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October 28, 2012

Laura Haislip

Alyssa Johnson

ENG 101 C01


Back Against the Wall

            I remember as a child my grandfather always insisting on sitting with his back to the wall. It was a pretty common practice in veterans especially after Korea and Vietnam. It was their way of keeping an eye out for the enemy while protecting their backside from the enemy who would sneak up behind them. It may seem a little paranoid but considering the recent attacks against Allied troops, it may be the best advice a soldier can implement.

The new trend in Afghanistan is not shoes, clothes, cars, or food. It is the deadly “green on blue” attacks. The four American servicemen that were killed on the 16th of this month were murdered by an Afghan policeman who was trained by U.S. and NATO forces. Afghan forces that are working side by side and being trained by the very ones they are literally shooting in the back. (McLoughlin) (Cartoon from


As of October 2, 2012, there have been almost fifty (50) allied troops killed this year because of “green on blue” attacks. (Stars and Stripes) Defense Ministers, of NATO, are scheduled to meet in Brussels next week. The discussions will be about redeployment, withdrawals, and drawdown options to benefit both Afghanistan and the Allied troops. NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, gave the impression that the real targets are “politicians, media, and opinion-formers at home in partner nations and allied nations” and that the attacks have diminished trust, morale, and confidence within both the allied and Afghan troops.

Press releases are showing the Muslim nations having a rise in hatred against non-Muslims (especially against Americans) due to a video on called “Innocence of Muslims”. The video is very anti-Islamic and is outwardly mocking Mohammed. (Millham) Somehow they have missed the fact that we don’t blame every Muslim for the September 11th attacks but they are definitely grouping all non-Muslims together as being responsible for this video. As a veteran, my personal opinion is to have the troops pull out and leave them to fend for themselves in any country where this would happen. That would be using my grandfather’s philosophy of “don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.


Two US soldiers with an Afghan colleague (R) from a villager as they carry out a joint patrol at the Morghan-Khecha village in Daman district, Kandahar province. secure a position behind a mud wall on September 08, 2012 at a compound during a random stop to collect biodata (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

NATO has suspended joint operations after the death toll was 8 in 3 days. According to Pentagon spokesperson George Little, all joint operations by smaller units will be “evaluated on a case by case basis and approved”. (Ratnam) Maybe Mr. Little should have an order issued for our troops to keep their “back against a wall”.

Works Cited

12 August 2012. <>.

McLoughlin, Erin. abc news. 16 September 2012. <>.

Millham, Matt. Stars and Stripes. 18 September 2012. < news=”” middle-east=”” <span=”” class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>afghanistan/in-wake-of-insider-attacks-nato-limits-partnered-patrols-1.189763>.

Ratnam, Gopal. Bloomberg News. 18 September 2012. <>.

Stars and Stripes. 02 October 2012. < news=”” middle-east=”” <span=”” class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>afghanistan/report-nato-chief-says-afghanistan-drawdown-might-be-accelerated-1.191504>.


Same-sex Rights

October 10, 2012

Laura Flanagan



October 1st, 2012

The concept of marriage is one that has been reevaluated by many people over the past several decades and, especially, within the past few years. Traditionally speaking, marriage is a celebration and commitment between a man and a woman. However, the controversy over same sex marriage has been becoming more and more apparent. With celebrities and role models like Ellen DeGenerous and Neil Patrick Harris, the gay community has been strengthening amongst itself, but it has also been sparking more angst in those against same-sex marriage. In my personal opinion, marriage should not be an institution strictly for a man and a woman. The love that two people share is no longer discouraged because of race, age, or social status, and therefore should not be discouraged because of gender.


The Opposing View Points:

1) It is of tradition for marriage to be between a man and a woman.

  • According to years of history and a general Webster’s definition (, this is certainly true. However, at one point, people of the same race were hardly allowed to be in the same room together. It is safe to say the US has broken tradition once or twice.

2) Gay marriage could be considered offensive and crude from a religious standpoint.

  • This is also true depending on the religion (, especially if the Bible is its basis. I would like to point out, though, that America is made of a diverse group of people. Eating meat is against some religions. Should that be made illegal, too? It’s important to consider that some people will be offended if same-sex marriage were to be legalized. Nevertheless, the choice to get married to someone of the same sex is his/her own business and is left of the individual.

3) Gay marriage is a sterile institution.

  • Some people who marry into a heterosexual marriage will not have kids, either by choice or by nature. There are also a plethora of gay couples who stay together though they are not legally married. There are also plenty of children who could be adopted. It’s not as if the nation would be at risk for a plummeting population.

4) Gay marriage shouldn’t be supported because it is unnatural.

