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Palo Alto Unified School District Henry M. Gunn High School 780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. Postage

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Candidates work towards City Council positions Emily Yao

Sports Editor

State voter identification laws should be repealed Boot Bullwinkle Due to strong support from the Republican Party, voter identification (ID) laws have been adopted by states across the nation to ensure that registered voters are not impersonators casting a vote for another person. Voters are required to present a valid form of government identification, or for some states, a current utility bill or bank statement. About 21 million eligible voters will be disenfranchised because of these laws, and it’s imperative that these laws get struck down. A study published in September by researchers affiliated with the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis found that the turnout at this year’s election by young people of

color ages 18 to 29 could fall between 538,000 voters to 696,000 in states with photo ID laws. This fall in voter turnout is clearly detrimental to the overall goals of a democratic election, as every eligible citizen should have the right to vote on Election Day without laws barring them from election booths. These laws are starting to be recognized for what they truly are: unconstitutional. On Aug. 15, a Pennsylvania judge dismissed the law, but after a plaintiff appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated the judge’s ruling with a 4-2 vote and returned the case for further review. Luckily for Pennsylvania voters, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked the law from taking effect only for the upcoming Nov. 6 election, saying that he wasn’t sure if voters who are currently denied to vote by Pennsylvania’s stricter photo ID law would be able to obtain a state-issued photo ID before the election in an Oct. 2 ruling. VOTER LAWS—p.4

Six candidates are running for four open positions on the nine-member City Council in the 2012 Palo Alto General Municipal Election. Palo Alto Mayor Yiaway Yeh and fellow council members Sid Espinosa, Patrick Burt and Greg Schmid, who were all elected to the council in 2007, are expecting their terms to come to a close this year. Because the city decided to switch its elections from odd years to even years in 2010, the council members’ four-years terms were each extended by a year. Espinosa, who was elected Palo Alto Mayor in 2011, and Yeh both announced that they will not run for a second term on the City Council. Incumbents Burt and Schmid, newcomers Mark Weiss, Marc Berman, Timothy Gray and former council member Liz Kniss are in the running for the four open spots on the council. Burt, the Chief Executive Officer of Vascular Access Technology who served as Palo Alto mayor in 2010, hopes to continue a second City Council term. If elected, his main goals are to increase the efficiency of the Palo Alto government and to emphasize the importance of emergency preparedness. Retired economist Schmid,

the other incumbent in the race, will use his financial background and years on the Council to his advantage. “I have five years of experience on this Council, and I have worked as an economist and planner my whole career,” Schmid said. “I would make sure our budgets are balanced in a sustainable way that will create a solid future.” According to Schmid, his five concrete goals are to make sure the city’s employee benefit obligations are sustainable, assure that the growth of housing and space maintains the quality of life in the community, work with the school district to equally distribute services provided by Cubberley to the city and schools, focus Council attention on long-term goals, including traffic and parking, and maintain things, such as parks, child care and active down, that make the Palo Alto community unique. Santa Clara County Supervisor Kniss, who served as the Mayor of Palo Alto in 1994 and 2000, was still involved in the Palo Alto community, even while taking a decade-long hiatus from the Palo Alto City Council. She worked at City Hall by informing the council about certain issues, including the electrification of Caltrain. Kniss also proposed the switch from odd to even years for the city’s elections.

After joining the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission, a group of 17 members who scrutinize and propose improvements for Palo Alto’s infrastructure, attorney Berman has a lot of experience with Palo Alto’s infrastructure problems. According to his campaign website, Berman’s main plans are to “revitalize the city’s infrastructure, maintain a sustainable budget and build a community.” Weiss and Gray, two candidates who ran unsuccessfully in the 2009 City Council election, are back in the running this year. Weiss believes that city workers are under too much pressure and given too much responsibility for city budget cutbacks and hopes to further address the city’s infrastructure problems. Gray, a Certified Public Accountant, will use his experience in finance to go about solving Palo Alto’s budget issues. “Palo Alto City Council, along with many other government bodies, faces financial challenges, so it is appropriate that one of the representatives would be a financial numbers person,” Gray said. “It will take a very disciplined approach to prioritizing the services the City provides, and then work to preserve the services that we collectively decide as a group we want to protect.” CITY COUNCIL—p.2


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News State institutes changes to congressional district boundaries THEORACLE

Wayland Fong Reporter

After the California congressional boundaries were amended, California Citizens Redistricting Commision (CCRC) made subtle changes to adjust to the new boundaries. The new boundaries were made to reflect the newly collected census data. The citizens’ commission, which was mandated by voters in 2008 through Proposition 11 (the Voters’ First Act) with the goal of better representing communities drew all of California’s district borders. “In the past, district lines were drawn behind closed doors, producing districts that divided communities—sometimes running hundreds of miles in indescribable shapes—with their only purpose being the protection of incumbents,” commissioners said in a statement on June 10, 2011. “The commission prepared these draft maps without regard to current districts, incumbents, candidates or political parties.” In this way, the commission made sure that politicians could not change boundaries to affect voter turnout or sway the vote in any way.

Commissioners indicated that the new districts have three advantages over existing legislative lines. First, districts were drawn without regard to political incumbents and partisan considerations. Second districts instead reflect geographic boundaries. Lastly, the new districts balance the needs of different communities across California. “Where possible, the commission worked to keep communities whole to maximize their voices under these proposed districts,” the commission said. CCRC Commissioner Stan Forbes believes that this boundary change will increase the level of voter turnout. “Because this is a presidential election it is hard to say,” he wrote G e in an email. “However, it should increase turnout orge Hw since voters will know the districts were not designed an g to protect incumbents and so the district is likely to be more competitive and so their vote will matter.” According to Forbes, elected officials will also be affected by this change. “Competitive office holders will be more responsive because they know voters will have a real choice in the

future whereas in the past a legislator could ignore the voters for the most part and do what they want,” Forbes wrote. Forbes also believes that this will change decisions being made in the legislatures. “I would expect legislation to be more moderate since to win a candidate will now have to appeal to decline to state or members of the other party,” he wrote. U.S. Government teacher John Hebert believes that the new boundaries will not strongly impact the community. “Voter turnout is always higher for a presidential election, so I don’t think you’ll see any change,” he wrote in an email. “The old and the new district are both quite Democratic (about 2 to 1 Democrats to Republicans), so little effect will be seen.” Hebert believes a change in legislation would be highly unlikely. “Anna Eshoo was the Representative before and will be again most likely,” he wrote. “Republicans will maintain control of the House or Representatives.”

Six candidates run for City Council in upcoming election CITY COUNCIL—p.1

Unlike most of the other candidates, Gray’s main goal for running for City Coun-

cil is pure community service. He believes the City Council cannot be used as a finishing school for career politicians. “Many have used the Palo Alto City Council chambers as a stamp on t hei r Political Passport on t heir way to someplace e l s e ,” G r ay said. “I think my motive of si mple c ommunity service • LOCALLY OWNED

provides the greatest value to the residents that trust the Council with some very important decisions that greatly shape the future of Palo Alto.” Espinosa and Schmid noted the unusually low number of candidates for this year’s election, compared to the city’s last council elections in 2009, in which 14 candidates ran for five seats. “This is one of the smallest candidate pools that the city has seen in many decades, which is unfortunate,” he said. “I hope that more people will step forward to run in the future. It is a very rewarding experience.” Schmid also ruminates over the paucity of contenders. “Usually there are 12 to 14

candidates, or almost three candidates per seat. The same trend seems to be holding in the School Board Election,” he said. “Maybe households are busier than they used to be. Maybe, as ‘The Daily Post’ says, ‘current Council Members are doing such a good job.’” Espinosa’s advice to the candidates running for office is to build a strong team and do not pretend that things can be done alone. “[I advise the candidates to] get out into the neighborhoods and talk to as many people as possible,” he said. “[They] will learn something about how Palo Alto [residents] really feel about their city in every single conversation.”


News Monday, November 5, 2012 3 Four district school board candidates offer diverse qualifications Melissa Baten Caswell

Ken Dauber

Heidi Emberling

Camille Townsend

Melissa Baten Caswell, an incumbent school board member and former president, is running for re-election. After graduating from Dartmouth College, Baten Caswell worked for various technology companies such as Apple and Sun Microsystems, not knowing that she would later work in the field of education. While taking some time off her career, Baten Caswell was asked to help in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Baten Caswell eventually became an active participant on the school board. “It was like a domino thing after that,” Baten Caswell said. Baten Caswell believes that senior first semester finals should be optional as a means of giving students the opportunity to start making their own choices. “We should be giving [students] more choices because when [students] get out of [their parents’] house, [students] will have a lot of choices, and [students] need to be comfortable making them without help,” she said. “The only way [students] can do that successfully is with practice.” Baten Caswell doesn’t feel that the Palo Alto High School (Paly) guidance system should necessarily be implemented at Gunn or that Gunn’s should be implemented at Paly. She believes that student surveys indicated both programs could use some improvement, and she would like to see both schools work together to produce a more effective guidance system. “I’d like the schools to work together to come up with what the purpose and metrics are of the counseling programs,” Baten Caswell said. “If they can agree on that, then actually I don’t care how it’s done at each school, because I’ll assume that quality will be as good at both because everyone will be going towards the same metric.” One of Baten Caswell’s main goals, if re-elected, is to allow students to focus on what they love. “I feel like we don’t give [students] enough opportunities to find their passions. So whether it’s giving [students] enough time to explore things or providing enough things to explore, I think we could improve how we’re doing that,” Baten Caswell said. “So, I’d like to invest in that in my next term.” ­­—Regina Tran

