The Junior Statement
In this issue: JSA expands internationally 2 Chapter of the Month: Secaucus High School
Should hydraulic fracking be banned? 8
IO IT $$ U T $$$
The Junior Statement examines the events and ramifications that shaped the country as the first year of Obamaâ€™s second term comes to a close, page 7
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November/ December 2013 The Junior Statement
Outreach, expansion department set sights abroad by Ashley Kim Staff Writer In this age of unprecedented technology and globalization, citizens of the world are being put to the test of breaking social barriers between nations. Some question the United States’ role as promoter of political understanding and international well being, but the focus should not be the concern over spreading democracy or becoming isolationists; statesmen of all nations should be encouraged to override media’s misguiding influence on information. With intellectual debates, discussions and civic engagement, JSA can mitigate propagandistic misguidance. This year, JSA established three international chapters in the American School of Tegucigalpa in Honduras, Delcampo School in Honduras and Shanghai American High School in China. National Director of Outreach, Maya Gianchandani, also has contacts in South Korea and Germany, and hopes to create chapters in those countries as well. “I wanted to work with overseas
chapters…to open up the doors JSA offers to more young minds. Overseas chapters provide variety in our discussions, thoughts, and viewpoints. With the opportunities JSA offers, statesmen develop skills in speaking, leadership, and advocacy… I hope that JSA can serve the same mission overseas as it does here at home,” Gianchandani said. Her goal is to found 10 overseas chapters and leave a starting point for the next national Director of Outreach. JSA’s Summer School programs also encourage international participation. The 2013 JSA Summer School Program at Stanford attracted statesmen from 19 states, five territories and five countries, while the Congressional Workshops held at the programs helped serve as a basis for newly created chapters. 2 JSA alumni, Atamai Tuiolosega (Princeton) and Lelei Tago (Stanford) started a chapter in their own school in American Samoa. They hope that people will be able to take a position, develop an understanding and formulate solutions to the issues at hand, particularly of their current government. The desire to expand JSA’s influence
Members of the JSA chapter at Harvest Christian Academy in Guam participate in a school debate. PHOTO COURTESY OF ASHLEY KIM.
must inevitably surpass our nation’s borders. Though we have the tools to understand international affairs, many citizens struggle to do so, especially if it does not directly concern them or their morals. By internationally expanding JSA, students have the opportunity to build relationships with students from other countries. Otherwise, international relations would be neglected, a danger in our modern globalization.
Uniquely reflecting the diversity of the American population, JSA strives towards international well-being and civic leadership. And who knows? Perhaps there are future diplomats in the midst of the international JSA community, fated to meet in the United Nations. Ashley Kim is a senior at Los Alamitos High School in the Southern California Junior State. She is on Southern California Convention Support Staff.
Certain colleges no longer offer credits for passing AP exams
by Rohit Joshi Staff Writer
853,314 seniors took at least one Advanced Placement (AP) class in 2010. This number has only grown since then. AP classes expose high school students to college-level coursework and examinations, and thus can earn college credits depending
college-level work they become. Many students who apply to institutions of higher learning have earned some AP credit. But these courses are not all they are thought to be. Many universities have recently turned away from AP courses. Dartmouth College, which announced that it would no longer award credits for AP courses, is just one of many toptier colleges that have taken this step. Dartmouth’s decision was based on firsthand research: the college found that 90% LAUREN LIAO of students who took the AP Psychology exam and scored a 5 on the university the student later (the highest possible score) failed the attends. The AP program is run by the college introductory psychology test, CollegeBoard, the same organization an exam for a classes students were that conducts the SAT. AP courses and exams provide able to skip. The recent study at Stanford benefits for high school students: to University reviewed research and stand out in college admissions, earn essentially refuted, point-by-point, college credits and skip introductory classes. The more classes and exams several presumed benefits of the a student takes, the experience with AP program: first, schools with
the program are not better than those without it; it does not narrow achievement gaps; and it does not give students advantages in college. Universities are not alone in discrediting APs; students and educators have their own concerns. Educators are worried that it creates a culture that emphasizes tests over true learning. Class time is used to prepare for May examinations, and after students cram the material in the shortest possible time, they often forget it by college. As students take more and more AP exams, many admit that they are not preparing as well as they could, and should, be. AP courses are a way for students to show their interest in higher-level coursework and, with the ubiquity of the program, it is hard to see it leaving anytime soon. Though it has its flaws, it is hard to fathom anything taking the place of the program. Rohit Joshi is a senior at Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio in the Ohio River Valley Junior State. He is the Central Ohio District Mayor.
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November/ December 2013 The Junior Statement
JSAers connect in other extracurricular activities by Mica Caine Staff Writer The Junior State of America is an organization dedicated to fostering intellectual debate, promoting statesmanship, and learning from one another. This may not interest the average teenager, but that is why JSA members tend to be exceptional, high achieving students. There seems to be a trend in the Ohio River Valley state that since many JSA members are attracted to the intellectual qualities of JSA, they are involved in many of the same organizations. One organization, quite similar to JSA in many ways, is the National Forensics League (NFL.) The NFL is an educational honor society in which students participate and compete largely in speech and debate competitions. Emma Jackson, a senior at Danville High School, is a member of both JSA and NFL, and says that she has connected with many JSAers at NFL events. many similarities, but many
“Forensics includes both speech and debate, whereas JSA includes only political debate,” Jackson said. “Forensics also is not student-run.” Both organizations are very prestigious, but Jackson says “Both allow for an exchange of ideas and opinions, but JSA is much more about the ideas rather than technique.” Another organization popular among ORV JSAers is In The Know. In The Know is competitive trivia. One thing all JSAers can agree on is knowledge is the first line of defense in a debate setting. Therefore, both clubs are greats supplements to each other. Spencer Dirrig, a junior at Olentangy Liberty High School, is a member of his high school’s In the Know team. He says the two are similar in that “It’s all about thinking and passion. You have to listen, think, and learn about the outside world and apply it to a situation. You have to be passionate about what you do, enough so that you can defend and assert the things you know and the things you believe in.” JSA chapters who have members in In
Many of the Pickerington North High School JSA members compete for the school’s in the Know team, pictured above. PHOTO COURTSEY OF RHIANNON LINDQUIST.
