Friday, October 31, 2008

Too Much Campaign Spending?

Imagine how much you think it cost to campaign as a presidential nominee. Running for high school president consists of throwing in some of that fast food change you slaved to earn to make some tee shirts or a poster. Then in city elections you might spend time visiting town halls or putting up signs. Coming into state elections when you begin commercials, which according to polls taken by USA Today only 2/3 of Americans find them useful, 105.7 million dollars is spent campaigning and persuading by every candidate running for any state position. Climbing up the political ladder and reaching the top we have the presidential election. From the state elections which consists of multiple elections coming to 105.7 million we have only two candidates. What is the price of democracy you might ask? Not to just dump it on you all at once Obama raised 45 million over those state elections in September alone. In total over 2.4 billion has been spent towards the 2008 election. That is enough to educate over 150,000 students at Yale. Many laws have been passed limiting contributions but are they really limiting them enough? Many Americans are asking why can't this money be put towards our other political issues. Why not put this money towards the economy or national debt. Many Americans have their reasons for wanting campaign spending limited. Wouldn't it be better to put that money in medical research or to help suffering and starvation in third world countries? I personally believe we should look at this wasteful spending and decide some strong progressive uses for it. A true presidential candidate would be one who realizes they can take all that money they pour into flashy commercial undermining their opponent with congeneric remarks to that of fighting children and put it towards a good cause. Would America see that as foolish and could they possibly be forfeiting their chance of winning? It's very possible, but at least they did something productive. Then this contemptible act of wasteful spending could be used towards more productive measures.

Uncle Sam

A Rising American Enemy?

Within recent months Venezuela has caused policy makers to raise an eyebrow in Washington. The new democratic leader, Hugo Chavez, has made various questionable decisions on words, actions, and allies. The question is, What are we going to do about it?

Chavez has idolized Bolivia since his election. He was in fact elected democratically, yet his leadership has been very different. Venezuela is riddled with inflation, corruption, crime, and recently a sense of discontent with Chavez. New allies to Venezuela have arisen such as Iran and Russia. Chavez supported the Kremlin's invasion of Georgia as the rest of the world cringed. Lots of talk between Russia and Chavez is about the advantages to doubling up on energy. This would bring Russia's influence into the western hemisphere and allow Russia to have a major influence on energy production in future years.

Along with their tag team on energy, Russia views Venezuela as a lucrative weapons market. Chavez has already spent four billion dollars on munitions. This includes 100,000 AK-47s, dozens of military helicopters and twenty four advanced fighter bombers. All of these were made within Russia. As a display of cooperation between the two nations, Russia is sending four warships to Venezuela for "military exercises". Puton and Chavez have recently discussed the possibility of Russian aid with nuclear power facilities. All Chavez has had to say is, "go ahead and squeal, Yankees".

The American leadership in Washington has been eyeing these events with caution. They do not want to provoke any reason for an incident and they want to avoid making and unnecessary accusations. As of now American policy makers have decided to let the events play out and take any necessary action. After the dispute with Georgia and now issues with Iran and Venezuela, tensions are rising. Claims of a new "Cuban missile crisis" have been made, but there are no nuclear weapons involved and it is on a much different scale and this may very well not escalate in the slightest. No matter what happens this should provide an interesting topic of foreign affairs for the next president of the United States.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't Let the Polls Affect Your Vote


There has been an explosion of polls this presidential election. Through yesterday, there have been 728 national polls with head-to-head matchups of the candidates, 215 in October alone. In 2004, there were just 239 matchup polls, with 67 of those in October. At this rate, there may be almost as many national polls in October of 2008 as there were during the entire year in 2004.
Some polls are sponsored by reputable news organizations, others by publicity-eager universities or polling firms on the make. None have the scientific precision we imagine.
For example, academics gathered by the American Political Science Association at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington on Aug. 31, 2000, to make forecasts declared that Al Gore would be the winner. Their models told them so. Mr. Gore would receive between 53% and 60% of the two-party vote; Gov. George W. Bush would get between just 40% and 47%. Impersonal demographic and economic forces had settled the contest, they said. They were wrong.
Right now, all the polls show Barack Obama ahead of John McCain, but the margins vary widely (in part because some polls use an "expanded" definition of a likely voter, while others use a "traditional" polling model, which assumes turnout will mirror historical trends but with a higher turnout among African-Americans and young voters).
On Monday, there were seven nationwide polls, with the candidates as close as three points in the Investors Business Daily/TIPP poll and as far apart as 10 points in Gallup's "expanded" model. On Tuesday, the Gallup "traditional" model poll had the candidates separated by two points and the Pew poll had them separated by 15. On Wednesday, Battleground, Rasmussen and Gallup "traditional" model polls had the candidates separated by three points while Diageo/Hotline and Gallup "expanded" model polls had the spread at seven points.
Polls can reveal underlying or emerging trends and help campaigns decide where to focus. The danger is that commentators use them to declare a race over before the votes are in. This can demoralize the underdog's supporters, depressing turnout. I know that from experience.
On election night in 2000 Al Hunt -- then a columnist for this newspaper and a commentator on CNN -- was the first TV talking head to erroneously declare that Florida's polls had closed, when those in the Panhandle were open for another hour. Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Judy Woodruff said: "A big call to make. CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column."
Mr. Hunt and Ms. Woodruff were not only wrong. What they did was harmful. We know, for example, that turnout in 2000 compared to 1996 improved more in states whose polls had closed by the time Ms. Woodruff all but declared the contest over. The data suggests that as many as 500,000 people in the Midwest and West didn't bother to vote after the networks indicated Florida cinched the race for Mr. Gore.
I recall, too, the media's screwup in 2004, when exit-polling data leaked in the afternoon. It showed President Bush losing Pennsylvania by 17 points, New Hampshire by 18, behind among white males in Florida, and projected South Carolina and Colorado too close to call. It looked like the GOP would be wiped out.
Bob Shrum famously became the first to congratulate Sen. John Kerry by addressing him as "President Kerry." Commentators let the exit polls color their coverage for hours until their certainty was undone by actual vote tallies.
Polls have proliferated this year in part because it is much easier for journalists to devote the limited space in their papers or on TV to the horse-race aspect of the election rather than its substance. And I admit, I've aided and abetted this process.
In the campaign's final week, though, the candidates can offer little new substance, so attention turns to the political landscape, and there's no question Mr. McCain is in a difficult place.
The last national poll that showed Mr. McCain ahead came out Sept. 25 and the 232 polls since then have all shown Mr. Obama leading. Only one time in the past 14 presidential elections has a candidate won the popular vote and the Electoral College after trailing in the Gallup Poll the week before the election: Ronald Reagan in 1980.
But the question that matters is the margin. If Mr. McCain is down by 3%, his task is doable, if difficult. If he's down by 9%, his task is essentially impossible. In truth, however, no one knows for sure what kind of polling deficit is insurmountable or even which poll is correct. All of us should act with the proper understanding that nothing is yet decided.
As for me, I've already cast my absentee ballot in Kerr County, Texas -- joyfully, enthusiastically marking the straight Republican column. I would like to have joined the line Tuesday outside the polling place in Ingram, where I've been registered the past few years. But I will be in New York, part of the vast horde analyzing exit polls, dissecting returns, and pontificating on consequences. I'll thoroughly enjoy myself that night, and probably feel guilty the next morning. But this year's 728 national polls and the thousands of state polls made me do it.
Mr. Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.
Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.
Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon & Schuster. Email the author at or visit him on the web at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Steroid Use in High School Athletics

In these days of Congressional hearings and publicized reports on steroid use in professional athletics, it is very easy to forget that the people affected by pro athletes use of these steroids are high school athletes. The pressure to win in athletics is enormous and because of that pressure many athletes feel like they have to turn to banned substances to gain a competitive edge. What they do not realize is that using these substances can and will lead to death. Sports Weekly conducted a study of high school athletes in the Washington area and, based on the answers given by the students, they came up with these conclusions:

1.) Athletes use performance enhancing drugs freely in the locker rooms, weight rooms, and cafeterias of both public and private high schools.

