Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Judge Rules against Oklahoma law (Post #26)

The First Amendment to the Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Supreme Court has ruled that states as well cannot pass laws that violate the 1st Amendment.

On Nov. 2, Okalhoma voters passed SQ755 (similar to our propositions) by a vote of 70 to 30 percent.  The slogan of "Save Our State" was used by supporters for the law which would require Oklahoma courts to "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases" and "forbids courts from considering or using" either international law or Islamic religious law, known as Sharia, which the amendment defined as being based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

A Federal judge has issued a permanant injunction (stop) against the law that you can read about in this article.  Sharia law is used in many muslim countries and many of its aspects violate federal and state laws.  Politicians in Oklahoma are upset by the ruling and many claims are being made by both sides of the issue.  The U.S. Supreme Court could eventually hear the case.

The questions are:
Can religion currently be used as an excuse to break laws that by themselves do not discrimnate against religions? (for example: polygamy, drug use, rape)
Can states pass laws that target a particular religion?
What was the purpose of this law in Oklahoma?  Was it necessary to pass?  Are you surprised that voters passed it?
Do you believe the law violates the first amendment and why?
If the law is not a violation, what kind of precedent does it create for other states?

Post your responses by 8:00AM Friday

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Conflict in the Koreas (post #25)

In 1953, an armistice was signed to end the fighting of the Korean War.  The two nations share a history, ethnicity, and language, but are separated by a heavily patrolled border and two very different governments.  The U.S. has accused the North of seeking to build nuclear weapons and has bases in South Korea and Japan.  The North has strong relations with China, today the world's other superpower, besides the U.S.  Their leader Kim Jong-il's has named his son, Kim Jong-un, as the next ruler.   Last Tuesday, North Korea attacked a South Korean island killing four and forcing an evacuation.  No further fighting has occurred, but tensions are high and other countries could become involved.  The North has one of the world's largest militaries and far exceeds that of South Korea.  Read this link for more info or watch the video and then answer the question below.

If North Korea were to attack again, what position should the United States take?
Consider, we are friends and trading partners with South Korea and Japan and are their main military protector.
North Korea has tested nuclear weapons and may be capable of short range attacks.
China is allied with North Korea and assisted them against us in the Korean War.
We are still fighting in Afghanistan (which also borders China) and have troops in Iraq.
Wars are expensive and we have a large budget deficit.
Explain why you believe we should be involved or not and in what way.  Remember human lives are at stake in any war, both U.S. soldiers and citizens of other nations, so be considerate in your comments.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rep. Rangel Guilty of Breaking 11 House Rules (Post #24)

Yesterday New York House Of Representatives member Charles Rangel walked out of an house ethics hearing in which he was found guilty of almost all the charges against him for all sorts of financial issues from misspent campaign donations to accepting vacation gifts (see article here). He has no plans of stepping down and was just re-elected for his twentieth term by a huge margin. At what point should a politician step down? How many mistakes will the voters accept? Are these just political shenanigans? What do you think? Is Rangel an extreme example of what voters will accept or have the voting public's standards dropped so much?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cheerleader Suspended Over Facebook Photo (Post #23)

Should a high school administration suspend a cheerleader over a picture of her at a wedding with a beer in her hand? The student and her parents argued that she was not even the person holding the beer but the other young lady in the photograph with her. The school administration cites school athletic policy regarding drug and alcohol possession. Three basic opinions arise in the video clip, the example cheerleaders set as role models, privacy, and the complete lack of privacy. What do you think? Please be respectful of others and their opinions when you blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

California Governor Exit Polls: Examining the Data (Post #23)

On Tuesday Nov. 2, Jerry Brown won for the 3rd time as California Governor, 28 years after he last served.  Voters across California were questioned as they left the polls on Tuesday and provided us with some insight into who voted for Brown and who voted for Meg Whitman.  Click on the exit poll data and check it out.  There are three pages of quite a bit of data.  Check out race, education, income, gender, party affiliation and any other data you consider useful.

Show your ability to analyze and draw conclusions by identifying which groups supported Brown and which groups of voters supported Whitman.  Look at all 3 pages as to fully see all the trends.
Now with Brown winning and getting most support, look where Whitman was strongest and where Brown was strongest. 
Do your best to explain why those particular groups gave each candidate support.  Use your knowledge of the parties, consider what the groups have to gain from either candidate, and do some logical assumptions if you have to.  If you look at all the data it should become clear.
Be sure to give complete thoughtful answers, not just a quick response to the first piece of data you see or a copying of someone else's comments.

Responses due by Friday.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Proposition 19 The legalization of Marijuana (Post #22)

On Nov. 2, California voters will decide if they want marijuana use to be legal in California.  The Sacramento Bee has a series of articles on the issue. Click on one or more of the following topics and share your thoughts.  Make sure to identify which article(s) you read.

Marijuana Vote Watched Closely South of the Border
Head of medical marijuana physicians decries Prop 19
Governor signs marijuana decriminalization bill
If price drops, future may be hazy for California pot workers
Will Attorney General candidates defend prop 19?  Don't expect "yes" or "no".
Subjects of 'The Social Network' donate to marijuana measure
Stephen Colbert: Prop 19 'Most Popular Candidate in California'
As Latino group endorses Prop 19, Mexican leader decries it
Ex-DEA chief: Prop 19 backers 'smoking somthing' in tax pitch
Rand: Prop 19 hurts Mexican traffickers only if state exports pot
Battles over medical marijuana still stirring across California
Comic identifies symptoms of pot paranoia: 'Arresting people'
Pot legalization group pitches a revived California in the green
New Proposition 19 ad declares 'War on marijuana has failed'
Can Soros and his $1 million light up Proposition 19 comeback?
CalChamber radio ad depicts Reefer Madness in the workplace
Husband and wife medical pot providers spar over local taxes
Pot backers air Comedy Central ad, dress up for 'Sanity' rally

Remember to post your response by 8:00AM wednesday morning