Occupy Protesters Should Go Home

By Alex Kirk –

“Good try, Occupy.”

In numerous cities all over the United States, crowds of protesters have brought tents to set up camp in major parks and other public grounds. According to the New York City General Assembly, they claim to be using their constitutional right to peacefully assemble on public space in order to “create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.”

But what do they expect to happen?

Penn Manor senior Alex Kirk

The protesters say they have been victimized by major corporations, claiming that they have extracted the wealth from the people and the Earth.  They say “we are now in a time where corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.”

The “Occupy” organization has done a fair job of gaining publicity and letting their protests be known, yet they offer no logical solution to the problem they have wasted so much effort presenting.  Nothing has been done to answer the protests because there is no realistic option to solve their pleas.

The United States of America is a nation founded on the principle of a free-market economy. The Constitution does not allow the government to eliminate any corporation on the terms that they “keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media” or ” block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.” Both are forms of competition in the business world and competition is a key part of a market-system that runs on private businesses.  The government cannot control businesses without violating the Constitution and the corporations will not give into any demands simply because there are people exercising their rights by camping out in tents.

With the outbreak of violent crimes at camps in major cities requiring police force, the government is becoming less and less inclined to do anything to help the sorry protesters.

They have used many catchy slogans in attempt to be heard, such as “The 99% will not be silent!” and “We are the 99%.” As protesters continue to camp out despite the approaching harsh, winter months, they should deeply consider taking shelter someplace warm and changing the slogans to: “Time to pack it up, 99%.”

As their efforts remain unsuccessful, protesters should really consider finding a nice, warm place to stay for the winter.

If Michelangelo had to Pass Standardized Tests the Sistine Chapel may have looked very Different

What the Sistine Chapel may have looked like if Michelangelo had to take the PSSAs. Cartoon by Heury Ventura.

The United States Going for Broke?

By Corey Fry –

In 1791, Alexander Hamilton combined the states’ individual debts into one collective federal debt.  This was done as a post-revolutionary war tactic to economically unify the nation.

Now in 2011, this federal debt is threatening to tear the country apart.  As of October 22, 2011, the United States’ gross debt was $14.94 trillion.  The public debt has increased by over $500 billion each year since 2003, and that number is rising every year.

Unless we treat this problem soon, we’re going to be on the same road to economic collapse as Greece and Italy.  The only major action taken this year by the federal government to reduce the deficit was Obama’s Budget Control Act of 2011.  The most significant action of the Budget Control Act was the creation of a “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” (aka. Super Committee).  The job of the Super Committee is to manage all matters relating to the federal deficit.

Corey Fry talks about the national debt crisis. Photo by Eric Scholtzhauer

The Committee, however, has made only minor changes in how the debt is handled.  Their actions so far include: Raising the debt ceiling by $400 billion, and reducing excess spending by government officials.  Over the next ten years, the Committee plans over $917 billion of budget cuts.  But these precautions only scratch the surface of the problem.

Without major reform in how we as a country handle this, the debt will only continue to increase as it is now.  We cannot simply let it grow until we need to raise the debt ceiling again.  The situation is beyond the control of such temporary solutions.

We are roughly $15 trillion in debt and a couple of budget cuts aren’t going to make it go away.  The United States spends much more than its gross income and this is what’s causing the deficit growth.

Our first step as a country is to stop the unnecessary spending.  We can’t afford to keep spending billions more than what the government earns, it’s completely irresponsible.  The nation has to cut back somewhere, or increase their income.  This could mean the removal of government services, such as Social Security and unemployment benefits.

If the nation won’t accept budget slashes, than they’ll simply have to provide the government with more spending money.  Tax increases are inevitable.  We just can’t expect to continue getting all the government services for the same price, it isn’t working.

Something has to give. The public will decide which they prefer, before the Super Committee does it for us.

It Must Be Love

By Amber Brenner-

Every day in school, we see couples roaming the halls, holding hands, clinging to each other, laughing and making all of us single teens want to barf. But we are most certainly NOT jealous. We don’t want that. So for all of you who insist that we are jealous and lonely, leave us alone. We just want to barf.

