Feedback A05 TR

Instead of individual Replies that only one student is likely to read, I’ve decided to post feedback for all my TR students in one location so you can all see how my comments to you compare with my comments to others. I will be commenting on Argument primarily, not Grammar, Punctuation, or Sentence Structure.

OwlLover
The Importance of Sleep.

OwlLover takes a long time to get to her thesis that starting school “a half-hour later” would reap many health and scholastic benefits. She makes a dozen or more claims of advantages of additional sleep, and manages to tie a couple of them to studies of highway crashes and public high school start times. Much of the research and some of the arguments are impressive, but there’s a lot more left to prove. Health problems may be related to lack of sleep, but that doesn’t mean lack of sleep causes those problems. OwlLover’s claim that starting school later would “avoid” the half-dozen listed health problems concludes WAY too much. It’s just as likely, for example, that obese students don’t sleep as much as that students who don’t sleep much become obese. The study of 9,000 Minnesota high school students who gained an hour’s worth of sleep per night from a 30-minute delay in the start of the school day simply makes no sense to thoughtful readers. It may be true, but saying that it is does not persuade us. One last clarification is required. What’s too early? In one example, classes starting at 7:20 are compared to classes starting at 8:40; but does that mean 8:40 is the ideal start time to gain the many named advantages? Why not 10am?

Domia abr Wyrda
My Amazon Obsession.

Domia has done a delightful job of chronicling the slow development of his obsession with buying ebooks from Amazon for his Kindle. And that’s about all he’s done. His “addiction” grows as all addictions do, from a first free hit supplied by the pusher, to an impulse purchase at a time of needy vulnerability, to a reflex reaction to buy buy buy, most likely with less and less satisfying results (but Domia doesn’t say so). That’s fine. And its tone is fine too for an Op-Ed, but it doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to the conflict Domia has with Amazon over his slow corruption. The essay hints in its first paragraph that there’s some reason to boycott Amazon. And in its penultimate sentence, it reprises that hint, suggesting Amazon is unfair to authors and publishers, but that’s not nearly enough to satisfy readers who want to be engaged in the story. How much more fun it would be to see Domia struggle against known evils, slowly moving from the light to the dark side, first rationalizing that the authors must be selling LOTS more books through Amazon’s agency, then rationalizing that ebooks are SO MUCH cheaper to produce than paper versions that the authors probably actually do better on the e-deals, or something of the sort! I look forward to the next deliciously evil revision.

 greentwinky
Needs a Title.

greentwinky challenges readers who might “fear” homosexuality to explain “What effect . . . the ‘unnatural’ relationship’ ” has on them, then claims categorically that condoning homosexuality will not “sway anyone’s sexual orientation,” which is, of course, a primary objection for those who do object. Saying they’re wrong is not the same as demonstrating they’re wrong, greentwinky. The categorical denials continue, with dismissive language like: “All arguments against gay marriage are completely unfounded,” to which her detractors would simply reply, “Claiming that acceptance of homosexuality will not sway anyone’s sexuality is completely unfounded.” Such arguments get us nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, greentwinky, I heartily advocate for bold clear claims, but “The opposition have no basis for their beliefs” is not a winning strategy. GT dismisses the Biblical basis for arguments on a sounder basis. Sadly, she doesn’t allow Bible believers the legitimacy of their beliefs, but she rightly claims we can’t use Biblical pronouncements as the basis for our laws. (She could refer to the current fad of promoting sharia law by fundamentalists who find a Biblical rationale for stoning female rape victims on the basis of their “adultery.” The argument that children of same-sex couples are no worse off than children whose father or mother has died is odd, almost perverse, as if we would all be comfortable letting single people adopt. Oh, right; we do let single people adopt; and we let single women artificially inseminate themselves too. But, greentwinky, nobody who objects to homosexual marriage with children is likely to favor either of those “alternative” families either. Who do you convince with this argument? (I admit it’s bold, and I’m not saying you have to lose it, but do refine it.) GT’s utterly charming portrayal of the home life of her uncle, his husband, and their adopted children, is beautifully handled. Not perfect though. It misses a chance for GT to express outrage that anyone could discredit the family her uncle has created as if it could never be as legitimate as the miserable one it replaced. The essay misses another chance to be specific about what amounts to “equal protection” when raising children. What criteria (besides the gender or orientation of the parents) should determine fitness for parenting, for example? The strongest material in the essay pertains to parenting, and the essay might benefit from a tighter focus on that aspect of gender equality alone, more fully developed, in place of the generic claims about the “acceptability” of homosexuality.

garwin
Boys Will Be Boys?

