Protease inhibitor is a class of antiviral drugs widely used in treated of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis which is caused by hepatitis C virus. Protease inhibitor prevents viral replication by selectively binding to viral proteases (for instance HIV-1 protease) and blocking proteolytic cleave of protein precursors that are important for infectious viral particles production.
Protease inhibitor has been developed or is currently undergoing testing for treatment of various viruses such as the ones listed below:
- Hepatitis C: telaprevir, boceprevir
- HIV/AIDS-antiretroviral protease inhibitors
This inhibitor prevents HIV from multiplying and also reduces the level of virus in the body. Whenever the level of virus in the blood is kept low, the immune system has a better chance of growing stronger and recovering. Protease inhibitor was the second class of antiretroviral drugs to be developed. The first were saquinavir (Hoffman-La Roche) and Ritonovir (Abbott) which were approved in the late 1955 to 1996.
Researchers are carrying out investigations into use of protease inhibitor that is developed for treatment of HIV as anti-protozoals for use against gastrointestinal and malaria protozoal infections:
- Lopinavir and ritonavir combination was found to be effective against infections such as Giardia
- Cysteine protease inhibitor drug has the property to cure Chagas disease common in mice
- Lopinavir, Saquinavir and ritonavir have anti-malarial properties
When protease inhibitor is used as a combination therapy, it helps in the following ways:
- Reduced viral loads that can lead to increase or stable CD4+ cell counts. This is also a sign that the immune system has the ability to fight off any opportunistic infections.
- Helps to decrease the severity and number of opportunistic infections
- Prevents or reduced occurrence of resistance to medication
- Goes a long way to help in prolonging life.
Researchers are also investigating to determine whether protease inhibitor can possible be used for the treatment of cancer. For instance, atazanavir and nelfinavir have the ability to kill tumor cells in culture.
The effect has not been tested or examined in humans yet through studies in a laboratory with mice has shown nelfinavir can suppress tumor growth in these animals thus representing the promise that the same tests can be carried out in humans.
Inhibitors of proteasome like Bortezomb and Velcade are in the front line of drugs that are been used to treat different types of cancer most notably, Multiple Myeloma. Protease inhibitor also has some side effects which include kidney stones, lipodystrophy, diabetes mellitus type 2 and hyperlipidaemia.
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Nucleic Acid Sequence
Nucleic acid sequence is determination of nucleotide bases sequence in a RNA or DNA fragment. This type of sequencing is an indispensable tool for carrying out basic biological research and it is also applied in varying fields like molecular diagnostics, forensics, systems biology, pharmacogenomics and genetic engineering.
By principle sequences are presented from the five inch to the three inch end. Normally, nucleic acids are linear (unbranched) polymers specification of the sequence is equivalent to definition of covalent structure of the complete molecule. Precisely for this reason, sequence and nucleic acid is also termed as the primary structure.
Sequence also has the capacity of representing information. Biological DNA also represents the information that is needed to direct functions of a living thing and in such context, the term genetic sequence is used often. Sequences can also be read from biological raw material though DNA sequencing techniques.
Nucleic acids also have a tertiary and secondary structure. The primary structure of often mistakenly known as the primary sequence. Equally, there is no parallel concept of tertiary and secondary sequence. The analysis of DNA sequence was traditionally accomplished through use of two varying techniques:
- The ddNTP mediated chain termination technique if Sanger (1997
- The chemical degradation technique of Gilbert and Maxam (1997).
Numerous next generation sequencing technologies for DNA have been developed and while this is the case, the traditional nucleic sequence techniques are routinely used in majority of life science laboratories. Obtaining optimal results with the conventional sequencing techniques requires careful reagents selection.
Nucleic acids is comprised of a chain of units that are linked known as nucleotides. Each nucleotide is made of 3 subunits which include, a sugar (ribose in RNA case and in DNA case deoxyribose) which makes up the backbone of nucleic acid strand, phosphate group and a set of nucleobases attached to the sugar. The nucleobases are especially important in the base pairing of strands to form tertiary and secondary structure like the famed double helix.
Possible letters in this case include A, C, G and T which represent the 4 nucelotide bases of DNA strand adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine-covalently linked to a phosphodiester backbone. I n typical cases, the sequence are printed adjoining one another without any gaps as in the sequence AAAGTCTGAC which is read left to right in the 5 inch to 3 inch direction.
