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<Table oF Contents> Fads and Popular Culture

The HPV Vaccine Dilemma

Scott Geldzahler -Page 3 Daniel Sonnenberg- Page 4-5

What Most Dancers Will Never Admit

Sandy Gooen- Page 5-6

Your Future’s Future

Renee Riegman- Page 6

The Shortcomings of Corn-Based Ethanol

Sarah Quinn- Page 7,10

Personhood and Mississippi

Abhi Gupta- Pages 7, 15

Cameras in the Classrom “Them”

Insurance for the End Times

Brett Sleyster- Page 8 Scott Geldzahler- Page 8

Daniel Sonnenberg- Page 9


The Voice Staff Editors in Chief Scott Geldzahler Abhi Gupta

Technical Editor Nathan Holland

Photography Editor Sam Rosenthal

Contributors Matt Brookman Sandy Gooen Margaret Lapre Jessica Raia Renee Riegman Brett Sleyster

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Daniel Sonnenberg Katelyn Stephenson Sarah Quinn

Faculty Advisor Mrs. Wengel

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Fads and Popular Culture Scott Geldzahler

Livestrong bracelets. Tamagotchis. Razor scooters. Napoleon Dynamite. Each one of these things brings on a flood of nostalgia. Guys, remember that time when everyone had to have the latest “Tech Deck Dude?” Or ladies, how about that year when, if you didn’t know the words to every, solitary, High School musical song, you would be exiled from your group of friends? Just trying to keep up with the changing pace of a culture that has a new interest every other week is exhausting. Love them or hate them, fads have affected life as we know it, and will continue to in the future. From YouTube videos (remember the Numa Numa dance?) to certain sayings (I for one, continue to “bring sexy back”), in today’s world, fads are the defining factor for a generation, and are the basis for all modern culture. How do we characterize the culture we live in now? By our music? By what movies we like to watch? Some call us the “Facebook Generation”… is that what defines us? I believe that what defines us, at least as a complete generation, are the trends and random popular things that we have and continue to engage in. Nostalgia is perhaps one of the strongest emotions one can experience. For example, take a look back at all the things mentioned in the first paragraph. I guarantee at least one of these things sparked some sort of memory of times gone by. And that memory wont be leaving you any time soon. Talk to your parents and ask them what they remember from childhood. Legwarmers? 8-Tracks? The Big Mac song? All fads. And all things that they remember like the back of their hands. It has shaped who they are today. In Lord of The Flies, the question is asked whether the individual shapes society or if society shapes the individual. While I myself am not fully a pessimist (I like to call my way of thinking pessimistic optimism: the glass is half empty, but the other half is filled with air), I believe that society shapes the individual. As much as I hate to admit it, our generation adheres to most of the stereotypes about us. But is that a bad thing? That’s up to you to decide. Or, of course, you could let society make the decision for you…

Remember these?


The HPV Vaccine Dilemma

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Daniel Sonnenberg Although healthcare insurance has caused a major

political ruckus in the past year or so, what has never been disputed in this country is the quality of the healthcare itself. No one I’ve ever known has suggested that it’s alright for a doctor to screw up a surgery, or that a medicine that has deadly side-effects should stay on the market. That said, there has been, for a very long time, a phenomenon that has baffled me to the core: People believing that they can take healthcare into their own hands, even if they are not qualified to do so or know next to nothing about what they are saying and doing. Walking through a Wal-Mart reveals a magazine rack with a Reader’s Digest front page story entitled “What Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You to Know.” Local news channels will run special commentaries on homeopathic remedies and “self-help” techniques, and their experts will tell the audience that there are short cuts and cheats to staying healthy that are kept out of reach of the public. If I, a high-school senior, was to show up to your house tomorrow and start tearing apart your kitchen with a sledgehammer, you would have more than a reasonable cause for anger. But guess what, I watched a special DIY video while I was on the checkout line at the pet store, so I know how to install new cabinets for a fraction of the cost it would take to pay a contractor. After you clean up my mess, you can find me next in your home office, volunteering to balance your checkbook and get all your finances in order. It’s okay, I can do it, because we did problems with compound interest in my math class. After you manage to get me out of the house, by giving me your courtside basketball tickets, I would move on to the game, pumped for some awesome action and to get in on it myself. You see, I am a master of Mario Basketball, and I can’t wait to show all these chumps, who waste their time training every day, a thing or twelve. If you haven’t caught on by now, there is a major problem with the scenarios I have presented you with. I have absolutely no experience with or training in any of the jobs I attempted to do myself. Instead, I probably made things worse than they already were, and I also would have been arrested for giving faulty financial advice, interfering with a private sporting event, and for attempting to “remodel” without the proper permits and licenses. So why can quacks on the news tell ordinary people, who have as much experience as they do with medicine, biology, chemistry, etc… (i.e. none) that they are perfectly capable of doing things on their own? They attempt to convince people, who are rightfully concerned with staying healthy and alive, that their doctors and other healthcare providers are out to cheat them somehow, that hospitals and clinics work the same way as large investment firms and even healthcare insurance providers.