the Know include Pickerington North, Bexley, Olentangy High School, Dublin Coffman, and New Albany High Schools. JSA memebers are also involved in Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and various leadership organizations. The JSA network extends outside chapter
meetings and conventions. So JSAers who wish to be even more involved have peers to share information with them. Be the people! Mica Caine is a senior at Pickerington North High School in Pickerington, Ohio in the Ohio River Valley Junior State. She is the Ohio River Valley Director of Public Relations
Is 2013 a worthy predictor? NJ, VA election implications by Arian Rubio Staff Writer What does 2013 mean for 2014? On Nov. 5, New Jersey and Virginia voters headed to their voting booths for two gubernatorial elections. The outcome: Republican Chris Christie’s election in widely democratic New Jersey, and Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s election after a hotly contested race in Virginia. According to polls, these victories were not a surprise. How will these results impact—and predict—2014 midterm elections? In New Jersey, incumbent Chris Christie won handily against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, touting bipartisan credentials and an ability to get things done despite Democratic control of New Jersey Senate and Republican control of the New Jersey House. His continued incumbency and portrayal of Trenton, New Jersey as the anti-Washington D.C. could impact 2014 election results. When Christie becomes the chair of the Republican Governors Associa-
tion, he will have a national platform to broadcast this message—and downplay the government shutdown. Christie will call for complete overhaul of the D.C. government and reform of the Democratic Senate. In Republican states with Democrat Senators (Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, South Dakota and Louisi-
ana), the message could be enough to send Republicans to the Senate in 2014 elections. By taking credit for the party switch, Christie would also position himself for the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. With all this on the line, Christie’s resounding reelection reflects well for his 2014 impact.
But the Virginia election may have been even more telling. In Virginia, a state that is often a bellwether for national elections, Democrat McAuliffe only narrowly defeated state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. With Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis taken into account, numbers show that Virginian voters want a fiscally conservative candidate. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act is extremely unpopular and Terry McAuliffe has run from the issue. With Democrats on heavy defense this early in the race, they will have an extremely difficult time defeating Republicans, who tie them to President Obama as often as possible. While these elections for governor are not congressional midterm elections, trends hint that Democrats are in trouble. If they continue, Republicans are set to hold onto the House of Representatives and take back the Senate. Arian Rubio is a senior at Rutgers Preparatory School in Sommerset, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic Junior State. He is the Mid-Atlantic Director of Expansion.
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November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Chapter of the Month: Secaucus High School, NJ by Rachel Donaldson Staff Writer Secaucus High School JSA chapter from once a relatively small group of students in the Mid-Atlantic State, has expanded, made an international impact and become an inspiring example for chapters across the country. At its 2001 founding, the chapter had only fifteen members. Today, about twenty percent of Secaucus High School students are members. Thomas Abramowitz, former chapter president, began “Operation Japan” with the Kizuna Project after the disastrous 2011 tsunami. Chapter members collected four truckloads of toiletries, clothes and supplies to help. “We did our jobs as members of the world community and didn’t expect anything in return,” Shaun Sengupta, 2012 chapter president, said. The successful project established a relationship between Secaucus and the Japanese government. Last March, 140 Japanese students visited Secaucus,
New Jersey, to thank the chapter for its aid. 22 students and three chaperones reciprocated the gesture by visiting Japan to see the results of the chapter’s aid. In Japan, the group visited Tokyo, Oshima, Kesennuma City and Sendai to meet tsunami survivors and hear their frightening, inspiring stories. Together, they planted a flower garden in memory of Secaucus’ aid. 16 of the same Japanese students were able to attend the most recent New Jersey Spring One-Day Conference in Princeton, New Jersey, where they were reunited with old friends from Secaucus. The Secaucus chapter continues its “Action Plan” to share the unforgettable experiences from the Kizuna project and emphasize Japan’s progress. In addition to its global work, the Secaucus chapter makes an impact in their own community. For example, the chapter recently volunteered helping AngelWish send toys to children in hospitals. Chapter President Bethany Mancuso
Secaucus High School JSAers visit a school in Tokyo, Japan as part of a school expansion project. PHOTO COURTESY OF BETHANY MANCUSO.
and Vice President Maya Reyes hold positions on the New Jersey Region Mayoral Cabinet and Mid-Atlantic Lieutenant Gubernatorial Cabinet, respectively. Mancuso is extremely proud of her chapter, but thanks the leadership before her for establishing its foundation. “We wouldn’t be the chapter we are
without the ‘greats’ before us, but I know I only have high hopes for the years to come,” Mancuso said. “As a JSA chapter, we are only doing what those before us have taught us: being the people. Rachel Donaldson is a sophomore at Winchester High School in Winchester, MA in the Northeast Junior State.
Facebook policy changes decrease user privacy LAUREN LIAO
by Andrew Laberee Staff Writer Long time Facebook users can tell that the website’s experienced rapid evolution. The most recent change Facebook has implemented is the elimination of the “Hide” option that allowed users to hide their Facebook profiles from being publicly searched. According to Facebook’s Director of Product, Sam Lessin, only single-digit users hide themselves. In other words, 9% or less of Facebook users choose to hide themselves. Thus, such a small percentage of
people is negligible. However, with 1.2 billion users in total, this percentage users of Facebook can represent up to ten million people. People who wish to hide themselves may include naïve teens, victims of abuse, and citizens who simply wish to socialize online without disclosing their presence- all of whom have valid reasons for hiding their accounts and not making their profiles available to the public. Facebook, which began just nine years ago, was created by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg as a tool for university students to communi-
cate with each other. When it became clear that advertising was the ticket to billions of dollars, Facebook quickly became a champion of transparency and sharing. Facebook gathers individual’s data to chose which advertisements would be most appealing to that individual, and then sells that information to advertisers. With this information, advertisers are able to choose which users see which ads, which increases effectiveness. Facebook isn’t the only business that is gathering information about individuals for the sole purpose of selling to those individuals. Howev-
er, most companies that set out to do this notify users prior to collecting data. Ironically, Zuckerberg does not like publicity himself. Nobody knew about Zuckerberg’s wedding until after it had occurred. The guests had thought they were at a graduation party. It is important to note that Facebook is free, and every Facebook user has the freedom to simply stop using this social media outlet by deactivating their account. There is a tedious procedure that enables the user to make certain information private. Facebook’s goal is for all of privacy walls to come down. This way, the resulting exponential growth in ads will bring in more profit. Facebook also wants to stem the flow of young users who are increasingly turning to other social networks such as Twitter. Andrew Laberee is a homeschooled freshman in Medford, New Jersey in the Mid-Atlantic Junior State and a member of the Renaissance Council Chapter.
