Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Plain Bagel with Lox and Garlic Cream Cheese

I did not wake up quite as early today, but I did have plenty of time to get ready for class.

Today's theme was a little different. Nothing in the Constitution explicitly states a right to privacy, but a lot of amendments imply it, so we read cases that are based around that idea: a non-enumerated right to privacy. The third and fourth amendment both imply that the home is sacred ground. It can't be invaded, unless for a justified reason. One explanation of this, is that the entrance to a home marks the line between public and private life. In other words, the government can't invade privacy. Of course, this is only one interpretation, and it's still an open debate.  Personally, I think people deserve a right to privacy, and if it's not already implied by the Constitution, than we need to add an amendment that ensures it.

I had a lot of options at lunch today. I thought about attending a discussion on the power of words, or going with a group to volunteer at a thrift store. I considered reading either the cases for tomorrow or a leisurely novel. I was exhausted by all these options, so I just took a nap.

We started the second half of class with a presentation from our fellow students. Lizzy Pott and Caroline Giovannucci made, presented and distributed awards to each class member. Each award was made from a decorated paper plate, and featured a "most likely to.." statement. Some of them were really specific. Mine was "most likely to show up to a court case late, but with perfect hair." After that, we were split up into groups and assigned cases for our final debate. My team's case is about Affirmative Action, which is great for me, because that's what I wrote my essay about. I can't describe our arguments, because Adrianne is on the opposing team, but I will say that I think we'll do well.

We met with Ms. L. per usual, at 4:00 PM, when class let out. Afterwards, we got some food in the cafeteria. I found out that there was a trip to an archery range in the evening. Naturally, I was very interested. I would have gone, but before leaving, I found that my phone was dead. I didn't have enough time to adequately recharge it, and I wasn't going to go out with no way of communicating, so I had to miss this event.

At around 7:00, I walked down a few blocks with another student to get food. We went to Absolute Bagels, which the Zagat Review rated this year as the best bagel shop in New York City. I have to say, they were pretty good. They made me my favorite kind, just the way I like it.

I spent the rest of my night alternating between studying and hanging out with my dorm-mates.

Sleep Alas!

The past three days for can simply be described with only one word; work.
Finally, I can now proudly say I am completely done with my paper. I actually hit my 4,000 word mark at 7:00 PM, but I did want to stop at the basic. I tried to go beyond what was expected of me and hit the maximum words allowed (5,000) As of 1:55, I can finally say I am done!

I don't know whether or not I'm truly confident for the paper as a whole, but hopefully my professor will enjoy reading it. Overall, I think I have something close to 20 pages. I'm so exhausted though, and all I really want to do is sleep.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up at 7AM to re-read my paper one last time, and print it off at the Hartley computer lab. Class itself will be very relaxed as we will all be enjoying a movie. However, I'm not sure as to how many people will really be enjoying it and how many will be tired from an all-nighter. Being at the library all day today, I asked a few of the students in my class how many words they were at and they were no where near finishing. One student came in at 10AM and at 11 I asked him where he was on his paper, he replied saying "only halfway."

I think while writing this research paper, I gained at least one pound per page. When I study or work, I eat. Yesterday I finished a whole family-sized pack of chips throughout the day, and today I drank two cups of coffee, cake, chips, and snickers. For some reason, I crave something sweet whenever I'm at work.

Anyways, tomorrow is the last full day we have in New York, I really can't believe time flew by this fast...

You have the right to have privacy

The bright sun woke me up this morning. I got dressed, ate breakfast, and read over my notes before class started. The cases last night were really interesting, as they were about a woman's right to privacy.