Current methods of sequencing rely on discriminatory ability of DNA polymerases and as such can only distinguish 4 bases. When using current technology, it is difficult to sequence small amounts of DNA because the signal is usually too weak t be measured and this can be overcome by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification.
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Gene expression refers to the process through which genetic instructions are used for purposes of synthesizing gene products. The purpose of genes is information storage as such, each gene contains information that is needed to make a protein or in other cases, RNA non-coding. Genes are expressed in order to produce functional protein molecules and RNA in the cells.
Gene expression can occur in two stages which include transcription and protein synthesis:
In this case, the gene is copied so it can produce RNA molecule (primary transcript) with basically similar sequence as the gene. In most cases, human genes can be divided into introns and exons. Only exons carry information needed for protein synthesis. The most primary transcripts are consequently processed through splicing in order to remove intron sequence and as such, generate mature messenger RNA (mRNA) or transcript that is comprised of exons only.
This is the second stage and it is also known as translation for the simple reason it does not have any direct correspondence between the sequence of amino acids in the protein and nucleotide sequence in DNA (RNA). As a matter of fact, there are three nucleotides which are needed in order to specify one amino acid. The amino acid chain must also fold up in order to generate final tertiary structure of protein.
All genes in human genome are not expressed in the same manner. There are those that expressed in all cells at all times and they are known as housekeeping genes. They are essential for the purposes of carrying out basic cellular functions.
There are other genes that are expressed in specific cell types or at particular development stages. For instance, genes that encode protein muscle like myosin and actin are expressed in muscle cells only not in brain cells. Still, there are other genes that are inhibited or activated by signals circulation in the body like hormones.
Differential gene expression is achieved through regulation translation and transcription. All genes are also surrounded by DNA sequences that control expression. Proteins known as transcription factors bind the sequences and can switch genes off and on. As such, gene expression is controlled by activity and availability of different kinds of transcription factors.
Note transcription factors are in themselves, proteins as such, they must be produced by genes as well and the genes should be regulated through other transcription factors. In such a manner, all proteins and genes can be linked into regulatory hierarchy starting with transcription factors in the egg at the start of development. There are some diseases that are caused by malfunction or absence of transcription factors as such, they cause gene expression interruption.
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How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis of a Speech
Having the right guidelines on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech helps you to carry out your analysis efficiently. Note that a rhetorical analysis essay is a paper that deeply explores the goals of an author, tools or techniques used, give examples of those techniques and states their effectiveness.
Therefore, when writing your essay, you are not stating whether you agree or disagree with the argument. You are making an in-depth analysis and discussion of how the rhetorician makes that claim and whether the approach he or she employs is successful.
How to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech critically
There are a number of things you should focus on to help you understand how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech. It includes the tasks you should carry out when writing your essay. The tasks include
- Determining how rhetoric operates in a speech or text
- To explore deeply how a specific analysis unit operates to achieve the purpose of the speech
- To take a close reading of one key statement or passage
- To answer an important research question about the function and nature of the rhetoric
Being a research question, your rhetorical analysis should therefore focus on finding out more about rhetoric by studying the speech. The research question will therefore, guide your text analysis. For this reason, you should write an essay that contributes to your understanding of how a rhetorical analysis processes work and your understanding of the speech itself.
Therefore, to carry out effective rhetorical analysis of a speech, it is wise that you choose one unit of analysis. It is always your responsibility to choose a unit that reveals the most about the rhetoric speech you are analyzing. The units include
- Logos- appeals to the audience’s logic and reason
- pathos –appeals to the emotions of target audience
- ethos-this includes techniques that make target audience believe that what is said is because of their trust towards the nature of the rhetor revealed in the speech
- metaphors and other comparison modes including similes and analogies
- Tone including sarcasm, academic, irony and sentimental tone and
- Types of evidence used by the speaker and their effect
Procedure on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech
Writing a rhetorical analysis is a process and you have to focus on the research question to have a better understanding of what you are expected to do. As a result, it is essential that before you read the speech, go through the research question and have an idea of what to write about in mind
- Find anything that is rhetorical in the text or something that puzzles you
- Take a close look into all units of rhetorical analysis in mind
- Read the speech carefully, note the appeals and illustrate them clearly
- Go through the speech again and list down all metaphors used by the speaker
- Categorize the metaphors depending on what the speaker compares them to
With a list and categories of metaphors in mind, explain them to your readers because they will simply ask the question, so what?
The next rhetorical analysis step to carry out is to discover the effect that the unit of analysis you have chosen has on the meaning. Talk about the effect of the whole speech and how it helps you to address your research question.