2.) Both coaches and athletes know what is going on, but are often unable to stop the use of steroids by their athletes. Some coaches even turn a blind eye to the issue.

3.) As I said before, the pressure to win is huge and it is even bigger for athletes who have hopes of gaining scholarships to colleges to play sports.

4.) Many high school athletes recognize the risk of using performance enhancing drugs and believe using them is "cheating", but others are willing to risk their long term health for short term gain.

According to a study done by the Center for Disease Control, steroid use in high school athletes has more than doubled from 1993 to 2003. That same study showed that 6% of the 15,000 students surveyed admitted to at least trying pills or injections of steroids. But at the same time it has been found that only 4% of high schools conducted test for steroids. How can this be? Why, if the problem is so big, is nothing being done to fix it? The one word answer to both of those questions is, simply, money. Steroids testing costs lots and lots of money. Florida's Polk County began testing for steroids in January of 2005 and they perform 3 to 5 random steroids tests on students per athletic season. ow much did each test cost? $105 compared to $18 for recreational drug tests. It was not specified in the article whether the athletic seasons were fall, winter, and spring or each individual sport athletic seasons but I am going to assume that it meant every individual season. So how much would it cost for Papio South to conduct steroids testing each year? You would have to figure in all the sports teams we sponsor. For fall there is football, volleyball, girl's golf, boy's tennis, softball and boy's and girl's cross country. Winter there is boy's and girl's swimming, boy's and girl's basketball and wrestling. Spring is girl's tennis, boy's golf, boy's and girl's track and baseball. these are just the sports I could think of off the top of my head and I am sure that there are more. You have to figure that at $105 5 athletes per sport and the amount of money per school is going to be around $10,000 per school! Take that times approximately 194 schools in Nebraska and that equals $1,940,000 for steroid testing for Nebraska. Take that times 50 to get a rough estimate of $97,000,000 for every high school in the United States(gotta have some math involved with the blog) . With the amount of national debt that has been accumulated that might seem like a paltry sum, but that is a lot of money for the government to give to high schools and most of it will be tax money anyways so it would be a lot easier and cost a lot less money if students, parents, teachers, athletes and coaches took measures to stop steroid use before it gets started.
Well how do we do that you ask? The government itself has taken steps in the right direction by holding the Congressional hearings, but it should not be up to government to stop the use of steroids. Coaches and parents can sit down their students and athletes and outline for them clear cut rules and punishments for using performance enhancing drugs. If they know what could happen to them if they get caught then they'll be less likely to engage in that activity in the first place. Another way is for the athletes themselves to hold each other accountable. Yeah, I know, nobody likes a tattle tale but if you see a fellow athlete using steroids would you rather drop off an anonymous tip to a coach or watch that athlete and friend turn into someone you don't even recognize? I hope the answer is no.
The bottom line is this: Steroid use by high school athletes has gotten out of control and we as the athletes, students, teachers, and coaches need to do something about it. We can't always rely on the government to solve our problems for us and this problem is one that affects probably every high school across the nation and we can help to fix it and we NEED to help to fix it because without us, the steps taken by government will mean nothing.


* The article I mentioned is one done by USA Today and is the source for much of this blog including the cost of steroids testing in Polk County and the four numbered points in the first section of the blog. The URL you can find it on is:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Democrats Make Registration Gains Across Nebraska


Nebraska is still red, but the shade is a little lighter these days.

Although Republicans continue to dominate statewide voter registration rolls, Democrats have made substantial gains this year.

Democrats have added about 30,000 names to the voter rolls since January, while Republicans added only 1,200.

As of Tuesday, Republicans accounted for 48 percent of statewide voter registrations, Democrats 34 percent and independents 17 percent.

The Republicans' share dropped slightly from 2004, and the independents' share increased some. The Democrats' proportion remained the same.

Both parties have been working to register voters before the Nov. 4 election. The last day to register in Nebraska is today.

Secretary of State John Gale said he expects the same number of people to be registered in the state as in 2004 - about 1.16 million.

Early voting in person continues statewide through Nov. 3.

Election officials in Buffalo and Hall Counties reported some lines Thursday, but bad weather made it less busy than earlier in the week. The activity seemed higher than four years ago, according to the election offices.

Lines extended outside the Douglas County Election Commissioner's Office in Omaha as people registered to vote and cast early ballots. This week, people have been waiting in line for two hours or more. Sarpy County also reported steady voter traffic.

Dave Shively, the Lancaster County election commissioner, said Thursday that his office had manageable lines, with waits of about five to 10 minutes. He predicted that today would be more hectic as people try to beat the deadline for registering to vote.

"It will be very, very busy here," Shively said.

According to the latest registration figures, the number of registered Democrats in Douglas County outpaced Republicans for the first time in 14 years.

The numbers showed 125,602 Democrats in Douglas County, compared with 122,955 Republicans - an edge of 2,647.

"Obviously I'm not happy about it, but it appears it's the Democrats' turn to be on the positive side," said Mark Quandahl, chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party.

He added: "I certainly would hope that would be a wakeup call to all Republicans to get registered if they're not registered and to get out there and vote."

One advantage for the Democrats in Douglas County is the large campaign operation that presidential candidate Barack Obama has in the Omaha area.

Obama is trying to win one of Nebraska's five electoral votes by beating John McCain in the 2nd Congressional District. The 2nd District also has a hotly contested U.S. House race between Republican incumbent Lee Terry and Democrat Jim Esch.

"We're just excited about a lot of people going out to register, and we're doubly excited if it's as Democrats," said Eric Van Horn, spokesman for the Nebraska Democratic Party.

"There is just an unprecedented interest in this election."

The year began with the Republicans holding a 12,000 registration advantage in Douglas County. That means Democrats have made up a lot of ground - and then some.

Randall Adkins, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said the registration trend is surprising for a red state such as Nebraska but is less startling given national trends toward the Democratic Party.

"If we're seeing people actually changing their party - Republican to Democrat or independent to Democrat - it's a signal of a realignment," Adkins said.

Quandahl said some of the Democrats' gains could be attributed to people who are switching back to the Democratic Party, after registering as Republicans two years ago to vote in the GOP primary for governor. But he acknowledged that the Democratic registration trend could not be explained by that alone.

The last time Democrats enjoyed a voter registration advantage in Douglas County was in 1994.

Gale said his office has not received any complaints about the presence of the voter registration group ACORN in the state. ACORN has drawn criticism in other states because a few of its workers tried to register fake names.

The Iowa secretary of state said earlier this month that ACORN did not have operations in that state.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Should tattoos be copyrighted?