Garwin wants us to understand that student athletes are treated like elites who carry “get out of jail free” cards. After two and a half paragraphs of illustrations, we get what we’ve been waiting for: real-life examples of the domestic violence of  athletes at the professional level that demonstrate the dark consequences of treating athletes as exemplary beings. Are the situations truly parallel? Or is it possible that if Hope Solo were an accountant, she would still have her job? Maybe Adrian Peterson would still be a Quiznos manager if he had hit his son, instead of being cut from the Minnesota Vikings. Garwin will need to be careful to draw the right parallels. The argument could be made that Solo and Peterson never learned how to behave because they’ve never had to face the consequences of their misbehavior before. But the less clear argument is that they’ve been treated leniently now that they’re (or were) pro athletes: their public visibility may have cost them special consideration this time. Undoubtedly there are double standards at play here, but they cut both ways. If garwin smokes some reefer on the weekend, there might be a fine to pay for a misdemeanor. If pro athletes use the wrong drugs, even legal drugs, they can lose their jobs altogether. The negative consequences of a high-profile career can be just as unfair as the positive ones.

 giantsfan
Who Would Think Oil Rigs Help Marine Life?

Giantsfan presents the fascinating idea that since offshore oil drilling platforms promote fish and other sea life in their vicinities, we should build experimental platforms to test their effectiveness where no oil is sought but where fish are needed. Two potential problems threaten this wonderful idea. 1) The program has already been adequately presented by the original author, who is not credited here and therefore cannot be tracked. 2) The evidence presented is not nearly clear enough for readers to gauge the idea’s reasonableness. If 1), giantsfan will have to develop a fresh version of the story so that the new essay adds something to the conversation; otherwise, it does not need to exist. If 2), giantsfan will need to be much more careful to spell out the advantages and the mechanics of what appears to be an accidental blessing: free fish! Hmmm . . . while we’re on the subject, I wonder if there are land-based parallels. Useful illustrations would be that utility poles aid in bird species retention, or that one-crop agriculture promotes bee colony health, or . . . I’m just making stuff up, but the analogies would be very encouraging, especially if other industrial accidents have already been institutionalized to multiply their benefits to animal species other than fish.

Velociraptor
Needs a Title.

Velociraptor introduces us to the story of one woman who has sought but not yet received protections codified into new legislation called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The article on which velociraptor’s Op-Ed is based is very sympathetic to Angelica Valencia’s claim to special accommodations from her employer. So is the Op-Ed. In fact, the Op-Ed is little more than a summary of the original article at present and will need to be much more to qualify as original work. An altogether refreshing approach this reader would like to see is a reasonable refutation of the claim to protected status Valencia makes. She works in a potato packing plant, where her co-workers have tried to help out by offering to handle the heavy equipment for her. According to the company, the workplace is hectic, fast-paced, and potentially dangerous to a woman in a state of high-risk pregnancy. The company hasn’t said so (it’s probably afraid to), but it might reasonably be afraid of a lawsuit if the workload results in the second miscarriage in a year for Valencia. Velociraptor might benefit from talking over this case with a friend who isn’t quite so sympathetic to test the “opposition side” for the validity of its claims. If that idea isn’t appealing, I’ll leave it to Velociraptor to craft a different plan, but the current state of the first draft cannot be the final structure of the Op-Ed. There just isn’t anything new in it to qualify as original work.

falooda
No Op-Ed posted.

I’m startlingly sympathetic sometimes, falooda, and you do me no harm whatsoever by not posting your work on time, so I certainly don’t get angry, but you don’t do yourself any favors missing deadlines. Reach out and you’ll find me very understanding. Silence is suicide.

BagOfChips
Man’s Best Friend, or Weapon?

BagOfChips is clearly outraged by the practice of dog fighting in America, but wastes much of the first paragraph of this Op-Ed arguing all alone about whether it’s a sport or not, declaring both times that it is not. Why is not clear. The numbers don’t seem to add up. Apparently there are 250,000 dogs fighting in a given year, but only 132 cases of animal cruelty are reported annually. While it is understood not all abuses get reported, how can the quarter million number be known if only hundreds are declared? We’ll need to be linked to the reports that contain these numbers to read them for ourselves. The meaning of “animals can be hoarded” is unclear, but we are urged to confront owners of injured dogs to explain what happened, hoping that our intervention will “snowball” into an enforcement investigation. Snowballing is apparently a good outcome that will somehow keep our own animals safe. We’ve had no indication so far that anybody’s animals were at risk except those put into rings, so maybe this is a clue that the organizers of fights need our animals. Is it possible that dog fight enthusiasts capture “amateur” dogs like ours, “hoard” them, and use them in their games? I want to throw up, but I’m not sure that’s what BagOfChips means at all.

