Boys and Girls Ultimate: State Championships
Teams must qualify.
I: Introduction & Reflection:
The task was to explore the complexity of language in one's own life. For myself, I discussed the two languages I am most familiar with and my dislike for the English language, my primary language. I took out of this that language causes barriers and more differences for people to be judged. I realized America may not be able to make two to three mandatory language classes because it's a melting pot of cultures and languages itself. But, I know America has limited it's horizons by having English as it's primary language. By having one language, that forcers people conform to that one language and being able to get around and get the necessity one needs.
II: The Autobiography
English is usually the first language of all citizens in the United States if their parents’ only language is English. The language is the primary spoken in the U.S. and it’s taken a lot of it’s content from the West Germanic Language. Although the States is a melting pot of cultures, it’s still key to know English.
With that said, it’s widely taught in schools around the world. But this isn’t the same for schools in the U.S. boundaries. Excluding bilingual oriented schools, which there aren’t many of and have private school tuition, English is a mandatory class through out any person’s schooling career. It’s been scientifically proven that the language that’s introduced to kids from ages one to three, is going to be their first language. It’s intriguing that the U.S. hasn’t taken that into consideration being that other countries teach one or two other languages in their schools. It is because the States don’t have a unified culture? Maybe, maybe not.
For myself, the English is a boring, bland language. I’ve been speaking it my whole life and I’ve just realized my dislike for my native language. Around the middle of my sophomore year. There is no specific reason I can pinpoint, but it’s a different aspect of the language I’ve gotten in upon my entry of high school. With my aversion to English, I’ve looked into two different languages along with their cultures, German and a general perspective on Spanish.
Through my experiences in Spanish, it didn’t entice me until I learned about it in high school. But, in the times of my previous Spanish exploration, learning about the language didn’t help with remiss teachers. Once I came to enjoy German, my distaste for my first language started to take root.
Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, ocho, nueve, deiz. That’s all I learned in kindergarten. Then in a different school, first through second, I learned French. Till this day I only thing I can remember are the numbers. Un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix. That was it from that language. After that, from third to sixth grade it was a dormant stage in my life of not learning any type of language. The school I had attended didn’t have an adequate foreign language program, so at my expense, I didn’t learn anything.
Going to another school, for sixth grade, I picked up Spanish again. I was taught out of purple books that had supposed Hispanic aliens, with no parents traveling with them on earth. Befuddled at the sight, I had to maneuver my way of trying to understand the lesson in such a strange book. My first, of the four main teachers I had, was the most influential. She made the class memorize verses to try to retain the new language. I never successfully memorized it, but my peers did. My excuse was that I was new.
She lasted three to five months. After that, my class had different substitutes teaching us the same material over and over again. Then a Peruvian native replaced the original teacher. Upon her joining our class, she taught us the same things again, then started correcting the purple book I had became so familiar with. My peers and I suffered from her lack of knowledge how to teach her native language. By the end of the year, she was in danger of being deported. After that, Spanish became a rant session for her. About all her problems. My sixth grade year of Spanish: FAIL.
The teacher I had for seventh grade only taught the children she favored in the class. Which was one girl, who could already understand Spanish, so again the whole class suffered. My seventh grade year of “Hispanic lingo”: FAIL.
With yet another different teacher in eighth grade, she taught us the same material that we had been learning our whole middle school careers. My eighth grade year of Spanish: FAIL. After all of those experience, it’s surprised to say, this all happened in a private school.
Upon entering highschool, I was placed in Spanish 2. I thought I had been put into the wrong class, but I was in the right place. I thought I would’ve had been able to handle the course, but the fruits of my efforts caused me to get “A’s” all quarters. Even with those “A’s”, I didn’t retain any of the information I was taught. My Hispanic friends became my “teachers” and that’s how I know the Spanish I know now, other than learning on the Internet.
In the beginning of Sophomore year, my friend began to teach me German. I wasn’t interested in it at the time, but it began to grow on me. Once I realized I liked German, I began to learn and started yet another online course. Ein, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sech, siebe, acht, nuen, zehn… My friend would test me on the days of the weeks, “Donnerstag,” she’d say. “It’s Thursday,” I’d respond correctly. And so… “Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,” she’d test me. “Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.”
When I began to engage myself in German language, I began to dislike English. I felt English was dull. I had dove into the German and Spanish cultures, and to me, it seemed so much more interesting than the absent culture that English and America, as a whole has, since it’s a melting pot of many different people from all over the world.
