The Prevention of Innocent Peoples Exocution

The Prevention of Innocent People??™s Execution

According to John J. Curtin, Former President of the American Bar Association, ???A system that will take a life must first give justice.??? The American justice system cannot begin to protect the innocent until the death penalty can be administered in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. It can no longer be overlooked that a lot of the three thousand, three hundred inmates that sit on death rows across the country have not received the quality of legal representation that the severity and the finality of a death sentence demand. (ABA) I believe the justice system is inconsistent and it is not a just justice system. For example, DNA testing should be performed on all items obtained from a crime scene immediately to help prove the innocence or guilt of the person that is on trial, and it is not always done. Without the results of DNA testing, how can you be certain, especially in death penalty cases, that you are condemning the correct person to death (ABA; Protess; Innocents Database)

Hank Skinner was to be executed on March 24, 2010, for the 1993 deaths of his live-in girlfriend Twila Busby and her two adult, mentally challenged sons. According to an affidavit from Howard Mitchel, Busby came home early from a New Years Eve party, between eleven p.m. and eleven fifteen p.m., and it was shortly thereafter that she was bludgeoned to death, and
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both of her sons were stabbed repeatedly and died. Her oldest son was stabbed and murdered in his bed, and her youngest son was stabbed several times, but was able to crawl out of the home. (Case 1)

Prior to leaving the home the youngest son was able to get Skinner out of the house to try and find help even though Skinner was unconscious from a combination of Vodka and codeine that he had been taking all day long. (Case 1) It is unfortunate that the youngest son died shortly after retrieving Skinner from their home. In the same affidavit from 1994, Skinner??™s close friend Howard Mitchell testified that he came to the home of Skinner and Busby around ten fifteen p.m. to take them to his party and Skinner was passed out cold on the couch. Mitchell tried several times to awaken Skinner but was unsuccessful. (Case 1)

When the police arrived at the crime scene, investigative standards were not followed, as they would have been with any other crime scene. Based on the address alone, the sheriff knowing that Skinner lived there, and having a huge dislike for Skinner, I believe Skinner was automatically presumed guilty of the murders in the sheriff??™s eyes, due to fact that there were so many discrepancies in the way evidence was gathered, and lack of forensic testing performed on items gathered from the crime scene. (Case 2)

Two knives were found at the crime scene, both with blood on them, but the DNA was never tested because the sheriff and the prosecution did not believe that there was any evidence
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that connected those two knives to the murders. (Case 3) How could they not be connected to the crime This is appalling to me. The blood that was at the scene of the crime was never tested for DNA as well because it was thought to be the blood of Twila Busby herself. (Case 3)

The contents of a rape kit that had been performed on Ms. Busby never had DNA testing either. (Case 3) This case screams prosecutorial misconduct and someone could possibly pay for it with his life. This is a serious problem, which represents gross misconduct and neglect of the police department in the town where the crime was committed. (ABA; Cicurel et al; Protess)

I happened upon this case as I was researching another case, one that actually made it to a television broadcast by PBS Television Station on their Frontline Program. That program was based on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham who was executed in the state of Texas, for the deaths of his three young children who perished in a house fire, that was thought to be started by arson, started by Todd Willingham. (Frontline ???Death by Fire???) Gerald Hurst, an arson expert, was called to the scene to go over the remains to see what his expert opinion was. He determined that this clearly was not a case of arson and listed reasons to substantiate his findings. (Lithwick) Gerald Hurst??™s report sat on the desk of Rick Perry, Governor of the State of Texas, for two weeks prior to the execution. (Rubac) Here is another case where there was evidence that the state of Texas had the wrong person on death row, but this information must have been overlooked because the execution went on as planned. The state of Texas admitted on August 29, 2009 that they murdered an innocent man. (dailykos)

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This sort of injustice is unacceptable and is happening way too often. If there is DNA evidence available, it should be mandatory that it get tested immediately, to see if the police have the correct person or not. I believe that is called burden of proof. It is not fair for someone to lose their life entirely or even a day of it when there is evidence that can prove them innocent.
Along with that goes the fact that it is not right for someone to commit a crime and get away with it either. If the police and prosecution did a better job investigating and performing the proper tests at the beginning of a case, then it would leave less after the fact testing to be performed. If people don??™t want to do the testing because it is the ethical thing to do, I would hope that they would want the testing done so there are less criminals loose on the streets, which in turn would make the world a safer place to be. (ABA; Cicurel et al; Protess; Innocents Database)

In the Skinner case, ???The untested evidence includes vaginal swabs from a rape kit, bloodied knives, fingernail clippings, hair clutched in the female victim??™s hand and a blood stained windbreaker strikingly similar to one worn by the alternative suspect.??? (Case 3) Testing all the evidence may be costly, but is it more costly to test evidence in the beginning to see if you have the right person, or to house them in jail for possibly the rest of their lives or even worse, put an end to a life that you aren??™t one hundred percent sure is the person who committed the crime Furthermore, executing the wrong person would be considered murder. How is this acceptable If you convict and/or execute the wrong person then there is a murderer, an arsonist,
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a child molester, etc., that is free to run the streets and commit the crime again. In an interview with Maureen Maher for CBS News, Mark Protess, Skinner??™s current attorney stated, ???All of this
evidence, should have been tested by the state because they have an obligation to exclude as well as convict a person.???

Both of the cases that I have mentioned represent that there is a serious problem with
some of our judicial system, and their misuse of power, and I would like to propose a change be made to make it fairer for everyone, not just those on death row. Too many times the courts convicted the wrong person, and that wrong person looses so much: their jobs, their dignity, self-respect, respect of others, and their life as they knew it. Just last week I heard on the radio that several people had been released from jail due to DNA testing which proved the police, judge and jury convicted the wrong people in all of these cases.

I was stunned to read the numbers of people that are in a database knows as ???The Innocents Database.??? According to this database, they currently have three thousand and twenty three people listed in the database. Five hundred thirty- eight people were sentenced to death, six hundred and nine people were sentenced to life in prison, and four hundred thirty-five people were exonerated after the police claimed they had given a confession that later proved to be false. Two thousand, eight hundred and thirty-four people have been judicially exonerated or pardoned which means all of the people listed in this database have been convicted of a crime
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that they did not commit, DNA testing proved them innocent, and they were released from jail! (Innocents Database) It is extremely upsetting to me to think that the police, who are supposed to help, serve and protect us, are some of the ones who do the most harm to people.

I would like to propose a two-part solution. When an infant is born, along with taking their footprints, take the infant??™s fingerprints and a DNA sample and put them into a national
database. Then when you have a crime where there is compelling evidence leading one direction or another, or the prosecution is leading the case and/or jury to think only one way, then you match up the fingerprints and DNA samples taken at birth to see if you have the right person or not. If you have the right person, great! You have attained the burden of proof. If you do not, then you continue searching until you find the right person, but you do not convict an innocent person. That is morally and ethically wrong. Some may argue that this is in violation of a person??™s privacy, but I disagree. I disagree because if it is common knowledge that your DNA, and foot and/or fingerprints are in a national database, maybe people might think twice before committing a crime. I disagree on a second note because I would imagine that the people who oversee this database have more important things to do than to sit and study the DNA and prints of people listed in this database. I do not know how much it would cost to do this, but whatever the cost I would think it would be well worth it. In addition, this database might help identify unknown murderers of victims in cases for which the police haven??™t been able to solve. How are the members of families that have lost a family member due to crime supposed to get closure if a
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case has been closed due to not being able to find who committed this crime I believe this is exactly why we should have this database.

