Ted Talk on blood donation


Topic: Limitations on who can donate blood

Purpose: to call attention to the issue and get the rules changed

Thesis statement: The restrictions on who can donate blood need to be changed to allow for more people who want to donate blood be able to because the demand is high and the rules are outdated.


Have you ever thought about donated blood? You would think it is a relatively simple, straight forward process where you go, fill out some personal information, get blood drawn, and then be on your way. Now for most, this is what happens but there are people out there who have a different experience when they try to go donate blood. For some, when they go to donate blood they are denied. Excluded from performing this civic duty because of various reasons. The one that I would like to focus on today is being gay. Under current regulations put in place, if you are a male and have had sexual contact with another male within the past year, you are ineligible to donate blood. The other aspects of this regulation blocks donors who used needles not prescribed by a doctor, had sex for money or drugs, or had sexual contact with someone who has done these things.  If really thought about, this excludes a bigger portion of the population then one might think and excludes potential donors and further decreases the blood supply. There is a vast need for blood donors across America, so why are we continuing to limit the supply? The restrictions on who can donate blood need to be changed to allow for more people who want to donate blood be able to because the demand is high and the rules are outdated.


  • Background on why this rule was created
  • Specific story of someone who was denied (pulse shooting)
  • Talk about how the blood is tested
  • Other restrictions on blood donation
  • The need for blood
  • What allowing more people to donate would do


There is such a huge need for blood across the United States and it seems unfathomable to me why we continue to exclude a sect of people from donating. Gay people are actively excluded from donating blood over our fear of HIV. Even a test result of inconclusive is enough to have someone band from donating blood for life. This may have been acceptable many years ago when we knew very, very little about HIV. However, every time blood is donated, it is tested so why is the fear of HIV enough to block people from donating? We need to expand to pool of people allowed to donate blood so people who need blood have access to it. There is no risk in doing this because the blood is tested, and if passed, it is sanitized.

Paradigm shift outline

Over the years, our approach to how we interact with foreign nations has drastically changed. we went from an isolationist nation to a global leader. There have been many other changes in foreign policy throughout the years and the changes have been for a variety of reasons American foreign policy has shifted over time to fit the changing needs of the world and align with American beliefs.

  • Isolationist and Neutrality
    • Washington’s Farwell address
    • Monroe doctrine
  • Expansionist
    • Manifest destiny
    • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    • Alaska
  • Becoming a super power
    • Drafting Treaty of Paris
    • Expanding economy
    • Foreign engagements
  • Global Conflict
    • Strive for isolationist one more
    • Foreign engagement
    • World leader
  • Cold War
    • ‘pet’ wars
    • containment
    • Arms/ space race
  • terrorism
    • 9/11
    • Conflict in the middle east
    • Recent global attracts
  • Trump era
    • North Korea
    • Trade deals
    • UN involvement


All of these shifts may seem arbitrary as if they just followed where ever the wind blew. However, when looked at in context, the shifts take on a new meaning and start to make sense. There are reasons why we have changed so much in the ways we interact with the world and other nations since our founding. We have grown and evolved from a nation doomed to fail to a leading super power.


A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Being that the book, It’s What I Do, by Lynsey Addario is about her journey as a photo journalist, it makes sense that the book includes photos of her journey. Throughout the book, at certain points, there are photos depicting the different scenes that Lynsey has experienced on her travels. All the photos are really interesting to look at and depict a range of topics.

My two favorite photos are located between pages 210-211. The first one depicts a bunch of starving children gathering around food being handed out. The facial expression of the children envokes deep emotion because you feel bad for the situation they are in. There is one child in particular that really grabs your attention because he is on the verge of tears. You feel bad for him and you are compelled to do something to help.

The second photo depicts two women in burkas standing atop of a mountain in a desert. The reason why I like this photo so much is the contrast that is present in it. The blue in the burkas compliments the blue in the sky and the two together contrast the desert landscape because the tan color is a complimentary color of blue. Additionally, the strong shadows the women cast give the picture more depth and feeling to it. Lastly, the simplicity of the photo really works well and the viewer’s eye is drawn towards to focal point.