November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
The dangers of multi-tasking by Matthew Cohen Staff Writer With the rapid growth of social media, multi-tasking has become more common. Multitasking is the practice of focusing on multiple tasks within a period of time. Multitasking, at first, may seem appealing and efficient. However, according to recent research, it is detrimental. Dr. Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford, explains: “People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy. They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted.” Moreover, his results indicated that a “laser-focus” is unattainable for multitaskers because they use superfluous parts of their brains to complete specific tasks. It is difficult to revert their brains back to normal because, our brains are not elastic. Furthermore, research has demonstrated that multitasking
r e d u c e s the quality of creative thinking. Multitasking also distracts d r i v e r s . Speaking over the phone, even if hands free, is incredibly distracting. The phone conversation b e c o m e s the primary task, with driving as the secondary task. This attitude towards driving decreases reaction time ANTOR PAUL and increases the probability of an accident. Interestingly, there is a strong correlation between the number of
Social media helps political awareness by Keshav Sota Staff Writer Social media has many positive effects. However, social media is not just limited to personal connection; it has taken on a new form and has slowly crept into another field: Politics. Social media has become so popular in part because it allows people to share their ideas beyond geographical boundaries in a fast and cost-effective method. There are numerous examples of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter playing a significant role in promoting political awareness. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is perhaps the best case to demonstrate the far-reaching impact that social media can have. While the Supreme Court discussed the constitutionality of DOMA, supporters of marriage equality changed their profile pictures on Facebook to a red quality sign, a symbol of marriage equality for all. Various human rights campaigns also demonstrated their views by changing their iconic blue and yellow logo to red on Facebook. The logo became widely spread in a
relatively short period of time due to a chain reaction. People started “liking” and “sharing” the logo on Facebook with their friends. Within a few days of the launch of the original logo, the logo had been seen by over 9,000,000 people and shared over 777,000 times. Politicians and celebrities alike, including Maryland Governor Martin O’ Malley and actor George Takei, further expanded its popularity across the United States by “re-tweeting” the logo on Twitter and posting the logo on their respective websites. In DOMA’s instance, the powers of social media were harnessed properly to help bring about an important change. Social media will become even more powerful of a tool in bringing about change as the 21st century continues. From propelling revolutions in the Middle East, and to reforming domestic policies, we have only seen a glimpse of the vast influence that social media has. Keshav Sota is a junior at the Academy of Mathematics, Science and Engineering at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic Junior State.
people who multitask and the number of people who are diagnosed with Attention D e f i c i t D i s o r d e r (ADD) or Attention D e f i c i t H y p e r a c t iv i t y D i s o r d e r (ADHD). Over the past decade, there has been a sharp increase in ADD and ADHD diagnoses. People with attention deficit spread their attention over an inappropriately large span of stimuli whereas nonattention-deficit people have the
news . 5 capacity to focus. People who multitask – spreading attention over a wide range of stimuli – mirror the actions of people with attention deficit. The best course of action is to focus on one action or assignment at a time. Doing work without listening to music will enable the brain to complete the task more thoroughly. In addition, rather than multitasking for a long period of time, focusing solely on one task for a shot period of time proves more efficient. For example, people estimate that they use their e-mails for 100-200 minutes every day in little chunks of time. It is better for a person to check his e-mail in 20 minute patches. Ultimately, he will probably spend about 40 minutes – 1 hour per day using e-mail, as opposed to a couple of hours. Matthew Cohen is a senior at Tarbut V’Torah Community Day School in Irvine, CA in the Southern California Junior State. He is the Southern California Chief of Staff.
Schools see drop in humanities majors by SJ Hyman Staff Writer According to data collected by the federal government, the number of undergraduate students majoring in the humanities has split in half -- from 14% in 1970 to around 7% today. This decrease has been noted in universities from coast to coast, with Stanford, despite having 45% of faculty members in the humanities, citing only 15% of their undergraduates majoring in humanities and Harvard citing a 20% decline in humanities majors over the past ten years. Although funding at such elite universe is safe for the time being, the decline in interest has led many public universities to cut down on the number of humanities majors and classes they offer. This coincides with a rapid rise in spending and emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Since 2009, the U.S. government has over $3 billion annually on STEM programs while spending only $146 million on the National Endowment of the Humanities. The decline in the number of graduates pursuing humanities degrees has been attributed to the perception that it
is easier to get a job with a STEM degree. However, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, the number of STEM graduates outnumber the number of STEM jobs in the labor market. Many cite the relative lack of STEM graduates in the U.S. as a possible threat to the country’s global standing; however, graduates with STEM degrees often lack vital skills -- most notably in communication, critical thinking and multicultural proficiency. As countries become more interdependent on the global economy, these skills continue to be of importance. According to the Association of American College & Universities (AAC&U), 95% percent of employers say “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their undergraduate major.” As the emphasis on STEM continues to increase, many humanity professors fear that they have failed to show their students the importance of the vital skills liberal arts degrees carry in today’s developing society. SJ Hyman is a junior at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland in the Mid-Atlantic Junior State. She is the Mid-Atlantic Assistant Director of Logistics.
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November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Brave New World
by Harry Petsios Staff Writer
As a native New Yorker, I frequently encounter homeless veterans during my commute around the city. Many of them share a few common features: a ragged uniform and a sign displaying their status as homeless veterans in need of money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the veteran unemployment rate
has risen to almost 10% since October 2012. Of the 23 million veterans in the United States, nearly 840,000 of them are homeless. Many analysts attribute these statistics to veterans’ health issues, but the truth lies behind the gates of military communities. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the walls of a combat outpost separate two opposite worlds: one orderly and one chaotic. This tale of two cities experience isn’t limited to battlefields overseas, though. In U.S.
