of their invention, for fear that someone else might copy it. This leads to keeping inventions secret, which impedes innovation. A government-granted temporary monopoly [usually for a period of twenty years] on the commercial use of their invention provides a remedy for this fear, and so acts as an incentive to disclose the details of the invention. (Engelfriet, 2005, para. 2) Here, Engelfriet succinctly describes the basic tenets of the patent system as it was originally designed, and some basic motives for inventors to patent their ideas. There are, however, qualifying criteria which must be met for inventors to be granted patent protection. For an invention to be patentable, it must meet four critical prerequisites. According to the United States Patent Act, as summarized by patent attorney Dan Tysver: “For an invention to be patentable it must be: 1. Be statutory 2. Be new 3. Be useful, and 4. Be non-obvious” (qtd. in Engelfriet, 2005, para. 1). These criteria are meant to narrow the field from which particular inventions are subject to the protection of patents. If, for example, a person were to attempt patenting a particular movement or photograph pose, this patent would hypothetically fail to be granted because of its obvious and non-useful nature. The United States Trademark and Patent Office (USTPO), by enforcing these requirements through a review - 70 -
process, also prevents a person from patenting math equations (obvious, not necessarily new or novel), and creative writing or literature (non-statutory); this will be a critical concept in the explanation of software patents. As with any legal system, the USTPO review process occasionally errs and grants a patent of questionable nature. These mistakes are well documented in such patents as #6368227, “methods of swinging on a swing,” (“Methods of Swinging”) or # 5443036, “method of exercising a cat” (“Method of Exercising a Cat”)—both clearly trivial, if not outright bizarre. The case of software, however, presents a systemic challenge to the patent process which other inventions simply haven’t duplicated; because of this challenge, questionable or improper software patents are granted routinely. For the sake of this document, “software” will be defined as intangible data or programs which allow interface between a user and hardware (electronic devices) without knowledge of advanced programming. In his study Math You Can't Use: Patents, Copyright and Software, statistician Ben Klemens (2005) argues that software is difficult for regulators to handle because it bridges gaps between areas of unique intellectual property and mathematics that have not been encountered previously: A program is, in a literal sense, a piece of mathematics. This is not merely a play on words or a loose metaphor; a basic theorum of computer science demonstrates their equivalence. The courts agree that math is not patentable but that software is—yet the two are equivalent”(Klemens, 2005, p .4). The problem is that software is a different type of invention. Software has observably unique characteristics and operational goals, occasionally novel and new purposes, and it tends to pass the non-obvious requirement quite well in a laypersons’ view; but, in a de facto interpretation, it should not technically be patentable subject matter. In her article “Copyright, Culture, Creativity, and the Commons,” University of Pittsburgh English professor Annette Vee (2012) takes a similar stance, indicating that the concept of software being patentable defies similar logic applied to the remainder of the field; in this case, writing rather than math. Vee indicates that: Writing is generally thought to be under the intellectual property aegis of copyright law [not patent law]: novels, poems, letters to friends, and grocery lists are all protected forms of expression under U.S. copyright law. However, a certain form of writing—the writing that comprises computer software, or source code—is protected by patent law. (Vee, 2012, para. 3) The problem, then, is twofold. The first is that, as Klemens and Vee both mention, software and math/writing are integral and inseparable in the patent context, and the U.S. patent system specifically excludes mathematics/writing from the patent system lexicon. The second is that software is a cumulative product; it relies upon foundational work originally engineered by other inventors as a critical part of its programming. If the basic building blocks of software are patented and most newly developed software utilizes those same essential pieces, then most software programmers must pay licensing royalties to previous software programmers, effictively creating a viscious intellectual property cycle and erecting expensive roadblocks for future innovation. Software patent research conducted by computer scientist J. Bergstra “About ‘trivial’ software patents: The IsNot case,” echoes these concerns exactly when quoting Donald Knuth, professor emeritus from Stanford University, in a letter to the U.S. Patent Office: The basic algorithmic ideas that people are now rushing to patent are so fundamental, the result threatens to be like what would happen if we allowed authors to have patents on individual - 71 -
words and concepts. Novelists or journalists would be unable to write stories unless their publishers had permission from the owners of the words. Algorithms are exactly as basic to software as words are to writers, because they are the fundamental building blocks needed to make interesting products. What would happen if individual lawyers could patent their methods of defense, or if Supreme Court justices could patent their precedents? (Knuth, as cited in Bergstra, 2007, p. 283) The problem with software (and many other forms of technology) is that it exists very clearly on a computer monitor as something with observably unique qualities, but its foundational programming could be infringing upon any number of patents by which to arrive there. Software is writing that isn’t writing and math that isn’t math, and it has presented challenges to the USPTO in an equally confusing and difficult manner. So why does this matter? There is a good chance that you own a cellular phone, computer, tablet, mp3 player, or other electronic device that utlizes software to control systemic functions. Even cars are equipped with advanced user interface systems for satellite navegation, bluetooth integration or satellite signal radio—all requiring software. The patent market has a direct impact on the cost of these items, and consequently, the money you spend to purchase them. If a patent is granted improperly or one technology company is infringing upon the patented intellectual property of another, multi-million dollar legal battles can ensue, ultimately resulting in higher prices across the market. In “The Patent, Used as a Sword,” C.D. Lohr (2012) addresses exactly these concerns: Today, the patent office routinely approves patents that describe vague algorithms or business methods, like a software system for calculating online prices, without patent examiners demanding specifics about how those calculations occur or how the software operates. As a result, some patents are so broad that they allow patent holders to claim sweeping ownership of seemingly unrelated products built by others. Often, companies are sued for violating patents they never knew existed or never dreamed might apply to their creations, at a cost shouldered by consumers in the form of higher prices and fewer choices. (Lohr, 2012, p.1) Here, Lohr address the inherent flaws of the software patent system; software is a complicated invention and the USPTO often fails in handling software appropriately. Technology companies are currently exploiting the weaknesses in the market and utilizing vague patents (and infringement upon them) to file lawsuits against one another as a means to limit competition. There are other problems, too. The sheer volume of the software industry’s patents has reached a point where reviewing a reasonable amount of prior work to avoid patent infringement is completely beyond the realm of possibility. A news article by Paul Rubens (2012), technology reporter for BBC News, examines the results of a recent study produced by Timothy B. Lee, who writes for the CATO Institute and ARS Technica: A recent study found that if every software-producing firm in America wanted to check just the new software patents issued in a given year, about two million patent attorneys working full time would be needed to do the job. That's a problem because there are only about 40,000 registered patent attorneys and agents in the entire United States according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. And even if two million hard working attorneys could somehow be found, at an hourly rate of $371 (the average cost of a patent attorney, as estimated by - 72 -
American Intellectual Property Law Association), their fees would come to about $1.5 trillion or nearly 10% of the GDP of the USA. And that's assuming the attorneys didn't slack, spending no more than 10 minutes examining each patent. (Rubens, 2012, p.1) Bear in mind that this quotation refers only to new patents. Patents are typically granted for a twentyyear period, so the aforementioned scenario can be extended in a similar fashion dating back to 1992. This, once again, begets a complicated problem: Software production and litigation are becoming synonymous and increasing the burden and costs placed on the U.S. court system. In Patent Failure: How Judges, Lawyers & Beaurocrats Put Innovatorsat Risk, James Bessen and Micheal J. Meuerer examine the impact of confusing software patent interpretations and contentious market maneuvers on litigation. Bessen and Meuerer examine the broader patent market as a whole and find that the field of patent litigation is roughly similar in scope as other fields of corporate law, with one the notable exception of software: We argue that there is, in fact, something crucially different about software: software is an abstract technology. This is a problem because at least since the eighteenth century, patent law has had difficulty dealing with patents that claimed abstract ideas or principles. . . . Software also seems to be an area with large numbers of relatively obvious patents. For these reasons, it is not surprising that a substantial share of current patent litigation involves software patents. (Bessen & Meurer, 2009, p. 187) The complicated software patent market also means that for an average hobbyist inventor or small business, large companies with patent lawyers on staff (Google, Apple, Samsung, etc.) are capable of actually suing someone out of business for creating a product which was built with only one’s own programming, but might inadvertently utilize work covered in a patent that the developer was unaware of. The companies involved here are known for being innovative. The very concept of technology requires that a product advance some existing system or create something new to improve a process. When a system full of legal weaknesses meets corporations who have massive budgets and creative thinkers, it isn’t illogical to conclude that certain negative things might occur; monopolization, anticompetitive business practices and frivolous lawsuits are all side effects of the patent system’s treatment of software. Professor Bronwyn H. Hall (2007) of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School, in her research draft for the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, states that businesses have adapted their strategies to this very situation: The bottom line from the empirical evidence is that the patent system provides clear incentives for innovation in only a few sectors, but that firms and industries do respond to its presence, both by making use of the system and by sometimes tailoring their innovative strategies to its presence” (Hall, 2007, p. 9). Here Hall hints at some of the various practices which companies have undertaken toward the manipulation of the patent market for financial advantages. The argument might begin to sound like a broken record at this point, but software patents are a truly failed enterprise. The system has become so dysfunctional that it has even created an entirely new business model for attorneys: patent trolling. “Patent trolls” is a trade name for companies that purchase mass quantities of patents yet produce no products of their own. The company holding ownership of the patents (the troll) then researches the market for potential sources of infringement and - 73 -
submits a demand letter for settlement to the infringing party. In “Patently Absurd,” Timothy B. Lee (2011) examines the impact which patent trolls have had upon the software market, all on the basis of exploiting a flawed patent system: The banks describe Data Treasury as a “patent troll’: a company that has no products of its own but earns a living by filing patent-infringement lawsuits. The shoe does seem to fit. And Data Treasury is just one of the hundreds of patent trolls now shaking down productive companies. And the explosive growth of patent trolling is just one of the many problems created by our dysfunctional patent system. (Lee, 2011, pp. 32-33) Lee continues, “None of these companies appear to produce any useful products or services; their revenue comes entirely from suing companies that inadvertently infringe their patents” (Lee, 2011, p. 33). Additionally, Lee reiterates the sentiment that the software patent market has become sufficiently complex that infringing companies are often completely unaware of similar patents that exist, or that in many cases the market is patented to an extent that no device can be built within a given system without payment of royalties for patent use. So what can be done about this situation? Industry experts differ in their solutions, but all seem to agree that the problem exists. Defense of the system in its current form is virtually non-existent, mainly because it is difficult to argue with a clear case of broken law. To be clear, the weaknesses in the patent system also negatively affect technology giants such as Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, and so forth by forcing constant defense from lawsuits and expenditure of resources for legal teams rather than research and development or marketing. That said, these corporations have the means to fight extensive legal battles, where smaller operations might close down entirely if faced with the expensive legal reality of patent defense. Multi-national technology corporations are far more likely to weather a legal storm, while their smaller competitors are wiped off the map completely, leaving a significantly less competitive market in their wake. Statistician Ben Klemens has the following suggestions: A moderate but complex alternative would be to continue to allow software patents, but to make significant changes to the existing rules. A much simpler and potentially more effective suggestion would be to stop providing patent protection to software altogether, and instead provide much more limited facilities to ensure that copyright [fundamentally different from patents] is appropriately applied. (Klemens, 2005, p. 153) Essentially Klemens is advocating either to modify the patent system as it relates to software in a substantial fashion, or to cease providing patent protection to software entirely in favor of copyright protection. The latter of these suggestions provides a far more simple approach. In conclusion, the software system was originally developed to encourage innovation by providing inventors a temporary monopoly in exchange for public disclosure of their invention. This process effectively encourages innovation. Yet because software is a different variety of invention that doesn’t fit the typical model of intellectual property, the USPTO has historically struggled to handle it correctly. Vague patents, and the sheer volume of intellectual property submitted to the patent office in a given year, have created an environment where innovation is actually hindered by the patent - 74 -
market rather than fostered. Changes to the system are needed, whether through modifying the legal protection of software or by changing the patent process to better handle software as an invention and the annual volume of intellectual property submissions it produces. References Bergstra, J. A. (2007). About â€œtrivialâ€? software patents: The IsNot case. Journal of Law and Economics, 64(3), 264-285. Bessen, J. & Meurer, M.J. (2009, October 7). Patent Failure: How Judges, Lawyers & Beaurocrats Put Innovators At Risk. Princeton, New Jersey, New York: Princeton University Press. Engelfriet, A. (2005, October 1). Crash Course on Patents: What is a Patent and Why is it Useful? Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://www.iusmentis.com/patents/crashcourse/whatis/ Hall, B. H. (2007, December). Patents and Patent Policy. Berkeley, California, United States of America. Retrieved November 14, 2012, from http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~bhhall/bhpapers.html/BHH07_OxRep _patents.pdf Klemens, B. (2005). Math You Can't Use: Patents, Copyright and Software. Washington, D.C., New York: Brookings Institution Press. Lee, T. B. (2011). Patently absurd. Cato Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2012, from http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/patently-absurd Lohr, C. D. (2012, October 7). The Patent, Used as a Sword. The New York Times, 27(3). Method of Exercising a Cat. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_exercising_a_cat Patent US6368227 Method of Swinging on a Swing. (2012, November 19). Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://www.google.com/patents/US6368227 Patents. (2012, January 10). Retrieved November 12, 2012, from http://www.uspto.gov/patents/index.jsp Rubens, P. (2012, November 18). Phone Patents: an Absurd Battle. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121116-phone-patents-an-absurd-battle The USPTO: Who We Are. (2012, January 10). Retrieved October 8, 2012, from http://www.uspto.gov/about/index.jsp Tysver, D. (2012, April 2). Patent Law Requirements (BitLaw). Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Retrieved November 16, 2012, from http://www.bitlaw.com/patent/requirements.html Vee, A. (2012, September). Copyright, Culture, Creativity, and the Commons. Computers and Composition, 27(3), pp. 179192.