    Copyright is defined as a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" that gives them the exclusive rights to the distribution of their work, up to seventy years after death. Tattoos can be considered an artistic work created by an author and therefore it is possible that tattoos can be copyrighted. This means that a dupilcation of a tattoo of the same design by a different artist can turn into a court case over copyright infringement.
    In a case over copyright infringement, the defendant can pay up to $100,000 if the court considers the infringement to be willful; but the usual range of these cases are between $750 and $30,000. The registration fee is a mere $30 and is necessary only when suing for statutory damages. If the infringement is not willful the infringer can still be sued, but it would be a fine of around $200, not enough to cover any attorney or lawyer fees. This means that a tattoo artist could have accepted a drawing from a customer, not knowing the customer got the idea from another tattoo, if the works are substantially similar it would be enough to sue. A case without an officially registered work can still be upheld in court, but it would not be for money, just the protection against future infringement. In theory, the court could order for the tattoo to be removed, but that is unlikely.
    Most tattoo artists are outraged at the idea of interference by lawyers, the tattoo world can be described as self-contained. They follow unwritten ethics that come with being a notable artist, those who cheat off of the creativity of others will lose their business through a bad reputation, not a lawsuit. There are some that feel that their work must be protected. For example, in the case Gonzales vs. Kid Zone in 2001, Gonzales sued Kid Zone for copyright infringement. Kid Zone sold stick-on temporary tattoos and argued that he could not copyright items like flags and eagles. However the court sided with Gonzales not because of the actual items depicted in the designs, but the similar angles and patterns within them; Gonzales won $3,000 in this case.
    Is this right, should tattoos become copyrighted as a protection of the artist? I think that these cases will end up being more trouble than they are worth. Tattoos are symbolic of creativity as well as freedom, not a stamp or brand of an artist on someone's skin.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Alternative Energy-Will it Work?

Over the course of the election, the nation has been hearing all about how we are dependent on foreign oil and that it creates a weak spot in our armor against terrorism. We have also heard politicians say that they will try to make the country energy independent using energy sources that cause little to no environmental harm. So, what are these sources, will they even work, and if so, how soon will the nation become energy independent?

How independent on foreign oil is the U.S.? The United States produces 3% of the world's oil, but consumes 25% of the world's oil. So, where does the other 22% of oil the U.S. consumes come from? Many people are led to believe that it comes from middle eastern countries, and to some extend it is true. However, the single biggest importer of oil to the U.S. is Canada. Mexico is the second largest importer of oil to the U.S., and it' not that close. Canada and Mexico combined make up a quarter of the imports of oil to the U.S. So really, the myth that the middle east and terrorist around the world have a hold over the U.S. because of their oil imports is not as real as many people think. However, the third largest contributor of oil to the U.S. is Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela also sends much of its oil to the U.S., so there is cause for minor concern. So, what do we do?

One plan that has gained a lot of momentum is the use of ethanol to power cars and other facets of the U.S.'s gas burning machines. The problem with this method is that there has been no engine yet invented that can burn pure ethanol. Conventional engines cannot burn ethanol without negative effects to the engine. So, if an ethanol engine is invented, everyone in the U.S. would have to get a new car in order to use the new fuel. The same thing applies to solar powered cars. If all cars are made to run on solar power, how many people are going to have to buy a new car since they would no longer be able to buy gas?

Solar and wind power being used to run houses and businesses is not entirely plausible either. Wind and sunlight are very fickle things. If the wind stops blowing when your house is depending on that energy, your house stops running. The same thing applies with solar power. If its a rainy day and the sun isn't shining, how are you going to get power?

Even with these concerns, wind power in the U.S. is up 45% from 2007. The U.S. is the second largest producer of wind power in the world behind Germany, but don't let that fool you. The percent of power in the U.S. that is wind power is only 1.2% How fast will this percentage increase? The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a report stating that it would be plausible for 20% wind power by the year 2030. Becoming energy independent is going to take a long time, and until then, the country can at least take comfort in knowing that countries in the middle east do not have as large a hold over the U.S. through oil as we all thought they did. Instead, Canada does.


SNL Appearance Good or Bad for Palin



            Sarah Palin entered the Republican National Convention and immediately brought the crowd to life. Her acceptance of  the vice presidential nominee finally gave some hope to the McCain campaign. Her speech rallied voters more than John McCain's speech. The gap between John McCain and Barrack Obama evened out and the race became a dead heat. The past weekend Sarah Palin appeared on Saturday Night Live. The show saw its biggest audience in 14 years. Palin's skits received laughs and they were the talk of Monday morning.  Palin showed her sense of humor but did the show hurt or help the campaign overall? That question really depends on who you are asking.

            In my opinion it hurt the campaign. The show seemed to make Palin as more of a media mobile rather than a vice presidential candidate. Palin showing off as a celebrity is a bit hypocritical of the McCain campaign since early campaign ads criticized Obama by calling him the world's biggest celebrity. Whether the show will effect the campaign at the poles is anyone's guess. The major audience of SNL are the young voters. It is dislikely that they will be swayed by a SNL episode and if they are will they turn out on November 4th? A Wall Street Journal poll taken after the SNL episode showed a gap between McCain and Obama widening, Obama is now up by 10 percent. Also more people are beginning to view Palin negatively, 47 percent view her negatively and only 38 percent view her positively.

            Palin seemed to ridicule herself and is that what we want in a vice president? Sure it was funny but the humor went to far. Some would say lighten up but honestly can you see someone who makes a complete mockery of themselves as a vice president? This is a serious time for Americans and a candidate should not be joking around on Saturday Night Live. The humor she presented was even border line inappropriate.  The Saturday Night Live episode seemed like a last minute shot at receiving votes, though the attempt is probably going to come up short. It is sad to think that a very serious matter such as a presidential convention is resorting to SNL.  

            This SNL problem only adds to other problems the vice presidential hopeful is facing. She abused her powers by firing a public safety commissioner for refusing to fire her ex brother-in-law and a disastrous Katie Couric interview. Clearly the spark this Maverick brought to the McCain campaign is long gone. She now seems to be a more of a problem to the McCain campaign. As Obama gains voter's support, John McCain has to try and regain states while keeping an eye on Palin. Maybe Governor Palin should drop out of the race and return to SNL for a full time job.


            -The Joker

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Young Voters Say About Their Plans to Vote

The Separation Myth

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This opening section of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution stands to this day as one of the most highly contested laws in our nation’s history, but does it imply the “separation of church and state” as so many in our country currently believe? The answer to that question is yes, but not for the expected reasons. To better understand the concept of “separation of church and state,” the origin of the phrase must be looked into. At our nation’s inception, our founders held a great fear of the nation reverting to the styles of government that were popular in that day’s Europe, which had been deemed undesirable for the highly independent American mentality. These unfavorable styles of government held a common denominator: in all of 18th century Europe, the institution of state churches was present, with the state religion determined by the governing body (usually a monarch). In fact, these state churches had been an integral reason for the migration of many of the colonists who had settled America in the first place. Seeing the people’s desire for religious freedom without government interference, certain founders such as Thomas Jefferson responded to the concerns of the nation in earnest. In his answer to a letter from a troubled Baptist congregation in Connecticut, Jefferson assuaged the Baptists’ notion that the religious freedom of the people would become abridged by a mandated state church. It was in this letter that Jefferson stated that “the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions…” and that a “wall of separation between church and state” had been built in their protection. Clearly, from the background information given above, the phrase “separation of church and state” means none other than the fact that our government is not allowed to mandate a certain faith; it does not imply that religion is something that should not influence the moral governing and lawmaking of the United States. Jefferson’s true intentions for “separation of church and state” can be realized through his actions as President of the United States. Jefferson supported legislation that called for the provision of chaplains for military units and that encouraged soldiers to attend religious services as well as supporting funding to build a church and provide a priest for a group of Native Americans. On top of all of this, Jefferson authored legislation that called for the punishment of Sabbath-breakers. If the phrase “separation of church and state” was truly meant to create the United States as a secular nation, then why did its original author not support that goal himself? It is not that Jefferson desired a secular government that was clearly devoid of religious influence (he, in fact, did the opposite), what Jefferson and the other founders clearly expressed a desire for was a government influenced by the morals of religion where no one was obligated to adhere to a specific government sect. A secular government was not the founders’ agenda, but is now propagated as though it was by many ignorant Americans, including those who claim to be highly educated. Because of this, many Americans believe the incorrect, rather than understanding the intent of the founders and the laws that they created. -reagan 08

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

P.L. South Student Vote - Oct. 27-29

FRONTLINE | The Choice 2008 (full episode) | PBS

It is long, but very good. We may watch some of this in class.

