Friday, January 28, 2005

This Just Seems Very Wrong

Yesterday I came across something via slashdot that was very disturbing. National Geographic has an article about doctors using stem cells to fuse DNA of humans with animals thus creating different hybrid human-animals known as chimeras (taken from Greek mythology of an animal that has a lion's head, goat's body, and a serpent's tail).

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.

Scientists feel that, the more human-like the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing "spare parts," such as livers, to transplant into humans.

Watching how human cells mature and interact in a living creature may also lead to the discoveries of new medical treatments.

While I understand the potential benefits, this of course introduces a plethora of ethical dilemmas. What are the limits? How human is human? At what point do we grant rights? It's definitely something that's going to be at the forefront of debates very soon.

Mixed Feelings On Palestinian Election

The Washington Post is reporting that 3/4 of the open seats in the recent local elections have gone to the Hamas political group. Hamas is considered by the US government as a terrorist group and is responsible for most of the terrorist acts enacted against Israeli civilians. When I first read this, I was truly disheartened. This announcement seemed, to me, to push back any possibility of peace coming to this area.

But towards the end of the article was a quote that encouraged me:

"I am sure this democratic process will diminish the influence and effect of these religious parties, but we have to get them into the political system, and then they will have to act according to the rule of law and democracy, and that will be a great achievement not only for Palestine, but for the whole region," said Raji Sourani, a human rights activist in Gaza.

This has a ring of truth in it and I sure hope it turns out to be the case.

Sen. Harry Reid's Staffer: A Real Class Act

A staffer for Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, decided to do his own little protest on the West Front of the Capitol. The Washington Times has the story:

About 20 minutes into Mr. Bush's speech, Mr. Ackerman, 36, and another man held up a sheet that said "No War." According to a Capitol Police report, Mr. Ackerman and another suspect "were blocking the view of the audience, and they were engaged in a verbal dispute with members of the audience."

The report states that Capitol Police officers told Mr. Ackerman and the other suspect to relinquish the sign or be arrested, but that "neither complied and both were placed under arrest." The report did not name either suspect, although Mr. Ackerman's identity was confirmed with the Capitol Police.

I understand not agreeing with a president's policies but is it really appropriate for a staffer for a US Senator to stage a public protest during the inaugural address? What does this say about the Senator he works for and represents? There is this concept of "time and place". Imagine what would have happened if a staffer of Sen. Trent Lott or another Republican had done the same thing during Clinton's inaugural address. Somehow I don't think a little blurb in the Washington Times would be the only place you'd find the story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

AP: Support For Iraq War Waning

Or that's what the AP would want you to believe. Today the AP has released a poll and rather than simply printing the findings of the poll, they take the opportunity to editorialize on it.

According to the poll, 53% of Americans now feel that the creation of a stable democratic Iraq is unlikely compared to 43% who still believe it will happen. This is down from last April when 55% of Americans polled felt it was likely. Support in every demographic has slid. Specifically mentioned was those who make between $25,000 and $50,000.

Other groups that showed a significant decline were those with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, young men, those without college educations - groups very likely to know people serving in Iraq.

I'm not sure how they can make that assumption. I'm not in that demographic yet I know many people, including family members, that are serving in the military in the War on Terror. How was this assumption reached? Or was this more to try and introduce the idea that the military men and women and their friends and family are the ones that are turning on the conflict in general. Little editorials sprinkled here and there introducing a bias in the article.

And that's the point. Like I posted about before, the media keeps pounding and pounding on the negative aspects of what is going on in Iraq and has successfully begun to erode public support for the war. If we heard every day, over and over, when each person in this country was killed in a car accident and kept track of the death toll on the streets and if we were pounded on about the horrible effect cars were having on all of our lives, sooner or later it would erode the public support of cars. That's what is going on with our coverage in Iraq. Unlike with cars where we can see the benefit in our every day lives to balance out negative press, we can't easily see the positive coming out of Iraq allowing us to have a balanced perspective of our progress over there. The AP even admits it though they probably didn't realize it.

The steady news reports of violence in Iraq have taken a toll.

If a person took time on the internet, they could find the positive stories too, but most people do not have the time to do that and only get what they see on the 6:00 news or in stories from the AP.