Ken Dauber, a software engineer at Google, is running for a first term as a PAUSD school board member. Dauber, who has spent the last ten years as a consultant for educational data and development for various companies, hopes to incorporate the use of data in order to improve upon and solve current issues. “I would work to make sure that we have the data that we need to support our goal of giving every student an equally excellent education,” Dauber said. Dauber hopes to put a consistent homework criterion in place. As a former member of the district homework committee, Dauber aims to set guidelines for every grade about the number of hours students should spend working on homework. “The policy [I hope to implement] says that homework isn’t supposed to be about learning organization skills because it isn’t very good at teaching those skills,” he said. Dauber also plans on fully implementing Schoology in the school district by promoting its use amongst teachers and students. If elected to PAUSD school board, Dauber plans to negotiate the implementation of Palo Alto High School’s (Paly) Teacher Advisory system at Gunn. Paly’s guidance system uses teacher advisors to discuss school-related issues with students. Each teacher meets with the group of students he or she is in charge of every week. The meetings are mandatory and scheduled after school, similar to Gunn’s Titan 101 program. Paly’s counselors focus exclusively on students’ social-emotional issues. According to Dauber, Paly also offers additional guidance services for issues such as dropping a course, or switching lanes. “The students would benefit from more contact with adults, and counselors and other adults would have more time with students and be able to give each student more of their attention,” Dauber said. Dauber hopes to implement these changes in order to fulfill the larger goal of reducing stress across the entire district. “I have a strong background as a volunteer advocate for these issues in the district, and years of experience using educational data to understand how to improve achievement and learning in our schools,” he said. —Misheel Enkhbat

Heidi Emberling is a parent educator at Parents Place, a parent resource center in the Bay Area and a part time teacher. She has a fourth grader at Juana Briones Elementary School and a sixth grader at Terman Middle School. She is running for the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) School Board in order to provide a voice for younger students and families. Emberling aims to create an academic environment where all students are supported socially, emotionally and academically. “The first priority for me is making sure that students have a positive connection to school and that there’s a trusted adult on campus,” Emberling said. Another major problem affecting not only Palo Alto, but the entire state, is lack of sufficient funding for public schools. California is currently 47th in the nation in per pupil spending. “Budget priorities must begin with our teachers,” Emberling said. “Innovations in the classroom that support teachers are also a priority.” Emberling hopes to improve the district’s handling of over-enrollment concerns. “We are facing enrollment growth issues right now, so we need to prioritize adding new facilities to accommodate the growing student population,” Emberling said. “We are fortunate to have passed a $378 million construction bond for new facilities.” Emberling supports creating two comparable counseling systems at both Gunn and Palo Alto High School (Paly). “Paly’s academic advising has a much better student to counselor ratio than the academic advising at Gunn,” Emberling said. “As a district, we have to look at providing comparable outcomes for students and move toward similar models that have a unified purpose and vision.” While Emberling did not initially have an opinion on the calendar change, she now believes that moving finals to before winter break just shifts more stress for students, especially seniors. “I saw that perhaps we were just moving the stress from January to December and we were combining finals with final performances and college applications and sporting events and everything was sort of piling in December,” Emberling said. —Rebecca Alger

Current president of the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) School Board Camille Townsend, who has served two terms on the board, is seeking reelection. She was first elected in 2003 and was re-elected in 2007. She has served two years as president, the first time from 2006 to 2007 and the second time from 2011 to the present. All board members are required to serve as president for a year. Having two daughters who attended PAUSD schools, Townsend aims to maintain the district’s high academic standards by ensuring financial stability and protecting teachers who allow students to thrive and connect with their peers. “Teachers are the core of our program,” Townsend said. “Excellent teachers motivate, encourage and stay current with our students’ 21st century demands.” Townsend has worked to protect the positions of teachers who bring professionalism and enthusiasm to their jobs. Despite financial debacles in recent years due to over-enrollment concerns and state budget cuts, Townsend prevented the shortening of class time by cutting positions and by leaving non-teaching positions open. According to Townsend, these actions kept the relationship between students and teachers strong. Townsend also hopes to continue engaging the district in tackling the budget challenges, keeping classes engaging, working on delivering better counseling services and giving students the opportunity to excel in the changing world. “Life takes many turns,” Townsend said. “I want to make sure that students keep all doors open as the future unfolds.” She also believes that it is important to keep the community engaged in the decision-making process. For instance, during her term, the community passed a bond parcel measure with 79 percent approval, which generated a higher budget for new classes and for Project Safety Net. With board member Barbara Klausner stepping down from office, Townsend believes it’s her job to ensure the excellence of the district. “Challenges to our budget, our teachers and our students require ongoing stability,” Townsend said. “Innovation is alive and well on our campuses, encouraged by our board.” —Eileen Qian

THEORACLE Editorial Board

780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238 www.gunnoracle.com

Editor-in-Chief Utkash Dubey

Managing Editors Boot Bullwinkle Anna Qin

News Cooper Aspegren Zoe Weisner Catalina Zhao

Features Rebecca Alger Chaewon Lee

Sports Mitch Donat Rani Shiao Emily Yao

Entertainment Misheel Enkhbat Ellen Lee Lucy Oyer

Forum Ben Atlas Leon Cheong

Centerfold Eileen Qian Stephanie Zhang

Photo Michael Wu

Graphics George Hwang

Staff Tech Alvin Wang Copy Lawrence Chen Klaire Tan Photographers Stephanie Kim Audey Shen Anthony Tran

Business/Circulation Erica Lee Shireen Ahsan (Asst.) Regina Tran (Asst.) Graphics Artist Jasmine Garnett Adviser Kristy Blackburn

Reporters Samantha Acker, Wayland Fong, Anuva Ganapathi, Noa Livneh, Alex Man, Roy Shadmon, Henry Siu, Tim Wang, Katherine Zu

The Oracle is published by and for the students of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School. The unsigned editorials that appear in this publication represent the majority opinion of the staff and The Oracle’s commitment to promoting student rights. The Oracle publishes nine issues annually. Subscriptions are $45/year.


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THEORACLE

Eshoo seeks re-election to Congress that have been the biggest concerns of the public, which includes the political polarization between News Editor Democrats and Republicans and the financial criLocal Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is running sis. In her statement Eshoo emphasized that her for re-election to serve as representative of Califor- supporters motivate her to continue serving as a nia’s new 18th Congressional District. Eshoo won congressional representative. Eshoo’s top priority is job creation and economic the primary elections as the Democratic candidate growth, which she has demonstrated through her inand is now up against Republican Dave Chapman, volvement in the American Recovery and Reinvesta software engineer whose main goal is to stimulate ment Act. The Recovery Act the economy and increase reportedly created 2.5 million jobs through tax cuts for jobs during the first two years consumers. Chapman does of President Barack Obama’s not have any previous expeterm. The Recovery Act has rience working in the public also translated into education sector. During the primary by saving 300,000 occupations elections, Eshoo had 30 more in education, which is also one percentage points than Chapof her top priorities as Conman. On Nov. 6, registered gresswoman. voters will decide who beIn addition, Eshoo puts comes representative. strong emphasis on science, Eshoo has served as a technology, engineering and representative on California’s mathematics (STEM) educa14th Congressional District tion because she believes it in the House of Representawill prepare students for the tives for 19 years. During highly-technical jobs that will her time as a representative, be in demand in the future. Eshoo has served on the House Energy and ComRegarding higher educamerce Committee which is tion, Eshoo wants every sturesponsible for making legisdent to have the opportunity Courtesy of Anna Eshoo to attend a university or collative decisions on Medicare, Medicaid and the National Congresswoman Anna Eshoo makes lege without feeling overInstitutes of Health. Eshoo is her 11th bid in the upcoming district whelmed about the cost. In currently a Ranking Mem- election against rival Dave Chapman. 2010, she signed the Student ber of the Subcommittee Aid and Fiscal Responsibilon Communications and Technology, which has ity Act, which increased the number of grants and jurisdiction over the Internet or telecommunications. provided another $48 billion for student scholarships According to Eshoo’s public candidate statement and loans. On her website, Eshoo promised that if on KTVU, a Bay Area news show, she is running for elected, she will strive to accomplish all the necessary re-election because she wants to address the problems issues as Congresswoman. Zoe Weisner

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News Gunn’s API score rises Cooper Aspegren News Editor

The California Department of Education (CDE) announced on Oct. 17 that Gunn’s Academic Performance Index (API) increased to 920 in 2012, a ten-point growth from its base score of 910 in 2011. The CDE uses API to determine the academic standing of a district as well as each of its individual schools. The CDE calculated Gunn’s API score using student results from the California Standards Test (CST) and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). “API scores are used as an internal evaluation measure,” Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) research and evaluation coordinator Diana Wilmot said. “We use it to judge whether or not our programs are working.” The growth marks Gunn’s highest API increase since 2009. “It’s statistically significant that it went up by double digits,” Principal Katya Villalobos said. Administration officials expressed significant delight at the API increase of minority subgroups. “What that tells me is that we are reaching those students in academic and in all capacities of the school,” Villalobos said. “That is why we are increasing.” Administration officials downplayed efforts to increase API test scores through coaxing better student performances in CST exams, a

strategy they say is used by schools in other districts to raise their API scores. “We don’t overstress the Standardized Testing and Reporting Test,” Assistant Principal of Guidance Tom Jacoubowsky said. “In some ways I kind of wish we looked more at the data we get from it.” Administration officials have used test results to find a correlation between English and Language Arts scores and success in accelerated freshmen biology classes. PAUSD’s overall API increased by eight points from a score of 926 in 2011 to a score of 934 in 2012. District officials note that Gunn’s API growth played a significant role in the district-wide API increase. “As a district, our API is calculated on all the students tested in grades 2-11,” Wilmot said. “Students tested at Gunn make up 14 percent of the total population tested in the district, so the performance of Gunn’s students will have a significant impact on the overall district API.” Gunn’s API increased by a more significant margin than that of Palo Alto High School, which went from a score of 900 in 2011 to a score of 906 in 2012. Administration officials attribute the increase in API to support for students from the entire Gunn community. “To me this represents all the support our kids get from teachers, from administrators, from classified support staff, everything you can think of,” Villalobos said.


