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Religious Freedom

Religious Freedom Argument

Through our course, we observed various faiths’ beliefs, rituals and worship practices, lifestyles, organization, and cultures. We learned about the similarities and the differences between some common religions and beliefs. We also found unique characteristics that differentiate the religions.

Is religious freedom possible?  What should be the American legal standard for and cultural understanding of religious freedom? What is freedom? What is religion? Is religion more than belief?

To properly address these questions, we need to understand the terminology. First, freedom is rather clear-cut in the Declaration of Independence. The preamble to the Declaration of Independence defines “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (paragraph 2). Therein, our forefathers identified a basic principle of freedom. Those rights – life, liberty, happiness – are possessed by all people, and by such qualification of “all [people],” it is understood to limit those rights or freedoms to not impose on freedoms of others.

From the onset of our nation’s history, we have battled to maintain those constitutionally ordained freedoms. But only after newly found freedoms is it now obvious what had been missing: women’s right to vote, married women’s rights to vote, slavery, black men’s and women’s rights to vote. More obvious and egregious intrusions on American freedoms have occurred in our country’s history. Early United States history is peppered with infringements on what we today observe as those freedoms. Pre-nationhood, men and women were tried for religious beliefs, persecuted as witches in Salem, Massachusetts, and other locations. (Hoffer, 2016).

Freedom of speech and press have been hampered by social expectations that produced legal restrictions against what some in society interpreted as crude or obscene writing or images. Restrictions on where an African-American could reside or purchase a home, and where he could play music, which entrances could be used. The use of the Alien and Seditions Acts to imprison and deport immigrants who came from enemy nations. Immigration Act of 1924 is widely held to have been designed to restrict the upswell in immigration from Italy, Germany, Poland and other Slavic nations. The Japanese-American incarceration to internment camps following Pearl Harbor. Some of these restrictions and regulations target religious segments; for example, the Immigration Act of 1924 by selecting a Italy, is attributed to an anti-Catholic sentiment. Similarly, in 2017, President Donald Trump attempted to apply a ban on immigration from primarily Muslim countries.

In an article comparing American Union Against Militarism (AUAM) and National Civil Liberties Bureau (NCLB), Weinreb explains how these organizations voiced as “conscientious objectors” to Selective Service Act, Alien and Seditions Acts during World War I. These two organizations (AUAM and NCLB) would later be followed by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). One of NCLB’s earliest attempts at defending American freedoms was to defend against the mandatory military service dictated in Selective Service Act. Weinreb points out that their means of defense by voicing political opposition to the War was not an effective move, considering the fervor of nationhood that swelled in the United States at that time. “Perhaps if civil liberties advocates had begun with claims to free speech and gradually worked toward freedom of conscience, their justification for exemptions might have taken root.” (Weinreb, 2016).

Unfortunately, our freedoms are not always that clearly identifiable. Take as an example, in late twentieth century, the US government passed, in high majority, Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The understood intent of RFRA was to ensure freedoms that could be infringed upon by governments. It helped prevent the government from intruding on religious freedoms through general regulation. It attempted to curb perceived intrusions on religious freedoms within minority groups. One example is the use of Peyote by Native Americans. The courts interpreted constitutional law to not protect the use of this hallucinogen. In response to cases like this, the US government overwhelmingly passed the RFRA. However, the RFRA has also been used to seek freedoms to discriminate or deny others’ freedoms. This was overturned as it applies to states, but is still applicable to federal government. Many states have adopted similar regulations.

Arguably, the Declaration of Independence, by mentioning a creator, also implies a presumption that a greater being exists that governs by endowing these rights. Unlike “freedom” being represented as life, liberty, and happiness; neither the Declaration of Independence or Constitution broach a definition for religion. The dictionary definition of religion leaves some uncertainty to what is used. Nearly all dictionaries define it as a relationship to god, gods, spirits or similar supreme being(s). Cambridge defines it as “the belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship.” This definition inclusively describes the supreme entities, but allow for a more nuanced “system” to be included.

The First Amendment to the Constitution outlines that Congress cannot impose restrictions on religion nor institute one as accepted. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” (Amend. I.)

The Law Dictionary offers an alternative definition with citation of legal decisions to support its interpretation: “As used in constitutional provisions forbidding the ‘establishment of religion,’ the term means a particular system of faith and worship recognized and practised by a particular church, sect, or denomination.” The specific identification as practices conducted in “church, sect or denomination,” omitting individual, for being recognized could lead to overly limited application. This possibly could deny a person from coming to an individual awakening to a belief system which perform that point never existed.