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TALKING BACK essays challenging “conventional” wisdom
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HEADSHOT! VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES DON’T MAKE DEGENERATE CHILDREN (By Caleb Davidson) Headshot! I run around corners picking off unskilled players with my FAMAS. I sprint up to a ‘camper’ and knife him in the back. The flying bullets whiz all around me as my kill-to-death ratio climbs through the roof. Blood splatters and screams of agony pierce my ears every time my bullets shoot their way through another character. I scream at the TV, cursing at that stupid screen for experiencing some lag. I roar at the “noobs” for being so bad at this game, and they holler back that I am a stupid hacker. My fingers become sweaty and slippery as every other character falls to me. I stand victorious. I turn my head to the right. The stove says 7:26 AM. It’s time to go to school. I spend the rest of the day calmly writing notes and sitting quietly in class, as well as hanging out with friends at the beach or at the mall. I also do not spend my spare time out on the prowl looking for somebody to kill. Video games, especially violent ones, have always been controversial when it comes to their impact on kids and adolescents. Many politicians have attempted to sway voters who are parents by claiming video games are “murder simulators” (Grossman, 2007). According to Victor Strasburger, “Some scholars, likewise, claimed that video game and other media violence might account for as much as 30% of societal violence” (Strasburger, 2007). In recent years, however, there have been several blows to the assumption that video games lead to violence. In the recent case of Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), it was stated by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that “Psychological studies purporting to show a connection between exposure to violent video games and harmful effects on children do not prove that such exposure causes minors to act aggressively” (Brown v. EMA, 2011). One study of 119 college students by Ohio State University professor David Ewoldsen claims that “new research suggests, counter to prior research, violent video games may not actually make players more aggressive” (“Do Violent Video Games Boost Aggression”?, 2012). In my experience, as well as what is suggested by new studies, I believe that playing violent video games does not automatically turn one into a violent monster, nor do they cause many of the degenerative effects that so many protective parents claim they do. One of the most common criticisms about violent video games is that the violence one experiences inside the game will somehow overflow into the real world. Several studies by Harvard University and The British Medical Journal, however, have shown no link between video game usage and violent activity. Craig A. Anderson (2003), professor of psychology at Iowa State University, testified before the Senate that as violent video games have become more mainstream: “Some studies have yielded no significant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques it shows that violent video games are significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased pro-social (helping) behavior” (Anderson, 2003). However, the ESA v. Blagojevich case shows that “Dr. Anderson himself was later criticized in a 2005 video game court case for failing to cite research that differed from his view” (ESA v. Blagojevich, 2006). In the later Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, testimonies were provided criticizing Anderson's studies, noting that they "have been rejected by every court to consider them," - 77 -
"do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively," and "suffer from significant, admitted flaws in methodology" (Brown v. EMA Opinions, 2010). Other anti-violent video game activists include David Grossman, who has written several books pertaining to the subject of violence in the media. Grossman consistently uses the term “murder simulator” to describe these violent video games. He says the “games train children in the use of weapons and harden them emotionally in the act of murder” (Grossman, 2007). Grossman’s conclusions have been constantly criticized as being highly selective and misleading. Such claims as those by Anderson and Grossman are debunked by more recent studies into the effects of violent video games on children. A longitudinal test of video game violence influences on dating and aggression by Ferguson, San Miguel, Garza and Jerebick (2011) in the Journal of Psychiatric Research concluded, “Results indicated that exposure to video game violence was not related to any of the negative outcomes. Depression, antisocial personality traits, exposure to family violence and peer influences were the best predictors of aggression-related outcomes” (Ferguson, et al., 2011). Many people claim that violent video games can do nothing good for a developing brain. But violent video games have actually been found, in some instances, to help cure disabilities in some people. According to a report by Kerry Sheridan (2012), “Playing a video game that involves shooting enemies on a battlefield was found to help some adults who were born with a rare eye disorder improve their vision later in life” (Sheridan, 2012). The study followed children with who were born with a cataract disorder in both eyes that required surgery. The study had six patients play the ‘R’ rated game “Medal of Honor” for a period of 40 hours over a month. According to Sheridan’s study, “Five of the six showed improvement in their vision, each moving closer to 20/20 from baseline ranges of 20/32 to 20/100, with improved ability to recognize faces, see small print and judge the direction of moving dots” (Sheridan, 2012). Two-thirds of the indicators measured by the study were improved simply by playing the violent video game. Furthermore, according to a 2010 study by the American Pain Society, “Video games can be as helpful as pain relievers in children and adults” (Weber, 2010). Weber reported that while playing video games, participants who were going through chemotherapy reported “significantly less stress and trepidation” (Weber, 2010). Patients with burns reported a 30% to 50% decrease in pain while playing the video game. A similar study by Keele University drew a similar conclusion, but specified that violent video games were the best at relieving pain: “Participants played both the violent and nonviolent game on separate occasions for 10 minutes and then placed one of their hands in ice-cold water to test their reaction to pain. On average, participants kept their hands in the icy water for 65 percent longer after playing the violent game, indicating that plying the game increased the participants’ pain tolerance” (“Violent Video Games,” 2012). This study suggests that the “pain tolerance can be attributed to the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response to stress which can inhibit the body’s sensitivity to pain” (“Violent Video Games,” 2012). Controversies regarding video game violence have always led to inconsistent conclusions (Sherry, 2007). By the early 21st century, many scholars had begun to believe conclusively that video game violence inevitably leads to violence in real life—but according to a report by Oskin (2012), “Now most researchers will agree that video games can help more than harm.” Violent video games used to instill fear in parents because of concern that their children will act like the characters they play in the game. Now, however, research shows that not only are violent video games and video games in - 78 -
general not bad for you, but in some cases they may actually be good for you. According to Reilly, “They can improve motor skills by playing interactive games, relieve pain by instilling a ‘flight or fight’ response, can improve eyesight by boosting one’s spatial resolution; that is, the ability to clearly see small, densely packed together objects, help you make faster decisions by developing a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around you, and even tackle mental illnesses that is as effective as oneon-one counseling” (Reilly, 2012). Many parents hate video games because of their addictiveness and how gaming takes away from time that could be spent on homework. Protective parents also think the games will make their kids lazy and aggressive. But as Burgess, et al. (2012) point out: “This concern about video games is proving to be particularly interesting due to the attributes of video games that make them unique. For example, the effects of video game playing could be greater than for other types of media because of the interactive demands of playing the video game. Students may report being able to study while watching TV, whereas playing a video game may require more focused attention. Video games also incorporate basic learning principles and instructional techniques such as actively reinforcing behaviors and an adaptable level of difficulty that make them more appealing” (Burgess, 2012). I agree that video games require more attention than does watching TV or using other types of media, because gaming requires both hands. You can’t just play a video game in the background like you do when you watch TV. Watching TV only really requires your ears, while gaming requires your hands, eyes, and ears. It is difficult to play games while doing homework because you won’t be able to concentrate. A question I would consider asking is whether or not video games could improve reflexes and handeye-coordination, teach you things you normally don’t learn in school, or produce other positive effects. By upping the difficulty level, does that make a player less lazy and more able to take on the challenges that a big project at work may entail? I think it could mean a student who plays toward harder difficulties might challenge themselves in life because an “easy” life would be boring and unchallenging. The difficulty level of the game may be a deciding factor on what kind of life the gamer could leave, though this would need to be tested. A hard video game may challenge the brains of young children to develop stronger skills that they could also use in school. Could playing difficult video games increase student grades instead of decreasing them? In my experience, kids typically express their anger at the game and not to people in real life. Playing a hard game could challenge the child’s brain to develop while at the same time suppressing his/her anger towards others. References Anderson, C. A. (2003.) Violent video games: myths, facts, and unanswered questions. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2003/10/anderson.aspx Do violent video games boost aggression? Not necessarily, studies say. (2012.) Boston.com. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/2012/09/06/violent-video-games-boost-aggression-not-necessarily-studiessay/EfIVsQNzLKENlrjfpSogUM/story.html
Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn. (2011.) Legal Information Institute. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-1448.ZS.html
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Brown v. EMA opinions. (2010.) Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf Burgess, S., Stermer, S., & Burgess, M. (2012.) Video game playing and academic performance in college students. College Student Journal, Vol. 46, Issue 2. ESA v. Blagojevich. (2006). Media Coalition. Retrieved December 2, 2012, from http://mediacoalition.org/esa-vblagojevich-3/. Ferguson, C., San Miguel, C., Garza, A., & Jerebeck, J. (2011.) A longitudinal test of video game violence influences on dating and aggression: A 3-year longitudinal study of adolescents. Journal of Psychiatric Research. Vol. 46, issue 2. February 2012, pp. 141-146. Grossman, L. C. (2007.) Violent video games are mass-murder simulators. Executive Intelligence Review. LaRouche Publications. Retrieved 1, 2012, from http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2007/3417grossman_reprint.html Oskin, B. (2012.) Teens and video games: How much is too much? Fox News. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/08/13/teens-and-video-games-how-much-is-too-much Reilly, L. (2012, September 9). 5 Reasons Video Games Are Actually Good for You - IGN. Video Games, Wikis, Cheats, Walkthroughs, Reviews, News & Videos - IGN. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/09/10/5-reasons-video-games-are-actually-good-for-you Sheridan, K. (2012, February 17). AFP: Violent videogame boosts vision in some adults. Google. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iSCqw_4xVZTCxsDF_El_FOcPIF3A?docId=CNG.b012 575559d3dcf7e161312a2cd69fb9.271 Sherry, J. (n.d.). Violent video games and aggression: why canâ€™t we find links?. Science Direct. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.hpu.edu/science/article/pii/S0022395611002627#bib39 Strasburger, V. (2007). Go Ahead Punk, Make My Day: It's Time for Pediatricians to Take Action Against Media Violence . Pediatrics . Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/6/e1398.full Weber, C. (2010, May 6). Video Games and Virtual Reality Experiences Prove Helpful as Pain Relievers in Children and Adults | American Pain Society. Welcome | American Pain Society. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.ampainsoc.org/press/2010/video_games.htm Violent video games can ease pain. (2012.) Keele University. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from http://www.keele.ac.uk/pressreleases/2012/title,80090,en.html
