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Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's A Pink, Pink World

Today is the last day of “Pink Month.”

I know, some of you are thinking, “Wait? Isn’t that October? Breast Cancer Awareness month?”

Yes. Yes it is.

But September is the month of my birth and therefore in My world it is Pink Month. I wear Pink every single stinking day of September. Yes. Yes, I do.

And today was the last day.

I am ready for it to be over. Haha.

Why Pink? Because pink is my favorite color. Why is pink my favorite color? I have no idea.

It might have started as the Anti-boy color since I was the only girl in the middle of five brothers. Literally, in the middle, I’m number three! The more pink I had the more they were repelled.

And I was (and am) a girly-girl. But I wasn’t in every way because I liked to play outside, ride my bike and run crazy like most kids. I also liked to play dress-up and play with dolls and Barbies. Of course I did!

So Pink Month is the celebration of ME!

The only thing missing was my trip to Disneyland; my Mecca. I miss it. I got a year pass the year they did the “Get In Free On Your Birthday” and that was one of my favoritest birthday’s ever. I went to Disneyland By. Myself. And spent money On. Myself.  I also enjoyed a delicious waffle cone while watching the fireworks.


My birthday gift this year was a night of camping.

And maybe this blog. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm mostly deaf... Did you know?

My creativity has been limited to and for my school work this month. My Lucky Penny story has not progressed One. Character.


October is supposed to be the month I start the Fantasy collaboration with my brother. I don’t know if he’s ready [snicker]. I need to get in the habit of writing creatively on a regular basis. It’s Who I Am and Who I Want To Be …which by the way was the impetus for this blog!

I do not feel whole when I’m not writing. Making my Blog a priority is good but when it gets let go by the wayside I feel guilty AND out of tune. With what? I’m not sure exactly, but definitely like “something is not right” (ala Miss Clavel of Madeline).

Getting Crackle’s schedule and school stuff taken care of was also a priority. I am still trying to get a hold of someone at Regional Center. I don’t know what has happened with my rep but I left a message with the “emergency” person …again. I’ll have to call in the morning if I don’t hear from them. Which is another thing I’ve been struggling with lately, the phone calls.

Admittedly, part of my hesitation with things is because of my lack of ability to do them perfectly. I don’t like to talk on the phone because I cannot hear very well. I like to text, email, chat on Facebook…basically anything textual I’m all over but speaking, talking or having to listen on the phone is difficult.

And embarrassing.

There it is. That’s the truth of the matter. 

I’m embarrassed because I cannot hear you and I’m afraid to be too annoying and say, “Excuse me?” yet again. My family gets it (and they yell at me) a lot. I’m not sure how bad my hearing is now but it’s bad.

I can’t hear. So I don’t want to call you. I don’t want to call anyone.

Okay. That’s out.

I heard a podcast today about people who are deaf and blind. My greatest nightmare and I am getting closer every day. It scares me. It scares me more than a corn maze! 

I heard another one about Seaside Therapeutics. Wow. I don’t know if what they are working on will help Crackle but … Wow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Short, Sweet and To The Point.

Another Friday and another day of cleaning.

I spent most of the weekend working on my teacher education class. That’s what I get for putting off four lesson plans. I just don’t like doing them. Not the lesson plans so much but doing it their way. KWIM?

Anyway, took the final (got 90% YEAH!) and it’s all done. Now I have a Bio class.


I weighed myself Friday morning and I was 166. That’s okay. Not where I want to be but I found a weight loss post from about a year ago and I was 158 so that’s less of a gain than I thought. I still want to be under 150 (preferably under 140) but we’ll see.

I walked last week but that’s about it. I need the strength training but my lower back has been aching.

Yeah. That’s my whine/mantra for the year… for my life?

Whatever, I’m tired of feeling lousy! I watch these young lithe ladies and their smooth swift movements and :::sigh::: that’s not me. Not sure if it’s ever been me. Haha.

My goal for this week is to walk more, maybe even run again (Yay!) and do the strength training!  

According to my calendar I start with toning/strength training routine “B” on Monday, Tuesday is a “Cardio” day, then Wednesday is “A” routine. Thursday is “Cardio” again, “B” on Friday then “Cardio” on Saturday.

I can do it! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The "Think Aloud"

I woke up this morning with all this stuff on my mind I wanted to Blog about ... but then it disappeared! Then I wrote about 3/4 of a post about Gratitude, of course (it's Thursday), but bagged it because it wasn't what I wanted.
Then I went for a walk.

After munching on a (Natural) Peanut butter (no jelly) sandwich (on Double-fiber bread--wait, this isn't my Fit Friday post, right?) and chugging chilled Peach Mango Kool-Aid (made with Splenda) I settled in to get caught up on my ..m.i.l.e.s... ..o.f.. ..h.o.m.e.w.o.r.k.. that I admit I have been TOTALLY avoiding. 

One of my assignments was to write a letter to parents with a reading strategy to do with their children.
I. Hate. Letters. To. Parents. 

I read them. Does anyone else? I have to sign the freaking things so my kid gets "credit" that I read it! 
Okay, I admit it, I skim.
Sue me.

