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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Got Haloscan!

I finally got Haloscan comments! I have been trying everything I could think of for ages and nothing was working. I suspect that the problem was either that I had altered my blog template, or that I, in one of my unique moments of stupidity, messed up the system by deleting the post that Haloscan puts on your blog before it was time to do so. Either way, I am glad that the frustration has ended.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

More on Prop 73

If you haven't yet read my first post on Prop 73, please do so here.

The "Campaign for Teen Safety" organization opposed to Prop 73. But it is not just the name that is misleading. On their blog, they have "one teenager's story". You can read it for yourself, but in summary the entry says this:

The teenager writing the blog post has a friend who once got a B in a class at school. When the friend brought the report card home, her parents started yelling at her and told her to get out of the house. The friend lived at the blog-writer's house for a couple weeks and showed the bruises on her arm from when "her mother had grabbed her and shaken her while screaming. " Three months later, the friend is pregnant. The blog-writer and the blog-writer's mom had the friend go to Planned Parenthood and have an abortion.

The entry says that "All of this would have been illegal under Proposition 73." It is true that not notifying the parents would be illegal, but once the parents have been notified, it would be legal for the friend to do everything else that she did. Only parental notification is needed, not consent.

The next paragraph states "Without Proposition 73, Kathy [the friend] was able to make a decision with the assistance of a responsible adult, access safe, confidential medical care and counseling, and leave the medical office with the tools to protect herself in the future. She also, with the help of my mom, Planned Parenthood and our school counselors, sought joint counseling with her parents to remedy her situation at home. With Proposition 73, Kathy would have been forced to tell her parents - the very same parents who kicked her out of the house with bruises for getting a B on her report card."

This is false. Kathy herself would not have to tell her parents anything. In fact, as I have said before, Prop 73 allows a minor to petition the juvenile court for a waiver. This proceeding is confidential and usually informal and in the judges' private chambers. If notifying her parents is not in her best interests, she will not have to.

More from the blog: "If she had felt unsafe, Prop 73 opponents say she could have achieved a judicial bypass - but in a town as small as mine, with her father as a lawyer, her case wouldn't have remained confidential and she would have undoubtedly looked for another alternative. She would have avoided legal clinics and doctors, avoided talking frankly and openly with a responsible adult, would have delayed access to medical care and she would have been terrified and alone the entire time. The way I see it, Proposition 73 does nothing to keep teens safe - instead, it puts teens from every socioeconomic class, every race, every neighborhood in every city in California in serious danger."

Although I don't know how small the town mentioned is, the proceedings would in no way involve the lawyer father. I think that it is unfair to assume that just because the father is a lawyer, it would not be kept confidential. At the proceedings, an appointed guardian will assist the girl and also this particular girl could still have had the "help" of the blog-writer's mom, so that "alone and terrified" part is false as well.

So Prop 73 does not endanger the girl. But does it protect further?

In Prop 73, as part of a waiver proceeding, the court must report evidence of abuse to the child protection agency. If Prop 73 was not implemented, the abuse would most likely continue to go unreported. Also, abortion facilities provide a secret, tax-payer funded abortion and they rarely report evidence of statutory rape, sexual abuse or molestation. Think about it. If they suspect abuse and don't tell, the abuse is likely to happen again. And in the cases of rape and other sexual abuse, this will most likely result in more business for them.

Another interesting thing that I just heard today is that minors cannot be sentenced to death because it is believed that they have poor or under-developed judgment. Yet, in our state, they can decide to kill their child.

All in all, the No on Prop 73 organization uses ignorance to convince people to vote the way that they want them to. (I personally think that they just had to revert to the ole' liberal "plan B": make something up that sounds good and hope that no one notices the truth.) However, I hope that all of you who are old enough to vote really research this topic.
So, here is the "No on Proposition 73" website. Here is the "Yes on 73" website and here is the text of the proposition itself.

Monday, September 26, 2005

New Feature

I have added a a poll to Stand Up and Speak Out. This poll is on your opinion of Proposition 73, which I thought would be an interesting topic. So, please share your opinion and vote!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

About Me

My name is Katelyn Sills. (Updated)-- I am a 16-year-old sophomore at Mira Loma public high school in Sacramento. I am in Mira Loma's International Baccalaureate program, which is an honors program that I am hoping to graduate in. Besides having a blog, I am (beginning to be) involved in activities such as the Young Republican's Club, the Junior Statesmen of America, the Christian Club, and Mock Trial. -- I would tryout and play basketball, but then I would hardly be able to get my daily homework done and I wouldn't be able to do anything else. I would also be on the student council, and I was last year, but I got tired of deciding insignificant things like what the Homecoming decorations would be. I also like to play guitar and sing, which I do as part of the music at my church.

