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table of contentsEducationTeaching ParentsAmerica’s Failing GradeEmulating European EducationCharles ScherrSam RahminHannah Davidoff469ImmigrationThe Rio Grande ProblemCrime & PunishmentRepeal the 14th AmendmentIllegal Immigration and the American DreamNicholas McCombeVivianna LinDavid HackelTreshauxn Dennis-Brown10121416CongressHorror in ArizonaA Nuclear IranIt’s Time to Fix the FilibusterKeep Our Army StrongDemocracy on SaleSpencer ReissSahej SuriIsaiah NewmanJonah WexlerMohit Mookim1819202223HealthGetting Kids MovingThe Great Marijuana DebateIn Healthy Food We TrustKelvin RheeMaurice FarberNoah Lee252628EnergyAt a CrossroadFallout of the Nuclear DimensionAll About FrackingWhere’s the Alternative Energy?Will EllisonAdam MansfieldHarry ManinDaniel Elkind30333437The Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 3


EducationAmerica’s Failing Gradeby samantha rahminThe children in America are thefuture of America; one day, theywill be the congressmen, accountants,doctors, professors,plumbers, and teachers debatingthe very issues discussed in this magazine.Consequently, educating America’schildren should be a top priority. Overall,public schools across the country requiremore funding and more competition toprovide students with a better education.In a speech in 2008, then-SenatorObama declared, “Now is the time to finallymeet our moral obligation to provideevery child a world-class education,because it will take nothing less to competein the global economy. I’ll recruitan army of new teachers, and pay themhigher salaries and give them more support.But in exchange, I will ask for higherstandards and more accountability.And we will keep our promise to everyyoung American - if you commit to servingyour community or your country, wewill make sure you can afford a collegeeducation.” Now, over three years later,it is time to evaluate: is President Obamafollowing through with his promises?A few years ago, students in NewJersey, which statistically has some ofAmerica’s best public schools, and studentsin Belgium took the same test. TheBelgian students performed significantlybetter. After taking a test administered inforty different countries, fifteen-year-oldAmerican students only ranked twentyfifth.According to ABC News, “Americanschools don’t teach as well as schoolsin other countries because they are governmentmonopolies, and monopoliesdon’t have much incentive to compete.In Belgium, by contrast, the money is attachedto the kids– it’s a kind of vouchersystem. Government funds education– atmany different kinds of schools – but if aschool can’t attract students, it goes outof business.” Schools are not given anymotivation to better educate their students;praise worthy public schools gainfew benefits. In effect, America’s publicschool system represents a socialist planfor education. Socialism is a political andeconomic belief that advocates for collectiveownership and equal resources,subordinating people to the state. Thearguably socialist American school systemsubjects all students to the government-regulatedmonopoly on all aspectsof education, including curriculum andtextbooks. Our current school systemcontradicts the competitive capitalist valuesdeeply ingrained in American society.The lack of motivated schools leadsto a lack of motivated students.In Europe, students have morechoice for their high schools. There aretwo options: vocational schools or collegetrack schools. In America, most studentssimply graduate from their collegetrack public school. In a way students arewasting time in school with such broadcurriculums, and must later make up forthe time in college, graduate school, orbeyond. Furthermore, students are essentiallyforced into a particular schoolWorld Education ReportCountry Grade Education OfficialSwedenSweedenSwitzerlandSouth KoreaDenmarkHong KongNetherlandsJapanUnited States of AmericaA+Leif PagrotskyB+NAALee Ju-hooB+Tina NedergaardA+Michael SuenA-Marja van BijsterveldtAYoshiaki TakakiFArne Duncan6The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


EducationU.S. schoolbuses provideapproximately10 billionstudent trips ayearworldwidehealthsystem due to their geographic location.A system must be implemented in whichstudents are not zoned out of a bettereducation. Different schools would leadto more types of schools, thereby leadinggiving students the chance to find aschool that is a better “fit” for them. Ideally,with more choices and more opportunitieswould lead to more competitionfor opportunities, thereby better motivatingstudents and leading to greater academicsuccess. If schools must competefor students, it would assure that schoolsand teachers are taking their responsibilityof educating their students seriously.In analyzing whether or not Obama’splans have come to fruition, one can noticethat for the 2010-2011 school year,districts all around the country havemade up to 48% budget cuts. In New Jersey,for example, Governor Chris Christiecut $820 million in state education aid.Programs such as art, music, and foreignlanguage were removed from the curriculum.Unfortunately, there are predictionsthat the situation will only worsennext year. Michael Griffith, an establishedFinance Analyst for the Education Commissionof the United States, whose financialconclusions are frequently citedin the New York Times, CNN, and NPR,reported that “(the amount of budgetcuts) is affecting classroom teachers oneway or another, either with the class sizeethicsandvibes$11 billion offederal fundingis spent onschool lunchesThe average salaryof a U.S. highschool teacher is$43,355teachersolrising, or cutting the school week ... orcutting the school year.” Many districtsare buying fewer supplies and sendingkids home with school supply lists. In addition,teachers all around the countryare losing their jobs.A direct reversal of what is happeningis necessary for America’s children tostay on the same academic track as studentsin other developing countries. TheUnited States currently has a 77% graduationrate, which is below the graduationrate for most developing countries. Themonumental budget cuts impair studentsfrom learning. More funding must bepoured into public education. A reductionof class size is important so studentscan be given more individual attention inorder to assure no student falls throughthe cracks. As a result, more teachersare needed within the schools. However,America’s public schools need teacherscapable of controlling the classrooms andteaching students both factual informationand critical thinking skills.Teachers and students in publicschools need to accept less stability.Studying and teaching in school shouldnot simply be a guaranteed daily routine.Teachers who fail to do their job shouldnot be promised tenure, namely, a permanentjob contract. Tenure, as is theAmerican school system, is a socialisticconcept. Teachers, like all other professionsin our capitalist society, should beforced to continue working and provingthemselves. Tenure is merely supposed toassure that teachers receive due processfor contract removal. However, tenuredteachers are challenging for public schoolboards to remove, despite that they maynot be meeting standards in their classrooms.As in other professions, teachersshould be penalized for failure to successfullydo their jobs. Teachers’ success, asstudents’ academic successes can be measuredthrough standardized tests.However, more than just standardizedtests are necessary to evaluatestudents, schools, and teachers. Eachteacher’s lessons and lectures should beevaluated in order that they meet federalstandard. As of now, principals canobserve teacher’s classes. But, each stateshould have a form of educational boardto compare each and every teacher ateach and every school to assure that standardsare being met and kept consistentthroughout all schools. One of the problemswithin our public schools includesteachers merely teaching to a test, whichis the concept of schools narrowing theircurriculums solely to cover the materialon the test. A high school algebra teacherstates, “…at least in my district, and I believeit’s much the same throughout thecountry, the pace at which the materialis given to the students is much too fast.The Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 7


ImmigrationImmigrationThe Rio Grande Problemby nicholas mccombePedro, forgive me for being stereotypical,has just crossed theborder into the United States.He may have crossed the RioGrande, through a boardertown like Nogales, or via the vast desertsof southern: Arizona, New Mexico, orCalifornia. It doesn’t matter so much howPedro did it only that he is comforted bythat fact that there is more boarder thanthe boarder patrol can constantly keepeyes on. Although the boarder patrol aregood at what they do, he might take solacein knowing that thousands successfullymake the passage everyday and thatonce he gets in the chances of him beingdeported for lack of papers are very low.Pedro is one of millions in the UnitedStates who have entered the country illegallyin search of greener pastures. Itnaturally follows the question of how dosympathize with the plight of people like10Pedro while protecting law abiding U.S.Citizens. The solution starts with securingthe borders through new means. Italso starts with the U.S. providing aid toMexico in order to soften the color disparityin the pastures, therefore makingthe jobs picture better in Mexico as wellas the U.S. The long-term solution is toprovide a path to legal residence, not citizenship,for aliens already residing withinthe nation. There is an obvious partisanchallenge that is embedded in the issuebut it is one we must overcome.The first part of the solution entailsreducing the incentive of migrating andincreasing the inverse. We have to provideaid to Mexico so that it can provide asense of law and order to its citizens. It hasalways been unpopular to provide foreignaid to needy nations because of the beliefthat it is not our problem. However, giventhe trillions we have spent on the Iraqand Afghanistan wars, trying and failingto nation build, it reasonably follows thatto provide merely billions to aid a countrywhich poses a civic threat and that isright on our boarders, we might be willing.Statistics show that during the depthsof the recession illegal immigration fromMexico was halved because of a lack ofjobs in the U.S. Rather that making thesituation worse by decreasing the incentiveto migrate why don’t we make thingsthere better. We know from science that,a gas will move from an area where it iscompresses to area with more space. Thesame is true for people, people move fromareas with little economic opportunityand jobs to areas with more. The mostcommon sense solution to solve this problemis to help the Mexican government toprovide more jobs in Mexico for its citizens.The second part of the immediatesolution is increasing border security innew and innovative ways including moreairborne video surveillance. The proposi-The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