Vote Cory Mathews For Congress? Why Wouldn't You?

***This post is a part of a campaign simulation in Honors Government.

Cory Mathews views on politics make so much more sense than that of J.A. Curley. Everyone of J.A. Curley's views would dig this country into a deeper hole while those of the great Cory Mathews would give us answers and set the bar.
Cory Mathews is looking to build back up our reputation around the world by using diplomacy. But at the same time J.A. Curley is looking to do the opposite by being the champion of democracy around the world. Why? This would aggrivate more and more countries by forcing them to do something they don't want to. Cory has the right outlook on foreign policy.
Everyone makes mistakes in life, when they do commit a crime and desere to be punished, why kill them for making a mistake? Everyone deserves a second chance. Making that mistake may turn them around and get them back on the right track. This is what Cory Mathews thinks, give criminals the opportunity to start over giving them the ability to obtain jobs. Now on the other hand, J.A. Curley thinks the opposite. She is for the death penalty and killing criminals for messing up. Voting Cory to congress would give them a second chance, to succeed on the streets.
Global warming is a major issue in the world today. Day by day, global warming grows into a bigger and bigger problem. Cory Mathews thinks this is the biggest issue facing the envireonment. To Cory, this is to be dealt with first. While J.A. Curley is too rapped up in using natural resources in benefits for corporations, Mathews is trying to save the world.
And last but not least, by eliminating poverty, it would rebalance our economy and society. But our social services do not affectively help eliminate poverty. There needs to be something done and quickly or we wouln't be able to control our crime rate, homelessness, and hunger.
When you hit the polls, do the right thing. Vote Cory Mathews for Congress!

JA Curley

**This post is part of a campaign simulation in Honors Government.

J.A. Curley, or more commonly known as Jessica Curley, is a hard working Republican Candidate that is hoping to get your vote for a seat in the House of Representatives. Mrs. Curley is 48 years old and the Founder/CEO of Omaha Steaks, Inc. She has a husband of 14 years named Will, and two children, one named Jackson, who is six and the other is named Emma, she is twelve. Curley was born and raised in Nebraska and went to Creighton University to study business. Jessica Curley has never run for office, but calls herself a “citizen’s legislator,” and is confident she can full-fill your needs as a member of the House of Representatives.
Jessica Curley is the perfect candidate for this election because she is a middle-class working woman who is also focused on family and the issues that Americans are facing at home. She believes that immigration can be a good thing when it is legal and the immigrants have a purpose serving our country, but disagrees with illegal immigration which can result in them taking away much needed jobs from honest Americans. Another strong belief noted by Curley is her views on the war in Iraq. She believes that it is our job to stay in Iraq until it is safe again from terrorism for the sake of the Iraqi people. Curley stands for strong criminal justice and capital punishment, and she does not tolerate crime. She strongly believes that poverty only exists because of lazy people and the choices they make. Her views are strong and to the point, her beliefs are fair and meet our country’s demands well, and her values are your values.
Jessica Curley has worked for everything she has, while still managing a family of four. She knows what it is like to go through tough times, but now she wants to be elected into a position in which she can help struggling families. In the words of Jessica Curley, “Your values are my values and your needs will be met with me, as your congress- women, your representative, and your friend.”

Joe The Plumber

The first Joe the Plumber Ad by John McCain.

Barack in St. Louis:

The estimates for this crowd, according to the Barack Obama site, is around 100,000 people.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How Parents View Their Childrens Health Habits

I thought this video had some interesting things to add to our discussion about healthy habits and eating. When parents don't set limits for their children's diets, should the school step in and only offer healthy options? Very interesting video, I think you will like it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Bailout Was One Big, Bad, Corrupt, and Expensive Mistake.

By now, you all should've heard about how the US Government is going to spend $700 Billion of your tax payer money bailing out large, failing banks such as Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, and AIG. Many politicians argued that this was a good move because it would prevent the economy from sliding further into a recession. Look at the market now… But they didn't tell you the full story. The bailout bill wasn't 700 Billion dollars; it was over 800 Billion Dollars. You know what that extra $100 Billion is…EARMARKS! Our politicians, both Democratic and Republican, said from the beginning, that this bill would be bi-partisan. It wasn't. Our politicians saw this as a great opportunity to get their "Special Interests" passed. They knew that every vote counted, so what they basically said is: I won't vote for this bill unless my interest is in the bill. So, in this pretty critical bill, members of Congress and the House let them have their way. This, to me, showed that they took advantage of their power and didn't really care about anything else besides passing this bill and getting favors in return. So why is there over 100 Billion extra dollars? Let me give you some of the stuff they put into this bill, and who wanted it:

Legislation that, for insurance purposes, equates mental and physical illnesses.

--Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.).

A tax benefit for bicycle commuting.

--Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).

Extension of the solar tax credit.

--Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.)

Extension of the research and development tax credit that is important to the high-tech industry.

--Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.)

(By the way, this guy lives in the state that is home to Microsoft.)

Extension and expansion of tax breaks to promote energy conservation and renewable energy.

--Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.)

(By the way, this guy is the co-chair of the House Renewable Energy and Efficiency Caucus.)

Also, let's not forget about the totally necessary tax break for Hollywood studios that film in the US and those absolutely necessary manufacturers of wooden toy arrows.

But hold on for a second, didn't George Bush in the beginning of the year say he would veto bills that include earmarks? How come all of a sudden, he goes against his word. Now, we can't trust our Congressmen and or President. But wait, there is more. Now I'll talk about Henry Paulson. (The Current Treasury Secretary)

Remember when Lehman Brothers failed? Do you know why the government let them fail while bailing out other large banks? (Especially AIG) Well, Henry Paulson was the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs, through the years, had done extensive business with AIG. (Which Failed) So, being that Paulson had a large amount of money in his former company, he knew that if he let AIG go, Goldman Sachs would lose millions upon millions of dollars. (Which would affect Paulson) In the end, that is why AIG survived and Lehman didn't.

Corruption…yes. Why didn't the media report this! He should be kicked out of his job NOW.

So now we can't trust our Treasury Secretary, Congressman, CEO's, and our President.

In conclusion, the government should have no say in how a company is run. It's none of their business. If a business fails, it fails. No matter how large or small the company is. Especially in this case where these banks gave out loans to people, who they knew, couldn't afford it. That is bad business, and they should have paid the full price for their mistakes. Now we, the financially stable, have to pay big time for these companies' mistakes. It would be better for the economy and the people if we just let capitalism run its course. Look at the recent deal with Wells Fargo buying Wachovia. Allowing good, financially stable companies buy these failed companies is a good thing. It kind of scares me that our government is taking over businesses. Is this bailout moving towards socialism, maybe, maybe not? But our government is becoming bigger, and bigger is not always better.

-The non bright lamp

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Be a Smart Voter

People today are often voting while not fully understanding where change occurs and by whom. People see a Republican and say, "Oh no! Bush is a Republican so we need a Democrat in office next if we want change." They fail to realize that even the next President might be of the same party; every candidate is different and has different priorities for his term. Also, voters today do not realize that the president is not in total control. Congress balances him out, as does the Supreme Court. Therefore, while a Republican is currently in the Oval Office, he is countered by a Democrat-controlled Congress. Congress is sometimes in opposition of what the president wants, and sometimes pursues its own agenda for the country.

Another reason people often vote for the wrong reasons are because they see a face or hear a name they recognize and vote for them. They like the image of that person, but do not pay attention to what that person really stands for or the issues they support. For example, opening borders, pro-life/pro-choice, or giving money earned by one to others who do not work at all. These are the issues the people should know before they vote. Often people do not take the time to listen to the debates or research who is running. This occasionally results in the election of people who are not suited for their job.