After spending most of the whole article talking about the pessimism of the country concerning Iraqi democracy and stability they throw in as an aside this little piece of information almost at the end of the article:

Even though Americans are becoming more pessimistic about Iraq's future, support for the troops remains high. A majority still supports keeping troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized, despite the worries.

"We can't pull out now, not after all those guys have died," said Janice Shinn, a Republican-leaning postal worker from Pedricktown, N.J. "But we have to see it through. We can't just leave like we did in Vietnam."

...and people don't understand what we mean by a media bias....

Monday, January 24, 2005

Social Security Is In Trouble: Raise Taxes Of Course.

Is raising taxes the only answer our government knows to solve a problem? Today the AP is reporting some possible solutions to the Social Security crisis according to Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) the chairman of the House tax-writing committee. His answer to the current problem with Social Security is to implement a "value added tax." What is that?

Thomas mentioned the valued added tax, a kind of consumption tax. It is, in effect, a sales tax imposed at each level of production of goods and services.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Let's tax companies to save Social Security. Here's how law-makers think: If you tax companies, than the general public will never see it and won't be up in arms about the tax hike. Social Security will be saved for another 20 or 30 years and everyone's happy. After all, corporations are evil anyway just out to steal your money. They deserve to be taxed more.

Here's what they don't tell you: If a companies taxes go up, that becomes an extra expense. Do companies just eat expenses and make less money? Sometimes. It depends on what the competition is doing and charging. If an expense is across the whole industry, all it does is it gets passed down in the price of the product. What happens when most every industry in the country gets this new expense? The price of most every product will go up. That's called inflation. So who, in the end, pays for this tax increase? The people do, it's just not as obvious as a hike in the payroll tax percentage. People's paychecks may be the same, but we will all be poorer because each dollar will buy less.

Social Security is broken. It's been bandaged before and they're trying to bandage it again. Eventually, you won't be able to bandage it anymore and it will be scrapped. Why not scrap it now?

Now I'm going to do some math. Numbers very easily get errors, so if anyone sees a problem, please let me know.

When I usually get a statement from Social Security, it basically tells me that I can expect about $1000 monthly payments when I retire (in about 40 years). Now let's calculate what someone would get should they invest the money they put into Social Security. We'll assume a $50,000/year income for 40 years. I'm also assuming that the Social Security portion of the FICA withholding is about half so 7.5%. (Don't forget that you're employer also pays 7.5% towards your FICA.)

Annual Income: $50,000
Monthly Income: $4166.67 ($50,000/12)
SS portion to invest: $312.50 (7.5% of $4166.67)
Time until retirement: 40 years
Return on Investment: 3% (A very modest return)
Value of Investment at retirement: $288,930.56 (Using Future Value function in Microsoft Excel)
Divided Monthly for 20 year: $1203.88 per month.

That's $200 more per month than Social Security will give you. Granted there are some problems with my numbers, but I've stated my assumptions. This also assumes that at retirement, the whole nest egg is pulled out of investment and just divided into payments for the next 20 years. If only the monthly portion was pulled out and the rest left in the investment, it'll increase even more.

Imagine what would happen if the money was invested into something a little more aggressive. Let's assume an 8% return (very realistic in today's market). The monthly payment would be $4538.31 per month!

The other thing is that if you were to die before the money was used up you could leave it for your children. With Social Security, you're just out of luck.

So why are there so many against privatization? Set a cut off date for those that can participate in Social Security as is, for example, the age of 40. Everyone younger than 40 will put their Social Security portion of their payroll taxes into an IRA like fund allowing the person to invest it however they choose. This will not only increase the assets of the individual, but the influx of investors in the market will help the whole economy.

What if someone doesn't invest it wisely or is too aggressive and loses it all? The government won't allow them to die in the streets, of course. Turn it over to the welfare system. It's better for a few to end up in the welfare system than for every one of us relying on a check from the government as part of our retirement income.