  • In some cases, people consider gay marriage to be wrong because it is “unnatural”. This could be true to an extent; according to Gary J. Gates, Researcher at The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, the number of gay people is generally outnumbered by the number of straight people. It is difficult to narrow this down into a specific ratio, but an estimate would be between 1 in every 10-20 people (

Gay marriage is a topic that most people feel very strongly about, whether they oppose it or support it. However, it is important to consider that the US is a widely diverse nation, made with many different races, social classes, and types of people. The US has progressed over the years by becoming more accepting to this assorted population. It’s important to recognize that people can and should have respect for one another, even if they disagree on certain subjects. If gay marriage were to be legalized, it would simply cause more freedom to the gay community. It would take away rights for others or harm them in anyway. All in all, it is entirely possible to stick to one’s moral standards while still having respect for another’s.


Lies and Slander

October 9, 2012

Everywhere we go, we are exposed to gossip and rumors. Almost everything we hear about celebrities is fabricated and people want to know about celebrities SO MUCH that magazines, websites, and television shows spit out what they think we want to hear. I think what happens is that people tend to forget that celebrities are human beings with feelings and emotions just like ourselves. What also happens, in my opinion, is celebrities feel a need to put on a show once in a while. Maybe the sources of a lot of rumors are celebrities themselves.

Let’s start with the newest scandal about Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson. Now, the rumor goes like this: Apparently, Kristen Stewart cheated on her long-time boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, with a married man. We won’t even get into how it’s unfair that Kristen is the one everyone’s looking down on while she’s not even the culprit that’s married, but instead we’ll focus on the chance of this rumor having truth to it. In pictures like these:


It’s obvious that Kristen sees a camera. So the question is: did Kristen WANT to
be seen? Why? We’ll never get a straight answer but it
does make you wonder.

Now, onto a topic that’s ever-changing and always relevant: Taylor Swift’s love life.


Whether it’s all over the tabloids or it’s a song that’s stuck in your head, we all know when Taylor Swift is either in or out of a relationship. There have been many relationship rumors that have turned out fake when it comes to Swift, such as falling for Zac Efron and dating Cory Monteith. When it comes to Taylor Swift, there’s never any guessing. If she dates someone, she slaps their name in an angry song the moment they do something wrong. For instance, after very a very brief fling with John Mayer, she wrote the song ‘Dear John.’ After dating Joe Jonas, she wrote the song ‘Forever & Always’ and called him out publicly. Does she date these huge stars because they understand one another, or for publicity? It is hard to tell. The media makes fiction seem a reality in most cases, and it is difficult to see whose relationships are real and whose relationships are entirely for show.

Another celebrity who has been a victim to scandals and tabloids is Alicia Keys. In an article from Newsweek and The Daily Beast it discusses how little people think of celebrity’s privacy. People talk about stars like they are actually friends with them, like they know what’s best for that person. In reality, unless we really ARE friends with the celebrity, we know only what the media CHOOSES to tell us.

In conclusion, if Katy Perry dates a man and then breaks up with him, it is everywhere. Everyone will have heard about it within a few hours. When Miley Cyrus gets a haircut, there’s judgment in the air on every social media site. At some point, average people stopped looking at celebrities as normal humans, and started looking at them as something for our own personal entertainment. With shows like ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians,’ it’s hard to feel a barrier between their lives and ours. We have to keep in mind that we do not know what is best for every star we stumble upon. We also have to realize the difference between when we are being tricked into believing rumors and when something has actually happened.

Sports Salaries, where controling them

October 8, 2012

We have control of Sport Salaries

As we all think about professional sport salaries, they all seem to be a little high just thinking about it. Although people just jump to conclusions and say that sport salaries are too high, all they need to do is look outside of the team itself.  What some people don’t know is that about seventy five percent of their pay comes from the fans and the money they put forth to the franchise.

The fans play a major role in the professional sport players not only by just buying tickets to go watch the game, but by concessions, clothes to represent their favored team, and other accessories. Players also get a lot of money through endorsements and their winnings. For instants, four years ago Tiger Woods was making roughly 130 million dollars a year. Here is a website that has the rankings of top paid athletes in 2008, . After his incident and he was out for about six months, now he only makes about 108 million a year. He isn’t winning as much and he doesn’t have as many fans supporting him like he had four years ago. Here is a website that has current earnings from professional athletes, Once you actually think about it, how can just one person pay a team of a hundred players all 6 million to 50 million dollars a year? It is kind of impossible for that to happen with only one man paying them.