Immigrationtion frequently brought by both sides toincrease border security has always beena poplar one. Most agree that we shouldsecure our borders. Where the disagreementlies is how to do so. The popularsuggestion is to perpetually increase thenumber of border patrol agents; this suggestionis passed on the beliefs that moreboots on the ground equals a more secureboarder. However, I believe this is not alwaysthe case; we have reached a pointof diminishing returns in the number ofagents we employ. More agents may resultin less illegal immigrants but we willnot get the sort of bang for our buck wehave in the past. In other words, the ratioof increasing boarder agents to decreasingillegal immigrants is decreasing severely.To combat this issue we need toslightly decrease agent numbers and increaseour investment into video surveillance.Obviously it would prohibitivelyexpensive to put a camera on a post everyhundred yards across the entire boarder,but what would be achievable is airbornevideo surveillance. The actual border patrolagents would not have to patrol nolonger but rather act as a quick reactionforce to apprehend aliens attempting tocross the boarder who have been spottedby drones. This sort of surveillanceis already conducted but by large humanpiloted helicopters. This is also expensivebecause of the fuel these large helicoptersburn and the cost of training pilots.The ideal solution would be a large fleetof small antonymous drones that alertagents to movements on the ground.Some of this technology is already in useand it is only a matter of having the willto implement it.The longer-term solution though, isa more complicated one. It involves providinglegal residence to the nearly 20million illegal immigrants already here.It is clear that we cannot indiscriminatelydeport such a large segment of the population.The other challenge is how to enforcelegal residence. Arizona’s law, whichallows “paper-checking” of suspicious individuals,has created an uproar acrossthe country. We would have mass riotsif such a law were implemented acrossthe country. It is immoral and wrong todiscriminate on the basis of race, it issomething that the U.S. prides its self andnot doing and that policy should continue.In terms of the enforcement of legalresidence my solution would be to holdemployers responsible. Large and smalltimeemployers would be spot checkedand forced to provide proof of legal residencefor all of their employees. This isnot an ideal solution since some will viewit as an impediment to hiring. As to providinglegal residence I would have thempay a fine for crossing the boarder illegallycommensurate with the number ofyears they have been in the country andI would have them pay back taxes onincome earned. The actual documentswould be guest worker visa that last forno more than 10 years, at which pointthey can re-apply or go home. In my viewthe problem is not so much that we havethese people in our country it is that theydo not pay taxes. In order for immigrantsto become full partners in the Americanexperiment they need to pay taxes, andwhy would they want to do that if notforced to.There are clear partisan issues withmy plan. Republicans think that it is notin their interests to increase the Hispanicvoters demographic but sooner or latermy party will have to face facts, that sometime in the near future minorities willout number non-minorities. Republicanshave to realize this and craft their policiesto reflect this bacillary issue. We have torealize that this is a problem worth solving,because a divided America is not astrong nor a productive America. HMRHow to Solve the Immigration IssueShort TermLong TermAid to Mexico- Providingaid to Mexico will augmentgrowth and negate the necessityfor Mexicans to emigrateAmnesty- Congressought to pass a proposalsimilar to the McCain-Kennedy bill, grantingamnesty to immigrantsEffective Border Security-Border security must allocatetheir resources moreeffectivelyFines for Individuals havingImmigrated Illegally-Immigrants should paytaxes in order to ensure thatall immigrants contribute tothe American economyThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 11


ImmigrationCrime &Combattingby vivianna linThe illegal drug trade is one ofthe largest and most dangerousglobal issues, spurring murder,smuggling, and a slew ofother crimes. Illicit drug traffickinghas devastated Central and SouthAmerica, as well a regions of Centraland Southeastern Asia— no corner ofthe world is left unscathed. In the UnitedStates, illegal drugs tend to originatefrom Mexico and Southeast Asia. Today,there are over 200 cities in America withMexican drug cartels that maintain drugdistribution networks. The federal governmentshould be given all power regardingdrug policy; the issue is too largeand dire to be handled by states individually.Laws regarding the possessionand trafficking of drugs should be muchmore severe and border security mustbe tightened. Most of all, awareness ofthe harm stemming from drugs must beincreased so that the American demandcan be curbed.States cannot be given the right todecide laws for their own citizens. Instead,all states should have the samelaws regarding drug possession and distributionin order to prevent certain citiesfrom becoming centers for the drugtrade. The federal government must havemore power in this regard, since the illic-it drug trade is most definitely a nationalproblem. Currently, some states even regardthe possession of marijuana a pettyoffence, like that of a speeding violation.For example, the punishment for possessing28.5 grams of marijuana is only a fineof $100 in some states, whereas,the punishmentfor possessing less than twicethat amount in other states is 180 days inprison and a fine of $2,000. All drug possessorsand sellers ought to be punished,regardless of where they live. Drug usenot only harms users but also those individualsaround the user. Moreover, thereis a direct correlation between drug useand crime. Addicts who are willing to doanything to get drugs may even murderand steal. Letting a drug user get off easyin the short term could amount to lettinga murderer or thief escape.First, Congress needs to pass legislationthat gives the federal governmentthe power to have complete control overdrug-related crime penalties. It is the laxlaws in certain states that make themhubs for illegal drug distribution. Tocombat this reality, drug legislation oughtpertain to the entire country. In addition,national laws must be rewritten to createfar more stringent penalties. Obviously,the prison sentences for drug possessionshould still differ based upon thetype of drug. First time offenders holdingnon-prescribed drugs should haveto serve anywhere from a months to twoyears in jail, instead of at most one yearin jail. Second time offenders should justserve life imprisonment. Only throughstricter laws can law enforcement officialseffectively crack down on drug possessionand drug trafficking. Even if drugoffenders do learn from their mistakes,their absence from society will have aprofoundly beneficial effect. What arethe chances that drug dealers won’t goback to dealing once they get out of jail?Yet, first-time offenders should also beenrolled in treatment programs so thatthey at least have the chance of rebuildingtheir lives.Nowadays, some political and mediafigures advocate that, in order todecrease the power of drug cartels andend the violence stemming from thedrug trade, states should consider legalizingnarcotics like marijuana. However,this suggestion should not even be considered.Legalizing marijuana is paramountto giving addicts full access totheir drugs. In short, legalization wouldsimply destroy all the laws put in place toprevent drug trafficking and possession.Legalization would only further increasethe power of drug cartels and the size ofthe drug trade itself. Although some supportersof legalization argue that the federalgovernment would earn money fromtaxing drugs, the government would not12The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


ImmigrationWhy Illegal Immigrants’ Children ShouldNot be Considered American Citizensby david hackelThe 14th Amendment states thatany person born in the UnitedStates of America is a legal citizen.Many foreigners, however,come to America illegally; theygive birth to children here, so their childrencan live free lives, have the right tovote, attend public schools, etc. However,a good percentage of these illegal immigrantsare a part of a Mexican drug cartel,and give birth to a child in America sothe cartel can have a legally born American,across the boarder, which can causegrave danger to the innocent Americansaround the cartel. However not all of thechildren of illegal immigrants are dangerous;some foreigners just want their childrento have free lives. But, these childrenusually do not have high paying jobs, andtherefore require financial aid to live. Oureconomy is not in the best possible shape,and their are other things we could spendmoney on than financial aid for peoplewho are taking rightful citizen’s jobs,and school scholarships. As well as takingthings away from true Americans,the financial aid the children of illegalimmigrants receive is money that couldbe going elsewhere such as alternate fuelsources of stopping illegal immigration asIt is unfair to a citizenwhose family has beenin America for centuries,legally, to not get a jobposition that he or she deservesbecause a child ofan illegal immigrant does.a whole: more important areas. I believeCongress should pass a law in which childrenof illegal immigrants are also illegal.It is unfair to citizens whose family hasbeen in America for centuries, legally, tonot get a job position that he or she deservesbecause a child of an illegal immigrantdoes; or, if a child to an illegal immigrantgets a college scholarship over aperson who came to America legally.Some people who are unhappy withtheir native country, come to Americabecause of its freedom; the AmericanDream. Though the immigrants themselvesmight not become successful, theycome to provide their children greateropportunities. However, many immigrantsplan on giving birth to their childrenhere, which would make their kidslegal citizens. I believe this should not bethe case. An example of something thathappens is for a couple to come to Americaillegally, and have an American bornchild. However, much of the time, theparents to the child are deported back totheir home country, leaving the child tobe raised on government money. In 2010,Los Angeles County spent more than sixhundred million dollars on children of illegalimmigrants not even including educationand schooling, which if included isestimated at over one billion dollars. Thatis only the expenses for one year, in onecounty. If we spend approximately 1 bil-14The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


Immigrationlion dollars a year for one county, howmuch would we spend on children ofillegal immigrants for one year in theentire country? That money could gotowards something of greater importancesuch as alternate fuel sources ortrying to stop illegal immigration inthe first place. It is hard enough for thegovernment to provide of the American’sit needs to in this economic crisis,so how is the government going toprovide for millions more? However,it’s hard to get rid of such a large populationwho make up such a big part ofour country. Approximately 5.5 millionpeople in the United States are childrenof illegal immigrants. About 4 million ofthat 5.5 were born as American citizens.If congress were to pass such a bill, thanall men and women currently residing inAmerica, would have to become or staycitizens. It would be to complicate to sendmillions of people back to their homecountry. But we could stop people fromcoming illegally in the first place. It is nosurprise what the illegal immigrants aredoing: coming to America to give birthto free children. However, they are takingjobs and scholarships away from rightfulcitizens. Out of those four million, onein every three is living under the povertyrate, which means our governmenthas to supply food stamps, healthcare,education etc. It might take a while, buteventually some of our immigrationproblems will stop.As I mentioned, these problemscan be fixed by Congress passing a lawto make children of illegal immigrantsalso illegal. In fact, the GOP’s top priorityis to propose a bill, hopefully passedby Congress, which would make thesechildren illegal, and no longer give illegalimmigrants the incentive of comingto America for their children. Yes, immigrantsfounded our country and ourpopulation is largely made up of them,but the problem is getting out of hand.By passing that law, we no longer willhave to give the billion dollars a yearto Los Angeles Country, or more to thecountry as a whole. That money couldgo toward stopping to problem: improvesecurity, fences around the boarder, technologyaround the boarder, and hiring alarger staff to patrol the boarder. Such alaw also would benefit. Children of illegalimmigrants take jobs that should goto true America citizens, who have hadfamily here for generations, as well asimmigrants who came here legally andpassed all of the required tests. Childrenof immigrants get college scholarships totop schools over rightful citizens. Thereare many people deserving to attendcertain colleges, but do not get to attendbecause they are not given scholarships.Many smart kids should get scholarshipsto schools, but don’t because children ofillegal immigrants do. They take jobs, andopportunities away from rightful citizens.We need to act now.Do you want to not be able to attendyour favorite college because you didn’tget a scholarship? Would you like to notget your dream job? I doubt it. Congressshould pass a law stating that children ofillegal immigrants are also illegal. It is forthe good of our country economically, sowe don’t have to spend billions of dollarson something we don’t want to do. HMRShould children of illegal immigrants beconsidered American citizens?YesNoUnsureOf Horace Mann students, 62%voted yes and 22% voted no.The Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 15


