Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Victory for Grizzlies

Thanks to a federal court ruling last week, grizzly bears living in the Rocky Mountains will continue to be considered endangered species. The species was taken off the Endangered Species List in 2007 by the Fish and Wildlife Service. But, the Fish and Wildlife Service ignored clear threats to the animal's food supply. Grizzlies' food supply has decreased due to climate change and the destruction of whitebark pine forests. When the Fish and Wildlife Service took the animal off of the list, they argued that the grizzlies would continue to do well without the pine forests. This theory was totally false and was proved wrong with much evidence and research. Finally, after the court ruling last week, grizzly bears are now back where they should be.

I, being the animal lover that I am, was immediately attracted to this article right when I saw the title. The author of this editorial, Andrew Rosenthal, was very happy with the decision made my the federal court. He strongly believes that the animals deserve to be there. He closes the editorial by saying, "All the more reason to make sure the bear stays on the Endangered Species List." Rosenthal is very persuasive in this editorial and makes you agree with his point of view. 

Click here to view the editorial

Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Tips to Increasing Your Happiness

Who doesn't want to be happy? People will go to extreme measures to be happy in their life. Scientist Dr. John Grohol did some research and came up with 5 tips to increase happiness in your life. The first is, "Take a break from the material world" Grohol suggests that money won't buy you happiness and if you can afford some shelter and transportation, you're pretty much set. Second, he says, "Your relationships go a long way to helping you be happy." Grohol says that this tip is more for people that are married and that your relationship is a key component to your happiness level. His third tip is, "Trying to enjoy yourself will result in your least amount of enjoyment." He says your least likely to be happy when you're trying to be happy and happiness occurs naturally. The fourth tip is, "Being a giving person and having gratitude matter."People that are selfless tend to be happier and they tend to think about the good things in life. The final tip is, "Focus on experiences, not stuff." Grohol says to avoid buying stuff and having a lot, and focus more on the experiences you have with the people you enjoy being with.

Grohol is very persuasive in this article. His purpose was to inform people on how to live happier lives. The title of the article, "5 Tips to Increasing Your Happiness," made people interested in the article right from the start. Grohol definitely achieved his goal by writing this article. After reading this, it made me want to follow these rules so I too, can live a happier lifestyle.

Click here to view the article

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Outside Reading - The Great Gatsby

When choosing my outside reading book, it took me a long time to finally make a decision on what book to read. I finally chose The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is an American classic and Fitzgerald's greatest novel. The novel takes place in New York in the 1920's. It starts off with the narrator, Nick Carraway, moving into the West Egg district of Long Island to learn about the bond business. His next door neighbor is a man named Jay Gatsby, who lives in a mansion and throws extravagant parties on Saturday evenings. Gatsby is extravagant man on the outside, but he is really nothing more than a man desperate for love. Despite Gatsby's classy lifestyle, he is unhappy because he is still in love with Daisy Buchanan. With Nick's help, Gatsby and Daisy meet again and rekindle their affair. Daisy's husband, Tom, is angry about Daisy's affair, even though he himself is also having an affair with George Wilson's wife, Myrtle. When Gatsby and Daisy are driving back to New York one day, Gatsby's car hits Myrtle. Even though it was really Daisy who was driving, Gatsby takes the blame. George Wilson hears that it was Gatsby that hit and killed his wife, Myrtle. So, he goes to Gatsby's house and shoots Gatsby in his pool and kills him. Nick Carraway sets up a funeral for his friend. After the funeral, Nick decides to leave West Egg, disgusted by the lifestyle.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald has a very unique writing style that is both complex and descriptive. Fitzgerald's purpose is to expose what he saw as the flaws of the so called, "American Dream." Even though he focuses on this purpose and the general plot throughout the novel, he leaves other hints of underlying problems. For example, nobody really knew for sure how Gatsby made all of his money. But, near the end of the novel, Tom Buchanan reveals something that me, as the reader, had already started to suspect; Gatsby's fortune was made through illegal gambling and bootlegging. Fitzgerald uses ethos to create unique personalities for all of the characters. Fitzgerald uses pathos to emotionally persuade the reader and keep them interested in the love and relationships. "He doesn’t know very much about Tom, though he says he’s read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy’s name." (Pg. 152) Fitzgerald uses pathos throughout the novel. I felt like Fitzgerald didn't use logos to support his ideas and purpose. One characteristic of Fitzgerald that kept me interested in The Great Gatsby was his use of description. Fitzgerald was very descriptive and used lots of imagery. Overall, I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing style, and look forward to reading more of his work in the future. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Special Education Needs Not Being Met

