July 1, 2010

Government, “…of the people, by the people, and for the people…” Those words by Abraham Lincoln illustrate what the Founders envisioned with this grand experiment known as the United States of America.
Freedom, truth, liberty and justice, are the hallmarks of this great nation, but listening to the politicians of today, one sometimes questions if we have lost our way. As Ronald Reagan so eloquently stated, “politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
We have liberals, conservatives, progressives, greens, tea parties, moderates and libertarians who call one another socialists, fascists, commies and nazis. So many labels’ but at the end of the day, all must take a stand for what they believe in. “A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is always a vice.” Thomas Paine
Democrats and Republicans are all fighting for the support of Independents, while dipping into the pockets of lobbyists and special interests. So, is what we have here really so bad when compared to other nations? “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Winston Churchill.
Big government or small government, tax too much or tax too little, there has to be a point where we realize what Thomas Jefferson stated, that “a government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything you have.”
And what of our politicians? It has been said that, “the best minds are not in government. If they were, businesses would hire them away.” Can’t think of too many professions with lower approval ratings than our current Congress.
Capitalism or socialism, both sides shout of the evils of the other. Well, some telling quotes might illustrate what some thought of these terms. Regarding capitalism, Marx said, “the last capitalist we shall hang will be the one that sold us the rope.” Or this one from George Bernard Shaw. “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
Political arguments ranging from health care to cap and trade, from immigration reform to sending American heroes to war, or tax increases to tax decreases; whatever the issue, we must always remember that we never want to end up in a place where we lose our freedom, or end up in a position such as Lenin described, “it is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.”
On the other hand, politics has always been great theater. Whether it was then or now, the antics of imperfect politicians in an imperfect world can sometimes make us laugh. “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.” Will Rogers.
So remember, when it comes to politics and government, “never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” Otto Von Bismark.
The citizens of this country are the rudder of the American ship of state. Have faith that they will get us back on course when we drift too far to port or starboard. This is a great nation and while we may disagree on many issues, remember what we all share in common. We are Americans.



July 1, 2010

Plagiarism is the unauthorized use and/or representation of another persons words or ideas as your own. It is not limited to the written or spoken word, as lifting others research charts, or graphs and drawings would also fall under the definition. Certain paraphrasing can also be construed as plagiarism. With use of the internet, there is easy access to more written and spoken works than ever before. Couple that with the fact that there are just many more people now writing and publishing, which makes the potential for plagiarism increasingly higher.

College students writing papers and essays sometimes get caught up in accusations of plagiarism. Often time they are innocent mistakes, easily corrected. Other times, however, they are purposeful. Failure to cite proper sources is one of the most common mistakes made. Students must be extra careful to ensure that they cite the sources for their work. Grammar and punctuation are also critical, whether it’s an essay for college entrance, or a paper for a class.

Plagiarism is not confined to college students by any means. Some famous people over the years have been caught in plagiarisms linguistic web.

During his unsuccessful Presidential campaign of 1988, Joe Biden was caught up in a plagiarism scandal for allegedly using the words of British politician, Neil Kinnock. Famous authors and historians, Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin, the latter a Pulitzer Prize winner, have also been accused of pirating the works of others.

Jayson Blair, a former NY Times reporter was drummed out of the business for plagiarizing others materials. Other news reporters who pilfered works have suffered the same fate.

Care must be taken when writing to ensure that you don’t inadvertently borrow another author’s words or thoughts. There are many programs available that will check your work such as Grammarly. Some will also help with grammar and punctuation.

If you’re not sure, it is always wise to check your papers before submitting them, as an error, even if inadvertent can cause great harm your reputation.

The college search seems like it never ends.

February 27, 2010

The college search is always a daunting task for parents and students alike. Finding the right school, filling out applications, applying for loans and scholarships and writing those dreaded essays are enough to make your hair hurt.

Don’t let the tuition price tag prevent you from applying to a school you really want to go to. Believe it or not, if the school wants you, or if you demonstrate need, they will make money available to you in the form of grants or loans. And remember FAFSA. Even though times are tight, your state may offer scholarships to in-state schools, and even if you choose an out of state school too. There are many private scholarships out there also. The competition is tough for them, but if you do the work, you will find them. Saving money and then paying for a college education needs careful planning and consideration.

So, you’ve finally made it. You’ve been accepted and getting ready for the school year? Summer isn’t too far away. Relax, enjoy and get ready for the best time of your life. You’ll connect with other incoming students, and schools have many orientation programs to make the transition easier. And of course, there’s the excitement of finding out who your roommates will be.

What should I study? Not everyone knows what they want to do when they get to college. (aside from partying) Many students start with liberal arts courses, and once you find your interests, you can focus in those specific areas. If you already know what you want to do, that’s great. Remember, if you’re not sure, community college can be a good cost saving option for the first two years also.

Are you already enrolled, and getting ready for the school year?  Hey, it’s still summer!  If you’re looking to spend a semester or a full year in a foreign country, student overseas travel is one of the most exciting and rewarding college experiences. Whether it’s to London, Paris, the EU , China , or other parts of the world, what you learn will last a lifetime. Another link to college traveling: College Traveler

College textbooks are always near last on the list, but if you know what you need in advance, you have a number of options. You can purchase new or used books. You can also rent, or buy e-textbooks as well. Every year, college textbooks are always near last on the list, but if you know what you need in advance, you have a number of options. Schools will also buy back your used textbooks, but don’t expect much.

If you are interested in looking at military academies, or the military as a career, you can also find military links here.

Regardless of what you study, your time at college will likely be one of  the best experiences of your lifetime.  Take advantage of what your school has to offer. You will be pleasantly surprised at how many things there are to do, if you search them out.

Good luck and enjoy. Don’t be afraid to reach beyond your grasp. Follow your dreams and ambitions.

Travel and Student Travel

February 27, 2010

One of the most rewarding experiences for a college student is to spend a semester overseas. Whether it’s Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia or North America, student travel is an experience that you will cherish for a lifetime.

Most colleges and universities have programs for spending a semester or more in a foreign country. Some have cooperative programs with other universities, some have their own programs. Most students will spend a semester, or a full year overseas during their junior year, so you and your parents should be researching and discussing with your advisor well before that.

There are so many sites and so much history to see and absorb. There will be travel opportunities when classes are not in session, giving you a chance to take in the local cultures. In Europe, getting around is relatively easy. When traveling, the rail systems are very affordable, and staying in hostels can save you a fair amount of money. There are student travel cards and discounts available also.

In London, you can visit the Tower of London and it’s neighbor, the Tower Bridge. Be sure to see Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the changing of the guard, or Big Ben and Parliament. Another great place is Windsor Castle and the Royal Borough of Windsor, just a short hop from London. Scotland, Ireland and Wales are not so far and easy to get to.

When you think of France, of course Paris always comes to mind. The City of Lights has so much to offer. Visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees, the Sorbonne, or Notre Dame Cathedral, and take in all the history and romance of Paris. Head to Normandy, or the south of France.

Or if your college travels take you to Germany, Austria or Switzerland. Visit Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Geneva, or Zurich. You can’t miss with the beauty of the Alps and the Black Forest.

You may also want to consider a trip to Asia. Many choose China, where you can tour Beijing, Hong Kong, the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Shanghai or Macao. Some may consider the US or Canada, or Africa. So many opportunities, so little time.

One thing for certain, if you spend a semester or a year in a foreign country, it will be an outstanding learning experience and provide a lifetime of memories.


June 15, 2009
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