ImmigrationIllegaltheAn annual occurrence, November2, 2010 was the date set forthe midterm elections for theCongress of the United StatesNovember 2nd bore a mixedbag of emotions for both the Democraticand Republican parties as the electionresults yielded an even more dividedCongress. Whereas the Republicansdominated the House of Representatives,gaining 242 seats to the Democrats’ 193,the Democrats held the Senate with 51seats (including two Independents whocaucus with them) to the Republicans’47 seats. Despite these divisions, Congress,as the branch designed to proposeand pass laws for the advancement of thecountry, must tackle the hot-button issueof immigration.Our country is not referred to as themelting pot of the world for fallaciousreasons. Millions of immigrants have immigratedto this country for the purposeof pursuing the American dream, thepromise of a life and lifestyle significantlybetter than the one they have left behind.There are three types of immigration: legalimmigration, the movement of a personfrom his native country to a foreigncountry in search of livelihood and withan intent to settle down, with prior andproper permission (valid visa, passport,or citizenship) from the government; dobytreshauxn dennis-brown16Are we to deny illegal immigrantsthe dreams of a betterfuture? Should we not embracethe concept of the Americandream?mestic immigration, the movement of aperson from an economically backwardregion of the country to another more developedand economically well off regionof the same country; and of course, illegalimmigration, the movement of a personfrom his native country to foreign country,with an intent to find a livelihood andsettle down without the permission of thegovernment. The latter is, and has been,the focus of particularly bitter debate involvinghow to command the problem ofan increasingly present undocumentedpopulation.In order to obtain a full understandingof the illegal immigration epidemicor to take a stance on the issue, one has tobe fully educated on the topic. The mostprevalent types of illegal immigrants arevisa overstayers, border crossing immigrants,and immigrants with fraudulentvisas. It is necessary to distinguish betweenthe three, as doing so would be essentialin order to identifying the optimalway to deal with the epidemic. Visa overstayersare those who entered the countrywith a valid visa, enabling them to residein the country for a specified amount oftime. Instead of leaving when their visaruns out, these immigrants then continueto reside illegally. Immigrants withfraudulent visas of course forge fake visas,which then allow them to enter thecountry illegally. Despite the visible presenceof these other classifications of theillegal immigrant, the one that has dominatedthe Congressional political debateis of course, the Mexican immigrant whocrosses over the border illegally.The reservations concerning theseundocumented residents are primarilyfounded on the claims of increased crimerates in large cities, the stealing of jobsthat would otherwise have been filled by alaw abiding American citizen—especiallyin a downturn of the U.S. economy— andtheir refusal to pay taxes. However, someof these claims are completely unfounded.For example, illegal immigrants holdAmerican jobs of the lowest tier, such asworkers in farming, restaurants, and factoriesor—all jobs the average Americancitizen has no wish to obtain. To completelyremove this class, is to remove, thefoundations of this country. And to theclaim that illegal immigrants don’t paytaxes, the truth is that they contributedThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


ImmigrationImmigration andAmerican Dreamlunacanus$308 million in taxes to the governmentlast year.As mandatory as it seems for Congressto institute some form of an amnestyprogram for the purpose of integratingthese hard-working, trustworthy immigrantsinto our society, it will certainlybe an arduous, uphill battle. FormerPresident George W. Bush, in the waningyears of his presidency, urged Congressto introduce a “temporary guest workerprogram.” Such a program would allowthe 12 million (illegal) immigrants towork legally in America, upon the claimsthat the lack of legal status denies theprotections of U.S. laws to millions ofpeople who face the dangers of povertyand exploitation, and penalizes employersdespite a demand for immigrant labor(what do you mean by the purple- areemployers penalized under the programor due to the lack of legal status of theirworkers? How are the punished?. He didnot however, support an all-out amnestyprogram, a bill that would essentially“forgive” immigrants for their illegal statusesand facilitate their applications forvisas or green cards. A heated public debatefollowed, which resulted in divisionswithin the Republican Party and in themajority of conservatives opposing thebill because of its legalization or amnestyprovisions. The bill was eventually defeatedin the Senate on June 28, 2007, when amotion failed on a 46–53 vote. Naturally,for President Obama to even proposean amnesty program would be met withsimilar, if not more intense dissensionwithin the ranks of Congress.It is hard to view the foreseeable futureas promising to the 12 million undocumentedworkers in our country. Thisassumption is fostered through the failureof the recent Congressional Dream Act, aresolution designed to grant permanentresidency to students who entered the USillegally as minors through service in thearmy or higher education . On the statelevel, Arizona recently passed the controversialSupport Our Law Enforcementand Safe Neighborhoods Act (SB1070).The most inflammatory aspect of theresolution is the fact that the act makesit a state misdemeanor crime for an aliento be in Arizona without carrying the requireddocuments and obligates police tomake the attempt, during a “lawful stop,detention or arrest” to determine a person’simmigration status if there is reasonablesuspicion that the person is an illegalalien. No one is asking for Americansto trust and integrate illegal immigrantsimmediately as full fledged citizens: it istrue, they have committed an illegal act.But are we to deny them the dreams of abetter future? Should we not embrace theconcept of the American dream? The bestcompromise is a temporary guest workerprogram such as the one President Bushsuggested, because only then can all sideswin. Congress must analyze the myriadIn order to obtain a full understanding of the illegal immigrationepidemic or to take a stance on the issue, one has to befully educated on the topic.of benefits presented by integrating thesehardworking immigrants into the Americanworkforce and society. Therefore, itis time for Congress to put its differencesaside and finally present a show of bipartisanshipthat has been lacking duringthese few years of the Obama Administration.HMRThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 17


CongressCongressHorror in Arizonaby spencer reissOn Saturday, January 8th, acrazed gunman Jared LeeLoughter opened fire at a politicalrally where RepresentativeGabrielle Giffords wasspeaking to constituents. Six of the seventeenshootout victims died, among them,Mrs. Giffords herself and United StatesDistrict Court chief judge John M. Roll.Giffords, the intended target of the rampage,suffered a gunshot to the head, thebullet passing through her brain. She wasrapidly transported to the Arizona UniversityMedical Center for surgery. Doctorsremoved half of her skull to preventinjurious swelling to her brain. Only fivedays after the shooting Giffords regainedsome simple capabilities. She openedher eyes and moved her leg and one ofher hands. She was later transported to afacility in Houston for physical therapy.Her survival has been pronounced a miracle,and her swift recovery even moreunprecedented.The motivations for the shooting remainunclear as to whether the debaclewas politically driven. The volatile politicalclimate in Arizona is certainly a plausiblefactor. Democrats pointed the fingerat the aggressive Republican atmosphere.In a Republican dominated state, thedemocrat won the vote for a third termbut faced stiff opposition from adversaries.Ms. Giffords strongly opposed thestate’s controversial immigration laws andreceived condemnation for her endorsementof the health care law. The shootingtranspired at an inauspicious time as theRepublicans gain control of the House,ushering in a new period of government.Ms. Giffords helped maintain the bipartisanshipin the predominantly RepublicanHouse. The tragedy has highlighted largerimplications of party disputes, serving18m-x.comheloise9.files.wordpress.comThen and Now: Shooter Jared LeeLoughner transformed notably fromhighschool (Above) to his mugshot(Left) taken days after his attemptedassasination of Congresswoman Giffords(Below).dailynexus.comas a microcosm for the dwindlingparty relations in Washington. Theantagonism in the House has underminedAmerican progress andadvancement forcing crucial legislationto remain stagnant due to theinter-party hostility. The shootingshould assuage the strained-relationsand facilitate a collaborationbetween the parties so they can work sideby side to improve America.President Obama attended a memorialservice for the victims to offerhis condolences to the victims’ families.Mr. Obama delivered one of themost potent and touching speeches ofhis presidency imploring American’s touse the tragedy as a unifying force. Remainingnonpartisan, he asked peopleto refrain from pointing fingers, enjoiningAmericans “to listen to each othermore carefully to remind ourselves of allthe ways that our hopes and dreams arebound together.” Mr. Obama attemptedto bring the country together in a time oftragedy and in the midst of heated politicalrhetoric. HMRThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