We all know the couple about whom I’m referring. They walk slowly through the halls as though they are meandering through a field of wildflowers. They dramatically swing their arms back and forth and back and forth, clinging to one another’s hands. They decide to stop in the middle of the hall. They say goodbye to each other for the block as though one is going away to war. They caress each others’ faces, and they hug, and they kiss. And the whole time, you just want them to move out of your way so you can get to class before you vomit.

I’m sorry, but I would just prefer to not see the tongues of two people flapping around inside and around the outside each other’s mouths. I’d rather see your slimy and repulsive ABC food.

Now I’m not saying that I think teen love is gross. I just think teens lovin’ up on each other in the halls is revolting. The idea in the majority of the pubertal minds we have to encounter, unwillingly, throughout the day seems to be that shoving one’s tongue down another’s throat, leaving slobber and marks all over their bodies, and groping each other in the halls means you are definitely in love.

“Love” must be so yummy.

But somehow, these couples make me a tad green at times. No, I don’t mean they always make me sick and want to vomit. I mean I am green with envy. Yes, I may be a bit jealous, but I don’t want to be a part of a grody teen couple in the halls.

I just want someone who wants to be that with me. I want the choice to not be like that. I want to choose to not be disgusting.

But sadly, instead I’m stuck with the feelings of envy and nausea. They still make me want to vomit, even if I do wish I could be in their shoes.

Top Ten Topics for Teen Focus

By Edward Gahring –

The following are ten of the most important issues of which 16 to 18-year-olds need to be mindful.

1. Health – This is the most important even though you are young and strong right now.  It is true if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.  Your health affects everything you do and everything you are planning for yourself.  If you can’t function and move well enough because of a health issue that could have been prevented, your life will be very limited and you need to think about what you can do now to keep yourself healthy.

2. Career Path – Where is your career going to head? It is important to have some idea of where you are going so you have an idea of where to start.

3. School – Yes, you may say you hate school but, think about it.  Without a high school diploma, there are next to no job opportunities for you and you will not be able to go on for more schooling.

Edward Gahring, a Penn Manor junior.

4. Work – It is hard to get a job right now if you are a teen.  Without a history of work experience it will be even more difficult in the future. Everyone should be working at something right now.  To earn your own money and pay for your expenses gives you self-respect and confidence.

5. Friends – Who your friends are is more important than how many you have.  If you don’t have friends who are looking out for you, you can fall into a group of people who may take advantage of you or lead you in an unhealthy direction without even realizing it.

6. Driving – Knowing how to drive and drive safely is important to our age group because it allows you to get a job, continue a job, meet with friends and club members and allows you to have a social life.  Anyone who has been in an accident or had their license taken away knows how much their life is limited by not driving.

7. Sports/Social events – On a sports team or when you are involved in a group activity, such as a club or organization, it allows you to meet new people and get a better understanding of how the world will be when you are on your own. Without something you like to do with other people, you can end up withdrawing from society much easier than if you were involved in a group activity.

8. The next President of the United States – Knowing and having an active role in electing the next President (at least voting if you are able) is important because when you leave high school, he or she will have a great effect on your life.

9. Life Skills – Doing your own laundry, paying your bills, saving money, managing a bank account are important skills to learn to be self-sufficient and successful.

10. World News – it is important to keep up with the news because reading about what goes on around you everyday can help you make up your own opinion on issues and not force you to depend on others for what to think.

American Values Tattered by bin Laden’s Death

By Storm Kelley –

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands
one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for…. all?”

This is defined as the Pledge of allegiance. The Pledge is recited before school starts and at the beginning of a sporting event. In simple terms, the Pledge states that the person reciting the Pledge is in allegiance with the republic’s rules, stands undivided under the United States, is independent and that everyone will receive equal punishment for crimes done.

Maybe the definition of “justice” has changed sine June 14, 1954 (flag day) when the final changes to the Pledge were made.

On September 11 2001, America was untied under hatred and pursued vengeance to the wrongs done to them. After 10 years, on May 1st, 2011, Osama bin Laden was murdered by an elite group of U.S. Navy SEALs. Bin Laden, who plotted terroristic threats against the United States and was a known conspirator behind the September 11 attacks, was hidden inside a compound thought to be in accords with the Pakistani government.

A teacher at Penn Manor high school, who requested to stay anonymous said, “Justice was served.”

Justice stands for all, not excluding foreigners. Graphic courtesy of Library.UNCC.Edu

American citizens pledge to equality and freedom.