bases, soldiers and their families inhabit an environment that is geographically, socially, and economically distinct from the rest of America. As a result, many veterans are without proper schooling and specialized skills. Additionally, many lack the social connections required to excel in civilian life. Once veterans leave this self-contained environment, they are thrust headlong into the cogs of the American economy. Many veterans find themselves unable to adjust to the norms of civilian life and face a string of everyday problems, ranging from seeking employment to selecting non-uniform clothes every morning. Although military communities and their lack of preparatory centers are mainly to blame for veterans’ status, we civilians are also at fault. Many of us are largely unaware of the service and sacrifice of 2.4 million active servicemen and reserve soldiers. Additionally, many American business owners avoid hiring veterans, as they assume that veterans offer little more than sharpshooting skills and liabilities. Oftentimes,
One nation under God? by Ahmed Shah Staff Writer
Currently, schoolchildren across the United States are coerced into the recitation of a Pledge of Allegiance that endorses a theistic worldview. As a nation founded on the principles of religious freedom, the U.S. ought to remove the phrase, “one nation under God” from the Pledge in an effort to uphold moral principles end discrimination against nonbelievers. Although these students are not physically coerced into recitation, the Pledge of Allegiance has become so deeply ingrained in the education system and American culture that children are pressed into recitation in an effort to abide by social norms. Moreover, the reference to God in the Pledge endorses a particular, religious worldview. Thus, opposing worldviews are marginalized and students holding these opposing views feel alienated. Atheist Michael Newdow has repeatedly challenged references to God by the government and in 2002 won his lawsuit on behalf of his daughter against the Elk Grove Unified School District in the 9th Circuit Court
of Appeals, who stated that the phrase “under God” is unconstitutional. Sadly, the Supreme Court overturned that court decision in 2004 because of Newdow’s lack of legal custody of his daughter. It may be said that references to God are not always religious in nature, but rather cultural; and that is a completely valid statement, however culture is not exempt from criticism. One of the most common ways of evaluating whether or not a practice violates the Establishment Clause, which denies Congress the power to pass legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ” is the Lemon Test. According to the Lemon test, to be constitutional the action must have a secular purpose, its principle or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and it must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. The reference to God passes the first and third prong, however it fails the second one. The reference to God may not have the purpose of advancing
theism, but in effect it does. As stated earlier, students are socially coerced into reciting of the Pledge; in some cases they are legally forced to stand. Therefore, the endorsement of a theistic view advances religion. It is important to remember that Eisenhower only added the reference to God to the Pledge in 1954, to distinguish the United States from our “godless” communist rivals. In order to maintain the great American principle of freedom of religion and end the marginalization of minority views, the phrase “under God” should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. Ahmed Shah is a junior at Van Nuys Senior High School in Van Nuys, California in the Southern California Junior State. He is the Southern California Deputy Director of Debate.
however, former servicemen have much experience, but lack the ability to properly communicate it to prospective employers. Despite allegations that former servicemen bear no applicable skills in civilian life, many are proficient in technology, communication, and leadership. Such skills prove pivotal in finding employment. Moreover, there are numerous foundations built on the premise of incorporating veterans into civilian life. Many “workplace translators” exist, where veterans search for a career that parallels their military lifestyle. Service in the military proves to be much more than a job -- it becomes a lifestyle for servicemen. By depriving veterans of their livelihoods and throwing them abruptly into a society that doesn’t provide for them, we waste valuable, efficient citizens that have the potential to better our country. Harry Petsios is a junior at Townsend Harris High School in New York City in the Northeast Junior State.
Staff Lilia Abecassis Editor-in-Chief
Kelly Kim and Michelle Min News Editors
Emma Seely-Katz and Simran Singh Opinion Editors
Jenny McGinty and Nithin Vejendla Events Editors
Joy Cai, Mica Caine, Matthew Cohen, Rachel Donaldson, Somnath Ganapa, SJ Hyman, Rohit Joshi, Ashley Kim, Andrew Laberee, Ben Lanier, Jasmine Lee, Harry Petsios, Ipsita Rao, Arian Rubio, Ahmed Shah, Hannah Smilansky, Victoria Snitsar, Keshav Sota Laura Whelan, Catherine Zhang, and SiTian Zhang Staff Writers
Amanda Kaufman, Lauren Liao, Antor Paul, Anja Seng, Marissa Shaw, and Lucas Wang Cartoonists
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November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Pro-Obama: Here’s looking at you, Mr. President! by Hannah Smilansky Staff Writer
It is easy to criticize a president. With one single person leading a country as large and diverse as the United States, there are bound to be dissatisfied citizens. We often overlook the ways in which in our president has succeeded. Since his reelection in 2012, President Barack Obama has had his own share of accomplishments that deserve to be recognized. One of the most relevant issues for JSA members is college tuition. The average student borrower graduates with $26,000 worth of debt. The rate of loan defaults is rising and approximately half of college students graduate within six years. In his 2012 State of the Union address, Obama declared that he would drop the taxpayer financing of universities with tuition rates that continued rising faster than inflation. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama continued his efforts by encouraging Congress to consider a
college’s affordability before awarding federal aid. His proposal called for awarding colleges ratings in the next few years and using these ratings to determine the amount of federal financial aid the schools receive. These ratings will be based on tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. In addition, President Obama plans to invest $55 million in the improvement of the higher education system. On November 7, 2013, President Obama urged the U.S. Senate to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA.) This bill will federally protect LGBTQ individuals from being fired because of their sexual orientation. The senate did ultimately pass this bill, 64-32, with ten Republican senators joining the Democrats. Obama has repeatedly shown support for the LGBT community—something few presidents before him have actively done. On November 12th, he congratulated
MARISSA MARISSA SHAW SHAW
the Hawaii State Legislature for legalizing gay marriage. Under Obama’s administration, the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.1% in 2010 to 7.3% in 2013. He has been a passionate advocate for gun regulation, federal efforts to end human trafficking, and—take a guess—affordable health care. Reflecting on Obama’s first year as a
reelected president, it seems unfair to say that he has done nothing substantial for our country. Of course there are mistakes made in his administration that can upset American citizens, but, overall, he has been a dedicated leader who deserves credit where it’s due. Not bad, Mr. President, not bad. Hannah Smilansky is a senior at Interlake High School in Bellevue, WA in the Pacific Northwest Junior State.
Con-Obama: A year of disappointment by Victoria Snitsar Staff Writer A year ago, the people of the great nation of the United States made the decision to keep President Obama as the most important man in the country for another 4 years. Why did the citizens reelect president Obama for a second term? They were promised a movement “forward”, and many were led to believe that Barack Obama would be the man to lead this nation into a new age of progress. How has he repaid the nation? Obamacare. Even though the Affordable Care Act was passed during Obama’s previous term, its implementation comes up now, in the second term. The Act officially came to affect millions of Americans in the past year and will continue to impact even more in the coming years. One of many broken promises regarding the Affordable Care Act was that those that liked their existing plans could keep them. The ability to keep existing plans
was compromised by large companies which are cancelling their old plans due to a large amount of new requirem e n t s they must meet. The old, satisfactory, existing plans MARISSA SHAW became illegal. Others were unable to keep their plans since their employers cancelled them because they now have an excuse not to offer healthcare to their employees.
