Category Archives: RS 4

Obama’s View

Nakumura, David “Obama on same-sex marriage ruling: ‘We have made our union a little more perfect.”Washington post. 26 June 2015. web. 4 August, 2015

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During this summer there was a huge supreme court ruling that let same sex marriages be legal. With the legalization of same sex marriages there have been many sparked up controversies about the topic. For instance, their are people who don’t believe in gay rights that work in the government and in the marriage court that are still denying same sex couples their marriage license. This sparks an outrage in the LGBT community because for many years they have been fighting for equal rights and after the ruling they are still not being treated equal. Although there are some that are still fighting it, we must hope that they take Obama’s word that America should be proud that we are making our union a little more perfect.

The article starts with a video of Obama and his speech on the ruling of same sex marriage. He starts the speech with telling listeners “Our nation was founded on a bed rock principle, we are all created equal, and that we should bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities Through out the article the audience can see Obama is for the rights of same sex couples and that it was time for a change. What the audience will also notice is how Obama’s viewpoint from earlier times changed from his viewpoints today. The author says “as a candidate for the White House in 2008. He said that his views as a Christian were that marriage was defined as between a man and a woman.” This shows that at one point Obama did not believe in same sex marriage. As time goes by Obama’s view changed or evolved in the support for gay marriage.

Nakumura I believe is a credible source because he captures Obama’s view on the controversy very well. He goes on saying that Obama said  “he cast the ruling as a historic moment in American history that capped decades of progress for the gay and lesbian community, sometimes driven by “anonymous heroes” who endured taunts and bullying.” The audience he was trying to relate to were the same sex couples that have been through various obstacles through out the legalization of same sex marriage. Some evidence that relates this is that he says it is progress for the gay and lesbian community. Nakumura then explains that Obama said “Sometimes there are days like this when that slow and steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” Obama said. Although the progress might have seemed slow to gay rights advocates, he added, the nation’s shift on same-sex marriage has been “so quick.” The audience he is trying to reach is the advocates or supporters of same sex marriage.

Yet there is also an audience that the author talks about when he recites Obama saying “He noted that many Americans still oppose it out of deeply-held religious beliefs and that the nation should be mindful to respect different viewpoints. But he added that the ruling “also gives us hope that on many issues with which we grapple, real change is possible. A shift of hearts and minds is possible.” The author knows that there will be more than just the intended audience, so he tries to relate with them by letting them know that we understand why they don’t believe in same sex marriage. I believe Nakumura does a great job of trying to appeal to both sides of the audience while still addressing the news to the readers.

With the legalization of same sex marriage now we as readers can believe that even though there are different viewpoints we should be able to understand that people have been fighting for these rights for a very long time. Now that the law has passed we should see it as a mile stone for American history, not only that but it also explains and helps readers get the bigger picture of equal rights for all.


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Mike Responds to “What I Learned at the Weed Dispensary”

Shaniece Denson

Mike. Urbana, IL. 28 July, 2015   dispensary.html?ref=opinion&_r=1

In a comment responding to David Casarett’s “What I Learned at the Weed Dispensary”, Mike states his opinion concerning physicians and the role they play in prescribing treatment. David Casarett’s article defends the argument that the more mainstream healthcare system should imitate certain proponents of the medical marijuana industry. This claim is directed at physicians who have the authority to make necessary changes in their clinics and in their methods of distributing relief. In his comment, Mike agrees with David Casarett’s argument, but he introduces an additional reason as to why doctors behave in a certain manner when it comes to providing treatment for their patients. The information that Mike gives allows the readers to better comprehend the intended audience which is doctors, and the situation that is at hand which happens to be their incompetence to yield sound treatment. Though Mike agrees with Casarett his reply takes the burden off of doctors and places its weight on the government. Mike contends that the government limits physicians’ abilities to grant effective treatment to their suffering patients. Mike’s argument causes there to be a change in audience; it takes the focus off of physicians and directs it toward the government.

