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Archive for June, 2008

Mexican Drug Cartels

Defining a Drug Cartel and Organized Crime
There is no widely accepted definition of what a drug cartel is or the characteristics that define a drug cartel. To further complicate matters, there is no widely accepted definition of what characteristics define an organized crime group.  Law enforcement agencies and academics all utilize their own definitions.  To simplify matters, definitions of organized crime were chosen for comparison and defining purposes.  Specifically, the definitions I am referring to are those offered by Carter (1994) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (1994).

In order to define a drug cartel, I have formed a definition of a drug cartel from pieces of other definitions.  These definitions are from the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (2006), Joseph Finckenauer (2005), and David Carter (1994).  The definition used for a cartel is from the United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading, which defines a cartel as “an agreement between businesses not to compete with each other” (2006). …

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The Path to Wisdom

June 27, 2008

Eudaimonia. That is the Greek word for happiness. Every person, regardless on statute, age, race, or gender, is in search for that one true thing that could make them fulfilled. People’s definition of happiness varies and the path to achieving that is not at all easy. Life is a series of learning and relearning. And each of us is looking for the path to wisdom to achieve the one true end of happiness.

There were people who came before us who gave their ideas on how to make life more manageable. Their lives have ended yet they continue into our own lives through their contributions. I call them the “timeless” people. And two of the most outstanding thinkers who ever lived were Henry David Thoreau and Plato.

Before discussing the contributions of these two distinguished men, it is also important to look into their background and the milieu into which they were born. It was on July 12, 1817 when Thoreau was born in the town of Concord, Massachusetts. In1837, he graduated from Harvard College. He was a former schoolteacher and also made a living chiefly by surveying land and helping with the family pencil-making and ground lead business. Not only that, he also lectured from time to time from 1838 until 1860. …

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The Plague of Plagiarism

June 12, 2008

A quick google of the word plagiarism comes up with 28,900,000 links. And a quick browse through two pages worth of those links can make one think that the electronic age has brought about an epidemic of plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of copying another person’s words or thoughts, and pretending they are one’s own. Other definitions would include more ominous terms such as theft, piracy, fraud, treachery, felony…and rightfully so, because plagiarism is a serious offense. It is a crime punishable by law in most countries, especially in the United States.

False Impressions (Shouldn’t) Last
It is common misconception that only copying word-for-word without crediting the source is considered plagiarizing. But a plea of ignorance will not excuse you in a court of law or halls of academic institution, so equip yourself with the necessary facts. …

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The Pavlovian Model in Preparedness Theory

Pavlovian conditioning is basic to learning and is obviously a critical factor in the acquisition of phobias. This model assumes that all members of a species share a common set of reflexes, hard-wired responses to certain stimuli. These unconditional reflexes are critical to survival. Pavlovian conditioning, which relies on these reflexes, or the stimulus-response relationship, has been shown to be fundamental to learning such that all animals learn to adapt to their environment based on this concept.

The traditional learning model, based on animal conditioning research, has been extraordinarily useful but unfortunately very limited where phobias are concerned (McNally 284). First of all, one cannot assume that human phobias are the same as fears conditioned in animals in a laboratory, and they are not, as will be discussed later.

Field and Davey also had the following problems with the traditional model (191-192). Phobias, for one, tend to be highly resistant to extinction, more so than other acquired responses. Some phobics have no memory of an aversive conditioning event at the onset of their phobia while others recall an associated traumatic event. …

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Noncompliance in Students with Behavior Disorders

Students with behavioral disorders exhibit behaviors that teachers and others in their environment find offensive and intolerable. Noncompliance, one of these behaviors, is increasing in frequency of occurrence among children (Walker & Sylwester, 1998). The behavior can be displayed by several topographies. Noncompliance is defined as failure to follow a request or standard/rule. This behavior has been identified as one that leads to other forms of maladaptive behaviors, such as vandalism, stealing, and bullying (Walker & Sylwester, 1998). Noncompliant behavior is destructive to the student’s success academically at school and socially in the school, home, and community environments. It often leads to power struggles and other negative verbal exchanges, sometimes resulting in physically aggressive behavior. These types of coercive interactions destroy relationships. A survey of 1,100 general education and special education teachers identified that child compliance to teacher requests is “the most highly valued form of adaptive student behavior” (Walker, 1986). Compliance to requests and standards/rules is essential for success in the student’s present and future environments. It has a direct impact on relationship, education, and employment. …

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