Monthly Archives: March 2014

Option 3: Deliberation Recording

Aditya: Does not think it will work too well, but the only beneficial aspect of it would be programming.  EXCEL would be crucial for students, especially in business.  In depth programming is not needed, but a basic understanding of coding and programming is necessary.

Erik: Skills are important but not as critical compared to exploration of majors and minors.

Kareem: Basic courses for EXCEL and other programs in Microsoft Office would be helpful for students.  These programs are used constantly in classes and students are expected to have a general background of these programs.

Jerry: iMovie and Moviemaker are great programs to be used for alterative media forms.

Erik: A general skills program for students would be much better than a specific skills program.  By making the program general, the program would align itself closer to an exploration program.

Jerry: Integration of CAS 100 and ENG 015 would be much better for the same 3 credits.  Students would be able to take different course related to their major.

Recording: General Education Option 1

Option 1:

Aditya: Thinks Option 1 is a good idea, but students should be able to take courses outside of their major to explore potential minors (just like in DUS).

Kareem: Agrees that Gen Eds should be a part of the curriculum, but should not be too demanding in terms of workload.

Javier: Too much exploration in different areas would be meaningless, too much general knowledge.

Erik: It’s good to have a different perspective from Gen Eds to bring into your specific major.

Aditya: General Education courses are generally not too difficult.

Javier: If General Education courses are too easy then students applying for jobs will not be as prepared and would look better on paper.

Aditya: The purpose of General Education courses is lost since students take the easiest possible Gen Eds instead of exploring potential interests.

Javier: It would be better if we had fewer General Education courses that are not relevant to your major.  The credits cost money!  What would happen when the total number of Gen Ed credits gets decreased? Would there be more credits required for your major?

Aditya: Computer General Education courses would be most beneficial.  Learning about computer programs such as EXCEL and programming would be very helpful.

Sam: The recommended academic plan outlines everything thing that is needed for a particular major.  Exploration pathways would not be really helpful.




Paper 3 Draft: Rebuttal

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has remained active for over two-hundred years.  Prior to the late 19th Century, a predominately Muslim population, along with a smaller Christian population, and an even smaller Jewish population co-existed peacefully.  The current situation between Israel and Palestine has intensified as Israel persistently tries to reclaim territory by force.  On March 14th, 2013, a Penn State student claimed in an article titled, “‘Apartheid’ is an appropriate word to describe Israel” that the treatment of Palestinians and other minority groups in Israel can be described as apartheid.  The student goes on to cite Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to describe the human rights violations that Israel’s government committed during the course of Israel’s reign.  Although the student’s sources validate aspects of his claim of mistreatment, the definition and usage of the term “apartheid” is utilized wrongly and the term cannot stand in his argument.  In order to rectify the student’s claim, the student must re-label the situation in Israel as increasingly hostile towards Palestinians with actual examples of mistreatment and offer an alternative solution to peace between the two sides rather than to just criticize Israel’s inaction on the situation.

To begin with, before applying a word to a specific event or group of people, a writer must fully understand the definition of the word.  In this scenario, the student incorrectly labels Israel’s human rights violations under the term, “apartheid”.  This word is directly associated with the racial segregation of Africans in South Africa from the white minority.  The term literally means the state of being apart or “apart-hood”, which is not nearly the case in Israel.  Black South Africans were gruesomely beat, harassed, and oppressed by their puppet government controlled by the white elitists.  Palestinians in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are represented by their elected leaders of the Palestinian Authority as well as the Hamas, which was not the case for black South Africans.  An example of the mistreatment and a response against it is shown in an article that states an ex-Israeli soldier, Andre Pshenichnikov, now vows to apply for Palestinian citizenship after he had enough of the human rights violations against Palestinians (New Internationalist).  The extent to which Israel has tormented and humiliated Israeli-Arabs has caused global outrage on the international stage.  Even the U.S. has been warned of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians living in their territories as declared in a 1989 report, “The annual human rights report, released yesterday by the State Department, accuses Israel of a ‘substantial increase in human rights violations’, mainly in relation to the 14-month old Palestinian uprising on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, producing ‘many avoidable deaths and injuries,’” (Financial Times).  The number of examples of mistreatment and abuse against Palestinians are endless due to the Israeli government’s abilities to cover up events or to ignore the human rights violations committed altogether.