Mike’s extensive knowledge on the subject makes him appear as a credible source. He provides situated information about the situation which implies that he has done previous research or that he is in a positions of authority to obtain such knowledge. He also states a resolve to solve the problem within the healthcare system that a person without direct experience within this situation would advocate. Moreover, Mike’s response was chosen by New York Times to be among 20 other notable comments out of 330 comments. New York Times is a distinguished venue that is respected by various communities; particularly communities that are well informed and value being well-read and knowledgeable. In spite of the use of minimum inflammatory language the speaker argues in what seems to be a responsible manner.

Mike acknowledges that doctors have the ability to treat unbearable symptoms that cause their patients to suffer. However he notes that it is impossible for physicians to do so when the government limits their power to prescribe certain medications, such as marijuana. Mike sheds light on the fact that since “cannabis isn’t legally available” doctors are forced to distribute medication that “the government is OK with making available”. These drugs include “hydrocodone and its analogues” which are noted to be much more dangerous than marijuana. Mike goes on to support this claim by saying that “in states that permit medical marijuana, opioid-related deaths have fallen.” In contrast to other areas where these type of fatalities continue to increase. Mike asserts that the government “prefers that people just go die” rather than legalizing medical marijuana to alleviate pains that are treatable. Ultimately Mike is arguing that the government should take a step back, and allow physicians to treat their patients the best way that they know how since doctors have more knowledge on the potency levels of certain drugs. Mike states that “the DEA hovers over doctors with … threats” to take away their prescription rights if they violate the DEA’s orders to limit the distribution of pain medication. With such guidelines it is impossible for doctors to give patients the care that they deserve and desire. Therefore, Mike argues that if the government would make marijuana available, remove their restrictions, and allow doctors to prescribe marijuana as a pain medication then patients would receive healthy treatment.


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RS 4

Salzman, Michelle. “From Actress to Activist.” USC Dornsife College News RSS. USC Dornsife, 23 May 2012. Web. 03 Aug. 2015.

In America Ferrera’s open letter to Donald Trump, she responds to his racist comments about Latino immigrants by thanking him instead of chastising him. “From Actress to Activist” is related to “Thank You, Donald Trump” in that it provides background about Ferrera and her passion for social activism specifically in the Latino community. This source teaches me that Ferrera, is active in the community and is very vocal about international relations, social issues, and global awareness. It informs of Ferrera’s fight for social change.

This is a credible source because it is informative about Ferrera and her passion for social activism. The speaker is credible as well. Michelle Salzman is a journalism student at the University of Southern California who sat in on a lecture given by Ferrera in an international relations class. Salzman provides credible reflections from international relations students who listened to Ferrera’s lecture and quotes from Ferrera herself. The publisher, USC College of Letters, Arts and Science, keeps students up-to-date with departmental news and events by publishing credible articles. The publisher seems believable because most of the news articles that are published are informative and recent news having to do with the university.

The articles begins by discussing America Ferrera’s start at USC as a freshman studying international relations while also pursuing a career in acting. Ferrera struggled between two career paths: social activism and acting, but eventually knew how the two could work together. Salzman goes on to discuss how Ferrer has focused her efforts of making a positive change. In 2010, Ferrera partnered with Save the Children, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged children in the United States and around the world (Salzman). In 2011, Ferrera met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss immigrant issues with prominent Latinos in the United States (Salzman). In the effort to fight social change, Ferrera is writing a case study on celebrity diplomacy—how those in the public sphere use their influence to bring attention to global issues. Salzman concludes with a quote from Ferrera: “You guys have just as much responsibility to think about what you care about and try to make a difference. Nobody gets a free pass.”


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Research Summary 4

Yardley, Jim, and Laurie Goodstein. “Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 June 2015. Web. 04 Aug. 2015. <>.

The controversy is again climate change and how the Pope has released a document calling for action. This is directly related to the first text since this one is actually mentioned in it. They go over the same topic, they are just different lengths and provide a different amount of information. This source shows me that the author of the editorial knows and understands what is going on. The audience this time are people who would want to know what’s happening, people who want to see news. The situation is more or less the same. The Earth is in danger, and something needs to be done about it.