Jesse Choper, a law professor at University of Berkeley, published the article Defining Religion in the First Amendment in 1982 describing the lack of definition for religion in legal documents. Choper explains the separation of church and state by examining how these are constructed through the “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses. He offers another definition taken from legal reference. First, the definition must identify the thought process associated with the term “religion.” Second, it must be defined broad enough to allow application to unforeseen interpretations. He specifically mentions traditional beliefs, new beliefs, adaptation of existing beliefs, and “nonconformist” beliefs. Choper also identifies areas that should be avoided, such as thought processes and behaviors. Additionally, he tells the reader “its ultimate form must serve purposes beyond the specific visions of the framers, even assuming that they may be discerned” (Choper, 1982).

To carry this forward into the course work, in Unit One Blueprint, we accepted the definition through application of four categories that should be met (REL 320, 2017). First, a shared knowledge that it categorizes as discourse. Second, practice of rites, rituals, and other normative processes that are based on the religious discourse. Third, the members of the group join in congregational or similar community exchanges and celebrations. Fourth, institutions are established within the communities that establish order and makes the institution capable of replicating. In this explanation, no deity or spirit is brought forward. This more closely relates to Choper’s analysis of establishment and free exercise clause.

Joppke compared the plights of gay marriage and Muslim religious freedoms in an article published in European Journal of Sociology (Joppke, 2017). The comparison examined how some privileges are sought to be extended to a group, such as gay marriage. Muslim traditions look for a different appeasement by what Joppke labels “special rights.” In the case of same-sex marriage, the right exists for those outside the group. The argument is for equality. For Muslims, the right being sought is exemptions for some legal requirements. This may be demonstrated in the wearing of a hijab in a classroom. Joppke further distinguishes these two group by highlighting that for same-sex marriage it focuses on how they should be given the same liberties. In contrast, Christians and Muslims have the same religious freedoms, but Muslims seek “special rights” be extended to accommodate their beliefs. This examination compares liberty freedoms to religious freedoms.

Pope Leo III, in an 1885 papal paper, highlighted a non-universality of religion in Catholicism. “To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name.” Here the pontiff points out the acceptability of the existence of different religious beliefs.

Some of the American public believe these interpretations of the Constitution are overly broad. An interpretation of statements within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, such as mentioning “Creator,” that the United States is founded by and for Christian and God-fearing individuals. Matthew Cochran, a writer for The Federalist, remarks, in not so subtle wording, that leftists and gay activists are impacting the freedoms of not condoning choices that differ from their religious beliefs. He highlights an instance of a florist in Washington, D.C., who refused to provide flower arrangements for a same-sex marriage. The couple and attorney general pursued legal paths and financial liabilities against the florist. Cochran argues this is an intrusion on the florist’s religious beliefs, as she does not support same-sex marriage. He logically argues a more inclusive way to review these legal proceedings would be, “…merely require courts to thoughtfully weigh burdened religious conscience against government interest when there’s friction between the two.” Despite the attractive wording, his article focuses highly on allowing Christians to exclude others.

When viewed together, Pope Leo XIII’s more inclusive descriptions and Cochran’s exclusionary position present a stark contrast. In the pontiff’s quote, he explains that if we need to accept other’s differences without ostracizing them. On the other hand, Cochran wants the freedom to explicitly act against a group because of a difference of religious affiliation. These follow a protagonist/antagonist comparison from Joppke. He pointed out that same-sex couples are looking for a freedom to be wedded “just like straights,” but it is necessary to avoid the contradiction of wanting equal protection for a group. Joppke’s justification comes where the equal protection segregates a group rather than seeking to maintain a freedom. Cochran may have presented his case more effectively if argued as that, a retention of a freedom.

Within these freedoms – religion, speech, press – there are lines that cannot be crossed. Each individual has the freedom and right to possess the mental consciousness that grants them a belief. They can act on those conceptions of freedoms so long as it does not infringe on another person’s freedoms, so long as it does not violate any general principles ordained in law. Hemeyer explains, “clearly some actions cannot be condoned, such as the torture of people or animals or random terror attacks on civilian populations. Other actions, if permitted, would utterly disrupt the social order, such as the refusal to be bound by any laws” (Hemeyer, 2016).