  • Griswold v. Connecticut - Estelle Griswold was the executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, and Dr. Buxton was part of a movement to repeal Connecticut's 1879 law that prohibited spreading information about contraceptives and giving women contraceptives. Dr. Buxton and Ms. Griwswold spent over twenty years trying to repeal this law, but their attempts failed because they didn't have a reason to sue. They decided they'd have to get arrested to aid their cause. They opened a birth control clinic, were arrested ten days later, and were convicted. They made an appeal to the Supreme Court, who granted review. They won, and this case led to the landmark ruling of a woman's right to privacy
  • Roe v. Wade - Norma McCovery, a poor and divorced high school dropout who had two children, sought an abortion after becoming pregnant a 3rd time. She lived in Texas and the Texan rule was that abortions were prohibited unless the woman was either raped or her health was at an extreme risk. Norma pretended to have been raped, but since she couldn't provide enough evidence to the police, she eventually admitted she falsified the situation. She then tried to seek an illegal abortion, but all the clinics had been closed. Norma had the baby and gave it up for adoption. Her adoption attorney arranged for her to meet with 3 new lawyers who wanted to challenge the Texan law. Norma became "Jane Roe" and the Texan law was struck down.
  • Planned Parenthood (Pennsylvania) v. Casey - Pennsylvania created a law that made getting an abortion much harder, and Planned Parenthood immediately challenged this and won.
Class was fun but somewhat sad because it was Charlie's last day! She is going to debate camp and is leaving tomorrow morning. She was one of the hardest working students and her debate skills are superb. I will definitely miss her.

Charlie and I 
The afternoon session was short but sweet. Jeffrey gave a short lecture on the right to privacy, and before we got our debate topics, Caroline and Lizzy had the "Paper Plate Awards." Everyone in the class won something, and it was a really fun activity. I won the award "Most likely to have a boyfriend and un-boyfriend forever"...long story and an inside joke but it was very cute. After the award ceremony, Jeffrey passed out our debates and gave us our teams. My team is Frank, Suzanne, Liam, and myself. I get to write and ask questions in this case, which I originally wanted. No matter what the outcome of this debate is, I'm going to be proud of my team. We worked in the library after class for about an hour, going over information and helping Frank and Liam to write their opening and closing statements. 

My award 
Our case - we're representing the University of New York 
Debate team working hard in the library! 
We had a meeting with Ms. L and received our flight information for Saturday - it's coming so close! I then had dinner, went back to my dorm and took a long nap, and then hung out with Tomi, Lizzy, and Caroline. We ordered pizza, gossiped, and sang to Taylor Swift (actually, Lizzy and Caroline sang and danced to Taylor Swift. Tomi and I sat on the bed recoiling in horror). Before I went to bed, my friend Khaidjah surprised me with beautiful rings from Cairo. I am so happy she gave them to me - I love her!

Pizza dinner 
Beautiful ring from Cairo 

"Least Likely to Tell Her Roommate to Shut Up"

As luck would have it, my daily routine did change this morning--I slept past me alarm this morning! Luckily, I woke up at 9:15, which was till plenty of time to get ready and get to class; the only thing that I had to skip out on was my morning study session.  

In class, Luke went over Griswold v. Connecticut, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood of Southern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Each of these cases one's right to privacy, specifically one's right to privacy when they are considering an abortion. The topic of abortion  resulted in a really intense class debate about whether or not a zygote or a fetus deserves the same rights as a born baby.  

Lunch was the same as usual; I ate with the others and later returned to my dorm, as per usual. 

During the afternoon class, Jeffery gave an lecture on how hypocritical it was for the government  to base a good amount of it's decisions on societal norms and majority opinion despite the fact that their main purpose is to prevent the formation a majority factions. It's a paradoxical thing indeed; the government is essentially being controlled by the very thing that it is meant to suppress. 

After Jeffery's lecture, two of my classmates, Lizzy and Caroline, decided to hold an award ceremony. Everyone received an prize, which resulted in a lot of the awards "unique"  award were given out. I won the award for "Least Likely to Tell Her Roommate to Shut Up (Even When She Really Deserves It)". My award only makes sense when you know that one of the announcers, Lizzy, is also my roommate. Due to her talkative tendencies, Lizzy tends to end her sentences with "You know that can tell me to shut up anytime, right?" 