I can utilize the use of photos in my blog post to add another layer to my post. By including photos, it keeps the reader drawn into and interested in what I am writing about. Additionally, the pictures can be used to help show what I am talking about. For example, when I am talking about a place to eat, I could include photos of the food they have and what the restaurant looks like.


Rhetorical Analysis Essay Draft

Do We Really Need a United Nations?

What is world peace? Why is it of interest to us? Who benefits from world peace? When did world peace become of interest?

All of these questions seem rudimentary that any elementary student could answer. However, when the questions are really examined and thought about more deeply, they become more complex. First off, taken simply, world peace is the concept or idea that there is universal happiness, freedom, and peace amongst all people and nations of the world. When viewed in that way, it would seem like it is of interest to us because one of the major principles of the United States is freedom and the pursuit of happiness. IT also ties into just about every mainstream religious belief of loving your neighbor and the belief of treating others the way you wish to be treated. It would seem that everyone would benefit from world peace, so why is it so hard to achieve? The main obstacle of world peace is self-interest. Peoples’ own greed and desire to be on top clouds judgment on what is truly best for everyone. Even so, the vast majority of people around the world are vested in world peace and strive for a world where one day, there is truly peace everywhere. In an attempt to achieve this goal of world peace, nations around the world came together and formed the United Nations.

Interest in world peace is nothing new. Since the beginning of human history, people have been trying to create utopian societies; a place where everything is ideal and there is no conflict. Even though world peace is nothing new, it has taken on a new meaning in recent centuries. Originally, you just would have to get along with the people in your own society because there was very little global interaction. This has drastically changed however with the improvement of technology which has lead to globalization. In our current age, the whole world is connected and conflict is no longer on a local scale, but rater an international one. This became ever apparent in the 20th century when not one, but two world wars broke out. With such a major outbreak of global confrontation, it became apparent that a solution was needed. After the first world war, president of the U.S. at the time, Woodrow Willison, suggested a program called the league of nations. The intention of it was to have a place where nations come together to discuss issues and seek resolutions. Unfortunately, it never gained enough traction and eventually failed. Which is pretty evident when looked at in context because some years later, the world was entrenched in another world war. Thankfully, we started to learn from our mistakes and realized the importance of an organization where all nations can come together with common goals and resolve conflict. This sparked the created of the United Nations at the conclusion of WWII.

The United Nations stands as a symbol for peace. It has stood the test of times thus far and continues to be an advocate for the world to work together. Many people often forget about the importance of the UN because, in most peoples’ days and lives, it has very little apparent relevance. The United Nations is one of those things that you take for granted when it is there but would greatly miss if it didn’t exist. With that being said, the UN is of great importance to the world. The United Nations is an important civic artifact because it is a tool for world peace through its resolution of global conflict, attention to human rights, and its upholding of international law.

The major goal of the United Nations is to ‘save future generations from the scourge of war’. To this end, a good portion of the structure and proceedings of the UN is dedicated to preventing future conflict. The Security Council is dedicated to keeping world peace. There are different ways the council uses it authority to keep waring nations at bay. They first explore a peaceful resolution to the conflict and even implement international peacekeeping forces to keep disputing parties apart for further negotiations. If need be, they will call upon members of the UN to place sanctions on the offending country. The very last measure the Security Council can take is taking military action against the country that did an act of aggression. The role of the Security Council should not be taken lightly and thusly the member nations of it are controlled. There are five permanent members and ten members that are elected by the General assembly on a two-year rotation. The continuity allows for a standard to be established and upheld while the rotating nations allow for a different view to be heard and different nations to have their opinion heard. This is an important thing because as we know, people from different backgrounds will have different opinions and viewpoints on issues. This inclusion gives the Security Council more credibility because there are viewed as inclusive. This also gives the impression that they have greater knowledge and thereby have the authority to make peace keeping decisions because they know what is best. There are still those out there who believe that the Security Council does not always function the best or doesn’t always act when they should. There is some validity to this argument because the five permanent members have veto power and also with so many differing nations with different special interest, there is bound to be disagreements and stalemates. However, the council often executes its duties of upholding peace to the best of its ability, which can be seen in the decrease in war and conflict between nations since the creation of the UN. Our civic lives would not be what they are today without the United Nations and their efforts to resolve global conflicts.