Our country continues to weave its way through challenges understanding freedom clauses, and likely forever will. The unforeseen circumstances that will befall our nation spur knee-jerk reactions. We come to observe new dangers to ourselves, our children, our country, and we rally the troops, and legislators, to save us from certain death, or at least discomfort. We have witnessed this repeatedly in our past, and we continue to use too narrow a spectrometer when evaluating the similarities to whatever the current tone of fear is that rushes over us.

The “establishment” clause of the Constitution, in conjunction with no specific definition leads to an understanding religion is not to be precisely defined. Rather that religious freedom should be understood through the other directives, such as “free exercise,” “freedom of speech,” and “freedom to peaceably assemble.” That the methods of celebrating religiosity should be the choice of the believer, up to the point it denies another their freedom.

Religious freedom is alive and well in the United States. However, we must remain ever vigilant to the infringements that begin dictating how we need to believe and what forms of belief are acceptable. Even when these infringements affect only one neighbor, we need to conscientiously evaluate how that restriction will come back to haunt us.

In today’s world, we witness violent acts of terror across our country and across the world. The images are subtitled with warnings that they are coming for us. We react, involuntarily, by throwing up our shields and hiding behind them. I took this course with the intent to get some humanities credit hours. I am happy I also gained a useful understanding of other religious perspectives, and I hope to carry that with me.

REFERENCES

Choper, Jesse H. (1982). Defining Religion in the First Amendment, 1982 U. Ill. L. Rev. 579. Available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/facpubs/329.

Cleworth, Brendon. (2017), “REL 320: American Religious Traditions (2017 Summer – B).”

Cochran, M. (2015, April 21). Religious freedom is not dangerous, but losing it is. The Federalist. http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/21/religious-freedom-is-not-dangerous-but-losing-it-is/.

Corbett-Hemeyer, Julia. Religion In America, 7th Edition, 19 Feb 2016. Routledge.

Joppke, C. (2017). Multiculturalism by Liberal Law: The Empowerment of Gays and Muslims. European Journal of Sociology, 58(1), 1-32. doi:10.1017/S0003975617000017.

Hoffer, Peter C. (2016). Salem witchcraft trials. In S. Bronner (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American studies. MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/jhueas/salem_witchcraft_trials/0.

Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885; Encyclical Of Pope Leo Xiii; On The Christian Constitution Of States. http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_01111885_immortale-dei.html.

The Law Dictionary, dictionary.thelaw.com. Accessed 2017 Aug 8.

U.S. Constitution. Amend. I (1791), XIV §1 (1868). https://www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm.

U.S. Declaration of Independence, Paragraph 2 (1776). https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript.

Weinrib, L. M. (2016). Freedom Of Conscience In War Time: World War I And The Limits Of Civil Liberties. Emory Law Journal, 65(4), 1051-1137.

Williams, Rhys H. “Religion and Multiculturalism: A Web of Legal, Institutional, and Cultural Connections.” Sociological Quarterly, vol. 56, no. 4, Fall 2015, pp. 607-622. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/tsq.12094.

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Posted by on August 13, 2017 in Class Writing, Politics

 

Dow Chemical “Contributions” to the Tittabawassee

Dow Chemical “Contributions” to the Tittabawassee

I grew up in mid-Michigan, in a suburb of Saginaw. We had lakes and rivers nearby for fishing, and large wooded areas for seasonal hunting. The climate is much cooler than here in Arizona. In the winter, it was common to cross the Saginaw, Tittabawassee and other regional rivers on snowmobiles. It was also common for vehicles to drive out on Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron, and drill fishing holes in the ice. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, that freezing began to occur less frequently. It became common for the Saginaw River to remain unfrozen during the winter. As a child, I did not recognize it as a change.

More astute adults and scientists noticed this metamorphosis, and began to investigate why. What they found was a significant change in the chemicals dissolved in the water. Many miles up the river from Saginaw is Midland, Michigan: the home of Dow Chemical.

For nearly a century, Dow Chemical had been releasing dioxins from its manufacturing process into the Tittabawassee River and the atmosphere. These dioxins included polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), polychlorinateddibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin equivalents (TEQs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and others (Seston, 2011). Dioxins are toxic chemicals so dangerous that they are measured in trillionths of a gram, and these take years to work through the environment and living organisms. These bioaccumulated dioxins pose various health risks from cancer to birth defects.

