Opinion


Democracy in Action

By Danielle Yoseloff
Staff Writer

    Democracy is defined as a government by the people, for the people; a form of equality which first appeared in Greece. Elections are the reminder of the equality that the Founding Fathers fought for. Recently, Americans went to the polls to cast their opinions on the 2012 elections. This year’s presidential candidates included President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Gary Johnson, Tom Hoefling, Jill Stein, and Roseanne Barr, mother of former El Segundo student Buck Thomas. Presidential elections, of course, include voting on the legislative branch. Despite all the planning that was done for the election, nature presented a challenge.

      Unfortunately, disaster struck the East Coast, disrupting Halloween and threatening the accessibility of election polls in states such as New Jersey and New York. However, despite talk of changing election day, Hurricane Sandy could not stop determined citizens from voting on November 6th. Likewise, ESHS students were determined to have their voices heard. The Junior Statesmen of America club put together a mock election on November 5th in the auditorium, where students voted on the President and the California propositions. The ESHS student body re-elected President Obama with 58.8% of the votes, while Governor Romney received 30.8%, nominee Johnson 3%, nominee Barr 2.5%, nominee Stein 1.5%, and nominee Hoefling with 1%.

Prop 30: Healing the Cuts to Education

         Because most teenagers are concerned with the latest fashion craze or gossip around school, they fail to look at the bigger picture and the things that affect not only themselves but those around them. One of these aspects, their education, is currently at stake. It is in danger to plummet even further without immediate support of some kind under Prop 30. With a sales tax increase from 7.25% to 7.5% and a varied increase on income tax for the wealthy, which ranges from a 10.3% increase to a 13.3% increase (depending on an annual income of $250,000 to over a $1,000,000), California is expected to reap a plentiful influx if this Prop were to pass. The influx, $6.8 to $9 billion to be more exact, would be then be distributed throughout the Californian public school and community college systems. Once within the education system, each local district has free will of use of said money to help aid in each of their individual issues. This income to school districts is money we cannot afford to let slip by us now and the necessary action must be taken to acquire such a plentiful boost in bankroll. Not only do I have the student perspective on this issue, but I have the luxury of living with someone who is equally if not more qualified to speak on this issue, my very own mother and biology/anatomy teacher, Kathy Moody, who shows support in Prop 30 by saying “In an economically tough time such as now, it’s crucial that education can get as much support as it can. While no one enjoys paying higher taxes, the upper class is the most able and should be chosen over anyone else to pay the tax increase. For the betterment of Californian schools, this prop greatly needs to pass.” There you have it folks, so instead of worrying about who the hottest member of One Direction is, consider spreading the word about Prop 30 as it can have a great influence not only on the rest of your education, but the rest of your life and of those to follow.

Response to Innocence of Muslims

by Stephanie Nehme
Staff Writer

Protesting in Iraq in response to the Innocence of Muslims. Photo from Utusan.

We have learned in multiple history classes that the basis of freedom relies in the freedom of speech, freedom of press and last, but certainly not least, freedom of religion. As we all are aware, every type of religion or culture contains the moderates and the radicals. Presumably speaking, the radicals falsify what that religion/and or culture is truly about. Take for instance, Islam; after 9/11, mainly due to fear and anguish, the entire population of Muslims was dubbed as terrorists. What people fail to know is that the religion Islam preaches peace and prosperity, rather than war and desolation. There has been widespread controversy over a video made by an Arab Christian, under the pseudonym Sam Bacile, bashing the Islam prophet Mohammed, and dubbing him a pedophile and homosexual. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Sam Bacile defiled Islam as a “cancer”. His video, Innocence of the Muslims not only taints the concept of Islam, but as a religion that should be feared. This video has broken the line of what is true and what is propaganda, and is essentially putting all Muslims in a negative light.