I may have a personal connection with this article, and I may be biased, but it doesn't mean there is not a problem going on at the Hanover Middle School. The author of this article, Mark Skordinski, is explaining this problem. The Hanover Middle School has left nine special needs children without a teacher. The reason for this? Faculty cuts. According to federal law, school districts must provide an education to children with special needs in the least restrictive environment. So, the issue at the middle school is in "direct opposition with federal and state law." Skordinski also mentions the school committee and their failure to cooperate with special needs parents. The school committee is supposed to speak for the townspeople, which is why they were elected. Their failure to do so is not helping the situation, or the concerned parents.

Mark Skordinski makes it perfectly clear that he believes that this is wrong and that something needs to be done. He explains the problem that has arose at the middle school. He also thoroughly describes his feelings for the school committee. "From the very outset of the meeting, it was clear that the chairman of the school committee had no interest in hearing these concerns." Skordinski also says, "However, there is an overall chipping away of special education that seems to be driven too much by financial concerns instead of best practices or students’ needs." Skordinski believes that with a little teamwork, the school committee and special needs parents can cooperate and do what's best for their children.

Click here to view the article

$350 Per Honk

For those of us who have been to New York City, we know the sound of the traffic and horns is loud enough to keep you awake at night. It's almost unbearable. Most of this noise isn't coming from just any normal car. The ones to blame are taxi drivers. The law in New York, for years, has been that it is illegal to use any "claxon" on a motor vehicle except in an emergency or a car alarm. The fine for unnecessary use of a horn is $350 a beep. The problem is very few, if any, tickets are given out for this. The taxi commissioner of New York, David Yassky, recently sent out a text to New York's 13,000 taxi drivers asking them to only honk in an emergency. But, the taxi drivers were unimpressed. The only way to solve this problem might be to start giving out tickets.

The author of this article, Andrew Rosenthal, believes the state should start giving out more tickets to solve this issue. He implies that unnecessary horn honking is very dangerous, especially when people are using their horns instead of their brakes. Rosenthal says at the end of the editorial, "Mr. Yassky is right to remind his drivers of why they have a horn in the first place. They should listen. So should the rest of the drivers out there." This proves that Rosenthal believes there's a problem and it needs to be fixed.

Click here to view the editorial

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

White Halloween

I, as well as many others, never though I'd see a white halloween. But, this past Saturday night and Sunday morning left me speechless. I woke up Sunday, October 30th, and looked out my window and saw snow on the ground. Thats a first. The past weekends snow storm left millions without power. Schools have already been cancelled for weeks due to power outages and halloween has been postponed in some towns. Everywhere from West Virginia up to New Hampshire woke up Sunday morning and was astonished at what they saw. If this storm happened during the winter, it would have just been another snow storm. But the fact that it hit halloween weekend makes it one for the record books.

The author of this article, Andrew Rosenthal, also was amazed by the snow storm. He starts off the editorial comparing the idea of a white halloween to a Tim Burton movie. Rosenthal says, "Where the damage was worst, it looked as though autumnal trees had shed their branches instead of their leaves." Rosenthal was very surprised by the weekends storm. Rosenthal also says that, "The emotion this storm inspired was incredulity." He's right. People didn't know what was happening or what to do. Nobody was prepared for this and nobody will forget it. 

Click here to read the editorial

The Troops Are Coming Home

There is good news for troops and military families. President Obama announced Friday that that all the troops will be home by the end of the year. More than 4, 400 Americans have been killed in this war, and it has cost the US $1 trillion over the past nine years. There was a possibility that Obama was going to leave some troops behind in Iraq for a while longer to help the Iraqi government maintain security. But, Iraq couldn't make up their mind and with a December 31st deadline approaching, Obama decided the best thing to do would be to bring all the troops home. There is finally a much needed end date to this long fought war.

The author of this editorial, Andrew Rosenthal, suggests that he believes its a good idea that there is finally an end date to the war in Iraq. He proves this near the end of the article when he includes a quote from Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate. He says,"Romney...said Mr. Obama “unnecessarily put at risk” hard-won victories. Like most of what Mr. Romney says about national security, that was absurd. Would he have Washington ignore the desires of Iraq’s democratic government and stay in Iraq forever?" Rosenthal also ends his editorial by saying, "...Iraq will be in the hands of Iraqis, as it should be." 

Click here to read the article