Furthermore, a way and means to create peace and stability in the Palestinian-controlled territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank must be agreed upon.  Presenting reports of human rights violations will not provoke action in the Israeli government; deliberation amongst the powers of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the United States will stir up efforts towards achieving peace as well as non-aggression.  This is highlighted in an excerpt of a commentary that reinforces, “On April 24, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House Appropriations Committee that U.S. and Arab support for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on the Netanyahu government’s willingness to accept the two-state solution and make the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state a principal goal,” (Glick 1).  Without talks between all respective parties, there is no opportunity for advancements on the Israeli or Palestinian side.  The Obama Administration has voiced its support for a Palestinian state and Israeli officials have agreed that it is ultimately the only plan that Palestinians would agree upon.  The territory of the Golan Heights would be given back to Syria as a part of this plan.  Regardless of what plan is finally agreed chosen, one must be agreed upon by all parties involved in the talks.

In a final analysis, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine cannot be described as “apartheid” contrary to popular belief.  The word’s definition and use in context is not proper to describe the wrongful conditions that Palestinians are put under.  Previous co-existence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews proves that present-day peace is attainable. In order to rectify the student’s claim, the student must re-label the situation in Israel as increasingly hostile towards Palestinians with actual examples of mistreatment and offer an alternative solution to peace between the two sides rather than to just criticize Israel’s inaction on the situation.


Works Cited

“Ex-Israeli soldier seeks Palestinian citizenship.” New Internationalist July 2012: 9. Gale Power Search. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

Glick, Caroline B. “The stabilization plan.” Commentary 127.6 (2009): 34+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Mar. 2014

Riddell, Peter. “US Attacks Israel on Human Rights.” Financial Times, 8 Feb. 1989. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.

Personal Stake on General Education

General Education courses have been an integral part of college-level education.  These courses offer students a broad array of knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences.  As a college Freshman at Penn State, I have taken a General Education course that I believe is essential to every student, regardless of one’s major: Econ 102.  Through this course, I have realized the importance of the basic principles of supply and demand, price elasticity, and the influence that consumers have on markets.  All students should have a general knowledge of economics that can be used to make informed decisions later on in life.

Penn State’s General Education reform should focus primarily on exploration.  The thing that most incoming freshman have trouble with is the transition from high school to college-style education.  This phase can be troubling for students whom are undecided or unsure about their major.  In conjunction with intensive work loads in courses and having trouble meeting new friends, students should feel at ease with General Education at Penn State.  Exploring subjects and ideas in various areas can assist in a student’s eventual decision on what major is most fitting.  Exploration is the first step towards success in a person’s life.




A mooncake is a Chinese baked good that is traditionally eaten during the Moon Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival).  Just like many other Chinese foods, this one comes with a folk tale.  It goes something like this: at one point the world had 10 suns, and the Chinese Emperor requests China’s best archer, Hou Yi, to shoot down 9 of the 10 suns.  It is said that the 10 suns caused a massive drought and deadly heat for the people of China.  Hou Yi successfully shoots down the 9 suns and his wife is given a pill of immortality that makes her float toward the moon.  She resides there as a reminder of what Hou Yi accomplished.  During the Moon Festival (late September or early October depending on the lunar calendar), people enjoy mooncakes to continue the tradition of the mooncake.

The mooncake has several different shapes, sizes, and tastes.  The Hong Kong-style mooncake, pictured above right, contains 4 egg yolks that represent each of the four phases of the moon.  The texture is paste-like and made of lotus seed.  A box of four mooncakes in the U.S. are generally sold for a minimum of $40.  The pastry is quite an expensive treat and are a major hit despite its high cost.  The dessert is a favorite of young children whom celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in conjunction with floating sky lanterns.