My second suggestion is it should be mandatory to collect all evidence in connection with the crime and test it for DNA immediately. Skinner has been requesting DNA testing on several items taken from the crime scene, but has been denied for fifteen years. I believe if you are accused of a crime and you have nothing to hide, then there should be no problem with the DNA testing. What if a loved one of yours was convicted of a crime that they claim they did not commit Would you want the DNA testing done then

There is a sworn affidavit where the prosecutions star witness, Andrea Reed, recanted her whole testimony. She stated that the police coerced her into making the accusations on the stand that she did. (Case 11; Innocents Database, Rubac) The Innocents Database states that of the three thousand and twenty-three people listed in their database, four hundred and thirty eight people were exonerated after a false confession. Clearly this is not the first time a person has been coerced by the police or the prosecution. I doubt there is any way to completely stop coercion, but with the system I have proposed, knowing there is data in a national database,
maybe people may be less likely to commit a crime, which in turn would help cut down the
amount of police coercion that is happening today.

As with any form of change, there will always be people who will think that what I am
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suggesting goes against their civil rights, and I believe the exact opposite would be true. I believe it goes against everyone??™s civil rights to punish, all the way up to executing a person when you do not know for fact that you have the correct person.

As for justice being served in the matter of the Skinner case, it was reported on
CNN for Justice that, ???State Senator Rodney Ellis and State Representative Elliott Naishat
were among some of the people who have called for a reprieve.??? Ellis stated in a letter to Rick Perry, Governor of the state of Texas, ???It has come to my attention that there are numerous problems with Mr. Skinner??™s case that raise serious questions regarding the fairness of his trial and whether or not he is guilty.??? CNN for Justice also reports that since 1995 when he was convicted, Skinner has maintained his innocence and has been very determined to gain access to untested physical evidence; he has been denied every step of the way by the District Attorney. The fact that so many people have been exonerated for crimes they were convicted of, I think this certainly proves that we have a serious problem within our justice system. In the Willingham case they had a report by an expert in his field that there is no way that case was arson and yet Willingham was executed anyway. (CNN for Justice) This makes my blood boil.

Reported by the Dallas News, ???If Skinner looses our state again could be in the embarrassing position of authorizing an execution with potentially exculpatory evidence locked away??? just like in the case of Todd Willingham. How many people have to die before the state
of Texas gets a clue To me it is unconscionable that a state??™s Governor had information that
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exonerated a person of a crime, but more importantly he had evidence that would have spared someone loosing his life and he ignored it. I cannot comprehend how this can happen.

DNA testing should be paid for the same way anything else gets paid for that the prosecution tests. It is the state??™s responsibility to provide the burden of proof, not the defendant??™s responsibility to prove his innocence. If all evidence is not tested, how can the state claim that they have met the standards of providing the burden of proof

The Skinner case grabbed the attention of Professor Protess and eight of his journalism students, known to be the members of the Medill Innocence Project from Northwestern University. They are a group of individuals that fight for the rights of convicted people. They investigate cases where all the pieces to the puzzle don??™t quite fit. ???The state of Texas has denied Hank Skinner??™s request for DNA testing,??? says Protess, who states the testing costs as much as ten thousand dollars. ???If the state of Texas is too cheap to determine whether an innocent man is on their death row, then Northwestern University??™s Medill School of Journalism will pay for those tests.??? (Protess) They have become so involved in making sure that justice is
truly served, that Professor Protess stated, in a letter to the Governor that the Journalism program would pay for the testing. He has yet to hear back from the Governor. I cannot believe that the means have been offered to the state of Texas to do the testing for free and yet they still will not do the it. This is horrifying to me and in my opinion; the Governor of Texas should be removed from office on grounds of gross misconduct, neglect and derelict of duty.
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Skinner was down to the eleventh hour of the day, eating what was to be his final meal on earth when he received a call, in his wildest dreams he never expected to get; it was a call from the Supreme Court issuing a stay of execution. (McNiff) Skinner has maintained since day one that he is innocent of committing the crimes for which he was convicted. This deed by the Supreme Court, reported by defense attorney Robert Owen, speculates that the Court believes there is merit to having the DNA testing done.

I believe if you did the crime you should do the time no exceptions. I do not believe that people, who are wrongly accused and convicted of various crimes, are treated as human beings. People want to know that when justice is being served, that it is being served to the correct person. As in the Skinner case, several of the jury members have demanded that DNA testing be done on all evidence. They want to know they convicted and sentenced to death the correct man. (Cicurel, et al)

I do not know that what I have suggested would work or not, there may be things involved that are beyond my knowledge that would effect if this is possible, but something has to change and it has to change now! I think my proposal is worth thinking about. Would you want someone to think about it if it was your life that was on the line for a crime that you did not commit

Works Cited

Circurel, Rachel, Gabby Fleischman, Emily Glazer, and Alexandra Johnson. “Hank Skinner Death Penalty Case: Texas Jurors Reconsider Verdict.” Politicsdaily, 09 June 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2010.

CNN Wire Staff. “High Court Gives Last-minute Stay to Condemned Texan.” CNN, 24 Mar. 2010. Web. 3 Nov. 2010.

Cohen, Adam. “In Death-Pentaly Cases, Innocence Has to Matter.” Time Magazine, 25 May 2010. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.

Cummins, Jim. “Wrong Man on Death Row in Texas” NBC News Correspondent. Web. 3 Nov. 2010.

“Editorial: Test All DNA in Skinner Case.” The Dallas Morning News, 12 Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.

“Home – ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project.” American Bar Association – Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice. American Bar Association. Web. 8 Nov. 2010.

Lithwick, Dahlia. “Not Innocent Enough.” Lexisnexis, Oct. 2009. Web. 4 Nov. 2010.

Maher, Maureen. “Death Row DNA Squad Zeroes In.” CBS News, 2 July 2010. Web. 2010.

McNiff, Eamon. “Down to His Final Meal, Hank Skinner Granted Stay of Execution in Texas Murder Case.” Abcnews.go. ABC News, 25 Mar. 2010. Web. 23 Oct. 2010.

Public Broadcasting System. Frontline. Frontline Investigates Whether The State Of Texas Executed An Innocent Man. Pbs, 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.

Publication. The Innocents Database. Web. 8 Nov. 2010.

Rubac, Gloria. “Innocence Almost Impossible to Prove.” Workers World, 20 Oct. 2010. Web.

Calories or fat grams

Calories or fat grams ?30%?

A calorie is the standard unit for measuring energy released from energy-yielding nutrients, such as fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Fat is an essential nutrient that helps the body transport and absorb fat-soluble vitamins (e.g., A, D, E, and K), among other functions. Whereas proteins and carbohydrates have only four calories of energy per gram, fat has nine. Food labels are federally standardized to help make it easier for the consumer to know whats in a particular food. You can calculate the percentage of calories from fat by looking at the column marked “Percent Daily Value” for total fat and simply add up these percentages. Its recommended that fat make up no more than 30 percent of your daily diet (meaning less than or equal to 30 percent of total calories a day from fat).

