Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Do you know they are asking your children about sexual intercourse?

Youth Risk Survey is putting your children at risk

By Dean Kalahar

The Federal Government, through The Center for Disease Control (CDC), is once again conducting its national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). States, through their county school systems, administer the test to children in grades 6, 8, 9 and 11 to collect data on youth behaviors. “The purpose of the YRBS is to monitor priority health-risk behaviors that contribute substantially to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth, which contribute to patterns in adulthood.” Stop and think to yourself: have you ever heard of this survey taking place in your child’s school? Do you know what is in the survey?

The compassionate intentions of the program are potentially useful, but for all purposes, the program is abusive. The reasons for concern are twofold. First, the survey is not a generic data collection event for caring school officials. It is a highly provocative and morally questionable set of questions being asked to our most vulnerable population, children as young as 11 years old. You can judge for yourself with a sample of the following questions from this year’s 99 question YRBS.

-Have you ever had sexual intercourse?
-Have you ever had oral sex?
-How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?
-Have you ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to?
-During your life, with how many people have you had sexual intercourse?
-During the past 3 months, with how many people did you have sexual intercourse?
-The last time you had sexual intercourse, did you or your partner use a condom?
-How many times have you been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant?
-During the past 12 months, did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?
-During the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide?

Secondly, the subject matter alerts any sensible adult that highly specific administration guidelines must occur to protect parental rights and be in compliance with the Family Privacy Protection Act (FPPA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Although there are clear rules to follow when conducting surveys with minors, so as not to violate laws in regards to parental consent and confidentiality, these safeguards to family and children’s rights are not being taken.

In fact, the CDC website states that “Local parental permission procedures are followed prior to administration of a YRBS.” In addition, the CDC states “Parental permission was obtained for students to participate in the survey. Student participation was voluntary, and responses were anonymous.” Regrettably, these statements are pure fantasy. The fact is, close monitoring of parental permission is not happening and the test is being administered with little regard to children’s rights. Because of this negligence, the situation has to be exposed.

It is easy to witness or experience the abuses first hand working as a public school teacher. Problems include ignoring signed parental non-consent forms, not alerting parents of the survey by letter, not giving instructions to students taking the survey, and legally questionable opt-out procedures offered to parents. Additionally, there is no oversight or consideration of the ramifications the questioning has to a student’s emotional or psychological stability after the survey.

Processes are clear on how to obtain parental approval through active or passive parental consent laws. Again, according to the CDC, “Most states employ passive parental consent when administering such surveys. Under this system, written notice is sent out to parents informing them of the upcoming survey and the types of questions it will ask, and then permission to participate is assumed unless parents or students indicate otherwise. With passive parental consent all students and parents can decline to participate at any point in the process.”

Again, the CDC can tell the public whatever it wants, but it is up to the individual school districts, schools, and classroom teachers to follow the specific rules through “written instructions” to effectively administer the survey and provide safeguards against surveying a student whose parents had not given their consent. Vigilance, ethics, professional, and legal requirements obligates anyone involved in administering the survey to protect individual freedom. Inexcusably, bureaucratic apathy all but negates this from happening.

Even with all of these specific rules and regulations, laws are being ignored? As such, targeted legislation needs to be passed addressing the lack of seriousness in following the law. Stiff penalties in the form of fines or jail time should be legislated to create the incentives to once and for all end the blatant disregard for the role families have in raising children as parents see fit.

Potential legal actions against the misadministration of the YRBS are justified. They would be an expensive and embarrassing wake up call to survey advocates. Parents, government officials and school leaders must now take action on this issue. The YRBS should be stopped until such time as all parties can be assured the laws that govern the administration of surveys to children will be done with the utmost of respect for the process and protection of individual rights.

Any response less than a full scale investigation will signal only one conclusion; the government wants to know if your child has “had sexual intercourse,” and they are not interested in such pesky things as laws, ethics, mothers or fathers.

Monday, December 6, 2010

“Please define me Facebook, I need you to be whole.”

By Dean Kalahar

Not so long ago, teenagers learned the hard realities of life, face to face, while they were busy hitting the books. This process was a predictable and stable series of life events, challenges, and personal achievements that guided them to adulthood. In fact, Eric Erickson, a pioneer in psychology, detailed why this interaction and group dynamic is important in the maturation process of teens. First, group interaction allows teens to feel acceptance, fit in, and find a temporary identity. Secondly, the group acts as a manageable measuring stick for a teen to psychologically compare and contract their unique temperaments, values, and principles. This interplay eventually solidifies into a unique sense of self where individual acceptance occurs. In short, the process allows a teen to grow up.

