Saturday, October 18, 2008


By Alana Folsom, 17, Senior writer, Marshall HS (2008 graduate)October 2008 Issue

Photo by Kaitlyn Tsai, 15, Walnut HS

      L.A. Youth was created in 1988 after a U.S. Supreme Court decision empowered school administrators to control the content of school newspapers. Many high school journalism programs and newspapers were devastated by this decision. L.A. Youth filled the void by restoring a free press and creating for young people a journalism program that fosters critical thinking, writing skills, literacy and civic education. Click here for a message from L.A. Youth's Executive Director and Publisher Donna C. Myrow.
      L.A. Youth newspaper now has a readership of 400,000 in Los Angeles County, and a Web site at that attracts more than 45,000 visitors a month. We've also launched a special project to publish the
work of youth in the foster care system.
     Many alums have graduated from college and have built on their experiences at L.A. Youth to have success in careers in journalism, teaching, research and other fields.                  

To help you decide, here’s where the candidates stand on the issues.

John McCain
72 years old.
Graduated from U.S. Naval Academy.
Prisoner of war for five and a half years during the Vietnam War (1967‑73).
Member of House of Representatives for Arizona (1982‑86) then became U.S. Senator (1986-present).
Married to Cindy McCain with seven children and four grandchildren.
Vice-presidential running mate is Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska.

Barack Obama
47 years old.
Attended Occidental College (two years) and graduated from Columbia University; Law degree from Harvard.
State Senator in Illinois (1997-2004) then became U.S. Senator (2005-present).
Married to Michelle Obama with two children.

Vice-presidential running mate is Joe Biden, senator from Delaware.

Photos courtesy John McCain 2008 and Obama for America


Fact: The budget deficit was more than $400 billion during the last budget year.

• Make the Bush tax cuts permanent, even though he voted against them in 2001 and 2003. The people who benefit the most from the Bush tax cuts are those who earn more than $1 million a year.
• Cut taxes on businesses from 35 to 25 percent.
• Create a government task force that would go after fraudulent mortgage lenders.
• Freeze new spending for one year and cut back on earmarks. (Earmarks are when members of Congress add funding for projects in their states to the end of bills that are being passed.)
• Eliminate Bush tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000.
• Eliminate federal income tax for senior citizens earning less than $50,000.
• Expand unemployment assistance and raise minimum wage.
• Forbid Congress from creating new programs or proposals that it can’t pay for.


Fact: 47 million Americans (15 percent) don’t have healthcare, and 25 million people have healthcare plans that don’t pay for all their medical expenses.

• Opposes requiring everyone to have healthcare. Proposes making insurance affordable and available to all through competition (he says if insurance companies compete, they will offer better and cheaper health plans to attract more clients).
• Would give $2,500 per person, or $5,000 per family, to buy health insurance.
• Cheaper prescriptions through imported and generic medication.

• All children must have either private or government insurance.
• All employers must provide insurance or contribute to the cost (except for small businesses).
• People can choose to get health insurance from the government or a private plan.
• Prohibit health insurance companies from denying coverage or raising rates because of an illness.
• Cheaper prescriptions through imported and generic medication.



Supports a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in 2050. (Cap-and-trade: Each company is allowed to pollute a certain amount. If a business wants to pollute more than they are allowed, they have to buy a “credit” from a company polluting less than they are allowed, thereby rewarding the businesses polluting less, punishing the business polluting more and lowering pollution levels.)

• Wants to build 45 nuclear power plants by 2030.

• Advocates new technology to reduce greenhouse gasses. For example, McCain announced he would give $300 million to the first person to invent a battery for an electric car that would make the car affordable for consumers.

• Would encourage off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil.


• Supports a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent in 2050.

• Would work with China, Russia, India and the European Union to combat global warming by creating a forum that focuses on climate change.

• All gas fuels must have 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less by 2020.

• Wants to give every American family $1,000 to offset energy costs; would take money from oil company profits to pay for it.

• Pledges to put 1 million hybrid cars on the road by 2015.

• Would spend $150 billion during the next 10 years to research clean energy technologies, creating 5 million “green collar” jobs.

• Wants the United States to get 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources like solar and wind by 2025.


Fact: The cost of attending college has increased at twice the rate of inflation.


• In favor of school vouchers, which will pay for tuition at private schools for certain students. States would decide who qualifies.

• Set aside money to recruit people who graduate in the top 25 percent at their college to become teachers and to continue support for Teach for America and similar service programs.

• Leave No Child Left Behind intact.

• Spend $500 million on creating “virtual schools” (online schools).

• Would make the student loan process simpler but doesn’t mention specifics about how he would do that.


• Provide grants for pre-school education and increase funding for pre-school programs.

• Reform No Child Left Behind to fund schools that are struggling over schools that are succeeding; current law threatens to cut funding to failing schools.

• Improve math and science education by recruiting teachers by helping pay for tuition in exchange for teaching in needy areas for at least four years.

• Pay teachers better; incentives for returning teachers who mentor new teachers.

• $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.

• Make applying for financial aid easier by allowing parents to check a box when they file taxes rather than having to fill out a separate financial aid form.

War in Iraq

Fact: Since 2003, the war has cost more than $600 billion. Nearly 4,200 soldiers have died and more than 30,000 have been wounded.


• Voted to authorize the invasion in 2002.

• In favor of troop increase since beginning of invasion.

• Says that most troops will be out of Iraq by 2013.


• Wasn’t a senator to vote for or against the Iraq war, but opposed the invasion at the time.

• Opposed the surge, but has said since that it worked.

• Withdraw one or two brigades, which have 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers each, per month and have all troops out by mid-2010; would leave some troops to train Iraqis and combat terrorism.

War in Afghanistan

Fact: U.S. invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Osama bin Laden, head of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for 9/11, remains free.


• Build permanent U.S. bases.

• Send three more brigades, and make the Afghan army roughly 160,000 soldiers.


• Direct some of the troops that would be withdrawn from Iraq to Afghanistan to fight terrorists and train Afghan police and military.

• Send two additional brigades.

• Increase non-military aid by $1 billion, while restricting aid to Pakistan.



• Against talking to Iran without conditions.

• Would work with European countries to pressure Iran into stopping its nuclear program.

• Says invasion is a possibility.


• Willing to talk to Iranian government without pre-conditions, saying policy of not doing that hasn’t worked.

• Would offer membership in the World Trade Organization as reward for Iran stopping its nuclear program.


Fact: There are roughly 11.9 million illegal immigrants in the United States.


• Says border security will be his first priority in dealing with immigration.

• Supports path for illegal immigrants to become legal residents that includes fees, learning English and a background check.

• Wants a temporary worker program in which immigrants are allowed to work in the United States for a set number of years and then they must go back to their home country.


• Supports a path for illegal immigrants to become legal residents that includes fees, learning English and a background check.

• Voted for the border fence between the United States and Mexico to be extended and have added technology.

• Supports guest-worker programs that would permit immigrants to come to America to work, provided there is a need for that type of work here that U.S. citizens are not filling.



• Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that made abortion legal.


• Supports Roe v. Wade.

Marriage for same‑sex couples


• Opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposes a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.

• Believes this is an issue individual states should decide.


• Opposes same-sex marriage, but also opposes a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.

• Supports civil unions, under which same-sex couples are given the same rights (filing joint taxes, hospital visits, etc.) as married couples.

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