Proposition 4, the so-called parental notification initiative, is perhaps the most dangerous issue on the ballot today because unless we defeat it, thousands of California’s most vulnerable teens will be put in harm's way. Proposition 4 is a third attempt by the same right-wing extremists to amend the California Constitution despite the fact that voters clearly voiced their opinion against this issue in two prior elections. Unfortunately, Proposition 4 is even more dangerous than the first two initiatives because it damages families as well as teens.
Proponents claim that the “alternate family notification” provision in Proposition 4 addresses the issue of teens who are unable to talk with their parents by allowing them to notify another adult family member. But this notification is nothing more than a state-scripted form letter sent to another relative who may not live in the same town. Proposition 4 contains no requirement for counseling, no requirement that the other adult help a teen when she is in crisis. In reality, “alternate family notification” is a cruel process that would force a pregnant teen who wants to notify another family member to sign an affidavit reporting the history of mistreatment by her parents — prompting a written report to law enforcement and an investigation would ensue. A scared pregnant teen who cannot talk to her parents is not going to go to a doctor, report her parents, and then return home to wait for law enforcement to knock on her door!
An old white man (born in 1927), raised in the hills of Virginia, has endorsed a young African-American man who is running for president. I imagine the older man grew up hearing and using that explosive word, to refer to a man like the younger man.
One of the big things philosopher-types like to do with their students is work on extracting arguments from a piece of text and reconstructing them. This can be useful in locating sources of disagreement, whether they be specific premises or inferences.
But some chunks of text that seem like they ought to have arguments that can be extracted and reconstructed end up being ... opaque.
For example, this question and answer between Katie Couric and Sarah Palin (transcript by way of Shakesville):
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
With all the to-do over the Republican vice-presidential nominee, a California initiative has not received the attention it should. I'm talking about Prop. 4.
Proposition 4 is an initiative that would change California's constitution so that parents must be notified before a girl terminates her pregnancy. At first blush, that sounds reasonable. But you cannot mandate good communication by legislation. In fact, if passed, Prop. 4 would put California's most vulnerable teen girls at greater risk than at present.
(If you are thinking, "Didn't we vote on that already?", you're right. This is the third time that a group of wealthy businessmen, lead by San Diego's James Holman, have tried to pass legislation that puts teen girls' health at risk. You're remembering the 2005 election's Prop. 73 and the 2006 election's Prop. 85. It's estimated that Holman alone has spent more than $4.5 million on the three campaigns.)
This, the third version, has some particularly nasty twists, including onerous requirements for Child Protective Services reporting.