Alook at the more volatile superpowersreveals Iran at thetop of the list. Iran has goneabout achieving its goals, thefirst of which is becoming aconsequential entity, in an appalling wayaccording to many countries includingthe United States. On April 12th 2010,the leaders of 47 countries met in WashingtonD.C. for a summit conferencecalled by President Obama to discussthe growing problem of what to do aboutthe build-up of Iranian nuclear materials.At issue was the allegation that Iranis a supporter of terrorism. These two issueshave lead to a major question: whatwould happen if nuclear weapons wereavailable to terrorist organizations?Iran claims that its use of nuclearenergy is only for purposes of the improvementof the abysmal quality of lifeof its people. Because it is such an intricateand delicate issue, the questionof what to do about Iran and its disarmamenthas become a difficult puzzleto solve. Representatives of Congresshave suggested a plethora of solutionsto resolve the conflict. To date, PresidentObama has relied only on a series ofdiplomatic talks with Iran. There is nota plan in place as to what the next stepwould be should diplomacy fail. Themyriad of solutions that have been proposedinclude placing an embargo onIranian imports and exports, stoppingby sahej suriA NuclearIranimports of gasoline and exports of oil,imposing crippling sanctions, tougheningmilitary actions to disable nuclearfacilities, and even accepting Iran as anuclear power. Though some of thesesolutions may have some validity, it isarguable that they would be able to beproperly implemented, and therefore,would not be viable. In order to imposestrong sanctions against Iran, the majorpowers of the world would have to cometo an understanding and a mechanismto carry out the sanctions would have tobe set in place. If the United States and/or other nations were to use open forcein Iran, serious consequences could result.Senator Reed of Rhode Island suggested,“The only wayis to physically occupythe country and dismantleits nuclear facilities.”Admiral MikeMullen, chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs ofStaff, wrote, “Shouldthe president call formilitary options, we must have themready.” General Jones testified in frontof a Senate committee that PresidentObama wanted to be prepared for anyemergency. He mentioned that Obamawants to build a coalition of nations inorder to put pressure upon Iran to makegood its promises. Another option is toaccept Iran as a nuclear power, but find“Instead of creating sanctionsthat affect innocent peopleliving in Iran, a rational agreementmust be devised in sucha way that only the governingofficials would be affected.”Congressways to slow down its build-up of nuclearweapons. No one has yet come uponthe optimal solution to the problem inIran, but it has become more and moreclear that finding a solution is imperative.In order to form a successful relationshipwith Iran, many would advocatefor greater flexibility from all partiesto help reach a compromise. All partiesmust speak candidly and honor the decisionsagreed upon. Perhaps if all partieswere to treat one another with respect,meaningful negotiations would stand abetter chance of taking place. Althoughthe government alleges force will neverbecome necessary, if the agreement wereto be violated, major steps toward selfprotectionwould bevital. In order to avoidsuch a catastrophiccalamity, setting strictterms of agreements towhich all parties willinglyagree, is imperative.Instead of creatingsanctions that affectinnocent people living in Iran, a rationalagreement must be devised in sucha way that only the governing officialswould be affected. In order to assuresafety and compliance of all nations, theconundrum of how to deal with Iranmust be successfully resolved both immediatelyand amicably. HMR1992-1993:U.S. PresidentClinton imposedsanctions on Iranbecause of itsalleged supportof terrorism.2002: The UnitedStates discoveredtwo nuclear sitesby the usage ofsatellite imagery.The IAEA confirmedthese formally.2006: The United States declared itwould join other European nations intalks with Iran if they stopped uraniumenrichment. Because Bush feared thatAmerican aid to Iranian banks was beingused to help support terrorism andto develop nuclear and ballistic missileprograms, he tried to limit American aidto Iranian Banks in 2006.2008: During campaign elections, PresidentBarack Obama promised to openrelations with Iran. President BarackObama pushed to get support from theUnited Nations to seize cargo shops carryingweapons, and stop financial creditto Iran, possibly pushing them to adhereto the NPT.2000: Secretaryof State Albrightlifted the sanctions.2003: Iran explained thatthose sites were used aspower plants for the goodof its people. The Iraniangovernment suspendedtheir nuclear weaponsprograms because of theNon Proliferation Treaty.2007: The UnitedNations SecurityCounsel passedresolutions to stopIranian uraniumenrichment.2010: On April 12th , President Obama held the Washington NuclearSummit, including 47 countries around the world, but not Iran. Ahmadinejadresponded by hosting his own summit a month later. On May3rd 2010, Ahmadinejad denied development of nuclear weapons. Irancharged the United States with having nuclear weapons. Ahmadinjedaccused the United States of being the only country in the world to everhave used a nuclear weapon. Ahmadinjed suggested that the United Statesbe eliminated from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the NPT.The Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 19


CongressIt’s Time to Fix the Filibusterby isaiah newmanOur government works in complicatedways. It is a complex machine, containingdifferent branches with different areas ofjurisdiction and sets of powers. The mostcrucial path for all legislation is throughour two houses of Congress. For anything to become law,our elected representatives must in favor of its passage.Many bills meet significant obstacles before they are signedinto law by the President. The most significant roadblock isone that occurs only in the Senate, however: the filibuster.In the Senate, in order to end debate and vote on anybill, measure, or motion, 60 out of 100 Senators must be infavor of doing so. It is at this time that a filibuster generallyoccurs. A filibuster is when a Senator, or group of Senators,tries to stop the debate on a bill from ending for as long aspossible. These Senator(s) simply get up to speak in normalfashion, and then they refuse to relinquish the ability to speakon a bill to any other Senator(s) for as long as they can, oruntil 60 other Senators vote to end debate. This occurs whenSenators are opposed to open debate on a bill because theyare aware that the bill will come to pass. Filibusters takemany forms: sometimes a single Senator simply talks forhours, trying to stave off defeat in a debate they know theycannot win; other times, Senators do not even remain onthe Senate floor when they are conducting a filibuster.In the modern Senate, more often than not, it is the latter.No longer do Senators use the filibuster as a means of passionatelyfighting for a cause they believe in. Senators simply use it tostop legislation they are at all opposed to, never even giving anThe filibuster, over time, hasturned from one of the finestaspects of debate in theSenate to nothing more thana procedural roadblock.flamewarriorsargument in favor of their position. They simply stall,hoping that debate on a bill will go on for so long thatthe Senators who were originally in favor lose interest.The filibuster, over time, has turned from one ofthe finest aspects of debate in the Senate, such as whenused by Huey Long during FDR’s presidency, to nothingmore than a procedural roadblock. It halts the Senate frompassing needed legislation. It decreases the effectivenessand efficiency of our government, and turns the Senate intoa massive obstacle to the functioning of our government.The filibuster must still be retained, however, as animportant part of Senate procedure. It prevents the majorityparty from steamrolling over their opponents on each billand voting without even hearing the opinions of the minorityparty. If not for the filibuster, then any majority at all wouldallow for the passage of a bill, leading to mob rule within theSenate. That said, the government must reform the filibuster,keeping its useful properties while eliminating the rules thathave allowed it to grow into a nuisance and embarrassment.Senators in the 112 th session of Congress have workedon a proposal to helps solve some of these problems, whichallows for fixed amounts of amendments that each party canoffer and a fixed amount of debate on each, so as to limitpossible filibusters on amendments. However, the final rulechange, agreed upon on January 26 th , 2011, falls far short ofwhat is needed. Very few reforms to the filibuster itself haveactually been agreed upon. The only significant agreementmade between Democrats and Republicans was thatDemocrats would try to let Republicans make amendments,and Republicans would try to use the filibuster to blockbills less frequently. The Senate’s rules were not repaired20The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


Congress“The government must reform the filibuster, keeping its usefulproperties while eliminating the rules that have allowed it togrow into a nuisance and embarrassment.”as required. The reinstatement andpassage of those proposals are whatis necessary to fix the filibuster.One such proposal requiresany Senators wishing to filibuster toactually remain on the Senate floor forthe duration of the filibuster. The Senatevoted against this proposal, and in doingso have made a foolish mistake. If aSenator or group of Senators is opposedto a bill, then they should have to say why!It makes absolutely no sense for a Senatorto be able to bring the functioning ofour Congress to a grinding halt and notprovide a reason for doing so. If they areopposed to a bill, then they should try toactively change it or defeat it, rather thandeclare that they are staging a filibuster,and then leave. This proposal wouldalso increase the amount of senatorsin favor of the filibuster required to beon the floor by 5 senators for each daythe filibuster continues. This wouldtest a Senator’s commitment to his orher position, and make sure that theyare serious in their opposition to thebill and not just filibustering in orderto win votes from their constituents.Another proposal put forthby Senate Democrats would limitwhen a filibuster can be conducted. Itwould require only a simple majorityto end a filibuster during debate onwhether or not to consider a bill. Thiswould further streamline the processof passing legislation in the Senate,and it would encourage debate in theSenate. If Senators filibuster a bill, thenthey prevent everyone from sharinghis or her opinions on the legislationat hand. Important pieces of legislationneed to be debated and considered, sothat they can be amended if necessaryand passed into law. If neither partyis allowed to state their opinions on abill, then none of the Senators will beable to hear well-reasoned argumentsfrom their colleagues and possiblychange their vote. It disallows one ofthe basic principles encouraged inAmerican government and society:an open public discourse and debate.The United States Senate hasbeen crippled by the filibuster in recentyears. The Senate needs to be able toeffectively pass legislation and debateon it, otherwise none of the problemsfacing Americans can be solved. Weneed the proposals above to be enactedin order to fix our Congressionalsystem. If this is not done, then theefficiency of our government willsuffer and thus the American peoplewill suffer. In these uncertain times,the Senate’s procedural rules needreform, and they need it now. HMRthe badthe uglywikimediaOn June 12, 1935, HueyLong, senator fromLouisiana, filibustered theDemocrats’ attempt toretain a provision requiringSenate support forNational Recovery Administrationjobs that wouldhave given power to hispolitical enemies.esquireIn 1957, Strom Thurmondfilibustered the Civil RightsAct for the longest timeever by a single Senator.Thurmond read and discussedthe Declaration ofIndependence, the Bill ofRights, and Washington’sFarewell Address. Hisrecord still stands.length:15 hours, 30 minuteslength:24 hours, 18 minutesThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 21