Then I will code switch to see what type of tone I can talk with them in so they don’t get offended. Some times I find that it is easier to all ways talk formal new people I meet but I don't want them to think I'm not enthusiastic when their talking informal. When I go to a new place I don’t talk much but when I’m where I usually stay I talk a lot. The way that I speak changes with the setting that I find myself in. but now that I'm getting more comfortable about talking in public. Now I still don’t talk much but I still don’t talk much. I think it is because I don’t want sound stupid that is why I don’t talk unless I’m asked a question then I talk to them but at first I just stay and lesson to the way they act then I know if I can just say any thing around them.I would never talk to people if it weren’t for my brother Ed. When he first introduced me to his friends I was shy and didn’t want to talk. But when I meet his friend Lonnie he made it clear that I was not just going to sit there. He in colluded me in all of the activities like playing “super smash bros brawl”. When I first met him I was really quite and Lonnie's mom nicknamed me shadow because I never talked and I just stayed behind my brother.
A time I need to code switch to be accepted was at my SLA interview. I was very respect full to the people that were interviewing me event though I was scared and shy. I code switched to make it sound as if I was not scared. And I answer all the questions to the best of my power. Also made it clear on what I was saying to them.
When I’m talking at home I use informal words but if my mom or dad would talk to me I would auto atuomatly switch to not show any disrespect.
Now that I am growing up I am learning that you need to code switch so you can get a job or get accepted to a school. Although it may be hard for some people to code switch. Now that I have been through so many different times that I have needed to change the way I talk to be accepted by the people around with out being scorn. With that sad looks like the different code for each accession.
That is how I use code switching to one dialect/language to another just so you can have an easier time getting a job. That is why I have tried to master code switching so that I can change it at any time to fit any time or setting. That is why I will talk formally with them until I get to know them and their personality
As a young boy I grew up in a home where we had our own type of dialect as with which we communicated amongst each other. In my family we would tend to make smart remarks or comments to one another, but in a harmless, just messing with you type of way. For example I would say “Is today Tuesday?” and my mother would reply with “No Brent its Thursday in a sarcastic voice, that was a casual occurrence in my household, where we could make fun of each other without hurting someones feelings or coming off disrespectful, but in school, it was a totally different story. I was a quiet mouse in a big room of people just waiting for the class to end. I was very shy when I was younger and didn’t like to talk much. Around 3rd grade I felt things were difficult.
Whenever the teacher would ask a question I’d never put my hand up because I was afraid. I would think to myself, what if I know it but the words come out wrong, what if I just have no clue as to what I’d be talking about? I remember were taking a class in math when she handed me the quiz I felt like I didn’t know any of the answers. I wasn’t confident with my work and I felt intimidated that if I got the answers wrong the teacher would be upset with me or would think of me as dumb. After the quiz she would have us go over it in class. she read out the first question “ If john has 18 gumballs and he splits all of them with his 3 friends how many will each friend receive?” she looked across the room as everyone was dead silent.
I tried to not make eye contact thinking that she would possibly not notice me. She said “How about you Brent?” All my classmates simultaneously turned their heads around to look at me. I looked down in despair. “Come on Brent just try it out” I would always get nervous when she asked a question and began to stutter or mumble my words. “Si-si-six I said in a low toned voice. “What was that Brent?” I thought i had the wrong answer because she asked to repeat myself” My voice got even lower “Si-si-six” she still couldn’t hear me but picked on a classmate. “Six” one of my classmates said. I thought in my head i was right, but i stayed quiet. after she finished going over the test it was time to leave.
As I rapidly packed up my things and put 1 foot out the door. She squalled my name “BRENT” the echoes traveled all throughout the room which made it even louder. I turned around and she said “Come here for a moment please” “Brent you should really start speaking more clearly, your a very smart boy but your so quiet that you make it out as if you don’t know anything” I looked down at my shoes and said “I’m sorry Ms. Nachman” she said “ There’s nothing to be sorry about Brent. You’re very smart you just need to show it” “I want you to take this note home to your mother”. “ I said okay” and went onto lunch. Progressing I arrive home and my mom is already there. She greets me with a warm “Hi Brent” Then gives me this look that pierced right through me. “what’s that on your shirt” “It’s a note about how I’m such an amazing student mom…” “Don’t joke with me Brent… give it here” She snags the note from off my shirt and began to read. “Brent you’re the loudest one in this house so what’s up with this quietness in class?” “I just get nervous in class”. She bursted out laughing and said in a tiny southern accent that an average person would most likely not notice she said “ What duh helll !? You’re pulling my leg right?. “Does it look like I’m pulling your leg?” “Shush brent.. whatever the case may be you need to fix this.” I told her “fine” and went onto my room.