Today, however, technology such as Facebook has unknowingly removed the fundamental aspect of personal interaction and juvenile maturation. The devastating cost of this cyber-disease that ravages the minds of our most vulnerable citizens needs to be understood and evaluated.

Facebook, the social networking site that has become a primary link for many aspects of commerce and communication is robbing our youth the ability to answer the most important question of the maturation process, “who am I.” As a result, children are reaching adult age without undergoing the orderly and sequential experiences and associated cognitive growth necessary to become adults. The result is a generation who are immature, confused, self absorbed, and incapable of handling rejection, disappointment, challenges, and reasoned thought.

Facebook creates a lifestyle of empty friends, phony group dynamics and self-promotion that inhibits the behavioral interactions necessary for personal growth. Today’s teens do not learn about life, face to face, they covertly create a cyber identity where they hide from themselves and the realities of growing up, while believing they are becoming mature and ready to face life’s challenges. The group dynamics created by Facebook is an ironic mirage that has nothing to do with true social interaction or networking.

Teens using Facebook are forced into an unmanageable and unpredictable maturation process based in a cyber reality where the dominant need is to “fit in.” This is done following a software model of being “friended,” updating ones “status,” and obsessively self-promoting and visually glorifying every trivial second of one’s empty existence. Maturation with Facebook is an unstable series of cyber interactions, cyber attacks, and worthless cyber achievements that create psychological confusion and hold hostage a child’s ability to grow and mature.

In a seemingly safe attempt to build a persona and ultimately accept one’s self, kids are actually placing themselves in an experience that does just the opposite. Facebook offers the non-adult mind severe identity confusion, moral relativity, anger, and depression- just to name a few potential maladies. Our children are not becoming productive self reliant adults, they are becoming slaves to a false world of human interaction and surface noise where everyone is connected, everyone communicates, yet nobody speaks. The result, psychologically stunted adults.

Mark Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard has been portrayed as a social outcast in his youth. What began as an alternate reality to replace genuine interaction for Zuckerberg was turned into a multi-billion dollar practical joke as if to say, “If I had to suffer, so will the rest of you.” In Facebook, we truly have the Revenge of the Nerds.

We are losing our traditional system of self acceptance through personal growth and replacing it with a dangerous computer application that transcends the guidance of the family and tangible friends. In the end, adult children who are empty, confused, and lost can thank Facebook for their inability to face the world. How do we know Facebook is becoming a surrogate to accepting self? Half of the 500 million users log in every single day. “Please define me Facebook, I need you to be whole.”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Questions and answers to the news of the week. 11/30/10


Using standard statistical analyses that introduce variables to control for business-cycle fluctuations, wars and inflation, we found that over the entire post World War II era through 2009 each dollar of new tax revenue was associated with $1.17 of new spending. Politicians spend the money as fast as it comes in—and a little bit more. We also looked at different time periods (e.g., 1947-2009 vs. 1959-2009), different financial data (fiscal year federal budget data, as well as calendar year National Income and Product Account data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis), different lag structures (e.g., relating taxes one year to spending change the following year to allow for the time it takes bureaucracies to spend money), different control variables, etc. The alternative models produce different estimates of the tax-spend relationship—between $1.05 and $1.81. But no matter how we configured the data and no matter what variables we examined, higher tax collections never resulted in less spending. - Steven Moore


Utopians will always be less happy than those who know that suffering is inherent to human existence. The utopian compares America to utopia and finds it terribly wanting. The conservative compares America to every other civilization that has ever existed and walks around wondering how he got so lucky as to be born or naturalized an American. - Dennis Prager


What do the Israeli airport-security people do that American airport-security people do not do? They profile. They question some individuals for more than half an hour, open up all their luggage, and spread the contents on the counter — and they let others go through with scarcely a word. And it works…Will America be undermined from within by an administration obsessed with political correctness and intoxicated with the adolescent thrill of exercising its new-found powers? Stay tuned. - Thomas Sowell


