Monday, October 31, 2011

My Favorite World Series Game

In about an hour, we'll say goodbye to October.  That means that baseball season is over, and, indeed, just a few days ago, the World Series ended with a Game 7 win by the St. Louis Cardinals.  Game 6 is being hailed as one of the best World Series games of all time: twice, the Texas Rangers were one strike away from winning the game and thus winning the series; twice, the Cardinals came back to tie the game; the Cardinals won in the 11th inning.

This World Series was so exciting that it brought me back to my favorite World Series--1996--the first Yankee Series win that I remember well.   (Argenis wears a 1996 Yankees World Series hat and I highly appreciate it.)  The best game in that series was Game 4.  The Yankees were down two games to one, playing in Atlanta, and they needed a win in Game 4 to have a good chance of capturing a World Series victory.  But the Yanks fell behind 6-0 by the fifth inning.  They clawed back to 6-3 by the eighth inning, when backup catcher Jim Leyritz came to the plate.  Off the Braves' best relief pitcher, Leyritz launched a clutch three-run homer to left field, over the head of a 19-year-old Braves rookie named Andruw Jones.  The Yankees had tied the game and they would win it in the 10th inning.  The following Saturday, they won the World Series back home in the Bronx.

What is your favorite World Series game?  Why?  What are your favorite baseball memories?  Which games of the past do you wish you'd been alive to see?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Debating Occupy Wall Street

If you've been in my Regents class, you may be aware that I have some strong, somewhat conflicted feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Regardless, the movement is growing, and it will be in history books twenty years from now, so, as students of history, we have to pay attention.

So I ask you: What do you think about the OWS movement? Do you believe in what OWS stands for? Do you know what they stand for? Do you think their method of protest can lead to positive changes for United States?

There have been some fantastic essays considering these very questions. I'd encourage you to take a look at these two sites and find out what others think about OWS.

Can Occupy Wall Street Spark a Revolution?  from The New York Times
"If you stopped by Zuccotti Park in New York and asked 10 protesters what their goals were for Occupy Wall Street, you might get 10 different answers. This has led some reports to call the group unfocused, but that may be normal for an emerging movement: would 10 young Egyptians in Tahrir Square in January have been any more unanimous?

One protester, in an interview that Fox News has not aired, said he and others were calling for 'more economic justice, social justice — Jesus stuff — as far as feeding the poor, health care for the sick.' Another protester, a former Marine who was elected by Occupy Wall Street participants to speak for them, told NPR that he wanted to overthrow the government and reconstruct it. Will these big ideas get lost now that labor unions and other established interests are joining forces with Occupy Wall Street, bringing their more concrete demands?

The protest already is more popular than Congress. So what are the demonstrators doing right, and what could they be doing better? Do these people, like others worldwide who are disillusioned with their governments, have the potential to spark a mass movement? What are they missing?"
--From the NYTimes website

Liberalism and Occupy Wall Street: A TNR Symposium from The New Republic
"Last week, in our editorial, TNR asked: 'How should liberals feel about Occupy Wall Street?' The magazine took a skeptical view of the protests; a number of our writers (John B. Judis, Jonathan Cohn, and Timothy Noah) have taken a more positive stance. Over the next week, we’ll be publishing a symposium at TNR Online in which a number of prominent liberal thinkers offer their answers to this question."
--From the TNR website

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More help on Regents op-ed

Here's some more info about your op-ed homework, Regents students.  One student already e-mailed me asking for help, and this is my reply.  If you have more questions, please contact me at!

The first thing you need to do is to think about what the protesters say.  This is Step One: Develop Your Opinion.  Do you think it's true that voting isn't all that important, and that you'd need to share your opinion in different ways to make a difference in government?  This website has a number of articles about the Occupy Wall Street movement:  Here's the link to the full text of the article excerpted on your assignment sheet:

After thinking about it, doing a little bit of research, and taking a few notes, decide what your opinion is.  This is Step Two: Form a Thesis.  In a sentence or two, you should be able to state your basic opinion about voting and what the protesters believe about it.  Something like: "The protesters are misguided and wrong because voting is a vital part of democracy."  Or whatever you believe.

Then, Step Three: Develop Your Argument.  You should think of ways to prove that your opinion is right.  For this, you need to include things we've learned about in class, like social contract theory and the Constitution.  You will probably want to especially consider the idea of republicanism/representative democracy.  Ideally, you should be able to come up with at least three good reasons that your thesis is right.  For my example thesis, one good reason could be: "The Constitution allows all adult citizens to vote to determine who will lead our country."  You would need to explain your back up this reason with supporting details and examples.

Step Four: Outline Your Argument.  Once you've got ideas for an argument, start writing an outline that organizes it.  Ideally, it would follow this structure:
Thesis: The protesters are misguided and wrong because voting is a vital part of democracy.

I. Reason 1:
The Constitution allows all adult citizens to vote to determine who will lead our country.
    A. Supporting Detail 1:
    B. Supporting Detail 2:
    C. Supporting Detail 3:

II. Reason 2:
    A. Supporting Detail 1:
    B. Supporting Detail 2:
    C. Supporting Detail 3:

III. Reason 3:
    A. Supporting Detail 1:
    B. Supporting Detail 2:
    C. Supporting Detail 3:

Step Five: Write a rough draft.  Don't worry too much about that yet, but at least get started on it before Monday.

Hope this is helpful.  Please e-mail me with any questions you have.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Mr. Toomajian