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TRUTHS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING (By Emily Mueller) Homeschooling has evolved into a learning experience in which parents have the freedom to teach their children in a non-traditional environment. The learning environment can be specialized for each child, and may include using traditional schoolbooks and videos, as well as the Internet and online programs. Before the nineteenth century’s introduction of widespread public education, all children were homeschooled. Today, it is the mainstream custom for children to be enrolled in either private or public school from the ages of four to eighteen. Lately, though, the incidence of homeschooling has been growing, and public acceptance of homeschooling has greatly increased. Currently, nearly two million homeschooled children are students in the United States, with many other countries seeing an increase in parents choosing to homeschool their children. Parents of all backgrounds, financial and marital status, and educational levels have made the decision to homeschool their children. While homeschooled children reap many benefits, debates still occur regarding whether children should be homeschooled or not. Parents choose to educate their children at home for many reasons. Some may want to homeschool because of religious reasons, or to protect their children from the violence, drugs, or destructive behavior that is often associated with public schools. Other families may not feel satisfied with their children’s performance in public school and feel they need more one-on-one learning. Some families with special needs children feel that they can give their child a more beneficial education, because material will be covered at the right speed and level of understanding for their child. On the other side of the spectrum, many parents make the decision to homeschool their children because the children are gifted, and parents may believe that traditional education is holding their children back. In other cases, parents unashamedly believe that there is too much time wasted in a classroom trying to gain the focus of all students or spending extra time covering materials their child may already understand, as well as the reverse. Overall, homeschooling brings many benefits, such as educational freedom, closer family relationships, and a tailoring of materials specific to each child. While some people may think that homeschooling prevents children from having the same opportunities and quality of education as their public school counterparts, research points out that homeschooled children have the same opportunities and chances for socialization, as well as higher standardized test scores. The debate over homeschooling involves many arguments. Some disputes in regard to the legal aspects of homeschooling may threaten its viability in the future. While some studies question homeschooled students’ test scores, higher education opportunities, and socialization, overall the facts establish that homeschooling is a progressive and effective alternative to public schooling. Many arguments are made against homeschooling. The first, and likely most common, is that homeschooled children are not properly socialized. As pointed out by Staehle, many people believe that homeschooled children sit indoors at a kitchen table from dawn to dusk, doing melancholy homework (Staehle 270). This myth developed because people believe that since homeschooled children are “separated” from other children their own age, they lack the social skills that are gained in a school setting. In reality, the socialization of children takes place in a variety of environments. Homeschooled children gain social experience through extracurricular activities, playing with friends, and interacting with adults.
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In fact, most parents who homeschool their children try and counteract this problem by providing as many social opportunities as possible for their children. In a recent study, results showed that the average homeschooled child participates in 5.2 activities outside of the family and home on a regular basis (Romanowski 126). Not only do homeschooled children have various opportunities for socialization, they may actually have a higher quality of socialization than traditionally educated students. Public and private schools are seen as a working structure for socialization, but children’s interaction with others is usually limited to those with staff and other students. Homeschooled students, on the other hand, typically have a very broad scale of interaction, starting at home with their families and branching out into the entire community. These students have the opportunities to partake in even more extracurricular activities than most schools offer, as well as have a more flexible schedule to accommodate all of them. According to Ray, students who are homeschooled can have internships and apprenticeships, go on field trips, do volunteer work, and hold jobs, in addition to more mainstream extracurricular activities such as playing musical instruments or sports (Ray 52). Furthermore, public and private schools do not always provide the best type of socialization for students. Romanowski reports that when homeschooled students were compared in reference to the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale in order to ‘measure’ their personalities, it became clear that they scored much higher than their traditionally schooled counterparts, demonstrating that “homeschooled students have a higher and more positive self-concept than the public school students” (Romanowski 126). In addition to homeschooled children being seen as social misfits, some argue that homeschooling “fail[s] to prepare good citizens” (Romanowski 126). People assert that, while homeschooling may produce good students, it does not create productive citizens. Some even go as far to say that homeschooled children are isolated from politics and worldwide events. In fact, just the opposite seems to be true. While 35% of US adults say politics are just too complicated to understand, only 4.2% of homeschooled adults feel that way (Romanowski 126). If people argue those homeschooled students are social misfits, isolated from the rest of the population, Romanowski would argue the opposite: While 37% of traditionally educated adults partake in community service, 71% of homeschooled adults do (Romanowski 127). Not only are homeschooled adults obviously successful in the social world, they are also economically successful, as two-thirds of homeschooled graduates were self-employed and none were unemployed or on welfare, according to a study done in 1991 (Romanowski 127). Another study shows that homeschooled students are active in their communities from an early age. Rockney reports that as many as 90% of homeschooled students spend at minimum twenty hours every month participating in organized community events involving people of all ages (Rockney 5). Homeschooling does not prevent students from learning about the outside world or seeing other ways of life, either. According to Kunzman, homeschooled children are encouraged to speak their minds, even in the most conservative homeschooling households (Kunzman 85). Overall, statistics demonstrate that homeschooled students are not social misfits; on the contrary, they are very active members of their communities, socialized with a broad variety of people and experiences. Another argument pitted against homeschooling is that people only homeschool because they have extremely conservative religious views that they want to teach their children. Romanowski points out that homeschooling, in fact, began as a liberal movement-not a conservative one (Romanowski 128). - 82 -
Many parents saw traditional schooling as conservative and strict, and wanted their children to experience a more broad-minded form of education. Holt, who founded Growth Without Schooling, believes that American education is actually damaging to students. Because children are motivated by fear—fear of taking tests, not passing classes, and not measuring up to other students—fear “obstructs children’s self-discovery and natural desire to learn” (qtd. in Drenovsky and Cohen 20). While there are parents who are “ideologues” and who teach their children at home based on religious reasons, most homeschooling parents are “pedagogues” and teach their children at home because they “share a respect for their children’s intellect and creativity [and have] a belief that children learn best when pedagogy taps into the child’s innate desire to learn” (Romanowski 128). These parents believe that public schools categorize and label students in a very generalized way. Instead of sending their children to public or private schools that are highly structured, such parents believe that experimentation with alternative teaching techniques and materials will develop better critical thinking skills and independence in children (Rockney 4). Parents who make the decision to homeschool represent many types of families, including all income and education levels, ethnicities and religions, as well as both single and two-parent families (Ray 50). These parents want their children to have well-rounded educations, and want to have more control in how their children are taught. Many times, parents who homeschool their children do not want strangers to raise their children, and believe that as their child’s parent they are more suited to not only raise but to teach them as well. As not only their parent but also the teacher, homeschooling parents can monitor their students’ progress and have the ability to customize teaching specifically for each child (Ray 51). Not only do parents want to customize their child’s education, they want to protect their students from drugs, alcohol, sex and psychological stress. While schools do provide socialization and education for students, many argue that school does not always provide the most positive environment for them. Parents not only want to customize what their children learn, many want to customize how their children learn. These parents are not as prevalent in numbers as the general homeschooling parents, because their children aren’t either. Parents who decide to homeschool their children to customize their education are often parents of special needs and gifted and talented children. Children with learning challenges are unique, and many parents identify conventional schools as “providing nominal levels of personal attention and hands-on learning for students” (Duvall, Delquadri and Ward 141). While some may argue that trained professionals are better suited to educate students with special needs, a study performed on students with ADHD proved this assumption incorrect. The study was performed in order to determine if parents could provide a better instruction for their children with special needs. Pre- and post- standardized tests were given to both the homeschooled and traditionally schooled children in order to analyze the progress made by both sets (Duvall, Delquadri and Ward 140). Overall, the classroom environment of homeschooled special needs children was rated equal or better than that of public schools, and the homeschooled children received more personalized attention. Even without formal training, parents of special needs children did a better job of creating a more functional learning environment for their children, as well as engaged students more efficiently while teaching (Duvall, Delquadri and Ward 153). It was also observed that special needs children who are homeschooled participate in the same number of extracurricular activities as other children, and on
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national achievement tests, they score higher than the national average (Duvall, Delquadri and Ward 141). The same ideas apply to gifted and talented children. Ray writes about Holly, a six-year old who asked to spend a day in a classroom to experience school. Her parents asked what her favorite part of the day was, and she responded that recess was. When they asked Holly if she wanted to attend school, she said “No--they’re always sitting around doing nothing” (Ray 51-52). Holly was talking about all of the waiting that children do in traditional school settings. Students have to wait in lines, wait their turns to share their opinions, and wait for other students to catch up. Students who are gifted and talented are more advanced than other students in their class, and they end up waiting for everything. The longer these students have to wait, the more impatient they get, and eventually they may lose focus when they no longer feel challenged (Ray 52). Dori Staehle published a journal article about her homeschooling story. She has two very gifted children, and public school was not working for them, socially or emotionally. Her kids had a desire to learn, but school wasn’t a challenge for them. Both children were reading and writing at extremely advanced levels, but the school did nothing to accommodate their skill levels. When Staehle and her husband approached teachers, they were dissatisfied with the teachers’ responses (Staehle 270). Her children were becoming frustrated, which resulted in anger, exasperation and depression. Frustrated with all the schools they had tried, Staehle describes her family’s solution: We therefore redefined school. First, we designed unit studies in which all learning revolved around a certain topic. By using drama, manipulatives and props, our experiments and our imaginations, we began to make progress and have fun . . . Consequently, our children have worked with scientists, inventors, wildlife biologist, veterinarians, musicians, artist and writers. Though they were not in a regular classroom, per se, the community had now become their classroom. (Staehle 270) For gifted and talented children, having the ability to choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn it can be extremely beneficial, and impossible to make happen in traditional schools. For these children, school can infringe on their discovery of their unique abilities and can repress their creativity, causing them to lose their sense of self and creativity (Staehle 271). The last of the most frequently cited arguments against homeschooling is that homeschooled children have difficulty entering college and handling the sudden change of a schooling environment. Many people believe that without the SAT, ACT or high school transcripts, homeschooled children have a hard time getting into college. To their surprise, a few of the colleges that specifically recruit homeschooled students are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Brown and Georgetown (Romanoski 128). In fact, even in 1995, 150 United States colleges and universities actively recruited homeschooled students due to their academic success (Wichers 148). Since 67% of all homeschooled children receive some form of higher education, it is vital that these students are prepared for the college environment (Wichers 148). Drenovsky and Cohen argue that homeschooled students not only academically achieve more than their peers in college, but also view their college experiences more positively (20). Overall, homeschooled students score higher than traditionally schooled students in reading comprehension and their ability to use process their knowledge (Wichers 147). When ACT scores of - 84 -
