Poor Decisions in Flint, Michigan

A central authority is an important element in a country or a state. However, sometimes holding power over an entire community can be very dangerous. For example, every decision a president or governor makes can impact millions of lives. Therefore, a mistake could potentially cause severe harm towards the general population. An example of poor decision-making by the authority that led to a great damage would be the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The state of  Michigan decided to stop buying water from Detroit and change to a different water system that involved getting their water for the Flint River. This decision led to a disaster because the water from the Flint River was contaminated with high levels of lead. Immediately, the civilians noticed a change in the water because it was brownish, had a bad odor, and caused illness to people as well as animals. The reason the state resorted to make this drastic change was because they wanted to save money on water for cost cutting measures. Essentially, the state of  Michigan was going through a financial crisis and they assembled emergency managers in order to find a solution. These managers believed it was very expensive to buy water from Detroit and therefore they chose to cut the connection with Detroit and save money by using the Flint River. This makes me question did the intentions proposed by the emergency managers justify the consequences caused from the Flint Water Crisis?

Changing the water supply from Detroit to the Flint River produced severe health issues. According to peditraition Mona Hanna-Attisha, “the percentage of children with high blood lead level increased from 2.4 percent to 4.9 percent” (Anna Maria Barry-Jester). This statistic is important because at time the state officials did not want to make this health problem known to the general public. Hanna-Attisha took it upon herself to make this problem by informing  several news journals. She made it clear that the government was hiding the water crisis. After reading “What Went Wrong In Flint” I learned that the state officials claimed they did not know about the lead poisoning in children until Hanna-Attisha released her analysis. However, I find this hard to believe because there were other issues revolving the water from Flint River such as the color and the bad odor. In my opinion, it is hard to not make at least the assumption that there is some sort of substance which could harm the welling being of people. Many civilians had already complained about the color or odor. This is important for answering my question because it demonstrates that neither the state officials or the emergency managers wanted to take responsibility for the harm caused by the Flint River water. Hanna-Attisha exposed the government when she told the community of Flint Michigan that this information was being released solely in press conferences when it should have been publicitized to the general public through the form of news journals. It was a severe problem that young children were being poisoned and the people who caused this problem did not take full responsibility. Therefore, my final answer is that there was no justification because innocent children suffered severe health issues and no action was made towards preventing the water crisis. Avoiding to address the water crisis proved that the people in power were not acting morally correct. Although the purpose of changing the water supply had right intentions it provoked consequences to the entire community in particular little children. If the government would have admitted their mistake and looked for new solutions to help the victims it would have been more likely to be  justified. However, this was not the case because the state chose to hide the issue and continue generating money leaving the public to suffer. Overall, the lesson to take upon is that while authority is essential in a country or state, holding power requires a great responsibility that one must be willing to assume in the best and worst scenarios.


Fear of Discomfort

In the play, By the Water, written by Sharyn Rothstein, Marty Murphy presents his love and compassion of the house he owns in Staten Island, New York by ignoring the comments and opinions of his closest loved one’s. Marty Murphy is defensive about leaving this house behind because of the many memories and history that have been developed over the past few decades. Even though this is a very obvious response of Marty Murphy’s feelings towards being asked to leave, is there a chance Marty does not want to part ways with this house because of his fear of discomfort?

I believe many humans live a life following a fixed program. Everyone wakes up in the morning, brushes their teeth, eats breakfast, goes to work or school, etc. Society has made humans become used to the idea of repetition, which gives people a sense of calmness. I believe Marty Murphy has reached an age where people become too comfortable with this repetition. Ultimately, when the house is inflicted by the storm, Marty becomes agitated and afraid of altering this comfortable lifestyle he has become accustomed to living. This agitation and fear are viewed when he says, “this is where we belong, Sal. This is where everyone knows us: We’re Marty and Mary Murphy. We have history here. Besides, we’ve survived storms like this before” (Rothstein, 12). Marty finds a deep affection for living his life in this house because he has spent his entire life accepting that this is the position he will be in for the rest of his life. Marty expresses his fear of leaving and accepting a different future while saying “This is where everyone knows us.” He fears the idea of leaving his past and becoming no one. He finds a purpose because of the decades of his life he has spent living his comfortable life. As a result, Marty’s discomfort of visualizing a life without his house, conveys his fear of losing a particular lifestyle filled with his particular daily routines. I believe Marty is not worried about losing an old house passed down from generation to generation, but is scared of losing a life of comfort.

