There is one group that advocates quite vocally for their side in today’s society that I cannot stand, and they are the Westboro Baptist Church. I myself am not a Baptist, but I am a Christian and the mere thought that I am in some way connected to these backward people is unsettling. To almost any other Christian, God is seen as a loving, caring, and forgiving deity. These people attempt to depict God as a vindictive and easily angered vengeance seeking deity. While they are not the only religious group who protests homosexuals, they are the group who calls them slurs and wishes them an eternity in Hell, a total contradiction to what Jesus taught. The most disturbing thing, however, is that they have the tastelessness and audacity to protest the funerals of soldiers. They cheer the deaths of the very men and women who fought to give them the right to protest, and they have the indecency to protest at their funeral and say to the faces of their grieving parents and loved ones that God wanted them dead. Is it possible to be a greater antithesis to what God’s love is about?

On their website, which in itself is a rhetorical appeal with its heinous name (which I would rather not include so as to prevent anyone from clicking on it and giving Westboro the satisfaction of having another viewer of their website) that invites anger and curiosity. Furthermore, once one is on their website, they attempt to justify their hate and spite by including a link to quotes in the Bible that are taken way out of context in order to shape an image of God that lends credit to their position. This is a classic use of clickbait and information manipulation to rhetorically appeal to anyone who may be on the fence about their position. This rhetorical appeal provides them with ethos and credibility to the highest moral power, God.

By using the clickbait to appeal to the highest moral authority, they established credibility with the church. Taking their credibility a step further,they included an article of when the Supreme Court ruled in their favor that they are allowed to protest at the funerals of soldiers. With this, they now have credibility from the highest moral and civil authorities in the country. They cleverly manipulate these facts and use semantics to make it appear as if since both the Church and state agree with them, how could you not? They even take it a step further talk in a way that muddies the actual decree of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that they had the right to protest under free speech, not that they agreed with or even condoned the action. The Westboro Baptists took the ruling and made it appear as if the courts had given them a mandate for their actions and validation for their actions.

These people are in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches and what the moral conscience of the country believes in. And yet, their website is able to attract and even convert people to their perverse side. How is that possible? It is possible simply because they are able to persuade viewers by using the rhetorical appeal of establishing ethos. By manipulating quotes from the Bible and from the Supreme Court ruling, they are able to make it appear as if they are receiving a mandate from both the highest moral and civil authorities in the country to continue to do their work.

RCL 2 Greek Life Debate

The topic of Greek life at Penn State and how it should be dealt with is a hotly contested topic and a polarizing issue. Those who support Greek life and those who feel that Greek life is detrimental to a college campus are both firmly entrenched in their beliefs. As a member of Greek life, there is a certain bias in the way I view attitudes towards fraternities and how they should be dealt with. With this in mind, I researched and found two articles, the first article deals with a negative view of Greek life and the second opinion is that there are still redeemable qualities to be found in Greek life.

The first article is an opinion piece from the source, pennlive.com. The author believes that fraternities and the service they provide society has run its course. Using the example of Harvard University, the author advocates for Penn State to implement the same measures that Harvard had implemented. Harvard’s response to fraternities? They banned all fraternities and any social club that is single gendered. Although this is extreme, and Penn State is a much different kind of school, the reasoning for the new measures is that fraternities are statistically more likely to binge drink and sexually assault women. The author cites a professor at Oklahoma University who says, “fraternity men are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than other college men,” (statistic published in the NY Times). The author reasons that when you put a large number of young men together under the same roof without any supervision that inevitably they will do wrong and therefore must be terminated.

On the flip side of the coin, an article from Business Insider advocates fro fraternities and lists several benefits for joining a fraternity. Chief among these benefits, is that nationally Greeks are 20% more likely to graduate than non Greeks. Interestingly enough, at Harvard, the school which just did away with Greek life, a study was conducted by professors who found that students in Greek life, “had a dramatically positive effect on persistence to graduation. The study showed that 90% of fraternity/sorority members compared to 70% of non-affiliated students were enrolled during their senior year.” (businessinsider.com) Aside from the business connections that being in a fraternity can bring, there is also the social aspect of it. To be clear, I do not mean social aspects in terms of parties, but in terms of being a lonely freshman who does not know anyone when he arrives on campus. The same article explains that joining a fraternity helps alleviate loneliness and helps to reduce depression rates because students instantly feel like they are a part of something when they join.