Recent actions say otherwise. Equality and freedom must not extend to the humanity outside the borders of  our territory. Osama bin Laden was charged and executed on the same day.  The code with which all Americans live upon, referred to as the Constitution has no indication of a statement such as “your right to life does not exceed the right of the American government to end it.

However, the constitution does quote, under the 6th amendment, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.”

The proper argument would be that Osama was a direct threat to the United States and was not an American.

The justice system is the foundation of “the land of the free and home of the brave,” yet to the convenience of the American Government, all rules and regulations are thrown out.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Rashard Mendenhall quoted on his twitter account, “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”

The United states began an “eye for an eye” campaign after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.  Just because our country is doing it, doesn’t make it right.

 

 

To Spank or not to Spank – That is the Question

By Kira Hess –

Is it right or is it wrong?

At some point in life, a parent has weighed the decision to give the misbehaving child a spanking…  The question is whether giving a spanking is good, or bad? Studies to find the truth are still ongoing. Scientists, doctors, and just everyday people agree to disagree.

According to Dr. Peter Newell, of the organization End Punishment of Children, is that “all people have the right to protection of their physical integrity, and children are people too.”

Meaning children have the right to protect themselves.  However, aren’t children too young to understand right from wrong? Have you ever seen a child driving a car down the road, or paying the bills…yes children are people, but they aren’t old enough to take care of themselves.

There is a difference between spanking and abuse. A tap on the hand or a pat on the butt is completely different than punching, kicking, and leaving the child with broken bones and bruises. There is a limit in punishment, when there isn’t that limit, that is when we see or read about the abuse.

An article in the May issue of Pediatrics stated that when parents give a spanking, it teaches the child to become more physically aggressive as they age. The article  also mentioned that it’s hard to find children who haven’t been spanked.  So couldn’t children who are more aggressive be just that personality type?  “The problem is that we can’t really say from the studies if it is spanking that is causing the behavior, or some other family characteristic that isn’t easily measured,” said Eric Slade, PhD, who was interviewed by CBS news. Other articles on the issue discussed race, gender, along with the differences of well educated parents and the others who aren’t as educated.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, states that it’s never OK to “strike” a child for any reason. They give a list of other options “that work.” If the child misbehaves or doesn’t listen, put them “away for the rest of the day.” How is that right? They do something bad during lunch and you just put them “away for the rest of the day.” Now couldn’t that be teaching parents to neglect their child? Often parents are afraid to even talk about how they punish their children because it’s become one of those horrible acts of “cruel punishment.”

So how are we as a country, as a nation, going to learn the difference in right and wrong on the important issue of spanking, when no one can agree and  when studies can’t show us the answer?

Obesity – Now a Young Disease

By Iris Santana –

Obesity among the young is increasing rapidly. Kids are having health problems at an earlier age each year. The food that is served at school is sometimes blamed.  While some of it is fattening, like fries and cookies, healthy options are available.

But kids don’t always make the right choices.

Many kids are picking up unhealthy habits thanks to what they are exposed to at school. According to recent health studies,  four percent of children were overweight in 1982. By 1994, it rose to 16 percent.  Today, the American Medical Association claims up to 32 percent of children are overweight or obese.

Stop Childhood Obesity

In a study that analyzed children’s eating habits over two decades (1973-1994), there was a marked increase in the incidence of missed breakfast, increased numbers of eating dinner outside of the home and increased snacking during the day.

To teach kids how to eat healthy and stay fit, there needs to be more programs to work with them individually.

“If we’re really looking at programs shown to address obesity (in young children), there are none out there,” claimed James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition and the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

If the increase of obesity in children isn’t controlled, many kids will be at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis and general poor health status when they are adults. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of obese adults were overweight as children.

Obesity Awareness Ribbon

Some schools have “check ups.”  They then send a letter home with the child’s results. In the letter it may state whether the child is obese for his or her age.  Many of them are.

More encouraging programs, such as fun days, relay races at school and fun activities that also give kids their daily exercise would motivate kids to be more active and become more healthy, giving them a brighter and less stressful future.

Parking Pass Prices Too Expensive for Students

By Evan Shertzer –

People pay taxes, the government receives the tax money and the government then gives the money to the schools to build stuff. The schools then build and construct buildings and parking lots, and yet the schools still make the students and parents pay for parking passes to park at the school that they already paid for through taxes.