Forum

Monday, November 5, 2012

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EDITORIAL: The Opinion of The Oracle Incumbent Baten Caswell is best candidate for election to school board With the recent implementation of A-G graduation requirements, a significant school calendar change, and now the discussion of guidance system changes, it is clear that the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) School Board is more influential and pivotal than ever before, especially concerning student life, which is why this election is important. For this reason, The Oracle hosted an open forum on Oct. 19 for the four school board candidates to determine which candidates the staff would ultimately support. After eliciting votes and reasoning from staff members, The Oracle endorses incumbent Melissa Baten Caswell for School Board. After a thorough analysis of each candidate and utilizing a point evaluation system, The Oracle finds that Baten Caswell best represents the staff ’s interests, and attributes her qualifications to her dedication and support of stress-alleviating policies, experience she has gained through her incumbency and financial background, and the transparent agenda, goals and general alignment with The Oracle staff opinion about what is most important to students. Baten Caswell’s most appealing quality is her clear dedication to the mitigation of student stress levels. She expressed approval of providing seniors with the option to opt out of certain final exams, which accomplishes workload alleviation and also gives students the opportunity to be independent and make more of their own choices. Baten Caswell illustrates concern for student workload through her support of such a proposition. Aside from prospective policies about senior finals or guidance changes that have yet been proposed to the School Board, Baten Caswell is in favor of amending and improving the guidance systems at both Palo Alto High School (Paly) and Gunn, rather than superimposing the Teacher Advisory model on Gunn. Baten Caswell best reflects this philosophy of improving both school systems, and shows obvious commitment to stress management from the district level. At the open forum, Baten Caswell discussed fostering a mentality and community where students are driven to pursue their particular academic interests, and find their passions. She pointed out that the creativity model, best ex-

emplified in The Oracle and Gunn Robotics Team (GRT), should be open for expansion because students find something meaningful in these programs and similar co-curricular activities. Baten Caswell also feels that the high school experience should leave a positive lasting impression on all students, and that school itself should be a more engaging environment. These are the characteristics most highlighted by members of The Oracle staff as valuable motivations and aspirations for a PAUSD School Board member. Apart from these agreeable stances, The Oracle values more of her distinctive qualities, namely her financial background and incumbency experience. In addition, Baten Caswell was the primary candidate to specify a clear set of goals: improve professional development and teacher training, spend allocated money more efficiently and foster a healthier and more driven community. For these reasons, The Oracle, as a staff, endorses Baten Caswell for PAUSD School Board. While The Oracle staff clearly supports incumbent Baten Caswell, the other three candidates received much less support, according to votes, points and explanations, for a variety of reasons. Camille Townsend’s two-term incumbency proves to be a valuable asset, but the staff was unclear on her policies when she was asked questions specific to guidance system differences and senior finals. Townsend’s accumulated explanations illustrate the general mentality—she received a number of votes for all three rankings and the staff feels comfortable with her continuing as a School Board member. While Ken Dauber emphasizes his track record for stress mediation, adoption of a Teacher Advisory system is not what The Oracle staff ‌had in mind when the consultant survey showed a satisfaction discrepancy in guidance service quality compared to students at Paly. Instead, the emphasis lies in revamping both systems accordingly, and providing comparable services not necessarily by exchanging “best” practices, but by defining a metric that both schools will reach. Despite this significant difference in opinion, Dauber’s ranking breakdown was primarily on both ends of the spectrum; he either received a first place ranking or a third

Prop 30 is most efficient for budget

Tim Wang Between Prop 30 and 38, Prop 30 is a safer and fairer alternative that can greatly improve our economic situation in the near future. California is currently facing a $16 billion budget deficit, and even after $8 billion of spending reduction and $2 billion of other solutions, there is still the gaping $6 billion hole. Prop 30 is designed to close the $6 billion dollar budget deficit that California will encounter. Prop 30 would end a five-year deficit and avoids $6 billion in immediate trigger cuts to public education, including $500 million of higher education cuts. If Prop 30 were not passed it would result an immediate $6 billion cut to public services that we just can’t afford at this time. California also has a projected debt of almost $400 billion, which means that on aver-

Prop 30 •

Increases

income

taxes

on

earnings over $250,000. •

Increases sales tax by 0.25 cents for four years.

Prevents almost $6 billion in school and university cuts.

age every single person owes over $2000 in debt. Large amounts of debt reduce the state’s credit rating and make further borrowing more difficult. Paying it off as fast as possible is in the best interest of the state, as interest on the money accumulates quite a bit over time. The faster we pay the debt off, the faster state funds can be allocated to other needs. Prop 30 will raise the revenue necessary to help pay off the debt and it also balances our current deficit, helping to prevent further borrowing and debt. Furthermore, Prop 30 is less rigid than Prop 38. Prop 38 would lock the tax rate for the next 12 years. This means that if the plan ended up as defective, the state would have to live with it for over a decade until it expired or until it was changed by a statewide majority vote, which is often costly and hard to pass. Prop 30, on the other hand, only lasts for seven years and only affects those that make upwards of $250,00 per year, which reduces any unforeseen or negative impacts. While both plans are designed to help protect our educational system, Prop 38 is untested and it is unknown whether the system will work or not or what consequences it will bring. California will have to risk a immediate $6 billion tax cut if it is passed, while Prop 30 on the other hand is a much safer choice. It eliminates the need for the cut while improving the economy and reducing the debt over the next few years, freeing up the government budget to do things like invest in the educational system. Without Prop 30, the consequences could be disastrous for California’s schools and public services. —Wang, a junior, is a reporter.

place ranking (or none at all). Heidi Emberling received both the fewest votes and the least number of points. This was predominantly attributed to her inexperience regarding high school matters and indirect answers at the open forum. While Emberling provides a valuable K through 5 voice to the PAUSD School Board, The Oracle staff feels it’s not in its best interest to endorse a candidate without as much experience around high schooloriented issues and circumstances. With many high school experiences on the line, the members elected to the PAUSD School Board will have a substantial impact on district and student matters for the next few years. For these reasons, it’s essential that incumbent Baten Caswell be re-elected for her second term.

Voting Process On Oct. 19, The Oracle hosted the four school board candidates for a candidate open forum. The candidates were asked questions elicited from the Oracle staff members prior to the forum, and time was allocated later in the forum for questions to be asked voluntarily. After the forum, staff members were asked to provide rankings for each of their top three candidate picks. Points were calculated using the following information: First place: 3 points Tie for first place: 2.5 points Second place: 2 points Tie for second place: 1.5 points Third place: 1 point Melissa Baten Caswell: 75.5 points Camille Townsend: 49.5 points Ken Dauber: 45.5 points Heidi Emberling: 39.5 points

Prop 38 is a boon to public education

Henry Siu After a devastating $20 billion cut from California’s education as many as 40,000 California educators have been laid off. Prop 38 will increase the government revenue by billions of dollars every year for 12 years by increasing personal income taxes. The revenue from Prop 38 is guaranteed to be used for California’s education system, and prohibits the use of this money for other purposes. Prop 38 also states that a certain amount of money will be allocated to help pay off the state debt every year. Approving Prop 38 is the more favorable option, since it will result in an increase in revenue for California’s education system and help bring down California’s debt. According to the California General Election official voter information guide, California’s spending per pupil is down to 47 out of the 50 states. Prop 38 will provide $10 billion annually for 12 years through increased taxes. The higher tax rates will affect all taxpayers but are dependent on income. The wealthiest of taxpayers will see an increase of 2.2 percent in their income tax while the impoverished will pay an average of only $7 more per year, thus providing a fair, balanced tax measure that will be used for educational improvements by having the rich pay more and the poor pay less. The only

ones exempt from this new tax are couples that make less than $500,000 a year. If passed, all revenues produced from Prop 38 will solely be for educational purposes, not for increased salaries or pensions. Politicians will also not be allowed to use the money for anything else other than education. Along with guaranteed education funding, Prop 38 also guarantees $3 billion—not from the revenues—to help pay off California’s debt. In addition, if Prop 38 is passed, it will be in effect for 12 years unless acted upon by California citizens. Politicians cannot amend Prop 38; only voters can, which means state officials cannot redirect Prop 38’s revenues to another cause. Prop 38’s positives outweigh the issues it does not address. Despite Prop 38’s failure to save California’s education from the $6 billion trigger cut, the $6 billion will be made up for. Guarantees to education are what many citizens have been looking for. To maintain and continue sufficient funding for California’s educational excellence, it is necessary to pass Prop 38. —Siu, a junior, is a reporter.

Prop 38 •

Will increase income taxes for most Californians.

Is projected to raise 10 billion dollars per year.