I live on an organic farm outside Sacramento. My family grows rice, beans, popcorn, oats, and almonds, among other things. Our family is kind of an oddity being Republican and growing crops organically, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm a conservative and republican, of course. I have been interested in politics from a young age, which I think I learned initially (gasp!) from my parents. But whether I got my interest from them or not, it's definitely not them writing this blog, especially since they don't always agree with me. (Mostly, but not always.) I have worked on the two Bush campaigns, and I even remember myself being disappointed when I heard that Clinton had won when I was about 6. I have to admit that one of the biggest kicks of being a young republican is to be arguing with some liberal online and have them say something like "So why don't YOU run for office" or "Why don't YOU volunteer to go to Iraq" and then you can say that you're not old enough. (I guess they're so used to talking to people with the maturity of 15-year-old that they don't notice or something.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"Your Love Never Changes" by Paul Wright

There is a new song of the "week". I saw Paul Wright play on Labor Day weekend, and it was one of the most fun concerts I have ever been to. Paul Wright plays what might be called acoustic hip-hop or maybe pop. I don't know what it is, but I liked it enough to have bought all of his albums.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

California Proposition 73

Earlier today, the California State Assembly Committee on Health had a hearing on Proposition 73. I was unable to attend, of course, because of school, so I sent the next best thing: my mom.

Proposition 73, according to the hearing agenda, "amends the California Constitution to bar abortion... on an unemancipated minor until 48 hours after a physician notifies a minor's parent or legal guardian, except in a medical emergency or with a parental waiver. Proposition 73 permits a judicial waiver of this notice based on clear and convincing evidence of a minor's maturity or best interests... Proposition 73 requires minors to consent to an abortion inless she is mentally incapable or in medical emergency. Finally the measure permits a minor to seek assistance from the juvenile court if anyone attempts to coerce her into having an abortion."

Opponents to Prop 73 say that minors should tell their parents themselves, but "the government cannot make teens talk to their parents." Hello, are they missing something or what? The teens do not have to talk to their parents; the physicians send a note. A minor detail, but still, you would think that the opponents would strive to be correct in their criticism.

34 states in the US require either parental notification or consent in a minor's decision to have an abortion. In California, I have to have parental consent, not just notification, if I want to go on a field trip. But if I want to kill my child, it's totally fine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Judge rules Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional

Today, a federal court judge ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. According to a San Francisco Chronicle article, the judge said that "the pledge’s reference to 'under God' violated school children’s right to be 'free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.'" The main person behind all of it is Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow (see his website here), whom some of you may know from the first time he tried to do this. That case got thrown out because he "does not have primary custody of his daughter." (from NSBA article). However, this time, he "has found eight like-minded students and custodial parents to act as fellow plaintiffs in his new lawsuit, Newdow v. Congress."

The NSBA article says that there is a "California law requiring school districts to ensure the pledge is being recited in classrooms" and the SF Chronicle article says that "California law requires that public elementary schools conduct 'appropriate patriotic exercises' at the beginning of the school day. " Actually, the SF Chronicle is correct. The State of California Education Code 52720 says (see p. 12) :

"In every public elementary school each day during the
school year at the beginning of the first regularly scheduled class
or activity period at which the majority of the pupils of the school
normally begin the schoolday, there shall be conducted appropriate
patriotic exercises. The giving of the Pledge of Allegiance to the
Flag of the United States of America shall satisfy the requirements
of this section."

And the ACLU says this on their website:

"Do we have to say the Pledge of Allegiance?

No. The courts say that students have the right to sit silently during the flag salute and Pledge of Allegiance as a protest against government policies (such as the death penalty or abolishing affirmative action) or in opposition to the words of the Pledge.

Almost 60 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that a compulsory flag salute (Pledge of Allegiance) violated an individual’s constitutional right to free expression. As long as you do not disrupt the pledge, you may refuse to participate. You do not need your parents’ permission to opt out of saying the pledge."

But if the students are NOT required to say the pledge, and the schools just have to have patriotic exercises, then WHERE IS THE PROBLEM?
SAYING THE PLEDGE IS VOLUNTARY. If you don't like the "under God" part, then DON'T SAY IT!

According to the Rio Linda School District website, "If the appeal isn’t granted by the Supreme Court then school students will have to suspend saying the Pledge of Allegiance or cease including the phrase "under God" when saying the Pledge of Allegiance."
Wouldn't not being able to say the pledge of allegiance or the words "Under God" be much more restrictive and violate more rights?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Children send letter to Bush

I came across this AP article in a local newspaper:

WASHINGTON - Gretchen Mohr has never earned a paycheck, but she knows enough to get worked up about what teachers make. So she wrote to President Bush.

"We couldn't live without them," she wrote. Teachers are "paid like dirt. It's disgraceful."
Strong words from a 10-year-old, but this one had done some homework.

"I saw an article, and it had numbers on how much money each job makes," said the fifth-grader at Alan Shepard Elementary in Long Grove, Iowa. "A tattoo artist made more than a teacher! I just think he should raise their pay a little."

Nearly 4,000 students from every state and the District of Columbia have written Bush to express their hopes and concerns about the country. Their notes have been assembled in what organizers are calling the longest letter in the world. It will be unspooled across half a mile of the National Mall on Thursday.

