To be a good moderator, I think it is most important that the moderator lets each viewpoint on an issue be given equal weight in terms of focus in the conversation. I think it is more important that the moderator focus on evening out time spent talking on each viewpoint than time spent talking by each person. Sometimes unpopular viewpoints get underrepresented by the conversation and its important for the moderator to not let a popular viewpoint take over the conversation. That said, the point of the deliberation will ultimately be to reach some sort of understanding or consensus. Eventually it will be the moderator’s job to steer the conversation away from simply expressing ideas, to finding compromises and solutions. My hope is that this will all happen naturally in a deliberation, but if that were the case then there would be no need for moderators. I think its most important for the moderator to keep the conversation balanced well, and moving in the right direction. In some cases, that may mean a lot of intervention, while other deliberations may require less interference. I’ll just have to wait and see for next week. Maybe after next week, my philosophy will be different.

2013: A Look Ahead

I debated whether or not I should write a blog this week about a chick flick in the theme of Valentines day, but decided instead to look to the future. 2013 is a HUGE year for movies. There are a ton of new movies coming out and I wanted to go over a few that I am looking forward to. Most of them are sequels to movies that came out in the previous year that I am completely stoked for. Hope you all agree. Here it goes:


1. Star Trek: Into Darkness     May 17th

I absolutely loved the new version of Star Trek they made a while back with Chris Pine starring. I think this film was made beautifully with a captivating plot and great special effects. I have been a Star Trek fan my entire life and was able to relate this movie to other Star Trek movies and shows, but I felt it was a good stand alone movie to get people who have never seen a Star Trek film into the series. I really hope this one is as good as the last one.

2. The Great Gatsby     May 10th


First off, if you haven’t read this book, do it. It is a fun and quick read that would be well worth it to read before watching the movie. This one could either be fantastic or a bust. If they stay true to the book, I think it’ll be good. There is only one person I would cast as Gatsby, and that is Leonardo Di Caprio. I love anything with him in it and I hope this follows suit.

3. Hunger Games: Catching Fire     November 22nd


Again, this could be blockbuster or bust. I haven’t read the books so I really can’t say what I expect from it. All I know is that the first one was very interesting to me and I hope they build off of that to create something great here. I feel like most people will see this one no matter how good or bad it is. At least see it for Jennifer Lawrence.

4. Monsters University        June 21st


The original Monsters Inc. came out when we were just kids. I think it very odd that they are releasing a new one now, but it has a lot of potential. Monsters Inc. was one of the classics from Disney Pixar and appealed to a wide audience. The problem with waiting so long is that now they have to make it appealing to us (people who saw the first one as kids and are now considerably older) and kids. I hope they do this well and this is a hit.

5. Iron Man 3     May 3rd


The only thing this movie needs in order to be successful is a bunch of crap blowing up, and Robert Downey Jr. being all sassy (while blowing crap up). That said, it would be nice if they continued the plot off the last Iron Man and the Avengers movie to create this complex network of comic book Avengers movies. I didn’t like the 2nd one as much as the 1st, so I hope they go back to the blockbuster feel of the 1st.


Anyways, these are just my top five movies coming out this year. Let me know what you guys are excited for!

Honorable Mention: Man of Steel, Captain Phillips, Much Ado About Nothing


RCL: Ryan Biden Debate

Here is my rolling commentary for the debate. I hate VP debate because the VP position is pretty much worthless unless the president dies or gets impeached. But here we go. I’ll watch it on CNN. I love the ticker and the live tracker of people’s opinions. (Sorry Professor Minbiole)

8:58 Cnn guy just said that both VP candidates are as nervous as a hooker in church. Love Cnn….

9:02: Already this moderator seems better than the last. BIDEN WINS THE COIN TOSS

9:03: Tough first question about the embassy attack. Biden looks very comfortable. He is looking up the whole time. Nice transition into hitting Romney off the bat. I feel like he is losing his point though. I don’t think Romney wants a war.

9:06 Ryan talks about Obama’s failure to call it a terrorist attack. He looks just as comfortable, but maybe less professional. I feel like he is more human. Nice talking about Joe’s son.