The pollution became significant enough for EPA to warn people not to eat the fish from the rivers. Additional evaluations of the environment around the Midland Dow Chemical facility showed elevated levels of these dioxins in the soil. This prompted further warnings against the consumption of plants and wild game, such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys. Studies by University of Michigan and other scientific leaders found significant accumulation of those dioxins in blue heron, kingfisher, great horned owl, mink, and squirrels.  (Hedgeman, 2009)

A report by Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety studied the accumulation of PCDD/DF and TEQ in the great blue heron. The great blue heron is labeled a receptor species, because it feeds on other fish which increases its concentration of contaminants: bioaccumulation. This breed of fish showed a multifold increase in the TEQs. “PCDD/DFs were normalized to TEQ, and fold differences in the [average daily dose], increased, being 150- to 190-fold greater along the [Tittabawassee River] and 36-fold greater along the [Saginaw River] than they were in the [reference area]” (Seston, 2011).

Studies published in 2008 exposed significant concentrations of lung and breast cancer in areas surrounding the Tittabawassee River. “Results of the study suggest that geographic locations in close proximity to the river are associated with high risk of breast cancer, while the spatial clusters of lung cancer were detected in locations that are in close proximity to point source pollution” (Guajardo, 2008).

Various investigations by state and federal agencies discovered Dow Chemical knew of the effects on the population, wildlife, and environment. The company invested in advertising, campaigning, and falsifying data to conceal its knowledge and actions. Dow Chemical attempted to hide information that demonstrated the dioxin in Agent Orange caused liver damage, nervous disorders, birth defects, and other health problems. Part of Agent Orange was later used in herbicides for food source plants. They were aware of these ill effects as early as 1965, during the Vietnam War, where Agent Orange was used and impacted American servicemen and populations in Vietnam. In the mid 1980s, investigations into environmental impact were conducted by the EPA. It came to light that Dow Chemical had gained access to those EPA reports and modified them prior to submission to public record. (Shabecoff, 1983)

In the late 1990s and more in the 2000s, Dow Chemical has begun cleanup efforts in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers, as well as other affected areas, including Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but the rivers show improvement. Saginaw River has begun to freeze in winter. Despite the warnings to avoid consuming the freshwater fish, many Michiganders have begun to indulge in the regionally loved staple.

Works Cited

Guajardo, Olga A. “A critical assessment of geographic clusters of breast and lung cancer incidences among residents living near the Tittabawassee River, Michigan.” Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2008. 1456947. Accessed 25 September 2016. Web address: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2798568/&gt;.

Hedgeman, Elizabeth et al. “The University of Michigan Dioxin Exposure Study: Population Survey Results and Serum Concentrations for Polychlorinated Dioxins, Furans, and Biphenyls.” Environmental Health Perspectives 117.5 (2009): 811–817. PMC. Accessed 25 September 2016. Web address: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2685846/&gt;.

Seston, Rita, et al. “Dietary exposure of great blue heron (Ardea herodias) to PCDD/DFs in the Tittabawassee River floodplain, MI, USA.” Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. March 2011: 74.3; 494-503. Accessed 25 September 2016. Web address: <http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoenv.2010.10.024&gt;.

Shabecoff, Philip. “Schemer says E.P.A. aide let Dow delete dioxin tie in draft report.” New York Times. 16 March 1983. Accessed 25 September 2016. Web address: <http://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/16/us/scheuer-says-epa-aide-let-dow-delete-dioxin-tie-in-draft-report.html&gt;.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in Class Writing, Entrepreneurship

 

Boy, Girl, Racial Distinction

Long ago there was this young man, who lived an accepting life. For anonymity, we’ll simply call him Boy. He served in the United States Army, and was honorably discharged as a Spec-4. That was his first true experience surviving on his own. Boy grew up in the Army. One important thing he learned in the military was how GI’s didn’t see themselves as racially divided. He had witnessed racism, occasionally, in his life, but was never strongly confronted by it. In the military, fellow servicemen may be racially different, but that did not make a difference. The Army taught him that skin color meant nothing. Everyone was seen as green.

Boy grew up and became a man (but still known as Boy in this story). It began in early 1990’s. Boy traveled across country pursuing the girl of his dreams, and ended up in Phoenix, Arizona. We’ll call her Girl.

One day, Boy and Girl met with one of her old friends. We’ll call him, X. X had recently returned to town, and wanted to stop by his old neighborhood to say Hi to some friends at a local bar, and pick up some party favors. But, being new in town, he needed some help getting around. Girl vouched for him, so Boy agreed to help X get to the bar where his friends frequented. We’ll call the bar, The Bar.