Handwritten by students who were in the third or fourth grade last spring, the letters address issues that are timely, touching and sometimes troubling.

Armonte Butler of Washington, D.C., asked Bush to stop drug abuse.

"I have people in my neighborhood, a lot of them, in my apartment building, and it's like, we can smell it in the hallways," Armonte said in an interview. The 10-year-old asked for more money for his school and neighborhood. He figured $10,000 would do it.

Lisa Castore of Cranston, R.I., wrote that she wants professional football and baseball leagues for women. She would like better security across the country. "I would like to know, how safe are we really?" her letter says. It also pleads for cleaner air and water.

"Sometimes when I'm walking down the street, I smell really bad smells, and that's really gross," the 10-year-old student at Oak Lawn School said in an interview. "I'm pretty sure that's considered a form of pollution."

What can Bush do about that? "He's probably the most powerful man in America," she said. "If he hears about it, he can do something about it."

One school in every state and in the capital participated in the letter-writing project, sponsored by Pilot Pen Corporation of America. In Kentucky, it was Lakewood Elementary in Cecilia. The children picked their own topics, which included oil spills, taxes, rain forests, parking spots for the disabled, diabetes and smoking.

"We get to see that they're not always worried about Barbies and playing tag. They have serious concerns," said Curt Dudley-Marling, chairman of the elementary education section of the National Council of Teachers of English, which has helped with the project.

"Through writing, they can tell us how they see the world, and that's important," he said.
Colorful copies of the student's letters have been bound into a scroll that will be unfurled on the Mall. The originals will be sent to White House officials, who have not yet seen the letters but have been invited to attend Thursday's unveiling.

Ashley Attaway, 10, of Anderson, S.C., asked Bush: "Please, if you don't mind, when is the war going to end?"

Her grandfather was in the Vietnam War and now she wants all U.S. troops in Iraq to return safely, explained Ashley, who attends Homeland Park Elementary.

She also noted that her grandfather is in his 50s and he's "still here!" That might get a chuckle out of the 59-year-old president -- assuming, of course, that Bush reads Ashley's letter or any of the others.

This is just great. We are teaching our third and fourth graders to complain about the government and to rely on it to make any changes. What happened to self-empowerment and the "you-can-do-anything-if-you-put-your-mind-to-it" attitude? I think that a better school project would be, for example, volunteering to clean the local park if they are concerned about the environment.

Also, it is interesting how the teachers let their students stay so uninformed. I would imagine that there are quite a few people (and probably half of them Democrats!) in the "chain of decision" (or whatever you want to call it) between Bush and the teacher that deserves better pay. Why aren't the students sending letters to them also?

Another thing: what makes them think that Bush has all this power? Do they remember that we still have the senate and congress?

You might think that I am being hard on ten-year-olds, but I am only five years older than them. If they want their problems to be seriously heard, then they must be prepared for serious criticism as well.

So why hasn't Bush done all of these things yet? Maybe it's because he is not a dictator. He is a president. Over the years the Presidential powers have not changed that much, and, for the most part, neither have the issues. If you continue the thinking of the letter-writers, we wouldn't have had any of these problems now if Clinton had only done his Presidential duty.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Just a thought...

In my required sophomore "Morality and Faith" class, we were talking about the "problems with ethics". I thought this was really interesting because I had noticed these problems, but had never known that they had been identified and had a name. One of the ones we talked about and what I think is the biggest problem is ethical relativism. According to my class, this says that everyone's idea of morality is equal because they had different backgrounds. So if you came from a tribe in some jungle that practiced cannibalism, it's alright because you had a different background or was raised differently and can't be held to our standards. But how do we know how different it has to be to be acceptable? Isn't everyone different? If everyone is different, then everyone has different standards, and, according to ethical relativism, they must all be right. The problem with this is that we do not live in a perfect world. Bad things happen, and some of them happen because of people's moral choices. How do so many bad things come from everyone doing what is "right" for their backgrounds? Just something to think about.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sorry about the blurry title. I'm still working on that. I probably won't be blogging for about three days because I am going to a 3-day Christian Rock concert with over 60 bands. I might, however, be doing audio-posts from my cell phone, so watch out for those.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Liberals blame Bush yet again

Instead of focusing on the real problem, liberals have been (yet again) blaming Bush. They say that Bush "appeared a day later than he was needed." But needed for what? And exactly how would an "idiot" help? An editorial in the NY Times says, "He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast."
Ok, so if he shouldn't say what relief has been sent to the Gulf Coast, then what would you liberals like for him to say about it? What is left to say? I would really like to know.

This same editorial mentioned above wonders what Bush meant when he said that (according to the editorial) America "will be a stronger place" after enduring Katrina. Ummm, have you liberals never heard of learning from mistakes? Obviously, most of the Gulf Coast was not prepared for this. But the next time it happens, they will be much better prepared.

Lastly, the editorial says that the hurricane is also Bush's fault because "this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists." How exactly would acknowledging this help? We already can tell that hurricanes have been increasing in their intensity and frequency.

Come on, libs. Enlighten me.