CongressReducing our military budget andweakening our national defenseduring a time of war would be amistake, because providing for our nationaldefense is the most importantfunction of our federal government. It isnot appropriate to place national securityin a position where it is on par with discretionaryprograms. Wasted spendingthroughout government, including theDepartment of Defense, should be cut,however expenditures for our troops, intelligence,counterterrorism, and equipmentshould not be cut. Congress shouldensure that any savings from cuts arereinvested in the U.S. military to retainthe best personnel and maintain agingequipment.In a January 17, 2011 article, TheWeekly Standard reported that in 1991there were 710,821 soldiers in the U.S.army. By the end of the Clinton administrationin 2001, soldiers had dwindledto 478,918. After 9/11, the United Statesdebated both the proper response to theattack on the World Trade Center andthe ability of a weakened U.S. militaryto achieve those goals. Approximately500,000-600,000 soldiers were not sufficientto maintain a presence in bothAfghanistan and Iraq without putting severestrains on our volunteer army. TheU.S. military is asked to prepare for conventionalwar (against a large force, likeRussia or China), multiple small wars(Afghanistan and Iraq), peacekeepingand humanitarian missions (Haiti), andto be effective in the complex war againstterrorism. Before the war on terrorism,the army was able to focus on troop levelsand equipment to respond to whateverthe President and Congress required.However, the growing threat of Statesponsors of terror, such as Iran, who useboth conventional forces and terrorism,nuclear proliferation, and cyber-warfarehave made the Pentagon’s job complex22keep ourarmystrongby jonah wexlerand require an even greater arsenal ofweapons to effectively fight.No great power has survived withoutthe ability to project military strength.The West must address the economicstrain that growing entitlement programsput on funding an effective military. Overthe last two decades, Europe has grown itsentitlements programs to a point wheretheir militaries have become ineffective.With the exception of Great Britain, noEuropean military at this point has aneffective expeditionary force. Europeangovernments depend upon the U.S. militaryto do the “heavy lifting” they cannotperform on their own. They cannot evenrespond in their own backyard. Duringthe civil war in Kosovo, the EU was verygood at meeting and talking but the battlewaged on. It took American interventionthrough NATO to bring the war to anend. The world would be a more dangerousplace if the United States did not havean effective military. The United Statessafeguards shipping channels from theMiddle East to Asia, performs humanitarianmissions, and through agreementswith weaker democratic countries keepsnon-democratic aggressors in check.Defense Secretary Gates has announcedcuts to military personnel andthe budget. Today, the army is at around566,000 soldiers. Gates plans to cut27,000 soldiers, not including an alreadyplanned cut of 22,000 soldiers. The Marines,who perform the most of the Army’sfront line work, are also being askedto cut about 15,000-20,000 soldiers. TheNavy has only 287 ships, down from 529in 1991. At a time when our troops arewikimediaspread thin throughout the world and weare in two wars, cutting about ten percentof our manpower is a mistake. Not onlyis the military being asked to cut personnel,but also vital equipment. Thereare also certain programs that could becut to fund other programs. The F-22stealth fighter program has already beeneliminated. The EFV, or the Marines’ ExpeditionaryFighting Vehicle, probablyshould by cut because of cost overrunsand questionable effectiveness. Thosefunds are better used to upgrade an agingair force and other equipment, whichhas been overused during the Gulf, Afghan,and Iraqi wars. It is dangerous tocut these programs while China rapidlybuilds its arms and the growth of otherproblems the U.S. military may need todeal with.Military strength is useful off thebattlefield also. Military strength gives acountry political and diplomatic poweras it is less likely to be challenged andmore likely to be befriended by weakercountries and respected by stronger nations.Democracies do not declare was onother countries. Militarily strong democraciesmaintain a balance of worldwidepower, promoting peace and freedom.The U.S. military has been degraded overthe past twenty years: as the U.S. and theWest cope with an emerging China, anaggressive Russia, threatening Iran andNorth Korea, and a potentially explosiveLatin and South America, we must reversethis trend. As George Washingtononce declared, “To be prepared for war isone of the most effective means of preservingpeace.” HMRThe Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


CongressDemocracy on Saleby mohit mookimWhy campaign finance reform is imperativeto rectifying American governmentThe current system of campaignfinancing undermines the democracywe have so proudlyconceived. Money and politicshave never been as connectedas they are now. Candidates with relativelyless financial backing running fora political position have lower chances ofelection. Does the amount of money inone’s wallet really determine your abilityto represent a constituency? Shouldcorporate donations be able to bribe anddetermine the decisions made by thiselected official? I believe that the answerto these questions is an unequivocal “No.”Reform in the current regulations andpolicies regarding campaign financingare necessary to create a better democracy.From television advertisements topolitical rallies, money allows candidatesto reach an all-inclusive audience, whichleaves opponents at an unfair disadvantage.The origin of all of this money isthe most inequitable and heinous aspectof this financing: campaign donationsand past wealth. While past wealth hasits place in the private sphere, inheritedor self-made personal fortunes shouldnot affect the electoral process. Undercurrent regulations, any corporation candonate money to a candidate. Ideally, thisdonation would simply be an act of appreciationtowards a campaign, but thisis rarely the case. Instead, the decisionsof elected representatives are swayed bysupporting corporations. Simply put,corporate donations are de facto bribes toincline politicians to act in a certain way.Last year, Citizens United, an organizationdedicated to reasserting traditionaldemocratic values, defied its own missionstatement by attempting to releasea film bashing Hillary Clinton within 30days of election day. Not only would releasingthis film have clearly violated theMcCain–Feingold Act of 2002, the filmwould have opened the floodgates formoney into the late stages of election. InCitizens United v. Federal Election Commission,the Supreme Court in a split 5 - 4vote overturned Congressional regulationsand deemed this corruption of democracyconstitutional.As bleak as the situation may lookin its current form, precise and effectivereforms to the current policies for campaignfinancing could result in a fairerelectoral system. To meet this end, myproposal involves the government publiclyfinancing election campaigns. If apotential representative is running for apublic office, this money should naturallybe government financed. To avoid wastingpublic funds, a potential candidatewould additionally have to obtain an appropriateamount of signatures to run forpublic office. While a portion of taxpayermoney would be funding political campaigns,we should not be willing to compromisethe very principles that defineand distinguish America for a relativelysmall expenditure.Fighting against Citizens United v. Federal Election CommissionWith its ruling today, the Supreme Court hasgiven a green light to a new stampede of specialinterest money in our politics. It is a major victoryfor big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurancecompanies and the other powerful interests thatmarshal their power every day in Washington todrown out the voices of everyday Americans.“What’s happening right before our eyes is a blatantattempt by outside interest groups using secretmoney to buy a Congress that will serve theirinterests at the expense of the American people.”-Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)-President Barack Obama“Essentially, five justices were unhappy with the limited nature ofthe case before us, so they changed the case to give themselvesan opportunity to change the law.”-Justice John Paul StevensThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 23


CongressPolitical CloutTop Political Action CommitteeContributors to Candidates, 2009-2010Top Lobbying Sectors, 2009-2010Opensecrets.orgNational Association of Realtors $3,773,296Honeywell International $3,645,200AT&T Inc. $3,251,375National Beer Wholesalers Association $3,001,000Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $2,988,3731Health2FinanceEnergy$3.47Total3CommunicationsTransportationShould there be a cap on how much politicians can spendon political campaigns?100 HM Students Polled4billionLobbyingSpending (2010)Yes No Unsure5In contrast to the current system ofcampaign financing, this revamped systemwould eliminate significant unfairadvantages that non-incumbent candidateswould otherwise have. Data showa direct correlation between the likelihoodof a candidate being elected andthe amount of funding for his or hercampaign. We can end this erosion of democracyby placing opposing candidateson a level playing field and, in the process,creating a more fair and balancedelectoral process. Although this simplesolution has resolved one pressing issueregarding the campaign process and itsrelationship with money, another is yet tobe addressed: campaign donations.Although resolving the issue of campaigndonations lends itself to multiplesolutions, two basic proposals stand out:let people and corporations give donations- as in the current system - or banall and any campaign donations. Problemsarise in both cases. In the former,when a candidate is running for publicoffice, a corporation can heavily influencepotential candidates, swaying himto take certain courses of actions, as previouslydescribed. In the latter solution,worthy candidates would be drained oftheir ability to glean well-deserved andmuch-appreciated campaign donations.Campaign finance reform could be successfullyimplemented by allowing anyperson or any corporation to give donationsto potential candidates, on the conditionof anonymity. As both of the otheralternatives taint at least one aspect ofour sacred democratic system, this middlepath of anonymity strikes an effectivebalance between conflicting principles.Currently, several blatant flaws existin our system for campaign financing.The pragmatic solutions outlined herewould set us on the path for creating abetter and more-representative politicalsystem. Through campaign finance reform,not only would a more legitimate,money-independent electoral processbe created, but American politics on thewhole would be more focused on progress.American government would be reborninto one that can proudly attest toits most basic notions of fairness, equality,and democracy. HMR24The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