Structure of how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech
The structure of a rhetorical analysis of a speech should follow the right structure and use specific headings. Each section should be written in a coherent manner to unify the essay. Most importantly, write each section and state its purpose but do not evaluate the speech in the analysis sections. The sections or parts of your analysis should include an
Introduce the author and text or speech you are analyzing
Explain a rhetoric situation and focus on original audience, occasion, context and where the speech was delivered in the first place
State your rhetorical analysis question
Summary of speech
Write a brief summary of the text and explicitly state the purpose of the speaker
Write down the thesis and major points of the speech (always use the terms, thesis, texts purpose and major points in your writing.
The purpose of writing a summary is to help you master how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech and give a sense of rhetor’s points. Your summary doesn’t give audience a complete list of all minor points and examples. In this case, it is imperative that you are specific in your writing.
For instance, instead of saying, he comments on the global situation, it is good to say, he denounces enemies of freedom and applauds new democracies.
This is a major part of a rhetorical analysis and it has two sub-sections
- Unit of analysis- choose and define the unit of analysis you will employ and briefly explain why you settled for it. Go an extra mile to demonstrate that you have a command of the concept to efficiently write your rhetorical analysis. It is also imperative to give quotations as evidence to support your thesis.
- Close reading- this is a skill that a person who knows how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech has mastered. You therefore need to choose one important or key passage in the speech and quote it in full. Re-read it and give it a proverbial fine tooth comb.
-remember to evaluate all appeals including pathos, ethos, logos, stylistic techniques and appeals to the needs of audience as well as values. It is essential to organize this part of your analysis based on the manner in which the speech sentences appear.
Insight into rhetoric
Give an explanation of the speech and explain what it reveals to you about the rhetoric. Here, you need to answer the research question efficiently. How did you analysis support or prove your argument? What is next diachronic or synchronic significance of the speech?
In this section, respond to the text and implications expression your point of view on issues that the speech raises. This enables you to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech that is thoroughly explains your argument. Explain your thoughts about the author’s argument, did it work, give reasons why or not. What is the significance of the text to your work and in your intellectual life?
Analytical techniques to use when writing a rhetorical analysis of a speech
There are different techniques that will help you master how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech. They include
Use of a rhetorical canon of invention to develop your ideas- this focuses on a rhetorical situation that a rhetor faced
Use tenor and vehicle rhetorical terms if you find similes and metaphors in the speech
Image analysis is also another technique that helps you to focus the elements of a vehicle and choose the best that matches your speech.
Additional tips to writing your rhetorical analysis of a speech
- Learn to advance your argument by stating your thesis clearly and supporting
- Always make an original argument and reflect on your unique perception of the speech
- Focus on what the speaker said and how he or she said it
- Always choose the most relevant and significant appeal that matches your reading of the speech. It helps you to write an effective rhetorical analysis, make an original argument and write a very compelling thesis
- Read, edit and proofread your paper to eliminate possible errors
Examples of rhetorical analysis of a speech
I Have a Dream- Martin Luther King
I have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King, has a simple context. The author, Martin Luther King, is known for his great work in Civil Rights in the 1960’s. the purpose of his speech is to instill or inspire change in both black and white citizens of the United States of America during the Civil Rights era………………………………………………………………..
Borrow more ideas on how to write a rhetorical analysis of a speech from this essay analysis.
Fight them on the Beaches: Churchill
I myself have full confidence that if all carry out their duty, if nothing is neglected, and is the best preparations are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again more than able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war and to outlive the menace of tyranny for years. If necessary, alone, at any rate, that is what we are going to try to do…………………………………………………………………
This is a sample of a rhetorical analysis of a speech. Visit the link and see how the author highlights different parts of the speech and use of appeals therein.
Bush 911 Bullhorn Speech
Thank you all. I want you all to know, it that bullhorn can’t go any louder. I want you to all to know that American today, America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here and for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City, and New Jersey and Connecticut, as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens………………………..
This is a rhetoric analysis of the Bush Bullhorn speech. Read it and learn more on how to do write your analysis.
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Also referred to as argument from design or design argument, teleological argument is an argument that tries to explain the existence of the deity or God based on the perceived evidence of deliberate design in the physical or natural world. The name teleological argument is borrowed from the Greek word, telos that means ‘end’ or purpose. This according to the argument tries to point out that the world is being ordered, meaning that it is ordered towards a certain end or purpose.