How Do You Define Triage?

Triage defined in the dictionary is the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties. However, that definition can be interpreted in many different ways. Triage medical techniques were necessary during Hurricane Catrina in New Orleans. Sheri Fink explores whether or not Memorial Hospital’s doctors were following a moral code or abusing their power in her article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial Hospital.” Memorial Hospital was in a state of panic as their power went out and resources became scarce. The only way to help patients was to evacuate them and there were limited first responders arriving at the hospital. This meant that certain patients would get to evacuate much earlier than others. This brought up the question: who gets to leave first? What choices could bring the greatest good? Did Memorial Hospital do the right thing? Memorial Hospital Doctors split their patients into 3 groups. In broad terms, Group 1 was the most healthy and Group 3 was the least healthy and required the most assistance. Group 1 patients were evacuated first, then Group 2, and Group 3 was last. This choice basically let the sickest people die. Another kind of triage would be to give resources to the people who need it most. If Memorial Hospital did that, Group 3 would be evacuated first. That would give group 3 the best chance to survive, and people who could afford to wait, would wait to be evacuated. I think that Memorial Hospital made wrong choices in how they evacuated people and also how they made their 3 categories of patients.

Many factors were taken into account by Memorial Hospital. One that I found controversial was the emphasis on DNR. Patients with DNR were automatically placed into a lower group. This meant that doctors assumed patients with DNR orders did not want to fight as much or live as much as patients without DNR. I think this a wrong assumption and that the doctors made the wrong call. DNR should not have been considered that strongly in their decision making. I believe that a DNR has no correlation to someones current happiness and love of life. Memorial Hospitals doctors were not trained properly for this situation and I believe their triage during Hurricane Katrina was immoral.

The Selfish Nature of Men

Good and evil are concepts that people today have trouble coming to an agreement with because everyone has different opinions. Subsequently, in today’s society there are several injustices that take place because people do not want to recognize the harm they cause others. In the film “Chinatown” directed by Roman Polanski the theme of injustice is presented through the lens of rape. This led me to wonder what meaning does the director want to convey in using rape as his central example of the injustice within society. After watching this film, I found that there are two primary examples that demonstrate the concept of rape both in a literally and metaphorical sense. The first example from the film that illustrates the idea of rape was when the audience finds out that the father of Evelyn Mulwray raped his daughter at the age of fourteen. This was a literal example of rape because Noah Cross took the innocence of his daughter by force for his own sexual pleasure. Another way the director used the concept of rape to demonstrate the injustice in society was with the water scandal. The criminals took away the water supply from the general population. Many viewers may be confused on how the director used the concept of rape in this situation. I would argue that the concept of rape was used metaphorically in the sense that water was grasped away from society. In further explanation, Polanski used the fact that the setting of the film is in California, a state that is going through a drought to illustrate the fact that Noah striped society from its water supply in order to gain profit and power over the city.

I noticed that in both these situations the attacker was a male character. Therefore, I believe that Roman Polanski tried to convey the message that gender inequality is driven by ambition and greed. Men in this film take what they want without considering the harm they cause others. Noah Cross is portrayed as an abusive selfish and power hungry man. His character depicts the idea that rape is manufactured by the desire to gain profit and power over others. The cops who are under the orders of Noah Cross support my claim because they end up killing Evelyn even though she had a good reason on why she wanted to escape with her sister/daughter. This scene shows how the males in the film believe that they hold power over women. At the end of the film, Noah maintains authority even though he is corrupt. This outcome poses the issue that men who rape in society sometimes have immunity because they hold power which protects them from suffering the consequences for their crimes.

No more happy endings

The movie Chinatown (1974) directed by Roman Polanski offers a rare entity to the film world— an ending where the antagonist wins. My question is why does Polanski conclude his movie like this? The main plot of Chinatown encompasses the protagonist, Jake Gittes a private investigator, attempting to uncover an adultery case, but instead he gets caught up in a murder investigation, a conspiracy on water management, and state corruption. Noah Cross, the main antagonist, is the man causing corruption within the city of Los Angeles. He is also the father of the woman whose husband gets murdered. Noah appears amicable on the exterior, but hides his ruthless character inside. He says to Jake, “You may think you know what you’re dealing with. But believe me you don’t,” (Chinatown, 1974). This quote embodies the character that is Noah Cross, a deceitful man with disgusting tendencies to demoralize the city of Los Angeles. In the end, Noah gets the police to support him, steals his escaped child back, and Jake is left bewildered.