Although it is important to watch both calories and fat grams, its best to focus on  the total number of calories consumed, which often seems to be forgotten. With the introduction of low-fat and fat-free versions of many common foods, youd expect people to lose weight. Instead, many are either staying at the same weight or even gaining weight. Sometimes you can eat more of these foods than their full-fat versions for the same number of calories. However, sometimes low-fat foods contain more sugar than their full-fat cousins, and hence as many calories per serving. Ultimately, if you eat more calories than your body expends, regardless of whether these calories come from fat, protein, or carbohydrates, you will gain weight. Unused energy is converted and stored as excess body fat.

The amount of calories a person needs is based on body weight, age, gender and physical activity level. Generally, 1200 to 1400 calories per day is considered low, and anything above 2400 is considered too much. To find out how many calories you should be getting a day, check out the MyPlate website (link is external). This USDA-sponsored site will ask you to input your age, gender, weight, height and physical activity level in order to determine what caloric intake will be right for you. You can also check out Ideal Caloric Intake? in the Go Ask Alice! archives for more information on calorie counting.

The President

Barak Obama!! =]

Today, the 20th of January 2009 is a very historical day. This is because today President Barack Obama is being inaugurated. He is the 44th president of the United States of America, but is the 1st black president. This event took place in the Washington??™s National Mall. There were estimated 1.5 million people at the special event

Obama opened his speech with the following words: ???my fellow citizens, I stand here today, Humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices made by our ancestors??™.

Following this was the rest of his speech. He talked about all the challenges coming in the future and how the country will work together to get through it.
This is the quote that mentions how we can all stick together and look out for one another. ???It is the selfishness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend loose their job. It is a fire fighters courage to storm a stair way filled with smoke but also a parents willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our faith.??™

It also mentions how Martin Luther King Jr. succeeded to get all the rights for Black People. This is one of the quotes where he mentioned: ???And why a man whose father no less than sixty years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant, can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.??™

He closes the speech with this simple line: We carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to the future, Thank You.??™

The Men Behind The War On Women

The Men Behind The War On Women  ,?

A group of men with no real background in law or medicine, but blessed with a strong personal interest in women™s bodies, have quietly influenced all of the major anti-abortion legislation over the past several years. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops may be one of the quietest, yet most powerful lobbies on Capitol Hill, with political allies that have enabled them to roll back decades of law and precedent.

Over the past two years the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has launched one of the most extreme assaults on womens choice the U.S. has seen in decades. Republicans voted twice to slash federal family planning funds for low-income women, moved to prevent women from using their own money to buy insurance plans that cover abortion, introduced legislation that would force women to have ultrasounds before receiving an abortion and, most recently, passed a bill that will allow hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions for women with life-threatening pregnancy complications.

But the erosion of womens rights didnt begin with the GOP takeover. President Barack Obamas health care reform law contained some of the most restrictive abortion language seen in decades.

Lift the curtain, and behind the assault was the conference of bishops.

“It is a very effective lobby, unfortunately, and now they have an ally in the Republican majority because both groups find this a means by which to fight womens health issues in general,” said Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), a member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “The bishops carry a lot of clout.”

“We consider the two biggest opponents on the other side the Catholic bishops and National Right to Life,” said Donna Crane, policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “They are extremely heavy-handed on this issue.”

While the bishops have always been vocal on the issue of choice, they have emerged since the 2009 health care reform debate as one of the most powerful anti-abortion advocates on Capitol Hill.

Now, they are stepping up their attack on womens choice with a new, high-intensity campaign aimed at the latest front in the national anti-abortion battle: birth control. And the opposition is worried that they might have just enough sway over lawmakers to succeed.

On November 6, 2009, one day before the Democrat-controlled House was scheduled to vote on the Affordable Care Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reconvened with the Pro-Choice Caucus after a contentious meeting with the bishops.

The sticking point was abortion funding. Pelosi and the Democrats desperately wanted to pass health care reform. The bishops dug their heels in and refused to support a bill that didnt include the notorious “Stupak Amendment,” which would block insurance companies from covering abortion under the plan, and the 39 pro-life Democrats in the House couldnt politically afford to oppose the bishops.

“The Catholic bishops were willing to bring down the health care bill over the issue of abortion — even though the bill did not expand access to abortion,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said. “This was very troubling.”

Emotions ran high as Pelosi, DeLauro and other staunch abortion rights advocates realized they were going to have to choose between passing sweeping health care reform and standing up for womens choice.

“Some of these women had been working to pass the health care bill for decades, and it had all these other great things for women, like immunizations and maternal health provisions and preventative care,” one Democratic staffer involved in the negotiations recalled. “You could see them having this internal struggle with, do we sink the whole thing over this one issue?”

In addition to having the support of the pro-life Democrats in the House, the bishops claimed to have the support of Catholic congregations around the country. They instructed all Catholic priests to talk about the Stupak Amendment during Mass, issued church bulletins and strongly urged Catholics and the clergy to oppose the entire health care bill if the abortion provision didnt pass.

“The bishops came out of nowhere,” said another staffer who worked on health care reform for a member of the pro-choice caucus. “They made their appearance during the health care debate, and all of a sudden were this hugely important group, like the NRA.”

The Conference of Catholic Bishops is not technically a lobbying organization — churches are tax-exempt, and they dont have to disclose publicly how much money they put toward lobbying. According to the IRS, a 501(c)(3) organization like the Conference can speak out on moral issues as much as it wants, but “may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities.”

The Catholic clergys secret weapon is a man named Richard Doerflinger, who dropped out of a doctoral program in theology 31 years ago to work on abortion policy for the USCCB as Deputy Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. As the point person on pro-life issues for the bishops, Doerflinger says he has been helping lawmakers write anti-abortion bills behind the scenes for decades, including the Stupak Amendment. In 2008 he was recognized by the Gerald Health Foundation as one of the “greatest heroes of the pro-life movement.”

And the bishops were not only influential in swaying votes during health care reform debate; Doerflinger said they actually helped Reps. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) write the controversial anti-abortion amendment, which the House approved by a vote of 290 to 194.

“Those bishops were literally sitting in Bart Stupaks office and, from what we could tell, instructing him all about the laws he should be supporting, and the text of the laws, and the strategy of getting them through,” said Terry ONeill, the president of the National Organization for Women. “It was absolutely appalling.”

The National Organization for Women has called for the bishops conference to lose its tax-exempt status over its lobbying activities.

Doerflinger says that the bishops derived most of their power in the health care debate from the influx of conservative Democrats after the 2008 elections.

“I think there was a special circumstance in the consideration of health care reform, because everybody knew that virtually all of the Republicans were going to vote against it anyway,” Doerflinger said. “So the key role in determining what could pass the House was held by a group of a couple dozen pro-life Democrats who worked more comfortably with us than any the other groups working on the abortion issue, because we also wanted universal health care coverage.”

The fact that nearly a third of Congress — 156 members — are Catholic also likely helps the bishops cause.