homeschooled students, public and private school students were compared, homeschooled students scored equally well as or better than their peers (Wichers 148). Once in college, these homeschooled students did equally as well as public and private school students on their first research papers (Wichers 148). When homeschooled students were interviewed, they were more likely to say that they “speak and write clearly and effectively; think critically and analytically; understand themselves and people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds; and, develop study and time management skills” (Drenovsky and Cohen 22). All of these factors are extremely important in college, and homeschooled children are more than prepared to handle them. In a survey focusing on the self-esteem and depression levels of homeschooled students attending college, homeschooled students had the same level of self-esteem as their public and private school peers, but had lower levels of depression, achieved greater academic success, and felt more positively about their college experience (Drenovsky and Cohen 29). Overall, their type of education does not affect homeschooled students when it comes to furthering their higher education; if anything, they are more prepared and better equipped to handle college-level thinking and responsibilities. Although there are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool their children, there are a few drawbacks worth mentioning that may arise when taking this path. Some of the negative aspects occur due to the state regulation of homeschooling. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Only twenty-five states presently require standardized testing and evaluation of homeschooled students. Moreover, ten states labeled by HSLDA as having the lowest regulation of homeschooling do not even require homeschooling parents to notify the state of their intent to homeschool. (Yuracko 129) Constitutionally, children have the right to be provided with a minimum level of education, to which homeschooling parents are required by state and federal law to educate their children (Yuracko 155). The fact that not all states monitor the standard level of education received by homeschooled children poses many legal ramifications, bringing into question the child’s educational freedom and promotion of interest (Merry and Karsten 498). Overall, without a standard of education, parents have the ability to homeschool their children without providing them with a proper education, or they might be sexist in their ways of educating, such as under-educating young girls due to particular religious beliefs. Another negative aspect of homeschooling is not in regard to the education children receive, but the medical care they don’t receive. Pediatricians, in general, do not support homeschooling (Rockney 4). They acknowledge homeschooled students’ higher standardized achievement test scores, maturity and educational accomplishments. Why, then, don’t they support it? Public education provides a role in children’s health in a way that is not regulated or enforced with homeschooled children. Public schools test students for scoliosis and tuberculosis, offer free immunizations, and provide pertinent information to students at different ages, in forms such as health and sex education classes. Not only that, but attending public schools serves as a screening for signs of neglect, abuse and physical and mental problems of children (Rockney 4). Without these medical benefits, homeschooled children have the chance to “slip through the cracks” with regard to these issues. Rob Reich, a political scientist has a solution that would be beneficial for homeschooling. He argues, “The state must not - 85 -
forbid homeschooling, but regulate it, and strictly enforce such regulations, so as to ensure that the interests of the state and child are met” (qtd. in Yuracko 131). To validate homeschooling as a truly equal and fully respected way to educate children, adapting some characteristics of public and private schools such as medical and regulatory, may be necessary. Superintendents and school officials have said that withdrawing students from school is “the most dramatic assertion of discontent with public education that a parent can make” (Rockney 4). While this may be true in some cases, for example in the case of parents of special needs or gifted and talented children who are not receiving the right type of education, parents homeschool their children for a variety of reasons—not just dissatisfaction with traditional schooling. Sometimes, families choose to homeschool their children due to religious beliefs or to provide an environment free of drugs, guns, violence, and negative peer pressure. Other times, parents homeschool to increase cultural awareness, strengthen family bonds, help their children achieve academic excellence, and provide them with oneon-one instruction (Wichers 145). The best interests and well-being of children cannot be argued in terms of homeschooling versus traditional education. Every child has individual needs, and there is not one answer that will work for all of them. Both parents and traditional schools customize education in a certain way, and every child responds differently to each. Homeschooling and schools can both educate children correctly or incorrectly, and it is important to remember the basic rights that everyone has to receive an education. From there, whether a family decides to educate their children traditionally or homeschool them, it should be a respected decision, and both homeschooled children and the parents who teach them should be given the credit they deserve. Works Cited Drenovsky, Cynthia K., and Isaiah Cohen. "The Impact of Homeschooling on the Adjustment of College Students." International Social Science Review 87.1/2 (2012): 19-34. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Duvall, Steven F., Joseph C. Delquadri, and D. Lawrence Ward. "A Preliminary Investigation of the Effectiveness of Homeschool Instructional Environment For Students With AttentionDeficit/Hyperactivity Disorder." School Psychology Review 33.1 (2004): 140-158. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Kunzman, Robert. "Education, Schooling, and Children's Rights: The Complexity of Homeschooling." Educational Theory 62.1 (2012): 75-89. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Merry, Michael S., and Sjoerd Karsten. "Restricted Liberty, Parental Choice and Homeschooling." Journal of Philosophy of Education 44.4 (2010): 497-514. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Ray, Brian D. "Customization through Homeschooling." Educational Leadership 59.7 (2002): 50. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.
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Rockney, Randall. "The Home Schooling Debate: Why Some Parents Choose It, Others Oppose It. (Cover Story)." Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter 18.2 (2002): 1. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Romanowski, Michael H. "Revisiting the Common Myths about Homeschooling." Clearing House 79.3 (2006): 125-129. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Staehle, Dori. "Taking a Different Path: A Mother's Reflections On Homeschooling." Roeper Review 22.4 (2000): 270. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Wichers, Michelle. "Homeschooling: Adventitious or Detrimental For Proficiency in Higher Education." Education 122.1 (2001): 145. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. Yuracko, Kimberly A. "Education off the Grid: Constitutional Constraints On Home Schooling." California Law Review 96.1 (2008): 123-184. Web. 29 Oct. 2012.
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THE POWER OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM (By Linn Therese Skulstad) The Fourth Estate is a powerful institution with its ability to inform and influence society. News, including controversy, is put on the agenda, and through mass media the public gets access to information, whether it is through TV, social media, print or online. Some might argue that the newspaper will still live on twenty years from now, and that the newspaper will survive the competition brought by online journalism brings. However, statistics show that the demand for newspapers is decreasing and will continue on the same path. Even though newspapers reach a specific demographic area and a specific generation, the fact is that the newspaper is not that attractive anymore. With the development of technology, the public finds and uses other channels to consume information today. This is why newspaper companies will move on to online journalism as opposed to continuing with print. A change like this is inevitable because the public has a strong desire to be informed through all hours of the day. We no longer believe we have time to stand in line to get the morning newspaper, as today’s society is moving at a rapid speed. Moving to online will create a more convenient format for accessing news. Our ways of communicating with each other have reached new levels, where we can stay in instant contact with people from all over the world. So why should news be any different? Why should we not be able to access different news sites of our own personal interest whenever we want, and not only when it is available in a store? Going against technology is simply something we should not do in the year of 2013. It would not be unreasonable to predict that newspapers are in danger of completely disappearing. Lind (2010) states, “More than 140 daily and weekly newspapers across the country stopped publishing in 2009 alone, with many observers predicting the disappearance of newspapers” (p. 157). The Honolulu Advertiser and Star-Bulletin merged into one newspaper (p. 157). Several factors impact this decline, such as demographics, work patterns, and the position of television and the Internet (Lind, 2010, p. 158). According to Edmonds, Guskin, Rosenstiel & Mitchell (2012), there has been a decrease in the number of newspapers over the last twenty years—a 14% decrease, from 1,611 newspapers in 1990 to 1,387 newspapers in 2009 (Edmonds et al., 2012, graph 21). Even in the 1970s, evening newspapers began as to decline as TV captured more of the ad revenue that papers had relied on while grabbing more and more audience (Edmonds et al., 2012, graph 15). From there the decline of newspapers has continued (Edmonds et al., 2012, graph 15). Yet some might argue that newspapers can never be replaced because to some they provide not only information, but so much more. Microsoft conducted a qualitative field study in 2007 in which two of the participants said that newspapers were a kind of “religion” to them, and that reading the newspaper was a family ritual (Marshall, 2007). Giving up a ritual like this is probably insignificant to some, and of course one should respect the fact that consumers have different needs and prefer different forms of news consuming. However, it is important that we all go along with the changes produced by technology. It is not about sacrificing or giving up whatever ritual you might have, or whatever meaning a newspaper has to you. It is mainly about realizing that time and technology are changing, and the fact that we now have more choices than ever. Newspapers may very well mean something to many people, but one cannot argue with the march of - 88 -
technology. Yes, newspapers are a tradition for those who were born before the rise of television and the Internet, but today’s generation was born straight into the arms of developing technology. For many, the Internet is what they were introduced to before newspapers. The majority of people of 65 years and older are most likely holding on to the tradition of subscribing to newspapers. Most are probably not on Facebook and Twitter either, so this generation remains loyal to print. They may not be as familiar with online journalism or social media, and therefore turn to the two media they grew up with,: newspapers and TV. New generations are born, and those of the 1950s will eventually die, together with their attachment to print news. Therefore it is only a small percentage of society that will be left to represent the traditional form of news consuming. At some point, the need for a physical newspaper will not be of the same value to young people as it might now be to the older generation. We also cannot forget that access to news information has changed dramatically over the decades with not only the help of TV, radio and Internet, but also social media. The public is no longer limited to only consuming through TV, radio and newspapers, but channels such as You Tube, Twitter, Facebook and even blogs have become important ways of accessing news. The blog used to be only an online diary, and for many it still is, but some blogs have also taken on the role of an information channel that many rely on. Online news is a development that goes hand in hand with today’s generation. It is only a matter of time before social media is positioned even more strongly when it comes to news sharing (Mitchell & Rosenstiel, 2012). With smart phones and tablets, consumers now have access to the Internet twentyfour/seven. According to Mitchell & Rosenstiel’s report for the Pew Research Center (2012), “More than three-quarters of U.S. adults own a laptop or desktop computer. On top of that, 44% now own a Smartphone, and tablet ownership is now at 18%, up from just 11% in the summer of 2011. Some 51% of Smartphone owners use that device to get news, as do 56% of tablet owners. And nearly a quarter of the population, 23%, now gets news on multiple digital devices” (para. 3). This still leaves a part of the population outside of the digital world, as not everybody possesses a computer or Smartphone. Yes, this may have to do with poverty and low income; some people simply do not have the income to pay for such devices. Yet the price for a computer nowadays is not even close to what it was in the 1980s when computers were first launched. It is fair to assume that the part of the population that is not in the possession of technology may have refrained from using such devices on purpose. Maybe some do not see the need for it, and are happy with the way they consume news today. However, access to news has clearly changed. We no longer have to wait until break of dawn to get the latest updates; news is merely a keystroke away, and consumers can rely on receiving up-to-date news at any time. The stock market used to rely on newspapers to keep track and stay ahead; today that information is also online. We simply cannot overlook the fact that online news today is more effective and reaches a much larger audience who are able to consume it worldwide. Online journalism provides a wider opportunity to inform, share, debate and discuss current events. Think of current events such as the earthquake in Japan, the tsunami in Thailand, or the conflict in the Middle East. Online news is up to date, with constantly new reporting. By the time the newspapers hit the doorstep the next morning, most consumers have already reached for other channels to get their updates. Consumers demand that news be delivered how they want it, when they want it, and as they - 89 -