Anyway. So I didn't want to write this. Plus the fact that EVERY parent letter I've written for my ($%^%$&*) Teaching classes has been *ahem* criticized.
Can you believe it? 
Me either!

I decided to pick a reading strategy that I think is INGENIOUS and WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS FIFTEEN YEARS AGO? This is an amazing strategy to help kids GET what they are reading! I can't wait to use this with Crackle, who is basically my only "non" reader!

Which, BTW, even Superman has been reading a book lately. [jaw-drop] I know, Right! It's about war, or battleships or something... IDK --IDC-- He's Reading!  

So here is my letter(s) because I had to translate it into Spanish! COOL RIGHT?

September 2012

Dear Parents,

I am your child’s English teacher. In order to promote reading success among my students I have asked that you spend approximately 20 minutes a week reading with them. I am requesting that you do something called a “Think Aloud.” The concept is to help students understand how to read a text and understand what they are reading by hearing what a “good reader” does while they are reading.

I will provide a text or part of a text for you and your child to read together. Consider some of the following when you read with your student:
     What do I know about this topic?
     What do I think I will learn about this topic?
     Do I understand what I just read?
     Do I have a clear picture in my head about this information?
     What more can I do to understand this?
     What were the most important points in this reading?
     What new information did I learn?
     How does it fit in with what I already know? 

Read the selected passage aloud as the students read the same text silently. At certain points stop and "think aloud" the answers to some of the pre-selected questions Demonstrate how good readers monitor their understanding by rereading a sentence, reading ahead to clarify, and/or looking for context clues. After you have read with your student then give them an opportunity to practice the technique and offer feedback. 

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to share the joy and knowledge that comes from reading with your child. I appreciate your help with this assignment and if you make this time for them I guarantee you will see improvements in their reading skill and comprehension. 

Thank you, 

Katrina Duvalois
Vasquez High School
9th Grade English Department

09 2012 

Estimados padres de familia, 

Soy profesor de Inglés de su hijo. Con el fin de promover el éxito de la lectura entre mis alumnos me han pedido que dedique unos 20 minutos a la semana leyendo con ellos. Yo estoy pidiendo que hagas algo llamado "Piensa en voz alta." El concepto es ayudar a los estudiantes a entender cómo leer un texto y comprender lo que están leyendo por oír lo que un "buen lector" no mientras se está leyendo. 

Voy a ofrecer un texto o una parte de un texto para usted y su hijo a leer juntos. Considere algunos de los siguientes cuando usted lee con su hijo:
    ¿Qué debo saber acerca de este tema?
     ¿Qué es lo que voy a aprender acerca de este tema?
     ¿Entiendo lo que acabo de leer?
     ¿Tengo una idea clara en mi cabeza acerca de esta información?
     ¿Qué más puedo hacer para entender esto?
     ¿Cuáles fueron los puntos más importantes de esta lectura?
     ¿Qué nueva información que aprendo?
     ¿Cómo encaja con lo que ya sé?

Lea el pasaje seleccionado en voz alta mientras los estudiantes leen el mismo texto en silencio. En ciertos puntos y dejar de "pensar en voz alta" las respuestas a algunas de las preguntas preseleccionadas Demuestra lo bien que los lectores monitorear su comprensión por parte de releer una oración, la lectura por delante para aclarar y / o en busca de las claves del contexto. Después de haber leído con su hijo luego darles la oportunidad de practicar la técnica y ofrecer retroalimentación. 

Esta es una oportunidad maravillosa para compartir la alegría y el conocimiento que proviene de la lectura con su hijo. Le agradezco su ayuda con esta tarea y si usted hace este tiempo para que te garantizo que va a ver mejoras en sus habilidades de lectura y comprensión. 


Katrina Duvalois
Vasquez High School
9 º grado Departamento de Inglés

So... What do you think?

Right at the moment I'm thinking I kind of ROCK because I WROTE the ($#^%&*) letter THEN I TRANSLATED it into Spanish! (okay, well Google did but whatev...) HOW COOL IS THAT? 
Very. Freakin'. Cool.

If you are a Spanish speaker/reader let me know if it's right (lol).


BTW. If you didn't figure it out... I'm thankful I
1. Got it done
2. Did a strategy I think is amazing
3. Translated it
4. Turned it in
5. Got two posts in one day

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I love storytelling. TV makes it easy. It also proves that there are as many ways to tell a story as there are people in the world! I enjoy almost all of them. I think all people are unique and have a story in them. Some people are a walking Drama, others pure Comedy, but everybody has a story. Our misunderstanding or just plain ignorance of their story is what makes us misjudge others. We just don’t realize how much like us they are. Once we do we can accept the difference. I believe this is the answer to World Peace. Okay, well maybe not, but it might get us closer.

One show I keep being referred to over and over again is Doctor Who. I have watched it a few times (several different seasons/doctors) and never really got it, until yesterday. I finally figured it out. Dr. Who is to the Brits what Star Trek is to us. Kind of. That one took me a while. The episodes I’ve watched so far basically tell us to be sure we have the whole picture and not to prejudge a situation. Much like Star Trek (and its many incarnations) Dr. Who teaches how to be human via non-human beings interacting with others. I am looking forward to more of this.

