WIP & This I Believe

For the work in progress this week, I believe that we were supposed to talk about the online forum we were going to use for our online deliberation. I chose debatepolitics.com. To me, it seems like the best site to use because the people on in generally respect each other’s opinions. I looked at a few threads and most of them are formal, which tend to draw in intelligent people as opposed to a quick informal site that people quickly post on with no knowledge. I think I am going to end up focusing on something about the budget or spending, although the site has a wide range of topics to debate on.


And on another note, by This I Believe Post: (feel free to comment if you agree/disagree.)


Cloud Atlas

In our cinema today, it is rare that a movie comes along that can be entertaining while having a deep impact on your view of life. It is rare that a new movie forces its audience to view life from a different prospective and even allow the audience to learn about themselves. Well a new movie that fits this category that you may have never heard of is Cloud Atlas (and it just happens to be playing at the HUB this weekend). DO NOT watch this movie if you are looking for a fun time-killer. It will force you to think deep and critically about life and the nature of humanity. In this German (non-Hollywood) three hour long masterpiece, you will be drawn into an experience that very few movies have achieved.


I will try to give information about the movie without giving away any plot. This piece is very unique in that the directors use several principal actors (like Tom Hanks and Halle Berry) to play many roles throughout the film. All at once, there are about half a dozen plot lines going on taking place in different generations of mankind, from hundreds of years ago to present to the far distant future. In all the plots, the same actors are used to portray different generational struggles. What comes out of this movie is that although times are different, and everything in a past generation may seem distant and irrelevant, Man and the destiny of Man is always the same.

Cloud Atlas is one of those films that you could come up with at least a dozen different implicit and explicit themes after watching it. But don’t. Let this film mean what it means to you, and get as much as you can out of it. Get lost in the world of Cloud Atlas and you will surely be pleased.


Grade: A


This I Believe Draft

Like most people in America do today, I believe that no person should be deprived of opportunity based on race. However, I also believe in the compliment of that statement in that no person should be given an opportunity based on race as well. This a political debate happening in Washington today, coined by the phrase “Affirmative Action”. Our government currently allows employers to put preference on an employee of minority race for a position over non-minorities regardless of merit so that the company can be diverse and look as though it is non-discriminatory. This issue of Affirmative Action is also pertinent to the life of a high school student trying to get into college. It seems like more than just a year ago when I was filling out my college applications and writing all my college essays the night before the application was due. The counselors told me to mix my applications between safe schools I knew I could get into, moderate schools, and “reach” schools that I probably wouldn’t be accepted by. As I filled in these applications, there were certain things all of them had in common. Name, age, birthdate, GPA, all of which made sense to me, except one: race. Why must race be a factor of me getting into the school? As I went through my research of these schools, I became even more disturbed. I wished to apply for merit scholarships that I felt I earned from my hard work in high school. Every school had a list of at least a dozen scholarships to apply to, but I rarely qualified for more than one. Most of these scholarships were for “diverse” students from “diverse” backgrounds. You must be African American, or Hispanic, or Native American, or Pacific Islander to apply. Why could I not apply? Why do others have to opportunity to get this scholarship money, or have a better chance of getting into this school over me? If I was not a white male, I would have had more opportunities in the college application process, regardless of my high school merits and accomplishments, and I believe that is wrong. I believe affirmative action is a process that schools and employers use to promote equality through inequality. I believe that depriving someone of an opportunity because of their race is just as immoral as giving others special opportunities because of their race. I believe the notion of affirmative action is immoral because I believe in true racial equality.

Django Unchained Review

If you haven’t made it to the theaters yet to see Django Unchained, you should certainly do so. This movie came out several weeks ago and is directed by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino has always been a director that has a very unique style and cinematic technique. Earlier in the year we watched a movie by Spike Lee who also has an unorthodox style of movie-making similar to Tarantino. That said, if you have seen another tarantino film and disliked it, don’t see Django.

Django is a movie about a slave from early 1800s America who is bought and freed, and his struggles with his new freedoms. He is propelled into a life in which he must make split-second decisions to survive, and in a world in which a freed former slave must fight for respect. Now anyone that has ever seen a Tarantino film can assume that it is not going to be an emotional Spielberg drama film with a thousand different deep messages in it. Most of the criticism of this film comes in that Tarantino uses too much comedy, and makes the film too unrealistic to provide the audience with a deeper meaning. I do not buy into this, however. The movie industry today has made film genres more rigid and left less room for films that blur genre lines. Today, many critics and individual viewers believe that films should provide a deep meaning for the audience to get out of it. Where have the days gone where we go to a film to simply be entertained? Django Unchained is a downright entertaining film that you will probably not find a deeper meaning in, but the entertainment was enough for me. Along with great acting performances by Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio this a must-see movie.