Would expire after 12 years


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Forum Political apathy Obamacare legislation burdens Americans is harmful THEORACLE

Ben Atlas

Klaire Tan 2012 A.D.: The world is in a sorry state. America’s economy is struggling to stay afloat; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national debt has passed $16 trillion, and 12.1 million Americans are unemployed. The rest of the world isn’t faring much better. In and around the Arabian Peninsula, ongoing attempts to achieve democracy have spilled the blood of countless individuals. In Europe, a financial crisis has left nations with recession and debt. All the while, various countries around the globe rush to create and arm themselves with nuclear weapons. However, despite all the problems that stand before us, there’s another threat out there, one rarely addressed or realized: political apathy. Defined as indifference towards politics, political apathy is an unrecognized threat that plagues all countries, including America. In the presidential election of 2008, only 57 percent of our eligible population voted. Currently, voter turnout rarely surpasses 60 percent at elections all around the world. Politics have constantly attempted to rally the democratic spirit. Repeatedly reminding people to take advantage of their right to vote however doesn’t inspire action. Individuals must understand that the immorality of political apathy does not lie in the lack of fulfillment of civic duties. Instead, political apathy is an issue, threat and crime because of its offense against society. The most immediate impact of political apathy on a country is a decline in political involvement, which at first may appear harmless. As involvement and interest in government and politics declines, the element of humanity is taken away from government, and politics is no longer is of, by, or for the people. Without the expression of real individuals and their concerns, government stops being a living entity of the people and becomes a mindless machine. What is left is a nation at a standstill and a society abandoned. If such a government faced the dilemmas of its people, would it be able to produce a response tailored to popular needs, or a response at all? Will jobs suddenly pop up for those 12.1 million Americans lacking one? Will that $16 trillion debt just vanish? In addition, political apathy places the future of society in danger. Political apathy is more than choosing not to be involved in politics, it is a surrender of social investment. Though we may live in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, flaws persist in society: including inequality, discrimination and violence. The rights and current level of equality we have today were earned by those who were willing to step up and fight for them. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.” Political apathy will leave us stranded right where we are, unable to move forward. Mankind will slowly watch its future disappear, each of us accomplices to the death of humanity. Ultimately, this generation is the future of both America and the world. If we want change, we must be the change. However, in the 2012 presidential election, we are still underage and are limited to being idle spectators rather than participants. But give another four years, and our time will come. So be ready, my friends. When 2016 arrives and the booths open up, I expect to see you all there. —Tan, a sophomore, is a Copy Editor.

President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, is intended to lower the cost of healthcare and reducing the number of uninsured Americans. While health expenditures are indeed higher in the United States, the PPACA is misguided for several reasons: 1) the United States has a superior health care system that will be harmed by Obamacare; 2) the number of uninsured Americans has been grossly exaggerated; and 3) Obamacare fails to reduce health costs. Obamacare supporters rely on misleading and severely flawed data, particularly from the World Health Organization (WHO) report, to assert that U.S. quality of care is inferior. Most of the WHO ranking was based on equality of care, rather than quality. The WHO report also relied on differences that are not statistically significant, as well as “filling in” incomplete data to fit the authors’ agendas. Life expectancy estimates rank the U.S. near the bottom of developed nations, but when countries were standardized for instant death from murder, suicide, and high speed car accidents (deaths having nothing to do with health care), the U.S. had the best life expectancy. As for infant mortality, analysis of babies who are sick and actually need medical care shows the U.S. ranks near the top, behind only Sweden and Norway, countries with obvious population differences that elevate their

ratings. On review of the peer-reviewed literature, the U.S. is factually superior in survival from cancer, access to new drugs and to safer, more accurate diagnostic technology, faster access to life-changing surgeries like hip replacements and cataracts, fastest access to specialists, and successful treatment for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. According to medical journals, the U.S. has superior quality of care to all of those countries serving as models for Obamacare. Obamacare supporters may still claim that it is scandalous that almost 17 percent of the population is uninsured, or a total of 50 million people. However, on review of the Census Bureau statistics, about ten million of uninsured are not citizens; about 8.5 million said they were uninsured but use government insurance; and about 13 million adults

and another five million children are already eligible for government insurance but simply had not signed up for their insurance. The true number of Americans who are either uninsured or lack eligibility for existing insurance adds up to less than five percent of the population—clearly a number that does not justify radical reform of America’s health system. Obamacare’s mandates on individuals to purchase insurance will be ineffective,

as shown by past mandates including immunization before school enrollment, automobile insurance, income tax payment and use of seat belts, all of which have a rate of noncompliance of about fifteen percent—similar to the purported rate of uninsured. More importantly, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that millions of Americans will actually lose their existing insurance due to Obamacare, including from massive cuts to the Medicare Advantage program that alone will cause 7.4 million seniors to lose current coverage. Finally, Obamacare is a significant burden on the economy. It is projected to raise, not reduce, health care expenditures. Obamacare further harms the economy by its punitive taxes on employers, drug and medical device manufacturers and investors. Millions of jobs will be lost as these companies shift operations overseas, while innovation will be stifled in medical technology, the key to the past half century of advances in medical care. At its core, Obamacare is a significant centralization of health care toward the government and away from individuals and their families. This intrusion into one of the most personal areas of life is not only unacceptable in George Hwang a free society, but it will harm what is the world’s leading medical care while failing to reduce costs, even in the estimates of the government itself. While reform of America’s health care is essential because of cost, Obamacare provides an unnecessarily extensive government program that causes more problems than it solves. —Atlas, a junior, is a Forum Editor.

The Oracle’s Election Political Cartoons

“Governor Romney, would you like to respond to Governor Romney’s previous statement?”

Graphics by David Zhu

“Obama 2012: Because everyone else deserves some of what you worked hard for.”


Forum

Monday, November 5, 2012

7

Utkash Dubey

With the economy in a relatively dismal state, the next president needs to have the most comprehensive and feasible fiscal agenda. Challenger Mitt Romney is the clear choice when it comes to job creation. This is credited to a more logical and defined tax policy and, most importantly, a reliable approach to federal spending. During his term, President Barack Obama built upon a different mentality, and fostered the growth of a government-dependent group of people. Romney emphasizes fiscally conservative policies that reflect core economic ideology of Republicans. His tax policy leaves room for improvement, but it is a step in the right direction. Alleviating middle-class Americans of a majority of their financial burdens by starting with a lower income tax rate empowers American consumers to safely spend their money and promote business growth and cash flow—two key characteristics of a successful economy. Romney addresses this fairly with a 20 percent cut on marginal taxes for all middle-class Americans. Coupled with Romney’s recognition of the high corporate tax rates and his own plan to lower them by 10 percent, Romney will successfully trigger job creation and meaningful growth. Along with this policy, Romney fosters a healthier mentality: that hard work really pays off. Rather than leaving the lower-middle class to rely on government support and regulated programs, the policies Romney wants to enact will give a sense of self-reliance and hard work, as they translate into income that they keep more of. Romney’s tax cuts bring a consumer-business based mentality and also stresses the core values in fiscal conservatism that made this country great. On that note, American mentality is especially an area where Obama failed. Rather than taking a resilient approach and building sentiment that there is more than just hope

with hard work and dedication, Obama has nurtured a dependency generation that practices taking advantage of government entitlements, handouts and other federally funded programs. Not only does this mean 48 percent of federal spending—the highest percentage in American history—is dedicated to entitlements, but it also gives people the sense that employment isn’t necessary to live a stable life. Unemployment benefits and the like have fostered a generation living off of government handouts, who don’t feel they need to be working. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of capable people that want to work (or are working) is the lowest it has been in many years. In U.S. history, a healthy labor participation rate is around 68 percent. As of September, the participation rate is down almost 5 percent, to an astoundingly low 63.6 percent. This also skews the unemployment rate, as the unemployment rate illustrates the percentage of people that want to find work, but cannot. Because there are fewer people looking for work (who are instead relying on the government), the unemployment statistics seem better than they really are. Because the next presidential election will have a huge impact on job creation and thus on everyday life, voters should take the job policies into account, and realize that even if Obama’s track record says otherwise, the economy and job market are in a very poor state. Even if job creation isn’t the focus, Romney’s job plan makes more sense overall and has better prospects for the future. —Dubey, a senior, is the Editor-in-Chief.

CON

PRO

Romney’s plan for job creation is superior to Obama’s Lucy Oyer

There is no topic that has come up as frequently this presidential election as the economy and, more specifically job creation, as both sides try to win over a population skeptical of the current economic situation. Mitt Romney’s campaign claims he will create “12 million new jobs” in the next four years through tax cuts for corporations and spending cuts on healthcare and other programs. While an enticing idea to voters in these rough economic times, Romney’s promise is unfortunately unrealistic and implausible. Experts agree there is no situation in which Romney’s plan will directly create 12 million jobs in the next four years. The Obama administration, on the other hand, has posted 21 consecutive George Hwang months of job g row t h and has done as best as can possibly be expected in the face of an uncooperative legislature and a full-scale financial crisis. On multiple occasions Romney has proposed the figure of 12 million jobs that will be created if he is elected. Considering there are right around 12 million people that are currently unemployed according to the Oct. 5 employment report, this promise is particularly uplifting. His justification revolves around the implementation of his notoriously vague five-point plan, yet has yet to support this with concrete policies. Romney claims his energy policy will create

3 million jobs, his tax plan will result in 7 million jobs and his “crackdown” on China will create another 2 million jobs. Yet when reading through his official policy proposals it is difficult to find anything definite with regards to how these different numbers will be achieved. What is true, however, is that a number of outside sources have predicted the creation of 12 million jobs in the next four year regardless of who is in office. So essentially Romney is taking figures that would result from normal economic growth and claiming them as a direct outcome of murky policies he has yet to actually come out with. In the absence of a particularly impressive plan for the economy, Romney supporters tend to point to the “failures” of Obama’s administration and the disappointing growth in the past four years. Admittedly, the current 7.8 percent unemployment rate leaves something to be desired, but as a recent study by two Harvard professors pointed out, in the wake of a systemic banking crisis like the one America experienced, a deep recession is practically unavoidable (Reinhart and Rogoff, 2012). In fact, the study points out, the United States has been faring better than other advanced nations who recently faced similar banking crises in terms of the effect on the per capita GDP. So while it is true that the economy has not been doing particularly spectacular, but this is not Obama’s fault, rather the result of a financial collapse that occurred before he even came into office. Obama inherited a difficult economic situation and has actually managed very well in the past four years to make positive progress towards ensuring more Americans have good, solid jobs given the circumstances. And even if one continues to believe he has done a poor job, Romney really isn’t bringing anything new to the table except wild, unfounded claims. Obama has shown us steady progress and promising legislation and for this reason he is the clear choice when it comes to the stronger candidate for the economy. Looking forward, the continuation of Obama’s policies will put us in the right place to experience the type of growth our country needs. —Oyer, a junior, is an Entertainment Editor.

