Essay #2: Finding Your Way / New Due Date

Chapter 11 in CT deals with the concepts of nationalism and patriotism.  Both of these concepts are never in short supply in political discussion.  However, the use of the terms may become an issue in and of itself, and that use may color the debate in disruptive, deceitful, and harmful ways. For this essay, you will put those ideas to work in a fruitful manner, arguing a cause in American politics while disentangling the debate from twisted views.

Find an issue in national politics where an elected, past-elected, or would-be elected official has invoked either term in arguing his or her case.  The speeches at the conventions can provide a lot of material, particularly the acceptance speeches by the candidates.  You must also research what pundits, academics, and the general populace has had to say in response to your chosen figure and issue.  Make sure you understand the issue itself objectively, i.e. research it without its political content or bias.  Then, write your paper.

Here is your prompt: Argue your take on your chosen issue based on your own definition of nationalism and patriotism.


  • 5-6 full pages (5 full pages minimum)
  • Standard MLA format, including a Works Cited page
  • Use of two essays in Chapter 11 of CT (quoting each twice in substantive fashion)
  • As an alternative to one of the essays in Chapter 11, you can use the acceptance speeches in Chapter 10; however, please remember that we are in 2012 and that nearly 10 years has passed since those speeches
  • Two other sources (quoting each twice in substantive fashion)
  • Use Aristotle’s arrangement pattern to construct your essay

Essay #2 will be due on Thursday, October 25th.

Finally getting to it…I hope.

For quite awhile now, I’ve been saying that I need to get back to writing.  It doesn’t have to be stellar work, publishable work, or even all that great. I just need to get back into the habit of doing it, and the rest will take care of itself.  To that end, I got it in my head to write a bit of commentary here and there about some of the things that drive me crazy in contemporary American politics.

Be on the lookout for the first post. It’s coming soon.


As I mentioned during our last class, you will be watching a movie and some videos this week.  This gives you a little time to catch up on some reading.  You should still read Chapter 10 in CT; it will assist in appreciating what we will be doing over the next couple weeks.  Keep plugging away at PF. 

Note: We will have our reading quiz on Chapter 3 in PF on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Reading Update

Get through the introduction and Chapter 1 of Physics of the Future and Chapter 6 in CT for Tuesday’s class.

Essay #1: What’s Good?

A presidential election is accompanied by an election of the complete House of Representatives and about 1/3 of the Senate–that’s at the federal level. At the state level, many governorships may be up for grabs.  This creates an environment wherein critical analysis and responsible debate are needed. In this election year, much of the current debate has focused on the role of government, specifically how much involvement it should have in society.  Taxes and finance lie at the center of this shouting match, with various ideas of “equality” and “freedom” tossed about in feckless fashion.  Your goal in this paper is to tackle this subject in an enlightened and academic manner, one that is sorely missing from so many sources giving out information.

Here is your prompt:  What should the role of our federal government be, and how should it be implemented? You do not have to rewrite the Constitution. Focus on one particular issue or aspect.

There are some basic requirements:

  • In Chapter 3, there are quite a lot of essays about “affirmative action” and the university riff on the policy, which is called “diversity.” Use one essay to deal with an issue of law and equality. Set it up and quote it appropriately.
  • Plato also makes an appearance with his dialog “Crito.” Use this work to deal with either the larger concept of government or the more specific concept of the qualities necessary in either a citizen or elected official. Work with at least one substantive quote.
  • Use a current editorial (commentary) about a national issue addressed by the presidential or legislative candidates (and their subordinates).
  • Use one fact-based source for raw data.
  • Standard MLA format.
  • 5 full pages.


  • You can write about taxation.  There are tons of articles about this issue.
  • Regulation is another general category.  If you choose this, narrow the scope to banking, environment, safety, or another controversial area.
  • The military could prove to be an interesting topic.

Feel free to consult me about other ideas.  The new due date will be 10/04.

Protected: Apology for Thursday

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Response Paper #1-3

Response #1:

Write about your impression of man’s dependence upon and use of technology.

Here are the requirements (and these go for all 5 response papers):

  • For the response papers, everything will be single-spaced in Times New Roman 10 point font.
  • Put your name in the upper left hand corner; then, hit return once.
  • Give your paper a title (centered); then, hit return once.
  • Indent the beginning of the first paragraph and all subsequent paragraphs (one hit of the “tab” button will do that).
  • At the end of a paragraph, hit return once.
  • Write until you have a full page.  I deem a page full when writing covers 3/4 of it.
  • Be sure to have a decent thesis, and support that thesis throughout your paper.

As per our syllabus, this response is due next Thursday, 09/06/12.

Response #2:

Write a carefully constructed response to an editorial about a subject within the current presidential election.

Use the above requirements for formatting.

As per our syllabus, this response is due Thursday, 09/20/12.

Response #3:

Watch either the first presidential debate or the VP debate (which airs Thursday night (sorry for putting Wednesday)).  You should be able to find the full debates on several sites (including YouTube) right after they air.  Respond to one area of debate presented.  You may respond to either or both of the candidates, the nature of the question as posed by the moderator, the nature of response by either of the candidates and/or the moderator.  You can take a side and further the argument; oppose a side and take path; or, you can take an entirely new position that differs from anything mentioned.  Whatever you do, make sure your focus is narrow.  In other words, don’t try to hit up the economy in broad strokes (the economy being a broad subject); instead, focus on a narrower subject within the broad category, such as specific taxes (raises, cuts, or no action).  Be sure to investigate your topic fully, and argue carefully.  Since you’re not on the spot, you have time to actually flesh out your ideas.

Response #3 is due Thursday, 10/18/12.  Don’t worry about syllabus changes; I give myself and the class plenty of leeway when I create them.

Writing Tips for English 1C

Here are a few handouts with some basic writing tips.

Writing Tips #1

Writing Tips #2

Writing Tips #3

Protected: Syllabus for English 1C

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A Pox on Apple!

Actually, I love Apple, but I hate that they shut down Mobile Me.  It was convenient to use iWeb in conjunction with that feature to keep up a simple website for my classes.  So here I am, and I hope it won’t be too difficult of a transition.

For those who are coming here from my classes, you know what to do.  For those who are friends or other happy visitors, I don’t know what to tell you yet.  I keep thinking and saying and hoping that I’m going to start writing again.  That hasn’t happened in a very long time.  But maybe Apple knew what they were doing after all.  They upset my world of ease to get me going again.

We’ll see, Apple. We’ll see…