Join Mr. Keller at 8 p.m. for the Final Presidential Debate

Electing a President in Common Language

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mudsling:A Dirty Campain

Mudslinging is the practice of making unscrupulous, malicious attacks against an opponent, as in a political campaign. As the 2008 campaign is less than a month away mudsling is in full swing.

Personally, I don't think that mudslinging is a legitimate tactic. Downgrading another opponent only shows weakness on your side and portrays that the only way you can win is by making the other side look bad. The candidates aren't just attacking each others thoughts on issues. They also attack their personal lives but about their personal life. Too much attention is focused on these negative attacks, and the voters are being sent the wrong message. This tactic is used by the school bully. Since it should be left out of school it should be left out of the election as well. The media should take most of the blame for all the attention on mudslinging and for focusing on so much negative information. People are taken away from the real issues these candidates stand for. The only thing that results from mudslinging is misinforming the public.

Shortly after Sarah Palin was chosen as John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, she was bombarded with negative criticism about her pregnant teenage daughter. Every news channel had a negative comment to say about how Palin's daughter was going to affect the Republican Party. The media didn't succeed in this attack because even the Democrats agreed that her daughter was an issue that should stay out of the election.

In one of Barack Obama's speeches he said, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," The media took this out of it context and turned it into him calling Palin a pig. Obama was referencing to the quote Palin had previously said, "What is the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!" The emphasis on Obama calling Palin a pig resulted in a decrease for support for Obama.

Currently the Republican Party is behind in the polls which has caused an increase in the mudslinging coming from their side. In a recent republican rally Palin said Obama was one who "would pal around with, and work with, a former domestic terrorist."

This attack wasn't as successful as the Republican Party would have hoped but did confuse the thinking of the public. There has been a strong focus on Obama's background. Besides Palin saying he was linked with terrorist he has also been said to be linked to the Muslim religion and to be unpatriotic, as well as having some other non presidential characteristics. A lady told McCain in a town hall style meeting that she had read about Obama and he was an Arab. McCain corrected her, but she is one of many who have received a mixed definition on who Obama really is because there are so many false stories

The public's perception of the candidates is falsified because of mudslinging and the media's need to feed off false stories revealing demeaning personal stories. The public would have an easier and more educational voting experience if the candidates would focus simply on their issues. People can relate to what they stand for but don't have the time to figure what accusation is true or stretched from the truth.

On the Issues, Clear Strengths Emerge

Monday, October 13, 2008

No Religion in the U.S.

Some Americans are trying to get rid of religion in the United States. But are they overdoing it? There are many examples of attempts to remove religion from daily life.
The Pledge of Allegiance should omit the words "under God" because an atheist group in California stated that this infringed on their right of freedom of religion. They claimed that it wasn't right "to have their government and its agents advocating for a religious view they each specifically decry."
There is a dispute as to whether or not public schools should allow religion in them. The whole issue could be avoided if taxes went for Christian as well as public schools. Thirty percent of taxes go to education, but this money does not go to fund Christian schools. These schools make up 16% of all schools in the U.S. The reason why there are so many Christians in public schools is because the tuition at Christian schools is too high, while tuition at public schools is paid by taxes. So if Americans want to run their mouths about no religion in schools, then their tax dollars should go to pay for Christian schools, just as Christians' tax dollars go to public schools.
Let us take a look at how religion is affiliated in everyday life. Here are just a few examples besides that of the use of "under God" in the Pledge. "In God We Trust" is printed on all U.S. currency. Another is the use of Christian Holidays like Christmas. The hardest of all of these to get changed are the names of several major cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Antonio, just to name a few. Well, if people would look a little closer, what does each of these mean?...Los Angeles-The Angels, San Francisco-Saint Francis, and San Antonio-Saint Anthony. These are Christian affiliated names.
75% of the United States population is Christian. So how can the government rule against something that over 75% of the population is for? It is simple. You can't.
If these complaints against religion were granted, then instead of the government having 25% or less of the American population fighting for their religious rights, then they will have the other 75% of the population wanting their religion rights to be granted. So what can the United States do to try to make this country as nonreligious as possible? Nothing. It is impossible to make both sides happy.
      -Happy Gilmore

Political Cartoon-Pat Bagley

2nd District up for grabs?

Published Monday October 13, 2008
Race For the White House: Independents grow in numbers, clout

Since the 2004 presidential election, the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District has become less Republican and more independent.

And although thousands of Democrats have been added to the voter rolls since January, that party's share of the electorate in the 2nd District was unchanged from four years ago. That's as of Oct. 8.

The addition of 5,000 independents underscores the importance of those voters as the district shapes up as a battleground in the presidential race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

"Nebraska is just like most areas of the country," said Eric Van Horn, a spokesman for the Nebraska Democratic Party. "The independents, if they swing hard one way or another, they're the ones who will determine the election."

After decades of being ignored, Omaha and the 2nd District are finally garnering some attention in a fall presidential campaign.

It began when Obama announced in the summer that he planned to compete for one of Nebraska's five electoral votes.

Obama has established three offices in Omaha, with the help of paid staffers and volunteers. The 2nd District consists of Douglas County and a slice of Sarpy County.

Republican John McCain has not set up an office here, but he scored points with the GOP base last week when his vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, made a quick trip into Omaha for a rally.

There has been a flurry of election activity in the district, with both parties working hard to register new voters and canvass neighborhoods.

The percentage of 2nd District voters who identify themselves as independents rose by 2 points since fall 2004, while the number of Republicans dropped by 2 points, according to Oct. 8 voter registration numbers supplied by Douglas and Sarpy County election commissioners.

Douglas County has added 10,000 Democrats to the rolls since Jan. 8, but that fact is less extraordinary than it may appear at first blush.

First, many of those voters registered to participate in the Democratic Party's high-profile caucuses in February. And second, many others were returning Democrats who had registered as Republicans in 2006 to vote in the GOP gubernatorial primary between Tom Osborne and Dave Heineman, said Kris Pierce, executive director of the Douglas County Democrats.

"We've had to work to get those back," Pierce said.

In 2004, Democrats accounted for about 38 percent of registered voters in the 2nd District, a percentage that was unchanged as of Oct. 8.

In raw numbers, however, both Democrats and Republicans have lost registered voters since 2004. Republicans dropped the most, about 10,000. Democrats lost about 3,000. A big chunk of the drop was due to the purging of registration files.

The numbers won't be final until later this month. Hundreds of new voter registration requests continue to be filed daily with local election commissioners. The postmark deadline to request voter registration by mail is Friday. The in-person deadline to register is Oct. 24.

Democrats say that although their share of registered voters was unchanged, they still think they have a better chance with independent voters this year in light of the economic crisis and the unpopular Iraq war.

They also are excited by Obama's candidacy. Unlike in 2004, a presidential campaign is working in Omaha to boost Democratic turnout at the polls, Pierce said.

"This is a different election than any previous election Nebraska has ever seen," Pierce said. "I predict there will be — what's the word I want to use — there will be no-shows on the Republican side."

David Boomer, campaign manager for Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., said Republicans have been on a slight downward registration trend the past four years, but he noted that, as of Oct. 8, the GOP still outnumbered Democrats in Terry's 2nd District by about 12,000 registered voters.

"The district has not become more Democratic; it's become more independent," Boomer said.

He predicted that the GOP will have the edge on Nov. 4 because Republicans tend to turn out at the polls more than Democrats.

About 72 percent of Republicans voted in the 2nd District in 2004, when 66 percent of Democrats cast ballots.