After talking with my mom and going to school the next day I still remained quiet.. I was still nervous to answer. I did happen to become more talkative outside of class with my friends at lunch on the playground etc.. In class I still felt the need to be that quiet little mouse. You could relate my story to tongue-tied in a way. It may not have been that my first language was something totally different than what I was being taught in school but the fact that I was unable to really voice myself due to my insecurities and emotions. I felt I would be judged, criticized, laughed at for being myself. I praised the phrase “Be seen not heard” as if it was a religion all my own. Just being there was good enough, My voice didn’t need to be heard I just needed to take the characteristics of a chameleon and blend in. In a way I had two sides of me that switches depending on where I am and who I’m with. I tend to be shy when I feel intimidated and when I’m comfortable with someone I can act naturally. In a way it’s like my own defense mechanism that I think every human being comes with.
English 12: Sexuality & Society in Literature
Quarter 1 BM-Research Design
Plan of Action How-To
Thesis: The environment that one grows up in has an affect on one’s sexual orientation.
What thesis-related questions to study?
What data might be relevant to collect? (link to sources in your AB in this section, if applicable)
How would I analyze the results?
I believe the environment and lifestyle one lives has a impact on their sexual orientation. If the from the data about brain functions show that homosexuals and a health heterosexual are similar, it will rule of the possibility of homosexuality being considered mental illness. If the research on genetics and the statistic/survey linking sexuality of parents and children show it now genetic, I can rule out the argument of it being a disorder passed down for parent to child. If the statistic/survey of homosexuality sexuality and identical twins don’t seem to show any trends it cans also rule out the genetics argument because identical twins has very similar biological make ups.
Boeree, George. "General Psychology Sexual Orientation." Sexual Orientation. N/A, N/A. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/sexualorientation.html>.
This article is about biology and genetic and how a people behaviors are based off of them. It states that men with less testosterone tend to look and act somewhat more like women, and women with more testosterone than other women tend to look and act somewhat more like men. It also go on to say there is no direct link from testosterone to homosexuality. The helps support my topic because even though the genetic the genetic structure of a person my have some effect on a person’s sexual behavior it isn’t the cause of homosexuality.
Goldstein, Dora. "Biological basis of sexual orientation." stanford.edu. Stanford University, 03/10/95. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://news.stanford.edu/pr/95/950310Arc5328.html>.
This article’s information is mainly on puberty. Is stated a week before and after birth, testosterone has an irreversible organizing effect on the body and brain of males. If the hormone is absent during this period, the individuals’ anatomy and behavior never can become wholly male. Also, that during puberty males gets a surge of testosterone, which activates their male sexual development and behavior. This gives some hints that testosterone levels affect sexual behavior. This source and be use to support both nature and nurture arguments.
Hidalgo, Hilda. "Sexual Orientation." healthy minds. american psychological association, N/A. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://www.healthyminds.org/More-Info-For/GayLesbianBisexuals.asp&xgt;.
This document give some basic information of what sexual orientation is. It also lists some cause that is believed to effect ones sexuality. It states homosexuality was believed to be the result of troubled experiences or environment, and it is not a form of mental illness .The information I receive for this document I can use to introduce my topic and give general information on sexual orientation and how ones environment is believe to effect it.
Johnson, Ryan. "Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture." AllPsych Online. N/A, 4/30/03. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://allpsych.com/journal/homosexuality.html>.
There are statics identical twins in this document. I can use this because identical twins have very similar biological structures. If the both of them are the same sexual orientation there is a chance that the biological build has a part to play in their sexual orientation. If the studies show that identical twins have the same sexual orientation this could prove my idea wrong
Jones, Michael. "Nature vs. Nurture Debates Over Sexuality." Change.org. N/A, 10/05/08. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://news.change.org/stories/nature-vs-nurture-debates-over-sexuality>.
This article suggests that both the nature and the nurture have valid evidence on what can affect a child’s sexual orientation. It says proven Research suggests that the homosexual orientation is in place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before birth. Its also that suggest that nurture could be a cause homosexuality. Some causes are estranged relationships between gay children and their parents, allowing male children to play with dolls, not forming healthy same-sex bonds with peers as a toddler, and sexual abuse at a young age.