“[The bishops] have the most sway in offices that are either sympathetic to that perspective on abortion, or where that faith has sway — either the member is Catholic, or there is a strong constituency of Roman Catholics in the district,” said Crane. “Weve seen all three.”

Ultimately, the bishops lost the health care reform battle when the pro-life Democrats agreed to a compromise that excluded the Stupak language from the bill. In exchange for their support, President Barack Obama promised the lawmakers he would issue an executive order against using the health care funds for abortion.

The bishops were not satisfied. “Only a change in the law enacted by Congress, not an executive order, can begin to address this very serious problem in the legislation,” Doerflinger wrote in a statement.

Still, the bishops had established themselves as a superpower in the crusade against reproductive choice.

* * * * *

While Doerflinger and the bishops have largely operated in the shadows over the past couple of years, quietly advising lawmakers on legislation, recent developments on the contraception front have led them to step up their advocacy actions.

The Obama administration has been particularly supportive of efforts to provide contraception and family planning services to underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad, which violates the Vaticans teachings on abstinence and runs counter to the programs the bishops offer to their congregations.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently considering a list of insurance coverage guidelines that would mandate that all health plans under the Affordable Care Act cover birth control at no cost for women. The rules have a religious exemption for churches, but many Catholic-affiliated organizations such as charities, schools and hospitals would still have to offer plans that cover birth control for their employees.

The bishops argue that the exemption is too narrow.

“You have to hire and serve primarily people of your own faith [to qualify for the exemption],” Doerflinger said. “Jesus himself would not be exempt, because he treated Samaritans and Roman soldiers. Its absurd.”

HHS held an open comment period in September during which various advocacy groups could express their opinions on the interim guidelines before the final version is released, but the bishops went further. The day the comment period ended, the USCCB established a major new political arm — the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty — to continue flexing their political muscles on the issue and convince the Obama administration either to entirely remove the coverage of birth control from the guidelines, or to give all Catholic-related organizations a free pass.

“The bishops are the loudest voice when it comes to removing contraception from the guidelines, so that no woman would have access to that benefit,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “In lieu of that, theyre asking for sweeping exception that would completely swallow the rule and make the guidelines meaningless for women.”

The bishops new initiative is multi-pronged. In addition to submitting official comments to HHS and urging parishes around the country to do the same, the bishops are pushing their agenda in Congress.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental freedom,” Bishop William Lori, the chair of the ad hoc committee, told HuffPost in an interview. “It should not become a second class right to other so-called rights that have been discovered farther down the road.”

“No one would ever dispute the ready availability of so-called reproductive services in our society for anyone who wants it,” he continued.

Lori testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee last week about what he said were recent government assaults on the freedom of religion.

“I am here today to call your attention to grave threats to religious liberty that have emerged since June — grim validations of the bishops recognition of the need for urgent and concerted action in this area,” Lori said. “I focus on these because most of them arise under federal law and so may well be the subject of corrective action by Congress.”

Lori urged subcommittee members to support three bills currently in Congress that would help to codify their agenda: the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358), the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 361) and the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179) — all anti-abortion and anti-contraception bills that Doerflinger says he directly influenced.

Doerflinger told HuffPost he had “some input” into the Protect Life Act, which was sponsored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and passed by the House in October. Nicknamed the “Let Women Die Act” by opponents, the bill would prevent women from using their own money to pay for private insurance plans that cover abortion under the new health care exchanges, and it would also allow religious hospitals to refuse emergency care to pregnant women in need of life-saving abortions.

Doerflinger worked with Rep. Jeffrey Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which would impose a giant religious exemption onto the new HHS recommendations, preempting the Obama administration. The bill would allow insurance companies to “decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan,” meaning that thousands of women who work for Catholic organizations, even if the women are not personally Catholic, would be denied the preventative health coverage options available to most other women in America.

“These new mandates are ideologically driven by Obama and [HHS Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius,” Fortenberry said. “The religious exemption is very narrow, and frankly, its insulting and discriminatory. It would allow an institution to opt out only if it serves people of its faith tradition, so you can envision a situation in which a Catholic hospital has to hang a sign in the window: No Baptists allowed.”

“Even Jesus wouldnt qualify,” he added, echoing Doerflinger.

Doerflinger said the bishops “were probably more involved than any other group in Washington I can think of” on Fortenberrys bill. And their message is resonating in Congress: In addition to last weeks Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, the bishops are appearing at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee forum on Wednesday to testify about the narrow scope of the religious exemption.

“Thats their slim basis for having the hearing, that they say it violates provider conscience rights,” said Rep. Capps, a member of the Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. “The real purpose of the hearing is to prevent women from getting access to preventative health care. It isnt a rational hearing, but its not the first hearing weve had thats not rational.”

What the bishops havent mentioned during their highly public anti-contraception campaign is the large amount of money at stake.

The USCCB established the ad hoc committee just days before the story broke that HHS was dropping the bishops from a massive $19 million, five-year contract to help victims of sexual trafficking. The bishops believe they lost the contract because they refuse to provide trafficking victims the full range of contraceptive and gynecological services that other agencies provide, such as abortion referrals, birth control pills and condoms.

“The efforts of the Church in the field of human trafficking and also in serving the poorest of the poor has been hampered, not by a legislature, but by the HHS, because we refuse to compromise our conscience,” Lori told HuffPost. “We are being forced to choose between our mission and our beliefs, and we believe that is a violation of religious liberty.”

President of Catholics for Choice Jon OBrien, however, believes the establishment of the ad hoc committee was more about money and political power than religious liberty.

“This is really a political committee designed to lobby to get the results bishops want for their charities,” he told HuffPost. “International aid is a big business, and the bishops are investing the staff, time and resources to make an issue around this so they dont lose more contracts going into the future.”

If the bishops can sway Congress and the Obama administration over to their side on the issue of contraception, it could restrict access to birth control for millions of U.S. women and sexual trafficking victims worldwide.

“What theyre attempting to do is use the legislative process to legislate us and others into their sense of morality,” OBrien said. “If you cant reach them at the pulpit, you go to Congress! And sometimes they win.”

The assumption that the bishops represent Catholic voters and have some sway over how those constituents will vote is not necessarily true. The Catholic vote is huge: 68.5 million Americans, about a quarter of the U.S. population, are Catholic. But polls suggest the bishops views on abortion and contraception do not at all reflect the views of most Catholics.

“The bishops are entirely out of sync with the people they purport to represent,” said Donna Crane, NARALs policy director. “All the polling and public opinion research is very clear: Catholics are majority pro-choice. They hold that belief, they use the services and they just arent in agreement with the hierarchy on these issues.”

The Catholic clergy opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, stem cell research and all artificial contraception and sterilization methods, including birth control pills and condoms.

But according the 2008 National Survey of Family Growth, 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women over the age of 18 have used some form of contraception banned by the Vatican. Even among more religious Catholic women, who attend Mass on a weekly basis, 83 percent use some form of contraception.

In 2009, 63 percent of Catholic voters said they support health insurance coverage for contraception, including birth control pills, according to a Belden Russonello Strategists poll. A 2008 Pew Research poll found that only 21 percent of Catholic respondents believe abortion should be illegal, and a new study released Oct. 24 shows that Catholics have become increasingly likely to say that issues of sexual morality and abortion should be left up to individuals — not the church.