want it. We are no longer limited to a single news source; our choices are many. We can ourselves choose which paper we want to read based on the news we are interested in, whether it is more financial, or if we simply are interested in tabloid news coverage. And let us not look past the fact that global news reporting is not only happening from inside our own country anymore. What about the war in the Middle East? Will you not agree that news coverage is taken to a greater level when it can be reported from inside the war-affected country itself? Online news allows us to get more accurate updates, at any time of the day. Yet the quality of online news has been questioned over the last few years. Has the quality of news dropped as online sources have become more dominant, or is quality still an important factor that journalists keep in mind? A study conducted in 2010 by Scott Maier of the University of Oregon analyzed content published by five leading US news websites (Yahoo! News, MSNBC, CNN, Google News and AOL News), comparing the sites’ material with news published on the front pages of thirteen US newspapers. Maier’s study showed that “the newspaper articles were nearly twice as long as those of their online competitors. […] The papers delivered more domestic news and reported more frequently about the economy, the environment, health issues and immigration” (Maier 2010). Yet: “The websites, however, presented more international news and were more editorial in perspective than the print media” (Maier). Maier’s latter statement proves an advantage of online journalism, as more international news coverage is at the forefront and news reporting from the actual country can occur. The question of quality versus quantity is truly valid. The bottom line is that there is an essential difference between the two: the pace at which they are produced. Print journalism can be longer and to some extent more precise. The fact is that online sources produce and publish news constantly, every single minute. Online journalists emphasize getting the news out there quickly because they know they can edit and update a story at any time, and they want to meet the needs of their readers, providing news when they want it, where they want it. At the same time we cannot forget advertising. Along with how the public has changed the platforms where they consume their news, advertisers are forced to follow the stream and turn to the Web for advertising and revenue. Consumers are the ones with the power, and advertisers have no other choice than to follow them and bring advertising online. Unfortunately, these sacrifices have hit hard, and this is clearly a factor that has damaged the print media’s ability to continue publishing as it affects their revenue. Losses in advertising revenue in 2011 reached 7.3% (Edmonds, et al., 2012). Newspapers will never disappear for good, but it is evident that they will not regain their former preeminence as the number one medium for reporting news. Just look at how technology has influenced the world of movies, music and books. Online TV series can be streamed, music downloaded, and even E-books have replaced hard copies, allowing consumers to carry multiple books on one single device. Why should it be any different for newspapers? Though it seems as if print is dying, it will still stay alive but only through new revenues such as online. Paying attention to technology development is the right thing to do, even if it does mean that some parts of the media will suffer, such as print. Internet consultant and analyst Clay Shirky has stated, “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism” (qtd. in Lind, 2010, p. 161). It should not matter where one consumes their news; - 90 -
what is important is that future journalists keep up with technological changes. In the old days, a journalist needed to know how to write; today, journalists need to know so much more. Because of how technology has shaped and changed journalism, a journalist needs to understand the digital aspect as well. In 2006 Rupert Murdoch gave a solid to the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers where he predicted the change of newspapers, but not its death. He talked about the power of the technological revolution, how today’s generation uses the Web to be informed, educated and entertained, and how the free flow of information on the Internet is “not just a building block of our democratic system; it is also the fuel of the technological revolution” (Murdoch, 2006, para. 8). Murdoch sees the need for newspapers, but also emphasizes the importance that newspapers develop along with technology and also deliver their news online. He also claims that “the Web will continue its rapid development as the prime media channel for information, entertainment, business and social contact” (Murdoch, 2006, para. 20). Murdoch makes a vital point; of course development will continue, not because of technology alone, but also because consumers take control and set the standard of how and when they want to read news. It is natural and inevitable that journalism follows the developing path of technology, as it truly is the most important development in the history of human communication. The decline of print newspapers gives a clear image of where we are headed. Statistics prove what is happening in society today; technology has made a clear standard is not going anywhere soon. This is only the beginning. References Edmonds, R., Guskin, E., Rosenstiel, T & Mitchell, A. (2012). Newspapers: by the numbers. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism: The State of The News Media 2012. Retrieved from http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/newspapers-building-digital-revenues-proves-painfully-slow/newspapers-by-thenumbers/ Lind, I. (2010.) Journalism. C. Howes & J, Osorio (Eds.), The value of Hawai´i: Knowing the past, shaping the future (pp. 157-163). Honolulu: University of Hawai´i Press. Maier, S. (2010.) All the news fit to post? Comparing news content on the web to newspapers, television and radio. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 8. Marshall, C. (2007). The gray lady gets a new dress. Microsoft Research. Retrieved from http://research.microsoft.com/apps/pubs/default.aspx?id=72829. Mitchell, A. & Rosenstiel, T. (2012.) Major Trends. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The State of the News Media 2012. Retrieved from http://stateofthemedia.org/2012/overview-4/major-trends/ Murdoch, Rupert. Newspapers will change, not die. (2006.) The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/rupert-murdoch-newspapers-will-change-not-die-470581.html Ross-Mohl, S. (2010.) The little difference: Print v. online news. European Journalism Observatory. Retrieved from http://en.ejo.ch/1643/new_media/the-little-difference-print-v-online-news
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KAMEHAMEHA DEATH TOLL (By Sarah Soden)
Hawai´i Pacific University is a growing private school located on two campuses, one in the bustling city of Honolulu and the other, Hawai´i Loa, alongside the serene mountains of Kaneohe on the windward side. In order to cross Kamehameha Highway to get to the heavily frequented bus stop across from the windward campus, students, faculty, and guests must avoid the two-way traffic along with the coming and goings of HPU vehicles. Throughout the years this dangerous intersection has brought the school despair, with numerous accidents and a recent death. With a growing student residency at the Hawai´i Loa campus, more and more pedestrians are put at risk. About a year ago, Kamehameha Highway claimed its first HPU victim in the death of Mariah Danforth-Moore. Although she was not the first person to be hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway, her death heightened awareness about the severity of the situation. This tragedy occurred one month after the state put flashing lights on both sides of the road, along with a warning voice that encourages students to “cross street with caution; vehicles may not stop.” Following the tragedy, at first students took precautions and were careful where they went and when they crossed the highway. However, as time went on and people talked less frequently about Moore’s death, students became lazy again, unperturbed by how dangerous the crossing is. This crosswalk is a large concern because students need to get to the bus stop across from the school almost every day. Although Hawai´i Pacific University provides students with convenient shuttle transportation every fifteen minutes, some students work during the day and often use the bus stop to go places where the shuttle does not. Also, the shuttle does not run on Sundays and has a very limited schedule on weekends. As an HPU student who works all the way downtown near the University of Hawai´i, I have to take two buses every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to get to work. Both days, at three in the afternoon and nine at night, I cross the busy intersection on Kamehameha Highway in order to get to and from campus. At night, it is hard for drivers to see small students crossing a large road in the dark and the risk grows even more serious. Dan Nakaso, writing in the Star Advertiser, quotes several students who believed the flashing safety lights are insufficient and do not protect Pali-bound pedestrians. Within a month after those lights were installed, three students were involved in accidents crossing the highway, and of course Moore was killed after almost completely crossing over to the HPU campus (Nakaso). Jim Mendoza of Hawai´i News Now claims, “The State Department of Transportation will review whether a stoplight is necessary and if the volume of pedestrians would warrant one.” (Mendoza). In my mind, it is clear that without proper safety measures, people will continue to be harmed when crossing this busy - 92 -
intersection. It is obvious that what the State has implemented now is not enough, and something clearly must be done about this dangerous situation. There have been multiple pushes for stoplights on the highway in order to ease traffic around this intersection, along with the idea to erect a bridge that HPU students may cross to gain access to the bus stop across the street. However, the State feels that in order for a stoplight or bridge to be installed, more evidence must be provided that action is needed. Larry Geller reported that according to Department of Transportation spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl, further action to improve safety, such as installing a traffic signal, is not warranted because “the area in front of HPU did not meet the minimum requirement of five pedestrian ‘incidents’ in a 12-month period” (Geller). Apparently, Geller indignantly exclaims, the State of Hawai´i “requires a ‘body count’ before necessary safety precautions must be taken” (Geller). While Geller is exaggerating somewhat in that the five incidents don’t have to be fatal ones, the policy is indeed staggering, since each incident is potentially fatal and causes pain, suffering, and financial and emotional costs. Haven’t there already been sufficient incidents to show a pattern even if five did not occur in one year? How can the government find it fair to compare the costs of even one life, let alone five, to the price of a stoplight? However, it is true that installing a traffic light may not be the best solution. The oncoming traffic from Pali Highway and Kamehameha Highway causes a constant flow of vehicles passing the HPU entrance. The main reason why putting a traffic light at the intersection is such a bad idea is because this would disrupt the flow of cars moving down two of the busiest highways in Hawai´i. Not only would this create more build-up, but the intersection could become even more dangerous with the increase of vehicles. Creating a bridge across Kamehameha Highway is the best option to make the intersection a safer place. Not only can building a bridge bring peace of mind to HPU students, faculty, and family members, but it can also create jobs for the people of Hawai´i. A big project such as this can bring the community together, adding aloha spirit to a “win-win” situation. A bridge will not disrupt the flow of traffic crossing the two highways, while allowing a safe passage into HPU and also out to the bus stops. This form of compromise can save multiple lives from being damaged or lost to the busy highways of Pali and Kamehameha. Works Cited Geller, Larry. "Confirmed: Hawai´i Requires Human Sacrifice Before Installing Traffic Signals." Disappeared News. n.p., 22 Nov. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2012. Mendoza, Jim. "HPU Student Killed While Walking Back to Dorm | News." Hawai´i News Now. n.p., 21 Nov. 2011. Web. 08 Nov. 2012. Nakaso, Dan. "HPU Student Is Killed in Hit and Run Accident." Honolulu Star Advertiser. Nov. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2012.