As with any professional field, there are going to be

Governor Rick Perry rough patches. Not every plumber is a bona fide craftsman, and not every physician can meet the needs of every patient. That’s where the government comes in. Most people shouldn’t be expected to understand all the complexities of healthcare and the risks and benefits that come with it. That is why we have regulations. Patients are protected from botched surgeries by certification processes, and are compensated for its effects through malpractice law. And the people who have good doctors? They benefit from caring treatment and lifesaving decision-making. Unfortunately, that model is an ideal. The system does not function at peak efficiency, and depending on where the medical facilities are, it may fall extremely short of where it needs to be. And so we come to Texas. Governor Rick Perry placed in effect, by executive order, a requirement that the vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus, HPV, should be available for all young girls. A similar system is in place in Virginia, and in both cases, being vaccinated is not mandatory. What exactly is the problem then? The vaccine is used to prevent females from contracting HPV, which can cause cervical cancer, and it has recently, in the past couple of years, been approved for injection in males, so they don’t spread the virus to any sexual partners, male or female. The vaccine has also, much more importantly, proven to be safe and effective when administered. Seems peachy. But, Rick Perry is the governor of the state of Texas. I am pretty sure that he has no medical or scientific background, which leaves him unqualified to write up this kind of legislation without the counsel of professionals. If he had wanted this put in place, he and the state legislature should have put together some kind of panel of experts to advise them during


5 their decision-making process. Maybe the legislature wanted to do this, but it is a moot point, because Perry went over their heads with an executive order. I think I’m making my point so far, that Perry went about a completely innocent and actually good course of action the wrong way, but it’s more than that. He had no good intentions behind what he did, and his reason was certainly not because it was good for the health of the people of Texas. He did have an advisor, but that person was a lobbyist from Merck, a pharmaceutical company that produces one HPV vaccine, Gardasil. That lobbyist wined and dined the governor, even going to far as to organize Merck’s generous donations to Perry’s political campaigns. He did what he did because he was bought off. As a member of the state government, someone who is running for president of the whole country, he is more concerned with the money flowing into his pockets than the welfare of his constituents. My biggest problem isn’t even that he went about it in a corrupt and unethical way, but that he is now politicizing the health and welfare of our nation’s children. Because he made this rash decision, it is fair game for other candidates to criticize him for making it, and as a result, the issue shifts focus to its impact not on those being vaccinated, but on the people running for public office. In one of the most arrogant displays of disregarding scientific fact and taking the laws of nature and biology into her own hands, Michelle Bachmann actually claimed that this vaccine causes mental retardation in some of the girls who are vaccinated. Never mind the fact that she too has no medical or scientific knowledge whatsoever, and just imagine that Michelle Bachmann’s tirade was the first information you ever received about this vaccine. If I was in that position, I would be frightened to give it to my daughter or my son, if I had either. If this happened, and my daughter contracted HPV from a boyfriend and developed cervical cancer; or if my son caused a girlfriend to develop cervical cancer, no amount of blame would be able to protect her from the disease. Guess what? That whole nasty situation can be avoided with just one, safe injection. The system needs regulation, so that care like this can be provided to the people who need it, and so the people who have questions can be educated about their options. I have no problem with a program like the one that Governor Perry put in place, or the one in Virginia, but the way he went about it and the resulting bad press he got for it is obscuring the issue and preventing the vaccine from being properly understood. Governor Rick Perry, I will make you a deal. I will not come and remodel your house, or try to tune up your car, or attempt to run your presidential campaign, if you can agree to let the doctors and scientists do what they do best, keeping us healthy; and if you can agree to keep doing what a public servant does best: putting the pathways in place for his constituents to get factual information and services, without influencing those facts himself.