Another show I am very excited about is a new one for this fall. It’s Go On with Matthew Perry. Perry plays a Sports radio host who just lost his wife. He is required to participate in a group therapy session before returning to work and his interactions with this group is the premise. Matt Perry is not extremely versatile as an actor, but he knows how to be funny. Even in a show with a sad-ish theme, he is hilarious. I have already laughed and cried while watching this show. And if you miss Friends it also fills a little bit of that void (for me anyway).

And if you're not watching Modern Family then you are not getting enough laughter. Seriously. You will die. The Gorilla and the Elephant. Seriously? Laughed until I cried! Really.

Of course, Bones is back, and as fun as ever. I love this stuff. I just have to remember that I can’t eat while watching this show. This week’s episode featured a severely charred body and not-so-friendly banter between my favorite leads; Booth & Bones (Dr. Brennan). We also have not seen enough of the babies yet. Baby Christine was shown the first week but Angela & Hodges baby hasn’t made an appearance yet.

I have to purchase all my CBS shows because they won’t do Hulu. Which stinks for me because that’s all my CSIs (sans Miami, which got canceled—BOO HOO!), the new show Elementary, with Jonny Lee Miller (LURVE!), and The Big Bang Theory. Beh.

I watched the new Mindy Project. I liked it alright. I didn’t love it though. Bill Hader (SNL) was in the beginning which I did not expect and I love him! Love, love, LOVE Bill Hader! I admit that I’m watching SNL again… Haven’t watched that show since the 80s. Kristen Wiig is gone now but Jay Pharaoh, Bobby Moynihan, Fred Armisen, Seth Meyers, Vanessa Bayer and Bill Hader make me laugh. 

I haven’t seen The Office yet. It’s just not the same without Steve Carell!

I just finished a book and I was able to predict the “big secret.” That kind of irritated me. I complained to my family and they said it was me. Is it me? Am I getting too smart for regular reading? I don’t know. Then I wondered if I was supposed to figure it out. Is that what the author intended? I’m not sure but I do that when I’m watching a movie or TV show and it makes me crazy. Either I am getting too smart for TV/Movies/Books or being predictable is intentional. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bully Be-Gone!

Wow! Instead of adding yet another post today I am reposting something from another site:

September 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Town turns tables on school prank

Whitney Kropp, a free spirit with few friends, was named to the homecoming court as a joke by her classmates, but the tiny farm town of West Branch has rallied around her. (Dale G. Young / The Detroit News)
West Branch, Mich. — High school student Whitney Kropp was shocked earlier this month when she was named to the homecoming court.
Her happy surprise turned to humiliation when she learned the reason. The students thought it would be funny if the popularity contest was won by someone who was unpopular.
Kids pointed at her in the hallways and laughed. The boy who was picked with her withdrew.
Students told her that, in case she was wondering why the boy had dropped out, he was uncomfortable being linked with her.
"I thought I wasn't worthy," said Kropp, 16. "I was this big old joke."
Her embarrassment was complete, but it didn't last long.
This tiny farm town an hour north of Saginaw quickly rallied around her.
For the homecoming dance Saturday, businesses will buy her dinner, take her photo, fix her hair and nails, and dress her in a gown, shoes and a tiara.
For the homecoming game Friday, residents will pack the football stadium so they can cheer when she is introduced at halftime.
They will be wearing her favorite color (orange) and T-shirts with messages of support. A 68-year-old grandmother offered to be her escort.
"I am in awe, overwhelmed at the amount of support," said Jamie Kline, 35, who began a Facebook support page. "I never expected it to spread as far as it has."
For Kropp, a sophomore at Ogemaw Heights High, it's been a remarkable transformation.
Before the homecoming vote, she was either ignored or scorned by classmates.
Now, when she isn't fielding yet another free offer from a business, she's being lauded by hundreds of strangers on the support page.
Cast in an unlikely role, she has embraced it. She vowed to continue representing the sophomore class, even if she has to do it alone.
It's like "Carrie" with a happy ending.

I'm 'a beautiful person'

Kropp was sitting in her geometry class Sept. 13 when the results of the homecoming vote were announced over the school PA system.
Most of the students picked as class reps that day were among the most popular kids in the 800-student school. Then, out of the blue, Kropp heard her name.
She hadn't sought the position. Students were free to vote for anyone in the class.
Perhaps her selection should have made her suspicious. She is a free spirit with few friends. Her black outfits and strange hair colors don't mesh well with other kids in the rural community.
But she has a guilelessness that doesn't see the bad in people, said her mom, Bernice. Her reaction to winning was simple: She was happy.
"The first thing is softhearted," Bernice Kropp said when asked to describe her daughter. "She's just sweet. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body."
Kropp heard that other classrooms had laughed when her name was announced. And then Josh Awrey, a popular football player, quickly withdrew as the other sophomore rep.
Despite all that, she was still excited.
"In the Homecoming Court! :)" she wrote on her Facebook page. "Little nervous but this is going to be fun :D"
"Probably not with Josh though," wrote back a sophomore girl.
"He couldnt do it cause of football plus he never goes to homecoming," said Kropp.
"That's not what he told everybody," said the girl.
"what did he say?" asked Kropp.
The other girl didn't respond.
"Oh. Well it don't matter to me anyways," Kropp wrote four minutes later. "I thought it would be awkward anyways."
That night, Kropp's mom found her crying in her bedroom. She no longer wanted to do it.
As a member of the homecoming court, she and other class representatives are dressed formally as they're introduced during halftime of the football game.
Kropp's mom, sister and grandmother told her that she should show up the bullies by going to the game and having a great time. Several friends said the same thing.
Before going to bed, she decided they were right.
"Going to homecoming to show them that I'm not a joke," she wrote on Facebook. "Im a beautiful person and you shouldn't mess with me!"
The school district said it's investigating the incident.