This video has aroused a debate about how this reflects on freedom of speech. It is important to realize that although Americans do have the right of freedom of speech, freedom of press, it is crucial to know that other countries, especially in the Middle East do not have or know what these rights may implicate. Senior Abigail Landers expresses that “the whole idea of our rights is that we have these opportunities up to the point that they infringe on someone else’s rights. It’s like yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre, or threatening someone or lying about them. It is impermissible.” Indeed Bacile has abused his first amendment rights, yet legally speaking, he is only speaking his mind. The issue is that, he isn’t only speaking his mind; he is denigrating a religion in which millions of people worship. The implications of his video not only caused Bacile to go into hiding somewhere in the Middle East, presumably in either Jeibl, Lebanon or in Israel, but also the assassination of a U.S. ambassador and three other innocent victims. This is only the beginning.

Considering the First Amendment addresses the issue of persecution, should Sam Bacile be persecuted for expressing his opinion? According to Senior Brittany Murray he should be “prosecuted because he made and published a completely ludicrous film with inaccurate assumptions about Muslims. He was already on probation … He put our country in danger due to retaliation by extremist Muslim radicals and potential terrorist attacks.” The line is drawn in the middle, people believe that Bacile should be prosecuted on the basis of violating his probation, or people believe that Bacile should be prosecuted on the basis of creating a slanderous video. Senior Toby Ku explains that “Bacile should be prosecuted for violation for his probation and possibly for slander in regard to the actors’ cases, but he should not be prosecuted for plainly being affiliated with the video. While insulting and morally insidious, his action is legal and protected by his freedom of speech.”

While some people believe that Bacile should not be prosecuted for denigrating a religion, senior Gregory Lazzarino says “I find it pretty insulting that someone actually took the time to make a movie for the sole purpose of insulting Islam, even though I am not a Muslim.” . Muslims not only reside in the Middle-East; many reside in America and believe in the concept of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, yet they face slanderous discrimination because of Bacile.

Vampires These Days

by Cady Meneses

Staff Writer

What is with today’s vampire novels? What happened to all the bloodthirsty vampires we love and trust? Nowadays, you can’t pass a single bookstore window without seeing a copy of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. Hard-core vampire lovers call these “faeries” a disgrace to the vampire name and quite frankly, we agree. Instead of sneaking around at night, reeking havoc on a society, these Twilight vampires sparkle. Really? The once terrible creature of the night has now been replaced with the image of fashionable models driving shiny Volvos. But what of the students at El Segundo High have to say about this?

The number of vampire books has grown remarkably during the last decade, making
the genre almost as popular as the time Bram Stoker first wrote Dracula. But,
what could have caused this sudden uproar? Vampires have been in books for centuries so why are they so popular now? When one girl asked the same question on
Yahoo!Answers an unknown writer stated: “The original vampire craze of the
1810’s closely mirrored an explosive growth of European syphilis around that
period. Vampires are a natural metaphor for STI’s.” Along with resembling a once widely spread disease, vampirism has also become a fashion style among young teens. These could very well be the reasons for the vampire genre’s sudden uprise in fame.

Now one would think that a popular  book such as Twilight would at least have an interesting storyline. Wrong. The story plot for the entire saga can be summarized in one
sentence: Bella Swan, a teenage girl prone to twitching and stuttering, must choose
between Mr. Moneybags Edward Cullen, a brooding vampire with an amazing fashion sense, or Mr. Sexy Jacob Black, a tanned werewolf with a bazillion ab muscles.
These books sold at least 17 million copies by late 2009 and were published in 2005. The saga has been made into three terrible movies so far, starring
Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen and Taylor
Lautner as Jacob Black. We asked a few upperclassmen how they felt about the movies’ popularity. Chris Judge stated: “ I don’t care for it and I felt that people need to get over it.” Sergio Granados commented and said “ The Twilight saga is overrated and stupid”. We had one comment that wasn’t so negative towards the saga and that was from Kaley Owens who said “ I believe that the books are good by themselves but the movies ruined the series”. Despite what students at our school say, tons of fan girls in cities across the world flutter in giant man-eating mobs to the theatres as each movie comes out.

