Friday, 06 October 2017 16:14


Liberia, a country in West Africa, is a place that few people in Arizona have been but some lucky students at several schools across the state had the ability to learn about it first hand from Mr. Samuel Williams. Samuel was honored at the schools  he visited by receiving special flag ceremonies and then he spoke about his own country and the difference that he is trying to make. Samuel came to the U.S. to further his education so that he can go back and help shape Liberia's budding democracy. (Liberia's constitution is only 31 years old and modeled after our own.) Here are a few of the facts that Samuel shared about his country: •    Liberia has had 2 civil wars and lost over 600,000 citizens over the course of those wars.•    Samuel was 10 years old when his village was attacked and he had to play dead to survive. •    To live moderately well in Liberia it will cost about $10 a day.•    The minimum wage in Liberia is $7.00 a DAY.•    Computers are not easily accessible however almost everyone has a cell phone.•    There is 1 doctor for every 100,000 patients!•    Polygamy is still legal however, most city citizens do not practice it any longer. Samuel’s grandfather had 27 wives!
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 00:00


National Voter Registration Day is a day to celebrate democracy and your right to vote! This holiday was established to remind everyone they need to register in order for their voice to be heard at the polls. Imagine, you go to vote only to realize you forgot to register and are now unable to cast your ballot. No one should be faced with that disappointment. Enter National Voter Registration Day, a day to remind people to register, so they never have to feel like their voice doesn't count. If you haven't registered, maybe you just turned 18, maybe you recently moved to Arizona, whatever the reason you don't have to wait any longer. Registering is simple just go to Service Arizona and fill the form out online.    
Friday, 22 September 2017 00:00


The first day of fall is officially here and while it may not feel like it outside the obvious signs for Arizona are definitely there: days are getting shorter, Halloween costumes are on the shelves, pumpkin spice everything is everywhere and horror movies are hitting theaters in droves. Unfortunately, with movies and costumes also comes pranks and while many of them may be silly and harmless, like the red balloons tied on sewer grates, it is important to remember that pranks can go too far and when they do they can result in legal action. In 2016, a series of creepy clown sightings were spotted across 16 states and this past May in Arizona a man dressed in a Guy Fawkes mask, also known as the V for Vendetta mask, chased several children with an ax. Pranks, like the ax chaser, that intentionally place another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury are assaults and are illegal and can get you in a lot of trouble. It doesn't matter that the person who chased them never actually touched them, those kids had no idea what he was planning to do to them so it is a crime. If you are looking to creep out your friends this fall visit one of the many Halloween attractions for a good laugh and stay out of jail by avoiding masks and axes, even if you were just planning to have a little fun.      
Friday, 15 September 2017 00:00


The United States Constitution is one of the most defining documents of our country and September 17th is the day set aside to honor it. Here is what Chief Justice Scott Bales had to say about it: We observe Constitution Day on September 17 to recognize our Constitution’s progress since 1787. Sixty years ago this month, nine black children who just wanted to go to school found themselves at the center of a constitutional crisis. After the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racially segregated schools violate the Constitution, a U.S. district judge ordered the students to be admitted to Little Rock’s Central High School. The governor of Arkansas resisted by surrounding the school with state troopers and guardsmen. When the governor withdrew the state forces, their place was taken by a hostile mob blocking the students’ entry. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by deploying the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to enforce the district court’s order. Escorted by soldiers, the students – immortalized as the Little Rock Nine – bravely entered school under a barrage of threats and racial epithets. In televised remarks from the White House, the president explained his actions to his fellow citizens and the world. Eisenhower said “the cornerstone of our liberties” is that “we are a nation in which laws, not men, are supreme.” He recognized the president’s constitutional responsibility to see to the faithful execution of the laws. “The very basis of our individual rights and freedoms rests upon the certainty that the president . . . will support and insure the carrying out of the decisions of the Federal Courts.” The alternative, he noted, is anarchy. Read the rest of Chief Justice Scott Bale's article here.  
Thursday, 07 September 2017 00:00


"Where words fail, music speaks."-Hans Christian Anderson Hans Christian Anderson, the author of the Little Mermaid and the story that inspired Frozen, died in 1875. He never met a 17 year old from Phoenix, Arizona named Isaiah Acosta but his quote was never more true. Isaiah was born without a lower jaw and without pathways for oxygen to enter his body. He can't eat like you or I and doctors were not optimistic about how or whether he was going to be able to live. But Isaiah has been able to thrive. The one thing he hasn't been able to do however is speak, until now. With the help of rapper Trap House and communicating through text messages and gestures Isaiah finally found his outlet, and it is powerful. With Isaiah's lyrics brought to life by Trap House, Isaiah has found his voice. Together, the two have come out with the song "Oxygen to Fly" and inspire everyone to never say Can't or Won't.    
Friday, 01 September 2017 00:00