The highlight of the news video is, of course, the portion featuring a black female student who tells us that we still need diversity centers because of the persistence of racism and sexism. But she made the statement while wearing big black sorority letters emblazoned on her blouse. In other words, while lecturing us on the persistence of racism and sexism she was touting her membership in an organization that limits its membership to blacks and women. The hypocrisy of asking the public to fund “solutions” to the “problems” she is exacerbating is simply staggering. - Mike Adams


policymakers are committing what economist Friedrich Hayek called the “fatal conceit” in micromanaging the economic cycle. Hayek hated policy intervention of any kind…Hayek was associated with the Austrian school, which argued that the private sector should be left free to carry out the task of any readjustment in a downturn. Faith in the market’s purging power served the U.S. well in the 19th century, when the economy emerged stronger after each recession, but was taken too far in the policy mix of tight money and high taxes that led to the Great Depression and the rise of the Keynesians. Keynes would probably never have supported big government deficits during boom times, such as those that led to our current debt crisis. Likewise, Friedman would probably not have backed the new Fed use of monetary policy as a tool to engineer expansion rather than merely cushion the pain in a downturn. The systematic perversion of Keynes’s and Friedman’s thought is now resulting in a fall in their fortunes, leaving Hayek triumphant, once again. -Ruchir Sharma

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wisdom and insight- The best of the week. 11/15/10

I did not write that man is inherently evil. I wrote that he is not basically good. And, yes, that does make the world sad. So do disease, earthquakes, death and all the unjust suffering in the world. But sad facts remain facts. A distinguishing characteristic of liberals and leftists, … is their aversion to acknowledging sad facts. – Dennis Prager

In 1920, when the top tax rate was 73 percent, for people making over $100,000 a year, the federal government collected just over $700 million in income taxes — and 30 percent of that was paid by people making over $100,000. After a series of tax cuts brought the top rate down to 24 percent, the federal government collected more than a billion dollars in income-tax revenue — and people making over $100,000 a year now paid 65 percent of the taxes.-Thomas Sowell

People behave differently when tax rates are high as compared with when they are low. With low tax rates, they take their money out of tax shelters and put it to work in the economy, benefiting themselves, the economy, and government, which collects more money in taxes because incomes rise. High tax rates that very few people are actually paying because of tax shelters do not bring in as much revenue as lower tax rates that people are paying.- Thomas Sowel

l Nothing raises the ire of cynical liberals more than a happy-go-lucky, totally unburdened, freethinking and self-assured conservative woman who has everything she wants and then some. And without anyone's help…Liberalism, after all, needs to imagine an unhappy populace. Passing sweeping entitlement programs and convincing voters that big government is the answer only works if people are frustrated with their stations in life.-S.E. Cupp

If we truly want our Constitution back, Charlie Rangel needs to be impeached for “high crimes and Misdemeanors,” not given a slap on the wrist. -Dean Kalahar

The nation's founders would be horrified by today's congressional spending that consumes 25 percent of our GDP. Contrast that to the years 1787 to the 1920s when federal government spending never exceeded 4 percent of our GDP except in wartime.- Walter Williams

Can a bi-partisan Balanced Budget Amendment pass? It almost did already. Aug. 4, 1982, by a vote of 69 to 31 in the Senate, two more than the two-thirds vote required for approval of a constitutional amendment. The Senate vote was bipartisan: 47 Republicans, 21 Democrats and 1 Independent voted for the amendment. In the House of Representatives by way of a discharge petition the vote was 236 to 187, it did not meet the two-thirds required by Article V of the Constitution. The House vote was again bipartisan: 167 Republicans, 69 Democrats. Source: Walter Williams

On the question as to what % of GDP should the federal government spend, Walter Williams said: “if 10 percent is good enough for the Baptist Church, it ought to be good enough for Congress.”

Obviously, some of the central bank's governors have been encouraged by Congress to think of themselves as more than mere bankers - as wizards of social control, even regulating society's reservoirs of self-esteem.-George Will

(Paul) Ryan, incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee, says the Fed thinks it can adroitly "put the cruise missile through the goal posts." But how adroit can Fed management of the economy be? No complex economy can be both managed and efficient, meaning dynamic. To think otherwise is what Friedrich Hayek called "the fatal conceit." That conceit can be fatal to the Fed's independence.-George Will

Does anyone find it alarming that for the first time in the nine-year war, the U.S. military is deploying heavily armored battle tanks to Afghanistan? Did you not assume tanks were being used- IN A WAR!-Dean Kalahar

G.M. will never buy back and sell off all of the shares that Uncle Sam owns because it has a stronger incentive to keep them in the game – and know they will always get bailed out- with a large enough holding to protect themselves from ever having to really compete. By the way, the government lost $9 billion of taxpayers’ original investment on Thursdays’ partial stock sale. Fell like a tycoon now? -Dean Kalahar

