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Semester News Challenge

This challenge is entirely voluntary.

You have two choices as to how to complete (or attempt this challenge):

A. Weekly Updates:
You read and email to me two (2) news stories that you found on the web or watched on television. You will include a brief summary of the main point(s) of each article in the email. You should include a link to the story in your email.

Prize: you will earn the ability to skip one (1) of the two essays on the final exam.

B. Almost Daily Updates:
You read and email me to five (5) news stories that you found on the web or watched on television, with a link to the story and a brief summary.

Prize: you will earn the ability to skip both essays on the final exam.

UNBREAKABLE AND ABSOLUTE GUIDELINES

(Please read these carefully, and let me know if you have questions.)

1. You must turn in the appropriate number of stories every week without exception (except Spring Break) in order to earn the prize. If you miss turning in the appropriate number of stories one week, you are out of the contest.

2. Acceptable topics are as follows:
– Massachusetts (or New England) political, economic, or societal stories.
– U.S. political, economic, and society stories.
– International political, economic, and society stories.

This does not include pop culture, music (unless related to politics), fictional movies or fictional television shows, AND GOD HELP YOU IF THE NAME “KHARDASHIAN”, “HILTON”, OR “SPEARS” APPEARS IN THE ARTICLE YOU WILL FAIL FOR THE SEMESTER. The same goes for the inhabitants of Beverly Hills and the Jersey Shore.

Email the news stories to: ShawnML2@hotmail.com.
(Make certain you email your news stories to this address; they will get lost in my AC email account. Stories mailed to any other email account will not be counted!)

Use the subject heading: “YourLastName-News Stories-Wk 1” (or Wk 2, Wk 3, etc).

In the very first email you send, include this (if you wish to participate): “I agree to the terms of the challenge. YourNameHere.” Indicate which option you are choosing, A or B. (You may go down from B to A if you need to, but you may not go from A to B. You can drop down a level, but not move up a level, once the semester begins.)

TRUSTWORTHY SOURCES OF NEWS

It is vital that you make a habit of reading national and international news on a regular basis as soon as possible. It can be hard to know what sources are reliable and generally accurate. I provide you a list of sources I believe are trustworthy.

http://www.newser.com [News aggregator; stories from many different sources.]

http://www.politico.com [leans slightly conservative/Republican]

http://news.bbc.co.uk [British Broadcasting Corporation, the finest reporter of news in the world.]

http://www.cbc.ca/news/ [Canadian Broadcasting Corp., also excellent. Look on Youtube for their documentary on the Iraq War.]

http://www.foreignaffairs.com

http://www.economist.com

http://www.electoral-vote.com [Information on the political situation as it unfolds this year. Polls, short articles, examinations of election results, etc. Very informative. Includes predictions as to winners and losers.]

http://www.thedailybeast.com [leans liberal/Democratic]

http://www.reddit.com [News aggregator; users submit stories, and other users vote them up or down.]

Several scientific polls have demonstrated that the best-informed people in the United States are regular viewers of both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. (You can read about this here: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/21/news/la-pn-fox-news-poll-20111121.)

In 2003, Fox News won a lawsuit in Florida against a former producer using the defense that Fox News has no obligation to tell the truth. The producer sued because she was fired when she refused to include false information in a report. Therefore, Fox “News” is not a credible source of information. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Akre and here: http://www.philly2philly.com/politics_community/politics_community_articles/2009/6/29/4854/fox_news_wins_lawsuit_misinform_public.

For rational (and usually interesting) conservative thought, you should check out The National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com).

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU TAKE SERIOUSLY ANYTHING SAID BY ALEX JONES, INFOWARS, AND WORLD NET DAILY. SERIOUSLY, DON’T.

**NOTE: The week begins at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.**

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Categories: Interesting

The Truth About the Public Option

100 Days of FOX News Bashing Obama

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone.

Approaching the edifice, it’s hard not to think immediately of England’s Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

Categories: Interesting

The Truth From Dune

I am in the midst of reading the monumental “Dune” series by Frank Herbert. I am constantly surprised by the depth of his understanding of government. I offer two quotes in evidence:

#1. “Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristocratic forms. NO government in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, government tends more and more to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class — whether that class be hereditary royalty, oligarchs of financial empires, or entrenched bureaucracies.” — Children of Dune.

This quote is entirely true. No matter how any particular government comes to power, it always devolves into an agent for the protection of those in power. This is certainly true in the United States, as we have seen over the course of our history, and in particular in the last eight years, when the nation has been plundered by the allies of former President Bush and former Vice President Cheney.

#2. “All rebels are closet aristocrats.” — God Emperor of Dune.

Again, so true. Simply look at Fidel Castro of Cuba. He overthrew a tyrant, Batista, and then ruled as a worse tyrant than the man he ousted.

I am a liberal; but I abhor the communist tyrants that arrived in the 20th Century. Castro is but one.

In my spring class, “History of Europe and the U.S., 1789 – 1989,” we discussed such ruthless dictators. We began by talking about the French Revolution and Maximillien Robespierre. He ruled as a tyrant, but he was also a fanatic. Fanatics are the worst kind of politician. All politicians are whores and liars, but at least the corruptible can be bought.

Categories: History, Interesting

Republican Leader Refuses to Speak Coherently

The 100 Most Iconic Internet Videos [Full List]

Categories: Interesting