The Taiwanese mooncake pictured above left, is most commonly filled with red bean paste, sometimes with mochi filled in the center.  Novelty mooncakes are growing increasingly in popularity among the young generation with fillings of green tea, chocolate, ice cream, and even tiramisu.  The roundness of the mooncake symbolizes completeness and unity for China and its people. In modern times, during the night of the Mid-Autumn festival families work together to make mooncakes that shows harmony, peace, and togetherness of the members of the family.  The Moon Festival is celebrated by Chinese, Taiwanese, Philipinos, and the Vietnamese.  In the Vietnamese culture, the mooncake is eaten as well as viewing lion dances and making five-pointed star shaped lanterns.  In the Philipines, a game of chance, known as the mooncake dice game, or simply mooncake game, is also played by both Chinese-Filipinos and Filipinos alike.  The mooncake has lost some of its original meaning in modern times, but the roots of its creation still remain very much alive.

The variety of foods in Taiwan covers anything that you could think of.  The main entrees, supporting appetizers, and mouth-watering desserts encompass all of my eating needs.  Why else w0uld I suffer through an 18-hour flight to Taiwan?  For the food of course…  🙂


Paper 3: Rebuttal Outline

Article: “Apartheid is an appropriate term to describe Israel”

Introduction:  With my introductory paragraph, I plan to broadly describe the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.  I will be objective and present the facts for both sides of the disputed territory.  I will then reject the claim that the word “apartheid” is an appropriate term to describe Israel using facts and additional support.

Body: In the body, I will address how the word “apartheid” was used incorrectly in describing Israel, describe how the Israel-Palestine conflict is much more complicated than it appears at the surface superficially, and how the writer’s use of words and support are slanted in favor of the Palestinian-cause (I will remain objective in my approach as an outsider).

Conclusion: For the conclusion, I will restate my thesis and show how the argument is invalid.  I will try to convince my audience of my approach and show how the terminology is incorrect.


March 7th Assignment


Piece #1: The Colbert Report, “Mayor Rob Ford”

Utter Stupidity: Stephen Colbert satirizes the events that have troubled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s political and personal life by stating at 0:43, “Big mistake Ford (motor company), Rob Ford could help you reach out to a large, lucrative new market, because after all there is no product with more customer loyalty than crack.”  This is referring to Ford’s recent appeal to T-shirt manufacturers to stop making T-shirts for Mayor Ford with the Ford logo on them.  This is an explicit use of this fallacy that is utilized very humorously and effectively by Colbert.

Bad Example: Mayor Ford was caught urinating next to an elementary school and Colbert says at 1:35, “He was just trying to tell kids to stay in school, seriously kids, stay inside, the mayor is out there.”  The example that Colbert uses to prove his argument is wrongly interpreted.  Stephen Colbert cleverly makes a connection between staying in school and Mayor Rob Ford’s public urination next to the elementary sch0ol.

False Choice: After discussing the behavior of Mayor Ford, Colbert shares his viewpoint at 1:51, “According to Canadian law, the only ones with the power to arrest the mayor are the Queen and Wayne Gretzky.”  There are many more options for the audience to decide who could arrest Mayor Ford, but Colbert only gives them two options.

Piece #2: The Colbert Report, “TIP/WAG US Dept. of Justice and Wall Street”—u-s–department-of-justice—wall-street?xrs=synd_facebook_031214_cn_9

Tautology: At 00:25, Colbert declares, “I’ve always supported the government spying programs, but apparently, unchecked eavesdropping on our own citizens comes at a terrible price, the price.”  The proof and the conclusion that Colbert comes up with are exactly identical.  The audience expects to hear a completely different conclusion, however; the proof and conclusion remain unchanged. 