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PELL GRANT: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL? (By Jessie Scohier) Despite the flaws associated with the Pell Grant, it is a successful and necessary program for lowincome students trying to get a college education. Before it was named the Pell Grant, it was called The Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, and that’s just what it is: allowing low-income families the opportunity to send their kids to college. It started in 1972, but has been changed several times due to “reauthorization.” Every five or six years Congress performs an evaluation to determine if the program is working or not and, if it isn’t, what should change. It seems as though it is reauthorization time again, and the Pell Grant has come up for review. The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal argues that the Pell Grant is costing too much and delivering too little. Their point is clear, yet several of their supporting facts don’t supply enough information for the reader to get an accurate picture. The Pell Grant is a worthwhile program and without it, many students would never see college. This grant should continue to be made available to low-income students. However, not everyone is on the same page about the grant’s worth. According to the authors of “Pell Grants Flunk Out,” the Pell Grant is more often than not a source of fraud. The Wall Street Journal also says that the people it is designed to help are not benefitting enough to balance out the Pell Grant’s cost (“Pell Grants”). The editorial claims one reason the Pell Grant is more detrimental than beneficial is because it increases taxes, since people have learned how to cheat the system. Another concern raised is the number of Pell Grant recipients who actually graduate. In fact, some people are cheating the system. “Pell Runners” have discovered a fairly new way to steal money from the government. “Pell Runners” make money and cheat the system by enrolling in college and applying for the Pell Grant. They withdraw from college as soon as the grant checks are paid, then turn around and enroll in another college and repeat the process. This is costing taxpayers money, but there are several agencies working on solutions in order to help stop this fraud. The Department of Education has formed a group of investigators whose job it is to catch and track suspected “Pell Runners.” Yet many colleges are making it harder for “Pell Runners” to be successful. Community colleges with high rates of Pell fraud have implemented required orientation classes that last several weeks prior to disbursement of grant monies being paid. “Pell Runners” are doing this sort of fraud because it involves no real effort. Requiring that recipients attend orientation classes means that most will just give up and move onto a different college (Field). These ways of thwarting “Pell Runners” have so far been successful and will continue to be successful as more colleges implement these measures around the country. Bringing “Pell Running” to an end will help eliminate the tax increase associated with the grant while still allowing truly disadvantaged students to benefit. The Wall Street Journal also argues that students are falsely claiming financial independence in order to qualify for the Pell Grant. According to the article, 60% of student receiving the grant were financially independent of their parents (“Pell Grants”). Let me mention that the average age for students receiving Pell is 25 years old, making them non-traditional students. Most 25-year-olds would logically be financially independent of their parents, making it clear that they are not cheating the system. Non-traditional students depend only on themselves for income. Generally, a non- 94 -
traditional student has been in the workforce for several years and often is the head of a household that includes children. This could definitely create a tight financial situation that would warrant applying for the Pell Grant. The reason the authors of “Pell Grants Flunk Out” point out that 60% of students are financially independent is to suggest that those students emancipated from their parents for the sole reason of being eligible for the Pell Grant. This does sound persuasive until you look at other facts, after which it just doesn’t seem likely. The reality is that most non-traditional students are, in fact, financially independent from their parents. In many cases, it is because students are no longer dependent that they get the grant and not the other way around. Whether students are independent of parental support really has no bearing on whether or not the system is being taken advantage of, because these students legitimately qualify for the grant. Further, the article states that the Pell Grant is encouraging more first-time students to apply to college; however, it also says that most are not graduating. Yet the authors do not specify how they are determining if students are not graduating. Are they saying that students are not graduating in the typical four years, or they are not graduating, period? They also do not specify if they are taking into account that many Pell Grant students may have transferred to other colleges, not dropped out like the article suggests. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Pell Grant program is actually working the opposite of its intention: students who didn’t receive the grant are much more likely to graduate than students who did. Yet the authors fail to mention that it takes 56% of the college population about six years to graduate with a bachelor’s degree (Wendler). The fact that students who receive the grant don’t graduate as quickly or as frequently as students who don’t is not surprising, and has logical explanations. People who don’t qualify for the grant would naturally be from higher income families, and research shows that college completion rates are almost always directly related to socioeconomic background (Wendler). Therefore, if you come from a family with money, chances are you had a better high school education, more family support, and most likely will not have to work during college. These factors alone would set anyone up for success. When trying to determine if a first-year college student will become a second-year college student, there are several areas to look at: “Delayed enrollment, not having a high school diploma, being enrolled only part time, being financially independent, having dependents, single parent status and working full time while enrolled” (“2011 National Profile”). These are seven factors affecting graduation rates. Pell recipients oftentimes have several of these factors working against them, aside from just being poor. The average family income of the average Pell Grant recipient is $20,302, in contrast with the much higher average rate of non-recipients at $69,235 (“2011 National Profile”). Most non-recipients don’t have to deal with the factors that negatively impact Pell Grant recipients. This isn’t saying the Pell program isn’t working, but it is clearly saying that these people often show up for the first day of class with the cards stacked against them in a way that many non-recipients, or the authors of the article, would not understand. College is hard; working while in college is even harder. Throw a couple children into the mix and imagine how hard it can be. Being a non-traditional student and graduating in six years versus four, with all these other things to worry about, isn’t surprising, nor does it seem like a problem. Everyone is on their own journey and inevitably it will take people varying times to meet certain goals. This shouldn’t be a basis for whether or not a support program is working. Data should be measured over a longer period with more definite parameters. In addition, there is an effort underway to increase the - 95 -
number of Pell Grant graduates. Many colleges are now being offered money based on how many students receiving Pell Grants graduate from the college (“2011 National Profile”). The idea is that colleges will earn this money by paying closer attention and offering more assistance to those already in a disadvantaged situation. This extra assistance and awareness on the part of schools could really help level the playing field. The authors of “Pell Grants Flunk Out” suggest the Pell Grant is only occasionally going to those who need it most, claiming the grant is more of a tax burden than a helpful program. Though they make a few valid points, their figures regarding graduation rates and financially independent students qualifying for aid are misleading. The grant does have its flaws, as does any assistance program, but the right answer is not to cut the benefits completely. Despite some problems, the Pell Grant program is making a positive difference in the lives of the very people it was designed to help. The Pell Grant isn’t a handout; it’s a helping hand that many students legitimately need to better their future and themselves. With all the hard work from the Department of Education to stop the fraud of this very generous and life-changing grant, and the more hands-on approach from colleges to ensure they are offering all possible guidance and support to Pell recipients, I know the Pell Grant Program can continue to be a success and benefit those in need. Works Cited “2011 National Profile of Programs in Title IV of the Higher Education Act.” National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Field, Kelly. "Lawmakers Likely to Undo Expansion of Pell Grants." Chronicle of Higher Education 57.29 (2011): A1-A12. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. "Pell Grants Flunk Out." Wall Street Journal: A.12. June 18, 2012. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Wendler, Walter. “Our Universities: Open Letter to High School Graduates.” N.p.: Southern Illinois University Carbondale, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012.