What Most Dancers Will Never Admit Sandy Gooen Dance is a beautiful, as well as horrifying sport and art form. As television shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With The Stars,” and “Dance Moms” gain more popularity, and movies like Black Swan are released, I feel like it’s time to reveal a few secrets about the values instilled into the minds of many young dancers. You may wonder how I know these secrets. Well, I dance, and many of my friends dance as well. In fact, I was a student teacher for the 6th-9th grade Performing Group at a studio I go to. Ever since about 3rd grade, I have noticed that a majority of dance teachers pick favorite students and try to pit these kids against one another. Many also encourage the thinner boys and girls to succeed and pressure the heavier children to lose weight. There are even a number of dance studios that (unofficially) encourage smoking to stay thin. These

Have an OPinion You Want to Share? SubMIt to the VOIce! pressures often lead to self-loathing, addiction to cigarettes from ages as early as 12 or 13 in some countries, bullying, fighting within the class, and eating disorders. In many cases, the male dancers are faced with more of this pressure than the girls. I have been fortunate to avoid many of these dangers, although most of my friends have not been as lucky. Have you ever heard of pointe/toe dancing? It is a type of ballet that involves a special type of shoe. It is proven that it is even more taxing on the body than the ancient Chinese practice of foot binding. As early as 9 or 10 years old, girls who have been taking ballet for a long time are encouraged to take pointe, and they are told that they’re horrible dancers if they don’t take pointe. The injuries that one receives from dancing are almost completely disregarded by teachers. They only say, “You’re not a good dancer because you got injured. Finish the lesson and then put some ice on it. I will see you again tomorrow.” Some of the damage these injuries cause can be permanent.

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6 What Most Dancers Will Never Admit

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One of the most difficult things to handle for some dancers is a domineering parent who will force his/her children into doing things that they don’t want to do from an early age. This subject may be mentioned on Dance Moms, but seeing the effects of this type of an abusive relationship on a child in person is far more difficult to watch. These parents shove their failed dreams onto their poor, unknowing children, who then develop physical and emotional problems instead of dancing because it is their passion, like I do.

There are hundreds of thousands of applicants who all bring amazing scores, great leadership, perfect athletic records and extreme commitment to extracurricular activities to the table. The competition is becoming too crazy, and seriously, when did it become normal to count down $120,000 for a Bachelor’s degree?! America’s educational system is great in a lot of places. Of course, we’re extremely privileged, but in the end, the work and studying still comes from the student him or herself. Americans are very motivated: you know that if you work hard, you can make a future for yourself (sounds like a story I heard about the year 1492), and this has driven many more people to attempt to get into a college or university. Many more than the system can handle. A chain-reaction seemed to have occurred, and many think that you can only accomplish your goals by getting into the best school possible, and that all the rest are insufficient. This idea, combined with the privatization of education, is making Americans undermine its own system: people can’t afford the schools they want to attend, expect loans and scholarships this nation can’t afford, especially not in its current state, and hardly consider the fact that they will graduate with enormous debts to pay off. Has the US gone too far?

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In an attempt to curb this vicious cycle, I talked to my students about the importance of selfesteem and tried to empower them, despite the fact that as soon as the hour was up, they were back with people who didn’t treat them with the proper amount of respect. I still talk to some of my students from last year, and they are still the hardest working 12 and 13 year-old girls around. I hope that in the future, dance can go back to being a sport and an art form, and not just the unspeakable carnage that takes place backstage while the audience watches children in heavy makeup.

Your Future’s Future Renee Riegman I guess you can say that we’ve become future-oriented: globally, we experience the endless discussions concerning the environment, economic development, and locally, it’s that bottle you recycle and that extra hour you stay up to study for that AP Biology test (or not) so you can get a better grade (or not)  get into college (or not)  and have a great life (or not). The future seemed so simple: do well in school, get educated and everything will sort itself out! But to be quite honest, I’d never even seen that generic “Follow your dreams!” poster before I moved to the US from Europe. We all know one or two: that infallible student who doesn’t seem to need sleep and is actually very likely to be an insomniac due to the extreme intensity with which the world’s problems are being solved inside his or her head, that same student who seems to build orphanages single-handedly while writing double the amount necessary for a simple homework assignment and of which we all assume: ‘he or she will get into an Ivy League!’ But that’s the problem: we all know one or two.

