November 30, 2006

Running for Senate

As you all know there are elections coming up for Senator. I want to announce today that I will be running for that position. I have been a strong supporter of Senator Haukos and I agree with many of the same issues he does, especially on the drinking age. I want to teach responsibility to the youth of this country as they receive new freedoms. When kids become young adults when they turn 18 years of age, they are given many new responsibilities that will design the future of our country. Beyond drinking, they need to learn how to handle this responsiblity. I believe alcohal can be a teacher of responsibility and if kids are able to drink at 18, they will learn more responsibility at an earlier age. Along with lowering the drinking age, I plan to implement various programs to teach responsibliity with alcohal and also other freedoms that will be granted to them. I am not saying this will be an immediate change but I promise you after some time you will see dramatic improvements. I ask all of you who support a more responsible youth to lead our country, you vote for me, Parag Shah for Senate.

November 29, 2006


Wednesday November 29, 2006

A local Wayzata, Minnesota man was involved in a multiple death drunk driving incident. Mario Brenner (uncle of Kayla Brenner), age 63, a Driver's Education Instructor at Wayzata High School, is being charged with killing three adolescent boys. Brenner, who was driving home from the Red Rooster Lounge and Restaraunt, entered the neighborhood driving his 1986 Hoda Prelude. According to the police Brenner said that he did not see the kids playing in the street until right before he hit them. The boys were 8, 9, and 11 years old.

When word got out to the hospital, a unit was sent out to the site of the accident. The young boys were rushed to the emergency room. Unfortunately the were dead upon arrival. As a result of the accident, Brenner's blood alcohol level was tested. The results were a B.A.C. level of 1.56, almost twice the amount of the legal limit.

An interview was held with an EMT on site. She stated, "This event is one that will definitely have a major impact not only the young boys' families, but the neighborhood as a whole. Their loss is a great one, and it is sad that it was a result of a drunk driver.....People always believe that it is the young and naive underage drinkers that cause all of these accidents, but out of all of the accidents that I have seen throughout my time as an EMT, most of the time it is the older, mature adults that are behind the wheel....My heart goes out to the families."

Statistics to Remember:

According to;
-Of the 8,256 alcohol related traffic deaths recorded in 2004, 91% of the deaths were a result of drunk drivers ages 21+.
-68% of the 91% were in between the ages of 45-65.

Give Young American Adults the Rights They Deserve

To the People:
Ladies and Gentlemen of our great and sovreign nation. Our nation is at a turning point. Our young men and women are at a disadvantage to the rest of the American public. We as a society have decided that it is ok for them to decide whether or not they want to go to war on their own. They DO NOT need parental consent to make this decision. We allow our young men and women to gamble, decide whether or not to stay in school, decide where to go to college. We also allow these adults to take part in the most sacred American right, voting. These mature young adults make a vast majority of these decisions on their own with out their parents. As can be seen by the strength of our nations youth, they are, in the vast majority, making the correct decisions. If these young adults can handle all of these rights and priviledges in a responsible manner, who are we to say that they cannot decide on alcohol as well. Give our young adults the rights and priviledges that all other adults in our great nation have- the ability to decide whether or not to consume alcohol. After all, they could make the decision to not help fight for this country's freedom.
-Senator Dain A. Haukos

November 27, 2006

Mike Vacanti killed my sister

In regards to the current debate over the drinking age argument, I just want to let everyone know that my sister Krista (while pregnant with her second child) was killed by an underage student named Mike Vancanti. He is also known as a "Superstar" at his high school and has the reputation for hosting parties to minors. Within 2 seconds, a loved one or relative may end up dead due to the number of underage drivers who don't realize the dangers of drinking and driving. Although Mike walked away from the crash with only a fractured femur, he inturn was very hurt by all the pain and suffering endured by our family. My sister left a husband and little 2 year old boy. It is still hard to accept the fact that my sister was healthy, young and full of life until one night someone else jeopardized her life. Why does alcohol have to play a role in high school functions? Why can't students have fun being sober?
READ THIS: Alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice among the nation’s youth and kills more teens than all other illicit drugs combined. More than one third of all traffic deaths among 15-20 year olds involve alcohol.