How John McCain could still win

The odds are long for McCain, but this is no time for Democrats to embrace irrational exuberance. Here are four ways McCain might be able to turn it around.
By Walter Shapiro

Oct. 13, 2008 |

With Barack Obama holding a consistent 6-to-11 percentage-point lead in all recent national polls -- the stuff of an electoral vote landslide -- the 2008 campaign seems poised to enter its Harry Truman phase. That is the moment when John McCain, like virtually every losing candidate for more than half a century, invokes the ghost of "Give 'em hell, Harry" and the fading memories of a miracle 1948 electoral upset. About the only worse omen for McCain is when Republican talking points start to include the banalities of desperation like, "The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day."

Republicans are already starting to gird themselves for a Nov. 4 debacle. A front-page story in Sunday's New York Times featured GOP leaders lamenting the disarray in the McCain campaign. More ominous for McCain are the results of a secret-ballot survey by National Journal magazine of roughly 100 prominent Republican campaign consultants. Freed from the demands of on-the-record spin, 80 percent of these operatives admitted that it was highly likely that Obama would win the White House. The other 20 percent -- the cockeyed optimists of the GOP camp -- predicted that the election could go either way.

With McCain's prospects dwindling to a point where even Kansas and Oklahoma may soon be dubbed "swing states," the emerging conventional wisdom is that about the only uncertainty left in Campaign 2008 is the racial factor. That may explain why both the Sunday New York Times and the Washington Post ran prominent articles that grapple with the difficult-to-quantify "Bradley effect" -- the purported willingness of some white voters to tell pollsters they are voting for the black candidate when, in truth, they are closet racists unwilling to admit their prejudice. Named after California gubernatorial candidate Tom Bradley, who ran behind published polls in his 1982 Election Day defeat, this controversial phenomenon has become something of a political unicorn -- more often theorized about than actually sighted. Conversely, the telephone polls may also be undercounting the potential Obama margin, since it is difficult to survey younger voters who use only cellphones, and even elevated turnout estimates for African-Americans may err on the low side.

So is it all over but the shouting, as the next drama revolves around picking the Obama Cabinet? Even amid the current rush to electoral certainty, there are still valid reasons for Democrats to contain any irrational exuberance. Here are four factors (none of them based on race) that could still produce a long count on election night or even a McCain presidency.

The volatile voter. It takes a stout soul not to become mesmerized by polls and not to become beguiled into believing that current trends will continue until Election Day. But underdog candidates other than Truman have finished a campaign with dramatic closing kicks before, making up significant ground even without the aid of debate breakthroughs. The reason Hubert Humphrey (1968) and Gerald Ford (1976) are not considered patron saints by laggard candidates like McCain is that they both lost at the wire. Against the backdrop of Vietnam and the third-party candidacy of George Wallace, Humphrey came within 500,000 votes of overtaking Richard Nixon, even though he trailed by 44 to 36 percent in the Oct. 21 Gallup poll. Ford, saddled with the Nixon pardon, trailed Jimmy Carter by a jaw-dropping 62 to 29 percent margin in midsummer and was still behind by 11 percentage points in late September in the Gallup polls. Carter's victory margin turned out to be just 1.7 million votes and 27 votes in the Electoral College. With the shift of a few votes in Ohio and Wisconsin, Ford would've won.

Needless to say, the 1968 and 1976 elections played out in a more leisurely news environment, where most voters got their information from the nightly network news and the morning newspapers. In a YouTube era when even the smallest gaffe (like Sarah Palin daring to appear on ice in Philadelphia, the bitter-sports-fan capital of America) is magnified by constant repetition, it is ludicrous to believe that public opinion will be frozen in amber for the next 22 days. This notion is buttressed by the reality that most public pollsters try to push undecided voters into either the Obama or McCain categories, since no one likes a news headline that reads, "Uncertainty Reigns as Election Day Nears." Of the 13 national polls released this month, 11 showed the "undecided" vote in single digits. A CNN poll, conducted last week, strained credulity (and my own experience talking with voters in swing states like Wisconsin) by putting undecided voters at 2 percent.

The October surprise. Actually, the biggest surprise might be if the financial markets stopped roiling from now until the election. Hard to believe in retrospect that the big economic-panic issue of the summer was $4-a-gallon gasoline and $140-a-barrel oil. Had anyone dared to predict back then that prices would drop below $80 a barrel in mid-October, the glib assumption would have been that this economic turnabout would boost McCain. Instead, it is, of course, a reflection of a far graver crisis than the inflationary burdens of a $100 fill-up.

Seven years after 9/11, it seems both alarmist and in bad taste to speculate about the political fallout from a pre-election terrorist incident. But al-Qaida surprises can come in less lethal packages, such as the election eve 2004 Osama bin Laden tape that may have undermined John Kerry. After the first 2008 debate, in which Obama held his own though the advertised topic was foreign policy, it may be simplistic to believe that McCain automatically would benefit from a national security crisis. Still, if Whirlpool Week on Wall Street has taught the political world anything, it is that stuff happens that is unanticipated by any strategist, pundit or pollster.

Another McCain dice roll. The last time the self-described Arizona "maverick" tried to shake up the election, he melodramatically suspended his campaign to return to Washington to do virtually nothing to ease the financial crisis. This may, in hindsight, be remembered as the 48 hours in which McCain lost the White House, since the whole thing (down to the brinksmanship over participating in the first debate) struck many voters as a political stunt. McCain's prior desperation gambit -- the selection of a "you betcha" Alaska governor as his running mate -- also does not look like the stuff of lasting political genius.

But McCain still has a few gambits that he might try, especially if the alternative were a stinging defeat. Some Republicans wonder if the 72-year-old McCain should make an "I will serve only one term" pledge, so that as president he would be free of all political pressure (yeah, sure) in his effort to reform Washington and confront the deadly earmark crisis.

Even more dramatic (and more politically risky) would be a public repudiation of the presidency of George W. Bush. Such a statement would go beyond code words about leadership, offhand references to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and backward-looking attacks on Donald Rumsfeld's tenure as defense secretary. Of course, a full-throated attack on a president of one's own party is unprecedented during the fall campaign. And it would violate every canon of the Karl Rove playbook about never antagonizing the base (and Rove disciples in the McCain campaign like Steve Schmidt would probably have apoplexy). But it certainly would be a true maverick move -- and would suggest that McCain finally understands why Bush has an approval rating below 25 percent in most recent polls.

Know when to fold them. There are Bush states that have slipped so far out of McCain's grasp that it is folly to waste time and money campaigning in them. The classic example is Iowa, a state that Obama has been organizing since early 2007 and that helped propel him to the nomination. But there were McCain and Palin Saturday in the river town of Davenport, rallying the faithful from both sides of the Mississippi (Obama's home state of Illinois lies on the opposite shore) in a classic lost cause.

But what if, confronted with his fast-fading fortunes, McCain dropped the hubris and concentrated his efforts on the battleground 2004 Bush states that he might still hold if everything broke right: Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. That, of course, would leave McCain in a completely defensive posture -- and shy of 270 electoral votes, unless he could bring in, say, Pennsylvania, from the 2004 Kerry map. But it would be a way to stabilize his flight path as he came in for a landing (McCain style) on a wing and a prayer.

What polling mavens too often forget is that an election is not a computer simulation or a contest decided by the best use of regression analyses in analyzing published data. As a one-time event, all that is required is for a winning candidate to get lucky, very lucky, on Election Day. And a passionate embrace from Lady Luck is probably now the only way that John McCain will ever find himself behind the desk in the Oval Office.

-- By Walter Shapiro

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Change and Experience Labels Still Stick

Why are you supporting either Barack Obama or John McCain?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sarah Palin Song...