VERDICT: Worth seeing in theaters or purchasing when

Work in Progress 2

Overall, I was pretty happy with how my speech went. I didn’t rehearse the speech much, but I didn’t want to over rehearse and make the speech sound memorized. I wanted it to have more of a candid feel where I was more giving a presentation rather than a speech. I believe I delivered my speech to the best of my ability, but am not sure if my content was great. Most people who had artifacts of civic engagement talked mainly on what the artifact was trying to get people to do. I was under the impression that we were supposed to talk about that, but also talk about the strategies it used and the argument it was trying to make. I focused mainly on the rhetorical aspect of my artifact because I had concluded that it was not effective at promoting civic engagement. I hope that is acceptable and that I didn’t focus too much on the rhetoric of the poster and not the engagement part of it. We’ll see how it all turns out. I was very impressed by a lot of the speeches this week. The bar was set high for those who still need to speak and for the projects we do throughout the semester.

Romney: Truthful or Wrong?

The answer is a little bit of both. We’ll start with the truth. It is very true that there are a large proportion of Americans who not only use, but rely on the extensive network of social programs the government puts out for those in need. It is also true that Romney would most likely cut spending on what he claims to be unnecessary social programs that hurt the economy, cause the government to spend too much money, and that cause people to rely on the government instead of getting a job and stimulating the economy. There are many people who believe that they could not survive without the vast number of social programs the government provides, and therefore will vote for a president that will not only keep the current social programs, but will probably expand the social programs at the expense of the national debt (and not the American middle class because he promised not to raise taxes on anyone that makes less than $200,000 a year). That said, I believe that there is some truth in that Romney will certainly not win a big chunk of the electorate because of his economic policies.

Where was he wrong? I think he made too big of a generalization in grouping the whole 47% together. There are those who don’t pay taxes, but are not completely dependent on the social programs and who may vote for Romney for his social stance, not economic. I can promise there are people out there who don’t pay taxes, but plan to vote for Romney because of his stance on issues such as abortion. I don’t think Romney worded his point correctly and don’t think he should have cast off the entire lot of people who don’t pay taxes. His audience was wealthy campaign donors, and it’s important to be blunt and real with your donors. But I don’t believe it was smart to generalize all people who don’t pay taxes. His point was valid, but his delivery was flawed.

Political Hack of the Week

Political Hack of the Week:


It was only a matter of time until I found something to rip apart and rant about. This week’s chapter of American Political crap is Obamacare, and this one is good. New estimates came out this week stating that the number of Americans that will be hit with the “tax penalty” for not having the proper insurance when Obamacare takes effect in 2014 is nearly double than the previous estimates. When the bill was being debated on the floor of the congressional houses, it was estimated that nearly 4 million people would be hit with Obama’s mandate and be forced to pay a penalty for being uninsured with healthcare. A new estimate shows that number is to be over 6 million now.

This is not a huge proportion of the population, however the new study also shows that over 80% of those hit by the penalty will be middle class: the middle class Obama has vowed to protect. The middle class that is the beating heart of our country. The middle class that, if making less than $200,000 per year, Obama promised not to raise taxes on. But this mandated penalty isn’t a tax, right? Wrong. How else could a mandate from the government that forces each American to buy insurance be constitutional unless the Supreme Court rules that it isn’t a “mandate” but is however a “tax”. To me it is all just a sick game of broken promises and the stretching of constitutional power. Nowhere in the constitution does it allow the government to mandate people to own health insurance. Sure, most states require one to buy car insurance, but that should be allowed because driving a car is optional and a privilege given by the government. Obama’s entire premise on Obamacare is that healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege, but a public commodity. I just don’t understand how it is constitutional to make people pay health insurance or be hit with a harsh penalty (or “tax”).

The last time we saw an expansion of social federal power like this was when FDR set in all his New Deal policies. I also don’t understand how middle class Americans can be for Obamacare when Obama himself said he wouldn’t raise taxes on them, and yet between 4-5 million middle class Americans will be hit with this “tax”.  Maybe I skimmed over the part of the Constitution that allows the government to restrict personal freedoms in creating a coveted “National Healthcare System” that won’t provide any real benefits to Americans than they have right now. I welcome comments, especially those who disagree. I take a one-sided stance on this because I simply can’t comprehend the logic to the other side to it. Please let me know what you think.


*Image and Content from the Huffington Post and Associated Press