John Tyner, cleverly armed with an iPhone to give YouTube immortality to the encounter, took exception to the TSA guard about to give him the benefit of Homeland Security’s newest brainstorm — the upgraded, full-palm, up-the-groin, all-body pat-down. In a stroke, the young man ascended to myth, or at least the next edition of Bartlett’s, warning the agent not to “touch my junk.” Not quite the 18th-century elegance of “Don’t Tread on Me,” but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch. Don’t touch my junk is the anthem of the modern man, the Tea Party patriot, the late-life libertarian, the midterm-election voter. –Charles Krauthammer

Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will soon require tobacco warning labels to be much bigger and more graphic…The proposed warnings include one containing an image of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; another depicting a body with a large scar running down the chest; and another showing a man who appears to be suffering a heart attack. Others have images of a corpse in a coffin and one with a toe tag in a morgue, diseased lungs and mouths, and a mother blowing smoke into a baby’s face. Apparently the theory behind such fulsome antismoking propaganda is that while everyone knows tobacco is unhealthy, some people need to have their noses rubbed in that fact as pungently and unpleasantly as possible. But when did it become the job of the federal government to treat American adults the way mothers and fathers treat children? ..There will always be some people who smoke, just as there will always be some people who drive recklessly or overeat or drink to excess. Should the manufacturer’s sticker on every new car be required to include images of horrible collisions and mangled motorists? Should packages of high-calorie junk food depict rolls of flabby cellulite or a patient undergoing bypass surgery? Should beer and wine bottles be covered with grisly pictures of ruined livers or passed-out drunks?..There always seem to be good reasons for giving them (government) just a little more authority, for agreeing to surrender just a few more personal choices, for letting yourself be treated just a bit more condescendingly. But it comes at a price. Smoking is unhealthy, no question about it. The loss of freedom and self-respect is more hazardous by far.-Jeff Jacoby

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Notable and quoteable

I did not write that man is inherently evil. I wrote that he is not basically good. And, yes, that does make the world sad. So do disease, earthquakes, death and all the unjust suffering in the world. But sad facts remain facts. A distinguishing characteristic of liberals and leftists,” … “is their aversion to acknowledging sad facts.” – Dennis Prager

In 1920, when the top tax rate was 73 percent, for people making over $100,000 a year, the federal government collected just over $700 million in income taxes — and 30 percent of that was paid by people making over $100,000. After a series of tax cuts brought the top rate down to 24 percent, the federal government collected more than a billion dollars in income-tax revenue — and people making over $100,000 a year now paid 65 percent of the taxes.-Thomas Sowell

People behave differently when tax rates are high as compared with when they are low. With low tax rates, they take their money out of tax shelters and put it to work in the economy, benefiting themselves, the economy, and government, which collects more money in taxes because incomes rise. High tax rates that very few people are actually paying because of tax shelters do not bring in as much revenue as lower tax rates that people are paying.- Thomas Sowell

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Best of"- Keeping it simple

If the government pays people not to work and taxes people who do work, is it really so difficult to see why employment is so low?- Arthur Laffer

The mother of all supply-side reforms is incentive pay for politicians...In business, firms align the incentives of decision makers with the incentives of shareholders to ensure that they take the best course of action. Washington must begin doing the same by creating an incentive structure that pays elected officials according to factors such as stock market performance and economic growth. – Arthur Laffer

“Green” President Obama, who lectures us on protecting the environment through things like cap and trade legislation, will not agree to the free trade deal with South Korea because Korean built cars and trucks have better fuel and environmental standards than US cars and trucks. In other words, the President is pro-environment only as long as it does not diminish his power and relationship with unions. Hypocrite. –Dean Kalahar

If it is the first responsibility of the Federal Reserve to protect the dollars that Americans earn and save, is it not dereliction of duty for the Fed to pursue a policy to bleed value from those dollars?… Bernanke is not just risking inflation. He is inducing inflation.-Pat Buchanan

We shouldn't be playing around with inflation. It's not for nothing Reagan called it 'as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man. The Fed's pump-priming addiction has got our small businesses running scared and our allies worried. The German finance minister called the Fed's proposals 'clueless. When Germany, a country that knows a thing or two about the dangers of inflation, warns us to think again, maybe it's time for Chairman Bernanke to cease and desist. We don't want temporary, artificial economic growth bought at the expense of permanently higher inflation which will erode the value of our incomes and our savings. -Sarah Palin

When it comes to the increasing sex, violence and profanity in entertainment media, the social libertines are indifferent. They insist that children will hardly be warped or ruined by the media they consume. They chortle at the paranoia of Hollywood critics. Their mantra: If you don't like it, just turn the channel. But if the issue isn't indecency, but instead, say, obesity, so many of those titans of "tolerance" suddenly become the censors. -Brent Bozell