This argument suggests that the universe is the way it is because it was created by an intelligent being in order to accomplish that purpose than it is to suppose that it is this way by chance. The use of the teleological argument can be traced back to the times of St Thomas Aquinas. He used the argument as one of his Five Ways of knowing the existence of God. However, the most cited statement of the argument is that of William Paley who likened the universe to a watch, with many ordered parts that work harmoniously to further a certain purpose. In the same way that a watch’s intelligent design can be implied by its order, complexity and purpose, he suggested that it so occurs to the universe.
Today, teleological arguments have been described as quite different to that constructed by William Paley. The reason for this is because, as Paley was particularly impressed by the appearance of design in biological systems like the eye or animals, the teleological arguments that we have today often refer to physics for evidence of design. Modern teleological arguments tend to emphasize on the fact that the universe is exactly as should be or ‘fine-tuned’ to support life.
Apart from just demonstrating the existence of God, teleological argument also exposes shortcomings in the evolution theory. This gives an advantage to modern design arguments over Paley’s in that they are less vulnerable to attacks based on the theory of evolution. It objects the argument by Paley that evolution can explain the appearance of biological design that involves, evolutionary processes, however, do not apply to the laws of nature.
Over the years, there have been several criticisms of the different versions of teleological argument. Of great concern are the general logical arguments made by David Hume in publication of 1779 titled, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and also the explanation of biological complexity given by Charles Darwin in his Origins of Species publication of 1859. Today, the teleological argument is crucial to the creationist religious concepts of intelligent design and creation science, which are presented with the allegation that they are alternative explanations in opposition to the evolution theory.
The teleological argument operates on the assumption that one can infer the existence of intelligent design through mere examination, and since life is reminiscent of something a human might design, it too must have been designed. However, the design claim can be challenged as an argument from analogy.
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Ship of Theseus
Also known as the Theseus’ paradox, Ship of Theseus is a philosophical puzzle about personal identity. The paradox is derived from a story in Plutarch and commonly used in giving illustrations of problems that revolve around the identity of composite objects. In the puzzle, a story is told about Theseus who had a ship, and in the way of things parts often require constant replacement. There reaches a point whereby all the original components have been replaced. The question is, can the ship still be the same? Besides, if someone went around collecting the discarded parts of the ship and used them to make another ship, which one would be the better candidate for being the original ship?
In order to understand this puzzle, it is important to note that the Ship of Theseus is not what it is by the individual parts that make it up. The ship ceased to be known as the Ship of Theseus the minute the first part was removed from it. Besides, the individual atoms in the parts are forever changing, therefore, the ship is never itself.
Another concept to this paradox is that the Ship of Theseus is what it is because of its structure. If the ship remains the same ship throughout the changes in parts, the result is contradictory because we will now have two ships. Thus, you will end up with the result that both of them are the Ship of Theseus. This means that two discrete things are one numerical thing.
The other side to the puzzle is that the Ship of Theseus is what it is because of its history. The ship remains similar due to its particular role in the world’s history. Parts are changed quite often but the actor remains the same. Each of the two ships shares a relevant history with the original ship.
Away from the ships, this paradox can be applied by individuals to be able to exactly evaluate themselves. We know that there are certain parts of us or things about us that keep changing from time to time, but we still think we are the same people. The ship has been used figuratively to represent us. Thus, there are quite a number of conclusions or lessons that can be driven from the paradox as indicated below:
- We are who we are because of our parts or the individual mater that makes us up
- We are us because of our structure for example, we lose a limb or even cut our hair, we are no longer the same.
- With regards to our history, if we were to be duplicated, we would either have a existential twin or even cease to be.
- If we lose any spiritual part like memories, we are no longer the same. Or if we even have a radical change of heart, the person we used to be is gone.
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The Ontological argument is an argument for God’s existence based entirely on reason. According to the argument, there is no need to wander around looking for physical evidence of the existence of God; we can easily work out that he exists just by thinking about it. Ontological argument purports to be an a priori proof of the existence of God. The argument was first proposed by St Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th century. His main aim was to refute claims by some people that God does not exist. In his view, the atheist is not just mistaken but internally inconsistent.
St Anselm in his proposition of the ontological argument claimed to have derived the existence of God from the concept of being than which no greater can be conceived. He reasoned that, in case such a being fails to exist, then a greater being –namely, a being than which no greater can be conceived, and which exists- can be conceived. However, this would be absurd in that, nothing can be greater than a being than which no greater can be conceived. Thus, a being than which no greater can be conceived- i.e. God exists.