'Team Whitney'

Word of the prank quickly spread through this small town, whose water tower is a yellow smiley face.
Kropp's sister told her friends, who told their parents, who told their friends.
The Facebook support page was created, quickly drawing hundreds of messages of encouragement. The page has more likes (more than 3,500) than the town has people (2,100).
A bank account was opened for Kropp's homecoming expenses but wasn't needed. So many businesses donated services that everything was covered.
Shannon Champagne and another beauty salon worker offered their services and asked other businesses to do the same.
"It really touched me. I can't believe that kids can be so mean and ruthless," said Champagne, 28, a nail tech at Whit's End Hair Studio. "In high school, everything means everything to you. You don't realize that none of it will matter after you leave."
The issue resonated far beyond the town.
It seemed to touch a chord with anyone who had a tortuous experience in high school, which is just about anyone who ever went to high school.
Hundreds of people talked about their own experiences. A 60-year-old Wyandotte man talked about a 1966 bullying incident like it happened a day earlier.
After the uproar in town and on the Web, Awrey, the football player elected with Kropp, changed his mind and decided to remain a class rep.
He said on his Facebook page that he had never wanted to be part of homecoming.
"Im sick of everyone blaming me. I had nothing to do with this," he wrote. "I think what they (students) did is rlly rude and immature."
It's hard to eclipse high school football in a small town but, this Friday, West Branch will give it a try.
Residents will fill the concrete stands behind the high school for the homecoming game against Cadillac High. Some are grads who haven't been to a game in decades.
"We want to make this the best homecoming ever," said Rebecka Vigus, 58, a longtime resident who taught for 22 years in elementary and middle schools.
Like Vigus, many won't be there for the football.
Clutching posters and wearing T-shirts that say "Team Whitney," they will cheer heartily at halftime as a slightly awkward teenage girl in a stunning red dress circles the field in a convertible.
A pariah in the harshest social system in the world — high school — she will be the center of attention on one of its most prominent stages.
Under the Friday night lights, she will shine the brightest of all, the biggest star of the evening.

From The Detroit News:

You can support this girl here:

Illegal Immigration

This is not a regular blog post. I am posting this in response to a stance I take regarding illegal immigration, particularly in California. I am PRO giving amnesty to illegal immigrant children who are "stuck" in the US without a country. I do not think it is fair to punish innocents for something their parents did (or failed to do in regard to filing paperwork, or refiling paperwork). I am opposed to MY tax dollars being spent on things that I neither condone nor approve! However, I do believe that immigration is a clouded issue that has been propagated as something it is not. The following is a research paper I did for a college class in May 2011. Comments are encouraged as well as rebuttals or arguments. (If you cannot comment here you can always leave a comment HERE.)