The United is not just focused on nations not warring with other nations, but also on ensuring nations uphold their citizens’ human rights. This duty rests mainly on the Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC). How can there truly be world peace if individual people are not treated fairly? Many think of world peace as just there being no wars between nations, however, I do not hold that same view. To me, world peace includes basic human rights for everyone, no matter where they live.  The UN holds this same belief and thus the ECOSOC created commissions to deal with human rights around the world. They ultimately created an international bill of rights which focuses on two parts; civil and political rights and then economic and cultural rights. Interestingly enough, there has been a trend on which countries adopted which aspects of the human rights charter.  Western, more developed countries tend to adopted the civil and political rights aspect and less developed nations tend to adopt the economic and cultural rights. If looked at in context, this trend makes sense because the countries really focus on and accept aspects of human rights that are most important at the time in their societies. The Kairos of human rights changes from nation to nation because countries have different interests in what they want their societies to look like. There are nations around the world, however, that don’t uphold any human rights and unfortunately, there is not too much the UN can do about it. An example would be North Korea, a notorious offender of human rights. The UN has tried time and again to get the nation to follow international standards of human rights but their attempts by implementing sanctions have proven ineffective because of the stubbornness of the isolationist nation. Never the less, the efforts by the UN has greatly expanded human rights around the world and advanced the opportunities afforded to people who wouldn’t have had the opportunity before. If nothing else, the UN calls attention to human right infractions around the world, which then puts public pressure on that nation to right their wrongs.

An aspect of the UN that many people often overlook is its role in upholding international law. To this extent, the International Law Commission was established to create international laws dealing with war, peace, terror, human rights, and other international matters. Another aspect of the UN is that it tries people for crimes dealing with international law. The International Criminal Court deals with such cases where international law was broken. This functions as a way to hold countries and people accountable for crimes against humanity. This is where the importance of the UN really becomes apparent because there is no other system in place that has authority over so many different countries.  A country or person cannot be held accountable to laws that don’t govern them because they are that of another country. Without the United Nations, misdeeds done across international lines or waters would never be tried because no nation would have jurisdiction. This role of international peacekeeper is one the UN assumes for the benefit of all of mankind.

There are many additional roles the United Nations assumes that I did not discuss that factor into it being a tool for world peace. A notable one is the UN’s mission to control arms sales and strive for disarmament. The realize the harmful nature of not monitoring and controlling arms sales across international lines and also the devastating effect nuclear warheads have on the world. All that the UN does is of importance and it can not be stated enough how valuable it is to have such an organization in our world today. They advance world peace allowing for economic and political prosperity for men, women, children, and people in fringe society. Without the United Nations maintaining world peace through the resolution of global conflict, attention to human rights, and its upholding of international law, the world would not be what it is today.




Included audience and where it is published

English class                        debate site or news article op. ed.


Thesis Statement: The United Nations is an important civic artifact because it is a tool for world peace through its resolution of global conflict, attention to human rights, and its upholding of international law.



Now obviously there is going to be a lot of conflict in the book Its What I do, it is a book about conflict photo journalism after all. However, one might not expect that there would be conflict within the author herself. Never the less, that is exactly the case for Lynsey Addario, especially when it comes to her capturing images of refugees in Darfur. She runs into the moral conflict of making money off of images that depict people who are desperate.

Lynsey herself has struggled with money over the years trying to pursue her passion but she is still brought to guilt when she thinks about what she is really doing; making a profit by showing people suffering. This moral conflict of profiting off of others suffering is not one felt exclusively by the author, rather many people often deal with the same conflict.