The ontological argument asserts that that idea by some people that God does not exist is just as absurd as the idea that a four-sided triangle does. According to the argument, we can easily tell that the claim that God does not exist is false without having to look into it in any detail. The claim that God does not exist is self contradictory. The argument further points out that, to call something that is not all-powerful God would be like calling a shape that does not have three sides a triangle, which would not make any sense.
According to the ontological argument, God is perfect and all-powerful. If something is perfect, then it could not possibly be better than it is, there cannot be anything better than perfection. If we think of God as perfect, then we must think of God as a being that cannot be imagined to be better than it is. It is therefore, impossible to conceive either of there being anything much greater than God or of it being possible to imagine God being better than he already is.
Despite several people having supported the Ontological argument, it has also received its fair share of criticisms. For instance, Immanuel Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason claims that ontological arguments are vitiated by their reliance upon the implicit assumption that existence is more of a predicate. However, as Bertrand Russel observed, it is much easier to be convinced that ontological arguments are no good than it is to say exactly what is wrong with them. This helps in explaining the reason why ontological arguments have fascinated many philosophers for over a thousand years. According to another critic, Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, using the analogy of a perfect island, he suggested that the ontological argument could be used in proving the existence of anything.
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Intrinsic Value Vs instrumental Value
Intrinsic value and Instrumental value have been a case of seemingly contrasting ideas in ethics, since philosophers began debating the subject of philosophy. Instrumental values are those values that are merely meant to achieve an ethical decision. Intrinsic on the other hand, are values that are understood as human nature. The two make up the philosophic argument of whether or not a particular value refers to means-to-an-end, or an end itself.
When making comparison between intrinsic value and instrumental value, it is important to note that intrinsic value simply refers to something worthwhile not because it leads to something else, but due to its own sake alone. This can be simply expressed as Good-in-itself. Instrumental value on the other hand, is something considered as a means to some other good, i.e. it a lead to something else that is good. For instance, money can be termed as instrumental good since it can lead to pleasure.
In terms of instrumental value, every idea or concept is an action that leads to value. For instance, reading is an action and it leads to the value of happiness. The next question would be where happiness leads or is it a value that is good in itself. The debate over that is from the belief that on one hand, happiness could be an instrument to make us feel content. However, to some, it simply could just be the end. Thus, it can be said that the classification of certain values as either intrinsic or instrumental vary.
Instrumental values can be direct and indirect means of observing intrinsic values. This is plausible suggestion since instrumental values are basically a means to an end while intrinsic values are the end. Thus, it can be said that the two can as well fit in together. An example would b of a man being happy while spending the day with his family. Spending time with family is the instrumental value that leads to the intrinsic value of being happy. The fact that the two fit well together calls to question whether or not there is an agreement between the two values at all.
Instrumental value is quite easier to spot and define. However, an intrinsic value can be very challenging. The idea that an intrinsic value is something that a person cannot explain why it is a value, apart from merely being a value, is an issue of debate. It is hard to explain or even accept that something can be good in and of itself, and that there is no any other reason for its good. However, if people only consider their core beliefs as intrinsic and everything else as instrumental, intrinsic values begin to clear up.
While the two ideas appear to be in contrast, they fit together almost quite well and can be termed as mutually exclusive. From their arguments, it can be concluded that instrumental values can lead to intrinsic values.
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Instrumental variable is a very important technique that is applied in statistics and econometrics. However, it can be a bit confusing to most people. The technique is used in the estimation of casual relationships when controlled experiments are not feasible or when a treatment is not is not delivered successfully to each unit in an experiment that is not randomized. There are various instrumental variable methods that can be applied in obtaining results. These methods allow for consistency in estimation under conditions that explanatory variables are correlated with the error terms of a relationship of regression.
How instrumental variable operates
The estimation of causal impacts is often faced with difficulties. In fact, even trials that are randomized are imperfect, partly because we can often not be able to carry out true experiments. However, it is important to note that experimental design still remains the gold standard of statistical research. Instrumental variable is among the quasi-experimental methods of impacts estimations that are too compelling. The reason for this is because the assumptions required for the justification of instrumental variable method are usually more plausible than those that are required to justify other methods like regression.
In order to estimate an instrumental variable model, one should begin by identifying a variable or certain variables that impact the key independent variable, but only affect the results through the main independent variables. For instance, you can assume that month and state of birth would have no impact of a person’s income later in life, except that state laws establish when one is able to begin and end his or her K-12 education.