Voter identification laws inhibit voices, should be struck down Voter ID laws—p.1

After the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and recaptured the majority. They’re now using this power to their advantage by trying to pass legislature to restrict Democratic voting, but Democratic governors have struck down the laws in some states. That hasn’t stopped the voter ID laws from being enacted in some form by 30 states by premise that the laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud. They argue that these laws combat the same voter fraud cases that

plagued the last election, but “The New York Times” found in 2007 that only 126 cases of voter fraud have been filed by the Justice Department. Out of those, only 86 were convicted, as most of the cases happened as a result of confusion over voter eligibility. Furthermore, News21, a national investigative reporting project, identified 10 voter impersonation cases out of 2,068 alleged election fraud cases since 2000. That’s one voter out of every 15 million—substantially fewer than the 21 million whose voice will be stifled in the next presidential election.

According to a study by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, 11 percent of eligible voters lack the necessary identification in states that require photo ID. That is roughly 21 million voters who will not be able to cast their vote in the election. Those included in this disenfranchised group tend to vote Democrat, as they are predominantly elderly, minority, youth and low-income groups. It is no wonder that these laws are strongly supported by Republicans, while they are widely opposed by Democrats.

Faces in the Crowd

President Barack Obama’s second term is leaning heavily on the vote of minorities who vote Democratic, and they could be the deciding factor in swing states. With healthcare, education and social security being some of the largest issues on the table, it’s these 21 million citizens who need the loudest voice at the voting booths this coming election. It is clear, however, that is the GOP’s plan to silence these voices in November. —Bullwinkle, a senior, is a Managing Editor.

Do you support Obama or Romney?

“Obama, because I don’t like trickle-down economics.” Jacob Berus (9)

“I’m kind of split halfway because I don’t really like any of the candidates.” Abbi Milner (10)

“Obama, because I support his policies on healthcare.” Nabeil Kizilbash (11)

“Romney, because he knows how to turn the economy around.” Arjun Dubashi (12) —Compiled by Rani Shiao


8

Cente

THEORACLE

Romney superior in fiscal policy

Mitt Romney

ECONOMY -Lower taxes for middle-class Americans by 20 percent, balance budget, and replace unemof Gunn ployment benefits with unemstudents would ployment savings accounts. vote for -Proposes to repeal two laws which toughened financialRomney industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector, and the tightened accounting regulations in response to corporate the scandals.

-

18.6%

Ben Atlas As a whole, the 2012 presidential election can be hard to follow. If I were eligible to vote, I’d break down deciding issues into two main segments: social policy and economic policy. Challenger Mitt Romney is a better choice than incumbent Barack Obama due to his superior economic policies and past record combined with social policies on either side that have little actual impact. The most important issue to me is the country’s economic health. In recent debates, polls show that 67 percent of independent voters think that Romney would be better for the country’s economy. By the measure of Obama’s own promises, the last four years of fiscal policy have constituted failure. He promised to cut the national debt in half—rather, it has increased by trillions. He promised to decrease unemployment and create jobs, and has used the low unemployment rate of 7.8 percent to claim success. However, this number only accounts for Americans who are actively searching for jobs. According to “The Economist,” the percentage of able citizens who are not employed has gone up from eight to 11 percent during Obama’s presidency. Long-term unemployment, or the percentage of Americans unlikely to find a job in the coming years, has hovered near an all-time high. In contrast, Romney’s years as governor of Massachusetts and Chief Executive Officer of Bain Capital have proved successful. At Bain, he created jobs by revitalizing failing businesses. According to Steven N. Kaplan, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, even a conservative estimate credits Romney’s time with Bain with thousands of jobs. When Romney was governor, he added more jobs during his four years in office than were added during those of both his predecessor and successor. He reduced unemployment from 5.6 to 4.7 percent—without rasing taxes. It follows that, in terms of fiscal policy, Romney is the superior candidate. This leaves Obama supporters with one last line of defense: social policy. We hear fullthroated claims of social justice for women and people who are gay on both sides. Obama has made it clear that he supports gay marriage— Romney has not. Obama has made it clear that he agrees with a woman’s right to choose—Romney only supports abortion rights under certain conditions. Democrats commonly state this to claim moral superiority for Obama. However, regardless of whether voters are pro-choice or pro-life, against or in favor of gay marriage, it should not play a role when determining who to vote for. There has never been a piece of legislation that depended on the president’s signature to condemn or uphold either of the two key social issues. Rather, this jurisdiction lies with the Supreme Court and in individual state governments. It is irrelevant if one believes in a given side of the two leading social issues—when it comes to determining a the man who will become America’s next Commander-in-Chief, it should hold no sway the—president’s stance simply does not matter. Because Obama’s record does not condemns his fiscal policy, and Romney’s history promotes his candidacy, it is clear that Mitt Romney is the more capable candidate. Since social policy is largely out of the president’s control, and Romney’s economic past gives his stances credence, Romney is preferable to me as a presidential candidate and should be preferable to America. —Atlas, a junior, is a Forum Editor.

CIVIL RIGHTS -Opposes the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and says it should be banned with a constitutional amendment. -Opposes civil unions, but says that states should decide the rights and benefits allowed under those unions. FOREIGN POLICY -Has spoken in more permissive terms about Israel’s right to act against Iran’s nuclear facilities but has not explicitly expressed approval of such a step. -Pledges more military assistance to Israel and agreed with Israel’s position that Jerusalem is the capital. -Branded Russia the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the U.S. and threatened to label China a currency manipulator. EDUCATION -Supports the federal accountability standards of the “No Child Left Behind Act.” -Agrees with student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation aspects of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition.

Exploring the Political

The Oracle examines opposing opinions on current political issues and

Gunn stude

Education Policies 47.6%

of students believe that there should be a greater focus on raising standards in elementary and secondary school education to give every child a first-class education. 37.8% of students want more local control over education. They believe that teachers should be evaluated and hired not solely by their credentials but also by their results in the classroom. 7.3% of students believe that the federal government should expand laws like the “No Child Left Behind Act.” 7.3% of students believe that the federal government should not be involved in education and the Department of Education should be closed because maintaining it is costly and ineffective. The “No Child Left Behind” policy should be invalidated.

Economic Policies

Heal Po

63.0% of students believe that the gov-

64.3%

22.4% of students want to decrease federal income tax for everyone, cut corporate tax and regulations to encourage businesses, and limit government spending to 20% of GDP.

20.8% of student should be able to insurance throug want rather than ing insurers throu means privatized

9.1% of students think that the government should slash government spending by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Eliminate corporate tax to create more jobs.

6.5% of students be able to buy h health care prov with their employ

3.0% of students want to cut down on the agencies within our government and eliminate programs like National Endowment for the Arts and the “No child Left Behind Act.”

8.3% of student should give indivi would spend on he viduals pursue the

ernment should raise the federal income tax for people who earn $250k per year and up, and lower taxes on manufacturing industries while cutting spending to reduce deficit.

of s government shou system that is avai not require citizen care.


erfold

Monday, November 5, 2012

Barack Obama ECONOMY -Aims to continue the implementation of the Wall Street and Auto of Gunn industry bailouts. students would -Proposes tax breaks vote for for U.S. manufacturers Obama producing domestically or repatriating jobs from abroad and tax penalties for U.S. companies outsourcing jobs.

Graphics by Jasmine Garnett and George Hwang

70.9 %

175 Gunn students were surveyed. –Compiled by Alvin Wang

—Cheong, a junior, is a Forum Editor.

EDUCATION -Has approved waivers freeing states from requirements under the Bush-era “No Child Left Behind Act.” -Advocate for raising standards in elementary and secondary school education to give every child a first-class education. -Wants to raise standards for programs that train teachers. -Supports “Race to the Top” competition that funds schools

l View s of our country

d surveyed students to determine their stances on major election topics

ents support...

students believes that the uld offer a basic health care ilable to everyone and does ns to buy individual health

72.3% of students believe

that gay marriage should be legalized by the federal government because everyone should have the right to marry who they want.

ts believe that individuals o purchase their own health gh whatever company they being restricted to choosugh their employers. (This health care.)

15.6% of students believe that gay marriage should be legalized but the individual states and not the federal government should decide on the legality of gay marriage.

believe that people should health care through certain viders that are contracted yers.

6.4% of students believe that gay marriage should be banned because most religions define marriage as between a man and a woman.

ts believe that employers iduals back the money they ealth insurance and let indieir own health care plans.

5.8% of students believe that gay marriage should be banned because it is unconstitutional.

Leon Cheong

4.6% of students believe that abortion should be illegal because it is against their religion.

FOREIGN POLICY -Opposes attacks on Iran unless they are necessary to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. -Disapproves of Israel continuing to build housing settlements in disputed areas and pressed both sides to begin a new round of peace talks based on the land borders set by 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict. -Wants to punish China for unfair trade but opposes branding China a currency manipulator.

