Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympic Controversies

Zach Solomon sent me the links below for two articles on the Olympics. The first is about the controversy over the gold medal awarded to a female Chinese gymnast for her performance on the uneven parallel bars, even though an American gymnast received the same score. The situation is complicated by allegations that the Chinese gymnast does not meet the mimimum age requirement of 16. If you'd like to comment on this article (NO SUMMER PROJECT CREDIT CAN BE EARNED FOR COMMENTING ON THIS ARTICLE), it can be found at

The second article is about the controversy over a photo of the Spanish basketball team showing all the players stretching the skin around their eyes to make them look squinty, presumably mocking the Chinese. If you'd like to comment on this article (SUMMER PROJECT CREDIT CAN BE EARNED FOR COMMENTING ON THIS ARTICLE), it can be found at

Please do not repeat the mistake of the Spanish basketball team by being disrespectful in your comments to any of the individuals or groups named in the articles, lest you incur the angst of the ENTIRE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY (not to mention your teacher)!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Presidential Politics by the Numbers

While the Olympics are winding up, the political season is about to move into full swing with the upcoming party national nominating conventions just around the corner! In the past few months, I'm sure you've all heard news commentators reporting on "the latest polling numbers" with regard to the presidential election. The latest MSNBC/Wall Street Journal poll provides some interesting insight regarding the dynamics of the campaign. Click on the link below to view a video clip highlighting some of most interesting findings of the poll:

Then comment on one or more of the following findings of the poll:

* Reduction of Obama lead over McCain
* Generational differences in support for each candidate
* Implications of allegiance of undecided voters to Hillary Clinton
* Candidate strengths on certain issues
* McCain's "Bush Problem"

Note: This post is not about your preference for one candidate over the other; it's about objective political analysis. Do your best to adhere to the OBJECTIVE part.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To Drink or Not to Drink...that is the Question for College Presidents

Here's an issue that may affect many of you in the not-so-distant future: the legal drinking age in the U.S. This issue causes a lot of controversy in this country; people feel very strongly about it on both sides. Read the following article about the Amethyst Initiative, an organization of college presidents that is advocating the re-lowering of the drinking age to 18 years of age:

Then think about the pros and cons of this issue. You might even want to do some additional research to help you decide what you think. If you choose to respond to this post, address the following debate proposition:

The legal age for persons to drink alcohol in the United States should remain at 21 years.

In formal debates, the issue to be argued is always stated in terms of the status quo position; that is, how the issue currently stands.

When you write your response, tell us whether you are making a pro or con argument. If you agree with the proposition above, you are making a pro argument. If you disagree with the proposition, you are making a con argument.

The most important part of your response is to SUBSTANTIATE YOUR POSITION!!! Tell us why your position is correct. Using legitimate information you find outside of the article will make your position more persuasive. If you use outside information, tell us where you got it.

Olympic Manners

SUMMER PROJECT: If you have been watching the Olympics as obsessively as I have over the past week and a half, you've probably lost out on a lot of sleep, staying up until all hours of the night just to catch the latest news on Michael Phelps, Shawn Johnson and all the other Olympians.

Prior to the opening ceremony, Chinese citizens living in Beijing received a book telling them how to behave when the throngs of foreign guests arrived for the Olympics. Here's a link to an article about the code of behavior the Chinese were expected to observe:

Questions to ponder:

Why would the city government in Beijing care so much about how its citizens act in front of foreign visitors?

How do you think Americans would react if our government tried to do the same thing? Would we react differently than the Chinese people? If so, why?

Comment on any of the behavior rules discussed in the article.