Red Herring: Stephen Colbert says at 01:42, “I thought you were responsible enough to handle a widespread surveillance program at your age, you said you had to have one because all of the other leaders of the free world did.”  He masterfully creates rhetoric that imitates the conversation that a parent and his or her child would have about a phone bill with additional charges for going over the family’s phone plan.  Colbert continues going on a tangent and this creates a comical experience for the audience that is very relatable.

Reductio ad absurdum: Colbert starts talking about the SAT and how many high-schoolers are stressing out about it, at 02:38, “Let me prep you for the test by going through some synonyms, SAT: Panic, Anxiety, Hysteria, Horror, Failure.”  Again, Colbert hilariously offers high school students a preparation for the SAT by giving them words that all lead to more stress for the examination.  The words that he asks become more ridiculous each successive time, which eventually conclude with the word, failure.

 Piece #3: The Colbert Report, “Obama’s Overtime Pay Expansion”

Nasty Language: As Colbert describes how Obama bypassed Congress to pass new overtime rules, he calls President Obama the “Marxist-in-Chief at 00:35, which puts the President in a bad light.  This is all a part of Colbert’s ploy to pretend to criticize the Commander-in-Chief when he is actually praising him for making companies pay more money to its employers for working overtime hours.

Bad Example: Colbert discusses how the overtime pay will be exempt for those who supervise people for 5% of the time and further states at 01:35, ” Folks, that makes sense to me, even when you are stocking shelves, you are managing a lot of people: Little Debbie, Chef Boyardee, the Dough Boy…” The examples that Colbert gives are irrelevant and false.

Overall, Stephen Colbert has mastered the use of fallacies for his 30-minute TV show segments.  His prowess has been unmatched in many aspects and he continues to deliver great satirical pieces that please audiences nationwide.  The fallacies used are all witty and very appealing to viewers.




Black Sesame Tang-Yuan


The best part about eating traditional Taiwanese and Chinese foods is the variety of options that one has to pick from when it comes to eating entrees, desserts, and any other type of food.  There are so many tastes, smells, and textures of food that I haven’t even tried yet.  Each city in Taiwan and province in China has its own esoteric dishes that are unique to the area.  This is why there are so many kinds of food, culture, and language in both countries.  The dessert that I am highlighting today is the black sesame tangyuan.

Black sesame tangyuan is made up of many ingredients: glutinous rice flour, black sesame seeds, butter, and granulated rock sugar.

– The sesame seeds are grinded into a fine powder (a paste should form from the powder), mix the paste with the granulated sugar and butter, and this combination creates the black sesame filling of the dessert.

-For the dough, mix the flour with one cup of water until a soft dough is formed.  Flatten the dough out until it is completely smooth.  Keep the dough refrigerated and covered until it is ready to be used.

– When ready, flatten a piece of dough into a small disk, add a small ball of sesame filling, and roll the mixture into a ball (pictured above).

– Bring a small pot of water to a boil and gently drop the pre-made sesame balls into the pot.  Allow the black sesame tang-yuan to be cooked for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is softened.  Serve and enjoy!

An interesting fact about this sweet treat is that sesame tang-yuan desserts are served year-round and are most prominent at the end of the Chinese New Year.  The dessert marks the end of the festival and the start of a prosperous new year.

Whenever I had eaten tangyuan as a child, there was never any real special occasion (I guess we loved the dessert that much).  Instead of eating homemade black sesame tangyuan, we would normally buy pre-made, frozen, and packaged tangyuan straight from our local Asian grocery store.  I never would complain though because it tasted as satisfying as anything else that I had eaten.  My parents had always warned me to eat the black sesame balls gently to ensure that not all of the sesame juices would flow out after my first bite.  If you do not eat the outer glutinous layer in conjunction with the sesame filling, the dessert will taste bland.  The two tastes and textures complement each other perfectly.  The glutinous rice layer on the outside can vary from normal white rice, to purple jasmine rice, and even brown rice.

