Tag: California

Trump’s Fetal Tissue Ban Makes Good Business Sense

Dr. Warren Albrecht | United States

President Donald Trump led his administration to ban fetal tissue use in research. Both the Washington Post and New York Times immediately pointed to research from HIV to Parkinson’s as possibly being “devastated”.

“The ban on fetal tissue research is akin to a ban on hope for millions of Americans suffering from life-threatening and debilitating diseases. It will also severely impact the National Institutes of Health, universities and other researchers, who will lose key funding for their laboratories and their vital work.”

It is documented well in the book Science Left Behind that, from Bill Clinton to Obama, politicians have been trying to get around the issue of stem cell research. Originally, the issue surrounded embryos, and Congress restricted any money directly involved in their destruction. Dr. James Thomson, at the University of Wisconsin in 1998, isolated Human Embryonic Stem (hESC) cells. These cells are essentially origin cells. They can differentiate into any cell from the body. The potential for curing or treating diseases may be infinite. Dr. Thomson was funded through the Geron Corporation and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundations. Essentially no federal government funds were used. Stem cells derived from the different tissues of a fetus became the next political battleground.

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California HS Deems George Washington Mural Offensive to Minorities

Rafael Augusto | @ancient_scrolls

Students at a San Francisco High School want to remove George Washington paintings from their hallways, claiming that they are cultural vestiges of America’s racist past. According to those in support of removing the artwork, these portraits can no longer be accepted in “Modern America” as they are “highly offensive” to minorities, especially Native Americans and African Americans.

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You Can Thank President James Polk for This Nation

John Keller | @keller4liberty

James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States, mastered the art of diplomacy and foreign policy. Polk successfully used diplomacy to situate the United States as the dominant power in North America by securing the northern border with the British Empire as well as engineering a war with Mexico to acquire the American southwest.

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Black Belts Banned in California Over Public Safety Concern

Ryan Lau | @agorisms | Satire

In a shocking new development in California Sunday afternoon, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that would ban martial artists from becoming black belts. The measure passed through state legislature easily after the murder of an innocent man at the hands of a karate black belt.

Three weeks ago, 35-year-old dojo owner Jason Shreve was walking home from work when a masked man attacked him with a knife. In defense, he disarmed and broke the leg of the man, who died that night from hypothermia. One state senator called the act “inexcusable”, pointing to a recent rise in attacks by martial artists and comparing it to gun violence.

“You simply don’t see this pattern in other developed countries”, asserted Toni Atkins, the state’s Senate President pro Tempore. “And in those countries, people aren’t allowed to just turn themselves into military-grade weapons. This measure will certainly help to keep citizens of California safe”.

Penalties for Black Belts

The bill, which goes into effect March 1st, makes it a felony to knowingly promote a karate student to the rank of black belt or higher. Existing black belts may keep their positions, but may not advance in degree. Dojo owners in violation of the law will face a minimum fine of $100,000 and up to three years in prison. Black belts caught seeking training will also face a smaller fine of $5,000 for the first offense.

Additionally, it outlines severe penalties for practicing self-defense techniques in the real world. Lower ranks may continue to practice only in registered dojos. Anyone learning or teaching martial arts beyond a state-recognized location may face up to a year’s imprisonment. Black belts doing the same may also be subject to treason charges. The bill makes it clear that the government provides security for its citizens; therefore, the only reason people would need to turn themselves into weapons is to use themselves against the state.

In efforts to pacify martial artists in the state, California will be voluntarily buying back all black belts from March 1st to June 1st. Compensation will vary depending on the age of the belt and what school it came from. However, lawmakers warn that any citizen hoping to pass off their normal black belt for a martial arts black belt will face stiff penalties.

America’s Martial Arts Problem

Proponents of the law have pointed out how easy it is to begin martial arts training in America. Brown has previously noted that “it’s easier to begin the road to a black belt than it is to get birth control. You can just walk into a dojo and sign a form; the next thing you know, they’re converting your body into a deadly weapon. This practice is not American and does not represent the values we preach in California. I hope other states can follow our lead and bring this country out of the dark”.

All in all, the state legislature echoed Brown’s sentiment. They believe that the new measure will help to deter violence. Despite this, minority rights groups believe that the new law will unfairly affect minority colors.

“The government is clearly banning black belts while allowing white belts to still train”, remarked minority rights activist from the group Black Belts Matter. “I thought that we had abandoned these policies 50 years ago, but it appears discrimination in America is still rampant”.

Currently, seven other states require all martial artists to register themselves with authorities as lethal weapons. This move is unique thus far to the Golden State. However, the United Kingdom recently passed a similar measure that strictly outlawed all martial arts in formal dojos.


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LA Teachers Strike: Class Sizes Are Not to Blame

Michael Ottavio | United States

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Teacher’s Union went on strike. In doing so, they turned down the two-year contract that would have given all teachers a roughly 3% raise each year. This led to a roughly 30,000-strong LA teachers strike to demand more funding and, most of all, lower class sizes.

It is no secret that California does not have the best public school system in the nation. As a state, California regularly ranks among the bottom 25. As USA Today reported, only 29.2% of fourth graders in the state of California are proficient in math, and 27.8% in reading. In addition, California has a graduation rate of about 83%, the 21st lowest in the country. However, California also has an average teacher’s salary of $77,000, the third highest in the country. There is some disconnect happening in California, and the students are not to blame.

The LA Teachers Strike

With chants like “Hey hey! Ho ho! We’re fighting to keep class size low,” this teachers strike is mostly about putting a cap on the number of students per class.  The strikers also got a statement from newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in several tweets. One stated that she was “Very proud of L.A. public school teachers today for taking a stand. Teachers are the unsung heroes of American democracy. Today they’re putting everything on the line so our nation’s children can have a better shot.”

Faulty Logic

It is no surprise that progressives in Congress and around the country are supporting the striking teachers. However, the logic doesn’t seem to hold up very well. There is little evidence to support the claims that lower class sizes will lead to better outcomes for students. Other countries such as Japan and Korea have class sizes that greatly outnumber class sizes in the U.S. Coincidentally, those same countries also test into the top ten most educated in the world.

Image result for class sizes by country usa today
Class size around the world

The Brookings institute has reported that even though there have been some studies that show a reduction in class size increases student achievement, there have been other studies that show the opposite or no effect at all. These studies list California as a state in which experimenting with lower class sizes yielded mix results. Currently, the evidence does not show a definitive correlation between lower class sizes and better student performance.  Results like that hold questionable relevance to legislative action.

No Improvements to Come

To clarify, people should always have the right to seek out as much money as they can make and the conditions in which they want to work under. However, the cause ceases to be morally justifiable when seeking more funding comes at the expense of the taxpayers you’re failing. These government-funded unions are holding over half a million students and their parents over a barrel.

The state of California has shown us many times that pouring millions into public education does not work. Of course, it is not going to work this time. Our country’s education system is failing. The same teachers who are failing their students by being ineffective are going to continue to do that whether the class size is 30 or 40. Until we see a massive education reform in our country and get rid of the tenure system that prevents the firing of ineffective teachers, public unions are going to continue to take advantage of the taxpayers that fund them. As a result, our students will continue to suffer for it.


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