They show more of a reason to trust because they are in the same community and are knowledgeable on the subject. The speakers write in a credible manner since they are reporting the news. They are simply telling the audience what the Pope is doing about climate change. Since there are a number of links in the article it is reasonable to assume that the speaker is referencing recent and relevant information for their research.  In the area of the news reporting the publisher is an authority. The New York Times is known for reporting news, originally in print and now online. The news site is respected by everyone that has kept up with this source and since it is a major news outlet for a large number of people. The text has a number of citations that are either related to the scientific community on the subject or related to catholic theology; as well as quotes from the Pope. The text is arguing in a responsible manner, it doesn’t throw any one person or group of people under the bus except for everyone on Earth because the Pope kind of does that in his encyclical.

The Pope is calling to action on the issue of climate change. He did this by releasing an encyclical “Laudato Si” or “Praise Be With You.” The blame is put heavily on fossil fuel burning and human activity. The Pope warns that there will be “unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequence for all of us.” One consequence noted is that is well developed nations will have to support smaller less developed ones. Pope Francis is clear that climate change is a crisis and that something must be done about it. He hopes that his encyclical will have an impact on governments policy since they will be meeting to make arrangements on the subject. This has been expected of the Pope and has thrilled many scientist. Francis criticizes anyone who denies human caused climate change or that states that the Catholic church can’t make policy or be involved in politics. His arguments are sound and based within the bible. The “most stinging rebuke is a broad critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society.” While Francis praises our technological advances, he also sees that it has been just that, technology, and not human responsibility. He then continues that the economy will not solve our problems. Nations need to act and not just simply in an effort for their economic gain. At last, he is calling for action for he states that ““All is not lost, human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

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Research Summary 4

Nemko, Marty. “Legalize Pot? You Must Be High.” Time. Time, 7 Nov. 2014. Web. 04 Aug. 2015.

The controversy I’m going to be discussing in my essay is whether or not marijuana should be legalized. The following text is commentary over the controversy of the legalization of marijuana and relates to the article, “Legalizing Marijuana Is Not Worth The Risk”, which discusses why marijuana should not be legalized.

I believe this is a credible source because throughout the article, the author, Marty Nemko creates bullet list stating facts on how marijuana has a negative impact on teenager’s bodies from multiple health website and research done by prestige colleges such as Harvard to prove the negative impact marijuana has on the teenage brain. The article is published in a well known magazine and gives the reader many facts about marijuana and the reasons it should not be legalized. Not only is the article well written and provide numerous facts to support the reasons why marijuana should be legalized, the author of this article has a Ph.D. in education and has written several books. The author’s knowledge and understanding of the topic proves this article to be a credible source.

Touching on all the reasons why marijuana should not be legalized, Nemko goes into depth over each reason he gives for opposing the legalization of marijuana. Nemko states that several studies show that marijuana use in teenagers impact the part of the brain “associated with motivational, emotional and affective processing” and causes teenw between the age of 13-18 to have a decrease in IQ by ” 8 points.” He then goes on to state that marijuana also impacts the body physically. Smoking marijuana can cause “heart attacks and diseases in the arteries” to  “imped[ing] development of the baby’s brain,” along with other things.

Nemko discusses the fact that marijuana will not yield much profit from the legalization of marijuana due to “increased health care costs” as reported by the Center for Disease Control. He gives an example of the taxation of alcohol and the cost it has on the society which outweighs the amount brought in from the drug. Aside from pointing out the medical attention needed from the legaization of marijuana, Nemko says there will be an increase in accidents. In a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is proven that  “18 percent of drivers in fatal accidents tested positive for a non-alcoholic mind-altering drug, mainly marijuana.” Since the legalization of marijuana the number of accidents have increased drastically.

Although Nemkno is against the legalization of marijuana he states using marijuana for medical purposes is personal preference. Marijuana should be a prescription drug, not “over-the-counter for recreational use” or readily available to anyone. He then goes on to say that giving up things such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana is appealing when it will result in “less disease and fewer car accidents, more fully functioning people . . . plus the richer lives people would lead.”


