Family is where it is!!!!!

Family is where it is!!!!!
Christmas in Disney
Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if there are topics I should be spouting                                   off on.  

Remember that "Life is short. Break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly,                love fully and laugh uncontrollably....."


Monday, September 14, 2009

Miranda Warning for the Pledge-What's your reaction

By Allison Pataki in Fox News

Students recite the Pledge of Allegiance in class.

It's a new school year, but an old fight is brewing in American classrooms. Teachers and administrators around the country are scratching their heads once again over the Pledge of Allegiance.

The courts have consistently ruled that students have the right not to recite the pledge in public schools. But now some First Amendmentadvocates are taking it one step further, arguing that the law compels educators to inform kids at the beginning of school that the decision is entirely up to them.

They're advocating a "Miranda warning" for the Pledge -- an administrative notice to students that they have the right to remain silent.

“The Pledge of Allegiance creates a constitutional problem. You have to tell students they can opt out,” the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told FOX News.

New Mexico dealt with this question last month when its education secretary upheld that students are permitted to opt out of the Pledge, but rejected an ACLU-backed amendment that would require schools to inform parents and students that they have the option.

In Florida, schools have tried to resolve uncertainty by announcing a new policy — students don't have to participate, as long as they have a letter from Mom and Dad.

These are just the latest in a litany of challenges to the Pledge and its place in the classroom.

Americans have recited the tribute to the stars and stripes since the oath was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892. But Bellamy's pledge did not include the words "under God," which were added by Congress in 1954 during the McCarthy era, when Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union — an atheist nation — were high in the United States.

Thirty-six states now have laws requiring that the Pledge of Allegiance be recited daily in public schools. But the oath as it's written does not sit well with some Americans.

“The Pledge doesn’t even state the truth. We are not one nation under God," Lynn said. "I don’t think we should lie to students, and there’s no way we can require them to say it.”

But supporters of the Pledge insist that the words are both constitutional and an important part of our national heritage.

“There has been a recurring effort by the ACLU and others to try to stop the Pledge of Allegiance from being said. The fact of the matter is that the American people like the Pledge of Allegiance, they like it the way it is,” Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, told

“The teachers are government employees, their paychecks are paid by the taxpayers, and the American people support the Pledge. I’m with the American people,” Schlafly said.

The majority of Americans do, in fact, overwhelmingly support the Pledge of Allegiance in its current form. A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll from November of 2005 showed that 90 percent of Americans approve of the oath. Only 7 percent of people polled said they would change the language of the Pledge, while three percent of Americans were undecided.

The Pledge's popularity aside, the Supreme Court ruled in 1943 that mandating a student to participate in the oath was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

Now the ACLU and other critics of the Pledge are taking the dispute a step further — arguing that students, whether they do or don't support the oath, should be told up front that they are not required to recite the words.

They lost the first round in New Mexico last month, when state Education Secretary Veronica Garcia ruled not to change state policy — which requires that the Pledge be recited daily — to inform students of their right to opt out.

"The department believes that the existing rule and practice in schools respects the rights of all students," Garcia said a statement. "Any issues related to rights of students will be handled at the local school district level," the statement read.

New Mexico ACLU Director Peter Simonson protested the ruling, telling the Associated Press, "I think it's a cop-out not to affirmatively state that students have a First Amendment right not to participate in the Pledge." Simonson declined to elaborate when contacted by

In Florida, ACLU attorney Randall Marshall successfully argued a case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in defense of high school student, Cameron Frazier, who abstained from reciting the Pledge because of “personal political beliefs” and, according to the lawsuit, was “singled out and humiliated” by his teacher.

“We made the case that students must be informed that they are not required to recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” Marshall told

"It’s not a challenge to the content of the Pledge. Only that students be informed that they are not required to recite it."

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Children of 9/11 Grow Up by Peggy Noonan

The Children of 9/11 Grow Up
College students talk about how the attack shaped their lives.

It is eight years since 9/11, and here is an unexpected stage of grief: fear that the ache will go away. I don't suppose it ever will, but grieving has gradations, and "horror" becomes "absorbed sadness." Life moves on, and wants to move on, which is painful for those who will not forget and cannot be comforted. Part of the spookiness of life, part of its power to disorient us, is not only that people die, that they slip below the waves, but that the waves close above them so quickly, the sea so quickly looks the same.

I've been thinking about those who were children on 9/11, not little ones who were shielded but those who were 10 and 12, old enough to understand that something dreadful had happened but young enough still to be in childhood. A young man who was 14 the day of the attacks told me recently that there's an unspoken taboo among the young people of New York: They don't talk about it, ever. They don't want to say, "Oh boo hoo, it was awful." They don't want to dwell. They shrug it off when it comes up. They change the subject.