9:08 Ryan seems confident in what he is saying. But Biden seems very upset and cuts Ryan off. Biden said Obama has done everything he said he was going to do. I think both side of the political spectrum would disagree.

9:10 Biden is on the defense from the moderator about the intelligence failure about the protests. Side note: Vice presidents pretty much have no say in foreign policy. Why are they debating this?

9:12 Ryan perfectly answered the question about Marines peeing on egyptian corpses. Good job moderator cutting off though

9:15 I like how Ryan answered the nuke in Iran question, but that is my partisan opinion. I wish they would elaborate on what these sanctions are. Biden seems upset but I can’t follow his logic in refuting Ryan.

9:18 Back and forth between the two. I feel like we are losing the point of this debate. Biden is just sitting back and laughing when Ryan talks, but when he talks, he is not as clear and straight-forward as Ryan. Biden just keeps saying “not true” but he won’t say why. JUST EXPLAIN WHY

9:21: Its clear they Ryan is saying that by pulling away from Israel, we are giving Iran more room to make a nuke. What is Biden saying? I feel like he should have used more facts.

9:23: ON TO THE ECONOMY. Biden up to plate-Starts spewing off facts on how the economy has improved under Obama. HE JUST SAID 47%. HE JUST WENT THERE. I hate when people say Romney doesn’t pay taxes. He donates over 15% of his wealth to charity and gets a crap ton of tax breaks. Who makes the tax code? Brobama. I like the Emotion from Biden though. Ryan needs a calm counter-stike

9:26: Ryan tried the Scranton tactic, but he doesn’t have much facts. He just said the economy is slower. I like the 5 point plan though. We’ll see if Biden rips it apart. Oh man-Ryan just shot back at Biden saying that Biden doesn’t always know what he is talking about.

9:29: Biden talks about his late wife. Builds pathos, but I think he overused it last election cycle.

9:30: NFL UPDATE- Steelers down 13-10 12:30 left in the 2nd

9:31: Ryan shooting holes in Obama’s track record. I think its too late to blame the economy on the Republicans of the Bush admin. because Obama promised all these numbers that haven’t happened yet

9:33 Whats up with Ryan’s letter to Biden? I think Biden’s laughing is a little condescending or like he isn’t taking this seriously. I don’t think its helping him. The Live Tracker of Undecided Voters on CNN would agree

9:24: Ryan talks about medicare reform. I agree that Obama’s plan isn’t great but I don’t know if Romney’s is any better. Lets see what Biden has to say.

9:26 Biden is sneaky and compares Ryan to Palin. As a fellow Ryan, I am offended. Hahaha. Biden is very emotional while Ryan is calm and collect. I wish Biden would elaborate on his points.

9:39 My fingers hurt from typing. Its getting real feisty. Biden keeps cutting down Ryan. This has a different feel than the last debate


9:48 Ryan is talking numbers refuting the claim that the middle class will be hurt by wealthy tax cuts. He speaks clearly and discredits Biden. Biden is just laughing. I want him to actually speak and discredit Ryan!

9:50 Ryan just got shot on the specifics of the tax plan. He fumbled and didn’t give any specifics. This is getting real heated. I’m interested to see who the media says “wins”.

9:53: Biden’s angry attitude is too much. Its those hotheaded political talks that ruin politics

9:54 This debate is much more technical than the last. SO MANY NUMBERS. I feel like singing “Why can’t we be friends” Football score is just the same at the 2min warning before the half.

9:58: I feel like this debate has just lost its credibility. I am starting to see this as a whole joke. The role of the Vice President is essentially a figurehead position unless the President dies. I feel like neither of these guys has established their ethos effectively.

10:01 Ryan talks about his best friend in Afghanistan. I think it was a good call. Its an interesting point that Ryan makes about not wanting to tell enemies we’ll be out by 2014.

10:03 I never thought about how our enemies can take advantage of a timeline. This moderator is much better than the last.

10:04 Biden makes the assumption that the JCOS are immune from politics. Joke… How could you walk into the White House and not be political

10:07 Ryan just gone PONED by Biden about sending fewer US troops into Afghanistan and more Afgan troops

10:08 NFL UPDATE Titans kick a field goal 10-16 Halftime

10:09 What more can you do in Syria Biden? Ryan doesn’t come up with a clear answer. Biden’s counter is weak. This debate is deteriorating.