November 21, 2006

Jessica, a parent

After hearing about the death of the president’s daughter, I could never imagine losing my own daughter. My daughter is a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. When she was a junior in High school, her and her friends got minor consumption tickets at a Prom after party. The reason they were caught by cops was from a group of kids streaking down the street. When the cops entered, there were several kids passed out everywhere, kids puking in the toilet, tub, and any available sink. I strongly believe that high school students, even if they are 18. The drinking age should not be lowered to 18; there are too many irresponsible teenagers out there who can't handle drinking at such a young age.

November 13, 2006

The Health Professional

Hello, my name is Kinduva B. Deale, M.D., and i am a retired physician of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I did my undergraduate studies at NYU and moved on to get my M.D. at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, and i specialized in neuro-development. As I am retired, I have now moved on to teaching, and am a professor of neurosciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I believe that the legal drinking age should not be lowered to eighteen. I believe this, because it is clinically proven to be bad for one's health. Not only can heavy drinking lead to cirrhosis of the liver, but drinking at a young age can inhibit brain development. To lower the drinking age in the United States to eighteen would only cause greater decline of the nation's health.

November 10, 2006

Principal Justice

Hello, I am Principal Justice from Walla Walla Washington. I grew up in the Netherlandswhere I attended the University of Amsterdam. I recieved my PhD in education when I was 23 and then moved to the United States. I am the Principal of Walla Walla High School, and have held this position for the last 23 years. I am typically a very humble person, but the records will prove I am the greatest principal of all time. Since my first year as principal here I have been given the honor of the nations top principal every year. I am fair yet tough. To me, there are no gray areas. One is either right or wrong. I strongly believe alcohol should be kept out of the high school scene. Making an amendment to the constitution to change the drinking age to 18 would be a horrible mistake.

Lindsay the college student

Hey everyone! My name is Lindsay and I'm a freshman at the U of MN in Twin Cities. I'm from Fond du Lac, WI, which is about 5 hours away, and have a younger brother who's a junior in high school. Fond du Lac is a small city of about 38,000 so coming to the U, I was very excited to party and meet new people. I've drank a few times in high school but never got so wasted I couldn't remember anything afterwards. My friends and I are very responsible and therefore believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If young adults our age in Europe can drink when they're 18, we should be able to as well. Not everyone is irresponsible when they drink.

November 9, 2006

The Global Press-"Fair Coverage of an Unfair World"

From its humble beginnings in 1915 the Global Press has strived to present the other side of our world. Its first work was a one page newspaper printed by Charles R. Saratom in his basement outside Manhattan. Fed up with the biased news that he was printing every day by the New York Times, he ran the first few copies out of a small press that he had rescued from the New York Times's scrap pile months before. The final straw for this great man was when England cut the intercontinental cables from Germany prior to U.S. involvement in the First World War. That left only one cable and one government left to control the news from Europe, England. After his first paper was received by the handful of readers, Saratom's paper exploded. A combination of his knack for knowing what stories the people wanted, and his ability to find sources from all sides of the debate thrust him into the spotlight. One month after he started printing his daily, his only source in Germany suddenly stopped sending Saratom reports from Berlin. Saratom had lost his edge on the other American newspapers. Knowing that he couldn't stand against the giants yet, Saratom asked his son James Saratom to travel to Berlin to send him reports of the current situation. A recent graduate of the Colombia School of Journalism James was eager to start his career, and a job offer from his father was the best way he could have begun a career. After James reports started coming back from Berlin, readership of the paper exploded and soon his paper was read up and down the East Coast. After the end of the war, Saratom sent reporters across the globe seeking stories that would inspire the American reader to seek an understanding about the people that they shared the world with. This belief in humanity and his desire to change the world through fair news struck a cord with his son. When Saratom finally retired his son assumed role of editor-in-chief, and in his famous speech James Saratom declared, "The world today is smaller then ever before, and we are no longer able to survive without our fellow men and women across the world. The news today should be not just national, but global. We shall never again be able to ignore the people of the world. From today and forever on, we shall always report the truth no matter where it is found." True to his commitment, every editor on staff today, from the editor-in-chief to the local section editors take the same oath that James Saratom swore on that day. To always report the truth from wherever it can be found. Today the Global Press is the only news service to print in every language, and to maintain an office in every capital city on the globe.

