Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Change My Mind

Well, it's hard to believe we are on the downside of this semester already and that this is our last post. It has been a lot of fun reading your blogs; it has given me the opportunity to get to know you so much better. I wish you well in every aspect of your lives. 

This will be your last chance to let me know your opinion on some key issues. You know, though, that persuasaive writing is so much more than just presenting your opinion. The intention is that you, through the argument you present, will be able to convince me to change my opinion so that it aligns with yours. To do so, you have to know how I think (consider me your enemy). The more you know about the opposing side, the easier it will be for you to present information that will blow holes in what I believe. This is the strategy every efficient persuasive writer (and debater) uses. It is the bullet that cannot miss its target, for if I begin to doubt my own beliefs, you have a very good chance of changing my mind.

Blog Assignment: This week you get the opportunity to sound off about animal testing of medicine designed for human use or the deportation of illegal aliens currently working and residing in the United States. Remember your goal is to persuade me that your opinion is the correct one. You will respond to either topic #3 or #10 on page 260 of the textbook. 

My Response: I am a second generation American. My grandparents from both sides were born in other countries - Italy, Spain, and Cuba, to be precise. As such, I have a real interest in the issue of illegal aliens. My grandparents came to the United States purposefully, legally, and at great cost to themselves and their families. My Italian grandfather worked in the small village of Santomeno as an apprentice to a cobbler. He saved enough money to secure passage on an ocean liner for both himself and my grandmother. However, he came  first and he came alone, leaving his young bride behind for about 6 months. He didn't know she was pregnant and that she would make the trip and nearly deliver my mother while still onboard. What he did know was that he had to establish a business, set up a home, and have all his paperwork underway to make their stay in the United States permanent. He was focused and deliberate about their plans. I believe that all immigrants should operate the same way. If your paperwork says you can only stay for 6 months before you have to file for an extension, then that is what you must do. Abiding by the law is not only important on the face of it, but it establishes your relationship with your new country of residence. If you cannot abide by the restrictions in place when you arrive, then don't bother to come. I know that sounds harsh, but lawlessness does not ensure safety for those born in the United States. I do, however, also believe there should be some major changes to current immigration laws. No more "free" ride on public services. Immigrants should have mentors who will ensure employment. Employment that witholds taxes and social security, thereby eliminating the government services many immigrants receive. Immigrants on work visas who have children born in the United States should be required to decide within a short time period after the child's birth whether the child will be a US citizen. If they elect citizenship, then the parents themselves must also become citizens before the child's first birthday. What should the US do about those illegal immigrants already here? Does the family have at least one member who is gainfully employed and who is supporting the others? Let the family stay, but they must all become citizens. After all, our forefathers had to make the choice. They should, too.

Your TurnSign in and post your assignment in the Comment box. Preview your response so you can see what you need to correct. Make your corrections and click the Post Comment button. Please post your response before class on November 3.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tell the Truth: Showing Cause and Effect in Your Writing

There are so many times we go through life and we struggle to find the reasons why a certain thing has happened to us. It almost seems as if our reasoning is programmed by the law of cause and effect. Sometimes there just is no apparent reason, thus the popularity of such books as When Bad Things Happen to Good People

Cause and effect writing can be one of the most challenging rhetorical styles. To be good at writing an effective essay, the writer must really have studied the topic and be intimately acquainted with specific details to present to the reader. This form of writing is used powerfully in persuasive writing, where cause and effect is manipulated for the purposes of changing someone's mind. It is also used daily in business reports, textbooks, and media reporting. You can see,therefore, how important it is to be able to develop fluency in this style of writing.

Blog Assignment: This week you get the opportunity to show your knowledge of a specific topic. Choose wisely. Remember your goal is to either show the reasons for the popularity of an object or the effects of something on a person's life. You will respond to either topic #2 or #7 on page 253 of the textbook. 