If we need to raise taxes to get those last few through the old system, or better yet, cut spending, than so be it. In the long run, the whole country will be better off for it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Good News From The Front

Tired of getting all bad news about the Iraqi war? LTC Tim Ryan is fed up. He wrote an op-ed for the outlining the obvious media bias to anything bad while completely ignoring the greater good going on in Iraq. This is definitely a must-read for everyone out there to help keep a perspective to what is happening in the Iraqi front of the War on Terror.

Here are some highlight quotes:

Television and newspapers spilled a continuous stream of images and stories about the destruction done to the sacred city, and of all the human suffering allegedly brought about by the hands of the big, bad Americans. These stories and the lack of anything to counter them gave more fuel to the fire of anti-Americanism that burns in this part of the world.....While the media was busy bashing the Coalition, Muqtada's boys were kidnapping policemen, city council members and anyone else accused of supporting the Coalition or the new government, trying them in a kangaroo court based on Islamic Shari'a law, then brutally torturing and executing them for their "crimes." What the media didn't show or write about were the two hundred-plus headless bodies found in the main mosque there, or the body that was put into a bread oven and baked....

The media allows the terrorist to use relatively small but spectacular events that directly affect very few, and spread them around the world to scare millions. What about the thousands of things that go right every day and are never reported? Complete a multi-million-dollar sewer project and no one wants to cover it, but let one car bomb go off and it makes headlines. With each headline, the enemy scores another point and the good-guys lose one. This method of scoring slowly is eroding domestic and international support while fueling the enemy's cause....

It appears many members of the media are hesitant to venture beyond the relative safety of the so-called "International Zone" in downtown Baghdad, or similar "safe havens" in other large cities. Because terrorists and other thugs wisely target western media members and others for kidnappings or attacks, the westerners stay close to their quarters.... A car bomb at the entry point to the International Zone one day, a few mortars the next, maybe a kidnapping or two thrown in. All delivered to the doorsteps of those who will gladly accept it without having to leave their hotel rooms — how convenient.... There is a transparent reason why the majority of car bombings and other major events take place before noon Baghdad-time; any later and the event would miss the start of the morning news cycle on the U.S. east coast. These terrorists aren't stupid; they know just what to do to scare the masses and when to do it. An important key to their plan is manipulation of the news media....

I have had my staff aggressively pursue media coverage for all sorts of events that tell the other side of the story only to have them turned down or ignored by the press in Baghdad. Strangely, I found it much easier to lure the Arab media to a "non-lethal" event than the western outlets. Open a renovated school or a youth center and I could always count on Al-Iraqia or even Al-Jazeera to show up, but no western media ever showed up – ever. Now I did have a pretty dangerous sector, the Abu Ghuraib district that extends from western Baghdad to the outskirts of Fallujah (not including the prison), but it certainly wasn't as bad as Fallujah in November and there were reporters in there.

The media is glorifying the bad and apparently ignoring the good which is nothing less than aiding and abetting the enemy. The constant negative coming from the American media is helping the terrorists spread their terror world-wide through very small actions on their part. There's no doubt that the enemy is leveraging them all they can. It's time for the American media to finally decide which side they're really on?

Updated 1/21: Chrenkoff tallies the numbers of good stories versus bad stories on a typical day.

New Video From JibJab

For those who remember "This Land" from JibJab, they have a new one out. Check it out at

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Tax Cuts Just What The Doctor Ordered For An Ailing Economy

In my last post I talked about the pushes the government can do to help create an environment where the economy can thrive. Apparently, in spite of democratic opposition, tax cuts have once again encouraged just that kind of environment.

Lawrence Kudlow writes in the Washington Times:

A supply-side tax-reform movement, a shrinking budget deficit, new-found spending discipline, and a determination to confound conventional wisdom by reforming Social Security has George W. Bush's second term off to a roaring start — even before he is officially sworn in.

3 times now in American history have we cut taxes. The first was with John F. Kennedy. The second with Ronald Reagan. The third with George W. Bush. Each time the economy has benefited and so does the coffers in Washington.

Unknown to most, because the media seems unaware or partisan, the federal deficit is rapidly decreasing as tax revenues are pouring in. The tax cuts have increased general spending and more importantly increased investment bringing in even more profits which are then taxed at a higher rate.

Once again supply side economics has shown itself to be the champion.