If you’re sitting there getting defensive and wondering why a foreigner thinks she has the right to comment on your wonderful and flawless system, maybe I can show you the light in a different way! Consider an example: Chile. Chile has developed an educational system very similar to that of the US. An increasingly rich country, Chile’s private schools have caused great inequality throughout the system. This year (and currently happening), the students of Chile have risen in protest against the government, demanding immediate changes in the organization of the educational sector. When taking a look at their list of demands, we can all relate to them: a different way of spending government funds, especially to aid public universities, a more rightful admissions process with less emphasis on the PSU (Prueba de Selección Universitaria - a standardized test very similar to the SAT), the reduction of interest rates to ease debts, and among others, the provision of free education for students who cannot afford education instead of granting them loans. Clearly, the development in education seems to have backfired in Chile, and it doesn’t seem crazy to assume that the US is headed in the same direction. Unfortunately, the problem appears to be that the system has become so tense that you really have no choice but to take the SATs, write your college essays and pay high tuition, but perhaps it is time to start steering the mentality in a different direction. But while you guys figure it all out, I’ll be in Europe, not sharing my dorm room with a roommate, enjoying low blood pressure by not having worried about my SAT score too much, but mostly, I‘ll be ‘Fol-


The Shortcomings of Corn-Based Ethanol Sarah Quinn In his Op-Ed piece “The Great Corn Con”, Steven Rattner expresses the sentiment that is currently troubling many Americans: corn-based ethanol may not be fulfilling the goals that we had formulated for it in the past decade. Whether individuals take issue with the industry’s unrivaled government subsidies, its potential increase of greenhouse gas emissions, or its inefficiency compared to petroleum, Americans are calling for explanations, solutions, and government policy changes. However, the public is not the first to find problems with corn-based ethanol. For a few years, authors of peer-reviewed studies have questioned the role of ethanol as an economic commodity and an environmentally “green” fuel. Although politicians seeking votes from the ten main states that produce ethanol or a lack of easy public access to information may have hindered the spread of the fuel’s difficulties in the past, the overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is clear. There must be better alternative fuel options than ethanol. There are several reasons why ethanol may not be the solution to our dependency on oil. First, ethanol is not nearly as efficient as gasoline. In fact, almost 1.5 gallons of ethanol are needed to travel the same distance as a single gallon of gasoline. Thus, although ethanol may be cheaper per gallon than gasoline, because it is less efficient it may actually cost consumers nearly just as much or more. This not only applies to pure ethanol fuels, but also blends of gasoline and ethanol. The greater the percentage of ethanol in the fuel blend, the lower the gas mileage of the vehicle. If ethanol were to become a very significant part of the blend (possibly in response to government regulations), the greater demand for gas, compounded with a growing population and a lack of other viable fuels, could result in a rise in fuel or food prices, unless greater supply of either corn or petroleum could counteract higher demand. However, even if a greater supply of ethanol was to materialize, the environmental costs would be tremendous. In the past, Timothy Searchinger of Princeton University claims, those that examined the carbon emissions neglected to include a key point in their calculations: the clearing of land and the change of land use that would inevitably accompany the expansion of the ethanol industry. Areas converted into corn fields for fuel would have to be cleared or burned, thus releasing substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In fact, the California Air Resources Board found that thirty percent of greenhouse gases released by ethanol result from this clearing of land. Even if existing corn fields were used