There are even some disagreements among Catholic leadership over abortion and sexual morality issues. A coalition of religious orders representing about 59,000 nuns sent a letter to Congress in early 2010 urging them to pass health care reform, despite the bishops objections that the bill would allow federally subsidized abortions.

“Despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold long-standing conscience protections and it will make historic new investments — $250 million — in support of pregnant women,” wrote the nuns. “This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.”

Capps said the nuns are some of the Democrats biggest allies in the choice debate.

“The bishops dont represent all the Catholic voices. We have an ally in several Catholic organizations, mostly comprised of nuns,” she said. “And theyre at the front lines. Thats where health care is delivered, by them, in the hospitals. They provide the services.”

When asked about the dissonance among Catholics and the leadership on abortion and contraception issues, Bishop Lori said that divisions were beside the point.

“Its not for a government to exploit fault lines within religious institutions,” he said. “We recognize that not everybody shares that teaching; nevertheless, it is a fundamental right for the church to stand by their convictions.”

The ultimate victory for the bishops would be to reverse Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that prevents states from banning abortion before the fetus is viable. But even without that prize, womens choice advocates said the effect the bishops have had on reproductive choice in the U.S. has already been noticeable.

“Women have fewer abortion rights today than we had three or four years ago,” ONeill said. “We are so grateful for our friends in Congress who stopped the Stupak amendment, but ultimately we did see an anti-abortion provision go into health care law, and in 2011 alone we had more than 100 anti-abortion laws signed into law at a state level, which is unprecedented.”

ONeill finds it troubling that a group of men that has historically denied women the opportunity to participate in leadership positions is exercising so much power over such a broad range of womens reproductive health legislation.

“Clearly theres a problem when men take such an interest in the sexual function of women,” she said. “Theres something deeply off about it.”

The Democrat-controlled Senate is likely to reject any anti-abortion bills the House passes under influence of the bishops. But as HHS considers the final ruling on preventative health coverage guidelines, a key question is whether the Obama administration will end up caving to pressure from the bishops on the issue of birth control.

The Presentation of Magical Realism in Laura Esquivels Like Water for Chocolate

Throughout Laura Esquivel??™s book several events occur that are of a slightly super-natural nature. Things take place that would not normally happen in a realistic replica of the particular circumstance. The book itself is set during the Mexican civil war, takes us through the life of Tita, who finds true love at a early age but who??™s life is systematically ruined by her far-superior mother. Tita seems too have a form of mystical power about her, shown through strange occurrences through her unfortunate life. Esquivel creates this ???magical realism??? for several different reasons which I will elaborate in the following points.

The storyline for, ???For Water Like Chocolate??? is quite realistic in itself and could be easily considered a series of episodes that actually took place during the Mexican civil war. There is strong evidence, though, to show that the book fits more snugly in the ???fantasy??? genre of ???fiction??? books. This idea gives Esquivel??™s book a uniqueness, helping to exaggerate the emotions that the characters display and aiding the audience to understand better the sub-text of the book, the ???hidden feelings??? if you will.

The first hint of magical realism in ???Like Water For Chocolate???, is on the very first page of chapter 1/January, ???when she was till in my great-grandmother??™s belly??? (from Esperanz??™s point of view) ???her sobs were so loud that even Nacha, the cook, who was half-deaf, could hear them easily???. Obviously, this is not a major moment where magical realism is used, but it is definitely a situation where the event could not technically occur in real life. A baby cannot even cry, let alone be heard whilst in the womb (except perhaps moments before birth). In actual life this is nonsense, but in ???For Water Like Chocolate??? the baby was heard crying, ???when she was still in the belly???. This idea really helps to exaggerate, in this instance, how much onions affect Tita. These magical realism moments can all be read in more than one way. Tita crying in the womb suggests either her extreme allergy to onions, or Tita??™s highly-sensitive connection to food or something to d with the kitchen.

An example of a much larger case of Esquivel??™s use of magical realism is at Rosaura??™s wedding to Pedro. This boy is deeply in love with Tita, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Mama Elena forbids anything between them, and sentences Tita to follow a miserable family tradition. Tita is so immensely upset that the night before the wedding, whilst preparing the icing for the wedding cake, she burst into tears that fall into the meringue. Nacha quickly sends Tita to bed and continues with the process, though when she tastes the mixture for any inconsistency due to Tita??™s tears, the magical realism is brought up again; ???yet without knowing why, Nacha was suddenly overcome with an intense longing???. Tita??™s feelings of hurt, craving and misery have been mixed into the meringue through her tears. This of course is very unrealistic and would certainly not happen. The idea is continued through to the day of the wedding. ???The moment they took their first bit of cake, everyone was flooded with a great wave of longing???, ???an acute attack of pain and frustration???, ???the collective vomiting that was going on all over the patio???. These are all the effects of Tita??™s tears. This piece of magical realism is very ambiguous though, as are many in the story. Rosaura is coated in vomit and carried away, showing perhaps that she was not meant to be the correct partner for Pedro. The whole whiteness of the wedding, a highly traditional concept, is dirtied by the sick of the many attendants. This is like Tita on the family tradition, as later in the book she brakes from the tradition, ruining it, like the wedding is ruined. The emotions are hugely emphasized by the outcome.

Magical realism in used to show the effect Mama Elena has had on Tita??™s life in the late chapters. After Mama Elena??™s death, Tita is free of the family tradition forever, but she still feels greatly influenced by the stern power of Mama Elena. Twice she is revisited by Mama Elena??™s ghost. This could be seen, though, as a from in Tita??™s imagination, as during the time she was alive Mama Elena scared her so much. In September Mama Elena confronts Tita, ???I told you many times not to go near Pedro. Why did you do it???
???I Tried, Mami??¦ but-???
???But Nothing! What you have done has no name!???
Mama Elena has a huge influence on Tita??™s entire life, even when she is no longer present in mortal form. Tita still remembers that when she does something immoral, how badly judged and punished she would be.

There are many more cases of magical realism, the book is riddled with a numerous amount of little occasions where Esquivel sneaks something in that doesnt seem quite right. The whole idea of this magical realism could just be down to mis-interpretation from Esperanz??™s part; she is the narrator of the book, as we can tell from finding out who she is during the book and applying this knowledge to evidence in the first paragraph of the book. Through the generations, the story may have been altered or exaggerated to make a more exciting tale. Or, the story could just be filled with magical incidents and be a completely fictional tale. The magical realism really contributes to keep a reader interested in the book. Abnormal things usually interest people, opposed to everyday boring routine happenings. People consider the irregular consequences and want to discover how and why these strange things are occurring.

It??™s Imperative to Teach Empathy to Boys

It™s Imperative to Teach Empathy to Boys  

When searching for toys for their kids at chain toy stores, parents typically encounter the following scenario: toy aisles are color-coded pink and blue. They shouldn™t bother looking for LEGOS, blocks, and trucks in the pink aisle, and they certainly won™t find baby dolls in the blue aisle.