Obama has just provided corporations with a way to save money that brings up the following question. Who is he fighting for? The recent g over nmnt shutdown is another example of the lack of leadership by President Obama. From October 1st to the 16th the federal government of the United States entered a shutdown after Congress was unable to reach a compromise on the budget for the MARISSA SHAW
2014 fiscal year. Lasting 16 days, this was the third longest shutdown in U.S history. Regular government operations resumed October 17 after an interim appropriations bill was signed into law. According to CNN, approximately 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed, and another 1.3 million were required to report to work without known payment dates during the shutdown. This whole event would not have happened if the president had been able to lead his congress to a compromise. I believe that a true leader would have been able to bring people together and keep the federal government running. Obama’s promise of forward has is now becoming empty words. He claims to be fighting for the people of the United States of America, but is he really? Victoria Snitsar is a junior at Skyline High School in Issaquah, WA in the Pacific Northwest Junior State.
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November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
What the frack?
Is hydraulic fracking necessary to our energy supply, or does the environmental destruction outweigh the benefits? PRO: by Jasmine Lee Staff Writer As the issue of groundwater contamination in Pennsylvania has emerged, hydraulic fracking has been presented to the public as an evil menace and a process that should be eliminated for the good of the world. However, hydraulic fracking has proven to be an essential source of energy and crucial to the growth of the United States. Eliminating the use of such a vital power source may prove to be more detrimental in the larger scope. The first point to consider is the magnitude of the role that the hydraulic fracking industry plays in the United States economy. A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 21st Century Energy Institute found that hydraulic fracking “has meant a job boom even in states that don’t actually have shale deposits, with 1.7 million jobs already created and a total of 3.5 million projected by 2035.” With citizens dependent on these jobs for their livelihood, disregarding such an essential aspect of the economy would be devastating. Hydraulic fracking is currently the only feasible clean source of energy. Opponents of hydraulic fracking often turn to wind power as an equally effective “green” energy producer. However, the US Department of Energy (DOE) estimated “the levelized cost of wind-generated electricity at more than double the cost of coal-fired electricity and more than three times the cost of power from natural gas.” Wind power technology is far too expensive to completely replace fracking as an energy source, and would increase taxes exponentially with uncertain results. On a larger scale, the surplus of energy provided from hydraulic fracking is having a major impact on the United States’ foreign policy and relations with other countries. The surplus of natural gas, a huge energy source that serves to power
thousands of homes and energy dependent industries, has already elevated the position of the U.S. on a global level. The U.S. recently overtook Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil and
by Somnath Ganapa Staff Writer There have been an overwhelming number of scientific words thrown around in discussions regarding hyIMAGE COURTESY OF OCCUPYDENVER.ORG
gas by having adopted new technologies, mainly hydraulic fracking. This development promises to have an enormous effect on future decisions in the nation’s dealings with other prominent nations. With no better alternatives to turn to, hydraulic fracking is the nation’s best bet in regards to energy sources. The economic and political benefits that come from hydraulic fracking are much too precious to ignore until we have fully explored fracking’s potential in a world that continues to become increasingly energy hungry. Jasmine Lee is a junior at Van Nuys Senior High School in Van Nuys, California in the Southern California Junior State.
draulic fracking. This scientific jargon has been used as a tool by the multibillion-dollar oil industry to delude the general public into accepting the industry’s tampering with the environment. Hydraulic fracking, or fracturing, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the natural gas inside. For each fracturing job, 1-8 million gallons of water are needed, enough water to fill a football stadium twice. Then, the water is mixed with sand and approximately 40,000 chemicals to produce a fracking fluid. Over 600 of these chemicals are known carcinogens and toxins. After this mélange of poison is
created, it is then sent down the ground through a tube over 10,000 feet deep. In total, 72 million gallons of water and 360 billion chemicals are needed to run our current wells. These resources are finite and fracking puts a great strain on already diminishing resources. The detrimental impact of hydraulic fracturing on the environment does not stop there. After the fracking fluid is pumped underground, methane gas and toxic chemicals may leak out of the system and contaminate groundwater, an integral source of drinking water. There have been over 1000 cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling including cases pertaining to several pathological abnormalities. Only 30% of the fracking fluid is redrawn from the underground well. Consequentially, some of this waste fluid may evaporate, producing contaminated air and acidic rain. Hydraulic fracturing may have some economic advantages, but is it worth sacrificing our environment? If there were no Earth, what land would our gas guzzling cars traverse across and for what cause would any human operate natural gas fueled machines? By allowing oil companies to rampage anywhere across the globe, we perpetuate a lifestyle that is dependent on oil. This lifestyle is harmful to the environment. It involves the burning of hydrocarbons and consequentially, increased carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. If we delude ourselves into thinking there is not a serious problem at hand, we will continue to release these greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and risk having the Earth’s temperature rise even further through global warming, a dilemma that we must fix today if we are to conserve our world. Somnath Ganapa is a junior at Van Nuys Senior High School in Van Nuys, California in the Southern California Junior State.
opinion . 9
November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Anti-bullying efforts: well-intentioned but ineffective ANJA SENG
by Catherine Zhang Staff Writer
Recently, my high school received national news coverage after the vicious bullying of a special needs student was brought to light. Shea Shawhan, a junior at Plano West Senior High School, received a barrage of appalling text messages threatening to rape and kill her. The bullying received attention after Shea’s mom, Keri Riddell, created a Facebook account titled “I’m With Shea” to spread awareness about the situation. Pictures of the text messages, which were generated from web apps to conceal the perpetrator’s identity, were posted on the account. The external response was overwhelming. At football games, opposing schools would display “I’m With Shea” banners and wear “I’m With Shea” t-shirts. Students sent gifts and delivered pizza to the Shawhan household. The “I’m With Shea” Facebook page reached approximately 90,000 likes. A special detective was commissioned to track down the perpetrator and an arrest was promptly made. However, school-sponsored anti-
bullying efforts were weak at best. Plano West, like thousands of other schools across the nation, resorted to an “Anti-Bullying Week” to raise awareness of the issue. Each day during second period, teachers were instructed to read trite paragraphs on different types of bullying. Anti-bullying posters with cliché slogans were displayed sparsely around the school. This repetition of stale anti-bullying statements only served to delegitimize anti-bullying
efforts. At some schools, anti-bullying weeks involve dress-up days, in which students parade around school in themed attire. Often, the issue of bullying is eclipsed by the showy costumes. The problem with meager antibullying efforts within schools is that we can’t count on national news coverage or mass social media campaigns to address every instance of bullying. Furthermore, bullying isn’t always as blatant as vicious text messages.