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Religion, Abortion, and Mississippi Abhi Gupta In America, religion has been a powerful force in civic life, and as such the Christianity plays a significant role in public policy. Though there is an ostensible separation of church and state in this country, Christian morals have played a major role in our history. From Prohibition to the Defense of Marriage Act, Christian political activists have successfully turned Christian morality into public policy. One of the most significant tenets of this morality is the belief that human life is miraculous, a veritable gift from God himself. As such, it a Christian’s duty to ensure that human life is protected and cherished. This belief is of the utmost importance to today’s Christian political activists. The self-declared goal of the pro-life movement, which is largely comprised of conservative religious groups, is to protect unborn children from abortion. To them, a life begins long before birth, and as such needs protection. Our modern understanding of embryology has given us insight in the previously hidden processes of creating life, providing us with the ability to interrupt the process if we so choose. Unfortunately, Jesus and his disciples had only a rudimentary knowledge of reproduction, so the Bible doesn’t provide us with any specific moral guidance on the matter. Science tells us that we arise from an unbroken lineage of living, reproducing cells stretching back to the beginning of life itself, making the question of “where does life begin?” trickier than it would first appear. There are so many different stages that could be considered “the beginning” of a new life- the fertilization of the egg, its implantation in the uterine lining, organogenesis, etc.- that defining a hard and fast boundary is largely impossible. This offers little solace to the devout, who are looking primarily for the point where the cells are imbued with a soul, granting them the innate specialness of being human. For them, once this happens then “life” is truly begun, and this bundle of cells has all the rights and privileges of a fully grown human. In Mississippi, the religious right has decided that the best way to deal with this issue is through the ballot box. Initiative 26, as the effort is known, sought to amend the Mississippi state constitution to define personhood as beginning at “the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof ”. This, proponents declare, would protect the God-given rights of every human from the injustice of abortion. In doing so, they sought to challenge Roe v. Wade, prompting inevitable court battles that the pro-life movement hopes will eventually lead to

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Cameras in the Classroom Brett Sleyster In schools it is generally accepted that a good teacher makes a huge difference in how much a student learns, but it is often difficult to figure out how to evaluate how well a teacher is teaching. Some ideas are having a teacher sit in the classroom a few times a year and evaluate the teacher or use standardized tests, but each of these has issues. For sitting in. the teacher can just do the job to the best of their ability during the short time the other person is in the classroom, and for the second the students may just not be that bright. Other ideas have included to ask the students, but their judgment can be clouded by how much they enjoy the teacher’s class.. One theory that has been tossed around is the idea of placing cameras in the classroom. This topic is very important in recent years because it has been brought into attention that some schools, usually public schools in the city, are consistently scoring terribly on standardized tests. Some say that the problem lies in other areas, but many think that the teachers and their union are the issue plaguing the schools. The issue with public schools in the city has been brought to light in two recent films: The Lottery and Waiting for Superman. Using cameras in the classroom has had controversy surrounding for many reasons, but it does have positives and negatives. There are quite a few reasons why this seems like an exceptional idea. First the positive aspects, with this a teacher can be evaluated at anytime. Any teaching or loafing that a teacher does can be seen and evaluated. If someone feels that they are being evaluated at all times they are also pressured to do their best at all times. In many cases this could result in a teacher doing a better job. Furthermore, teachers who were doing the best job could also have their classes recorded and then other teachers could try and put these methods to use in other classes. On the other hand there are some clear negatives. For one it is a little creepy to know that at anytime someone could be watching and recording the class. This could be enervating to some people and could result in a degenerate performance just because they were paranoid, and to scared that anything they did could be interpreted as wrong. If the students knew they may also get nervous. It could also be very expensive to implement this throughout the country. As a matter of fact depending on how widely this would be implemented it could make it cost billions, and unless this drastically improved teachers’ performances this money could go other and possibly better uses. Some things that are actually helpful could also be taken out the classroom. For example some movies are played often in some classes that are useful, but on video it could seem as if it was just the teacher being lazy even though the videos are actually extremely useful. Teachers may also not want to play games if they are being recorded, but in many cases games allow students to firmly engrave information into their minds instead of monotonously going into one ear and out the other.

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In the end this looks like it could have beneficial effects and could definitely be put to use in a smaller experiment, and if it was very successful it could be used on a larger scale. The idea of having someone possibly watching classes at any point in time definitely seems a little creepy, but if it worked it may be worthwhile. This idea probably needs to be thought through more before ever going into practice, but if it was put to use it may end up being very beneficial.

Them Scott Geldzahler They’re working on it as we speak They’re coming out with this new product They go by many names: Scientists Experts Terrorists Our Top Men They are working for you They are working against you They are on your side They stand for everything you don’t They are working in your best interests They are finding a cure for cancer They are nondescript They are a small portion They are the overwhelming majority They are a bad influence They are disconnected They are misinformed They are slanted Who are they? Oh, you don’t know? Well, they are working on it as we speak.