The Economy Is Good But Not Great - The Government's Dirty Little Secret

We've heard from a lot of sources, especially from sources that support the Bush administration but also including independent analysts as well as Allen Greenspan, that the economy is in full recovery and frankly they're a point. GDP is expected to increase by 3.5% to 4.7% depending on who you ask. The Federal Reserve says that "inflation and longer-term inflation expectations remain well contained." Everything is looking peachy except for one thing: Jobs. Jobs just haven't increased at the rate so many expected. There's little doubt that the Bush tax cuts has helped push the economy in the right direction, but they've fallen short of their expectations when it's come to job recovery.

Now this brings me to the government's dirty little secret. They don't control the economy. This may come as a shock to most people, but the government has very little control of the economy. Now this hasn't prevented many presidents from taking credit when the economy is good and it hasn't prevented many presidents from being voted out of office when the economy is bad. The truth is, the government can do little more than give light pushes in a general direction.

Now I'm not saying that over the long term a government can't grind an economy into the ground or encourage it to new heights. The government's best role is in creating an atmosphere where the economy can thrive and the United States is one of the best atmospheres in the world for an economy to thrive.

The Federal Government can only do two things with regards to the economy: Tax and Spend. During a recession, if a government decreases taxes and increase spending, these two acts can, in the short term, increase the amount of investment and spending done by businesses and consumers and provide work for companies.

The Federal Reserve has two things it can do: Change the amount of money that is in the economy and change interest rates. During a recession, if the Federal Reserve decreases interest rates and increases the amount of money in the economy (by printing money and/or buying T-Bills), these two things encourages businesses and people to spend and invest more whether it is in a new home or in new machinery or a new factory.

These things that the Fed and the Government can do is nothing more than encouraging the economy to improve.

During the 2000 recession, the federal government has decreased taxes and increased spending (thanks in part to the War on Terror). The Federal Reserve has lowered taxes (I'm not sure what they have done with regards to the money in the economy). The result? People have bought homes and cars like crazy. Businesses have invested more and purchased new capital. These things have increased our GDP and the stock market is on a positive trend. Usually in this situation, when businesses have more money, they also hire more people and invest in human capital as well, which they have, just not as much as expected.

"On Jan. 2, 2004, The Wall Street Journal reported that 54 economists it surveyed believed that 'rising corporate profits and steady economic growth are expected to prompt companies to hire workers more aggressively in the months ahead....'

This economic recovery is creating new jobs (and 2004 was the best year since 1999), but it's not creating enough new jobs to support a full recovery from a recession. And no one — not private-sector economists, not academic economists, not Council of Economic Advisors economists — had forecast such a scenario."

So whose fault is it? Nobody really. Congress and the president have done everything within their power. Allen Greenspan has done everything within his power and they've gotten results but they cannot force businesses to hire. They can encourage it but they can't force it.

And this is my main point. My grandmother told me once, "Never take too much credit or blame for what your kids do." Likewise, the Federal Government and the Federal Reserve, despite what they would have you believe, can't take too much credit or blame for the economy. They have done well to push it in the right direction, but we should think twice about hammering them when the recovery isn't perfect.

(the numbers and quotes taken from an article written by Susan C. Walker)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Is Social Security A Crisis Or Not?

Do you Remember during the 2000 presidential election how a major issue was the Social Security crisis? The Gore campaign used to throw around numbers and years for when Social Security would dry up and not be able to pay out promised benefits. Al Gore wanted a "lock box" so that funds couldn't be borrowed from Social Security. The problem was that a "lock box" wasn't a solution, just a way to keep the inevitable from happening sooner than forecast.

Bush, on the other hand, had a real alternative to help Social Security in the long run. The people looked at the two plans and chose the latter.

One thing that was not debated was the fact that Social Security is, in fact, in jeopardy. Apparently that has changed. Now that President Bush is moving towards his plan of allowing a portion of payroll deductions to be used in a 401K style retirement as a Social Security alternative, some Democrats seem to think the crisis isn't so bad. (AP Story)

"We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course," Wehner's e-mail said. "That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the precondition to authentic reform."

But Democrats say the White House is exaggerating the system's future financial picture to dismantle the New Deal program.