More subtle forms of bullying may be overlooked. On the last day of the anti-bullying week, administrators showed a powerful video highlighting how seemingly small actions could lead to unintended consequences. After the lights turned back on, students shared personal stories as they wiped teary eyes and gritted their teeth at human callousness. Anti-bullying efforts that capitalize on the human power of empathy are ultimately effective because they remind students that incidences of bullying are not limited to the blatant brutality exhibited in cases like the bullying of Shea Shawhan. Rather, harassment from peers can compound with family strife, academic pressure, and a variety of other circumstances to create dire outcomes. We must shift the way we handle bullying, as an increasing amount of students feel unsafe at school. The current tactics simply will not do. Catherine Zhang is a junior at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas in the Texas Junior State. She is the Panhandle-Metroplex Region Convention Coordinator.
Rock- don’t block- the vote Poverty line needs to be raised by Marko Kasikovic Contributing Writer As a debater, chapter president, and Executive Director of Debate, I have seen block voting undermine democracy countless times. For those unfamiliar with the term, block voting is the practice of submitting ballots for a best speaker or elected official as a group. For example, a single chapter can vote for its delegate so he can win a gavel. Alternatively, in elections, a chapter president may urge his delegates to vote for a given individual. Block voting disregards merit, discourages speakers, and marginalizes small chapters. To say that this act is unfair would be an understatement. The nature of JSA is one of justice through democracy. We vote for those that we believe will run our states and regions fairly, and while block voting seems insignificant, it fails to consider the individual. To a novice debater, a gavel means the world. Though I only started actively participating in State and Regional JSA in February, my first gavel solidified my love for the organization. It made me feel valued, recognized, and confident.
When an individual is rewarded for his preparation and practice for a debate, everything seems possible. Block voting has no regard for this sentiment. Why deprive meritorious debaters of this recognition? I realize that JSAers want their friends to win, but this invariably marginalizes other delegates. When a speaker spends countless hours reading, researching, and rehearsing to do well in a debate, his efforts warrant a gavel. Therefore, I urge every JSAer to take a stand. Democracy works best if individuals vote thoughtfully and independently. When other individuals control your vote, the true power of democracy is lost. In the end, the “Speaker with the Most Friends Award” replaces the “Best Speaker Award.” If this seems unjust to you, speak up! Remind the people around you that the Best Speaker Award is intended for the best speaker, not the one with the most fans. Even if you only succeed half of the time, you may ignite someone’s passion for JSA and make a difference. Marko Kasikovic is a senior at Biotechnology High School in Freehold, NJ in the Mid-Altantic Junior State. He is the Mid-Atlantic Director of Debate.
by Laura Whelan Staff Writer
As Katherine Newman, a Dean at Johns Hopkins University, said, “People just above the poverty line are just one paycheck or health disaster away from poverty.” The United States’ poverty line, the division below which people are seen as lacking the means to meet basic needs for healthy living, ignores those teetering on the edge. Relatively untouched since 1963, the poverty line was established by Mollie Orshansky, an economist at the Social Security Administration, who used data from the 1950s to estimate that the average person spends about one third of his or her budget on food. The poverty line was created by multiplying the cost of a nutritiously adequate diet by three, and has remained unchanged except to adjust for inflation. This indicator is used to determine eligibility for thousands of government programs, leaving more than 30 million Americans who live just above the poverty line unprotected and vulnerable. These Americans, often living on in-
comes 1.5 percent above the poverty line, get few government benefits and entitlements even though they are three times as likely to work full-time year round, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Census Bureau data. Those near the poverty line can have significant contributions to society, acting as health aids, childcare workers, teacher’s assistants, and hospital orderlies. These jobs tend to be full-time, but do not provide many employee benefits. The poverty line needs to be reestablished to include those who Newman calls the “missing class.” The poverty line blatantly ignores many who are hardworking but desperately need help from the government in order to prevent themselves from sinking deeper into poverty. By not helping the near poor, this country becomes increasingly economically polarized as those on the border fall below the poverty line. By refusing to raise the poverty line, the government is diminishing the very middle class that the United States prides itself upon. Laura Whelan is a sophomore at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ in the Mid-Atlantic Junior State. She is the New Jersey Region Co-Director of Fundraising .
Arizona hosts Fall Congress by Joy Cai Staff Writer On November 23-24, the Arizona Territory hosted Fall Congress at the DoubleTree Suites Tucson Airport Hotel in Tucson, Arizona. Fall Congress featured two committee hearings, a party caucus, and several other stimulating blocks presided by Governor Chetan Bafna and Convention Coordinator Maria Rodriguez. Several of the blocks, hearings, and fairs took place at the University of Arizona as well. Fall Congress featured a Political Fair introducing students to the concepts of the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian political parties. Bills that were discussed during the committee hearings ranged from de-federalizing the cannabis policy to adding a federal health tax, each
sponsored by a member of the Arizona Senate and a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. The Conference featured a total of fifteen bills, two amendments, and one resolution. The legislation that was passed at the mock Congress in the House of Representatives was proposed to Arizona legislators, giving students a hands-on opportunity to get involved with their state government. The Governor’s Gavel Debate featured the topic: College is a Worthwhile Investment, Nighttime Activities included a dance, access to a game/chill out room, and a talent show. The conference closed at 3:15 p.m on the 24th with a closing address by Governor Bafna, distribution of gavels, and discussion about JSA Summer School.