Girl drove Boy and X to The Bar where X’s other friends hung out. Unbeknownst to Boy, The Bar didn’t match his cultural background. Few, if any, of his kind were ever there. They parked a half-block away from the entrance.

When Girl, Boy, and X got out of the car, things became strange. X waved at the other people, then turned and told Girl and Boy to stay near the car. About a dozen people standing at The Bar’s door began heading toward them at a determined pace. The imposing group gestured threateningly toward Boy and Girl. Then X shouted out to the group, “It’s cool. They’re with me. It’s cool.”

X returned his focus to Boy and Girl, and reassured them of their safety. X continued across the street to join the others approaching. They exchanged handshakes and headed back to The Bar with X.

Within a few minutes after X entered The Bar, a police car swiftly approached Boy and Girl. Two police officers got out of the car. The first officer, we’ll call PO, sternly inquired, “what are you two doing here?”

The tone and manners of PO made Boy and Girl feel very nervous. They explained they had just brought a friend. But, PO interrupted them and asked for identification. Boy and Girl provided their IDs. At the same time, X returned from The Bar. X approached PO, and greeted him familiarly, then X told PO that Boy and Girl were with him.

X, Boy, and Girl waited while PO returned to the police car. A few more minutes passed, then PO got out of the car. He came to the three, carrying a camera. To Boy and Girl he said, “You have no warrants. But, you two don’t belong in this neighborhood. When my partner and I got notified you were here, we rushed over to make sure nothing was happened.” PO’s partner, PoPo, stood off to the side, with a peculiar smirk on his face, but remained silent. PO directed Boy and Girl off to the side, “Stand over here, look forward with your hands down at your side. We need to take pictures of you. We’ll keep these on file in case you come back, or if we find out you’re buying drugs. If necessary, we can also use it to identify your bodies.” Talk about putting the fear of being a minority into a Boy or Girl.

X spoke up. He reassured PO that the three of them would leave immediately.

PO addressed X, “You know they shouldn’t be around here.” Then he turned to Boy and Girl, “You two shouldn’t be in this neighborhood. You don’t belong here. You need to get in your car and leave here, immediately. My partner and I are leaving. If you’re still here when we return, we will arrest the three of you.” The police officers returned to their car and drove off.

X asked Boy and Girl to wait just a minute. X walked quickly to The Bar’s door. Even though it was only minutes, Boy and Girl waited anxiously. To their relief, X returned, soon. The three got back in the car and left The Bar, never to return again.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2016 in Memories, Politics, Writing

 

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Paparazzi At Birth

As unborn baby boy was preparing to enter the world, God called him over to have a final talk.
“This is it; you have a big step ahead of you. You have many challenges coming, and I promise I will be with you throughout them,” God said, reaffirming His love for the unborn child.

“I know, God. We went through that in ‘How To Be Alive’ studies,” said unborn baby boy.

“Yes,” said God. “But there are some things that they didn’t tell you in those classes. For example, after the painful entry into the world,… ”

“Yes, they told us,” interrupted unborn baby boy, exposing his anxiousness and an irritation at God’s repeated warnings. “We would suddenly see bright lights, and some strange human would swat us on the behind until we cried. Got it. Rather intrusive, but not much to worry about.”

“Yes, but there is more, some things they didn’t tell you that come after that.”

Unborn baby boy was suddenly less certain in his progress. And he began to listen more attentively; after all this was God, who knows all, right.

“When you enter the world, you will find these other people who hover over you, constantly. From the moment you are born, they cling to you, they pull at you, they try to kiss you, and smoother you with attention. Those people will give you food and drink, offer free baths even when unneeded, defend you from even the smallest threat. Their intentions are good.” God paused, and took a deep breath.

“That sounds terrific. What’s wrong with that?”

“Well, you see,” said God, “these adorable people try their hardest to make the most of being around you. And that’s where you need to be prepared. They push their way past any others near you. They follow you everywhere – indoors, outdoors, kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom – the don’t respect any limits. They greedily take various things from you. They take everything from old clothes and shoes, to first hair trimmings and teeth. They will take constant photos, in any number of situations; playing, sleeping, eating, everywhere, even bathing. Some publish everything you do, including those photos.”