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Research Summary 4

Topanga Knox

Elliott, Steve. “U.S.: Anti-Marijuana ‘Experts’ Are Paid By Big Pharma Painkiller Drug Companies”. Hemp News. Hemp News, 29 Aug, 2014. Web. 03 Aug, 2015.

In Steve Elliot’s article for Hemp News,”U.S.: Anti-Marijuana ‘Experts’ Are Paid By Big Pharma Painkiller Drug Companies”, Elliot focuses on how the pharmaceutical industry’s business dealings with medical professionals and anti-drug organizations have stifled the legalization of marijuana. This text  sheds light on the medical community that has been outspoken against pot. It also highlights key people who have been extremely influential in keeping marijuana illegal, and viewed as bad in the eyes of the public.

This article is a very credible source, because the platform it has been published on is solely dedicated to marijuana reform. The article can be found on Hemp News. com, an Oregon based publication that has been advocating for the benefits of marijuana use since 1991. The fact that Hemp News has been running for over twenty years speaks on how credible it is seen a source for news pertaining to marijuana. The writer of the article is Steve Elliott, he is also the author of “The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the World of Cannabis”. He has been published in The Seattle Weekly and Village Voice Media. He also an editor for Hemp News. His extensive background in journalism and knowledge of marijuana makes Elliott the perfect voice to chime in about the politics of legalization. Elliott seems very passionate about his work, which makes his argument stronger, and leaves no room to second guess how he feels about it. In this particular piece, Elliott writes in a way that is very informative, but isn’t boring. His verbiage isn’t necessarily angry, its just strong in nature, in that he really portrays Big Pharma the way it should be portrayed. In the article there are several journals and prominent medical personnel being quoted and cited in the text. It is made apparent that Elliott knows what he speaks of, and has the research to back what he is saying. With all the evidence shown it would be almost impossible not to believe what Elliot is claiming about drug companies. He uses the pharmaceutical companies own cheerleaders to banish any idea that the marijuana legalization movement hasn’t been tampered with. His evidence is very convincing and is hard to refute. All things combined Elliott and his article are credible, reliable, and to be taken serious.

With a critical eye, Elliott focuses on how big drug companies like Purdue Pharma and Pfizer have doctors on their payrolls to serve as yes-men to their questionable pharmaceuticals and nay-sayers to the benefits of marijuana. Throughout the text Elliott is very forthcoming with the names of “scientist” and “researchers”, who in his opinion, have “sold out”(Elliott).  He claims that medical professionals have been paid to bolster the regressive arguments of Big Pharma (Elliott). He mentions one doctor-liaison in particular, Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University, who has constantly been used as a reference to reinforce the belief that marijuana has no use and should forever be classified as a schedule one narcotic. Elliott draws attention to the little known fact that Kleber is being paid by Purdue Pharma while he peddles the ills of marijuana. Elliott says that his writings are inaccurate and dramatic, but are still heavily quoted by scholarly journals and the popular press (Elliott). Elliott disproves Kleber’s total condemning of marijuana by finding research of his own that has found favorable uses for marijuana outside a recreational high.

Elliott also highlights what Lee Fang’s article “The Real Reason Pot Is Illegal” focuses on, which are lobbying groups such as CADCA and Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, being used much like doctors to counter marijuana reform. Elliott notes that these organizations have relied heavily on Big Pharma funding, and subsequently only down the damaging effects of continued opioid use (Elliott). Elliott argues that anti-marijuana organizations use all their resources toward marijuana prohibition, but almost turn a blind eye to the major issue of prescription drug abuse.

Elliott’s observations of Big Pharma’s interaction with anti-marijuana groups and academics makes a very convincing argument that there has been a conscious effort to rid the medical and pharmaceutical communities of marijuana. Elliott’s findings that scholarly journals and doctors alike can basically be bought by Big Pharma shows how profitable prescription pills are, and how far the benefactors of those industries are willing to go keep marijuana off the table.




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