The conflict all comes down to using people for what you want and I can just about guarantee every single one of you, at one point in your life, has done this. It is a very easy thing to do because it is human nature to put self-interest first, even at the expense of others. Now sometimes this can be small actions and other times more drastic actions.

For example, it could be you not waiting to hold the door for the person behind you and then later regretting it because you let your interest of getting to where you were going outweigh your caring for the other person. A more extreme example would be seeing someone holding on the edge of a cliff about to fall and not helping them because you don’t want to get dirty.  Now it is often not such extremes, but never the less, it is a common conflict that even myself experience and by including it in the book, Lynsey better relates with her audience.

Civic Artifact Speech Outline

*(Video of a nuclear explosion)*

Now we all now the devastating effect nuclear bombs have and the obliterating effect a nuclear war would have. The impact of such an event is unfathomable and would be life altering for just about everyone. In the 1950s, this was a very real threat, but thankfully has become less so, except in past few weeks, the threat has become over so present again. In response to increasing tension of nuclear war, in 1958 Gerald Holtom, a British artist, created the peace sign symbol as a symbolic representation of nuclear disarmament. The two angled lines represent the semaphore letter “N” while the two vertical lines represent the letter “D”, together they stand for Nuclear Disarmament. They are then encompassed by a circle that represents total, as in the total and complete nuclear disarmament.

The peace sign is probably one of the most recognizable symbols around the whole world and when people see it they understand the meaning of peace around it. It is a unifying force that can be used in a wordless stance for, or against, something. The peace sign is a symbol that is historically significant in the context of civic engagement because of its emotional persuasion to draw people’s attention to a cause, its development over time, and its ability to call people to action.


  • A notable quality of the peace sign is that it was the ability to call peoples’ attention to a certain issue or cause going on in the world.
    • First rally in UK against nukes
    • Cold War
      • Vietnam war
      • Richard Nixon
    • Hippies
  • There has been many occasion where the peace sign was the backbone of a cause and was used as a unifying symbol. The symbol gave the group ethos in the sense that it gave the group credibility because it is known they are for peace.


  • The peace symbol has not always been the symbol it is today. Over the years, it has taken on new meanings and different appearances.
    • Downward stretched arms
    • Different colors
    • Meaning to different groups
      • Context in how each group used it
      • How they interpreted the symbol
    • Even though the peace sign is a universal symbol, there are still people out there who view it in different context as others and make their own interpretation of the symbol. Additionally, there are many different versions of the peace sign, each one slightly different from the last to fit the desired cause better.


  • When someone sees the peace sign, they assume there is a purpose, a cause, behind the use. People then become motivated to join the cause and make a difference in the world.
    • Growth of peace movements
    • Increase in world peace interest
    • Nuclear Disarmament
  • Since to introduction and the mainstreaming of the peace sign, interest in world peace has grown significantly. People from all backgrounds, from U.S. presidents to Chinese monks, have rallied and advocated for world peace.

The peace sign is an effective tool in allowing people to become civically engaged how they see fit. For some, this means something else that what the general public sees as the meaning behind the peace sign.  Whichever the case, the peace sign is a great tool for civic engagement because it calls attention to a cause, has developed over time to fit current needs, and is a call to action for people. The main origins of the main stream peace sign may have been rooted in nuclear disbarment, but it has grown from that to mean so much more. However, it still hasn’t lost its original intent of striving for nuclear disbarment, or others interpretation of it as unilateral disbarment. Which is once again beneficial in our current day and age with increasing tension between the United States and North Korea and the ever increasing threat of nuclear warfare. Hopefully, one day the peace sign can evolve to a symbol that represents how far we have come as a society because all nuclear weapons are gone and the peace sign would stand as a reminder of that fact that when humanity is pushed to the edge, we push back and strive for what is right



Dionisi, Dave. “Teach Peace Moment: Peace Symbol History.” Peace Sign History, www.teachpeace.com/peacesymbolhistory.htm.

“The Peace Symbol.” The True Story of the Peace Sign, www.peaceday.org/pcsign.htm.