Insurance for the End Times Daniel Sonnenberg Let’s put aside all the opinions we may have about religion, the existence of an afterlife, or the mannerisms of the supreme deity. What remains is the factual truth that there are people who have faith, and those who do not. These people may choose to belong to a number different organizations based on their faith, values, and beliefs. I could believe that Allah is the true incarnation of what others might call “God”, or that a flying spaghetti monster created the Earth, and it would not change the circumstances of the situation I am about to describe. On May 21, 2011, according to a prediction made by Harold Camping of the Family Radio Christian Network, the world was supposed to end. The Rapture, in its full glory as described in the Christian Bible, was supposed to occur. May 21 has come and passed, and the sinners and saints of the world still remain in their earthly form. Mr. Camping has since revised his statements, and he predicts yet again that the rapture will soon be upon us (this month, to be exact). But, I must again ask that we put aside the beliefs of this individual and our own, personal beliefs. Again, whether or not I agree with Mr. Camping, and whether or not he was correct, do not influence the main topic I wish to discuss. Everything I have so far stated has merely been background, a set of parameters in which the topic of this article exists. For one last time, we must set aside our personal opinions about the situation and look strictly at the cold, hard truth in this matter. The facts are as follows: The Rapture was predicted, and the Rapture did not come on the day predicted. Even Harold Camping freely admits that the Rapture did not come on May 21, 2011. All of this is well and good, but my concerns lie with those who would willingly take advantage of the beliefs of others for their own personal gain at a time when they believed they were going to lose everything. Driving into New York City, I happened to hear on the radio a story about “Rapture Insurance” that someone was selling. Thinking logically, even if the Rapture had come, even if the end of the world had begun, there would be absolutely no place nor need for any sort insurance. The core idea behind insurance is that it is a service that can help pay for things like repairing property damage or medical bills which an individual or family cannot be expected to always have enough money to pay for. So, if there was property damaged, or injury incurred over the course of the end of the world, I ask you: what good would the money claimed from insurance be able to do? Even more importantly, how could someone claim money for these things while the world is ending? If

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the rapture had come, I would have spent my last hours on Earth with my loved ones, cherishing my final moments. I am sure that those expecting the rapture had similar desires, to spend their final days in peace. Anyone who would take advantage of this basic human desire, wanting to belong and to be loved is cruel. There were even conditions in this scam that prevented those who invested from getting any of their money back. So, now that the rapture hasn’t come, those who, for whatever reason, actually believed that they had something to gain by participating in this service, or were tricked into investing their money, are now unable to retract their investment, in any amount. I don’t know if this kind of policy can legitimately be considered “insurance”, or if the people who concocted this scheme can be indicted on charges of fraud, but I do know this: People were scared, people were vulnerable, and these criminals knew it. They deliberately preyed upon the sense of helplessness that these people felt, and ended up richer for their efforts. My friend Scott used to make jokes in the days leading up to May 21, about taking care of Christian people’s pets when the Rapture happened (he’s Jewish). If someone had believed him, and then he had refused to give him his dog back after the day had passed, he would be committing a crime. However, depending on what kind of legal jargon may have been pulled, this kind of scam may be totally legitimate. For example, a similar operation is being run at www.eternal-earthbound-pets.com. They offer no refunds, and the terms of the agreement are voided ten days after payment. The catch is, as long as there is some kind of “contract” involved, the agreement, however unfair, may be totally legal. Yes, perhaps the people who are targeted with this kind of scam should know better than to buy “Rapture insurance”, and yes, it is a scary fact that there are actually individuals who fell for this. But gullibility on any level is a human weakness. In a time of crisis, be it personal or public, like, say the end of the world coming, it is not right nor is it permissible for anyone to take advantage of this weakness for their own gain. Purely and simply, these are bad people. One of the most basic principles, not just of the Judeo-Christian religions, but also of most religions at large, is the idea that a person should protect his fellow human beings. It’s the “golden rule!” He should forgive him his trespasses and weaknesses, and work with him to build in their mutual strengths. The individuals running this scam have not only preyed upon the weaknesses of their fellow human beings, but have perverted the very systems of religious thought that they seek to exploit. If we are at a time where someone can sell “Rapture insurance” and get away with it, it really is the end of the world.