HealthHealthmvolGetting Kids Movingby kelvin rheeIn recent years obesity in Americahas become a huge issue, especiallyamong children from ages 6 to 11.What factors caused this suddenchange? While living environmentand diet play instrumental roles in personalhealth, lack of physical activity hasbeen cited as the largest contributor torising childhood obesity rates. A relativelyhealthy diet isn’t enough to sustainphysical health; without exercise, fat andcalories will build up and muscle won’t bedeveloped. Physical activity in children isespecially important for children becausethey are in the initial stages of physicaland mental development.For some kids, the only daily physicalactivity occurs at school during PhysicalEducation class. However, in someschools across America P.E. can be replacedwith activities like band or otherextracurricular activities. In some extremecases students are not required todo anything physical. According the Centerfor Disease Control’s study of schoolshealth policies in 2006, 20% of elementaryschools, 23% of middle schools and31% of high schools allowed students tobe excused from physical education forextracurricular activities, including participationin community service or musicalensemble. Across America only 4% ofschools provide daily physical educationand only 10% provided physical educationfor at least 3 days of the week.Congress is now engaged in an ongoingeffort to pass bills that require schoolsto make P.E. mandatory for all students ofall ages, no exceptions.These measures arenecessary to the healthof children in America.Recently, Congress approvedthe PhysicalEducation for Progress(PEP) Act, whichgrants local educationcenters money for theexpansion and improvementof physicalsparkpeThe government is taking steps towards improvingnational health as childhood obesity rates swelleducation programsfor all students in allage ranges. The bill setaside five million dollarsto fund schools’physical educationprograms though purchasing equipment,developing curriculum, hiring or trainingstaff, and raising awareness about therisks of obesity. The PEP Act is a step inthe right direction and it is encouragingthat Congress has demonstrated a willingnessto take a role in the fight againstrising obesity rates. The goal behind thePEP Act is an excellent one; however, theact has been somewhat controversial becauseof the cost of funding the improvementof physical education programsnationwide. Our government is deeply indebt, so funding for the PEP Act is harderto access. The PEP Act, although controversialand potentially difficult to fund, isworth the time and money because of thepotential benefits to national health.Whether it’s sports teams, P.E. class,or field days, physical education must berequired for all students. For this reason,Congress must continue the campaignagainst obesity, starting with the PEP Actand leading, hopefully, to dropping childhoodobesity rates. If Congress continuesthe efforts demonstrated in the passing ofthe PEP Act, physical education programsacross the nation will improve and childrenwill become more active. Exemptingstudents from physical education for anyreason other than injury is unacceptable;physical education must be required forall students and extracurricular activitiescannot serve as a replacement. When itcomes to the promotion of good health,exceptions cannot be made. HMRThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 25


HealthMarijuana is considered a grey-area formany, where they are not sure whether itis completely un-beneficial or completelybeneficial. This may be due to a lack offunding for government research in thetopic and the small amount of scientifictests affirming either. Despite the lack ofsubstantive tests, the amount of evidencecompiled so far is pretty convincing. Itshows that there is an increase of publicsupport for the legalization of medicalmarijuana. These studies have shown thatconsumption of marijuana amelioratesnausea and vomiting, the stimulation ofhunger in patients undergoing chemotherapyor who have AIDS, where lack ofappetite is rampant. In addition, marijuanacan lower pressure on the eyes, effectivefor treating glaucoma, as well as lesseningthe effects of pain for people with arange of diseases such as arthritis. Marijuanais currently legalized for medicinalusage in 15 states and Washington D.C.,and in Canada, Spain, The Netherlands,and Austria.Besides the health benefits receivedfrom medicinal use, Marijuana can proveto be a cash crop for the government ofthe United States. Despite argumentsthat smoking marijuana is damaging tothe health and that one isn’t in control ofoneself whilst high, infrequent usage recreationallyhas been proven to not affectyour health much. Marijuana has beenproven to be less harmful in the long-termas smoking tobacco, or as harmful in theshort-term as consuming alcohol. One ismore likely to lose control of the senses ormind while drunk than while high. If thegovernment legalizes marijuana or decriminalizesit, a subsidized-industry forgrowing marijuana can be created in theUnited States. This could create smallbusinessesthat could potentially help theeconomy. In addition, if marijuana wereto be sold legally in pharmacies or shops,the government could tax it, just as isdone in The Netherlands. The tax wouldbe very similar to what is already in placefor alcohol and cigarettes, and could createbillions in revenue for local or the federalgovernment. HMRThe Student Voice100 HM students polledThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 27


Energy“Robert Michaels stated that the bestway to solve the energy crisis is notto build-up new inefficient energyindustries but to find a way to forceenergy consumers to cut back ontheir energy demands. Congress’proposal to endorse clean, renewableenergy would actually preventeconomists, scientists, engineers,and politicians from actually findinga way to produce energy that ismore efficient.Congress supports its renewableenergy standard by maintaining thatwind and solar power productionmake more jobs than they eliminate.Yet, this statement has been provenwrong. An independent Germaneconomic think tank discoveredthat each new solar power job costs$240,000 and that, overall, hundredsof new solar power jobs would resultin greater energy costs, people losingjobs in other, more stable sectorsof the economy, and decreased consumerpurchasing power. A Spanishuniversity study also found that everyclean energy job created wouldDemocrats and Republicansare trying to formulate billsthat will force consumers tobuy electricity from companiesthat derive their powerfrom renewable, cleanenergy sources, primarilywind and solar power.According to this plan, by2020, 15 to 20 percent ofthe electricity that distributorspurchase will be generatedby harnessing windand solar power.destroy 2.2 jobs in other parts ofthe energy industry. Furthermore,agricultural government-sponsoredsubsidies did not manage to revitalizerural areas in the countryside ofthe United States. Therefore, Congressshould not expect renewableenergy subsidies to reenergize therural areas.Another major argument thatrenewable energy standard supportersemphasize is that solar and windpower cost less to produce thancoal, natural gas, nuclear power, andother conventional energy resources.No evidence exists, however, tosubstantiate this claim. The US governmentwould not be required toback the wind and solar power industriesif they were actually costcompetitive with other forms of energyalready. “Levelized” costs oftenallow economists to observe whichindustry makes more money whencomparing two or more industries.“Levelized” costs include the costof building a power plant, the timeneeded to build the plant, the fueland non-fuel costs of operating aplant, and the cost of financing. The“levelized” costs per megawatt hourare $100 for coal power, $129 foradvanced coal with carbon captureand sequestration, $149 for domesticwind power, $191 for off-shorewind power, $257 for solar thermalpower, and $396 for solar photovoltaicpower. Clearly, clean-renewableenergy of all kinds are muchmore expensive than regular coalor other substances like natural gas.Using the “levelized” costs statisticsas a guide, economists in Congressshould be able to see that subsidizingwind or solar power would increaseelectricity prices by 10 to 20percent.Congress could solve the energycrisis without using clean-renewableenergy, no matter how enticing“clean” and “renewable” mayseem. Clean-renewable energy isextremely expensive and destroysother energy jobs that were previouslymore standard, stable and efficient.In fact, a recent analysis bythe Heritage Foundation found that,by 2020, if solar and wind power aresubsidized by the government as hasbeen suggested, the typical Americanfamily would lose $1,700 annuallydue to extra energy expenses,and unemployment would increaseby an additional half-million.In addition to wind and solarsubsidies, another way that the previoussession of Congress tried toaddress the energy crisis was to passa cap-and-trade carbon-rationingbill that aims to cut the emissionof greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.However, the democraticleadership in the previous Senatecould not garner enough votes topass the bill. The 112th Congressmay pass this bill.President Obama and the 112thCongress should attempt to carryout many new strategies in order todeal with the energy crisis. Whileelectric cars are already on the market,a major objective is to create anelectric car battery that can run 200miles on a 10-minute charge. Hopefully,the ingenuity, intelligence and,entrepreneurship of America cancreate this technology as soon aspossible.The internal combustion enginethat still powers our cars has existedfor approximately 100 years. Over160,000 well-organized and effectiveThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 31