So, why does Polanski allow Noah to get away with this? One possible reason, often seen in the film industry, is to provide the movie with the base for a possible sequel.  Adding a suspenseful twist at the end allows for this framework. In fact, a sequel to Chinatown was created, however, it took the producers 16 years to make. Polanski could not have possibly been thinking this far in advance. Therefore, there must be another reason. One possible explanation is to provide a plot that may deter from the norms of the film industry and coincide more with reality. Today, one can see that society and politics are corrupt. It is usually the people with the most wealth and power that ultimately win. Polanski may have been attempting to expose this corruption within the 1930’s setting of Chinatown. Providing a twist at the end also leaves the viewer left with questions. These questions may be the ones that Polanski hoped would foster change in the world at the time. In this way, Chinatown becomes an indication for viewers to regain reality and open their eyes to what’s really happening around them. It is inevitable that life doesn’t always have happy endings, so why should this movie be an exception?

Laura is a foil for Harold’s love of the sea

In AS Byatt’s, Sea Story, it appears as though she uses Laura as a foil for Harold’s love for the sea. It is made abundantly clear throughout the short story that Harold has an affinity for the sea and felt a deep sense of sadness when he left his seaside home to attend Oxford. While attending Oxford, he met Laura at a bar, where he fell in love with her at first sight. The manner in which he fell in love with Laura feels reminiscent to how he fell in love with the sea, or felt an innate connection with it as soon as he was born. Accordingly, my question is as follows: Do you believe AS Byatt had Harold fall in love with Laura because she reminded him of the sea, which he missed mightily while he was away from home, or was it because she truly was the “apple of his eye?”


I would argue the former, as I believe Laura reminded him a great deal of the sea, which he so dearly missed. I make the case based off of their initial introduction. The scene is brilliantly put together as AS Byatt wrote, “When he fell in love it was an immediate shock which was at once absorbed into his inner landscape. He was fishing from his boat, beyond the end of the Brigg when she rose up beside him, a pale women in a sleek black wetsuit, like a seal, her long lovely face streaming with sea water. She trod water and smiled mildy at him and stayed to speak about the weather, the beauty of the bay.” Within the text, I believe there are several key indicators providing evidence of how Laura is intrinsically connected to the sea, which is an enormous component of why he immediately fell in love with her. First, he was on his boat fishing when he first met her. Further, he compared her to a seal, a wild ocean animal and yet another reference to the sea. He then proceeded to talk about her face streaming with sea water and they then discussed the “beauty of the bay.” The amount of references to the sea when he first met her within such a small passage shows me that there was some other factor at play when he fell in love with Laura. As such, I believe that other factor to be his longing for the sea, and Laura is the first person to remind him of it. Thus, he immediately fell in love with her.


Dive into the Discussion!

Welcome to our class blog!

Over the course of the term, you will be asked to compose four posts and write eight comments (two at a time) in response to the posts of your peers. You will be assigned to a blog group on the first day of class (Group 1 or 2) and can consult our reading and assignment schedule to see when your group is responsible for posting or commenting. The goal here is to give you the opportunity to practice posing questions, articulating and supporting claims, and responding to counterarguments

Posts: Each post (one per round) should be 1-2 paragraphs long (about 200-400 words) and include the following:

  • an engaging title
  • an explicit, controversial question about one of the texts, images, or movies assigned since your last post
  • a plausible answer to your question
  • at least one piece of evidence (e.g. a quotation) to support your answer
  • a “tag” (see Blog instructions) with the appropriate assignment name so I can find it and give you credit

Comments: You will be assigned TWO peers from the other blog group and asked to comment on their posts (you will be assigned different peers each time). Each of your two comments should be 1-2 paragraphs long (about 200-400 words) and do the following:

  • EITHER: agree with the post’s claim (i.e. the way it answers its question) and then push the argument further by adding nuance and at least one more piece of supporting evidence.
  • OR: politely disagree with the post’s claim and offer an alternative answer to the post’s question. Please support your new answer with at least one piece of evidence.