Funny and unique Sarah Palin song! Enjoy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Safe Haven Law

There have probably been times where you wish that a sibling of yours would just disappear.  It might have been after they took your iPod and wasted the battery, or maybe wouldn't let you on the computer when you needed to type an essay that was due for the next day.  If you have felt that way, imagine how often your parents might wish you or your sibling would just disappear.  Well, now that wish can come true with the Safe Haven Law.

Nebraska, up until July, was the only state in the United States that did not have a safe haven law, or a law that allowed parents or guardians the legal ability to transfer custody of a child to the state. The safe haven law, in Nebraska, was instituted into law in July.  Since then 16 children, newborn to 17, have been dropped off at various hospitals under the safe haven law (the law applies to children to age 19). Probably the most "famous" case is when a father dropped 9 of his 10 children saying he could no longer care for them.   In other states, the average is 3 infants dropped off per month.  The parents or guardian of these children will not be charged for abandonment.  This law not only allows children from Nebraska to be dropped off, but also other children from other states.  (And, 1 child has been dropped off from Iowa.)

The procedure when a child is dropped off under the safe haven law is as follows.  First, hospital staff asks for any information that the person dropping the child off will provide, like the child's name and medical history.  Then, the child is taken to the emergency room, examined, and then the child protective services and the police are called. After that, the county attorney starts the Juvenile Court process to place the child.  But after this where does the child go?

The state does not have the means to take care of these children.  The foster care system is broken and the only teenager psychiatric ward is at Immanuel Hospital which is inadequate to care for the number of cases in Omaha and surrounding areas.  At the same time, if a parent or guardian is willing to go and drop the child off at a hospital and never see them again, this is an unsafe situation for the child to grow up in because of the possibility of abuse.  Whose fault is it really if a child's behavior is so bad that the parents want to get rid of their child?  Is it really the child's fault or is it the parent's for not raising them correctly?  When parents have a child, it is a big responsibility, and if a parent wants to give up, does the state have to go in and fix their problem for them?  Shouldn't the parents have considered this responsibility before having the child?  Is this a state's responsibility or the parents to take care of children?  But at the same time, how could we really turn a blind eye to the abuse that this law is preventing or stopping?  Don't we need a law that will protect children from abusive relationships?  So how do we deal with these problems?  Do we close our eyes to the problem or try to fix it?  And then do we restrict the age limits of the law and give different means for help?  Or, do we leave the age limits how they are?  And then how do we take care of the children dropped off in result of the law?

The state of Nebraska is considering changing the law's age limits on the children dropped off under the safe haven law, because the surprising number of teenagers is being dropped off but is that enough?  If so many children are being dropped off, is this a law we obviously need or is it being taken advantage of?  The question is what should our action be?

-muddy cleats

Violence Rising?

Violence Rising?
By: squirtle10

Many relationships can be cherished for years, but others can be meaningful in a negative way. A new law in Rhode Island requires that all public middle and high schools teach students about the signs and dangers of dating violence in their health classes. The law is named the Lindsay Ann Burke Act after a 23-year-old who died as a result of being involved in an abusive relationship. Violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or more than 10% of the U.S. population.Texas and Rhode Island are the only two states who currently have passed such an act or law. The law is aimed to teach teens the warning signs of abusive relationship and to make victims feel empowered to get help and leave violent partners. The program focuses on nurturing good relationships as well as avoiding abusive ones, it also focuses that not only can women be in abusive relationships but so can men. I think that this shouldn't be an everyday class but maybe during "TEAM" time once a month spend some time on learning about the signs and warnings of abusive relationships. If schools teach Sex Ed, the problems and effects of drugs and alcohol, they should also be teaching how not be a victim of domestic violence, which is a rising crime in our country. It is now estimated that at least one out three high school and college-aged youth experience abuse at some point in their relationships. More states may begin adopting policies like Rhode Island's, but I personally don't think as a society we are as aware as we should be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A "Cold Cut" in the lunch room

Diet Sodas, baked chips, hundred calorie packs, and reduced portions; these are all the settings the Papillion La- Vista South students were introduced to at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. It was quite a shock for many of them. As complaints flooded to other classmates and teachers, the reasoning found for these changes was said to be because of one of the greatest growing problems in America today; obesity.

As Papillion La- Vista South's staff saw this as a great decision, the students could beg to differ. Of course there were many complaints of their favorite choices being lost, but the most common quote heard in the lunch room by many seems to be "I'm still hungry".

As parents find out about the "change-up" in the lunch room, some were for it and others weren't. The parents for the decision were happy, of course, that their student would have the opportunity to make better and healthier choices.

The parents against this were appalled by the sky rocket of their son's or daughter's lunch bills. As the famous student quote, "I'm still hungry" increases, so do their lunch bills. Students who aren't full at the end of their meals often go back into the lunch room. Some go in two, three, or up to four times to buy other lunch items.

Some people are saying that their children are buying things they really shouldn't need such as juice, or tea. But the beverages have been reduced down to smaller portions also. Students can't seem to be satisfied with only a 12oz. bottle. The school must realize that these are high school students we are talking about. This is a time when these teenagers are learning to become more independent and make their own choices. These students know that obesity is a rising problem in America and that it is in their hands to deal with it as they will. With that, these students should be expected to be capable of making the right decisions, or the better choices on their own. They won't always have these "limited options" in their daily lives. Students need to learn from their choices in order to become an adult. Isn't that what high school is all about?

As this problem continues, many people argue the point that without the unhealthier foods there, students won't be tempted to eat as unhealthy and be influenced to make better choices with their eating habits. But how do they know that on their way home from school their teenager isn't going to go through McDonalds? Or even make a Taco Bell run?

As a student of Papillion La- Vista South High School, I hear the ideas and thoughts of many students. And though maybe this may help us to make healthier choices, it's actually taking away our right of choice. The choice doesn't seem to be offered as it once was. Teenagers are taught all through high school of how to make their own, smart choices. As society doesn't sympathize for people to make the "right" choices, neither should our school. I believe that every student should have the opportunity to be able to decide what they would like to eat during their lunch period.



The situation we as a country find ourselves in calls for desperate change. The economy now demands attention at its current state. Other issues thrown around such as welfare and social security can no longer be ignored. So now it comes down to the few weeks before the election that determines the outcome of out country for the next several years. During the four years of our next president's term, many extremely important decisions will be made, and change will occur. What it all boils down to is which candidate has the ability to produce and maintain these changes.
Senator Obama's slogan is all about change. He brags about all the work he has done while being a community organizer and how much his wife does. Michelle Obama works as a VP for a non-profit hospital. According to the Chicago Tribune, "One of her passions, public service work, led her to leave what could have been a lucrative career in law for public service. But making lots of money was never her goal."
This "public service work" at the University of Chicago Hospitals includes charging the uninsured minorities three and a half times as much as people with insurance for the exact same treatment. The hospital earned over $100 million within a year. These earnings gave Michelle Obama $195,000, and a salary of $316,962. Again, this hospital call itself "non-profit." If it wasn't about the money, why would it be accepted? Why would they charge the already poor people such ridiculous amounts? And if the hospital has that money to be used in "non-profit" ways, shouldn't it be used to improve the hospital somehow instead of giving pay raises to the workers?
Note that this is going on in Obama's community, in his family. The healthcare problems are evident, and being a community organizer and all, one would think, and hope, that Obama would be able to make some changes. Problems like this exist all over the country, in which citizens are getting cheated and lied to. The country needs a strong leader who isn't afraid to step up to the plate, face challenges, and make the required changes for the betterment of the people. Is Obama really capable of doing that for the whole country if he fails to accomplish that task on a much smaller scale in his own community?

