Copyright 2002 © Laraine Flemming.
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Directions: After reading each passage, circle the appropriate letter to identify the author's tone.
1. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger managed to survive the many bloodlettings that went on in the Nixon White House not because he was the best diplomat Nixon could findthere were other fine negotiatorsand not because the two men got along so well: They did not. Nor did they share their beliefs and politics. Kissinger survived because he entrenched himself in so many areas of the political structure that to do away with him would lead to chaos. He got himself involved in so many aspects and departments of the administration that his involvement became a card in his hand. It also made him many allies. If you can arrange such a position for yourself, getting rid of you becomes dangerousall sorts of interdependencies will unravel. This type of power is called extensive. It contrasts with the power possessed by an artist like Michelangelo, which depended on his skills and abilities as an artist. This kind of power is called intensive. It provides more freedom than the extensive form of power because those who have intensive power depend on no particular master, or particular position, for their security. (Adapted from Robert Greene, Power, p. 86)
2. In ancient Greece and Rome, banishment of criminals from the community used to be a common punishment for crimes. And even today, Georgia and a few other states still use it. They've found that legalized exile offers three advantages over other types of punishment, such as jail time. First of all, banishment gives an offender an alternative to prison. Not only do lawbreakers usually prefer banishment to prison, but states can save the cost of feeding and housing more inmates. Secondly, banishment gives an offender a chance to start fresh. It deprives him of his usual customers and contacts in the crime business. As Kelly Burke, a District Attorney in Georgia, put it, "A drug dealer [from one county] can't go up to Macon and just start selling dope because the guys in Macon will shoot him. Therefore, banishment disrupts this guy's ability to be a drug dealer." Officials like Burke argue that exiled criminals are more likely to pursue a crime-free lifestyle. Third, banishment makes it easier for police to keep known criminals out of their communities. An exiled offender can be arrested merely for showing his face in the county that banished him.
3. In 1996, Congress passed a law that requires people on welfare to work or to participate in training for work. However, it's harsh and unrealistic to expect all welfare recipients to find jobs when the economy is bad. How can we in good conscience penalize the poor by taking away their only means of support in a sagging job market? The law also requires welfare benefits to be cut off after five years. Yet, not surprisingly, many Americans need more than five years to become financially stable. Finally, Congress should remove the requirement that both parents in a family on welfare must work. This rule simply discourages married couples from staying together. It also harms the couple's children by forcing them into low-cost, low-quality day care while their parents work. (Source of information: Robert Pear, "Governors Want to Ease Welfare Work Policy," The New York Times, February 24, 2002, www.nytimes.com)
4. Every year hundreds of thousands of children lose their summer vacations to pointless summer school sessions. However, many education experts are beginning to argue that summer school is unproductive, and most parents couldn't agree more. After all, it's the schools that fail to teach students during the academic year. Then having failed the students academically, these same schools punish kids by making them sit in sweltering classrooms while summer drifts away. Secondly, mandatory summer school just contributes to children's dislike of school. Forcing our children to give up their vacations makes them negative about learning. Also, taking away a desperately needed summer break severely decreases students' motivation. As one might expect, that unhappiness creates a vicious cycle of indifference and poor performance.
5. Some say that the historical moment creates the characters needed to meet them. Some say that talented people shape themselves to match their circumstances. In the fabulous Dolley Madison's case, it was probably a bit of both. When she arrived in Washington in 1809 as the wife of James Madison, it was still not clear what pattern presidential life was to follow. The seat of government was desperately in need of a leadership style that could be reflected in the capital's social life. While other women might have been intimidated by the challenge, Dolley was delighted. Blending regional traditions, European practices, and the social forms used by those who had preceded her, Dolley created, almost single-handedly, a national etiquette and social style suitable for Washington society. While in another city this accomplishment might have been rather superficial, in Washington it was a great feat then and now. Washington is a place where socializing and politicking go hand-in-hand, and the seeds for critical political decisions might well be sown at a dinner party the night before. (Adapted from Catherine Allgor, Parlor Politics, p. 54.)
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