Gay Marriage Policies

Obama offers needed consistency

Third-party or independent voters have been unsure as to which candidate deserves their endorsement. As a Libertarian, it would seem difficult for me to side with one of two candidates. I share the same social agenda with Democrats, but I also believe in fiscal conservatism. However, I still share the decisiveness that characterizes those who pledge themselves to a specific, singular political party. Because of Romney’s inconsistencies, I firmly believe that the country would be better off with Barack Obama in the White House for another four years. As a libertarian, I promote a conservative economic system. Given this fact, it might be strange that I support Obama, the liberal candidate who stands for everything I am against economically. He is, however, who I believe to be the “lesser of two evils.” Although Obama has an economic policy that leaves much to be desired, he offers some degree of stability. In other words, left-winged liberalism allows for predictability, and allows preparation for foreseeable flaws. Mitt Romney on the other hand is what many people colloquially refer to as a “flip-flopper.” Romney has shown tendencies to resemble a liberal at times. For example, Romney has opposed, and continues to oppose, the Bush tax cuts. As governor of Massachusetts, he went through primarily liberal measures, such as fee hiking, to balance the state budget. Romney also stated in 2007 at the Cable News Network (CNN) Republican debate at St. Petersburg, Florida, that he supported government ethanol and non-ethanol farm subsidies, something rather akin to what a liberal might say. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney also increased state taxes by five percent, and increased service fees (initially $200) by a whopping 900 percent. It is because of his history as governor that I doubt his current pledges to promote conservative economic reform. Romney’s plan is, blatantly put, unreliable. This same trend is echoed in the history of Romney’s social agenda. His position on key social issues constantly migrates according to what will most benefit his campaign. As Massachusetts governor, Romney said he was in favor of gay rights and the institution of samesex marriage. In 2004, even though he was not obligated to do so by law, he commanded state agencies to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. However, he now vocally opposes gay marriage, completely changing his stance for the sake of nomination. This occurred in his stance on abortion as well; Romney was previously pro-choice, but now claims to be pro-life. Obama, on the other hand, became an up-front and obviously firm advocate of gay marriage and the right to abortion when he announced his position in May. Obama’s recent announcement of his support of gay marriage proves that he is not afraid to tell the truth about his true opinions on social matters, even if doing so hurts his ratings. In contrast, much of Romney’s previously liberal social policies have been “flip-flopped” and changed entirely to fit the ideals of the Republican party. This poses the question: why would anyone vote for someone who would so swiftly forfeit his principles in exchange for the presidency? To me, it is not worth the risk of voting for a candidate who’s promises leave you doubting and skeptical. In the end, Obama offers the much valued reliability, stability and experience, while his adversary can offer only his own half-hearted, empty rhetoric.

CIVIL RIGHTS -Supports the legal recognition of same-sex marriage but thinks that states should ultimately be able to decide. -Supports the extension of legal rights and benefits to same-sex couples in civil unions.

lth Care olicies

9

Abortion Policies

64.4%

of students believe that abortion should remain legal because it is a woman’s choice. 11.5% of students believe that abortion should remain legal but it should not be covered in health plans unless under special circumstances. 10.3% of students believe that abortion should be made illegal, unless in the case of incest or rape, because it is considered murder. 9.2% of students believe that abortion should be illegal if performed after the second trimester.


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THEORACLE

Features January 20

2009 February 17

2009 February 27

2009 March 29

2009 October 9

2009 October 29

Jasmine Garnett

2009 March 23

2010 July 21

2010 August 6

2010 April 27

2011 May 1

2011 June 22

2011 September 20

2011

President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America along with his Vice President, Joe Biden, after beating out Republican contenders John McCain and Sarah Palin. Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as “The Stimulus,” with the goal of tackling unemployment along with other current economic and social issues. The president officially announced his plans to withdraw all American troops from Iraq after eight years of war. The last of the troops left ten months later on December 18, 2011, effectively ending the Iraq War. In an effort to save the declining automoblie industry, the president bailed out two of the Big Three car companies, General Motors and Chrysler. A total of $29.4 billion was spent in aiding the two major companies. Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to improve international relations. He was commended specifically for his diplomacy in addresssing nuclear non-proliferation and reaching out to the Muslim world. Obama passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Matthew Shepard Act) to redefine hate crimes to include those motivated by prejudice against sexual orientation or disability. The president signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which was designed to provide cheap and universal health care insurance. Much controversy has since surrounded the act. As a response to the recession, Obama signed the DoddFrank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Act brought the most changes to financial regulation since reform during the Great Depression. Obama appointed liberal judge Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court to replace Justice John Paul Stevens. Just one year before, he confirmed another liberal female candidate, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, to the Court. Amidst growing speculation about his birthplace, Obama officially released his birth certificate, squelching claims that he had been born outside of the United States, which would have negated his presidency. Obama announced the assassination of Osama Bin Laden by American covert forces in Pakistan. The late al Qaeda leader was discovered in a hidden compound, killed in a secret operation and buried at sea. Two years after announcing plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, Obama revealed that troops would gradually be taken out of Afghanistan. Complete withdrawal has since been scheduled for 2014. The 17-year old “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay people in the military was repealed by the president. The repeal allowed gay men and women to serve wihout hiding their sexual orientation. ­—Compiled by Chaewon Lee


Features

Monday, November 5, 2012

11

National policy debates dominate household

Modern Urban Style Entertainment “Modern Urban Style Entertainment” (MUSE) is a student-run publication dedicated to serving a wide range of students with varying interests. Students can participate in several creative activities, from writing editorials to sharing recipes to writing comics. In this sense, “MUSE” not only includes writing but also art and other innovative forms of expression. As “MUSE” is student-run, its members have greater freedom in expressing their opinions. “Keeping in line with school appropriateness, students can write about anything they have a strong passion for,” reporter junior Haley Nieh said.

Junior State of America Junior State of America (JSA) is an organization run by students that American teens can join to debate important issues of the day. JSA is organized in a political fashion, and debates are often focused on the social, cultural, and economic issues that are discussed within politics. While JSA is similar to clubs Model United Nations and Speech and Debate, there is a social aspect to the club that is unique to it. All opinions are accepted and encouraged to be shared. “We believe that everyone has a voice and should be able to tell others what they think,” senior William Yu said.

YMCA Youth and Government

The Chariot “The Chariot” is a student-run publication that addresses political and cultural issues relating to Gunn students. “The Chariot” has an editor-in-chief, a senior editor, three copy editors and ten writers. Copy Editor junior Sabrina Lui explained the role of editors on the magazine. “As editors, it is our top priority to maintain the opinions of the writers within their pieces,” Lui said. “We’ll make sure that two pieces arguing opposite sides address the same points to keep the debate streamlined.” Each issue is centralized on one main theme, and each writer offers his or her personal views on relevant and controversial topics.

YMCA Youth and Government is a model legislature and court program that aims at helping students enhance research skills and improve his or her public speaking skills. Students start out in small delegations at the YMCA and create bills on topics of the students’ choices. At the end of the program, delegates meet in Sacramento and present their works. Member junior Mariam Nasrullah explained the liberty of speech in the group. “There is a lot of freedom in speaking your mind,” Nasrullah said. “The whole purpose is to let young people’s voices be heard, so everyone is very open about letting others know how they feel.”

—Compiled by Alex Man

Foreigners comment on election process Klaire Tan

Copy Editor

“In Venezuela, a bottle of water is more expensive than a bottle of gasoline,” senior Yarisay Mendoza said, emphasizing the importance of addressing economic issues in the presidential debates. “Here, gasoline is so expensive. Everything is so expensive. [America] needs someone who can control and resolve the current financial problems. ” With news of the 2012 presidential election currently dominating media outlets, many foreign students have begun paying attention to the U.S. election. One such student is Venezuelan native Mendoza, who moved to America only two months ago. According to Mendoza, the U.S. presidential election is very different from elections back in Venezuela, where people rarely have the opportunity

to freely express their opinions because elections are controlled by the government. “Talking about politics [in Venezuela] is risky,” she said. “If you aren’t with the president, then it will be hard to find a job and make a living. It’s amazing that here, people can come and give their opinion about Obama and Romney.” For Mendoza, election time back in Venezuela usually means witnessing government workers flood the streets with election propaganda supporting the current president Hugo Chavez. However, real communication between candidates and the populace is rarely established. As a result, Mendoza witnessed her first presidential debate only after moving to America. “In Venezuela, they don’t have presidential debates,” she said. “The officials only talk to the people if they want to. Similar to Mendoza, sophomore Zhiran Chen b elieves that presi d e nt i a l debates are a valuable mean for g ov e r n ment officials to communicate

directly with the people. Chen moved to the United States from China six months ago. According to Chen, elections in China are decided by the government, not by the people. In addition, the general population is not given the opportunity to communicate with government officials. “In America, I actually feel like the government is working with the people,” Chen said. “The government seems to try to solve the problems of people’s everyday lives, and the politicians seem to be close to the people. In China, I don’t feel like the government is supposed to work for the people.” However, while Chen supports the emphasis of public involvement in U.S. elections, she feels that in campaigns, candidates focus more on garnering votes than actually addressing the concerns of the people. “I like having candidates interact with us in debates because people can ask them questions directly,” Chen said. “However, the candidates seem to try really hard to get votes. They just want to win the election, and I feel like they don’t really answer the questions.” In addition, Chen finds that elections could be run more efficiently without the excessive campaigning which she believes prevents officials from dealing with national issues. “I feel like elections are a waste of time and money,” she said. “Candidates always spend a lot of effort advertising themselves.”