"This memo shows that some in the Bush administration will resort to the worst kind of scare tactics to undermine Social Security," Rangel said.

Referring to an e-mail that outlined a plan to promote the new Social Security plan, Democrats are claiming that the dangers of the Social Security program becoming insolvent are being exaggerated and a form of fear tactics. Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. Scaring seniors seems to be a Democrat hallmark during elections with no action thereafter.

The fact is, before any kind of reform of this magnitude, the public needs to be very clear as to the reasons for the reform along with the benefits of the reform over the previous way of doing things. No one debated the insolubility of Social Security until now. Calling out "Scare Tactic" is merely a smoke screen to divert the attention of the real issue, the solvency of Social Security.

Right Side of the Rainbow
Digital Dissent

Free Advance Screening Of In Good Company

Universal Pictures and Grace Hill Media are trying something new out. Rather than going through the normal channels for marketing a movie, they're going to leverage the power of the blogosphere to market the movie.

Here's the Deal:

Any blogger that agrees to post a review of their new movie In Good Company (Here's the Trailer and Movie Site) will be invited to a free advance screening of the movie for them and a guest. That's all there is to it. To participate, send an e-mail to and request to be placed on the list.

Perhaps this will start a new way of marketing for movies in the future.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2.1 Kids Just Too Many!

The Washington Post had an alarming article reporting that the percentage of women that hasn't used birth control in the past 3 months has risen from 5.2 percent in 1995 to 7.4 percent in 2002. The article wasn't alarming in its content but in its tone. Though they claim that teenage use of contraceptives has gone up, disturbingly something they applaud, this increase is in adult women, especially over 30.

My first thought was that people must be wanting to have more children. While this option was mentioned, the experts quoted in the article had many more negative reasons topping their list.

Physicians, statisticians and advocates who specialize in reproductive health had several theories for the rise in unprotected sex. They pointed to possible factors such as gaps in sex education, the cost of birth control, declining insurance coverage, fears of possible side effects of contraceptives and personal attitudes about childbearing.

With all of the hand wringing as to why people aren't using contraception as much, from the evil insurance companies not paying their "fair share" to the evils of abstinence programs (if it's the fault of the abstinence programs, then why is the problem only in adult women?), the real root of their concern comes out.

Family planning is a "fiscally conservative policy," countered Jensen of the Women's Health Research Unit. For every $1 spent on contraceptive services, he said, $3 is saved in other government programs such as Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, welfare and education.

They just don't want any more people born so they don't have to pay for the poor among them and to educate them. These are people who think it's irresponsible to have any children. To them, a change in the personal attitude toward child bearing is just as bad a reason not to use birth control as mis-education and insurance companies not footing the bill. If these people were truly concerned about the money supporting people in these programs, perhaps they should put more energy towards preventing the illegal immigration that sap our government programs instead of a drop of 2% in birth control use.

I'm not even convinced there really is an issue. This article is based on 2 studies 10 years apart. Studies like these are just snapshots. It'd be much more useful to see the birth control use percentage for every 3 month period from 1995 to now and try and identify a trend. After all, 2 points might define a line but they definitely can't determine a trend. There are many factors that can affect birthrates in the short term. The Population Reference Bureau identified these examples:

Short-term fluctuations in birth and death rates that produce unusual bites or bulges in population pyramids, such as the baby boom, often can be traced to such historical events as wars, epidemics, economic booms, or depressions. The decline in the birth rate during the Great Depression caused a small bite in the U.S. pyramid for the group born between 1930 and 1934. World Wars I and II caused a deficit of older men in Germany. The impact of these events emphasizes the interrelationships among population change and economic, social, political, and health factors.

(Also see this article on the trends of populations as affected by birth rates, death rates, and immigration.)

To me this appears nothing more than alarmist junk science to push several causes and to obtain more funding for their pet projects. Until I see more and better information, I'm not impressed.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

National Sales Tax Should Replace All Other Federal Taxes

Bush has mentioned a number of times now his desire to reform the tax code. In a speech given to new members of Congress, it made his list of top things we wanted to work on this term (AP).