EnergyWARNING:FALLOUT OF THENUCLEAR DIMENSIONby adam mansfieldWhen thinking about nuclearstrikes, most think ofa huge mushroom cloudexplosion that envelopseverything. This, however,is not the full story. Nuclear strikes arenot the end all catastrophe that they areoften associated with. Although they areindeed devastating, there are ways toprevent massive losses.The initial strike of a nuclear weaponshoots out enough atomic particles tocook anyone inside a small radius with alethal dose of radiation. The radioactiveparticles created during the initial blastcontinue to spread at very high speeds.After the explosion, these traveling particlesare called fallout. They“slam intohuman bodies and cause severedamage at the molecularlevel, causing a high lossof white blood cells, damagednerve endings, andhemorrhaging. The radioactivematerials also can causedifferent forms of cancers aswell as deformities in embryos.To protect from theseradioactive particles after the initialstrike, people should stay inside, preferablyin a basement. The deadly particlescannot reach those who are properlysheltered. Many lives could be saved.It may seem like a scare tactic to rileup citizens against an enemy to say allof this, but the point is to inform, notto instill fear. This information can befound in an unclassified planning guidethat was made to help teach those aboutnuclear disasters. Knowing what happensduring this possible catastrophewill better prepare populations againstwhat might happen. The Obama administrationis discussing “how to spread theword without seeming alarmist abouta subject that few politicians care toconsider, let alone discuss.” Withholdingthis information is putting millionsof citizens at risk even if this particularcatastrophe isn’t likely to happen in thenear future.Ironically, at the same time thatthe government is hesitant to teach theAmerican people the proper protocolin case of a nuclear disaster resulting infallout, the government is encouragingplans that carry with them a real dangerof a nuclear accident. The United StatesThe Obama administration is discussing “how tospread the word without seeming alarmist abouta subject that few politicians care to consider,let alone discuss.” Withholding this informationis putting millions of citizens at risk even if thisparticular catastrophe isn’t likely to happen inthe near future.Government is in favor of creating andexpanding new nuclear power plants.The Department of Energy agreed to a$3.4 billion guarantee for the expansionof a nuclear facility in Georgia, and theObama administration asked Congressfor more funds to create more plantsincluding two new reactors to the ComanchePeak plant in Glen Rose, nearFort Worth. These power plants can haveproblems, and, if they do, then the resultingfallout could kill. Corrosion canbuild up in the exhaust towers whichcould lead to a major release of radioactivematerial into the air and water. Possibleplant melt downs also can occurof coolant isn’t properly applied. Meltdowns can lead to a large nuclear bomblike explosion. The public has seen thepossibility of such a problem during the3-mile island crisis when it had a partialmelt down.The Obama administration attemptedto explore what would happenduring a nuclear terrorists attack, butwas stopped in 2009. A live exercisewas planned for Las Vegas which wouldinvolve a fake nuclear terrorist attack.The casinos and businesses protested, ofcourse, as did Senator Harry Reid. This,they believed, would scareaway tourism costing thecity a lot of money.It is understandablethat citieswould be unwilling to do”full scale nuclear bombdrills, but it remains importantthat Americansunderstand what to do inthe case of a nuclear attack or accident.Smaller scale ways to convey knowledgemight be better. There could be schooland business nuclear threat drills similarto fire drills. When deciding whether toeducate and save the citizens in the UnitedStates or ignoring what some mightcall an improbable catastrophe, it is clearthat the answer is saving lives under anycircumstance. It is better to be safe thanto be sorry. HMRThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 33


EnergyBy Harry ManinThe Department of Energy projects that 650 trillion cubic feet of recoverablenatural gas exist in the US in shale rock formations that are known asshale plays. This form of energy has huge benefits. Although it is a fossil fuel, naturalgas is less toxic to the environment than oil or coal. An MIT interdisciplinary studycited natural gas as having “the lowest carbon intensity [of any other fossil fuel],emitting less carbon dioxide per unit of energy generated.” Unlike coal, it containsno mercury. And unlike both coal and oil, its refining process is not costly becausenatural gas has few impurities.Some environmentalists believe that these qualities make natural gas a potentiallyviable bridge from coal and oil to renewable energies like nuclear and solar.The use of natural gas will have positive economic effects. It is abundant enoughin the US that we could easily suffice on natural gas alone for two to three decades.Currently, the US imports about 20 millionbarrels of oil a day, spending over600 billion dollars on foreign oil a year.Natural gas could potentially wean usoff of our addiction to foreign oil andend what is now the largest transfer ofwealth in human history (primarily tounfriendly nations), keeping moneyand jobs in America. Adopting naturalgas would stimulate an economic boomthroughout the US, especially consideringthat workable shale plays exist in theNortheast, the Midwest, the Gulf coast,the Rockies, and the West.Seeing that America’s incessant needfor oil also sparked or fueled most ofour military operations and wars in theMiddle East since Operation EarnestWill in 1987, making natural gas ourmain energy source should be an easydecision.But switching to natural gas has notbeen seen as such an easy decision, becauseof deregulation that has allowedcompanies such as Halliburton to pollutethe environment. This follows a patternset during the Bush years, traceableto the actions of then-Vice President DickCheney.Though deregulation, and laissez fairepolicy in general, are conservative tenets,Cheney converted these ideas into an attitudeof self-serving neglect. It requires littleinvestigation to substantiate Cheney’sculpability for our present condition.Cheney’s tenure in the White Housedid not begin under George W. Bush. AsPresident George H. W. Bush’s Secretaryof Defense, he reduced the military by 426thousand personnel and cut military expendituresby $20 billion. These actionsbenefitted his corporate connections.One of his final moves as Secretary ofDefense was to award a $10 million nobidcontract to Halliburton to determinethe efficacy of the private military sectorin assisting a potentially undermannedUS Armed Forces. In 1995, Cheney wasnamed Halliburton’s chairman of theboard and CEO.Cheney’s underhanded dealings with34The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


EnergyHalliburton were not an anomaly, butrather part of a much larger trend. Hebecame vice president in 2001. Havingserved 10 years in Congress, part of it asHouse minority whip, he is adept in thelegislative process, and he masterfully exertedhis power as president of the Senate,a usually inconsequential post. He compelledCongress to grant Halliburton andthe private military contractor Blackwater(now Xe Services) multi-billion-dollarcontracts. Beyond the conflict of interestraised by Cheney’s involvement withthe former, Blackwater had connectionsto Cheney as well. The parents of ErikPrince, the private military contractor’sowner and founder, were in the upperechelon of conservative society and membersof the clandestine Council for NationalPolicy (CNP). CNP is a highly exclusivegroup whose mission is to “bringtogether the country’s most influentialconservative leaders…to cultivate ideasto help solve America’s growing problems.”Though the CNP deals surreptitiously,through leaks and its own condonedreleases, it is common knowledgethat Cheney has spoken there numeroustimes and is probably a member.Blackwater and Halliburton conductbusiness in highly scrutinized fields. Inorder to make certain that they were welltaken care of financially, Cheney hadto ensure that they were above the law.Bush, presumably under Cheney’s direction,issued executive order 13303, whichexempts American companies that dealwith Iraqi oil from legal action. Halliburtonhad a large presence in Iraq as buildersof oil rigs, and Blackwater mercenariesfrequently served as security contractorsdefending Iraqi oil.A substantial portion of Halliburton’sbusiness takes place on the home front,The USimportsabout 20millionbarrels ofoil a day,spendingover 600billiondollars ayear.including its natural gas operations.Cheney played a pivotalrole in the deregulationof domestic industry, whichallowed companies such asHalliburton to operate withrelative impunity. As its titleimplies, the Safe DrinkingWater Act of 2005 stipulatesregulations to protect America’swater from terrorism andcorporations. In response toits passage, Cheney essentiallybrowbeat Congress into passing the2005 Energy Bill later that year. It nullifiedmuch of the Safe Drinking Water Act,mandating decreases and even lapses ofgovernmental oversight on industry. Thebill became an exemption list, also freeingcompanies from the stipulations of theClean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, andthe Comprehensive Environmental Response,Compensation, and Liability Act.One of these exemptions deregulatedthe process by which companies retrievethe natural gas in shale, called hydraulicfracturing or simply “fracking.” Frackingoperates by drilling miles below theEarth’s surface to the shale formations.Then, through the recent innovation ofhorizontal drilling, the axis shifts sidewaysand drilling continues for aboutanother mile. To release the gas trappedwithin the shale, a mixture of water andsand, together with thousands of chemicals,are injected into the hole at extremelyhigh pressures.Since regulation has been close to nil,the companies involved in the frackingjobs, Chesapeake, Cabot Oil and Gas, andHalliburton, to name a few, have beenable to proceed negligently. They claimthat since they drill miles below the surface,the chemicals involved in frackingHydraulic fracturing, or fracking, allowsdrillers to harvest valuable natural gastrapped in underground rock known asshale rock. After drilling vertically andthen horizontally, water, sand and chemicalsare pumped into a well, cracking therock and releasing the gas.A proppingagent, oftenincluding sand orceramic beads, ispumped into thefractures to keepthem from closing.Releasednatural gas thenflows from therock fractures.The fracturingfluids are thenreturned back tothe surface.Drillers use aperforating gunto inject water,sand and chemicalsinto a geologicaformationwhen highpressure fromthe injectionexceeds therock strength,the fluid opensor enlargesfractures in therockThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 35


Energycannot affect private drinking wells andgroundwater. On the contrary, however,people around the country who havefracking operations in their areas havecomplained of oddly colored water, waterthat makes them sick, and even waterthat ignites. The industry has claimed noresponsibility and has emerged from numerouslawsuits unscathed.Another reported problem occursabove ground. When investigators positionedinfrared cameras on the drillingstructures, they saw toxic fumes oozingout of the complexes. In Fort Worth, Texas,scientists discovered that one of theseharmful plumes enveloped a school. Theindustry’s exemption from the Clean AirAct, thanks to Cheney, relieves it of responsibilityfor such occurrences.Until recently, the chemicals in thefracking concoctions were unknown. Perthe 2005 Energy Bill, they were consideredproprietary trade secrets, similar tofast-food recipes. Aggravating the problem,the Bush Administration withdrewthe Environmental Protection Agency’s(EPA) jurisdiction to regulate fracking.Dr. Theo Colborn, holder of the UnitedNations Environment Program WomenLeadership for the Environment Award,uncovered everything we knew, until recently,of the fracking fluids’ makeup. Shetook samples and identified 596 chemicalscommonly used during the frackingprocess, some of which are carcinogens.This September, the EPA, empowered byObama, requested of nine companies thatthey reveal the chemicals used. Everycompany except Halliburton complied.Halliburton, after years of Cheney’s protection,thought it was above the law. Andwith good reason: Even though Halliburtonwas implicated as a key player in theDeepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obamaadministration exonerated it of anywrongdoing. In this instance, however,the EPA, steadfast in its pursuit of justice,subpoenaed the conglomerate.Given the myriad benefits of natural gas,more forthright action must be taken inorder to legitimize it. Unfortunately, dueto the broad scope of the deregulation, theeffort to bring the fracking process up toadequate standards has been piecemeal.In such legislation as the Fracturing Responsibilityand Awareness of ChemicalsAct (currently deadlocked in the Senate),Congress has proposed to mend thedisaster one problem at a time. Unfortunately,this is the only viable course ofaction, short of an onslaught of executiveorders that can confer on natural gas extractionthe respectability it deserves as amore prudent fossil fuel.The Bush administration managedto blur the lines between free enterpriseand the role of government. It forgotthat government’s purpose is to serve thepeople, not to bolster the corporate sector.As great calamities befall the US,many resulting from Bush’s conservativederegulation juggernaut, the Obamaadministration is left to fix them. Withpopular uneasiness concerning naturalgas increasing throughout America, theDemocrats tried unsuccessfully to solvethe issue before the Republicans tookthe House. Natural gas could have beenthe first step to an energy-independentAmerica; now it may end up a permanentreminder of human greed. HMRThe HalliburtonLoopholeThe natural gas industry does not haveto disclose the 80-300 tons of chemicalsused per frack. Scientists have identifiedvolatile organic compounds suchas benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, andxylene.TREEHUGGER36The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