So why do the kids pay for parking passes? The school should not be charging a fee to park at a place that was already paid for through tax money. The students aren’t even told where the money goes and so the schools should assign students parking spaces instead of making them pay for it.

Schools are funded by taxes from people paying money toward the school district depending on which area they live in. If schools need more money or funding, they should either try to pass higher taxes or ask the government for more money. Making students pay for parking passes is a sneaky way the school district has figured out to bring in more income. The taxes of the people who send their kids to Penn Manor and also funding from the state pay for the buildings, construction and parking lots, and the kids shouldn’t also be charged for what their parents are paying or have paid for.

A parking lot for students at a school. Photo from myparkingsign.com

For some students at Penn Manor, the $40 to park the entire year comes straight out of their pocket and that for some is an entire week’s work. Even though Penn Manor does provide transportation to school for all kids and truthfully doesn’t even need to allow kids to even park at Penn Manor, what would the school do about having all the kids stay for sports after school? There is a need for the parking spaces at Penn Manor so they don’t have to get buses to drive kids home after sport’s practices or games.

Parking passes at Penn Manor have been around for some time, and if the math is done, the paving for the parking lot is most likely paid off by now. The administrators should no longer be charging students from something that has already been paid for. The extra income from parking spaces might have been a necessity at the beginning after the parking lot was paved, but now it is just some extra cash for the school.

The administrators and school board staff should no longer be making students pay the fee. If the school needs more money, they should be either trying to raise taxes or be asking the government for more money. It is time for the students to stand up and stop paying for parking passes. The eleventh and twelfth grade students should be assigned parking passes according to their age and should no longer pay. If the cost continues or rises, it would just be taking advantage of the students.

Cliff Lee… a God?

By Bryan Hess –

Athletes are becoming more and more like Gods, especially as we continue to worship everything they do  We go to their games and cheer them on, buy their jerseys and sometimes stand in line for a number of hours just for a quick “hi” and an autograph.  But aside from their superior athletic ability, how are they any different from the rest of us?

I was recently at the Philadelphia Phillies game and saw Cliff Lee’s first game back as a Phillie after his incredible performance with the team in the second half of the 2009 season.  As game time was nearing, fans started to become more excited, and when it came time for the lineup to be announced, everyone was on the edge of their seats.

Cliff Lee throws a pitch. Photo courtesy of waitingfornextyear.com.

It was kids’ day at the ballpark, and an extremely nervous young girl began to read off the Phillies lineup.  She got to the Number 8 hitter, Wilson Valdez, and before she finished his name the crowd was on their feet screaming.  I looked over and there was Cliff Lee walking in from the center-field bullpen.  I felt horrible for the young girl who was trying to finish reading the lineup and was completely drowned out by the cheers of the fans.  The standing ovation that Lee got didn’t stop until the National Anthem had started, but as soon as the singer finished with “.. and the home of the brave,” the crowd started right back up again and didn’t calm down until Lee’s first pitch crossed the plate for a strike.

After experiencing this incredible support for one athlete, I thought to myself, does he deserve it?  Granted, when Lee came to the Phillies he started off 7-0 and went 5-0 for them in the playoffs.  And I’ll admit, I have several jerseys and cheered along with every other fan who was there.  But Lee is just the average guy, no different than you and I.  When I got to the stadium and it seemed every other person had Lee’s jersey on, I had to wonder why he gets worshiped as though he is Superman.

People love sports, and love to watch them.  Fans go and support their favorite team and even buy their favorite player’s jersey.  But what are they doing to better the world?  Everyday those in the service, police officers and firefighters risk their lives to make the U.S. a better place to live.  What do they get?  The occasional article in the paper if they do something extremely spectacular.  It isn’t as though these men are disrespected, but the amount of respect they get compared to those of athletes is embarrassing.

The game continued, and the fans at the stadium continued to do their best to make me go deaf.  When it ended, the players left the field for their cozy clubhouse to change and go home to their families, or back to their hotel.  These players give us a break from our everyday stressful routine, but our lives would be even more stressful without those serving this country either in the armed forces, police force or firefighters.  I’m sure there were many of them at the game but not one of them got the standing ovation they deserve.