Unfortunately I have heard mostly about the elimination of this deduction or that deduction in order to simplify the current income tax but I haven't heard much about the National Sales Tax option. I don't think that this option should be ignored. Bear with me to give a brief explanation.

This tax would eliminate all other federal taxes, meaning, it will replace personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes. People will take home their gross paychecks (minus any state taxes, of course). To replace this a national sales tax will be used. Many experts say that a sales tax rate of 23% on all final retail sales would be sufficient to bring in revenues equal to what the current system generates.

Now, many of you would ask, "What about the lower income people? This would hurt them more." To address this issue, the government would send out a monthly "prebate" to each family (prebate meaning a return a tax money before it is spent, get it?). The check sent out to each family would equal the money spent on taxes up to the poverty line according to the Department of Health and Human Services. For example, according to HHS, the poverty level for a family of four is $18,850 per year. 23% of $18850 is $4336. If you divide that up per month that makes $361.33. So a check for the amount of $361.33 will be sent out to every family of four in the country each and every month. This ensures a graduated amount of taxes paid according to how much they spend above the poverty line.

This system has a lot of benefits.

1) It significantly reduces the size of the IRS and the number of audits. Most Americans will have nothing to do with the tax system at all. States will be responsible for collecting the tax revenue and forwarding it on to the federal government. Most states already have a system for collecting sales tax that can be utilized. The states and retailers will receive an amount of money for the processing of the taxes.

2) It eliminates any kind of loop hole in the tax system. Everyone, whether a corporation or an individual person will pay the same tax rate. There is no hiding taxes. No cash work under the table. No tax shelters. No manipulation of income to minimize taxes.

3) It encourages savings and investment. If you listen to the news, you would think that the best thing to do with your money for the economy is to spend it. That couldn't be further from the truth. The best thing that can be done with money is to save or invest it (the same thing) where the power of the dollar can be multiplied many times. People can save and invest money without fear of any taxation until that money is spent. Eventually all money accumulated will be spent by the consumer and at that point the government will get its taxes whether it be this year or 30 years from now.

4) It prevents the government from hiding tax hikes. The government won't be able to cut or raise taxes without it being painfully obvious to all Americans. This is essential to the oversight of government by the people.

5) Prevents outsourcing of labor. America will become the ideal place to create and run businesses. Without the government penalizing businesses with hefty tax rates, outsourcing to overseas will become greatly reduced and many more Americans will be put to work because the cost of doing business will be greatly reduced. In addition, a lot of foreign businesses will set up shop in the United States rather than other places in the world.

6) Prices will go down. With the elimination of taxes as a cost of doing business companies will be able to offer their goods at a lower prices, not because they necessarily want to but because market forces will force it down. On average, 22% of the price of goods are from taxes and 25% of services.

7) It bases taxes on consumption instead of income which is much more stable.

There are many more benefits to a system like this. There's a really good FAQ at

I'd like to hear what people think about this. Please leave comments to discuss this.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Teenagers' Abortions Are None Of Their Parents' Business

Schools across the country can't even give a child an aspirin without parental notifications but my great state of California has just made it illegal to notify parents if a child needs to leave school for "confidential medical treatment" which includes anything from a drug test to an abortions. FoxNews has the story.

State Attorney Gen. Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, said the legislation was meant for the small number of children coping with rape or incest who probably wouldn’t be able to talk to a parent but need some way to seek help.

If this law is truly to help in only these two cases, then why not restrict the law to only those cases. The fact is, this is a way to sidestep parental rights. The more "enlightened" people out there feel that they know better how to raise our children than we do. They're trying to push their policies on our kids regardless of how their parents feel about it.

If a child has a problem of this magnitude, the parents should be informed. The school district should not be accomplices in the deception of parents. Even in the cases of rape or incest the parents need to know. In those two specific cases, not only do the parents have to know but the police as well. There is nothing in a teenagers life that should be kept secret from their parents. If they have been the victim of a heinous crime such as incest or rape and the parents are the offenders, then they need to go to law enforcement for help. In no way should the schools be part of this. This is nothing more than a back-door way to erode parental rights and "protect" our children from more conservative ideals that parents might have and promote a more "liberal" agenda.