With the end of the award ceremony came the beginning of our final debate. This time, I'm paired with Mac, Alec, and Joy. Our topic is the following:

 Abdul Hisham v. United States

Abdul Hisham, a US resident alien, was arrested in his home in Texas by the FBI and is being detained in Guatanamo for being an enemy combatant. The US detained him based on conversations he had on the phone from Texas to Afghanistan. In those conversations, Hisham was critical of the US invasion of Iraq and of US policies in the Middle East. Moreover, he had recently purchased magazines and books that are very critical of the IS, and he also legally purchased a hunting rifle.  Hisham had also recently registered to take chemistry lessons in a community college. During a secret search of his home, the FBI found manuals written in Arabic about the dangers of chemical weapons. The FBI obtained all of this evidence by wiretapping his phone, monitoring his credit card purchases and later doing a secret search of his home. The FBI got permission under the Patriot Act to investigate Arab Americans who had recently traveled to the Middle East, as Hisham had the previous summer. Hisham is petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus arguing the US is illegally detaining him and also arguing that the evidence the US gathered violates his 4th Amendment rights.

You are defending Abdul Hisham. 

Personally, I'm really happy with our stance and topic--not only is it more straightforward than my last debate topic, but it's also a lot more interesting; I've been tasked with preparing my team's opening statement, and I'm really enjoying researching and writing this assignment!

When my team had finished preparing everything, I went to meet the others for our last meeting with Mrs. L. Today, we finalized our plans for both tomorrow and Friday. After class, we'll be going to both Highline Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, then we'll come back to campus in time for the High School Program's final dance. As for Saturday, we'll be leaving campus at 10:00 AM and then going out for brunch in Central Park. I'm really excited for tomorrow and Saturday, I think that these are really great ways to end the trip. 

After the meeting, Mrs. L had a surprise for us; she had bought a batch of Magnolia cupcakes for us! In case you didn't know, Magnolia is a very famous bakery--here in New York, it's sweets are practically legendary ! Since there was six of us and exactly six cupcakes, we picked a number between 1 and 100 in order to be  able to fairly settle which order we should go in. As it turns out, Mrs. L had picked the number six, for the six of us. As sentimental as it may sound, I was really disappointed when I heard her answer. I had picked 84, and since my number was the farthest from 6, I ended up going last. Once everyone else had picked, I was left with the peanut butter cupcake. While the cupcake was delicious, I'm not a big fan of peanut butter, so I wasn't able to enjoy my cupcake as my as the others had. 

We then had dinner in the dining hall for what may be the last time, and went back to our rooms to finish our respective assignments. 

Later on in the evening, Adrianne came to my dorm room, which resulted in Adrianne, Lizzy, Caroline, and I having a mini pizza party in my dorm room. The night was filled with girl talk, laughter, and general craziness--it was certainly a great way to end the day.

I honestly can't believe that it's almost been four weeks since I left home for New York. I also can't believe that I'll be going back home in less than two days. I guess that all things, no matter how great, really must come to an end. 

Underestimation Turns to Determination

Eighteen hours and one thousand words to go? No problem.

For some odd reason I find that my writing improves after a while, compared to the beginnings of my research paper. My first few body paragraphs are vague and don’t have as much analysis matched to my last ones. I guess practice does make perfect. Also the lack of faith for my completion is my driving force to finishing early with quality work. People underestimate me too often.

Anyway my day began as usual. A battle for the shower and then a journey to the dining hall for some much needed food. And of course the Presidential Powers students were rereading the article from the prior night for the day’s discussion. Economics is definitely not my forte. Even Professor Porwancher commented on our lack of vigor during today’s discussion; Presidential Powers students should have a lesson on economics one day to understand the policies that the executive and legislative branches clash over. Once the discussion ended, we played Jeopardy on the Presidential Powers course. And I mean that in the most literal sense possible. The questions did not entail the material we were reading but the structure of the class and research paper. So it was the Hamiltonians, Jeffersonians, and Jack All-Stars competing for bragging rights. Don’t ask me why my team’s name was “Jack All-Stars,” a peer of mine yelled the first thing that came into his mind for a team name. So after a slow start for my team- but not as slow as the Hamiltonians- in the end my team prevailed and won! Well everyone answered the final jeopardy question wrong but we were smart and gambled only a small amount of money. Take that Jeffersonians.

After an early five minute dismissal from class, we headed to the dining hall for some grub. A few slices of pizza and a salad soon had me walking to my dorm for my daily nap. Today’s nap was probably the best to help my preparation for the completion of my paper. I believe I’m working at a pretty good pace. Seven and fifty words in two hours is pretty good. If I keep at this pace, I will probably finish the essay itself at around 10 PM. Footnotes are a whole other story. Wish me luck!