The Parent

Hello everyone! My name is Kayla and I am the parent of a 19-year-old daughter named Megan. Megan is a freshman at the U of M and started to drink in high school. I was unaware of her drinking until her senior year when she came and told me that either she was going to the party and driving home intoxicated or she’d spend the night. I of course told her to spend the night but was always worried that she’d do something she’d regret; maybe even get pregnant. Alcohol just has this way of interfering with good thinking that it’s normal for me to be a concerned parent. When I was growing up the drinking age was 18. However, when my friends and I went out we wouldn’t worry whether one of us would end up in the ER having our stomachs pumped or if we were going to crash into a car on the road. For some reason, throughout these past 10-15 years drinking has gone to the extreme. Kids don’t realize the dangers of drinking until it’s too late. The binge drinking that is killing kids is outrageous but there’s nothing we can really do to stop it. I think that if the drinking age would be lowered back to 18, more harm than good would be done to our society. Alcohol consumption has a whole new look, it’s not just to socially drink but it’s merely to see who can become belligerent.

Mike Vacanti - High School Superstar

I'm sure that no one will ever care what a stupid high school student has to say about the drinking age, but my voice is going to be heard. My name is Mike Vacanti, and I am currently a Senior at Jefferson Xavier High School. Just recently I threw a party with a couple of friends that enlisted in the U.S. Military this past year. They are both currently 19 and have experienced so much overseas. They also had a huge responsibility on their shoulders as well. However, the cops ended up coming to my house to break up our party due to a noise complaint. They ended up giving us all breathalizers, and we ended up getting minors.

What I don't understand is why can a student be trusted enough to fight for his or her country overseas, and not be able to drink? It just doesn't make sense. A teenager can carry an M16 in his hand and be licensed to kill, but he can't throw back a couple Brewskis with his family to celebrate. How is it possible that we can trust someone with our country when we can't trust them to make responsible decisions while drinking.

I just read a very informative article that will help me win my case.
The website is :

Check it out and you'll see that I actually do know what I'm talking about!

Sergeant Nathan Thatcher

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was the good life for me, great parents, good friends, and some "high" times. This reality was shut down when a friend of mine was killed in an auto accident, my best friend to be precise. The cause was found to be alcoholic related. This opened my eyes to what I was doing. I straightened up and headed out of High School a new man.

After attending a rather average college I was accepted into the New York Police Academy. Let me tell you, it was a rough time. I graduated the top of my class and headed back to the streets to prevent the attrocites that had happened to me, from happening to other kids.

I implemented a program in Madison, aimed at decreasing the amount of underage drinking that was going on at the college, the program "AWKE" pronounced awake, Alcohol Will Kill Eventually, quickly spread to other campuses including, but not limited to Miami, Minneapolis, and Ohio State.

My aim is to prevent the bill to lower the drinking to 18, and trust me my experience will pay off.

Lobbyist (alcohal company owner)

I am Parag Shah. Most of you know me as the owner of beer-a-licious, the best tasting beer around. I started this company ten and a half years ago in order to make a beer people actually enjoy to drink. I attended the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. I have experienced college life and drinking and that is a big reason why I started my company. I have seen to many kids drinking beer just to get drunk and not for the taste. I believe my beer will allow young adults to responsibly drink alcohal because they want to enjoy it, but not do it just to get drunk, similar to a glass of wine. At the same time, it will allow college students to become more responsible as they will learn to drink socially, which will better prepare them for outings in the future. At the same time as it teaches kids resposibility, it also promotes a beer that is ethically above other beers.


Senator Victor Eremita has roamed the earth for many moons and was born in a manger sometime between 1950 and 1960, but his birthdate remains concealed by history. He attended college at the university of minnesota simply because their mascot is a gopher.

a gopher.

he got a degree in women's studies and a minor in political science. he joined the latter-day black panthers right out of school, a division of the black panthers that allows for people of all races. after defeating the previous senator in a Tibetan gladiatorial contest to the death, he "won the election" to become Senator of Rhode Island. Some things you may not know about Mr. Eremita: he is a specialist in Chinese orthopedic massage. he was known as "Loc Dog" in the underground Wyoming rap scene. he is one of four people in the state of Rhode Island qualified to handle nuclear waste. the dalai lama wrote his college recommendation. he has a close affinity for fire and rodents. he has a teenage daughter for the sake of having a reason to care about the issue that he simply willed into existence. there was no mother.