SyntaxAttack
Wake Me When September Ends

Like OwlLover, SyntaxAttack wants us to know that schoolkids aren’t getting enough sleep, but concludes that while school schedules “deplorably” interfere with our children’s sleep, the solution might not involve the school system at all. We can put our children to bed earlier or have them nap. SA’s perfectly rational recommendation makes us wonder why anyone would blame the school’s start time in the first place. Why is sleep “especially important” for adolescents? We are not told. Would delaying the start of school for an hour or two result in better-rested schoolkids? What logic says so? If they’re staying awake until midnight now, to rise at 6:30, won’t they stay awake until 2 if they know they can sleep until 8:30? What nags this reader is the existence of the studies he learned about from OwlLover that showed demonstrably beneficial results from later start times. If the benefits are real, how can they be explained? Now that we know about the studies, we’re unable to forget them, so SyntaxAttack might have to refute them to convince us of anything (a good example of recursiveness in the ongoing conversation of academic exchanges; other writers’ work interferes with the effectiveness of our own and requires our attention).

eagles
Hazing is Escalating

In Sayreville, NJ, a high school freshman was punched and kicked in the locker room while upperclassmen pinned him to the wall. Why this is offered as an example of hazing instead of a case of mass aggravated assault is not clear, since the relationship between the victim and his assailants is not specified. They may have been teammates. We’re not told. Why this incident was reported is not divulged. Were there injuries that couldn’t be concealed? Was the student brave enough to go to authorities? We wonder. The cancellation of the football season tweaks the mystery a bit, indicating the assailants may have been hazing a rookie, but again this is unclear. And the allegations of sexual abuse are completely surprising. Students appear to be sympathetic to the assailants, or at least dismissive of the victim, piling on as it were, heaping hate on all freshmen. Why? For squealing? Is the school culpable? Eagles seems to blame them for not “taking a step further.” Going back in search of details I see I glossed over the obvious claim that a “player” was assaulted prior to the “second game.” So I was told in that clause that the participants had a relationship. If the article had been clearly about high school athletes, I would not have missed that. This team, or the school board that oversees it, have cancelled the season and presumably are having the assailants prosecuted (or are they?). Is this the sort of further step eagles recommends? Or should coaches be more preventive? Are they signalling to their teams that hazing, even physical assault, is an acceptable part of a traditional sport culture?

mica
Needs a Title

Mica suggests that we sleep more since insufficient sleep can be fatal or at least detrimental. We are told (as we have been told three times now by three writers on this topic) that sleep deprivation can cause obesity, for example. But the study we are linked to through Jane Brody’s article goes out of its way to deny that the lack of sleep causes obesity. The abstract of the study says: “Obese adolescents experienced less sleep than nonobese adolescents (P < 0.01). For each hour of lost sleep, the odds of obesity increased by 80%. Sleep disturbance was not directly related to obesity in the sample, but influenced physical activity level (P < 0.01). Daytime physical activity diminished by 3% for every hour increase in sleep disturbance.” Far from claiming that sleep deprivation comes first, it says that obese individuals experience less sleep. Their weight reduces their daytime physical activity, which in turn disturbs their sleep, so the abstract says. It also seems to say that sleep disturbance resulted in reduced daytime activity, so if the abstract can be taken to offer cause/effect relationships, then we have a vicious cycle here. The point is nobody is likely to claim that less sleep is better than more sleep, but the evidence must still be accurate. We are offered mica’s own experience as a college freshman as an example of sleep deprivation, and we’re told that rested students perform faster and better than sleepy students, but instead of capitalizing on this central theme, mica generalizes the rest of the essay, which except for the personal notes boils down to a summary of the Brody article. A more specific essay that detailed the student perspective, identified the primary culprits interfering with undergraduate sleep, offered guidance for insuring adequate rest, might distinguish it enough from Brody’s original to qualify it as an essay in its own right. Otherwise it only says what Brody says.