Both arguments for and against fraternities have their merits. The most difficult task of the deliberation will be to maintain a nonpartisan attitude and focus on just conducting a discussion among fellow students and community members. The truth of the matter is, however, that those who were never in a fraternity cannot condemn one because they do not know what it is truly like to be in one. All they can use as reason and judgement is the perceptions that they are given. Conversely, those who were in fraternities are arguing in favor of them, have an inherent bias that fraternities are a positive institution. It should be interesting to see where the students land when the deliberation commences.

Essay Outline- Bias of the Selection Committee

Every year, when the calendar flips to March, college basketball fans everywhere feel the excitement that can only come with March Madness. The brackets are set on the first sunday of March, selection Sunday, and up until thursday of the following week, all across the country, people who love basketball, and even those who just join their office pools for fun fill out their brackets. Some, more avid fans, try to pick the winners based on who has a better defense, while those who are just involved for the fun of it pick based on who has a better mascot. This is all fun. But how is the bracket determined, and is it fair? The bracket is determined by a selection committee of 12 men and women from various universities. They select the teams to compete in the tournament based on many criteria, mainly, RPI, strength of schedule, quality wins, and overall record to name a few. 32 teams get an automatic bid by winning their conference, and the other 34 receive at large bids. Every year there is considerable controversy over which teams get in, and, among the teams that got into to tournament, how they were seeded. There is an inherent bias shown toward teams from non traditional power five conferences. This bias is shown through the poor seeding they receive and from their usual exclusion from the tournament as a whole. Everyone loves a Cinderella team, but almost all of the Cinderella teams have something in common, they are from a non power conference.

Thesis: There is an inherent bias shown toward teams from non traditional power five conferences. This bias is shown through the poor seeding they receive and from their usual exclusion from the tournament as a whole.

Audience: Any college basketball fan that has ever felt slighted by the committee and fans of power five schools that always reap the benefits.


First Point:

Evaluate the committee themselves. Every year they release their reasoning for who got in and why, as well as evaluate who the committee actually is.

Second Point: Discuss teams that have gotten snubbed.

a. Evaluate the criterium, “RPI”

b. Discuss how RPI is misleading and gives teams from worse off conferences no chance.

c. Evaluate how the teams that get the advantage have done in the tournament with the chance they have been given.

Third Point:


Bias shown through seedings. Disscuss Cinderella teams that have exposed bias by beating teams after being under seeded through case examples.

a. Wichita State

b. VCU

c. Butler

Sources: https://wtop.com/sports-columns/2018/03/ncaa-selection-committee-exposes-its-own-hypocrisy-once-again/


RCL 3 Deliberation Reflection

My group did Greek life, yea we had the best title I know. Personally, I found the deliberation was fun, but restrained. A debate would have been more engaging. I understand that a debate leaves room for things to possibly get out of hand, but I would have liked to be able to engage the crowd more. I felt as the people leading the deliberation, the whole set up was too passive. We could not take sides, which is fair, but in a deliberation where I individually am biased since I partake in Greek life, I felt if I tried to help guide the conversation I would be called out as biased.

Secondly, I felt that it was hard to truly inform those in the crowd that had no background knowledge on the subject. Yes we provided everyone with an issue guide, but that was the facts and guide to our discussion. There are certain nuances that someone outside of Greek life would not understand, as well as misconceptions that those in the crowd held that if I were to engage them and try and correct them, the deliberation would lose its flow and we may digress into a debate.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience and really the ambiance of the little cafe. It is nice to hear how much some kids do not like the organization you are part of. And of course I never get tired of one kid making an analogy of how a team looks after their teammates because that is exactly the response I was looking for when I asked a question about apartment parties. Sarcasm aside, I did enjoy giving the deliberation and hearing different opinions in a public setting. It made me feel professional and stuff. Its one thing to give a debate in class, but it a public setting it seems more real.


Title: The Nu Era of Greek Life: Can We Make Fraternities Beta? How Should They Be Delt(a) With?

The deliberation will discuss the problems facing Penn State fraternities with their reputation, their sanctions, and their recent bad publicity. After addressing those, we will discuss alternative ways Greek life can be sustained.

My role is as a researcher and one who will engage the crowd. I have a unique perspective as being the one in the group who is the most involved and familiar with Greek life.

I am currently working on what to discuss with the crowd.