Right now the highest paid professional athlete in the world is Floyd Mayweather. For those who don’t know who he is, he is a professional boxer. Here’s a picture of him, He is earning about 170 million a year because he has become extremely popular and he is become the light weight champion of the world. Were as, about four years ago he wasn’t even on the top 50 list of the top paid athletes. That is proof that the earnings isn’t just from a team president, or from a one-man athlete’s president. It’s all about the achievement of a team or an athlete that determines his salary. Being the best in the world at whatever you do can earn someone a spectacular pay check. Without the support of an athlete’s fans, and the achievement of his/her goals, the athlete would be getting paid like an average worker. As we go through our day, we see people with jerseys on, stickers or flags, or any other accessories. There the ones who are donating and help paying the professional athletes. A professional football stadium holds anywhere between 750 thousand to a million fans. A ticket to a NFL football game is anywhere from 200-350 dollars. After all, the franchise earns about 100 million dollars just from the purchasing of tickets to a single game.

Most people don’t understand that we the fans are the ones who are helping pay them. So, if we have a big issue with them being paid so much, then all we have to do is stop supporting them. I think that professional athletes are paid fairly and that it’s not a social issue. To the ones that do, just think about it this way and it may change your view of how and why they get paid so much.

-Ashton Culick

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

October 3, 2012

By: Alex Barrow

Today, people scoff and laugh at the sexist advertisements of the fifties. One might think how progressive we are in the 21st century and that sexism is a thing of the past, sadly, they are dead wrong. Sexism in advertising is very much alive and usually goes unnoticed and played off as a joke. Advertising reduces women to sex objects, and you don’t need to be a Women’s Studies major to spot the blatant sexism in advertising. Big, well known, companies constantly use the female body as a tool for their gain. Sexism in advertisements still exists today.

One of the biggest perpetrators of using sexism in advertising is PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals). They sell Animal Welfare through sex, simple as that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with people posing nude, but PETA continually exploits women’s bodies to gain attention. They use images of women abused and murdered. Violence against women is an issue that should be taken seriously; not used as a cheap advertising gimmick. Jim Rigby, an avid blogger says, “If PETA is in favor of vegetarianism, why do they treat women like meat?” (

They manage to use sexism AND racism in one picture. Two points for PETA.

NOTE: Some of the next pictures may be deemed inappropriate. Luckily, I have used my ‘expert’ photoshop skills in making the photos more school appropriate.

Next on our list is American Apparel, a store that has overpriced v-necks and a tendency to have their models wear a strange lack of clothing while modeling their clothes. Click on the sock section on their website and you will see images of women wearing socks, shocking I know, but nearly nothing else. Models lay in disturbing, pornographic poses while they stare sexily at the camera. They sure know how to sell me a pair of sweat socks, I’ll tell you that much.  Frankly, I don’t understand how provocative poses and nudity sells clothing. If I’m there to buy clothes, why would I want to see  stranger’s breasts? I want to see the model wearing their clothes, thank you very much.

In an article by E. Cain, from, Cain calls out the irony of American Apparel. Cain writes, “I find it truly ironic that a company built on the principles of non-exploitation and social responsibility when it comes to workers rights, can be amongst the leaders in pushing the limits of social acceptability when it comes to depictions of women in consumer advertising.” (Cain ‘Sexist Advertising from American Apparel‘) It is indeed interesting. Some might say, “Sex sells.” Sex does sell, but it doesn’t have to be used to sell. Especially items such as scrunchies and socks. Besides objectifying girls in these ads, the other sexist thing is the comparison between the men’s photos and the women’s photos. While both the man and woman are in bizarre poses, you can see the man is much more covered up than the girl.

One of the most recent controversies dealing with American Apparel is a new ad that was released; supposedly selling pleated pants. In the ad two women are wearing said pants, but also have their head thrown back and their breasts on full display. Personally, I don’t find breasts to be a shocking subject, but are having them loud and proud on display for a pants ad necessary? This blogger says no.

Sexism in advertising is everywhere. Whether it’s from a sexist soda commercial, pens made specifically for girls, or sexist Reebok ads, it seems we can’t escape the blatant sexism posted in ads. Although the movement for getting rid of sexism in advertisement is slow and tedious, and often there is backlash from companies, it is worth it. One hopes that in the future companies won’t use sexism as a tool to sell their product. The only way to see that future is too take a stand against it, to not let such things slide by. It is a long process, but in the end will do us good.

{All PETA images were found on google, and the American Apparel pictures were taken straight off their website.}

Illegal Steroid Use

October 2, 2012


A lot of people are born with little or no physical ability or size. Some of these people strive to be a great athlete but often come up short due to uncontrollable factors. For this reason, people enhance their abilities by illegally taking steroids. The illegal use of steroids in sports is immoral and provides an unfair advantage. However, in some cases, steroids have been detected in tests due to bad pieces of beef with high levels of steroids.