This week, in a conversation with college students at an eastern university, I brought it up. Seven students politely shared some of their memories. I invited them to tell me more the next morning, and was surprised when six of the seven showed up. This is what I learned:

They've been marked by 9/11 more than they know. It was their first moment of historical consciousness. Before that day, they didn't know what history was; after that day, they knew they were in it.

It was a life-splitting event. Before it they were carefree, after they were careful. A 20-year-old junior told me that after 9/11, "a backpack on a subway was no longer a backpack," and a crowded theater was "a source for concern." Every one of them used the word "bubble": the protected bubble of their childhood "popped." And all of them said they spent 9/11 and the days after glued to the television, watching over and over again the footage—the north tower being hit by the plane, the fireball. The video of 9/11 has firmly and ineradicably entered their brains. Which is to say their first visual memory of America, or their first media memory, was of its towers falling down.

I'd never fully realized this: 9/11 was for America's kids exactly what Nov. 22, 1963, was for their parents and uncles and aunts. They were at school. Suddenly there were rumors in the hall and teachers speaking in hushed tones. You passed an open classroom and saw a teacher sobbing. Then the principal came on the public-address system and said something very bad had happened. Shocked parents began to pick kids up. Everyone went home and watched TV all day, and the next.

Simon, a 20-year-old college junior, was a 12-year-old seventh-grader at a public school in Baltimore. He said: "It's first-period science, and the teacher next door, who was known to play jokes on other teachers, comes in completely stone-faced and says a plane has hit the World Trade Center, and no one believes him." Simon didn't know what to believe but remembered reading that in 1945 a plane had struck the Empire State Building, and "the building stayed up," so he didn't worry too much.

"At lunch time the vice principal comes up and he explains that two planes had hit the World Trade Center and one had hit the Pentagon and the World Trade Center was gone, and I never—when you have your mouth agape it's never for anything important, but I remember having my mouth agape for a minute or two in complete and utter shock. I went to my art period and I remember my art teacher sitting there with her hands on her face just bawling, she was so frightened. My mom picked me up, and I remember walking with her, and I'm saying 'This is Pearl Harbor.'"

Nine-eleven, he felt, changed everything for his generation. "It completely destroyed our sense of invincibility—maybe that's not the right word. I would say it made everything real to a 12-year-old. It showed the world could be a dangerous place when for my generation that was never the case. My generation had no Soviet Union, no war against fascism, we never had any threats. I was born when the Berlin Wall came down. It destroyed the sense of carefree innocence that we had."

Juliette, also 20 and a junior, was in eighth grade in Great Falls, Va. "I think the kids were shocked," she said. "The major question was how could this happen, who would do that—like, how does something so crazy happen? What I had is a sense that it was going to be one of those days of which 30 years down the road, people would ask me, What were you doing on that day, where were you on 9/11?—that my children would ask me. And so I set myself to remembering the details."

I told her that it is interesting to me that no great art has yet come from 9/11. The reason may be that adults absorbed what had happened, and because we had absorbed it, we did not have to transmute it into art. Maybe when you are still absorbing, or cannot absorb, that's when art happens. Maybe your generation will do it, I said.

She considered this. "There's always the odds that something much more horrible will happen that will really shake us out of our torpor, that will wake us up," she said.

The attack was not only an American event. Robbie, an 18-year-old freshman, was 10 and in primary school in England. "We were near the end of school. There were murmurs from teachers about something happening. I remember going back home, and my mum had both televisions on with different news channels. I remember the tower and the pillar of smoke. The big pillar of smoke was very vivid to me, and my mother trying to explain the seriousness of it. I think 9/11 brought us bang slap into the 21st century. I remember when the millennium came people said 'new time, new world,' but 9/11 was the 'new time, new world.' I understood it was something big, something that changed the world."

Then he told me that after we had talked the previous evening, he'd had a dream. "I was back in my old school in England, and in front of me I could see the city of Bristol, nothing distinct, but big towers, big buildings. And I could see them crumbling and falling. There was a collective fear, not just from myself but amongst everyone in the dream. I remember calling in the dream my mum, and saying 'Are you safe, are you safe?' I think this perhaps shows that after 9/11 . . . as a small child you felt safe, but after 9/11, I don't think I personally will ever feel 100% safe. . . . I think the dream demonstrates—I think the dream contained my hidden feelings, my consciousness."

He remembered after 9/11 those who rose up to fight terrorism. Even as a child he was moved by them. There are always in history so many such people, he said. It is always the great reason for hope.