Katherine Zu After the votes are cast and tallied on election night, there will undoubtedly be at least one upset person under my roof. Come election season, both the presidential debates and the political debates at home are in full swing. My father’s Republican views and me and my sister’s conflicting Democratic views brew up a continuously hostile political atmosphere at home. My sister and I disagree with my father on everything from policies dealing with outsourcing jobs to gay rights to income taxes. To make matters worse, our continuous arguments rarely end in a compromise. As a firm believer in hard-core evidence and low taxes, my father supported the death penalty while I strongly opposed the policy because of moral reasons. After laying out the evidence that abolishing it would save the state money and benefit society, he agreed to vote to abolish the death penalty. Similarly, he only agrees to change his stance if there is proof that an alternative is better for the community, and outside of capital punishment, there has been no leeway. Political debates at home often end with no changes in opinion and both sides shaking their heads in disbelief over the ignorance of the other. Although children tend to have political opinions that are aligned with their parents, growing up in a liberal school environment has shaped my political outlook to be very different from that of my own parents. I am sure I would have turned out Republican and much more conservative if I lived in the Midwest or the South. As a child, we never touched on politics at home. I was never even clear on who my parents voted for. The political quietness at home remained as I grew older and began to form my own political opinion. By the time I was in high school and politics were brought up, I was surprised at how different my parents’ political sentiments differed from mine. My father was equally shocked at how he was oblivious to how his two daughters managed to form political opinions differing from his own. Even though there is plenty of arguing over the differences between Republican and Democratic policies, it doesn’t divide our family. Also, it would be a lie to say that the political squabbles aren’t somewhat entertaining. Ultimately, political differences have little effect on day-to-day conversations, and they only come up when major events like presidential debates or the inauguration occurs. When politics aren’t on the table, my family is able to set aside those differences. After all, it’s only once every four years when political arguments flame up. Debating with my father on various issues opens my eyes to the other side of the issue, and helps me understand why a Republican might support the opposing stance. I never fully understood the Republican’s position on immigration until my father explained what he thought to be the detrimental effects of illegal immigration. I try to see both sides, rather than immediately taking a Democratic stance, and I do support some Republican policies. Although having family members with different political views creates plenty of tension, the experience makes those election nights all the more special. —Zu, a senior, is a reporter


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Sports Tackle

Monday, November 5, 2012

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The Oracle examines two former NFL players who have made an impact in the political sphere Lawrence Chen Copy Editor

Formerly an offensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jon Runyan is now a U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. He was elected in 2010 as a member of the Republican party. In middle school, Runyan broke the school record for shot put with a distance of 50 feet and seven inches. Then in high school, Runyan was a two time Michigan High School Athletic Association state shotput champion, throwing a distance of 59 feet and five inches. In addition, Runyan had been an All-state selection for basketball and was then recruited by the Michigan state men’s basketball team. But Runyan declined because his true passion was in football. Runyan chose to play for the Michigan Wolverines football team where he was an All-Big Ten Conference selection. After college, Runyan was drafted into the Houston Oilers. Then he moved with the team when it became the Tennessee Titans in 1997. Runyan played a final year with the Titans in 1999 when they made it to Super Bowl XXXIV. Runyan then signed contracts to play with the Eagles until 2008 and played with the San Diego Chargers in 2009. In 2010, Runyan won the seat against incumbent John Adler for New Jersey’s

3rd Congressional District. Runyan is appointed to three key committees: the House Armed Ser v ices, Veterans Affairs, and National Resources Committee. He also serves on the Tactical Air and Land, and Readiness subcommit tees of t he House Armed Ser v ices Committee. Through these committees, Runyan can strengthen missions and jobs associated with Joint Base McGuireDix-Lakehurst, the 2nd largest employer in New Jersey. Runyan believes that the biggest issue of concern for Americans is the economy. During his first term as a Congressmen he has aimed to reduce the size of government so businesses can grow and create the much needed jobs. He supported bills that promote economic growth and facilitate job creation. Runyan also believes that Washington must stop uneeded spending to ultimately balance the budget.

Athletes support candidates President Barack Obama:

Lebron James: Champion basketball player for the Miami Heat Lebron James attended the “Obama Classic,” a fundraiser for the Obama campaign, the previous summer. Parts of the “Obama Classic” included a celebrity game, skills camp, and complimentary dinner. Victor Cruz: New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz is a loyal member of “Latinos for Obama,” and extended his support for Obama by co-hosting a fundraiser for the President at Chelsea Piers. Earvin “Magic” Johnson: Former Los Angeles Laker superstar Magic Johnson has expressed his support for re-election of President Obama by attending and donating to numerous campaigns as well as showing support through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Governor Mitt Romney:

Greg Anthony: Retired defensive specialist for the National Basketball Association Greg Anthony voted for President Obama back in 2008, but has switched his ballot this year and is now on the side of Mitt Romney. Anthony starred in a TV ad back in October indicating his support for Governor Romney. John Elway: Hall of Fame quarterback for the Denver Broncos John Elway has openly endorsed Mitt Romney. In addition to his open support, he attended campaign rallies for Governor Romney in Colorado. Hulk Hogan: Professional wrestler and TV star Hulk Hogan has openly expressed his disapproval of President Obama and his support for Mitt Romney, although he did vote for him in 2008. Hogan did this through an interview on FOX News. —Compiled by Mitch Donat

Get out and vote! Nov. 6 • LOCALLY OWNED

Saints for their fifth round pick. However, in 1999, Shuler suffered a foot injury and decided to retire from NFL football and The former Washington Red- move to North Carolina in 2003. skins and New Orleans quarterAfter pursuing a psychology and real back Heath Shuler took the estate career, Shuler announced in July of motivation that he learned 2005 that he was looking forward to runfrom football into Con- ning against North Carolina’s 11th District gress when he was elected representative then, Charles H. Taylor. North Carolina’s 11th When Shuler ran in 2006, his platform district representative opposed same-sex marriage, abortion and in 2006. gun control, which the majority of North I n c ol le ge , S hu le r Carolina’s population agreed with. In the was the star quarter- end, Shuler won with a 54 percent vote in back for the Univer- 2006. sity of Tennessee in After two years in office, Shuler ran 1993. There he was against Republican Asheville city counawarded several cilman Republican Carl Mumpower in awa rds, i nclud- 2008. That year, he won with 62 percent of ing Southeastern the vote. On April 18, 2012, Shuler, along C o n f e r e n c e with other members of the Congressional (SEC) player Sportsmen’s Caucus, passed a legislative package to protect opportunities for sportsmen througout the country. Ge org In July, Shuler released a statement stateH wa ing that he intended to repeal the Patient ng o f t h e y e a r, Protection and Affordable Care and came runAct. Shuler has remained ner up in the vote for the representative of North the Heisman trophy. Carolina’s 11th district for Following college, Shuler was resix years, however, in Feb. cruited by the Washington Redskins as 2, 2012, Shuler announced their first draft pick in 1994. In 1996, that he would not be runShuler was traded to the New Orleans ning for another term. Stephanie Zhang Centerfold Editor


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Sports

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Fall sports maintain excellence in post-season playoffs Football

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The football team, with a 4-0 record in the El Camino division and an overall record of 6-2, has been smashing the competition this year, beating the Harker Eagles 42-20, the Los Altos Eagles 42-0 during Homecoming and the Cupertino Pioneers 36-6. As of now, the football team’s main goal is to go undefeated in the El Camino division. The team may make it to Central Coast Section (CCS) if it wins the next game. “Football is an ultimate team sport, which means everyone has to take responsibility if we are going to win,” wide receiver senior Kevin Sharp said. For the future, the team plans on improving on all aspects, specifically defense. “If our defense can continue to improve, we should win the league,” assistant coach Mark Weisman said. The next game is away against Fremont on Nov. 9.

Audey Shen

Girls’ Tennis

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The girls’ tennis team nears the end of the season with an overall record of 13-8. On Oct. 29, the girls beat Homestead in a tiebreaker match, winning 4-2. With this, the girls competed in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) last week and are going to compete in the CCS this week. At the SCVALs tournament, senior Alice Lee placed first in singles and Gunn placed third and fourth for doubles. The team has overcome many obstacles, such as the departure of junior Jenny Yoon, who tore her meniscus two weeks ago. “It’s just too bad to lose a good player,” senior Devyani Bhadkamkar said. Despite this, the girls are sticking together, with high hopes for winning CCS. “We are very close as a team and always support each other,” senior Ebba Nord said.

Audey Shen

Girls’ Golf

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The girls’ golf team is ending its first ever season on a high note as the undefeated champions (10-0) in the CCS tournament. Coach Chris Redfield is delighted with the new team’s performance. “They’ve exceeded all my expectations of them,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of all their hard work.” The team recently placed first in the Blossom Valley Athletics League finals and finished second in CCS. Based on their performace, junior captain Jayshree Sarathy has high hopes for the NorCal championships. “For NorCals, we hope to maintain our positive, confident attitude and play even better,” she said. Looking ahead, the team aspires to continue their winning streak into next year. “We just have to keep on doing what we have been doing, stay focused, and have fun,” Sarathy said.

Michael Wu

Cross Country

Audey Shen

The boys’ water polo team continued fighting in every game, even with a slow start to the season. However, their journey is still on its way, even with a 10-8 loss against the Palo Alto Vikings. The boys ended the regular season with a 5-7 league record, placing them in fifth place. The boys still have a chance to qualify for CCS if they play well in the league tournament. First year head coach Tim Kates had to deal with the difficulty of managing a team and leading it to the SCVAL De Anza league tournament. “The season has been a challenge for me as a new head coach,” Kates said. “We are headed in a very good direction.” The team will be losing eight seniors after this season, but senior captain Harrison Waschura hopes the team will succeed in the future. “The program should continue to prosper in the coming years,” Waschura said.