Illegal Immigration: Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?
Historically speaking, the United States is based on immigration. Since Columbus’ reports to European countries about the beautiful new land, it has become a place of paradise and refuge, a mythical realm of freedom with streets paved of gold. In the beginning English Pilgrims fled religious persecution. Later it was the Irish and other Europeans fleeing poverty and class distinctions for a better, richer life. During and after World War II it was the persecuted Jewish seeking safety and refuge from sure destruction. The gift of the Statue of Liberty from the French echoed the American affirmation, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” (Lazarus) Each influx of new habitants caused its own discord and opposition. The United States of America became known as “The Melting Pot.”
It is thought that immigration laws enacted since the late 1800s has affected the way we view immigration and how immigrants view themselves. It is common for immigrants to “seek out ethnic identity” (Shukla) thus retaining their cultural identity and isolating themselves from the rule. This tendency toward ethnic and cultural isolation is sometimes referred to as the “Salad Bowl.” (Arnold)
In 1845 an article describing the definition of becoming an American and how the country was affected by proliferate immigration appeared.  This literal definition of “Melting Pot” describes the country’s feelings about immigrants at that time.
People say that the American character is unformed; and it is a fashion with some to say that there is no American character as yet. I do not think so; the national type seems to me quite as definite as most others. Like any other, the American character is of course undergoing constant change and development, for growth has no fixed limits in its processes, and we speak roughly when we speak of its stages. But our character seems to me to have gained its features. No nation of equal size was ever developed so rapidly. The fusing process goes on as in a blast-furnace; one generation, a single year even, transforms the English, the German, the Irish emigrant into an American. Uniform institutions, ideas, language, the influence of the majority bring us soon to a similar complexion; the individuality of the immigrant, almost even his traits of race and religion fuse down in the democratic alembic like chips of brass thrown into the melting pot. The resulting character seems to me a definite alloy; and its homogeneity is a guaranty that the nation is to remain one… (Coan)
Up to 1882, when the first immigration law was passed that imposed a fifty cent tax on all immigrants for registration and regulation fees, all people were admitted with almost no questions asked. From 1882 until 1892 immigration was handled via Castle Garden in Manhattan, NY. From 1882 until 1924 immigrants passed through Ellis Island for inspection and could be detained until admittance was accepted or denied. Those denied were then deported. Another law was passed in 1924 that further complicated the immigration process. In 1952 the Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA, was passed. This act “collected and codified many existing provisions and reorganized the structure of immigration law. The Act has been amended many times over the years, but is still the basic body of immigration law. The INA is divided into titles, chapters, and sections.” (USCIS) Ellis Island was closed permanently as an immigration processing center in 1954 and was declared part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965.
Since 1952 immigration laws have undergone several additions and changes. There are a number of ways for a foreigner to become an American or United States citizen today. Naturalization is a process that includes acquiring a Green Card, taking classes in U.S. History and Government and taking a test. There are multiple documents and fees. (USCIS) Most legal immigrants at this time are from middle-class origins in their home country.
Mexican authorities began abandoning their forts and missions in 1835. After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, California became a U.S. territory until 1850 when it became a state. After the Gold Rush the number of white settlers boomed to over 300,000. With the expansion of the railroad to Los Angeles in 1876 travel to southern California became easier across the continent.
Los Angeles County was formed in 1850 when California became a state. The Hispanic population has always had a presence in Los Angeles’ history. Southern California’s population grew as a result of the growth of Hollywood in the 1920’s to the discovery of oil in 1892 and booming production that produced a quarter of the world’s oil by 1923.  “The need for Mexican labor was so great in the United States that in 1918 the commissioner-general of immigration exempted Mexicans from meeting most immigration conditions, such as head taxes (small amounts paid to come into the country) and literacy requirements.” (Becker, 75) However by 1924, concerns about illegal entry led to the formation of the U. S. Border Patrol. Also, “as the Great Depression led many Americans to blame the nation's unemployment on the illegal aliens. Consequently, thousands of Mexicans—both legal immigrants and illegal aliens—were repatriated (sent back to Mexico). (Becker, 75)
During World War II because so many young men were drafted into the war the need arose again for extra workers, especially agricultural farm workers and the Bracero Program was instituted. In 1964 the United States ended the twenty-two-year-old Bracero Program, an agreement with Mexico that allowed migrant workers to enter the United States to supply seasonal agricultural labor. However, ending the program did not stop migrants from crossing the border for work they had come to rely on. Those who could get visas often overstayed their time limits. Others simply crossed the border illegally and found jobs. A population of illegal immigrants began to develop.” (Becker, 10)
In 1954 the U.S. government established a hard-lined approach to protecting the borders. Calling it “Operation Wetback,” the U.S. Attorney General, Herbert Brownell announced “an intensive and innovative law enforcement campaign.” (Hernandez, 1) During that time more than a million illegal immigrants were deported back to Mexico along the southern states. This harsh approach to border protection is still embraced by some groups today. For whatever reason, Mexican immigration is considered harmful to the U.S. economy.
More than 50% of illegal immigrants are Hispanic. (Heer) Trying to establish the true numbers of illegal immigrants is difficult as many avoid census taking and other accounting practices Heer and Passel describe two ways to estimate the number of illegal immigrants using census data and birth records. These methods are moderately reliable although the article was written in 1987.
The first method, called the survey-based method, uses a combination of …census data and the results of a survey conducted in Los Angeles County. A sample was selected from babies born in Los Angeles Country who had a mother or father of Mexican origin. The survey included questions about the legal status of the baby’s parents and certain other relatives. ...The second method, called the residual method, is the method used… to estimate the number of undocumented aliens counted in the …census for the United States and each state, respectively. The method involves comparison of senses figures for aliens counted with estimate of legally-resident aliens developed principally with data from the immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). (Heer, 1)
Knowing the number or even an estimated number of illegal immigrants in the Los Angeles area is important in examining different kinds of solutions and revealing potential problems. Having at least an estimated of undocumented residents gives a starting place for estimating costs for emergency other services provided to all residents of Los Angeles County.
It is thought that illegal immigrants take sublevel jobs that are taking away jobs from average white men or women. The truth is that companies that pay less for workers have more to invest in other areas, which sometimes creates new jobs at higher wages for legal workers. They are also able to buy better or newer equipment so the work becomes more effective and thus creates more product and more profit. The result is more money to reinvest in the company for more legal employment. (Porter) Subsequently, if low cost employment cannot be found locally, businesses may be persuaded to take their business outside the U.S., such as Korea or Taiwan, thus losing even more jobs for qualified legal workers. (Portes)
There is an assumption that many illegal citizens are tapping into the welfare programs in order to live “free.” It is true “between the 1960s and 1990s it became apparent that the number of immigrants receiving public assistance was rising rapidly.” (Borjas) After the welfare reform act of 1996 it became more difficult for illegal immigrants to qualify for programs. Studies show that “the rate of welfare participation among immigrant households declined sharply.” (Borjas) Welfare reform notwithstanding the “the total cost of illegal immigration to Los Angeles County taxpayers alone exceeded $1 billion in 2008. Approximately $200 million is spent on public safety, $400 million for healthcare and $450 million to welfare and food stamps.” (NumbersUSA) 
The numbers are extremely difficult to track, however as other reports show “estimates that illegal immigrants contribute between $379 million and $453 million a year in income, sales, property and other taxes.” (Chambley) This report concedes that it is difficult to calculate the actual amount illegal immigrants pay in taxes. Unfortunately this is still a very controversial and untraceable piece of the immigration question.
A 2004 study reveals that illegal immigrants “costs to Californians is $10.5 billion per year.” (Longley) In addition, Education funding is plummeting and many school districts, particularly Los Angeles Unified School District, do not have funds to provide free and fair education to all residents. Part of the problem is the specialization needed to help Hispanic students understand what is being taught either through bilingual education or translators. Illegal children attending school constitute 15% of the student body and cost Californians $7.7 billion. (Longley) This cost is excessive and causes a domino effect in all other areas of educational spending.
County hospitals are full of Hispanics that are illegally using state and federal funding for free healthcare. A study conducted by the USMBCC (United States/Mexico Border Counties Coalition) determined that “undocumented immigrants account for nearly 25% of uncompensated (hospital) costs incurred.” (Becker,77) This cost is estimated at $1.4 billion annually in healthcare costs to illegal immigrants and their families.(Longley)
 The estimated cost for incarcerating illegal immigrant criminals exceeds $1.4 billion. (Longley) “In the population study of a sample of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.”  (Kouri)