Swidey, Niel. "What Makes People Gay?." Boston.com. Boston Global, 08/14/05. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2005/08/14/what_makes_people_gay/>.
In this document there is information on childhood gender nonconformity. It is a child not being comfortable in his or her own body. In this one of a pair of twins is showing signs of childhood gender nonconformity. In this situation the mother is open minded and what’s her children to have freedom of expression and allow the behavior.
Van Buskirk, James E. "Nature And Causes Of Homosexuality (Book)." Library Journal 106.21 (1981): 2321. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts. Web. 1 Nov. 2011.
These articles talk about one environment and sexuality. It says that a family of homosexuals it is more likely for a child to come out homosexual. It also states that some events and/or relationship with parents can influence a child's sexuality. This directly contributes to my idea that one environment influence ones sexuality.
"sexual orientation and homosexuality." psychology.org. Australian psychological society, N/A. Web. 1 Nov 2011. <http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/tip_sheets/orientation/>.
This article rules out a popular belief that homosexuality is a choice. It states that ones sexual orientation is determined at a young age before there is any kind of sexual act. It shows how some were not comfortable with their homosexuality and tried to change it. In the end their homosexuality didn’t go away. I can use this to kill the argument that sexual orientation is choice when in the end leaves the arguments that it is either nurture or nature.
Yo llevé la sudadera rojo Aeropostale, los vaqueros Levi’s, y los zapatos de rayas Adidas. La ropa es muy cómoda y templada.
from the New York Times
December 29, 2011
The Joy of Quiet
By PICO IYER
ABOUT a year ago, I flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing a group of advertising people on “Marketing to the Child of Tomorrow.” Soon after I arrived, the chief executive of the agency that had invited us took me aside. What he was most interested in, he began — I braced myself for mention of some next-generation stealth campaign — was stillness.
A few months later, I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? “I never read any magazines or watch TV,” he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. “Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.”
Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in “black-hole resorts,” which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.
Has it really come to this?
In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.
Internet rescue camps in South Korea and China try to save kids addicted to the screen.
Writer friends of mine pay good money to get the Freedom software that enables them to disable (for up to eight hours) the very Internet connections that seemed so emancipating not long ago. Even Intel (of all companies) experimented in 2007 with conferring four uninterrupted hours of quiet time every Tuesday morning on 300 engineers and managers. (The average office worker today, researchers have found, enjoys no more than three minutes at a time at his or her desk without interruption.) During this period the workers were not allowed to use the phone or send e-mail, but simply had the chance to clear their heads and to hear themselves think. A majority of Intel’s trial group recommended that the policy be extended to others.
THE average American spends at least eight and a half hours a day in front of a screen, Nicholas Carr notes in his eye-opening book “The Shallows,” in part because the number of hours American adults spent online doubled between 2005 and 2009 (and the number of hours spent in front of a TV screen, often simultaneously, is also steadily increasing).
The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month. Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow, I heard myself tell the marketers in Singapore, will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking machines, streaming videos and scrolling headlines that leave them feeling empty and too full all at once.
The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
When telegraphs and trains brought in the idea that convenience was more important than content — and speedier means could make up for unimproved ends — Henry David Thoreau reminded us that “the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages.” Even half a century ago, Marshall McLuhan, who came closer than most to seeing what was coming, warned, “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself.” Thomas Merton struck a chord with millions, by not just noting that “Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest,” but by also acting on it, and stepping out of the rat race and into a Cistercian cloister.
Yet few of those voices can be heard these days, precisely because “breaking news” is coming through (perpetually) on CNN and Debbie is just posting images of her summer vacation and the phone is ringing. We barely have enough time to see how little time we have (most Web pages, researchers find, are visited for 10 seconds or less). And the more that floods in on us (the Kardashians, Obamacare, “Dancing with the Stars”), the less of ourselves we have to give to every snippet. All we notice is that the distinctions that used to guide and steady us — between Sunday and Monday, public and private, here and there — are gone.
We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines.
So what to do? The central paradox of the machines that have made our lives so much brighter, quicker, longer and healthier is that they cannot teach us how to make the best use of them; the information revolution came without an instruction manual. All the data in the world cannot teach us how to sift through data; images don’t show us how to process images. The only way to do justice to our onscreen lives is by summoning exactly the emotional and moral clarity that can’t be found on any screen.