Portfolio 1: Letter of Introduction

Paper 1:

For Paper 1, I discussed the 2013 Super Bowl commercial by Ram called “Farmer.”  My argument in this piece is that the commercial proves that Americans have the same instilled values of the American farmer through the evoking pathos among the audience, depicting the culture of American patriotism, and further utilizing rhetorical devices in the commercial.  The revisions that I have made consist of elaborating more on the context and commonplaces of American values, describing the pastoral imagery of the farmland, add detail on the ethos of Paul Harvey as a narrator and American figure, and strengthening the topic sentences by making them more analytical.

For Paper 2, I presented the disparities in reporting between the CNN and Fox News coverage of the Governor Chris Christie scandal.  My main argument is that the details of the event are skewed in an effort to lessen or heighten the importance of the scandal and influence the audience in two separate political directions through the reporters’ use of quotes by Christie, varied connotation from word choice, and additional video or images publicized.  The revisions that I have made include editing the introductory paragraph to describe the overall scandal itself, how it has affected the possibility of Christie’s 2016 presidential run, and how it hurt the people of Fort Lewis directly.  Additionally, I fixed the depiction of CNN’s report as more biased against Christie instead of neutral/indifferent.  In the entirety of the piece, I reinforced topic sentences and made sure that they related back to the thesis.

Overall, I believe that my writing skills have consistently improved and I attribute this in part to blogging.  My understanding of rhetoric and logic from reading How to Write with Flair  as well as Thank You for Arguing have aided me tremendously as a writer.  Likewise, the feedback that I have been receiving from fellow classmates during blogging sessions and the Portfolio 1 conference with you, the professor, have been crucial to my overall improvement.

Braised Beef Over Rice

braised pork over rice

When it comes to food, I am a voracious eater (especially when it comes to eating meat).  This could be any type of meat: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and any other type of meat you can think of.  As long as the meat is prepared with loving care and attention, most likely, the dish will taste exquisitely.  The dish that comes to my mind instantly when I think of meat dishes in Taiwan is braised beef over rice.

Braised beef over rice, or  ”Lurou fan” is so popular in Taiwan that it has been recognized as a true symbol of Taiwan.  A great-tasting bowl of braised beef over rice consists of finely chopped pork belly, cooked slowly to perfection as the soy sauce with 5-spices gets absorbed in the inside layers of the beef.  The tenderness of the beef is indescribable; there is just no other substitute for it.  The combination of slightly sweet and salty flavors creates an amazing feeling that stimulates the mind indefinitely.  The dish is topped off with fresh, finely cut scallion and bright-yellow pickled radish that tastes sweet and crunchy.  When the dish is topped off with white rice on the bottom of the bowl, you anticipate the first bite like it’s nothing you have ever tasted before in your life.

At one hotel that I stayed at with family, they had braised beef contained in a slow-cooking pot that settled just perfectly.  When I poured the meat over the white rice, it created a perfect combinati0n of sauce and rice that tasted phenomenally.  For those who have not tried Lurou fan before, there is just no way for them to understand.  Braised beef over rice has a fan club that is esoteric in every way possible.  Do not be discouraged if you try and make the dish and it comes out too saucy or not thick enough.  Many people have stated that it is far too difficult to make the beef sauce that complements the rice, but practice will eventually solve the problem.  Being persistent in your efforts can only help you improve as a cook and a person!

My mom had first introduced me to her version of the dish during elementary school.  I came home from school and began my homework as usual, but the special smell that came wafting up the stairs was not familiar to me.  When it was time for dinner, I was unsure of what to expect out of the dish I had not yet eaten before.  Luckily for me, it was the most mouth-watering and tasty meal I had in my earlier school years.  My mom continues to cook braised pork over rice for dinner and whenever she does, I am just as excited as I was when I was in elementary school.  My brother and sister can both vouch for me when I say that braised beef over rice is as delicious and pleasing as it appears in pictures.