It is important to note that the models of instrumental variable are often conceptualized as two different equations. One of them specifies the relationship that exists between the main independent variable and the result. The other equation specifies the relationship between the instrumental variables and the result. Despite linear regression being considered to generally produce biased and inconsistent estimates, accurate results (consistent estimates) can still be obtained if an instrument is available. An instrument refers to a variable that does not itself belong in the explanatory equation, and has got a correlation with the endogenous variables.
There are two main requirements for using instrumental variable in linear regression. One is that the instrument must be correlated with the endogenous explanatory variables, limited to other covariates. Besides, the instrument cannot be correlated with the error term in the explanatory equation; the instrument cannot be left to face the same problem as the original predicting variable.
Instrumental variable methods are mostly used in the estimation of causal effects in contexts whereby controlled experiments are not available. However, the credibility of the resulting estimates is based on the choice of suitable instruments to use. Good instruments are often developed from policy changes. For instance, when a federal student aid scholarship program is cancelled, it may give a revelation of the effects of aid on the outcomes of some students.
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US Electoral College
The United States constitution specifies the United States President and Vice President are to be selected every four year by a small group of people. These people are individually known as ‘presidential electors’ and collectively as the ‘Electoral College’.
Therefore, the Electoral College is not a place but rather a process. It was put into place by the founding fathers and the constitution specifies that every state is entitled to have one member of its U.S Representatives and U.S Senators.
Today, the total number of electoral votes is 538 and it corresponds to the 435 United States Representatives from the fifty states plus the 100 United States Senators from the 50 states plus another 3 members of the Electoral College that the District of Columbia became at liberty to under the 23rd Amendment that was ratified in 1961.
After every ten years, the 435 United States Representatives get reappointed among the state according to the latest federal census as such reapportioning membership of the Electoral College among all the states.
The US Electoral College was based on several anticipations and assumptions of the constitution Framers. Some of these include the following:
- Candidates wouldn’t pair together on a similar ticket with assumed placements towards each office of the Vice President and the president
- Every state would choose a district system of choosing the electors
- Each presidential elector would employ or exercise their own judgment independently when voting
- The system as it was designed would rarely produce any clear winner as such, election would be sent to Congress.
Based on the facts stated above, some scholars argue that the Electoral College is intended to nominate candidates and from there, Congress is mandated with the task of choosing the president and vice president. Each state government also is free to have its own strategy or plan for selecting its electors.
The theory behind the constitutional indirect election of the President and Vice President of the US is that while Congress is generally elected by the people, the President and Vice President are elected as executives of a federation of states that are independent. James Madison in Federalist No.10 argued the constitution was designed to serve as a mixture of population and state based government.
The Congress therefore would have two houses which include the Population based and State Bases Senate House of Representatives. At the same time, the President would be elected based on the mixture of two modes.
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United States Fiscal Cliff
The United States fiscal cliff came into existence in 2013 January whereby, a series of laws previously enacted came into effect simultaneously. The 2001 Bush tax cuts which had received a 2 year extension by the Tax Relief Act of 2010 and were to expire on 31st December 2012 as well as planned spending cuts under Budget Control Act of 2011 at that time also came into play.
In the past, the term ‘fiscal cliff’ has been used for purposes of referring to various fiscal issues. The use of the term came into context with the 2010 expiration of the Bush tax cuts. In 2011, the term started been used to refer to deficit reductions that would occur in 2013 under fiscal cliff scenario. Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the United States Federal Reserve in late February 2012 popularized use of the term for the upcoming tax reduction deficits.
He described the massive fiscal cliff of tax increases and large spending that would take effect on 1st January 2013 before the House Financial Services Committee. Majority of the analysts were not in agreement with the choice of words and argued it should have been called fiscal hill or slope.
They reasoned that such options would have been appropriate since while the cumulative economic effect of 2013 would be substantial, the same would not be felt immediately but gradually with advance in the weeks and months.
There are some key laws that lead to the cliff and some of these are as highlighted below:
- Bush tax cuts expiration as part of the 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act and the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act as extended by the 2010 Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act.
- Spending cuts across the board to most of the discretionary programs directed by Budget Control Act of 2011
- Reverse of Alternative Minimum Tax threshold to the 2000 tax year levels.
- Expiration of 2percent Social Security Payroll tax cut extended most recently by MCTRJCA
Without any new provisions, the provisions were to go into effect automatically on 1st January 2013. There are some provisions that raised the taxes while others reduced spending. Some of the lawmakers had intentions to attach bipartisan extension to expiring wind-power tax credit.