While parents, researchers, and educators decry the lack of STEM toys for girls ” and rightly so ” what often goes unnoticed is that assigning genders to toys harms boys, as well. Too often children™s playrooms reinforce gender stereotypes that put boys at risk of failing to gain skills critical for success in life and work. The most important of these? Empathy.

Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle™s Social Cloud, calls empathy the critical 21st century skill. She believes it™s the difference between good and great when it comes to personal and professional success. Researchers at Greater Good Science Center out of the University of California, Berkeley, echo Bear™s assertion. They define empathy as the ability to sense other people™s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Why is empathy important? First, empathy breeds courage. In a recent study of nearly 900 youth, ages 11-13, Nicola Abbott and Lindsey Cameron™s, psychology researchers at University of Kent, found that participants with higher levels of empathy were more likely to engage in assertive bystander behavior. In other words, they were willing to stand up to a bully on behalf of someone outside their peer group. This kind of courage can be life changing for a victim of bullying and prevent the damaging effects of social isolation and exclusion that often lead to anxiety and depression.

It™s clear we need to cultivate empathy in all children, but gender stereotypes ” often reinforced in playrooms ” risk leaving boys, in particular, with a social deficit.
Empathy also yields happiness. People with empathy have stronger interpersonal connections and are more eager to collaborate, effectively negotiate, demonstrate compassion, and offer support. They™re team players, and employers recognize this. So important has this skill become that a research team in England, after engaging in a six-month review of its schools, submitted a report that placed empathy in the top three of important outcomes for its students. Similarly, employers, when asked to compile a list of the 20 People Skills You Need to Succeed at Work, placed it fifth.

Empathy drives thoughtful problem solving. Empathic problem solvers put themselves in others™ shoes in a way that allows them to design life-saving baby warmers, easily collapsible baby strollers, and energy-saving car sharing services. In addition, they™re often willing to work with others to solve persistent and, at times, larger problems. Rather than hoarding their knowledge and expertise, they open themselves up to what Greg Satell calls cognitive collaboration, in order to serve patients, clients, students, and even their respective fields, more effectively.

It™s clear we need to cultivate empathy in all children, but gender stereotypes ” often reinforced in playrooms ” risk leaving boys, in particular, with a social deficit.

What Parents Can Do
Play with dolls. Parents will find that boys can be  just as interested as girls in playing with dolls. Just watch little boys when they interact with an infant: they want to pat the baby™s head and see the little toes, and their faces show distress when that baby starts to cry. Recognizing the importance of young children™s interactions with babies for building social skills, organizations like Roots of Empathy do just that. They bring babies into elementary school classrooms as part of their empathy building, evidence-based programs. Don™t have a baby at hand? Dolls allow young children to simulate dressing, feeding, calming and caring for babies “ particularly if adults participate and model this care. For parents of boys, it™s worth a trip to the pink aisles to find one.

Pretend play helps children self-regulate, develop a strong theory of mind, and integrate positive and negative emotions. When kids adopt different personas, they face dilemmas and solve problems in character “ in essence, they™re taking empathy for a test drive. Play researcher Dorothy Singer, Senior Researcher at Yale University™s School of Medicine, contends that make believe helps children be anyone they wish. Through it, they learn how to cope with feelings, how to bring the large, confusing world into a small, manageable size; and how to become socially adept as they share, take turns and cooperate with each other. Parents can expand boy™s empathic skills through pretend play by blurring the traditional pink-blue boundary lines. Toy kitchens should co-exist with trucks, doll houses with action figures.

Read together. Researchers have shown that reading fiction promotes empathy. Children™s book author and illustrator, Anne Dewdney, echoes that finding when she argues that, When we open a book, and share our voice and imagination with a child, that child learns to see the world through someone else™s eyes. Sadly, studies reveal that parents in the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain spend less time reading and telling stories to their sons than to their daughters. In fact, in as early as nine months, researchers found a gender gap in literary activities. To address this, turn to picture books as empathy primers. Together parents and boys can look at a character™s body language and facial expressions and then identify corresponding emotions. Parents can pause while reading to ask: How do you think that make her feel? How would that make you feel? What would help him feel better?

Empathy, an understanding that other people have feelings, and that those feelings count, is a learned behavior. For boys, as for girls, that learning begins in infancy. As University of Wisconsin™s Carolyn Zahn-Waxler aptly notes, There is no gene for empathy. Parents play a key role in nurturing empathy, from explaining others™ feelings to encouraging prosocial behaviors with friends and siblings. Playroom toys and forms of play are equally important. Given all the benefits associated with empathy for success in life and work, it seems like now, more than ever, we need to mind the gap.

The Presentation of Female Characters in Pride and Prejudice and the Yellow Wallpaper

Female characters are often represented as being constrained by their
Explore the presentation of female characters in the light of this statement.
In your response, you should focus on Pride and Prejudice to establish your argument
and you should refer to the second text you have read to support and
develop your line and argument.