The internet doesn't belong to one person there are: service providers, tech companies, content companies, commercial entities, social media groups, not to mention the biggest market of all US, the user; then take all of that and multiply it on a global scale, to make up this massively complex web that we enjoy. However, this beautiful creation of connectivity has its dark side and some are wondering what if anything should be done to temper it. CNN's Jeffery Tobin explains in the video "Where do your first amendment rights end online?" the current situation of where the internet currently intersects with your freedom of speech. This 3 minute video briefly explains your rights and the rights of your service providers using recent events check it out.      
Thursday, 24 August 2017 00:00


The history of the internet is complex. Its birthday can go as far back as 1958 with the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) or as early 1995 with advent of internet privatization or several dates in-between, like the creation of the World Wide Web on March 12, 1989- the point is the relationship status of the internet is "it's complicated" and it doesn't look like it will be changing any time soon. While we have all come to know and depend on the internet there is no denying that it is still evolving and its latest evolution is net neutrality and figuring out just what that means. Merriam-Webster defines net neutrality, also known as open internet, as the idea, principle or requirement that internet service providers should or must treat all internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source or destination. The United States Federal Communications Commission established the Open Internet Order to regulate how your internet service providers, companies like Cox and Century Link, must treat you. Internet service providers must be transparent, they can't block lawful content and they can't discriminate. Currently this regulation only applies to internet service providers and does not apply to other organizations in the tech industry but some wonder if there should be more government regulation on the internet especially where constitutional issues are concerned. Freedom of speech is one the most fundamental rights of the U.S. and some wonder if these companies who have the ability to censor speech should they be checked by the Open Internet Order and brought under more regulations. Other's believe as Thomas Jefferson did and who is quoted as saying, "I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves;" in other words it should be left up to the people. What do you think?    
Friday, 18 August 2017 00:00


What? If you don't know what sine die means don't worry you aren't alone, neither does the majority of the population but these words are very important when they are tied to the Arizona State Legislature. Merriam-Webster defines sine die as "without any future date being designated (as for resumption.) When the Arizona State Legislature adjourns, or ends, sine die it means that this is the end of the legislative session. Once the legislative session ends the laws that have been decided during that legislative session will go into effect 90 days after the session adjourns. Since the legislature adjourned in May, this means all the new laws are now in effect. To learn more about the laws that were passed visit the Arizona State Legislatures website.  
Friday, 04 August 2017 00:00


August means students will be dusting off their alarm clocks or turning on their forgotten alarm apps and heading back to school. The joy of sleeping in on a weekday will come to an end, or will it? A debate has waged for years about whether school should start after 8:30 a.m. Among those who are for the later start time is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who state that doing so "will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty." AAP also states that on average a teenager needs to receive 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night, so a child whose natural sleep cycle started at 8:30 p.m. would change to a start time of 10:30 p.m. when he hit puberty and if he received the minimum 8.5 hours of required sleep wouldn't wake up until 7 a.m. That doesn't leave much travel time or anything else if school starts at 7:30 a.m. Adequate sleep would also reduce other side effects like depression and car accidents and overall increase the effectiveness of lessons. If you aren't tired then its just easier to pay attention. However, the opposing side states that late start times are unnecessary and that the reduction of artificial light, light from televisions, computers, tablets and phones, would have the same effect on our sleep/wake cycle. Parents who take their kids to school would also be greatly impacted by the later start times especially if they are unable to change their work hours. The California State Legislature may soon be providing us with a long awaited answer to this debate as a bill marches through the legislature. In time we will see what becomes of it and if any other state follows suit. Until then, there is always the snooze button.        
Friday, 28 July 2017 00:00


No, I am not talking about the purple ribbons used to raise awareness for domestic violence and abuse but the WiFi company, Purple, from Manchester, England who decided to see if anyone was paying attention to their contracts. We have all seen the long user agreements and skipped to the bottom where it says "I accept" without reading what exactly we agreeing too. Well, it turns out 22,000 people agreed to pick up animal waste, manually relieve sewer blockages and paint snail shells to brighten their existence as part of the “Community Service Clause” placed in their WiFi contract. The agreement also stated that anyone who read the contract and contacted the company informing them of such, would receive a prize. One resolute person did so. One out of 22,000 that is an unfathomable .000045%! While Purple does not plan to actually enforce the agreement they did successfully prove their point, we aren’t reading our user agreements and you never know what you could actually be signing away. Learn more about contracts here.