“Most Californians, who have seen their taxes increase while public services deteriorate, already know the impact that mass illegal immigration is having on their communities.” (Longley) The money budgeted for County run public services including police, sheriff, communications, disability services, housing, welfare, etc. is being drained by the costs of illegal immigration. This budget crisis is causing Los Angeles County to lay-off or furlough workers to meet their financial obligations.
Part of the problem we are having today was caused by immigration policies in the past, particularly those with Mexico. The on-again/off-again permission to pass back and forth across the border without repercussions created a sense of entitlement for workers and businesses dependent on those workers. In order to address the issue of illegal immigration through reform or enforcement of current statutes, three areas would have to be established. “First, they must accept that illegal immigration is indeed a ‘problem.’ Second, they must accept the government’s intentions of solving this problem in behalf of the best interests of the majority. Third, they must assume that government agencies are indeed capable of carrying out the proposed recommendations, even against resistance.” (Portes)
It is also important to note that the current immigration issues are different from historical immigration practices because “illegal movements from political or religious migrations or from ‘colonizing’ initiatives.” (Portes) Some kind of control is necessary in order to restrain the chaos that is already happening. Immigration regulations over the years have attempted a number of solutions to this continuing dilemma.
If the United States and Mexico borders were free to cross at any time, and citizenship offered to all those that already live in the state and surrounding states, taxes could be collected to make up the difference in insufficient funding for services offered and given. Also, if the United States is a single-language (English) speaking country than those that arrive need to have all services offered in the one language. If it is decided to adopt a second language then all citizens would need to be schooled in both languages. Other countries have successfully integrated multiple languages, such as Switzerland and Canada.
Unfortunately, companies would not benefit from the low wages they now get away with paying to illegal workers. They need to either enforce financial penalties to companies for hiring the illegal workers, as was done in Arizona recently, or allow financial perks for only hiring legal workers. This should encourage companies to benefit and have the monies available for reinvestment and job creation. As long as companies are continued to be allowed to hire illegal immigrants with no repercussions, they will continue to do so.
With more taxpaying citizens other economical issues would be eased. The costs for education would be funded as well as the healthcare industry. Welfare services need to be completely overhauled anyway, but making jobs available to legal citizens only would encourage people to work instead of taking the dole.
Known for many years as “The melting pot,” the United States is really more of a “Salad Bowl.” A melting pot implies blending and integrating of cultures. While this may be happening to some degree more assimilation may be necessary to breach the cultural and language gaps that exist.
It may not be the burden of the United States to free all peoples in all oppressed nations, but those who make a concerted effort should be rewarded. Giving incentives to those who desire true citizenship will only help to create a more unified state and country. We may not ever agree on religion, politics or cultural peculiarities, but those are the very foundation of this country. Our differences should be celebrated and our similarities rejoiced. Giving in to ignorance and stereotyping only creates more strife and struggle in any community whether it is the size of a small town or a nation.
May the words of Miss Liberty once again ring true. May we be the refuge for the poor, oppressed and the homeless. If we cannot be a true “Melting Pot” of diverse cultures and ethnicities we can be the “Salad Bowl” of variation.

Works Cited

Arnold, Faye W. Developing and Teaching a Cultural Pluralism Course in One of America's "Uneasy Salad Bowls": "Immigration and Ethnicity in Los Angeles" Teaching Sociology Vol. 23, No. 2, Teaching about Inequality and Diversity: Age, Class, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity (Apr., 1995), pp. 94-110. American Sociological Association. .