Iglesias
Present Day Parenting

Iglesias takes the familiar slogan “It takes a village to raise a child” so seriously that we are told we are all parents, whether the children are ours or not. Parenting requires dedication from “other adults in a child’s life.” Despite all the communal raising, for some reason single parents and divorce are “negatively affecting” our society. We would have thought the extra role-modeling from all the other adults would supplement the parenting, but apparently not. We’ll wait for clarification. Iglesias suggests that the economic instability of single-parent families results in . . . what exactly? We’re not told. But we are told that we, America, has a responsibility to help improve the lives of the children in single parent families because (because?) the women in such families cannot depend on the men in their lives, AND likely make less money than those men even if they’re better educated than those men. I’m lost. Despite hinting twice that such families would be better off with two stable parents and incomes, Iglesias insists that efforts to promote two-parent families are doomed and that therefore more financial aid for vulnerable families deserves support. As I read the essay, then, its argument is that we can’t force parents to marry, or keep them from marrying poorly or from having children they can’t feed, and we haven’t found any way to persuade them to help themselves; therefore, we are obligated to give them money. Regardless of my politics, or iglesias’s politics, whatever they may be, the argument is hard to embrace. (Nobody said this job would be easy.)

bloo
Impeach Obama

Early drafts of bloo’s Op-Ed were not clear about their intentions. This one makes its bold clear claim in the title. The first paragraph advances the notions that presidents are vulnerable to the laws of nature, that only the fittest presidents can survive, and that incompetence is grounds for impeachment. Leaving all of that aside for a paragraph, bloo makes two analogies instead:bad busboys get fired, and the director of the Secret Service lost her job too, for failing to keep an armed intruder out of the White House among other breaches. The further very intriguing idea is floated that firings should be faster for jobs of greater importance. Leaving the president aside for another paragraph, bloo spends many words to argue that specialization in organizations requires highly skilled people fulfilling very specific job functions. Back to the president. Apparently a businessman must necessarily understand the nation’s economy, while a community organizer can’t possibly understand anything else. The next paragraph promises to provide what the others have not: the grounds for impeachment, since no president can be removed for incompetence or a thin resume. Most of what are alleged to be Obama’s crimes cannot fairly be laid at his feet unless the president is omnipotent. If it is a crime to fail to get the cooperation of the rest of the government, then surely he is guilty. If flawed programs are crimes, then yes. If Russia’s aggression is the president’s fault, and criminal, then yes. If the actions of the IRS were the president’s actions . . . if the national debt were the result of the president’s personal spending, and a crime, then . . . . The trouble with bloo’s argument is that gripes about a president’s effectiveness are not grounds for impeachment. When bloo concludes that “people always get the president they deserve,” I wonder how he or she explains getting stuck with Obama. What did bloo do wrong to deserve this?

jaime
Needs a Title

Jaime’s Op-Ed is about Ebola and Jaime’s Editorial was about Ebola, which will be a problem if Jaime is plagiarizing from Jaime. As long as Jaime adopts two VERY different points of view, the two assignments can stand alone and each fulfill their requirements. In this essay, Jaime wants us to know that we have more to fear from our panic about Ebola than we do from the disease itself. Jaime offers examples of people who overreact out of fear. Then Jaime offers simple instructions to get educated. The rest of the essay appears to have been written in five minutes. It offers some useful but contradictory claims. A little fear is apparently extremely useful for those who are in close contact with Ebola. It really is a death sentence for most who contract it. Those who don’t properly respect it contribute to its outbreaks, Jaime tells us. In other words, striking the right balance isn’t easy, and won’t be easy to accomplish. Jaime’s fingertips are poised just above the best approach for this essay: a point by point de-mystification of the common misconceptions about Ebola that are driving overly suggestible media consumers to the edge of panic. That would be a real service, and excellent protection against self-plagiarism.

dean
Needs a Title

Dean’s first paragraph is an orgy of the banned 2nd person and ends with a banned rhetorical question. But I said I was going to concentrate on arguments. The first two paragraphs cite the familiar litany of special privileges a student athlete receives. They might be true; we’ve certainly heard them all our lives. The third paragraph concludes that years of preferential treatment deprive our star athletes of boundaries. It makes the further claim that “adults are sitting there saying boys will be boys” when they learned that upperclassmen have been sexually assaulting freshmen athletes. That claim might need some proof. It’s a claim worth making and it would be fascinating to hear the arguments offered <em>against</em> punishing proven sex offenders. Or is the evidence not yet that clear? Is this just a case of a story we all accept at face value because it fits into a narrative we’re familiar with? THAT would make an interesting essay: a challenge to the “facts” we take for granted are true when a news report hints at them. We rush to fill in the details that aren’t provided because we think we know the whole story. I’d read that.