There were proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff which involved passing new legislation or repealing legislation that contained some of the provisions in order to extend the provisions that were about to expire. There were also different proposals aimed at including changes to all or some of the provisions.
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United States Debt Ceiling Crisis
The United States did not have any debt ceiling prior to 1917. Before this period, Congress either allowed Treasury to issue certain debt instruments or it authorized specific loans. There are instances when Congress authorized Treasury to use its own discretion to decide the type of debt instrument to be issued.
First, the United States instituted a debt statutory limit with the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 setting limits on aggregate amount of dent that could be accumulated through any individual debt categories like bills and bonds. Congress, in 1939 instituted its first limit on the overall amount of debt accumulated over all types of instruments.
Prior to the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the debt ceiling played a very important role for the simple reason Congress did not have many opportunities to hold debates and hearings on budgets. Dick Gephardt noticing the potential problems of the debt ceiling hitting a default in 1979 imposed the ‘Gephardt Rule’.
This was a parliamentary rule that deemed when a budget gets passed then the debt ceiling can be raised. It resolves the contradiction that was associated with voting for appropriations and not voting in order to fund them. The rule was effective until in 1995 when it was repealed by Congress.
The debt ceiling in the United States has faced crisis not one or twice but three times. These are as highlighted below:
1995 Debt Ceiling Crisis
The 1995 debt ceiling crisis led to a major showdown on the federal budget. During this time, the budget did not pass and it resulted to US federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996. Eventually, the ceiling was increased and the shutdown resolved.
2011 debt crisis
The Republicans Congress in 2011 used debt ceiling as the leverage for deficit reduction. Because of the debt ceiling debacle and credit downgrade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average resulted falling two thousand points in late July and August. After the downgrade, the DJIA has its worst days and on August 8th, it fell 635 points. The contention that resulted from this was resolved in August 2nd 2011 by the 2011Budget Control Act.
2013 debt ceiling crisis
Following increase of debt ceiling in 2011 to $ 16.394 trillion, the US reached its debt ceiling on 31st December 2012 and treasury started taking extraordinary measures. The passage of the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act helped resolve the fiscal cliff but there was no action taken on the debt ceiling.
Following tax cuts from ATRA, the government wanted to raise the debt ceiling to $ 700 billion in order to finance its operations for the remaining fiscal year of 2013. It was expected that by February 15, extraordinary measures would be taken.
The Treasury however said it was not set to prioritize payment and it was not clear whether it was legal to do so. The crisis started in January 2013 and came to an end on 17th October 2013 when the 2014 Continuing Appropriations Act was passed though the debate continues.
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United States Debt Ceiling
The United States debt ceiling also known as the debt limit is a legislative mechanism that limits the amount of national debt issued by the Treasury through limiting the amount of moey the government can borrow. Debt ceiling therefore is an aggregate figure that’s applied to gross dent which also includes the debt in the intra-government and public accounts.
Around 0.5 percent of the debt isn’t covered by the debt ceiling. There are separate legislations that authorize expenditures as such debt ceiling does not limit government deficits directly. The only thing that it can do is restrain the Treasury from paying the expenditures once the limit is reached but it must have been approved and appropriated already.
Once the debt ceiling is reached and still there is no limit enacted, Treasury resorts to ‘extraordinary measures’ in order to finance the government obligations and expenditures temporarily until a resolution is reached.
So far, the Treasury has not arrived at the point of exhausting extraordinary measures, resulting in default. While this is the case, there are instances when it has appeared like the Congress would allow defaults to take place.
The debt ceiling has been in effect since 1917 when the Second Liberty Bond Act was passed by the United States Congress. Prior to 1917, no debt ceiling was in force though there were parliamentary limitations on the possible debt level that a government could hold. The financial history of the US has been one of government indebtedness and the same applies to most of the North American and Western European countries in the last two hundred years.
- Every year the United States has been in debt except in 1835
- Debts that were incurred during the American Revolutionary War and Articles of Confederation led to the first yearly report on amount of debt
- Since Herbert Hoover, every president has added to national debt which is expressed in absolute dollars. Since March 1962, the debt ceiling in the US has been raised seventy four times. This includes eighteen times under Ronald Regan, 8 times under Bill Clinton, 7 times under George W. Bush and under Barack Obama, 5 times.