Girls’ Volleyball

The girls’ volleyball team is looking to dominate during SCVAL playoffs with a 10-11 record under their belts. Though the team has boasted several victories over top ranking teams, one game stands out in senior Lena Latour’s mind. “Our greatest accomplishment this season was defeating Mountain View,” she said. “They’re a strong team, but we came out on top.” Head coach Kevin Hwang is similarly proud of the team’s performance. “The six seniors have set the example for everything I have tried to build over the past four years,” he said. According to senior Nitika Johri, the team has one goal in mind during playoffs. “We’ve usually gotten to SCVAL quarterfinals in the past, and we’re just focused on getting through them this year,” Johri said.

Girls’ Water Polo

Girls’ water polo won the SCVAL De Anza league after beating Palo Alto 8-4 in their last league game. Head coach Mark Hernandez wants the team to advance to CCS as the number one seed and has tips for the girls to accomplish this. “Be creative and aggressive on offense and fly around on defense,” Hernandez said. Junior Rachel Wong has one goal for CCS. “We want to go in with confidence and play for a chance to win it all,” Wong said. Junior Caroline Anderson believes the team can defend their league title. “As long as our team stays aggressive and keeps scoring we should win,” Anderson said. The girls began with a first-round bye, but their second-round game is against the winner of game one, either the fourth or the fifth seed, which was not determined at press time.

1. Junior Sean Lydster runs 70 yards for a late first quarter touchdown. 2. Sophomore Justin Cooper passes the water polo ball to an open teammate. 3. Senior Andrea Gonzalez prepares to hit a forehand shot to her opponent. 4. Senior Dionna Jacobson serves the ball during the DIG Pink Night tournament. 5. Freshman Tiffany Yang putts the ball. 6. Senior Lauren Lesyna searches for a target for her coming pass. 7. Freshmen TJ Sears and Lucas Batties run a warm-up lap. 8. A group of girls lead the team in two warm-up laps. m

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The cross country team is off to a decent start this year in SCVAL but is feeling the hit of losing last year’s seniors. “We are in a rebuilding year right now,” sophomore David LeeHeidenreich said. “We lost a lot of really good seniors that were on the team.” With the loss of seniors, the team is working to improve. “We have been doing okay in meets,” Lee-Heidenreich said. “We are averaging about 10th out of 15th [at every meet].” Despite the performance this year, the team has high goals set for the future. “Next year we want to get into Central Coast Section,” Lee-Heidenreich said. Looking at the current standings, there is quite a lot of improvement to be made. “Right now we just need to work on our running speed,” Lee-Heidenreich said. “Once we get faster, we can succeed.”

Audey Shen

Boys’ Water Polo

—Compiled by Shireen Ahsan, Lawrence Chen, Roy Shadmon and Rani Shiao


Entertainment

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‘The Arabian Nights’ combines comedy, drama to five characters and bring the stories Scheherazade narrates to life. According to student direcSet against the backdrop of tor junior Holly Wright, this year’s Baghdad in A.D. 700, Mary Zim- play will call on the audience to use merman’s play “The Arabian their own imaginations. “Gunn has Nights” depicts the story of King never put on a production quite Shahryar, who kills his wife after like ‘The Arabian Nights,’ Wright he finds out that she cheated on said. “This play, unlike the previhim. Betrayed and murderous, he ous ones Gunn has done, is up for decides to marry a virgin girl every much more interpretation. It’s also night, make very emotional.” love to her A unique and and then challenging You can go just to pect of this playas-is kill her. hear a bunch of great the combination H o w e v e r, his newstories, or you can go of many differest bride, ent smaller stories to watch how com- connected with the clever and beautiplex it is. There’s a lot the overall story ful ScheheShahryar and of metaphor in it. It’s of razade, tells Scheherazade’s refunny and dramatic.” him a diflationship. “We’re ferent story —senior Andrea Allen knitting together every night this progression of in order to keep him interested stories so that [the play] is one proand avoid her death. Shahryar be- duction,” Director Jim Shelby said. comes so interested and invested “It shouldn’t feel disjointed like a in these tales that he decides not to bunch of little stories. It needs to kill her and allows her to continue flow from one story to another. By her story telling. the end, the audience should have a For its annual fall production, cohesive feeling about it.” The play the theater department has chosen will also feature music from drums to embark on the gripping journey and woodwind instruments, singof Shahryar and Scheherazade. ing and dancing. This play is ensemble-based; all 18 The inspiration for this year’s cast members are on stage for the play comes from Shelby’s love for whole play. They each play three Zimmerman’s works. After he saw Catalina Zhao news editor

a performance of the play three years ago, he knew that one day he would direct a production of it. According to both Shelby and Wright, the cast is making progress in unifying all the different aspects of the play. Since Shelby picked the cast based on character flexibility, cohesiveness with the other actors and the need to tell a story, the actors work hard to maximize these traits in the play and during the rehearsals. During their daily rehearsals, they participate in various technical exercises to build their characters and balance the activity of 18 people on stage. “Everyone comes to rehearsal everyday with something new and with great energy,” senior Eugene Fry, who plays Shahryar, said. “We’re able to feed off of each other. When it comes time for opening night, [the play is] going to be fantastic.” Shelby also hopes that the play will help the audience members reflect on the city of Baghdad in the play versus the present-day one one hears of in the news. “[The play’s characters] keep saying that Baghdad is a city of dreams and poets, but now Baghdad, as we talk about the Iraq War, represents something so different,” Shelby said. “Hopefully the audience gets a sense of historical perspective.”

The compelling story line and rich setting of “The Arabian Nights” give the audience members a number of reasons to look forward to it. “There’s so much people can take from it,” senior

Andrea Allen, who plays Scheherazade, said. “You can go just to hear a bunch of great stories, or you can go to watch how complex it is. There’s a lot of metaphor in it. It’s funny and dramatic.”


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Entertainment

THEORACLE

Sophomores Samantha Acker and Noa Livneh and junior Erica Lee discuss the very first policy changes they would implement if they were elected President of the United States.

President SAMANTHA ACKER: Gay Rights

Let’s get one thing straight here; there is no doubt that I would be the best president ever. My name would be in every history textbook, and people would write books and poems about me. “Sam Acker” would be the first word babies learn. Ideally, I would be an extremely popular president, which would give me more power to influence people and make decisions. My improvements in gay rights would be celebrated for generations. It would be one of the most important issues I would address in my presidency. Personally, I do not see any reason to disagree with gay marriage—as a nation, we pride ourselves in respecting and treating everyone as equals, but a large part of our population does not have the option to marry who they want. As president, my top priority would be legalizing gay marriage in all states, and minimizing homophobia by educating the population. Once this issue is resolved, our country will be able to focus on other problems. Meanwhile, we have plenty of unhappy people living within our borders. People who are gay are still citizens of the United States, just like anyone else. Seeing that our country has modernized and progressed, it only makes sense that our treatment of people who are gay should modernize as well. The basis for our legislation, the Constitution, outlines that everyone is created equal and should have equal rights. It is constantly changing and new amendments are added. We should simply just change the way that we interpret the laws to include everyone. If someone disagrees with same-sex marriage, that’s not a valid reason to tell other people they don’t have the freedom to do as they please. Therefore, as president, I would encourage people to see the importance of treating all the people in this country as equals. I would devote all my energy to ensuring this, and I would not stop until I triumphed.

President NOa Livneh: Reproductive Rights

Besides making spinach illegal and blowing the white roof off my house with “political” parties, I would try to get some real work done too. One of my top priorities would be making a federal law mandating the coverage of abortion in both private and state insurances. I am pro-choice; I believe that anyone who needs or wants an abortion should have the right to get one. The government should not be able to make such a decision on a person’s behalf. As president, I would never want to force anyone into making decisions that go against their beliefs. People are entitled to choices, whether it comes to religion, abortion, political affiliation or even toppings on a pizza—it’s implied in the Constitution. Every woman should have the right to make her own decisions about her health and her body. There are many reasons why women get abortions. Some situations include rape and lack of financial stability to support the child. If a woman cannot financially raise a child, the long-term effects are endless. It would mean a poorer education and a bad environment for the child. A woman’s financial instability may also mean that she can’t afford abortion. Every woman should be able to afford an abortion and that’s why I would ensure that abortion is covered by health insurance. Providing a woman with an option to abort will put her mind at ease, knowing that she has the chance to start a family when she is ready. In the case of rape, the woman most definitely did not plan the pregnancy and it is often the case that it is difficult for her to love and care for the product of a scarring violation. I respect every religion and every belief, and I would never force anyone to get an abortion if they do not believe it’s right. That being said, no religion should influence laws that affect people are aren’t members of that religion. She has the right to make her own decision when it comes to her own body.

President Erica Lee: Energy Policy

One of the main questions facing our country today is the question of how we can get clean energy, while being less dependent on oil. As president, I will get this country on the path to using more environmentally friendly energy. At the moment, the United States gets most of its oil from Canada, Latin America and the Persian Gulf. There have been numerous talks of offshore drilling to fix this issue. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supports offshore drilling because he believes that it will lower gas prices and have little negative impact on the environment. President Barack Obama, on the other hand, has always been against the idea of offshore drilling because of the fear that there will be environmental consequences. In fact, offshore drilling carries many dangerous risks to humans, as well as to the environment. Once in office I would avoid this sort of disaster at all costs by seeking out more renewable energy sources like wind and solar powered energy. The world has a limited amount of oil reserves, and at our current rate of consumption, they will soon be exhausted. If we do not find an alternative energy plan then, when the world does run out of oil, the world will go into a frenzy trying to find alternative resources. Unlike oil, wind and solar energy will never run out, and they are environmentally safe ways of getting energy. We have to think of the future of the environment, and not just about the needs of now. As president I would put more limits on carbon dioxide emissions because greenhouse gas levels continue to rise and increase the effects of global warming. If we want our children to continue breathing in fresh air and seeing a blue sky, then we have to put more of an effort into saving the environment.


The Oracle (November 2012 Political Issue)