Paper #2 – The ethics (or lack thereof) of the United States Congress

The United States Congress is arguably the most powerful legislative body in the country, responsible for financial and budgetary policy, national defense, and the oversight of the Executive Branch. And in August of 2012, its approval rating amongst Americans was 10% (Gallup 2012), a thirty-eight year low. Yet despite this appallingly low rating, members of Congress have historically been re-elected over ninety percent of the time (Congress of the United States 2012). Such a dichotomy seems absurd- if the American people are so thoroughly disgusted with their government representatives, why have they continued to re-elect them? And with such widespread public disapproval centered on Washington, why have those representatives not altered their behavior?

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White Paper, Take 2: The Work-Life Balance

Hillary Clinton, the modern working woman

After attempting to narrow down my previous White Paper topic (climate change), I’ve decided to shift my focus entirely and delve deeper into issues surrounding the work-life balance.

When it comes to matters that affect this balance, the U.S. is far behind the majority of wealthy nations, and even some middle- and low-income nations. According to a study by McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy, the U.S. falls shortest in of leaves for childbearing, support for breast feeding, work hours, and leaves for illness or family care.

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Air Pollution!

Source :

This picture comes from East Asia campaigns for air pollution. This picture embodies the extreme case of air pollution and uncontrolled carbon emission from industrial processes. The photo portrays a group of people having to protect their nose and mouth to make sure they don’t inhale harmful particles from the atmosphere and unable to have a nice day out, with the famous palace of the Forbidden City buried in the smog, set in the background. This can be a very strong message to the society that air pollution can significantly decrease quality of life and hence, it is a serious problem.

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Show me an honest politician and I’ll show you a man with no job.

It’s too bad that Abraham Lincoln is off hunting vampires. As of August of this year, only one in ten Americans approve of the job that the United States Congress is doing. With such starkly low support, how do the same representatives continue to be reelected? And if Congress cannot reach any agreement of substance, why are we still paying them?

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Dillards? Racial Profiling in the South Will Not Work

So many of you may not know what Dillards is but it is the third largest department store in the United States. I am very familiar because my mom’s entire family is from a small town in Alabama and it is pretty much considered Khols. It is obviously a department store operating in the north also but I’ve only experienced them in the south. What most of us do not know is that Dillards has been accused on many accounts of racial profiling in the U.S. Continue reading

What’s Underneath Patagonia?


We all know Patagonia as the high-end outerwear company that provides the perfect amount of warmth on these crisp fall days.  What we don’t see is what goes on behind the company’s doors.  Patagonia was founded in California in 1972 by Yvon Chouinard, who never intended for his product to be so fashion forward.  Maybe fashion forward is the wrong term to use here- it’s not like someone would wear a Patagonia to a formal ball in NYC, but you catch my drift. Continue reading

Finding a Company or Organization to Study (Blog 8)

With the advice of last week’s blog council (Thanks Grace, Heather, Mary, and Jenna), this week’s post is the chance to learn more about a company or organization (government or society) that you might use for paper 2.  This can be any organization, but one that is worthwhile for being an inspiring or anti-inspiring example is best.  We are looking for you to use good information literacy skills too bot h in what information you find, and in letting readers know what those sources were.

You are not obligated to use this organization as your case study for paper 2.  But you are welcome to.  Also, you may bring us up to speed on any of the previous organizations we have read about (from Apple to Z… there is no Z, but Wal-Mart is close).

To help get the ball rolling, some lists of notable companies are below.  Only suggestions… Continue reading

This vacation is gonna be da bomb… BOMB?!

Having just flown back from fall break, airport security was, of course, the first thing on my mind.  Flying has always been a part of my life. I was a premiere member on United Airlines at the age of 8 thanks to divorced parents and cross-country travel. I flew before 9/11. I flew 2 weeks after 9/11. And oh boy was there a difference. I remember thinking to myself, what could I, a 3’8 foot tall freckle-faced 9 year-old possibly do? Why are they searching my backpack? Don’t show my teddy bear to the world! Continue reading

Patent law:the right to exclude others or simply the right to copy from others?

A patent consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor for a limited period of time, usually 20 years in the United States in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention. But is that public disclosure really give the inventor to take full advantage of his intellectual property? Continue reading

Dr Jekll and Mr Hyde: Roe vs Wade Did NOT Guarentee Choice

Roe vs Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that essentially legalized abortions in America, has not turned out to provide all of the benefits that were originally assumed.  The court found that our constitution’s implicit “right to privacy” guarantee applied to a woman’s choice to have an abortion through the due process clause of the 14th amendment.  With this decision, however, the court also ruled that a woman could only decide to have an abortion while the fetus was still unable to survive outside of the mothers womb (usually 7 months or less).  Unfortunately for many women in America, the option to have an abortion is not an easy process due to restrictions on public funding and insurance coverage. Continue reading