mandragon
Needs a Title

Huh. Mandragon claims that the vulnerability of our telecommunications infrastructure is unacceptable because it threatens small businesses. That’s unexpected. I didn’t know hackers were messing with our phones, and I would never have identified the threat as an attack on small business. Tell me more, mandragon. The first case study explains the situation. Accounts are hacked by criminals who misdirect the billing responsibility to an unsuspecting “host” account. Mr. Foreman gets a $200,000 phone bill one month for calls he didn’t make. OK. Threat to small business. I’m going to bet the courts exonerate Foreman if he was truly unaware. The second case is more interesting and deserves a fuller explanation. If the carrier permits hackers to pass through charges to its unsuspecting customers, that shift in the burden of responsibility is very significant. I may be surprised to find massive phantom charges on my own bill once, but AT&T has a fiduciary responsibility to its customers to assure their bills are accurate and appropriate. Let’s focus on that case on two fronts: how can the big telecoms defend against hackers in the first place (what happened here is not nearly clear enough); and what is the recourse when phony charges do get passed along to customers? Finally, mandragon might want to spend a few paragraphs speculating whether AT&T, like Mr. Foreman, was truly unaware or somehow complicit in the massive overbilling it did not prevent until it got into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ovechkin
America’s Financial Troubles

After reading the first paragraph or so, I’m wondering if the title is right. America may or may not be in financial trouble; but ovechkin clearly thinks some of us aren’t. After two paragraphs, I’m optimistic that the author may be crafting a novel solution to the problem of income inequality, even though the essay hasn’t called it a problem yet (it called it a disparity) or explained why it would be a problem (do we all just assume that rich people making thousands of times more than poor people needs to be solved?). One more paragraph in and I’ve learned that wealth redistribution is different from progressive taxing, I guess. But first we’re going to detour to examine progressive taxes, which we’ve been told is NOT the answer we’re waiting for. Now, three paragraphs in, we have been teased twice to think about spending, not taxing. If we don’t get an answer soon, we’ll bail. The solution is to spend more on education and less on defense, which sounds like a good solution to everyone, even war hawks. Who wants to spend more on defense? We might want more weapons and manpower, but we don’t want to pay for it. The solution misses the difference in funding streams for public schools. Defense spending is federal; public schools are funded by local property taxes. True, we spend more federal dollars on defense, but I’d be willing to bet that total spending on defense and education are MUCH closer than commonly thought. A comparable proposal that might come closer to eliminating systematic education inequality would be to end the local funding of public education. Poor neighborhoods get poor schools, which perpetuates poverty. Break that cycle and greater income equality might result naturally.

Sparky
Needs a Title

Skeptics more skeptical than yourself are not likely to be convinced by: “Apple has ensured that all information is properly secured,” Sparky. The fingerprint scan will soothe fears that physical transactions might occur at cash registers, but it will do nothing to convince critics who witnessed the recent leaks of celebrity photos from the iCloud that Apple can keep data secure. Of course, you’ll need to describe what EMV and NFC mean to anyone (that means most readers) who don’t already understand them. What’s the point of saying you believe there are “setbacks” in the system? Is the non-availability on android one of the “setbacks”? We can’t tell from your sentences. Why will it be hard to get people to change their ways if the new way is more convenient and “cooler”? And tell us again how Apple Pay protects us from credit card theft. You’re a victim of credit fraud, you say. Share your experience. Would it have been prevented by a system like Apple Pay?

tiger
Future 0f Marijuana

As I told the class during the live critique of this essay, I was dismayed to see that we are not done debating marijuana legalization in student essays, by far the most popular topic in Comp I classes for decades. Popular with students, that is; instructors are sick to death of it. That said, good essays can be written on any topic, provided they add something new to an academic conversation. I enter this essay with hope and trepidation. The first paragraph has been rehearsed by so many writers, that it could be written by a machine that distilled the first five pages of google hits for “medicinal marijuana.” Its conclusion, that marijuana will eventually achieve “full legalization,” seems almost a given. Tiger will need to prove another claim than this to make the essay worthwhile. The brief discussion of dronabinol, a pill form of medical marijuana, opens an interesting field of possible contention, but doesn’t follow up. The question worth asking is whether the medicinal benefits of marijuana can be delivered by a synthetic. “Pill form of medicinal marijuana” doesn’t answer that question, but if the plant isn’t necessary to deliver the results, the argument in favor of the plant might not be resolved quite yet. The argument about money wasted enforcing marijuana’s prohibition is, I hope, settled, but the claims made about the promised economic benefits of marijuana taxation are very much worth arguing, and data from the first few states to legalize are now available to support such arguments. (Hopeful casino developers in the 1980s promised to benefit Atlantic City’s poor by bringing jobs, money and overall prosperity to the town; plenty of people got very rich, but most of the money flowed upward from poor people to the already prosperous.) The street name and bad reputation commentary is cute but not purposeful. All in all, the collecting and collating of positive points of view established by countless earlier writers is well done here, but the purpose it serves might be limited to helping the next student organize another paper on an established premise. I think tiger has proved that this paper can be much better.