Jane Austen successfully depicts the intricacies of Regency era society in her novel Pride and Prejudice. The novel makes a conscious statement about womanhood; it argues that poor, single women have an extremely limited range of choices: either poverty or marriage.? Pride and Prejudice? offers us a look into this rather intensely feminine world of courting, marriage decisions, and social realities. To a certain extent, some of Austen??™s female characters are indeed represented as being constrained by the society they live in. Austen??™s female characters are portrayed as being deeply aware of their conventional roles in society- as mother, daughter or wife- and their different responses to the roles they are supposed to play; some defiant, others submissive.
The heroine of the novel, Elizabeth Bennet, is held up as an alternative role model for females. By providing a female character who is bold, independent, honest, and forthright, Austen criticizes the social construction of female identity in early 19th century England. Elizabeth Bennet is fully aware that she has no other option but to get married to secure her livelihood. However, she sees that marriage is also a direct ticket to unhappiness, as seen in the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet. Elizabeth- unlike Charlotte Lucas, her close friend- is not prepared to accept marriage proposals from someone who is unlikely to make her happy in marrying him. In Chapter 19, Elizabeth rejects Mr Collins??™s proposal ??“ much to the derision of her mother, Mrs Bennet – saying ??????My feelings in every respect forbid [accepting]??¦Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart.?????™ We learn that Elizabeth is chiefly concerned with being seen as a thinking human being with honest intentions. Her rejection of Collins??™s proposal is an act that is relatively unheard of in Regency era society, when women were chasing proposals not for actual romance, but for financial security. Married women were solely financially dependent on their husbands. In a society that makes marriage the sole means of survival, Elizabeth defies convention by rejecting her first proposal because she knows she will never be romantically inclined towards Mr Collins. When Mr Darcy proposes to her ??“ offering her a golden opportunity to a life of comfort and luxury – she yet again rejects the offer, despite his high social standing and annual income. By making the central female character of her novel a revolutionary, opinionated, defiant woman, Austen sends a direct message to her readers – showing us that women should be unafraid of making bold decisions, that there is an alternate viewpoint of marriage altogether.
Charlotte Lucas is depicted as Elizabeth??™s foil ??“ her closest friend and confidante apart from Elizabeth??™s own sister, Jane. Charlotte, unlike Elizabeth, sees her life as a ???sink-or-swim??™ situation- where, if she is unable to marry, she will lose her livelihood. She has a practical take on the institution of marriage, believing that romance is not the key factor when considering a potential suitor. In Chapter 22, soon after his proposal to Elizabeth is rejected, Mr Collins proposes to Charlotte, whose ?????¦reflections were in general satisfactory??™. Mr Collins, who is ???neither sensible nor agreeable; [whose] society was irksome, and his attachment to her [imaginary]??™ would ???[still] be her husband??™, because ???marriage [has] always been her object; [as it is] the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune??™. In these paragraphs Austen describes Charlotte??™s opinion on the subject of marriage, and we are given a direct insight on how she feels that Collins is her only hope of marriage, and that it is unimportant whether she actually cares for him or not. She is aware that her chances of marrying are low, and that it is her only true goal in life. This is a completely different take (from Elizabeth??™s) on marriage. As an unmarried woman of nearly twenty-seven years old, Charlotte is considered an ???old maid??™. Her acceptance of Collins??™s proposal is an act of desperation, driven by need. Charlotte is represented as a woman who is indeed constrained by her society and forced to do what is expected of a woman during the Regency era. In comparison, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman highlights the subordination of women in marriage and further examines a woman??™s role within the marriage. In this novel, the wife is at the complete mercy of her husband, who forces her to partake in the ???rest cure??™ by locking her up in a room and barring her from writing and thinking. However, the protagonist manages to liberate herself in her insanity, saying ??????I??™ve got out at last?????™ ??“ in contrast, Charlotte never does try and free herself from the shackles of a marriage intended for security.
The shallow mind set of Lydia Bennet and her mother, Mrs Bennet is a direct product of their patriarchal society. Yet, these are the two characters that seem rather revolutionary in their opinions and actions. Mrs Bennet is the only first character to criticize terms of entailment during the age. She thinks ????????¦it is the hardest thing in the world, that [Mr Bennet??™s] estate should be entailed away from [his] own children??¦??? and she ?????¦should have tried long ago to do something or other about it.?????™ Her two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth proceed to explain to her the terms of an entailment, but she is ???beyond the reach of reason??™ (Chapter 13). Mrs Bennet is the only other character (other than Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman of much higher social standing) who decries terms of entailment, where an estate is entailed to the closest male relative instead of one??™s daughters (in this case, to Mr Collins instead of the Bennet sisters). As a woman who is perpetually represented as shallow and dim-witted, Mrs Bennet goes against the status quo by critiquing how the daughters in a family are not entailed their father??™s estate- hence forcing them to find the next best alternative, marriage, to secure their livelihood. Lydia Bennet is seen as a carefree, flirtatious and flighty girl, who finds her greatest pleasure in flirting with military officers in Meryton and Brighton. Elizabeth, her older sister disapproves of her flirtatious behaviour and tries to persuade her father not to let Lydia take a trip to Brighton with Mrs Forster. She is afraid that Lydia will be known as the ????????¦most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous??¦?????™. Lydia is an example of a female character that is not physically restrained by her society. In fact, the only character who deems her behaviour ???improper??™ is Elizabeth, who is considered one of the more liberal, opinionated characters. Lydia is unconcerned with propriety and family reputation – unlike Elizabeth. In contrast, the protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper is perpetually physically constrained by society, until she is driven to insanity. In this novel the lead female character is restrained by her closest relatives, her husband and sister-in-law.
Often, female characters are portrayed as being constrained by the societies they live in. Austen indeed does this, but she also shows her readers that women can ultimately choose their destiny, by depicting the varied responses and opinions of her characters. We see that there are always two sides to a character ??“ sometimes, the most outspoken, opinionated character can even be primarily concerned with propriety and social image. Other characters, portrayed as silly and shallow can be the most defiant of societal norms. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the protagonist who was initially fully trapped within her marriage found freedom within her mind. Ultimately, it is important to recognize that women are never truly constrained by their societies, but it is more likely that they are restrained by themselves.

The Power of the Spoken Word

Imagine you are giving an address to potential HSC students about the power of the spoken word. In your speech refer to at least 3 of the prescribed speeches you have studied in this module.

Hello, and welcome to this discussion about the power of the spoken word. I??™m sure that in your studies as students, you have come across an array of techniques that empower words and allow them to formulate great meaning, ideas and themes.

In famous speeches given by credible people, this becomes evident. Such is the case with the speeches given by Paul Keating, Faith Bandler and Aung San Suu Kyi.

These speeches show that words and the expression of those words are at the core of communicating to audiences. People are able to use strong words and constructive language techniques in order to articulate their views, or they can simply use meaningless rhetoric and not get across to their listeners.

Words are the embodiment of intention. Even in the pauses between the intake of breath and the uttering of words, a speaker is able to communicate certain feelings to their audience.

Because of speaking, we??™re able to produce awkward silences. We??™re able to create sexual innuendo with just the simple inflection of our voice. Studies have even shown that when someone??™s hand is placed in freezing cold water, they??™ve had a higher pain threshold if they were allowed to swear. That??™s power.

Famous political chants, like ???The people united will never be defeated???, often make use of repetition, alliteration or assonance, in order to create rhythm. When these words are said aloud they can have immense power, and that rhythm helps to achieve it by uniting the people who are chanting it. This chant was also originally a Spanish chant, but even when it is translated across cultures, contexts and languages it still remains powerful.

So what are some examples of powerful language in speeches

Paul Keating certainly uses it in his ???Funeral Service for an Unknown Australian Soldier.??™ The speech serves as a eulogy, and so, Keating??™s appropriate words invoke pathos in the audience. Keating is able to bring the Australian community together to commemorate the sacrifice made by Australians in war.

His speech is so meticulously crafted that he is able to present his own personal ideas of war and republicanism in the most subtle of ways. Isn??™t it amazing that you can read or hear a speech like this, delivered to so wide an audience, and not immediately realise the connotations of his words
His use of inclusive pronouns such as ???us??™ and ???we??™ unifies his audience and makes us accomplices to these ideas. As a politician, Keating had the media power to influence people, and he and the other writers of this speech would have been sure to take advantage of this.

This is an example of the way people can use language to not just inform, but to persuade.

Another speech which makes use of the power of persuasion is Faith Bandler??™s ???Faith, Hope and Reconciliation.??™ The conference at which this speech was delivered was held here in Wollongong in 1999, and focused on Indigenous youth, citizenship, land and culture.

Bandler urges the audience to not give up on the constant issue of land rights and states, ???Rights are not handed on a platter by governments, they have to be won.??? She uses these cliches (like ???handed on a platter???) to keep her powerful message simple and accessible to the responders.

Bandler also makes references to youth, something speakers at almost all conferences and rallies still do today. They do so, not just because youth are important to their topic, but because it is a way of drawing allusions to other powerful and famous speeches like John F. Kennedy??™s famous inaugural speech where he addressed ???the young and the not so young.???

By drawing allusions to this famous speech, speakers are able to guarantee that a sense of validity is present in their discussion, and this can assist in empowering their words and their audiences.

Aung San Suu Kyi, in her address at the Beijing World Conference on Women, which was relayed by film, not only empowers her audience but develops a relationship with them. She begins her speech modestly, understating her role, and explaining her political and personal circumstances in not being able to deliver her address in person.