-koopa troopa

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Government Funding for Athletic Stadiums

When watching many sporting events throughout the week, one may notice all
of the beautiful stadiums and facilites that these games or contests are
being played at. Some of these venues are historic and have a lot if
history in them, such as Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox, Wrigley Field
for the Chicago Cubs, Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, Soldier
Field, home of the Chicago Bears, Madison Square Garden for the New York
Knicks, and many others that can be thought of as well. There are also many
new and very modern and state of the art venues that teams compete at now a
days as well. Some examples include Nationals Park, home of the Washington
Nationals, the University of Phoenix Stadium, which plays host to the
Arizona Cardinals, and Cisco Field, home of the Oakland Athletics, as well
as many other teams and universities that are in the planning or building
stages for new stadiums as well, like the new Yankee Stadium and City Bank
Park, which will play host to the New York Mets next season. The
debate that is heating up about these stadiums is whether or not the
cities in which they are built should have to provide funding to build
the stadiums or should the teams themselves have to pay for all of the

If a professional athletic team is going to put their name on a
stadium and call it theirs, doesn't it only seem fair that they then
pay for all of the funding needed to build the stadium? I can
understand a city paying a team, or giving them incentives, to come
and build their stadiums in a certain city, if it is what the citizens
of that city want, but to pay for a large quanitity of the total cost
of the new stadium is just crazy. There are many other things that
the tax payers of that city can be using their money for besides
helping to fund millions of dollars in a stadium, that many of the
citizens may never go to a single game at. For instance, the city of
Arlington, Texas has paid over $325 million for the building of the $1
billion dollar stadium (, and the city of New York
has paid over $350 million of the $1.3 billion project which is due to
be completed by next season. (WORLD Magazine). Should the citizens of
these cities be responsible for paying their tax money and putting it
toward a state of the art stadium as these, or should they be using
all of that revenue for something that is better for the economy in
their city? I don't think that the city shold be responsible at all
for providing funding for these venues. The teams themselves have
enough money and funding coming in that they can afford the expence of
these new stadiums. If at the time that a team wants a new stadium
they can't afford the expense, they should have to wait and save the
proper funds to build a new stadiums. It is crazy to think that these
big teams with millions and billions of dollars in profit and budget
should make these cities pay for their billion dollar stadiums and

Making a city pay millions and millions of dollars in tax revenue to
go toward a new stadium for a team in the city is a lot to ask of
cities these days with they way the economy is going. The cities
should be able to spend tax revenue in other ways than to be forced to
put it toward the building of a team's stadium. The teams are who is
making the big money off of these stadiums anyway. The teams get
money from the tickets, concessions, programs, and anything else that
can be sold at a sporting event. With all the money that a team can
make from each game, it might only take a few years to save for a new
stadium, instead of wanting go build a new one right away and asking
for the city and its citizens to pay millions of dollars for the
building costs. I think that cities and their citizens should stay
all out of the funding for these stadiums, and the teams should be
held responsible for the funding for their own stadiums. They are the
ones that are going to use them and play games there, so they should
be the ones that have to pay for the building costs of them.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Universal Healthcare: Harmful or Helpful?

A big topic today is the topic of free universal health care for everyone in the U.S. The name is misleading because a completely free universal health care system will probably end up being worse than the system we have now. For example, the government is the entity that picks up the bill for universal health care by using revenue generated by taxes. To keep up with the current programs, the government would have to raise taxes. In the end, we still end up paying for everyone's health care. Now imagine that you are physically fit and only go to a doctor once a year. How would you feel if you ended up paying for the health care of those who abused their body and go to a doctor every week because of what they did to themselves?

Additionally, you would find the waiting lists for an operation would get longer and longer because now the health care is free for everyone. Some people will go to the doctor if they have a cold because we dont have to pay any more for our doctors visits. For example, Canada adopted a universal health care system and now it takes months to get a potentially "life-saving" operation.

If universal health care was so good, then why would Canadians come across the border into our country just to pay for an operation they could get for free in Canada? Will covering everyone under a single health care system actually solve the problem of the health care system or will the issue take a much different solution?

Food for thought.


Live Debate Blog with Mr. Keller at 8 p.m.

Economic Bail Out!

Change Candidates?

When you are filling out a job application or applying for a scholarship, whoever you are applying to does not get to see you until an interview or some sort of meeting is held. On paper, everyone is equal. So why do they ask for your race?

            It is understandable that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has laws to protect minorities and hinder racial discrimination but is it going too far when there is a quota? If there are 5 jobs open, shouldn't the top 5 candidates get the job? But what if a racial quota is set up so that one of those five has to be Hispanic and one has to be African American? They might not be in the top 5 most qualified for the jobs. The opposition is equally important and right, the top 5 candidates may have one minority but may not get the job they are applying for because of racism. So why do they draw attention to race at all? It's obvious, discrimination is everywhere and stereotypes are a huge contributor to racial discrimination. But how do stereotypes get established?

            Why do you think they ask for your race on your standardized tests and surveys? So you can be a number. Part of some sort of statistic to say that Asians scored lower than African Americans, but Hispanics scored higher than whites. Why does it matter? Is it right to be asked your race on any survey? You become a number to support a stereotype. Think back a couple weeks when you read the hurricane Katrina article in Mr. Keller's class.. It specifically called out that African Americans were not evacuated. But were all whites evacuated? Were Hispanics evacuated? No. The fact that most were African American is irrelevant to the point. Everyone should have been evacuated, and that's the idea that SHOULD be implemented. There is no need to draw attention to race, they are all people. So should you be asked for your race on any survey or application and why does it matter?



Last Friday a revision to the bail out bill was passed in the House of Representatives and later signed and approved by the president. It was a 700 Billion dollar deal to try and rebuild the nations economy. Terry Baldwin a U.S. republican stated "she supported the bill because without action America could fall into a severe depression." She also said, "do believe Congress needed to act, and has, in a responsible way that responds to the immediate crisis and takes steps to prevent such greed and mismanagement from ever happening again." On the other side of the spectrum many of the people that voted against the bill said that giving the government the right to spend more money is not what we need to do. They also think people are relying to heavily on credit and no one is worse about these things than the government itself. The bill is intended to reach out and help the banks that have given out loans on houses that people have bought and could not afford. The bail out will put a temporary halt on these issues so that we have time to recover from the mistakes we have made.


            I believe that this will give us time to try and recover and learn from our mistakes. However I do not believe giving the government money to do this is also a poor idea. If i was able to vote on the bill I would vote against it. We need to pass a bill that puts laws and restrictions on what the banks give loans on, but not give them more money to try and just fix old mistakes. 



Palin Criticizes Obama's 'Terrorist' Connection

Barack Obama on John McCain

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wounded Warrior Project

This is probably going to be our fundraising project for our school to honor those who have served around Veteran's Day. Start thinking how you could give.

Fact Check.Org on VP Debate

Full Vice Presidential Debate with Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Paid For Good Grades

     While it is not uncommon for parents to reward their children when they bring home good grades, lately, across the U.S., select school districts are paying their high-achievers for them. Good grades are literally paying off in Arkansas, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington in an effort to get students interested in their classes. But, by basically bribing students, is it teaching them that everything comes along with a price tag? Not everything in life gets you a check. Students should be motivated to get good grades, so they can get a good paying career in the future. If they're not willing to work hard now, they won't be able to get what they want later. Instead of using money as bait to get students in challenging classes to do well, the government should invest it into programs that will actually help them out in the long run, or teachers who know how to make a subject interesting.
     As a high school student, I would love to get paid when I achieve good grades, but there's a part of me that can't help but think this seems wrong. While I see the idea and the benefits that come out of it, I know the lengths some would go to to get the good grade and the reward that accompanies it. There is no certain way to know who all is being honest and dishonest, or who actually deserves the money and who doesn't.

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