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ON THE NECESSITY FOR INCREASING GOVERNMENTAL REGULATIONS ON THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY (By Krystal Woods) As citizens of an evolved society, we may consider ourselves lucky to have access to a vast wealth of knowledge in the health care field. Countless treatments and remedies are available to us when we are ill (and plenty even when we are healthy). This wealth of knowledge can prove very beneficial; however, along with it comes the difficult task of determining which treatment is best for us personally. We are bombarded with information through media, marketing, word-of-mouth, and our own physicians. What some of us fail to realize is that the health care industry, more specifically pharmaceutical industry, is a multi-billion-dollar industry. We must be mindful of the fact that there are always financial motives behind the television commercial or even our doctor saying, “This works.” We must also consider ethics: In a world where drug companies enjoy such a large margin of profit, why is it that millions of people can’t get the medicine that they need? Should it be that treatments are so expensive that only the wealthiest can survive? The problem of health care reform has been a hot topic of debate among politicians, scholars, and the public alike, and it is certainly in need of a solution. What we don’t often talk about specifically in these debates, though, are the ethics of drug companies and how they operate. If we are going broke trying to pay for treatments, medications, and innovative medical equipment, where exactly is our money going? According to Grover, et al., “The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, recognizes access to medicines as a core component to the right to health. The Committee has also indicated that states have a responsibility to reduce and prevent unaffordable high prices for medicines” (234). Why then, ask Davidson and Greblov, does the United States continue to be one of the only countries in the world not to enforce any kind of price control on medicine? (7) It is imperative that the government holds drug companies more accountable for their prices, expenses, and ethical responsibilities as a facet of health care. Like many large industries today, the pharmaceutical industry is global. In a competitive global marketplace, the consumer seeks options, and capitalism meets this need by providing several different places to get one service or product. Competition drives companies to increase innovation, decreasing prices for the consumer. Drug companies, however, are showing an upward trend in mergers, thereby decreasing competition within the pharmaceutical industry. According to Davidson and Greblov, across the globe the pharmaceutical industry consists largely of fifteen multi-billion dollar companies, eight of which are based in the United States (11). At the top of the revenue pyramid is Pfizer at $46.1 billion, with 87.25% of its revenue coming from sales of pharmaceutical products (Davidson and Greblov 3). Several of these fifteen companies have undergone huge, multi-billion dollar mergers in the last decade “to help diversify business portfolios, enhance pipelines and add geographic range and research and development capabilities” (Goodman 927). Pfizer, for instance, bought out Pharmacia for $58 billion and Johnson & Johnson has acquired Guidant, Consumer Pharmaceuticals, Egea Biosciences, Biapharm SAS, and Micomed (Davidson and Greblov 3). With fewer companies developing and selling drugs, there is less competition in the marketplace, providing consumers with fewer options when it comes to seeking treatment. Some argue that such profits are necessary for research and development of new medicines, as it takes an average of 10 to 15 years and $1.3 billion to bring a drug from the laboratory (Castellani). However, Davidson and Greblov point out that these companies only - 97 -
spend an average of 15% of their total revenues on research and development (15). This should lead government and consumers to question why medicines are so expensive that they are, in many cases, unattainable to those who need them. It shouldn’t be news to anyone with eyes and ears that nearly two billion people in the world today do not have access to health care and treatments that they need (Grover 234). Perhaps this is because pharmaceutical medicine, although sometimes the determinant of life or death, has become a for-profit business venture. Publications and reports on the success, demise, growth, or lack thereof within pharmaceutical companies rarely mention the actual well-being of patients. Instead, a reader finds information on pressure from shareholders for companies to increase revenues, and on how much money certain medications are contributing to annual growth and profitability. One can read about the concerns of patents for drugs on the verge of expiring, and how worried shareholders are that a more affordable, generic version may become available to the public. Those of us who struggle to pay for our medicines hardly share the same as companies that bring in billions of dollars of revenue each year. As Grover states, “Pharmaceutical companies are largely responsible for determining for which diseases drugs are developed, where drugs will be sold, and at what cost” (Grover 235). Yet private organizations lacking accountability should not have such power over the health of people all over the world. Aside from pleasing shareholders and increasing the ability to acquire smaller companies, one might wonder why companies need to make that many billions of dollars every year. If only an average of 15% of revenue is spent on research and development of new drugs, where is the other 85% spent? I asked Tim Marquis, a pharmaceutical sales representative for eight years, if he likes working for Bristol Myers-Squibb. He replied, “Well, where else can I make this much money, make my own hours, get great health benefits, have my car, iPhone, and iPad paid for, and get paid to take people out for drinks? With only a BS in business? I can’t think of anywhere else” (Marquis). Marquis complains that in the last few years, first while working for Pfizer and now for Bristol MyersSquibb, the amount of paperwork required of sales representatives has increased. Marquis’ job is to sell drugs like Abilify to private doctors’ offices throughout Western Massachusetts. He does this by making routine visits, chatting with office personnel, and taking promising physicians out for lunches, dinners, and golf outings. Occasionally he will hold a pharmaceutical presentation at a restaurant of his choice. These presentations consist of passed appetizers, dinner, cocktails, and impressive Power Points demonstrating the effects of the drugs his company sells (Marquis). When I asked Marquis if he knows that two billion people in the world don’t have access to medicine, he said, “I know. It’s awful. The government really needs to reform the health care system” (Marquis). And place more regulations on pharmaceutical companies, increasing demand for expense reports from pharmaceutical sales representatives? “Well, obviously I wouldn’t mind doing more paperwork if it meant saving someone’s life somewhere” (Marquis). When I thanked Marquis for the interview, he responded, “Anytime! I was just working out in the yard” (Marquis). It was a Tuesday at 3:00 in the afternoon. Reassessing and perhaps decreasing the perks that pharmaceutical sales representatives receive would be a worthwhile task, since over 100,000 people are employed at Pfizer alone (Marquis). The gifts that - 98 -
physicians receive from pharmaceutical representatives and their respective companies should also be examined. Some physicians even hold equity in the same companies that they buy drugs from: “Physicians in clinical practice may order drugs and devices produced by firms that offer them consulting contracts or gifts or in which they hold an equity interest rather than the products that are most appropriate for a particular patient or most cost effective. Conflicts of interest may even infect clinical practice guidelines” (Jost 327). I do not suggest that all physicians can be “bought” with golf outings, but the possibility is there and undoubtedly it can be tempting. Others may argue that close relationships between pharmaceutical companies and doctors are essential. All of these justifications are, of course, based on financial arguments. As previously mentioned, a portion of revenue from pharmaceutical companies is given in the form of research grants. The government also funds medical research, but only at a fraction of what some of the larger pharmaceutical firms are able to grant. Jost points out that some companies may also sponsor medical students and continuing education for physicians to train themselves on new, innovative treatments (Jost 327). While extensive medical research and innovation are essential to the development of new life-saving drugs, common sense should tell us that where money is involved, there is usually a concern of power and control. Drug companies invest millions of dollars in the research and development of new pharmaceuticals that will potentially earn huge profits. In order for a drug to be approved, it needs to yield certain results. Given this structure of the system, bias with the research process becomes a major concern. Even when sponsored researchers do not demonstrate biases in research and results, drug companies have power that goes beyond just funding. Ross, et al. claim that ghostwriting, publication planning, seeding trials, and other methods are often practiced to distort medical literature describing certain drugs: “Clinical trials designed by industry to promote the use of pharmacotherapies are known as marketing or seeding trials” (Ross et al., 73). Often, these trials are designed to study medications that have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The goal for drug companies is to put the new medication or medical equipment in the hands of physicians in the hopes that a “pleasant, even profitable, interaction with the company will result in more loyal physicians who prescribe the drug” (Ross et. al, 74). These types of trials are marketing ventures, so the results are rarely published (Ross et. al, 74). John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Rating Center, advises readers to be wary of doctor’s offices that have certain machines and medical equipment on premises, since that makes it easier for doctors to order unnecessary tests and each test makes the physician more money (12). In addition to seeding trials, publication planning is also practiced among many drug companies. Although a seemingly simple concept, this is undoubtedly an issue of concern. Publication planning involves taking medical data from clinical trials and turning them into journal articles for publication. In order to “derive the maximum commercial value from clinical research through carefully constructed and placed articles” (Ross et. al, 73), pharmaceutical companies place these articles in “high-profile journals for high market impact findings” (Ross et. al, 73). They will also publish many of essentially the same articles in several low-profile journals in order to increase marketing power (Ross et. al, 73). One of the earliest major examples of this drug company strategy was exposed by - 99 -
Pfizer and their publication planning of the drug sertraline, used to treat depression. The company published 85 articles discussing sertraline, and all of the articles were “uniformly positive in their discussion of the medication” (Ross et. al, 74). “Key messaging” goes hand-in-hand with publication planning. Key messaging refers to determining the type of language and themes that will promote sales, and using these within publication planning to increase marketing power, promotion, and revenue from the drug. Unfortunately, especially with new drugs, most readers are unaware of the marketing mechanisms behind such articles. What if you had high cholesterol and read in 85 different journal articles that hopping on one leg three times per day would lower your cholesterol? After a while, the thought might seem less silly and more credible, even if the actual data didn’t completely support the “key messaging” within the articles. This is the power of marketing, and herein lays the problem of publication planning. Publication planning and key messaging may have more of an effect than we’re even aware of. Davidson points out that drugs for psychiatric diseases are considered to have especially high potential for manufacturing (Davidson 6). In 2009, drug companies spent $300 million on ads for two new antidepressants alone, and sales soared; in one year, doctors prescribed $9.9 billion worth of antidepressants, a 3% increase from the previous year (“Drugs for Depression and Anxiety”). The effectiveness of the ads is apparent here, but what about the effectiveness of the drugs? In an American Medical Association study involving 718 patients conducted from 1980 to 2009, it was found that “when people with mild or even moderate depression took a pill, their symptoms improved . . . the improvement was the same . . . whether the pill was a real drug or a lookalike placebo” (“Drugs for Depression and Anxiety”). The fact that many antidepressant clinical trials do not record placebo characteristics (Hughes 20) should again make one question the validity of these trials. $300 million was spent on advertising a drug that may have the same effect as a sugar pill. Along with publication planning and key messaging comes the practice of selective publication and reporting. Similar in nature, these practices mean failing to include certain aspects and findings within research and clinical trials. Since the pharmaceutical industry owns its data findings, they decide what will be included within journal publications of results (Ross, et.al 74). This practice is also motivated by marketing techniques, and is designed again to make the reader think or feel a certain way about the drug in question. In comparing drug company-published articles with trial reports submitted by the companies to the FDA for approval for the same 12 antidepressants, it was found that all of the positive results found by the FDA were published. The negative results were either not published, or if published were worded in a way that the negative results sounded positive (Ross et. al, 75). In commentary on “PhRMA’s Code on Interaction with Healthcare Professionals,” Diane Bieri mentions the section demanding transparency between drug companies and physicians; one must read the fine print to discover that the guidelines of this code of “highest ethical and professional standards” for pharmaceutical marketing are in fact voluntary and optional (18). Here is an area where the government should step in to demand that the guidelines concerning transparency in publication of pharmaceutical research and findings become mandatory. The study of the drugs in question, and the data describing them, is a science. Therefore, any publications describing such drugs should be conveyed in a scientific manner. Facts and findings should not be omitted, and scientific journals should be used to inform physicians, scientists, and the public. Publications should not be used solely - 100 -
for marketing and deception purposes in order for pharmaceutical companies to sell more drugs and make more money. Aside from research, development and marketing, pharmaceutical companies justify charging a small fortune for drugs because they claim to lose money to generic drugs. When a drug company develops a new, approved drug, they are granted patent protection for that drug for twenty years (“Frequently Asked Questions on Patents and Exclusivity”). When the patents near their expiration dates, generic drug companies begin marketing and selling generic, more affordable versions of said drugs. This causes a significant drop in sales for the name-brand drug. Previously, to avoid this, drug companies used “pay for delay,” referring to business deals in which patented drug companies essentially paid off generic drug makers to delay the production of more costeffective alternatives to the original, patented drug. Usually the drugs are sold for 30 to 60% less than the name brand (“An Allergy to Democracy”). According to the New York Times, “The Federal Trade Commission, which has valiantly fought to ban such agreements, estimates that they [pay offs] will cost American consumers about $35 billion over the next 10 years unless they are stopped (“Drug Company Payoffs”). Fortunately, in 2010 the House of Representatives passed a bill to crack down on this tactic, although the bill does not completely ban it. Given the fact that many big pharmaceutical companies (i.e. Schering-Plough, maker of Claritin) spend up to $2 million on lobbyists annually (“An Allergy to Democracy”), it’s not likely that “pay for delay” will ever be completely banned. Lobbying is yet another conflict of interest and issue of corruption within the pharmaceutical industry. This is an issue with many other industries as well, as larger corporations increase their power within the government by funding political campaigns. In the case of the pharmaceutical industry however, we are dealing with the health of our citizens and of people around the world. Drug companies do not need any more power than they already have. Monopolization, inflated prices, confusing and sometimes unethical relationships with doctors, excessive marketing, gift-giving, deception, omission, lobbying: The list of corruption and confusion within the drug industry seems never-ending and impossibly intricate. In reality, this should be fairly simple: Health and health care is a human rights issue and should not be viewed and treated as a lucrative business or enormous profit-driven corporation. Scientific research is just that: a science. Research should not be treated as fuel for the marketing fire. The cost of medicine is too high for companies to be spending millions of dollars on sales representatives, pens and golf outings for doctors, and campaign funding. Perhaps pharmaceutical companies present a conflict of interest all on their own. Are pharmaceutical sales representatives really necessary? Doctors should be required to attend routine training and informational sessions about new drugs and treatments and make prescription decisions based on evidence and data. If anything, pharmaceutical representatives should be employed by doctors’ offices and hospitals; this way, the information that medical professionals acquire will not be biased by the particular drug company they work for. This way, the main objective would be to inform rather than to push sales. Ridding drug companies of their salespeople could also lower the cost of drugs significantly. The companies would sell drugs because they are safe and effective, and the companies who are not producing these types of drugs would not be rewarded.