What Stands Out

When I was reading section II of the book, what really stood out to me the most was actually the very beginning. First off, Lynsey really got my attention with the title of chapter four, “You, American, Are Not Welcome Here Anymore,” (pg 69). I started thinking about the current issues in our nation with immigration and all but when I kept reading further, the title took on a new, and much deeper, meaning.

When 9/11 occurred, the whole nation, no, the whole world, was changed.  Lynsey does a great job of capturing that in her writing because she relates what is going on the other periods in time. She references how, in Afghanistan, other reporters drew connections of starting a ground war in Afghanistan was similar to that in Vietnam. Lynsey provides a great amount of detail throughout her writing that makes you feel immersed in what she is doing. Not only that, but she also manages to pull you in emotionally.

As a reader, I always find myself to enjoy books the most when they not only have great details, imagery, and historical facts but when they also manage to pull you in emotionally. I don’t like books that focus too much on appealing emotionally to the audience because then it seems too fake and not really a factual or compelling story. On the other hand, if a book focuses too much on the facts and details, it gets too boring, redundant, and unappealing.

It is my goal as a writer to find that perfect balance of facts and emotions to keep my audience both entertained and wanting to read more. Lynsey does a great job balancing these two things throughout section II which made me enjoy reading the section immensely. I want to try to have the same effect on my readers when they read my blog about D.C.

(and of course here are some more dog pictures because I love dogs and miss my dog Quincy a lot)



Is Passion Worth It?

In the book “It’s What I Do A Photographer’s Life of Love and War”  by Lynsey Addario, she mentions the story about her Nana and how she didn’t follow her heart. When Lynsey reflects back on her Nana’s story, she comes to the realization that she doesn’t want to live with that same mistake in her heart. Rather than play it safe in life, Addario makes the decision that she will follow her passion. She is willing to take risks in order to do what she loves. By including this story, it gives the reader perspective as to why Lynsey is willing to take that extra step when doing photojournalism, even if it means putting her life in danger.

There is already a lot in my life that I regret. Fear in my life has held me back from doing certain things and from that, I miss out on certain opportunities. However, I learn from my regret and timidness and from them I become braver. I become more courageous and outgoing because I remember the times I didn’t follow my passion and what I wanted to do which led to me missing out.

In recent years I have become more outgoing and adventurous. An example of this is that I started exploring Washington D.C. more. In the recent years, I have gone to the city countless amount of times and each time I have tried to go somewhere or do something I didn’t before. My friends and I love exploring the city and seeing all it has to offer, even if it means going outside of our comfort zones. Trust me, we have gotten into some interesting situations in D.C.

I want people to get the sense of adventure out of my blog and be inspired to go to the places and do the things most people don’t do.

(also here are some more photos of my dog because why not)




What Are My Passions?

While reading, “It’s What I Do” by Lynsey Addario, it became obvious to me how passionate she is about what she does by actively risking her own life to pursue her passion of photojournalism.

This got to me thinking,’ Am I as passionate about anything to the point where I would risk my life?’ So far, the answer is no.  I can not think of anything that I am so driven to do that I would go to the point of risking my own life. With that being said, I am passionate about SO many things.  I love to play the piano. I love creating art. I love staying active by doing crew and going for hikes. I love seeing the world. I love so many things and I would say that my main passion is just staying busy and experiencing new things.

Since my passions are so broad and all encompassing, it’s hard to narrow it down to just two ideas. However, I believe I have two topics that would be enjoyable and interesting to talk about.

The first blog topic idea is a travel blog about the in’s and out’s of Washington D.C. Being from that area, I know a lot about the city and I could provide tips and ideas regarding what to do and where to go while visiting the nation’s capital. In each blog post, I could focus on different aspects of the city and give my input on what to do.

The second blog topic idea is a blog dedicated to dogs. Each post would focus on a different breed of dog and talk about the benefits and care of each.I am less sure about this one, not because my passion for dogs is lacking (trust me it’s not #dogloverforlife), but because I feel it wouldn’t be as good of a blog as my other idea.