Norcal Fall State promotes activism by Victoria Snitsar Staff Writer NorCal JSA had their Fall State conference on November 16-17, 2013, at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara, California. Delegates from all over Northern California met to debate issues that went along with the theme of “Progressing Beyond Partisanship: From Conflict to Compromise,” . Highlights from the weekend included regional caucuses, the keynote debateand social activities. This year NorCal JSA also had a book drive hosted by their activism department which was very successful. Maki O’Bryan a junior from George Washington High School in San Francisco, reflects upon his experiences at his first convention. “It being my first ever JSA convention,
I thought Fall State was amazing,” he said. “All of the delegates I met were so involved in their own way and even if people didn’t agree with each other’s opinions there was still a tremendous sense of community. I loved the diversity of interests and opinions, whether it is be economics, women’s rights, international policy or the legalization of marijuana, everyone had their own thing going on and I thought that that was great. I’m definitely encouraged to speak more at Winter Congress and I’m hoping to be more involved in JSA next year hopefully as a cabinet member.” The next overnight convention held in the Northern California Junior State will be Winter Congress at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento on February 1st and 2nd, 2014.
November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Southeast Fall State success by Joy Cai Staff Writer One of the most celebrated JSA conferences of the year is Fall State. On the 16th and 17th of November, the Southeast State hosted its Fall State Convention at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott North Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The theme of the National Junior Stateof America this year is “Progressing beyond Partisanship: From Conflict to Compromise”. Under the leadership of Governor Raymond Rif, the Southeast State had a successful overnight conference with eight blocks embodying the national theme. Fall State is one of the largest JSA conferences that help new debaters make the transition into the Junior Statesmen of America. Fall State SE included a Novice Debate with
the resolution on he abolishment of death penalty. Other notable debate blocks, organized by the Director of Debate Benjamin Wexier, and Deputy Director of Debate Nathan Yerby, included topics ranging from the attainability of the “American Dream” to the investment of college. Along with debate and thought talk blocks; Fall State SE featured the Mock Supreme Court Case Town of Greece vs. Galloway, a trial about prayer at public meetings. The Nighttime Activities of the conference included a dance, movie, and quiz bowl. As Fall State Southeast wrapped up, JSAers are now preparing for the upcoming Midwest-Ohio River Valley-Southeast Winter Congress in Washington, D.C. this February.
Texas JSAers meet in Austin by Caroline Soechting Contributing Writer Nearly 500 students attended Texas JSA Fall State in Austin, Texas to discuss and enlighten each other on issues and events ranging from American military funding to genetically modified organisms. Texas JSA was also very fortunate to be addressed by guest speakers Jerry Patterson, James Henson, and Representative Naomi Gonzalez. Mr. Patterson, the Texas Land Commissioner, discussed upcoming political issues in Texas, as well as his position in Texas government, and how being involved with politics has made a huge impact on his life. Dr. Henson and Representative Gonzalez brought up issues regarding immigration reform and the political demographics within Texas, emphasizing how these issues affect every
Texas JSAer, even in their everyday lives. Many Junior Statesmen would agree that one of the greatest opportunies of having guest speakers is being able to communicate with them through a question-and-answer session. Karly Schlievert of San Marcos High School said, “Having the privilege to communicate with guest speakers on such a one-on-one basis is really extraordinary. They’re always welcoming to our questions and it really helps us become educated in a really effective way.” Texas JSAers were able to enjoy discussion on relevant issues happening in the world today while everyone had a chance to share their own unique opinion. Texas JSA continues to prosper and grow, and the state is looking forward to it’s next convention, a joint Winter Congress with the Mid-Atlantic, in Washington D.C. this February.
November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Fall States nationwide attract hundreds of delegates PACIFIC NORTHWEST by Nithin Vejendla Events Editor On the weekend of November 16th to 17th, over 570 delegates from the Pacific Northwest State gathered at Doubletree Seattle Tacoma Airport Hotel to debate a myriad of issues. The convention was attended by over 30 high schools from Oregon and Washington. At the convention, delegates spent two days utilizing a variety of debate formats including traditional JSA debates, thought talks, humor debates and speed chess. Debates ranged form Obamacare to Breaking Bad to the value of college education. An activism fair as well as a mock Supreme Court trial of the Town of Greece v. Galloway furthered the value of the weekend for the PNW JSAers. During the mock trial, students had the opportunity to take the role of lawyers and justices while arguing
out both sides of the dispute which served as a unique opportunity for the students. The convention opened with a moment of silence to honor fallen veterans, and then proceeded with a keynote speech from Congressman Derek Kilmer. Congressman Kilmer represents Washington’s 6th Congressional Disrict. A unique highlight of the PNW Fall State is that students had the ability to compete for the first ever national-wide Best Speaker award for the debate “Resolved, College is a worthwhile investment.” The Best Speaker in the “Governor’s Gavel Debate” on the importance of a college education was Reuben White from Westview High School. Fall State 2013 proved to be an exciting experience that will be hard to beat for next year’s upcoming PNW state convention.
OHIO RIVER VALLEY by Rohit Joshi Staff Writer On Saturday, November 23, 178 students from around the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia areas gathered for the Ohio River Valley (ORV) Fall State at the Cincinnati Marriott North Hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio. This year’s national Fall State theme was “Progressing Beyond Partisanship” which influenced a weekend full of debates for the ORV. The ORV Fall State debates consisted of different fiery topics; some concerning national issues and some specific to the convention regarding subjects such as Iran, torture, and true leadership. The ORV cabinet worked hard to plan a cohesive convention and to begin their Fall State with a renowned guest speaker.
MID-ATLANTIC by SiTian Zhang Staff Writer On November 16th and 17th 2013 the first overnight Mid-Atlantic State JSA event of the year, Fall State, was held at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, NJ. Titled “Progressing Beyond Partisanship,” the convention, organized by the state cabinet, Governor Cristian Vides and Lt. Governor Allison Berger, attracted JSAers from across the East shore. Throughout the two days, JSAers participated in a host of lively debates on topics ranging from gun control to birth control to Russian-American relations. They also had the opportunity to attend a Debate Workshop hosted by the MAS Executive Director of Debate, Marko Kasikovic. In a new style of debate, the Chapter Tag Team debate, the High Tech and Bergen County Academies Chapters debated “Resolved, that
satire is the greatest asset to the liberal media.” The convention also featured Wall Street Journal columnist, James Taranto, who spoke of the “War on Men,” a phenomenon arising from transgressions made on the rights of men in the fervent attempts to promote those of women. The Lieutenant Governor’s cabinet arranged several activism activities for the weekend. JSAers wrote letters to veterans and learned about chapter activism initiatives such as the Liberty Literacy Project. To increase awareness of the initiative, a JSA Jeopardy was held. Furthermore, in what Berger dubbed “one of the most productive” sessions of the State Assembly, two bills were passed: one deciding the appropriations of MAS tax surplus and another supporting the establishment of a Presidential Youth Council. All in all, Fall State was a great success and hints at many more good things to come.