kai
Truth Behind the Theory

Intrigued by this unexpected topic, I followed the first link to the “goodness is rewarded” source. I wanted to understand the background story that prompted kai to write on the question: Does everything happen for a reason? What I found there is a survey of several recent studies of people’s attitudes toward fate, or the notion that events in the world are not random but part of a plan. The source benefits greatly from an opening anecdote that illustrates the point beautifully: a bomb victim falls in love with his nurse and marries her, which leads him to declare he now “understands why” he lost his limbs. There couldn’t be a more intriguing question than why we take such satisfaction in believing the universe beats us up for a reason. Kai’s essay needs to stay closer to the humanity of that question. There are no people in Kai’s essay that depends so completely on human reactions. The subjects of Kai’s sentences, instead of people, are: theory, beliefs, events, theory, possibility, creator, chance, importance, waiting, incident, the next, believing, to look, working. I suggest a framing anecdote like the one the source uses to such good effect. Since kai suggests more than once that hard work is a better determiner of positive outcomes than fate or a divine plan, I offer this example. Jay and Zee both work hard to start new businesses. They’re equally well educated and prepared to achieve their goals. They live their lives responsibly and impressively, attract investors, have good business plans, and launch successful openings. Jay’s investors die in a plane crash; Zee’s investors don’t. When Jay’s business fails, what meaning does he find in the failure? When Zee’s business thrives, does he even consider that his success was part of a master plan, or does he credit his hard work and preparation? Once the question is posed as alternative ways to see the world by people we can visualize, readers are far more likely to be able to contemplate the religious and philosophical concepts kai wants us to engage in. What do you think, kai?

perry
Death with Dignity

Perry’s first paragraph leaves no doubt that perry supports “death with dignity” laws that permit a small percentage of terminally ill patients the right to “end life on their own terms.” Perry frames the argument, it seems, as one about individual states granting or depriving a desired method of dying. Except for the one word “laws,” there’s no mention of rights, constitutionality, or any conflict between morality and legality in the introduction, and no clear statement of what the author would like to see happen, though we can guess (but we shouldn’t have to guess). Perry appears to have been influenced by our classroom reading of an article about end-of-life issues, and frames the next paragraph as a critique of the medical profession, it seems. Doctors offer patients two bad choices: prolong your life as an experiment, or die at home without medical assistance. The third alternative, as we learned from the article, does not require physician-assisted suicide, but the alternative perry offers is a life-ending prescription. Through this material, we’re losing the sense of who’s responsible for the current situation. Are state’s “ridding patients of choices” that they once had? Or have they failed to legislate new choices never dreamed of by America’s founders, who certainly didn’t write anything about legal suicide into the Constitution? Readers told to blame states for their stinginess are right to wonder whether perry wants a national law to supersede the states’ jurisdiction. If abortion can be made legal by a Supreme Court decision, couldn’t the Court also declare a person’s right to end his own life? would be one way to phrase the proposal. (The analogy is a very thorny one, but it is available.) The Brittney Maynard illustration, like all good illustrations, is powerfully persuasive for those who already support perry’s apparent position. However, it doesn’t credit, anticipate, address, or refute any reader’s likely objections to the policy of legal suicide. The final paragraph flatly declares there are no good arguments for the opposition and instead promotes the benefits for the patient of an alternative. It also fails to resolve the question of which lawmakers have what responsibilities. Perry must be deliberately avoiding making claims of any sort of constitutionally protected “rights” because the only use of the word here is ethical, not legal: “lawmakers have no right to deny a patient the choice,” or language to that effect. Patients get choices, in perry’s perfect world, without having to insist that they have a right to any particular choice. We need to know what perry thinks will get us to that place.

 

 

 

About davidbdale

Inventor of and sole practitioner of 299-word Very Short Novels. www.davidbdale.wordpress.com
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