EnergyWhere’s the Alternative Energy?thevividedgeThe U.S. Government and Alternative Energyby daniel elkindKennedy said the U.S. wouldput a man on the moon beforethe end of the decade.That was May, 1961, and by1969, we had done it. Today,America faces an even more urgentproblem in the need to deal with itsrapidly increasing energy needs. Todeal with that problem, the U.S. mustembark upon a government-led initiativewith the same commitmentand sense of urgency that led Americato the moon. We are not doing soat the present.Consider these facts. The importationof foreign oil adds more than$200 billion per year to our nationaltrade deficit. Among the leadingsources of imported oil are 10 countrieson the State Department’s travelwarning list - highly unstable nationslike Algeria, Columbia, Chad,Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and theDemocratic Republic of the Congo.We import on average $1 billion of oilper day, and when oil prices spikedonly several years ago, our monthlytrade deficit from oil rose as high as$40 billion. Equally pernicious are theenvironmental consequences of ourreliance upon coal and fossil fuels.Approximately 54% of our electricityis produced by coal-powered electricplants which spew tens of millions oftons of sulfur dioxide and other pollutantsinto the air. Oil is like a narcoticto us - foreign entities gettingrich off of our inability to wean off ofit, the compulsive cries of “Drill, baby,drill!”, and the consequences for theAmerican economy and the environmentthat we often simply deny.At the same time that our dependenceon foreign oil is increasing, weare losing the lead in our commitmentsto alternative energy. In 2009,China, with an economy smaller thanours, dramatically surpassed the U.S.in investments in clean energy. Accordingto a PEW Charitable Trustand Bloomberg New Energy Financereport, Chinese investment in cleanenergy totaled about $34.6 billion in2009, nearly double the $18.6 billiontotal investment in the U.S. Chinais now the leading maker of solarcells, and the leader in wind-turbineproduction capacity. China has embarkedupon a national objective ofobtaining 15% of its total energy fromrenewable sources by 2020, and, justas important, is committed to buildinga massive industry as the leaderThe Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 37


EnergyPhotosin renewable energy technology. Bycontrast, the PEW/Bloomberg reportindicated that the U.S. is spending asignificantly smaller percentage of itsGross National Product on such investmentsthan countries like China,Brazil, the U.K., and even Spain.Critics of government supportfor alternative energies are fond ofpointing out that some forms ofclean energy are still more expensiveto produce than energy from fossilfuels. In some cases, this is true.Yet that argument misses the point,for a variety of reasons. First, if thegovernment is successful in dramaticallyincreasing the installation of alternativeenergy technologies such assolar panels, wind turbines, and electriccars, the cost of producing thesetechnologies will go down, just as thecosts of all new technologies declinerapidly over the course of their development.Second, if this countrydelays in rolling out clean energytechnology until the costs of cleanenergy are less than the costs of fossilfuels, then, by the time that fossilfuels become more costly than alternativeenergy, the U.S. will not have acompetitive industry. Third, the costof fossil fuels is not limited to the expenseof such fuels to the consumer,but also includes the enormous environmentalcosts that we incur as ourresult of the use of fossil fuels.There can be no doubt that cleanenergy is destined to become a massiveindustry of the future. The nationthat becomes the leader in cleanenergy technology will gain tens ofmillions of new jobs. Does Americawant to control the jobs that the newindustry will produce, or do we wantto see those jobs going abroad tocountries like China?While it is fashionable for conservativepoliticians to assert thatall of our problems can be solved bythe private sector and that the governmentshould have no role in assistingnew technological development,that way of thinking will leadto failure in our quest to become theleader in clean energy and to capturethe many millions of jobs that thenew industry will create. China hasalready embarked upon a government-sponsoredinitiative to becomea leader in the field. It is essential thatthe U.S. government aggressively fosterthe use of alternative energy at atime when the energy is still in development,so that we will become theleader in the field by the time that itbecomes more efficient and less costlythan fossil fuels and coal.In the American Recovery andReinvestment Act adopted by Congressin 2009, also known as the“stimulus” bill, President Obamaand Congress included stepped-upspending for clean energy. However,that spending only slightly made upfor years of neglect under PresidentBush. The new Congress needs to putin place a massive program of tax benefitsand government spending initiativesto establish clean energy usageand build the leading worldwidealternative energy industryin the UnitedStatesPerhapsthe mostcompellingmeasure the government cantake to promote alternative energiesand reduce our dependence on oil isto embark upon a program to convertthe country from gasoline-poweredcars to electric-powered cars.The electricity used to power electriccars can be produced by electric utilitieswith wind, solar, gas, nuclear, orany other source. As a result, if thecountry’s automobiles are poweredby electricity, then ultimately theywill be powered by the alternativesources of energywhich are themost efficient,the least expensive,and thecleanestforthe environment.Thegovernmentmust employa systemof taxcredits forindividual consumersand taxbenefits for the producersof electric automobilesto convert the nation’s automobilesfrom gas to electricity on a massivescale and as quickly as possible. Thismeans extending and increasing taxincentives dramatically and immediately.The U.S. needs to invest in nuclearpower in order to bring ourselvesinto step with countries like France,Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, andHungary. Nuclear power is currentlythe principal energy source in numerousEuropean nations, providingmy wind power sy38The Horace Mann Review | Vol. XX


Energystem76% of the total energy in France,36.7% in South Korea, and 57% inSlovakia. Yet America’s progress hascontinuously been thwarted“by localobjections to nuclear disposaland by prohibitiveobstacles to the approvalof new nuclear plants.While other countriesare moving forward, theU.S. had not built a singlenuclear power plant inthe past 14 years. For example,the Yucca Mountainregion hasbeen identifiedby the EnergyDepartmentas a potentialsitefor thenuclearwastedisposal,sinceit is geologicallyinactiveand a remotearea.Two-thirdsof Nevadansoppose the planon a “not-in-my-backyard”basis. Yet the EnergyDepartment recently estimated thatthe radiation exposure per year tothe Yucca nuclear waste site wouldbe 0.24 millirems per year, well underthe Environmental ProtectionAgency’s limit of 350 millirems peryear, and less than the 3 millirems towhich a passenger travelling roundtripfrom Nevada to WashingtonD.C. would be exposed. The YuccaMountain site should be approvedand completed promptly, and thepoliticizing of the issue should cometo an end. In addition, the federalgovernment should immediatelyadopt streamline procedures forthe approval of new nuclear powerplants so that the construction ofthose plants can be accomplishedin years, not decades. Investing innuclear power would reduce our energydependency on foreign nations,provide the most immediate alternativeto environmentally-damagingcoal, spur job creation, and createanother promising and competitiveindustry within the United States.The government must also spursolar energy by investing in the developmentof the technology andextending tax incentives for the installationof solar energy. Solar energyis still more expensive for individualconsumers than electricitypurchased from coal-burning powerplants. However, the cost to individualconsumers can be decreased if thedemand for solar power is increaseddramatically and the economies ofscale in producing solar power enablethe costs of production to bereduced. But if we wait until the costis less than the cost of other forms ofelectricity, then by the time that thecosts are equalized, the U.S. will betoo far behind countries like Chinato catch up in the development andimplementation of solar power.The government should similarlyencourage other forms of energy,among them wind power and naturalgas. Congress must increase andextend tax benefits to the producersof wind power. The governmentshould also vigorously encourage theconversion of electric power plantswhich currently rely heavily uponcoal fromcoal tonatural gas.Although”natural gasis a fossilfuel, it issubstantiallyless polluting than coal or oil,and the U.S. has enormous domesticsupplies of natural gas that can betapped into, rather than importingfrom other countries.All these can be accomplished bythe federal government. It will takemore than private enterprise. Thosewho believe that the federal governmentshould not be involved aremistaken, for doing so while othernations make firm investments inthe promising energy industry of thefuture will leave the U.S. far behindcountries like China, without anycompetitive industry, and withoutthe jobs, economic stimulus, andenvironmental benefits that alternativeenergies will provide. At a timewhen it is trendy to, in the words ofRonald Reagan, want to “get governmentoff the backs of the people,”the issue of energy is a testament tothe need for sturdy federal government.The race for the benefits thatthe alternative energy industry willprovide could well become another“Sputnik” moment for the U.S., asPresident Obama said, and the decisionsthat Congress makes now willdetermine how successful we will bein the future. If we procrastinate, itwill not be long before it is too late,and we will be too far behind tocatch up. HMRInvesting in nuclear power would reduce our energydependency on foreign nations, provide the most immediatealternative to environmentally-damaging coal,spur job creation, and create another promising andcompetitive industry within the United States.The Horace Mann Review | Issue 6 39


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