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It goes without question that lobbying and “pay for delay” should be completely banned, as this would also significantly lower the cost of drugs. Pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for their sales methods and their pricing. The United States needs to enforce price control, like many other countries in the world. Those who oppose price controls argue that investors are less likely to invest in companies within countries enforcing price control (Koenig 950). However, if price control were globally mandated, this would become a non-issue. Companies’ methods of research and reporting also need to be closely monitored, so that thoroughness is ensured and tactics like seeding trials and publication planning are no longer utilized. The patent system also needs to be reevaluated so that generic drug companies can sell for a lower price, creating more competition within the industry while increasing accessibility to medicine for those in need. Advocates for the pharmaceutical industry use words like “innovation, progress, technology, value, science, partnership, solutions, jobs” [and]”hope”… “to describe what [they] do” (“Pharmaceutical Industry Critics: How Dare They?”). They tell stories of “miracle drugs” that have been discovered with the help of drug companies and their investors. One must understand that some drugs can save lives and buy time, and those drugs take a great deal of money, time, and innovation to materialize. To stress the value of said drugs, the industry plays to our emotions by giving real-life examples of sufferers who find life and relief in these drugs. Many of the real-life stories are extremely heartfelt and offer a great deal of hope to sufferers. However, when telling such stories, a hard truth is often omitted: “Two billion people lack access to medicines globally” (Grover et. al, 234). There is much work to be done to clean up the system and the industry, which will be difficult for the government and legislators for as long as lobbying still exists. In the meantime, it should be our responsibility as consumers to educate ourselves and understand that at least for the time being, this corruption and deception exists. We need to make ourselves aware of the relationships that the pharmaceutical industry has with our physicians, and make sure that we are doing our homework before we accept any expensive treatments, tests, or medicines. Works Cited “An Allergy to Democracy.” Multinational Monitor 20.10 (October 1998). Web. 24 Nov 2012. Bieri, Diane. “PhRMA’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals.” The American Journal of Bioethics 10.10 (October 2010): 18. Web. 4 Dec 2012. Castellani, John J. “Pharmaceutical Industry Critics: How Dare They?” n.p. PhRMA Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 12 April 2012. Speech. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. Castellani, John J. “Problems and Possibilities in the Pharmaceutical Industry.” N.p. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Washington, D. C., 14 July 2011. Speech. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. Davidson, Larry and Gennadiy Greblov. “The Pharmaceutical Industry in the Global Economy.” N.p. Indiana University Kelley School of Business: 2005. Web. 14 Oct 2012. “Drug Company Payoffs.” New York Times (7 July 2010): 20. Web. 29 Oct. 2012. - 102 -
“Drugs for Depression and Anxiety.” Consumer Reports. July 2010. Web. 29 Oct 2012. “Frequently Asked Questions on Patents and Exclusivity.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, October 2012. Web. 29 Oct 2012. Goodman, Michael. “Pharmaceutical Industry Financial Performance.” Nature Reviews Drug Discovery (1 December 2009): 927-28. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. Grover, Anand, et al. “Companies and Global Lack of Access to Medicines: Strengthening Accountability under the Right of Health.” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 40.2 (2012): 234-50. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. Hughes, John, et al. “Exploratory Review of Placebo Characteristics Reported in Randomised Placebo Controlled Antidepressant Drug Trials.” Pharmacopsychiatry 45:1 (January 2012): 20-27. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. Jost, Timothy. “Oversight of Marketing Relationships between Physicians and the Drug and Device Industry: A Comparative Study.” American Journal of Law & Medicine 36 (2010): 326-342. Web. 24 Nov. 2012. Koenig, Pamina, and Megan Macgarvie. “Regulatory policy and the location of bio-pharmaceutical foreign direct investment in Europe.” Journal of Health Economics 30:5 (September 2011): 950-965. Web. 4 Dec. 2012. Marquis, Timothy. Telephone interview. 10 Nov. 2012. Ross, Joseph, Cary Gross, and Harlan Krumholz. “Promoting Transparency in PharmaceuticalSponsored Research.” American Journal of Public Health 102: 1 (January 2012): 72-80. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. Santa, John. “Doctor, Businessperson, or Both?” Consumer Reports 77:7 (July 2012): 12. Web. 14 Oct. 2012.
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Katrina Agnew-Yanabe, from Honolulu, is majoring in Nursing and plans to become an oncology nurse. Like so many of her fellow contributors, she enjoys living in Hawai´i because of its year-round beautiful weather.
Tobias Bjerre, an international exchange student from Sweden, is currently studying Travel Industry Management at HPU and will soon return to Scandinavia. Here in Hawai´i he has enjoyed “cultural diversity that's hard to find on any other place in the world,” as well as the beach, sun, and aloha spirit.
Melissa Crews, from Northern California, has not yet declared her major but knows she wants to pursue animal rescue and save animals of all kinds, exotic and domestic. Her favorite part of living in Hawai´i is being able to jump in the warm Pacific Ocean whenever she wants to.
Shawn Crowley hails from Gloucester, Massachusetts, and is pursuing a BSBA in Marketing. He hopes while at HPU to make the connections necessary to establish a career that connects with people across great distances. Shawn enjoys Hawai´i’s unique culture—“so many different perspectives, all coming together to share a spectacular climate and some pretty tasty food.” As a trumpeter in the HPU band, he “gets goosebumps playing Hawai´i Pono' i, every time.”
Caleb Davidson moved to Hawai´i from Tiffin, Iowa. A major in Biology, he plans to become a doctor. Caleb enjoys the diverse student body at HPU, because “You can’t go a day without learning something new about different places around the world.” [NOT PICTURED] Abdel Hafid El Alaoui, from La Ville aux Dames, France, is a pure math major who plans to get his math doctorate and teach in “a place where there are beautiful mountains.” He has - 104 -
appreciated HPU for its support of writers, particularly of those for whom English is a non-native language, since here he “found instructors who were always willing to help me and who connected with me personally.” Thanks to their attention, essays which began as paragraphs would eventually become twelve pages. [NOT PICTURED] Amanda Faver, from Elk Grove, California, is a Communications major who hopes to work in community relations. She enjoys HPU for its “unbeatable” environment, small class sizes that allow students to get acquainted with their professors, and diverse, talented student body.
Mhary Grace de Francia, a Nursing major from Pearl City, would eventually like to experience working as a nurse both here in Hawai´i and out of state. She enjoys attending HPU because of “the dedication and passion that the professors, faculty and staff have in helping the students reach their highest potential; I can feel their love for their work.” She also enjoys being close to nature and having the opportunity to sightsee every time she travels to Hawai´i Loa from downtown.
Jasmine Fujimoto of Manoa is a Biology major who intends to pursue an optometry career. She appreciates HPU for its volleyball team, clubs, and the possibility for “having fun while getting a good education.” She enjoys Hawai´i for its “amazing food,” snorkeling, hiking, camping, and shopping.
Ali Ishaque, a Computer Information Systems major, hails from O´ahu. He appreciates HPU’s small class sizes and the student-to-faculty ratio which, he says, allows the students to interact with a “personable and approachable” faculty.
Gabryn Kaai is a psychology major living in Kapolei, who hopes to find a career that combines her interest in psychology with graphic arts. She enjoys Hawai´i’s weather and the closeness of our community here in the islands.
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Heidi Le Blanc is originally from New Orleans. A major in biology, her career goal is to become a physical therapist. Heidi enjoys Hawai´i’s weather and HPU’s small class sizes.
Damien Lee is a political science major originally from Auburn, California, who plans to pursue the University of Hawai´i’s joint JD/MBA Program. Life is good here, he says, due to “great people, beautiful weather.”
Alicia Meyerink is a Nursing major from Bailey, Colorado. She hopes to experience the world by becoming a traveling nurse. Meanwhile, she enjoys being “surrounded by nature, sun, and warmth” in Hawai´i, and she loves the fact that “HPU is smaller and can offer more educational support to the individual.” [NOT PICTURED] Emily Mueller, from West Bend, Wisconsin, is a junior in HPU’s Marine Biology program and hopes to become a teacher. She loves Hawai´i’s breathtaking views, and enjoys the many opportunities here for adventure.
My Nyander hails from Helsingborg, Sweden. She has been studying Travel Industry Management at HPU for two semesters but will soon return home to pursue additional studies. She appreciates “how HPU takes care of the students, and all the activities that are going on.” She loves Hawai´i’s climate and proximity to the sea; “it is so easy,” says My, “just to go outside and do things!”
Katie Peterson, originally from Mesa, Arizona, moved to Hawai´i from her recent hometown of Eureka, Montana. A double major in Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences, she hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to make a positive difference in the oceans and environment— especially if she can work with whales. As an HPU student she enjoys experiencing things she couldn't anywhere else—swimming with sharks, watching whales and dolphins (while in class, no less), and visiting numerous world-famous beaches—not to mention the weather.
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[NOT PICTURED] Hunter Ranon, of Ewa Beach, is a Computer Science major who enjoys the diversity of people that we find here at HPU.
Camille Sarmiento, of O´ahu, is an Elementary Education major who plans to become a primary school teacher. She enjoys Hawai´i for its diversity. [NOT PICTURED] Jessie Scohier was born in Atlanta and recently moved to Honolulu from Charlotte. She plans to pursue dental hygiene as well as motherhood. Her favorite thing about Hawai´i—“hands down,” she says—is the flowers.
Linn Skulstad, from Oslo, Norway, is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Communications and hopes to work in PR, preferably in either the sports or hospitality industry. She loves how easily someone can build a professional network and be rewarded for hard work at HPU, along with the weather, beach, and wonderful new friends. [NOT PICTURED] Sarah Soden. [No information available.]
Krystal Woods is a Psychology major from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and the Psychology Department ´ohana is her favorite thing about being an HPU student.
Jennifer Yamaguchi, from Aiea and a proud graduate of Aiea High School on O´ahu, is majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Writing. Her goal is to become a teacher in Hawai´i, and “to make a difference in children's lives by teaching them how to be successful both in and out of the classroom.” Jennifer enjoys HPU’s small classes and the individualized attention from professors. She’s had a great first year here; “being able to still live at home and be around my family and friends from high school, but still be able to meet new people from Hawai´i and from around the world.”
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MAHALO! The editors and contributors would like to acknowledge the contributions and support of the following people: William Potter, Acting Dean, HPU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Antonio De Castro, HPU Web Services Laurie Leach, Chair, HPU English Department Lily Nazareno, Cover Artist Lauren Uno, Editorial Intern Nominating Instructors: Kathleen Cassity (WRI 1100) Hiyaguha Cohen (WRI 1100) David Falgout (WRI 1200) Lisa Kawai (WRI 1100) Laurie Leach (WRI 1100) Tyler McMahon (WRI 1200) Deborah Ross (WRI 1150) Micheline Soong (WRI 1200) Christy Williams (WRI 1100)
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