If given the choice between going to some sports event, and traveling through the wilderness with some close friends looking for the famed fountain of youth, then he would chose the wilderness adventure because it sounds much more entertaining.

this is the advertisement he requires local stations to run every hour on the hour that he suggests you watch simply to inspire yourself by himself:

Lindsay the college student

Hey everyone! My name is Lindsay and I'm a freshman at the U of MN in Twin Cities. I'm from Fond du Lac, WI, which is about 5 hours away, and have a younger brother who's a junior in high school. Fond du Lac is a small city of about 38,000 so coming to the U, I was very excited to party and meet new people. I've drank a few times in high school but never got so wasted I couldn't remember anything afterwards. My friends and I are very responsible and therefore believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If young adults our age in Europe can drink when they're 18, we should be able to as well. Not everyone is irresponsible when they drink.

Lindsay the college student

Hey everyone! My name is Lindsay and I'm a freshman at the U of MN in Twin Cities. I'm from Fond du Lac, WI, which is about 5 hours away, and have a younger brother who's a junior in high school. Fond du Lac is a small city of about 38,000 so coming to the U, I was very excited to party and meet new people. I've drank a few times in high school but never got so wasted I couldn't remember anything afterwards. My friends and I are very responsible and therefore believe that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. If young adults our age in Europe can drink when they're 18, we should be able to as well. Not everyone is irresponsible when they drink.

November 8, 2006

Senator Haukos

Hello to all of my faithful constituents!! As I'm sure you all know, I am your elected official for this debate. I would just like to give you a little background on myself. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1999 with a degree in Finance. After graduating from the U, I applied and was accepted into the Kennedy School of Law at Harvard University. I graduated from Harvard in 2003. I was then immediatly elected senator fresh out of law school (I know, it seems rather odd, but it happened). My campaign for election was run on mostly conservative values. I support the War in Iraq, although I realize that we need a change in policy over their. I am pro-life, believing that life begins at conception. I am a big family and christian values person. I feel that it is not the government's choice to decide when a person should be able to consume alcohol, but that person and their family. Although many people claim that to remove the rules from the current system, and havoc would break loose. I feel that like most things, people only want what they cannot have. If we make alcohol legal, teens will not feel the strong notions to drink excessively. As your senator, I look forward to representing you and hope that I can serve you justice. Feel free to contact me through the blog, or go ahead and e-mail me -------. I would prefer contact through the blog, but e-mail would be acceptable in some cases. Have a great day!

November 3, 2006

Drinking Age Debate--the roles and players

Should the drinking age be changed to 18 years of age?


senator #1 -- Dain
senator #2 -- John L.

media -- Matt

high School teacher/Principal -- David
high School student -- Justin
parent -- Jaqi
Lobbyist (alcohol company) -- Parag
parent -- Kayla
college professor --
health professional -- Debra
college student -- Tina
Sgt. Thatcher -- Luke

FOR WEDNESDAY -- Bring in an article, perhaps from your role's viewpoint, about this issue.
FOR FRIDAY -- Post a short biography on your role. (Remember to post under specific category: "Debate #2 --The Players)

Olivia Borgess-Nunez--Freelance Journalist

My career as a journalist has brought me around the world reporting on the exchange of ideas between various groups large and small. Not wanting to be chained down to the editorial demands of one publication, I work mostly as a freelance writer for a variety of outlets. Some of my recent work has been published in The New York Times, London Globe, and most recently The Pioneer Press.

The issues that catch my eye often involve the interaction of smaller groups forging an identity when in confrontation with larger groups. Fashioning myself after the original muckrakers of the early twentieth century, I often position myself as the voice of the underdog.

For more information about me and my work, check out my webpage and blog at myspace.

The Players

Who has the power? Who doesn't? Who has power in ways unseen?

As we prepare to begin the debates, write a short biography describing who you are and how you are involved in the debate. Feel free to add links to,, etc. Consider this public information since it will be viewed by those who will be writing memos to you.

Feel free to click on my bio as a sample for some ideas.

***REMEMBER to select the correct debate category when posting your entries!!! This will help to keep all this organized.