Teen Pregnancy Epidemic

According to a January 15, 2011, Foxnews.com article 86 teens at the same Memphis high school are pregnant. This news comes at a time when pregnant teens are being profiled and glorified on a popular cable TV network. The news also comes two years after a group of Massachusetts teen girls allegedly made a pact to become pregnant.

“Right now, these girls don’t know how to say ‘no,’ they’re having sex when they don’t want to, they just don’t know how to say ‘no,’” Deborah Hester Harrison with Girls Inc., a nonprofit group, told Fox.

Whether the pregnancy of those 86 girls was a coincidence or a preview of what’s to come, teen sex and pregnancy needs to be addressed immediately by parents, school administrators and local school boards. However, opponents of sex education in schools argue that discussing sex only heightens students’ awareness and curiosity.

One school district, however, attempted to curb teen pregnancy by distributing sex-kits in all of its high schools. However, the kits were later banned after school board members learned that condoms were not the only product present in the kits. Strawberry-flavored lube and candy were also contained in each package, which school officials deemed unacceptable.

Additionally, in Clayton County, Georgia, teen pregnancy is prevalent there similar to other high schools across the country. However, at Lovejoy High School, a visibly pregnant teen was allowed to participate in the school’s homecoming court and another teen was allowed to remain a cheerleader until she was six months pregnant.

What is the answer to curbing teen pregnancy in America? There is no one size fit all approach. The best deterrent by far is education.

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Gun Control – Yes or No?

Has heard all too often that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. But what if guns didn’t exist except in the hands of law enforcement? Most would say that being forced to give up their guns is a violation of their 2nd Amendment rights which states, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And they would be right. But what is more important, exercising your right to carry arms or preventing crime by everyone giving up their guns.

Nelson Mandela advocated for a non-violent South Africa when he urged citizens seeking revenge from apartheid to cast their weapons into the sea. What if that could happen in America? What if Americans uniformly agreed to give up their handguns to not punish those citizens who are good, but to lessen the powers of those who seek ill will? Would this deter the Jared Loughner’s of the world?

According to Lee Schelling, a former reporter for the Michigan City News Dispatch, he carries a weapon whenever legally possible. He said having his weapon has provided him safety in many circumstances over the past 30 years that may have left him hurt or injured without it. Similarly, author John Lott, wrote “More Guns, Less Crime.” His premise is that the more guns carried by American citizens is working to lessen crime in this country.

But what happens when guns end up in the hands of the Loughner’s of the world and used as weapons of terror against the public. Should America require mental health screenings for all those wishing to purchase weapons? That may have prevented the Virginia Tech shooter from purchasing a weapon. However, no such laws exist.

After incidents like the one in Arizona, the firearm rhetoric ramps up to fever pitch. If Americans did not carry firearms, would it lessen crime in America? The FBI Uniform Crime stats indicate that 1.5 million to 3.5 million uses of firearm occur in any one year in the US to protect life or property.  But how many of those incidents would have happened if the offender did not have a handgun to commit the crime in the first place?

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Tragedy Again Strikes America

This past weekend, evil reared its ugly head as a homegrown terrorist attempted to assassinate a United States Congresswoman during a meet and greet at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store. The gunman, who police identified as Jared Loughner, allegedly killed six and wounded 14 others before being subdued by bystanders. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is expected to survive after being shot point blank in the head, doctors reported.

Among those killed were a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl who was born on September 11, 2001. This young girl was born as terrorist attacked America and later died at the hand of a terrorist. The other four killed included one of Giffords’ congressional aides and a man who was shot while shielding his wife from gunfire.

Loughner was arranged today, January 10, 2011, for his alleged involvement in shooting the 20 victims. Officials said Loughner could be represented by the same attorney who defended Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh and the Unabomber.

Email postings of Loughner’s describe him as being upset about the government’s “mind control” and the grammar used by federal officials to divert attention away from illiteracy. Former classmates of Loughner predicted that one day he would turn to violence. College administrators were so concerned, they would not allow Loughner to return without a mental health exam.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to attend memorial services for those killed tomorrow while a Midwest church plans to boycott funeral services. The church, which is known to picket outside the funerals of US soldiers, said the shooting is a result of how the church has been vilified by the media.