There are many reasons that the unprescribed use of use of steroids is illegal. Steroids are a synthetic substance that is the equivalent of testosterone. This allows for quicker and easier muscle growth. Long term use of this can be deadly and it causes the person to become more violent more often. The use of steroids is an unnatural and unfair way to gain an edge on others. Some side affects to steroids can be very dangerous including high blood pressure and liver tumors. They can also stunt your growth depending on when they are taken. Since 1991, unless a doctor prescribes them, steroids have been banned.

Many athletes have been caught for using steroids to increase their performance. The MLB has had quite a few big cases within the past ten years. The most famous case is the one involving Barry Bonds, the man who broke the world record for career home runs by hitting 762 of them. He was found guilty of using steroids. The controversy now, is whether or not he should be credited with the world record or not. Hank Aaron, who played 23 years in the MLB, 1955-1976, previously held the record at 755 home runs without using steroids. Barry Bonds passed him in 20o7 and denies any use of steroids. However, Bonds was convicted of doing so and he was often found avoiding the question of steroid use. This immoral use of steroids by such a well-known super star let many children who looked up to him, down. Kids looked up to him and wanted to be just like him and their dreams were crushed because of this. It doesn’t just affect the person taking it, but other people as well.

In another case, dealing with a professional bicyclist named Alberto Contador, only a minute amount of steroids were found in a drug test. Contador claims to have never taken any illegal substances, but that it was a piece of bad beef that caused it. He said that he ate a piece of beef that contained too many steroids in it and that it altered the results. The amount found in him was 40 times less than the minimum amount that anti-doping labs are required to detect. No matter how much is found, it is illegal because the rules do not set an amount that is legal or not legal. There is no room for discussion. I feel that there should be an amount set that has to be detected in order for it to be illegal because there could easily be a cut of meat that has had too many steroids injected into it.

To me, using steroids to gain an advantage is unethical and cheating. In no case, unless medically prescribed, should and athlete use steroids to create an edge on opponents.

Living with Autism

October 2, 2012

Sharene Vereen

Alyssa Johnson

ENG 101 C01


Living with Autism

            What do many people think of when they hear the word “autism”? When people hear the word autism they know that something is wrong with the child, but they may not know specifically what is wrong. Children that have autism are normal children even though they may not act like a normal child. I’m here to present to you the life of children with autism, the meaning of the disorder, and what you can do to help people be more aware about the disorder.

Autism also known as Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental brain disorder that causes a child to have problems with interacting with others and communicating. Having this disorder can cause the child to have a learning disability, physical health issues, and later having difficulty with motor coordination. It’s more common among boys than girls, but girls can get the disorder. This disorder begins to affect children around the age of two and three where the signs and symptoms are easily noticed. It can also be noticed in the earlier stages of infancy if the parent pays close attention to the infant and knows the signs and symptoms of Autism. Autism at its early stage is detected when an infant is twelve to eighteen  months of age, but it’s more commonly noticed once the child reaches the ages two and three.

Autism has no known cause, it was once thought to be caused by genetic factors but it can also be caused by environmental factors that influence early brain development. This process takes places while he or she is still in the womb and sometimes after the child is born. There are other things that can contribute to the child having autism such as:

  1. the age of the mother
  2.  nutritional deficiencies
  3. Environmental factors

All three of these things can contribute to the child having autism, but they are not the main reason that a child gets autism.

The lives of children that have autism can sometimes be difficult because they don’t act like children who don’t have autism. Children that have autism sometimes have speech problems, so they use gestures to communicate with others rather than talking. They also have a hard time making friends because they prefer to be alone and not talk to others. Some children with autism try to build friendships with other children but they don’t seem to get far with it because of their social skills. Also, some children that have autism have tantrums and they act aggressively when they are frustrated. Many children with autism have difficulty dealing with a change in their daily routine. Once they’re set to a daily routine it’s hard to get them to accept change if it occurs. Many people that have autism lead happy lives on their own or with help from family and friends.

For people to be more aware about the disorder they have to first know what the disorder is. Most people become more aware of the disorder by donating to fundraisers, and other events that contribute to the awareness of Autism events. (Events | Autism Speaks)An organization known as the Autism Society has also contributed to the help of making Autism aware by celebrating National Autism Month in the month of April. You could also, join a support group to become more aware of Autism to help the families of those who may have a loved one that has Autism.  Both fundraising and joining support groups can help change the lives of people with Autism. Fundraising can help go towards research to possibly find a cure for the disorder and to educate people about the disorder. The support groups are held so that others can help support families of those who have autism.

Learning all of these things about Autism make you think twice about the people who surround you in life that may have the disorder. They live normal lives like the rest of us, but some things that they do maybe slightly different. People that have autism are very unique individuals that deserve to be treated just as they were normal. Educate yourself about autism so that you can tell others why it’s important to be aware of the disorder.