They selected Republican U.S. Representative Brad R. Wenstrup, an Iraq war veteran representing Ohio’s 2nd District in the House of Representatives. Another major initiative that the Ohio River Valley took on was JSA t-shirt sales that were sold in order to raise money for scholarships for the Spring State convention. Gannon Joyner, ORV Director of Fundraising, worked tirelessly to create and market JSA shirts. Joyner states that after conducting surveys and talking to a plethora of people, he has seen an “inordinate amount of interest in this venture” and considered the sales a success. With so many new chapters and members in attendance this year, Fall State is sure to be one of the best conventions the ORV has had to date.
NORTHEAST by Rachel Donaldson Staff Writer On December 7th and 8th, the Northeast State (NES) held its 2013 Fall State at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. This year’s theme was “Progressing Beyond Partisanship: From Conflict to Compromise.” It began on Saturday with a speech by the keynote speaker, Steve Grossman, Massachusetts’ treasurer. His enthusiastic words and the opportunity for attendees to ask questions kept the audience engaged and interested during Opening Session. Throughout the day, students from across New England and New York debated some of today’s most pressing issues. Debates were held on a wide variety of topics; participants discussed and argued everything from genetically modified organisms to Islamic extremism, from social media to nuclear power plants, from artificial intelligence to the national voting age.
The first ever national video-conference debate was also held between the Northeast and the Midwest state, regarding whether or not it is morally acceptable to conduct drone strikes on other nations. Role play debates were also held, the topics of which were Walter White vs. Josh Lyman and Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift. In these debates, speakers gained unique experience as they “stepped into someone else’s shoes” and debated from another person’s perspective. On Sunday, debates continued, and during Activism Block, a mock Supreme Court case was held regarding the Town of Greece v. Galloway, discussing whether or not the invocation of prayer at a legislative session violates the First Amendment. The conference was a huge success for the Northeast State.
12 . events
November/December 2013 The Junior Statement
Southern California hosts two Fall State conventions
by Lilia Abecassis Editor-in-Chief Southern California hosted two Fall State conventions; Fall State Los Angeles (FSLA) took place on November 9th-10th while Fall State Orange Country (FSOC) occurred on November 23rd-24th. FSLA was held at the LAX Marriott in Los Angeles, California and hosted 800 delegates, the hotel’s maximum capacity. FSOC, held at the Irvine Marriott in Irvine, California hosted 443 delegates. The combined attendance was 1,243 delegates, beating last year’s attendance by nearly 100. This is the largest number of attendance in SoCal Fall State history, according to former Governor Julianna Joss (‘13). Southern California hosts two Fall States because most hotels are unable to host more than 800 delegates. According to Governor Sabrina Lieberman, the Fall States were run exceptionally smoothly because of advanced preparations. “Our pre-conventions were efficient
and relatively low stress,” Lieberman said. “This allowed our team to be able to get a good night’s sleep and be well rested to lead the convention the following day.” The Southern California Cabinet also used feedback from FSLA to improve the Orange County convention. “ We didn’t realize how controversial the Shark Hunting debate would be [at Los Angeles], so we made sure to have a more experiences moderator [at Orange County,]” Lieberman said. Southern California Director of Debate Alexis Kallen said that debates at FSLA tended to be livelier, but voting tended to be more polar at FSOC. “From the debate standpoint, I saw more participation in actual debates at FSL, where there were more diverse votes, whereas at FSOC more people played less active roles and participated more in thought talks,” Kallen said. “The votes in the debate tended to have a bigger majority.” Among the 800 attendees was Arizona Governor Chetan Bafna, who attended FSLA to help gain a better understanding of how to run conven-
Pictured, from left: Amanat Kular, Elisa D’Egidio, Katie Flattum, Ashley Jawaroski, Corey Elder, and Victoria Yu during Opening Session of Fall State Los Angeles. PHOTO BY VICTORIA YU
tions in his own state. “I’ve learned how to establish a successful convention, everything from delegating responsibilities to techniques that expedite name card distribution,” Bafna said. The Senate also passed the Budget Allocation and Election Equality bills. Both Fall States were successful and surpassed expectations, and the
Southern California Cabinet is working tirelessly to plan the next convention, Winter Congress, to be held at the Torrance Marriott South Bay on February 15-16, 2014. Lilia Abecassis is a senior at University High School in Irvine, CA in the Southern California Junior State. She is the National Editor-in-Chief of the Junior Statement.
With Fall State, Midwest sees its largest convention yet
Pictured, from left: Anson Tong, Kristine Xu, and Kristen Riedinger participate in an activism event. PHOTO COURTESY OF HELEN WEI.
by Jenny McGinty Events Editor On December 6th-7th, 2013, Midwest Junior Statesmen gathered to-
gether in three-degree weather on the stairs of the Wisconsin State Capitol Building in Madison, WI to attend what would be the largest convention in the history of the Midwest. At this years Fall State, delegates
had the opportunity to enjoy plenty of diverse debate styles including schizo, gavel, stutter, taboo, Boston Massacre, and even a rap battle debate, all covering a myriad of unique resolutions. Another highlight of the Midwest Fall State was their participation in the first ever Skype debate between two states (Midwest v Northeast) in all of JSA. The NES had the main pro speaker while the Midwest had the main con speaker. Questions were also asked by taking one question from each state at a time before moving on. Midwest Governor Kristiana Yao and NES Director of Publicity Karen Su, moderated the debate. The Midwest also allotted time for an activism block, featuring organizations such as the National Organization for Women and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The Midwest even hosted an Activism Photobooth in which delegates explained what gridlock madethem
feel like, what they thought compromise was, who their ideal statesman was, all in which alluded to the convention’s theme “Progressing Beyond Partisanship”. Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser, the longest-serving state legislator in American political history, led a “Legislative Thought Talk” on partisanship. Helen Wei, a delegate from the Midwest stated that “Senator Risser frequently commented about how thought-provoking and relevant the delegates’ questions were”, which exemplified the Midwest’s capabilities of showing what a true Junior Statesmen is like. The convention ended with celebrating the passage of legislation supporting the Presidential Youth Council and dissolving the position of Senator. Midwest set the standards high for their upcoming Spring State. Jenny McGinty is a senior at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, TX in the Texas Junior State. She is the Alamo Capital Region Mayor.