Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Next Governor...? (Post #14)

This evening the first California gubernatorial debate took place. If you watched it, you may have noticed that there were only two candidates standing up there--Meg and Jerry. However, there are four other candidates representing the Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom and American Independent Parties also running for governor. Why weren't those candidates invited to the debate? Are they not invited because they have no chance of winning, or do they have no chance of winning because they are not invited to said debates? Here are the websites for ALL of the candidates.

Jerry Brown
Meg Whitman
Laura Wells
Dale Ogden
Chelene Nightingale
Carlos Alvarez

Which candidate appeals to you? Who would you vote for governor? Did you watch the debate? What did you think? Is there too much emphasis on image and not enough on substance?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Looking at the November Ballot: Proposition 23 (Post #13)

Californians will be voting on nine propositions in November. The focus of this blog post is Proposition 23 which, if passed by a majority vote, would freeze the state's movement to curb greenhouse gasses until the state's unemployment rate reaches 5.5% (or lower) for a full year. Proponents of the proposition argue that jobs are more important than addressing the abstract concept of climate change. Opponents of this measure, which include both major party candidates for governor, say that desperate action needs to be taken to address our dire climate issues.

Ultimately, this proposition is a referendum on climate change. Do we need to take action to address climate change or is it a scientific scam to keep business from making a profit? What are the opportunity costs and trade-offs of doing nothing about climate change? Should these decisions be made by popular vote of citizens?

Please cite your sources where necessary and keep your comments within the bounds of civility and good taste. Be sure to cast your vote in favor or opposed to this measure.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

San Quentin Readies Refurbished Death Chamber (Post #12)

The death penalty is a very controversial issue and is in the news again. A brand new death chamber has been recently built at San Quentin Prison near San Francisco at a cost of $825,000. The current economic conditions in the state of California make this expenditure questionable at best. What is your opinion on that matter? There are many others issues surrounding the death penalty like; is this a form of cruel and unusual punishment? Does the state have the right to take a life? Is the death penalty an effective deterrent to violent crime?
Please always respect others and their opinions when you blog.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Route to Citizenship in Defense Bill (Post #11)

On Saturday the Wall Street Journal published an article about David Cho a student at UCLA and an illegal immigrant from South Korea who arrived in the U.S. twelve years ago at the age of nine. Mr. Cho is one of the 825,000 illegal immigrants who may gain american citizenship through the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors bill—informally known as the Dream Act. This act would give illegal aliens who came to the U.S. by the age of 15 and who had been in the U.S. for five years and graduated from high school legal residency for six years in return for two years of college or military service during that time. At that point the young person would be eligible for citizenship. Proponents of this bill argue that it would help military recruitment by adding patriotic soldiers and benefit the country as a whole by adding educated population. Opponents think this bill is a thinly veiled amnesty bill. What do you think? Would this bill help the military and america as a whole. Does service prove loyalty? Commitment to becoming a citizen? Does immigration policy belong in a defense bill? Could this be political theatre to gain votes in the coming midterm elections?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

President's Spech to Students (Post #10)

On Tuesday, President Obama gave his second address to K-12 students across the country. Last year, many teachers showed the speech in class and much controversy was made nationwide, with some parents opting to have their students stay home and not watch the event. Watch this year's video below (it's 20 minutes long, so you can jump around to get the idea, speech really starts at about 5:30 in). The written transcript is available if you have video or audio problems.  The message again this year is individual responsiblity.

Think about what it means for you as a student.  What it means for your younger siblings and cousins, your future children, and those growing up around you who are going to make up the adult population in the future.

Just freely share your thoughts on the topic of what it means to have personal responsibility and the importance of education.

Focus on the words and not so much the person

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Drug Testing in Schools (Post #9)

In the famous New Jersey v. TLO case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled schools have the right to search students and their possesions without a warrant if the search is necessary for the maintaining of order and safety.  Recently, a Shasta school district was prevented from drug testing students involved in extra-curricular activities including sports, choir, and clubs, randomly.  The California Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution includes the right to privacy and drug testing is a violation of the right.  The U.S Supreme Court, however, has ruled that schools may drug test randomly.  Share your thoughts including those in the questions below.

Do minors have the right to privacy, when the school seeks to discover if illegal actions have taken place (not directly refrring to drug testing in this question)?

Is something taken from a person's body and tested more private than their possessions?

Why do courts allow schools to drug test athletes only, but not these other groups, too?  Should there be any difference?  And what about students who are involved in no school activities, do they have more rights to privacy than student athtetes?

Do you know that your cars in the parking lot can be legally searched by school personnel if a sign were posted warning you?  Thoughts on this?

Why can California law be different from the laws in other states?

Make sure to post your responses by 8:00 AM Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nine-Year Anniversary of 9/11. Where are We Now? (Post #8)

Nine years ago this Saturday, 19 terrorists hijacked four airlines in the US and crashed them in acts of violence. Two of the planes struck the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York, a third hit the Pentagon in Virginia and the fourth crashed into an open field in Pennsylvania after the passengers tried to take over the plane. About 3,000 people were killed that day.

What does the ninth anniversary of these attacks mean to you?

Are you comfortable with how the U.S. responded? Are we safer today? Did the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq pay off? Was the Patriot Act, a law that gives the government broad powers to watch over us, helpful in reducing terror?

Today, Americans are debating whether a Mosque should be built a few blocks from ground zero? Would that be a mistake? Why?

What is the appropriate way to honor the fallen and still respect the religious practices of fellow Americans? Where do we go from here? How should we do tribute to the fallen of 9/11, protect ourselves, and still respect the rights of fellow Americans and uphold the Constitution?

Please be respectful and civil in your responses. Provide links to your sources, when necessary.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Balancing Local Control with State and Federal Government (Post #7)

One of the enduring debates in the history of the United States is how much power the federal government should have versus how much power state or local government should have. This debate over the balance of power between states and the federal government resulted in a civil war that cost over 600,000 US lives. It also made for contentious debate over the role of the federal government in ensuring civil rights to blacks during the 20th century.

The debate over local control has come to Galt as well. The city of Galt has asked that the Wellness Center that operated as a medical marijuana dispensary shut its doors. The city of Galt went so far as to ask the Sacramento Superior court to issue an injunction forcing the business to close.

Should an issue like medical marijuana be handled at the local level like the city of Galt thinks it should? Should it be handled by the state government in Sacramento so the state itself has a uniform policy? Keep in mind that the federal government already has a provision in place outlawing medical marijuana. Additionally, the Supreme Court has ruled (Gonzales v Raich, 2005) that under the commerce clause the federal government has every right to prohibit local sales of marijuana even if the state has already allowed its use.

So how should our country handle an issue like medical marijuna? Should each local government make the decision? Should each state make a uniform policy or does the federal government have sufficient knowledge to make a law that impacts us in Galt? What would be best policy for our society? A uniform "war on drugs" policy from Washington, DC? A state-wide policy or a local decision? What is most fair to the citizens of the US/state/city of Galt? What is most democratic? Does the federal government have too much control as is?

Be sure to post before Wednesday at 8:00am and cite any sources used.