Bach, Robert L. “Mexican Immigration and the American State.” International Migration Review. Vol. 12, No. 4, Special Issue: Illegal Mexican Immigrants to the United States (Winter, 1978), 536-558.

Becker, Cynthia S.  Immigration and Illegal Aliens:  Burden or Blessing? Detroit: Gale Virtual Reference, 2008. <|1OHI&v=2.1&u=nu_main&it=aboutBook&p=GVRL&sw=w&authCount=1>

Borjas, George J. Welfare “Reform and Immigrant Participation in Welfare Programs.” International Migration Review. Vol. 36, No. 4, Host Societies and the Reception of Immigrants: Institutions, Markets and Policies (Winter, 2002), pp. 1093-1123 The Center for Migration Studies of New York, Inc.

Chambley. Report: Illegal immigrants contribute. Potomac News. February 15, 2008. May 26, 2011. <>

Chomsky, Aviva. "They take our jobs!": and 20 other myths about immigration. Boston: Beacon, 2007. Ebook. May 22, 2011. <>

Coan, Titus Munson. “A New Country.” The Galaxy Volume 0019 Issue 4 (April 1875), 468. May 21, 2011. <Making of America.>

Hanson, Gordon H. “Illegal Migration from Mexico to the United States.” Journal of Economic Literature Vol. 44, No. 4 (Dec., 2006), pp. 869-924.  American Economic Association. May 27, 2011.

Heer, David M. and Jeffrey S. Passel. “Comparison of Two Methods for Estimating the Number of Undocumented Mexican Adults in Los Angeles County.” International Migration Review Vol. 21, No. 4, Special Issue: Measuring International Migration: Theory and Practice (Winter, 1987), pp. 1446-1473.

Hernández, Kelly Lytle. “The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of Operation Wetback, 1943 to 1954.” The Western Historical Quarterly. Vol. 37, No. 4 (Winter, 2006), pp. 421-444.

Johnson, Kevin R. and Bill Ong Hing. “National Identity in a multicultural Nation: The Challenge of Immigration Law and Immigrants.” 2005.  May 27, 2011. <>

Kouri, Jim. “Illegal Aliens Linked to Crime Statistics.” June 22, 2006. May 26, 2011. <> Los Angeles County Government. May 22, 2011. <>

Lazarus, Emma. “The New Colossus.” Liberty State Park. 1883. May 20, 2011. <>

Longley, Robert. “Illegal Immigration Costs California Over Ten Billion Annually” 2004. May 26, 2011. <>

NPS. National Park Service, The Statue of Liberty. September 17, 2009. May 26, 2011. <>

Porter, Eduardo. “Cost of Illegal Immigration May Be Less Than Meets the Eye.” The New York Times. .  April 16, 2006.

Portes, Alejandro. “Introduction: Toward a Structural Analysis of Illegal (Undocumented) Immigration.” International Migration Review. Vol. 12, No. 4, Winter, 1978, pp. 469-484. The Center for Migration Studies of New York, Inc. <>

Shukla, Sandhya. “Comparativism, Ethnicity, and the United States: A Diasporic History of the Americas.” The Johns Hopkins University Press <>. 2002. May 26, 2011.

USCIS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. March 31, 2011. May 22, 2011. <>

USDE, U.S. Department of Education., 2005. May 27, 2011. <>

Monday, September 24, 2012


Today I am feeling a little broadsided. Not so much for my loss but for the losses of others. In the last few months we have lost a beloved brother-in-law, and a church member from our ward. Someone I care about very much (and admire) had to give birth to her deceased baby girl yesterday. This after losing her twin a few months ago. Another online friend has posted about another loss she just discovered yesterday of a dear childhood friend. And Yet another friend has posted the loss of her (very) young sister-in-law.

I am beside myself.

I know this pain

I ache for these people, these women and their families. It hurts deep inside and I question What in Heaven's name is going on

Last year we lost a young man in our ward due to an undiscovered heart problem and I still feel like I'm reeling from that. He was amazing, as were these other folks. Some young, some old, some not even born yet and they are gone from us. The ache is deep.

On top of all that I am still not done grieving for my father-in-law who passed away two years ago. I'm angry. Cancer. I hate it. 

I am also grieving from divorce. Not mine but other family members. It's a loss without death. Still, there are rules about remaining friends with "exes" ...that admittedly, I tend to break, and will continue to break.

And I am grieving my daughters, who have flown the coop. I worry about them All The Time. Especially Sunshine who is living in Downtown Salt Lake City and taking public transportation to and from work. Ack.

I worry.

And still, every day, I miss my brothers

It's an ache that never goes away. I don't want it to go away. I don't know that it can. There is something about losing a sibling that is different from any other kind of loss. Granted, not all siblings are loving and close; but we were. I miss them like I would miss my arm if it were gone. It's noticeable.

I have never lost a child but I imagine that would be worst of all. More than the obvious genetic link between siblings is the genetic bond between parent and child. Even unborn children are loved; wanted. (Obviously those that are wanted.) I cannot imagine that kind of pain.

I understand that grief is part of life. We are subject to mortality and as such we all die. The beautiful thing about Faith is that there is belief in life after death.