My Response: The way Americans eat is undergoing a change, albeit slow. As a nation we are finally recognizing the effects of the economically driven standard American diet, known affectionately as the SAD diet. This diet (or way of eating) is comprised mainly of processed food products (which are high in fat, sugar, and salt,) and is fueled by American corporations' desire for more and more profit. As the American food industry has grown, so have America's health problems. The process of refining foods involves modification of the original food product itself. Take, for example, white flour. This begins as grains of wheat from which the fibrous outer husks have been removed. This wheat is now  ground into a white powdery substance, flour, which consumers (and other food manufacturers) can use to create food products like cakes, crepes, and breads. "So," you might ask, "what's the problem? I don't have time to grind my own flour, let alone have the necessary equipment to do so." The removal of the the outer husk is the problem. That is where the fiber lives. By removing the fiber from the food, industry has created a food product that, when consumed, is quickly turned into simple sugars (glucose) in the body. And, while glucose is indeed the fuel our bodies use for energy, an excess of fuel is stored as fat. The increased stores of fat (fuel for later) lead to obesity. The number of obese people in America is around 78 million (USA Today). Another effect of the rapid transformation of processed food into glucose is that the body becomes flooded with it.  Our bodies are programmed to deal with excessive amounts of glucose by producing insulin, the hormone which regulates the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. But things really go wrong in the human body when the insulin signaling malfunctions.  Reduced levels of insulin in the brain can lead to Alzheimer's and other neurolgical disorders. Diabetes (types 1 and 2) and Metabolic Syndrome are the most common effects seen. According to the US Office of Minority Health, nearly 26 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 79 million have pre-diabetes. Finally, the lack of fiber and nutrients in processed foods can lead to constipation, malnutrition, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and possibly even cancer. There are studies that even link the consumption of processed foods with autoimmune diseases such as alopecia, asthma, and eczema. Obviously, Americans need to work at consuming more whole foods while reducing the amount of processed and refined foods in order to create a healthy life.

Your TurnSign in and post your assignment in the Comment box. Preview your response so you can see what you need to correct. Make your corrections and click the Post Comment button. Because I am late in  posting your assignment, I have extended the deadline. Please post your response before class on October 22.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's All About the Story

Do you have a young child? Bedtime can be one of the most wonderful times to spend with that young person because bedtime is story time. Not at your house? Oh!  I encourage you to read a story to your your young son or daughter every night. This is a magical time of bonding as the two of you cuddle together in the bed and share the wonder of words and stories. This night time ritual opens young minds to the language of stories, a language filled with delightful ideas and fanciful word combinations. A language that shows life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A language that teaches us what it means to be people with a rich and interesting heritage. Yes, it IS all about the story. That's what makes a great TV show, a hit Broadway play, or a movie you watch over and over again.

Blog AssignmentThis week you will write a paragraph gives you the opportunity to tell a story that would be worth presenting to the entire world. You will respond to either topic #6 or #7 on page 219 of the textbook. You don't have to give away every detail of your story - that would take pages and pages - but tell me enough that I know you've got a real tale to unfold.

My Response: I plan one day to write a book that will shake the modern world. It would be an amazing thing if it were turned into a movie, but that can never happen if I don't write the book, right? So, here's the plot to my story. (Please don't steal this idea; I doubt you'd have the stamina to do the research correctly to do the plot justice.) The screen is dark. A middle aged man lies in a tomb, a small cave which has been carved out of the rock. Inside, he lies on a stone slab. Suddenly his eyes fly open and he takes a sharp intake of breath as the sound of his heart beating fills the empty chamber. This scene happens over and over again, to a great number of people of varying ages and genders.  Literally, hordes of the once-dead make their way through the ancient streets of Judea, their flesh restored to perfection. Clad only in their burial wrappings, also now restored to their pristine condition, the resurrected make their way to the homes of their families. Our first resurrectee enters his home, calling out his wife's name. His voice is rusty from lack of use. She turns from the recessed fire pit and when she sees him a look of complete joy suffuses her face. That joy is quickly replaced with shock and fear when she reaches out to touch his arm and our resurrected husband quickly speaks to comfort her consternation. He tells her that he has been physically dead, but that while he was no longer among the living, he was spiritually alive. 

Your TurnSign in and post your assignment in the Comment box. Preview your response so you can see what you need to correct. Make your corrections and click the Post Comment button. Please be sure to post your response no later than midnight of October 13.