Script for This I believe

In Rockdale, New York, there is a cemetery. In this cemetery there lies the first Matthew Hladik to have come to America, and his son, Matthew Hladik Jr. Matthew Hladik the third, is still alive today in New Jersey, and his son in lives Pennsylvania, and then there is me. I now stand as the fifth generation Hladik to live in America, and I believe the American Dream is not dead. I am proof the American Dream is not dead, just the way in which it was once perceived, is. Most people perceive the American Dream as one person who came from nothing being able to make it rich. While yes, this does happen, I believe the American Dream is the culmination of generations worth of efforts to make a better life for the next generation. This belief of mine, is exemplified through my father.

My father is the culmination of the american dream. He worked hard with what he was given and was able to make it as an attorney. His father, Matthew Hladik III, joined the military like most did during his time, and used the GI Bill to get a college education. He was able to provide a stable life for his son, Stephen Matthew Hladik. They had what they needed. My dad then went to college. He was given a little support financially but my dad still had to take on debt. After college, my dad went on to law school where he would go on to finish 9th in his class of 160 students. Going into the work force, my father had no connections, knew no one. He had to earn everything job he got with hard work, with the odds stacked against in a profession that leans so heavily on connections. He started in the Attorney General of PA’s office working in government. After a few years there, newly married, he moved to the Philadelphia suburbs and opened his own private practice. The success of his private practice was enough to attract a bigger law firm who brought him on as a partner right away and he is still there today 15 years later. They have since moved the firm to a building they had built to suit their needs and are continually growing their office brand. I can say with confidence, by seeing how hard work, got him to the to— not hand outs or connections, that I believe the American Dream is not dead. From when the first Matthew came through Ellis Island, to me now, the American Dream has come full circle.


History of the Public Contorversy

Group Members: Sophia Boudreau, Cameron McGovern, Matthew Hladik, Henry Deteskey, Mitchel Dobbs, Emilio Olay.

Topic: The commercialization of Christmas and other holidays

As a member of this group, I will take equal and fair responsibility of my assigned duties to make sure that this project is finished on time and completed to the best of our group’s abilities.

Signed, Matthew Hladik

TED Talk

One such reason for the ever decreasing number of high school aged kids playing more than one sport is that parents are investing their money, and their kid’s time in working only on one sport so that they may play said sport in college. Why do parents do this? Most often it is simply because they just want their kid to be happy and are happy to see their kid playing the sport they love. In high school sports today, there is an all time high in the amount of media coverage following these young athletes. There are websites dedicated to showing highlights, webpages made by the players to show off stats, all this done so coaches can easily access these players. There are countless club teams across sports such as soccer, hockey, baseball, and basketball that all offer kids a chance to get noticed by college coaches. These programs sell a pedigree that will give kids a chance to play college sports. Money is the cause of this great push to have kids specialize in one sport in order to play this sport in college. The money trail can be followed through the media, the sports academies, big money tournaments.

I. Media

a. Countless recruiting websites, hudl, perfect game, maxpreps, etc.

b. ESPN 300, 247 Sports

c. Local Media/ high school coaches


II. Sports Academies

a. Paid coaches/ private lessons

b. Indoor Facilities all year round

c. Connections to college coaches/ private showcases


III. Big Money Tournaments

a. Showcase Venues

b. Access to college coaches

c. ESPN Wide World of Sports tournament


The first picture that really stood out to me was on page 146. It is a simple picture of her grandmother and grandfather just sipping coffee but it really hit me because she goes into all these places where there is nothing but hate and gruesome violence. In these places she constantly photographs images of this. In the midst of all this, she takes just a sweet and innocent candid photo of her grandparents. It seems so out of place given her line of work, yet it really shows her humanity. She is not just some camera apathetically taking photos of her surroundings. Addario is a human being who has loved ones and cares about and misses those loved ones.

The second picture that struck me was on page 210. In direct contrast to the picture of her grandparents peacefully sipping coffee, this picture shows a car bombing outside the British consulate. Addario captures the harsh reality of the world in which she works. This world, widely unknown to Americans, is one of carnage and blood. We get to sit in a safe little world an ocean away from the hellish conditions she is working in. Addario does an excellent job of using starkly contrasting photos to show her readers how incredibly different her two worlds are, these photos are an antithesis of each other.

In order to make my blogs more alive I can incorporate images to illustrate my words. It has been said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. That sure would be helpful to depict the Nittany Lions football games when I can use a max of only 500 words. Additionally, the photos of Saquon Barkley doing superhuman things are the only thing that can prove I am not making up what I am writing about. He is such an incredible athlete one must actually see with their own eyes his awesome feats of athleticism.