Another equally popular vampire book series is The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Many readers believe that these books were ripped off of Twilight but actually they were first published in 1991. Do the math, fan girls. The plot for these books starts off pretty simple. A young, popular blonde high schooler is faced with the tough decision, a choice between two “smexy” vampire brothers. That’s enough reason to get any teenage girl to read a book. However, as you read on, Smith adds other paranormal beings such as witches and werewolves. Unlike Twilight, The Vampire Diaries was made into a T.V. show (which really doesn’t stick to the storyline of the book so there’s really no point to it). Honestly, whenever a show or movie casts male models that alwayshave their shirts off, you know it’ll be popular in less than a week.

While it may seem that vampire books, T.V. shows and movies have completely taken over society, there is still hope for more realistic stories and novels. Let’s just be glad that books such as Twilight will never beat truly amazing fiction books like Harry Potter. Even though vampirism has become so popular, it’s a teen fashion, there’s really no need to worry because in a couple of years or even months, a new trend will kick in. Hey, the new fashion may even be Sponge Bob or Star Wars and pretty soon we will all wear Jedi robes or dress in square-shaped pants. You never know. The upside is that we teens change our minds constantly to satisfy whatever curiosities we choose to explore. At least we keep it interesting!

BULLYING IS FOR LOSERS #MakeALawForJamey

From bashing successful public celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga, to mocking certain classmates in how they dress and act, we are promoting the disparaging spectrum of modern day which we sugarcoat. The idea of bullying has become such a public derogatory action in today’s society that many fail to admit to being the prosecutor, but prefer being labeled as the victim of innocence. Many do not take into account the possible effects of bullying, including emotional and physical abuse that could eventually lead to death. As much as we would like to avoid the dire consequences and assume the position of “Hero”, we fail to avoid bullying in its entirety; we are losers. #Corrupt

We have been able to innovate and prosper through social networking, but also become part of the party of cyber-bullying, an international epidemic. However, it has been through these social methods others have been able to team up and create cults secularized within society. #TeamHero

Little Monsters – many have no clue what they are; some think of Lady Gaga and the religion of her crazy fans; those who bear pure love and believe in full equality respect the title. #PawsUp

14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer is the epitome of Little Monsters – he was the misfit freshman of his New York high school who praised Lady Gaga. Weirdo, Gay, Faggot; At such a vulnerable age, it is not surprising Jamey became depressed and felt worthless from such cruel names used against him. However, it was because of his ability to notice the equality and love Gaga stood for and shared with her Little Monsters, was he able to fight and live the possible truth of “world peace”. Jamey shared this love in his It Gets Better Project video. The It Gets Better Project is a series of videos submitted from members of the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered] Community from all over the world who hope will encourage self-confidence and provide love for the LGBT youth who feel lost in modern society. In Jamey’s video, Jamey shares his story, expressing his liberation and personal acceptance after leaving Lady Gaga’s concert The Monster Ball. However, the buildup of hate from others’ bullying began to rot and infect his pure and youthful soul, and four months after posting his heart-warming and inspiring amendment, Jamey took his life in Williamsville, NY on Sunday, September 18, 2011, his last tweet reading: “@ladygaga bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done, paws up forever”. #RIPJamey #Equality

The Little Monster community was shocked that one of its very own devoted members had fallen innocent to the cynical deeds of hate. Jamey’s story of being a victim of bullying quickly spread around the world, eventually reaching Gaga herself. Gaga took another stand in her gay-activist duties and met President Obama, discussing the possibilities of making bullying illegal and establishing it as a hate crime. #MakeALawForJamey

During her performance at the iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas near the end of September, Lady Gaga devoted her performance of “Hair” to Jamey. “Hair” is a song off Gaga’s album Born This Way about fighting for complete equality; “I just wanna be myself and I want you to love / Me for who I am… This is my prayer / That I’ll die livin’ just as free as my hair.” She states: “Jamey, I know you’re up there, looking at us, and you’re not a victim, you’re a lesson to all of us.” #iHeartRadioGaga

We were the losers, we were the weirdos, we were the victims; But today, we are the “Hero”. In the stance of the Kingdom of Little Monsters: “#MakeALawForJamey” because “bullying is for losers” (@ladygaga).