Former presidential candidate John Kerry said it is time to tone down the rhetoric between political parties in Washington, D.C. “We need some real conversation – some honest dialogue – about where we’ve been these last years and where we’re headed, as a country.”

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The Golden Voice that Laid the Golden Egg

Many drivers have passed the homeless innocuously lining major expressways and thorough-fairs throughout this country. Some hold signs offering work for food. But something was different about Ted Williams’ sign. He was seeking a handout to hear his “God-given gift of voice.”

And it was the sound of his melodic voice that left a Columbus news team speechless. Williams, a New York native, had once been a professional radio announcer and his voice is definitely like no other. It was only after the news team broadcast Williams’s story that his life changed instantly.

Since his discovery, Williams has captured the hearts of America by making appearances on Good Morning America and the Today show. He has received at least a dozen job offers from doing voice overs for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese to announcing games for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Williams, who has lived on the street since 1993, said his downfall came in the form of alcohol and drugs. He characterized himself as a “functional addict” on the Today Show and said during the latter part of his career he drunk nearly a pint of liquor. After nearly two decades living on the street; however, he has been clean for the past two years.

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Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repealed

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy which governs gays and lesbians in the military, was voted down today by the US Senate. The vote signals the end of legislation which required homosexual military members to keep their sexuality closeted. President Barack Obama is schedule to sign the bill when it reaches his desk next week.
“I fought to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because it weakens our national security and military readiness,” Obama said. “It violates the fundamental American principles of equality and fairness.”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was established by President Clinton to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military. However, the policy became a legal and political quagmire for Clinton and those military members who wanted to express their homosexuality openly.
“I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my sexual orientation,” Obama said. “I know this repeal is a crucial step for civil rights, and that it strengthens our military and national security. I know it is the right thing to do.”
Although “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was enacted to prevent discrimination, the policy became discriminatory. Many military personnel were dismissed due their sexuality and robbed of a chance to serve their country. The repeal of the legislation will allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military without fear of reprisal.

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Hello world!

Hello World! My name is Camille Barbee Olmstead and I am a former reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal and at present I teach at Bellarmine University. I recently relocated to Louisville from Atlanta after spending eight years there; five of which I taught high school English Literature and Journalism. Upon returning to Louisville, I was hired by Bellarmine University to teach English 101 – Expository Writing as well as Newswriting and Editing, Writing for the New Media and Critical Thinking. I also wrote proposals for two IDC courses, one of which was The First Amendment.

During my stay in Atlanta, the district’s Superintendent, who was pleased with my efforts and became aware of my media-related background, hired me as Director of Communication for Georgia’s 5th largest school district. It was an exciting time in my life, and one filled with numerous professional and personal challenges.  

After three years as Communication director, I opted to leave Atlanta due to my divorce. My return to Louisville was bittersweet, however, as I arrived shortly before the death of my beloved father-in-law, Chuck Olmstead. I have decided to make Louisville my permanent home. Our initial decision to leave Louisville was a difficult one, however, my former husband Charles Olmstead, was offered a job at the NBC station in Atlanta, which prompted our move.

Prior to our move, I worked as a full-time general assignment reporter for The Louisville Courier-Journal. I also was elected Vice-President of the Louisville Association of Black Journalists. Before and during my time at the Courier-Journal, I won several writing awards; interviewed the President of the United States and former Soviet Union; and one of my articles was used in a filing presented to the United States Supreme Court.

 At present, I have my Kentucky Teaching Certificate and am classified as Rank II based on the completion of my Master’s degree in Secondary Education. I obtained a 4.0 GPA. I have also completed the coursework for a second Master’s degree, which I started 10 years ago and am in the process of finishing the thesis. It was a 10-year project to follow the development of a group of young children. My GPA for that Master’s degree was 3.67.

 Additionally, I started my Doctorate degree in 2005 and completed the first residency but realized I should take things a little slower to allow for my acclamation as Director of Communication, completion of my aforementioned book and my new status as a divorced mom. My Bachelor’s degree is from the University of Louisville where I graduated on the Dean’s List with a degree in Communication and a minor in English Literature. I have also passed the Praxis I & II.

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