The Shortcomings of Ethanol

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(Continued from Page 7) supply the energy sector, new lands would have to be cleared in order to make up for lost food production. Likewise, this process would inevitably release carbon dioxide. This concept is supported by the studies of a group of German researchers from the University of Kassel. The group documented that, in the past few years, the growth of the Brazilian sugarcane industry has already forced the resettlement of several cattle ranchers. The team further predicted that should Brazilian sugarcane expand further into the ethanol industry, massive deforestation would result from the movement of ranchers into over 40,000 miles of Brazilian forest. This environmental cost and human displacement cannot be overlooked. Economically, ethanol might not make the most sense either. The United States government has already contributed to ethanol production with generous tax credits, subsidies, and regulations placed on the gasoline sector. According to the Energy Information Administration, in 2007 the ethanol industry received subsidies approximately 190 times greater than those granted to petroleum businesses. And the justification for this significant outlet of government money seems skimpy. The government actions have, according to the EIA, had little impact on the output of ethanol, only increasing the amount created by 600 million gallons in 2010. Yet, the Obama administration continues to support the use of several billion dollars to implement ethanol policies amidst an economic recession. Congress, on the other hand, has begun to oppose ethanol subsidies. And ethanol prices may not actually remain the low prices that we typically observe. The government has mandated a tariff on imported ethanol to protect domestic ethanol production, thus encouraging prices to rise. Corn prices have already increased substantially and may continue to do so in the future. In spite of all of the difficulties associated with ethanol, its benefits should be recognized as well. It is a sustainable fuel that becomes more viable as oil prices rise. Furthermore, it is a domestic industry and does not pollute water with MTBEs as gasoline does. Thus, perhaps it is best to allow ethanol to be a part of the competitive energy market as a short-term method of increasing oilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lifespan, but to avoid diverting billions of government dollars to it in favor of more viable long-term energy solutions. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still a large amount of oil in the Gulf of Mexico and other areas throughout the world. We should focus on subsidizing more fitting solutions, such as hydrogen power, nuclear power, cellulosic ethanol, and algae energy.

Katelyn Stephenson


11 Photography A Section Showcasing the Artistic Work of Faculty and Students

Mr. Ripton

Sam Rosenthal


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Sam Rosenthal

Above, Sam Rosenthal Below and to the Left, Katelyn Stephenson


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Taken by Mr. Ripton

THE VOICE IS OPEN TO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH OTHERS Mississippi and Personhood (Continued from Page 7) their ultimate goal of completely outlawing abortion. Thankfully, the measure failed, and Mississippians’ reproductive rights have been preserved. What the proponents of 26 failed to appreciate was the true scope of their proposal. Pregnancy, in medical terms, begins when the zygote, the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine lining. By defining the zygote as a living being with full legal rights, anything that prevents its implantation is murder. As such, contraceptives like the morning after pill and hormonal birth control pills, which prevent implantation from taking place, would be illegal. This, combined with a ban on abortion, places a woman’s reproductive freedom at the mercy of her male partner. Regardless of the circumstances of the fertilization or the woman’s opinion on the matter, a mother would be legally obligated to bring her child to term. Unlike in other states, there would be no leniency given to women impregnated

through rape or incest, and no way for doctors to perform an abortion should the mother’s life be in danger. Should this enforced pregnancy end in a miscarriage instead of a successful birth, initiative 26 would threaten the mother with severe legal consequences. What would have normally been a tragic occurrence becomes a potential crime, as the state would be required to give every stillbirth and miscarriage the same due process it affords to every murder. As such, a mother could conceivably be charged in the negligent death of her unborn child. The uncompromising obstinacy of their moral convictions led them to believe they were justified in depriving the good women of Mississippi of their reproductive rights. That the proponents of this initiative would be willing to risk such unintended side effects for the sake of enshrining their own moral beliefs is a clear indicator of both their lunacy and their stupidity. It is their right to speak their mind about their religion, but this does not allow them to deny these and other rights to their fellow citizens.

The Voice - Nov. 2011  

November 2011 issue of The Voice.