Occupied

by Cody Myers

Staff Writer

Although it began in New York, the Occupy movement has spread to 70 cities in the United States. The protest opposes unfair and sometimes unlawful business practices in use by the large and influential financial sector (hence the Wall Street beginnings). A large debate point is that 1% of the population controls a disproportionate amount of the wealth in the country, while the other 99%, many in the middle class, pay most of the taxes. The protest in New York City, which began September 17th of this year, has thousands of participants. There has been conflict between the NYPD and the protesters, because of numerous arrests. The arrests caught on film appear to be made at random and often without reason, and there has been at least one inquiry made about an officer so far. Efforts have been made to clear out Zuccotti Park, formally known as Liberty Plaza Park, where the protesters are staying, but so far are unsuccessful. The protest continues to grow and spread, and may reach on the same scale and significance as the Civil Rights’ Movement of the 1960’s.

Procrastination

by Lexi Oakley

Staff  Writer

Procrastination: to defer action; delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.
All students have procrastinated at some point in their life. Whether it’s cramming for the big test in the morning or the book report due in two days and the book still hasn’t been purchased.  Procrastination seems to be a trait most high school students have in common. For example how many students can relate to the following: beginning the summer reading during Labor Day weekend, just days before school starts. Never mind the nearly two months it was left untouched. When a teacher assigns a paper one of the last things he or she inevitably will say to the students is “I’ll be able to tell who did this the night before and who put a lot of time into it”. Even if said student had the assignment for two or three weeks, it always seems to be thrown together right before it’s due. Freshman Jennie Wilson said “procrastination isn’t good in the long run because you most likely won’t remember what you have learned but if you have a test the next day sometimes it’s good to learn it right before you take the test because everything’s fresh in your mind…even though that theory might sound right it isn’t because you really don’t learn anything.”
When students procrastinate it is said that much of the information is not retained. Many students stress out when they are under pressure. Sophomore Nareg Thomas said, “I think procrastinating is bad because you get super stressed and have to stay up late working on an assignment that could have been done days ago.”  Some students get away with procrastinating managing to receive A’s and B’s on their paper, exam, or project they had left till the last minute. It seems as though they thrive on challenging themselves to complete the task in break neck speed and with every attention to detail. Yet for others the full allotted time given for the assignment still does not seem to be adequate for the amount of research and planning needed. Although waiting till the last minute to do something is never a good idea, Freshman Julia Freeman said, “If you procrastinate then you will have a couple days or so to think of what you’re doing, then you know what you’ll do after”.  Some students work best under pressure.
For those wondering how to break the vicious cycle of continually putting off tasks the following tips may be helpful:

-Set realistic goals- don’t allow yourself to become so overwhelmed you continually put it off. By breaking the task up into several smaller ones it won’t seem quite so difficult to complete. This will also allow for several breaks.
-Cut out distractions- as much as we love our cell phones, ipods, and televisions they just zap time and allow us to lose focus. Sorry guys, this goes for Facebook too!
And lastly, be organized! Sit down and decide what plan of attack is needed and what the assignment completely entails and gather your research.
Benjamin Franklin may have said it best “ You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”
Freshman Jonathon Thompson stated “Procrastinating is the worst thing to do”. Procrastination only hurts you- it is inevitable that the work has to get done or else you’ll receive an “F” on the assignment. The quicker you get started the more time you will have to gather your thoughts and “tweak” your ideas which will help ensure a better outcome on the project and an even better grade.