10:14 ABORTION QUESTION TO TWO CATHOLICS ON BOTHS SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM. Ryan- He is pro-life because he believes life starts at conception. Nice job talking about his own kid. Then he attacks Obama’s infringement on religious liberty on Catholics. Biden- He is personally against abortion in his own faith but doesn’t believe that they should force his views on others. Then why did ya’ll try to make churches pay for birth control for church employees? Forcing others to believe what you do?

10:19-Side note about Roe V Wade, the woman who sued because she wanted an abortion is now avidly against abortions and is openly pro life. Funny factoid

10:22 Both asked about the rhetoric and campaign ads. Biden somehow brought in 47%? Don’t think its quite appropriate here. Biden did not address the question of what he feels about the culture of politics and the negative campaign ads. Ryan’s response is just as bad. He just started attacking Obama again when the moderator wanted them to talk about how its bad to attack each side.

10:26 I just don’t believe any stats from either side at this point. Moderator asked how each would better the country in a way nobody else could. Ryan’s response was okay, Biden is mad he doesn’t have as much time. Can they see the clock that Biden is almost 2min over Ryan?

10:29- Biden talks about inheriting a bad situation in his closing statements. That argument is not credible because they promised to fix it years ago. %47 again. I was hoping for a deeper meaning.

10:30- Ryan thanks Biden. Interesting. Just talking about how Romney will fix all problems. Steelers kicked a field goal. Down 13-16. I am so done with this debate.

10:32 ITS OVER!!! Time to put the game on.


WINNER OF THE DEBATE: Martha Raddatz (Moderator)

Political Hero of the Week: Mo Ya


Typically when I talk about heroes and hacks of the week, I talk about domestic politics. This week I decided to broaden the scope and go global. This week’s hero is a Chinese writer and author by the name of Mo Yan. On Thursday, October 11, Yan recieved the Nobel Prize in literature, making him one of the few Chinese authors to receive it. More importantly, he is the FIRST Chinese author who is not opposed to the Chinese government to receive the award, thus making his receiving the award publicized in China.

Yan is a crafty writer that infuses fantasy with everyday Chinese life. His literary works are notorious all over East Asia for their truthful depiction of Chinese life while incorporating fictional and fantastical aspects. Although Yan supports the government, he has been known to, in his works, criticize social aspects of Chinese society such as forced abortions.

This brings me to why this is important politically. Yan has indirectly, yet obviously, criticized the social aspects of Chinese society. Even though this is the case, the Chinese definitely support him and his winning the award by publicizing this award and making Yan a type of cultural icon. Previous Chinese authors who have received the award were all open critics of the government and the Chinese government did not make public the authors receiving the nobel prize. Yan is all over Chinese media publications, which is a sign of the Chinese governmental support of him. This is so important for all of China for several reasons. First, it shows that the government is becoming less authoritarian and more open to blurring political party lines. In the past, the government would probably not have supported Yan because of his indirect criticism against Chinese society. Today he has the government support. I would say they are moving in the right direction

This is also important for Chinese culture all over the country. It further promotes expressionism in literature and shows citizens of China that they can express themselves in their own ways. The government supporting independent literature, rather than State approved, is a giant step to the government supporting individual expressionism, and in the end, personal freedom. This one award has shown the world that China may be turning a new leaf.



Information taken from Cnn.com, Foxnews.com, and the Associated Press


For this paradigm shift paper, I think I want to do a shift related to politics and elections. There is a ton of information out there about voting habits and campaigns. My first thought is to write about the shift from candidate-orientied politics to issue-oriented politics. This is a shift from the American electorate looking at a candidate for their political values ideology, to them looking at issues presented by their party platforms. We have gotten away from voting for a person because we “like” them and their character, values, etc. Nowadays we vote for people because they are pro-this, or anti-that.

Another possible shift I may do is the shift in campaign strategies in the United States. I could possibly talk about the uprising of negative ads, the huge proportional increase of money put into campaign finance, or even new types of campaigns such as social media. I am not sure how much research will be available for either of these topics so I plan on initially looking at them both and choosing the one that I can find more information on.