Since 1950s, the vote to increase debt ceiling has been a matter of legal budgetary formality between the Congress and the President. It has not been a political issue that would make any elected government unable to pass its yearly budget. Reports made from congress though in the 1990s stated repeatedly that debt limit is an ineffective means to restraining dent growth. The redundancy of the debt ceiling has also led to suggestions that it should be abolished.
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Pension Obligation Bonds
Personal obligation bonds are financing maneuvers that make it possible for local governments and states to ‘wipe out’ pension liabilities that are unfunded by borrowing against future tax revenues. Once this is done, it is followed by investing proceeds in equities and other cases, high yield investments.
The reasoning behind this is that the investments will lead to higher returns than the interest rates on the bonds thus earning money for the pension fund. While it is a gamble, it is one that most governments are ready to take. Pension obligations bonds:
- Are debt securities that are used to fund ‘unfunded accrued actuarial liabilities’ in pension public plans
- Are always, almost issues as taxable debt
- Are issued as fixed term or fixed rate securities or as fixed term, variable securities.
- Typical security is in the form of the issuers general fund pledge.
Pension plans mostly face major losses and it is because of the local revenue and dearth of state that pension obligation plans are viewed as the most favorable tool for fixing pension woes. Some of the major issuers of pension obligation bonds include Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, California and Connecticut.
In the recent past though, these bonds have taken on some form of notoriety when 2 California cities San Bernardino and San went bankrupt. Generous pensions that were propped awkwardly and with pension obligation bonds that were ill times contributed to the debacle. Also, over the years, the returns made on pension obligation plans often fall below the interest rate the locality or state paid in order to borrow the money as such, digging deep into the liability hole.
Despite this fact, these bonds still remain a favorite among many politicians in revenue pinch. It is easier to politically borrow money in order to pay the cost of pensions rather than squeeze a budget that is already stressed. Many policy holders and economists view pension obligation bonds as risky gimmicks and they even question the high market growth assumptions that make them appear viable.
However, defenders of these bonds believe that with proper timing, they can pay off. The first bond was launched in 1985 in Oakland, California and at that time, it appeared a reasonable strategy. This is because it qualified as a tax free bond and could be issued at low municipal bond rates.
A city or state could then pivot and invest the fund in securities that were safer but the strategy was ended by the 1986 Tax Reform Act that prohibited local governments and state from reinvesting for profits money from tax free bonds.
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Spasticity refers to a feature of an altered performance of a skeletal muscle in the muscle tone that involves hypertonia. Some people refer to this condition as unusual stiffness, pull of the muscles or tightness. The term spasm is derived from spasms which is a Greek word meaning pulling or drawing.
In clinical terms, spasticity is velocity-dependent resistance to a stretch which if not inhibited results in an excessive contraction of muscles and ultimately leads to hyperflexia which is an exaggerated and deep reflex of a tendon upon stimulation with reflex hammer. It can also be defined as spontaneous firing of the deep reflexes of the tendon as in the clonus.
Basically, spasticity is a disorder of muscle control that is characterized by stiff or tight muscles and the inability to control muscles. Additionally, reflexes can persist for long and they can be extremely strong causing hyperactive reflexes. For instance, when an infant has a hyperactive grasp reflect they can keep their hand held in tight fist.
Spasticity is in most cases caused by imbalanced signals from central nervous system which comprises of the spinal cord and the brain to muscles. The imbalance is commonly found in individuals who have cerebral palsy, stroke, and traumatic injury of the brain, spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis.
Among the symptoms of spasticity include increased tone of the muscle, overactive reflexes, involuntary movements that can include sustained or brisk involuntary contraction of the muscles and a series of quick involuntary contractions. Patients also experience pain, decrease in functional abilities, delay in motor development, abnormal posture, difficulty with hygiene and care, joint and bone deformities as well as permanent contractions of tendon and muscle as a result of persistent spasms and stiffness among others.
Medical history of a patient is often evaluated to diagnose the condition. The medical history will be considered to determine muscular or neurological disorder of the patient and the family. There are tests that will be done to confirm diagnosis. The tests help in evaluating the leg and arm movements, active and passive motion, muscular activity and the ability of the patient to perform self-care tasks.
Spasticity treatment can include medication such as baclofen, dantrolene, tizanidine, Clonazepam, Diazepam and therapy. Physical therapy that is offered to patients entails stretching muscles and motion exercises. Braces can be used sometimes to help the patient prevent shortening of the tendons. Severity of the symptoms can be stabilized or reduced by rehabilitation.
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