Suu Kyi allows her audience to contemplate the ideas she presents by beginning sentences with conjunctions, like ???But??™ and ???And??™, which allow for dramatic pauses. She also uses rhetorical questions to allow her audience to deliberate her ideas, like the position of women in society.

All of these speeches would surely have touched someone, would surely have made someone respond or think or feel. Keating may have allowed the family of a soldier to be consoled and comforted. Faith Bandler may have inspired a young person to take up the fight for Indigenous land rights. Suu Kyi may have made it easier for a woman living in a sexist society to get through her day.
And all this was done through spoken words, through language.

And so I urge you potential HSC students to not become disillusioned with words as you study piles of texts, thick books, dozens of textbooks, sources of evidence, and formulas, but rather appreciate them for the power they contain and the knowledge and experience that power can give you.

Thank you.

The Power of the Executive Branch and the Operation of the Presidency


This paper contains my opinion over whether or not the U.S. executive branch is too powerful, and my opinion on whether or not I like how the presidency is being operated or if I think it should be rethought. While conducting research over these topics, it was brought to my attention how truly uneducated I am about the current government situations and what??™s happening in our country. It was difficult for me to form an informed opinion over the subject, and while I did my best with the knowledge I have, I??™ve realized that I need to be better informed over the happenings of our government and our President. As of now, I don??™t believe our executive branch is too powerful or that the presidency needs to be rethought, but that may very well change over time.

When asked to describe the role of the executive branch of our government, one would say that it has the responsibility of enforcing the laws passed by Congress. But is our executive branch doing more than what??™s really necessary Are the checks and balances no longer as balanced as they once were

When it comes to politics and what??™s going on within our government, I??™m one of the last people to come to for an opinion. I have never really paid much attention to the goings on of our government or what the President is doing or anything of the sort, which is something I really need to change. For this paper, I had to do some research in order to form any kind of an educated opinion about the executive branch and the presidential power.

One of the things I did know is that because the Constitution does not thoroughly describe the powers of the executive branch, it has continually grown and changed throughout the years since the Constitution was ratified, due largely in part to the amendments, and has gradually become more and more powerful. Perhaps too powerful. Something that I learned about the executive branch is that the President has executive privilege, or the power to keep information secret from Congress, the courts, investigators, and the public. Now, while I think this can be both a good thing and a bad thing- depending on the situation- there are plenty of people who??™d want to differ and just say it??™s bad. Some don??™t think that the President should have the privilege of keeping information from the public. I believe that, in certain situations, it may be best to keep certain information under wraps unless it??™s absolutely imperative, such as if it pertains to national security or something similar. In this case, unnecessary widespread panic could be avoided.

So, getting back to the question at hand, I don??™t think that the U.S. executive branch is too powerful right now, but I also don??™t think that it needs to get any more powerful than it already is. With the steady incline it??™s been on throughout the history of the country, I believe that it may be possible for the executive branch to get too powerful in the future, but that for right now, it??™s not bad.

As for how the presidency operates, with how much I??™ve been hearing about how badly President Obama is messing up our country and all of the controversy over the healthcare reform, I??™m really not sure whether or not I think we should rethink how the presidency operates. I??™ve been trying to pay more attention to what??™s going on with our government, and while I don??™t agree with everything I??™ve heard about President Obama and some of the things he??™s trying to do, I still don??™t know enough to form an educated opinion about the subject. To state my opinion as it is right now, I think that the presidency is fine, but who knows That opinion may change over time.

???Changes in the Executive Branch.??? Checks and Balances: Three Branches of American Government. Ed. Daniel E. Brannen Jr.. Gale Cengage, 2005 2006. 3, Dec. 2009

The Power of One

Chapters one through three tell us that the judge and the jury hate Peekay because he??™s a Rooinek and is English. Boers hate Rooineks because at one time the Rooineks held the Boers in concentration camps and abused them while they were there. Many Boers died in the camps as well. In the Boer War I, the Rooineks were defeated and those held in camps were released.

The lesson or theme that the author wants us to learn is that humans can be cruel to one another. As humans, sometimes we judge others without really getting to know who it is we are judging or even really why. Some people take a superior attitude over others and think they are better then certain people. This can often lead to hatred and abuse of those one feels superior over, which is what happened between the Boers and the Rooineks. In the book, Peekay is judged because he wet the bed. The Boers called him ???Pisskop??? because of this and were very cruel to him.

In chapters four through six, Peekay learns to hide by camouflaging himself. He camouflages himself in order to stay out of the way of the older kids who pick on him. Camouflaging helps him survive life at school and in general. Adapting and camouflage are related to the power of one by Peekay having to adapt to a new life and family, but having to camouflage himself in order to not get picked on and fit into his new life.

The power of one is the idea that one person, one mind, one heart, and one soul can conquer anything. The idea of the power of one allows this one little boy to stand up to all the older kids simply because he believes in himself. In other words, if you believe in yourself (the power of one), you can do anything.

Chapters 7 through 10, Peekay first befriends a woman on the train ride home who ends up dying right in front of him. While this was devastating for him, there is a much bigger loss that he faces upon arriving home. He finds that due to religious differences, his mother fired his nanny, the woman who was more of a mother to him than anyone else. He was very close to his nanny and finding this out made him want to leave home again.

Due to the losses Peekay had to suffer through, his perception of life was altered, especially how he viewed his mother. He feels very alone, which makes it even more difficult for him to believe in himself.

In chapters 11 through 15, Peekay finds work at a prison camp. He begins helping the prisoners get letters from home, tobacco, and other things. The prisoners end up calling him the Tadpole Angel, because he was just a little guy, but an angel to them. By the end of Book One, Peekay has been called three different names, Peekay, Pisskop, and Tadpole Angel.

It is significant that Peekay know his real name and remember it because by doing so, he is reminded of his old life and the people that he loved, and all that has happened to him. Remembering allows him to truly believe in who he has become because of all that he went through. As people, we are the total sum of what we go through in life at any given time.

Chapters 16 through 22.

I think Peekay??™s story could fit our definition for hero, but not necessarily myth. A myth to me is something not real, while Peekay??™s story could be very real. In some ways it parallels what happened between the Germans and Jews and the rest of his story could very well have happened to any number of people. Learning to believe in oneself because you are teased or misjudged by others is something that I think we all face at one time or another in lives.

As far as Peekay being hero, he is hero to those who saw him survive the various tragedies in his life and who heard about him. He is also a hero to those he helped, including the prisoners. As far as Peekay being a ???modern hero,??? I believe he is. He shows the reader how believing in oneself allows you to do just about anything. He teaches the reader that by believing in yourself and following the right path, you can survive just about anything.

Chapters 23 ??“ end
I believe that the real message of the book is that like Peekay, we are a lot stronger than sometimes we first believe we are. In addition, it is important to understand that by finding your inner strength and believing in yourself (using the power of one), you can accomplish a lot.

The book reminded me of how cruel some people can be and how judgmental some people are. It also reminded me that it is important to not let others get you down, but rather believe in yourself in order to achieve your goals. Overall, I think the book was very poignant. It certainly makes the reader think about how cruel life can be, while at the same time, teaches the reader how to survive cruelty by believing in yourself.