MAYBE that’s why more and more people I know, even if they have no religious commitment, seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or tai chi; these aren’t New Age fads so much as ways to connect with what could be called the wisdom of old age. Two journalist friends of mine observe an “Internet sabbath” every week, turning off their online connections from Friday night to Monday morning, so as to try to revive those ancient customs known as family meals and conversation. Finding myself at breakfast with a group of lawyers in Oxford four months ago, I noticed that all their talk was of sailing — or riding or bridge: anything that would allow them to get out of radio contact for a few hours.
Other friends try to go on long walks every Sunday, or to “forget” their cellphones at home. A series of tests in recent years has shown, Mr. Carr points out, that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.
In my own case, I turn to eccentric and often extreme measures to try to keep my sanity and ensure that I have time to do nothing at all (which is the only time when I can see what I should be doing the rest of the time). I’ve yet to use a cellphone and I’ve never Tweeted or entered Facebook. I try not to go online till my day’s writing is finished, and I moved from Manhattan to rural Japan in part so I could more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot, and every trip to the movies would be an event.
None of this is a matter of principle or asceticism; it’s just pure selfishness. Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music. It’s actually something deeper than mere happiness: it’s joy, which the monk David Steindl-Rast describes as “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
It’s vital, of course, to stay in touch with the world, and to know what’s going on; I took pains this past year to make separate trips to Jerusalem and Hyderabad and Oman and St. Petersburg, to rural Arkansas and Thailand and the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima and Dubai. But it’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole, and understand what you should be doing with it.
For more than 20 years, therefore, I’ve been going several times a year — often for no longer than three days — to a Benedictine hermitage, 40 minutes down the road, as it happens, from the Post Ranch Inn. I don’t attend services when I’m there, and I’ve never meditated, there or anywhere; I just take walks and read and lose myself in the stillness, recalling that it’s only by stepping briefly away from my wife and bosses and friends that I’ll have anything useful to bring to them. The last time I was in the hermitage, three months ago, I happened to pass, on the monastery road, a youngish-looking man with a 3-year-old around his shoulders.
“You’re Pico, aren’t you?” the man said, and introduced himself as Larry; we’d met, I gathered, 19 years before, when he’d been living in the cloister as an assistant to one of the monks.
“What are you doing now?” I asked.
“I work for MTV. Down in L.A.”
We smiled. No words were necessary.
“I try to bring my kids here as often as I can,” he went on, as he looked out at the great blue expanse of the Pacific on one side of us, the high, brown hills of the Central Coast on the other. “My oldest son” — he pointed at a 7-year-old running along the deserted, radiant mountain road in front of his mother — “this is his third time.”
The child of tomorrow, I realized, may actually be ahead of us, in terms of sensing not what’s new, but what’s essential.
Facts of the case:
George Corson worked for almost 30 years for Railroad Friction Products as a mechanic repairing locomotives in a railroad maintenance facility. During this time, he was routinely exposed to asbestos dust, which has long been known to be carcinogenic. In 2005, he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer, the only known cause of which is asbestos. He filed a lawsuit against Railroad Friction Products in a Pennsylvania court, raising several state-law tort claims against the manufacturers and distributors of the asbestos-containing locomotive products. Corson claimed that the products were defective and he had never been properly warned about the asbestos. He died two years after his diagnosis.
In 1911, Congress passed the Boiler Inspection Act, which over time has involved into the Locomotive Inspection Act in place currently. The Locomotive Inspection Act addresses matters of safety and liability concerning trains and railroads.
In 1926, the Supreme Court ruled on Napier v. Atlantic Coast Line Railroad that the Boiler Inspection Act did preempt state laws.
Railroad Friction Products argues that the Locomotive Inspection Act was supposed to preempt state laws, and Pennsylvania’s laws are intruding on a field that Congress has reserved for federal regulation. Kurns contends that Congress did not clearly intend to preempt state laws, and that in any case, the LIA only addresses locomotives “in use” on railroad lines, not locomotives at maintenance facilities. Furthermore, she argues, if the LIA did preempt state laws, workers like Corson would have no way to seek justice.
I predict that the court will rule that the LIA does preempt state laws. They have ruled this way in the past, and from the transcripts I read, it seems that most of the people involved seem to think agree that the LIA preempts state laws. In fact, it might not be possible for RFP to comply with both state and federal laws, and when there is such a conflict, it seems natural for federal laws to “beat” state laws.