God sighed, and looked away from little baby boy. “It’s my fault. I intended to help My children begin in the new world, but I may have missed My intention.”

Unborn baby boy was taken aback by the crude and imposing description. “No! How could they? That is so intrusive.” After a brief pause, unborn baby boy asked, “Are they the ones… the ones, you know, that they called paparazzi?”

God replied hesitantly, “Yes, but they call themselves ‘Moms.’”

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Writing

 

Takeaways from Handling a Panel Interview

In my Principles of Technical Communication course, we reviewed articles that relate to our studies. For the final week, I read an article about handling panel interviews.

Reading Takeaways

In my career, I have had numerous interviews. They have ranged from interviews with one to three senior staff in an office environment; to one very informal interview, where the interviewer and I met in a cafeteria, dressed in casual attire, and had a light conversation.

However, my most unnerving interview was structured as a panel interview. The panel was comprised of four interviewers, ranging from owner to technology contractor. A record-keeper documented the questions and responses, and ensured a structured process. I did not do well in that interview. Based on that experience, I thought it would be valuable to the class (and me) to share this article about how to handle panel interviews.

Here are some key takeaways from Martin’s article.

  • Take each interviewer and their questions as one-on-one. Make eye contact and comfortably address them professionally and politely by name. Do not ignore the other panel members; make visual contact with the others.
  • Understand each interviewer’s role within the organization. This will allow you to understand the goal of the question.
  • Offer examples from your résumé or portfolio that relate to the question asked. When fitting, include other experiences that relate to the question.
  • Be prepared. Ahead of the interview, practice interviewing, review the organization and position, and carry any relevant material, such as references and résumé, with you.

Document Reviewed

Martin, Carole, and Kathryn Troutman. “Tactics for Handling a Panel Interview.” Monster.com. Web 25 April 2015. <http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview/interview-preparation/handling-panel-interviews/article.aspx>

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Class Writing, Writing

 

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Takeaways from Overcoming Writer’s Block

In my Principles of Technical Communication course, we reviewed various guiding articles. One of the articles discussed in week six dealt with writer’s block.

Reading Takeaways

When I saw this article about Writer’s Block, it reminded me of a paper I wrote in my First Year Composition course. I had been struggling throughout the course to find topics to write about, and came up with the idea of writing about finding something to write about. In my research, I came across the article “written” by Upper; it was a blank page.

In the Overcoming Writer’s Block, the author offers many similar observations and recommendations.

  • Writer’s block comes in all sizes, and it feeds on itself.
  • Writer’s block can be instantiated by a self-imposed perception that all our writing will be enlightening, and not simply another boring collegiate paper.
  • We tend to ignore the simple ideas under a precept that it would not meet our own self-imposed, lofty goals.
  • Defeat these barriers by accepting the simple ideas. Also, be prepared with scratchpad and pen to jot down ideas as they come to mind.

Documents Reviewed

Leiner, B. “Just Another Writer’s Block In The Wall.” N0Dak Bud’s Blog. 27 April 2010. <https://n0dakbud.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/just-another-writer’s-block-in-the-wall/>

Upper, Dennis. “The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment Of Writer’s Block.” Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 7.3 (1974): 497. Accessed 22 April 2015. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1901/jaba.1974.7-497a/abstract>

Overcoming Writer’s Block. Capital Community College Foundation. Web 22 April 2015. <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/brainstorm_block.htm>

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Class Writing, Writing

 

Takeaways from Edit for The Web

In my Principles of Technical Communication course, we reviewed related articles. In this fourth week assignment, I focused on clarity in Web design.

Reading Takeaways

  • Credibility: As described about documentation, a Webpage that has numerous errors suggest a lack of quality. That shortcoming reflects on the company the Webpage represents.
  • Consistent Design and Style: Following what has been taught throughout this course, Lieb emphasizes “coherent, consistent style from page to page” is critical to maintain unity across a document style, or in this case, Website design.
  • Graphics: The webpages should be slim and simple; they should be void of elements that over-indulge and distract the reader. However, these graphics and design needs to catch the readers’ attention.
  • Unique: These webpages should demonstrate some individuality. A designer should start from scratch to assemble the pieces in a way that is symbolic of the company.

Documents Reviewed

Lieb, Thom. “Editing for The Web: Appropriate Design.” Editing for Clear Communication, 2001. Web 8 April 2015. <http://pages.towson.edu/lieb/editing/design.html>

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Class Writing, Writing