I loved The Invention of Lying. One of the things I loved about it was that the whole thing started because Mark (Ricky Gervais) was trying to comfort his dying mother. How beautiful! (There is an entirely different conversation about whether or not it's a "lie.") She was afraid and he comforted her. That's what you do when you love someone. That's our job. We comfort others. 

What I believe is, "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." We are and can be angels in another person's life. Giving a hug and letting someone cry. Showing up to provide a service, making food; anything. If you are moved to do something than DO SOMETHING. Show love. Show kindness. Be compassionate. Those are the simplest and most heartfelt comforts. 

And remember, Grief doesn't stop just because the sun keeps rising. As long as hearts are beating, they are grieving. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mormon Apologetics.

I always have so many things on my mind that I want to talk about but not sure where to begin. Last week I wrote a very long post about Patriarchy in LDS scripture. I had a great time analyzing some passages from the Doctrine and Covenants. I'm not sure why I needed to write that but I was totally obsessed until I got it all out. I don't think it's done either. LOL I might break it up into four parts? I don't know. I'm still thinking about it.

In the meantime my mind is dwelling on Forgiveness, the Atonement and a rebuttal to an article I was sent about LDS racist beliefs. That one is bugging me. Maybe I'll start there.

I don't want to link to the site because I'm kind of bothered by the whole thing. Maybe I'll be able to explain that as I move along.

The first thing I have to say is that the authors of the site claim that LDS faith is not based on fact.

Um. No der.

Faith should not be based on fact. By the very virtue of the term “faith” you are claiming belief in something that is neither tangible nor provable. My issue partly with that is that there is always “proof” if you look for it. However, if angels come down and talk to people it does no more for their faith than if they just read a book and ask for confirmation of its truthfulness. What you feel in your heart, your gut, is Faith.

I was born with basic beliefs. I don't know how they got there. I was not raised in a religious environment. My father was an atheist and my mother would not take us to church (any church) without his approval (and participation). As a result I got my own ideas about God and Jesus and whatever goes on outside this realm of “reality” based on things I picked up on TV, my Grandma's church and whoever else I might have listened to.

As a young child, about eight, I had a friend invite me to Primary at the LDS church. In those days it was held in the middle of the week after school. Wednesdays, I think. I remember going and loving it. I have no idea what the lesson or discussion in our classroom was about. What I do remember is asking the teacher where my mom had to go to “sign me up.” I was used to taking classes at the Y (YMCA) or tutoring and it all cost money. That was my second question, How much did it cost? The teacher kind of laughed (at me?) and said it was free, All were welcome!


I went a few times but that was it. I was never given a Book of Mormon or visited by missionaries.

Later that year I asked for a Bible for Christmas.

Yeah. I was weird.

So, I attempted to read the Bible. I prayed the way I felt to pray, and I prayed that we would start going to church. I, at least, believed in God and Jesus (even though I didn't understand what He was all about) even if my family did not.

Later LDS missionaries showed up and taught my family and that's another story. We were all eventually baptized.

The first time I read the Book of Mormon for myself was when I was a Senior in High School. I read it from cover to cover, then I asked God if it was true, as it suggests you do. I was told, Katrina, you've known all along it was true. What else do you need?

I tried it again years later when as a missionary we read the Book of Mormon in a day. I got the same answer. Why are you asking me something you already know?

That is the basis of my faith.

The second thing about this article is that it doesn't account for our basic belief in modern revelation. We believe in living prophets. We believe that a man receives revelation for the church as a whole and those messages become part of our basic beliefs.
Our Prophet Today

Does this mean basic principals change? No. Does this mean we don't believe in the Bible or other words of God.? No.

What it means is that at one time Mormons practiced polygamy. In 1890 we were told to stop. For the most part, we did. Those that were still in polygamous relationships remained in them because they were their responsibility, and there may have been other groups in outlying areas (i.e.; Mexico) that continued the practice for a time, but eventually it was completely removed as part of our culture.

It also means that for a time Mormons refused the Priesthood to the Blacks. In 1978 President Spencer W.Kimball, who was the living prophet at the time, received a revelation that they were no longer to be denied the Priesthood. What reason they were denied in the first place is under speculation. There are writings from previous prophets that allude to people of color being “less than,” but the reasons are particular and not solid.

That being said, it was a bad time in the history of the church and I understand anyone being turned off by the concepts.

It does not, however, change the fact that for me, the Book of Mormon is true. Therefore, Joseph Smith was who he said he was and he did the things he said he did and the Priesthood was restored as he said it was.
That's my basis. And it's pretty solid.

There is another point in the argument about the American aborigines being the people spoken of in the Book of Mormon and also “cursed” with “darkness.” There is an entirely other conversation to be had over “light” and “darkness” and what that has to do with knowledge and enlightenment. 

The concept of a “mark” on a people is partly from their own doing but is discussed in several scriptural references including the Bible. We revere Native Americans and Aborigine peoples of all cultures. We do not see them as “less than” and anyone who does is suffering from severe pride, which is really the worst sin of all.

Please don't forget that most of this is my opinion but I try to back up my theories with scripture and other resources, FYI.