In the end, I chose four people to contact: Don Schwarz, the Philadelphia City Health Commisioner; Leroy Nunery, the acting superintendent of the Philadelphia school district; Wayne T. Grasela, the senior vice president of the school district’s Division of Food Services; and Darrell Clarke, the new president of city council. Don Schwarz does hold a powerful position, yet he is also directly involved with the health of Philadelphians. Given that Philadelphia’s child obesity rate is 40%—twice the national rate—I’m sure he is interested in ways to combat child obesity. Leroy Nunery has of course a great say in what schools do, and while he may be less concerned with child obesity, there is ample evidence that a healthy diet improves academic performance, which I think would interest him. Wayne T. Grasela is perhaps the least powerful but most directly relevant of the people I am contacting. Looking at the web page for the Division of Food Services, it is clear that efforts have already been made to improve school lunches. School breakfast, lunch and after-school dinner menus for the month of January are even downloadable from the site. In my letter to him, I begin by applauding the steps that have already been taken before urging him to continue supporting healthier school lunches. Darrell Clarke doesn't have much involvement with the school district directly, but city council does pass legislation regarding all of Philadelphia, so I think it would be good to have him support healthier school lunches.
Of course, it isn’t enough to be one person asking for something, so I’ve created a Facebook group called Philadelphia Students for Improved School Lunches to spread the message and urge other people to contact decision-makers about improving school lunches. I know that there are many people who would support healthier school lunches, but I haven't been able to find other groups that push directly for better school lunches, only things like banning soda or vending machines. On the group page, I have also made available for download some Keynote slides for parents to present at PTA meetings, and shirts that say “Good Students Eat Good Food” available for purchase. With the profits from the shirts I can purchase more shirts to distribute for free to school district employees, which they can wear to show support for improved school lunches.
Finally, I have written to Don Sapatkin, a health writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, suggesting that he do a piece on the state of Philadelphia school lunches. Such an article would be fantastic for drawing more attention to the issue of school lunches. I am waiting to hear back from him. If he declines to do such an article, I have notes prepared to write my own op-ed piece that I can try to get published.
Pennsylvania cell phone/texting news: A ban on text messaging while driving has been approved by Gov. Tom Corbett and takes effect in early March
How many elected officials have indicated support for your issue?
Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-Bucks, Rep. Thomas Killion, State Rep. Josh Shapiro, Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland,
Is there public support behind it, with good media attention?
8 in 10 drivers support some type of cell phone usage restriction.
Who are your opponents, and how much power do they have?
While the National Transportation Safety Board thinks states should ban all driver use of cellphones and other portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, auto club AAA isn't fully backing that proposal.
Cell phone and texting laws
HAND-HELD CELLPHONES: Nine states, as well as Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands, prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones will driving. Except for Maryland, any officer may cite a driver for using a handheld cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place in the other eight states.
NOVICE DRIVERS: 30 states and Washington, D.C., ban all cell phone use by novice drivers.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS: Bus drivers in 19 states and Washington, D.C., may not use a cell phone when passengers are present.
TEXT MESSAGING: 35 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. In all but three of those states, officers may cite a driver for texting without any other traffice offense taking place.
S.D.: No laws specific to cell phone use or texting.
Sources: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, State Highway Safety Offices
4. Who can you influence? I can influence my house hold and the people who are around me that drive
With immigration being one of the least important problems in the US at the moment, it will be a little difficult to have anything done about illegal immigrants. Getting the government to actually do something productive about immigration would take lots of people to make it at the top of the priorities list. In order to change the minds of the decision makers in regards to immigration amnesty, I must contact bigger organizations that already have some sort of connection with the government. If the organizations isn’t big enough, it won’t have that much of an effect because chances are that there don’t have much of a connection with the government, which makes them as powerless as myself.
I plan to email a few organizations that I think are well acquainted with the government and explain to them why I think they should keep pushing the members of the government to put immigration amnesty as one of the top priorities on their list. One of the organizations I will be contacting about this issue is the National Immigration Forum. I chose them because, looking at their website, I see that they are very well on top of the status of all things surrounding immigration. They have information about the senate, the President, debates, and so much more. If the information hey give me is sufficient, which I’m confidant that it will be, they will be the only organization I will contact.
Through working with this organization we could put together events and spread the word to allow an immigration amnesty day for the illegal immigrants already here. We can help bring awareness to more communities because it seems as though nobody really cares about this issue. People who have immigrants in their families will be the easiest target because they could have family members who are illegal in the country and would like them to be legal citizens.
I called this organization and they didn’t answer. I guess I’ll have to try another one.