Monday, May 10, 2010

In response to "The Cost of College Increases"

On another classmates blog, Ms Derrick discusses the tuition increase at ACC. I think she does a good job of giving the details of what the increases will be and how it might affect some of the students. She clearly states her opinion on the subject and she doesn’t feel it’s right to increase the tuition and it might hurt some students and require them to drop out.

I must respectfully disagree with some of this. If a student has 12 hours (which majority of ACC students just take a couple of classes and work), then the increase is 36 dollars per semester. That is not that big of a difference. It is the first increase in 5 years (as stated by Ms. Derrick) and that’s probably about right for the rate of inflation. I don’t think a minor increase twice a decade is too much. You can go and donate blood (or something else of that nature) to make up for that minor difference.

Overall, I think she done a good job of supplying the information and stating her viewpoint. Nice post

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Should Texas Adopt Immigration Laws Similiar to Arizona's???

Ok, here we go with this very touchy subject: immigration. Should Texas adopt something similar to what Arizona has done with their SB 1070? I think there should be something of that nature put into place, but not necessarily exactly what they have done.

There is no doubt that illegal immigration is hurting legal Americans in more way than one. We pay taxes for care that they receive here (i.e. Medicaid/written off medical treatment/government housing, etc.). They will take jobs at much lower pay rates, sometimes even below minimum wage, and end up not paying taxes on a lot made through these jobs that they take from legal Americans. They take up some jail space and wait to be deported (minimal number) while the American taxpayer pays to keep them here. A lot of them do drive without insurance, get in wrecks (which I have personally witnessed more than once), and end up not being able to pay anything/ help out person they hit and caused damage to. The list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, I welcome anyone to come to the U.S., I would just like to see a couple of things happen. First, you need to do it the legal way. Go through naturalization, citizenship, etc. and get documented. Another thing is LEARN TO SPEAK THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE. I don’t expect to go live in Mexico and expect English to fly, or Russia, China, etc. You get the point. Is it too much to ask for you to be able to communicate with people? I think not.

Are there a couple of flaws in the Arizona Bill? Sure, but it is a step in the right direction. Police have to be careful because it will be a slippery slope they are on in violating civil rights. They shouldn’t, nor should it be tolerated, if anyone is found to be abusing this power. Of course not everyone is in favor of this bill, but something needs to be done. If I go to another country, I have to have documentation showing who I am, why can’t we ask for that here and what’s the big deal with asking?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In response to the Texas Insider blog post

This commentary is in response to an article on Texas Insider blog found here. Ms. Driver does a good job of supplying the reader with lots of information, but some links as to where the information came from would be nice. She gave lots of information on the recent Texas State Board of Education’s recent March meetings where a lot of controversy followed.

One suggestion I would give is not to cite Wikipedia as a source. Who knows who actually put the information on that is posted on that site. Ms. Driver also states that because Texas is the second biggest state, we are second largest consumer of textbooks and that has an influence on the rest of the country. While part of that statement is correct, the biggest reason Texas has much influence on the rest of the country’s textbooks is because we are the second biggest producer of textbooks.

Overall, I think Ms. Driver done a good job. She explained her points well. Her final paragraph is great. She encourages everyone to get out and state their opinions, even if they aren’t popular. She states that it isn’t just a one-sided problem either and what might happen if some of this type of behavior doesn’t cease. She ends with an absolute gem of a quote by Mark Twain.

On a side note, it took the TSBOE 17 days to answer an email of when the minutes from the meeting discussed in this article would be available. The answer I got is they will be available on May 21, 2010 after they are approved by the board. This leaves me shaking my head and asking myself “what?”

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TSBOE and Thomas Jefferson

The Texas State Board of Education’s (TSBOE) recent change in the removal of Thomas Jefferson from a list of philosophers and adding John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, and Sir William Blackstone is an outrage. I tried to find the actual minutes from the meeting, but they aren’t available yet for some reason, even though it’s over two weeks after the meeting. It is being said that one of the main reasons is because of his belief on separation of Church and State.

Thomas Jefferson was a deeply religious man himself, but he knew that these two should be separate, as indicated in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. This instance of the TSBOE’s removal of Mr. Jefferson and replacing him with such religious figures demonstrates the exact reason why these two should be separate. The mostly ultra-conservative TSBOE should be thoroughly ashamed of what they have done, but I doubt they have truly considered the extent and consequences of what they have done.

Not only does this affect students here in Texas, but it will affect students all over the U.S. Texas is a huge exporter of textbooks to the rest of the nation. Other states should be questioning the motives of this move also. TSBOE’s response states they believe that Jefferson doesn’t belong in the philosophy part of the textbook. Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, is the one who introduced the change, and also referenced the Enlightenment in her amendment. Of course, the Enlightenment is a philosophy that emphasized reason and science over religion and tradition.

The following quote can be found at the Texas Freedom Network: “Students should learn that Jefferson was one of America’s greatest political thinkers and that his ideas have inspired not just Americans but other people around the world in their struggles for freedom.” The mostly highly-conservative board is trying to have their personal viewpoints instituted on what should be taught instead of what has been highly regarded over the past two centuries as the standard and truth. Even if they thought Jefferson should be removed from this section, why replace him with such religious thinkers and strike out the Enlightenment philosophers.

It is clear that this has personal motivation and ideologies rather than educating children on all aspects of that part of history. I encourage everyone to take action and make your opinions known. Write the TSBOE, TEA, or Governor and call for this to be changed. Bill White has an open letter to Rick Perry asking him to have this reconsidered here. You can email the TSBOE directly here. You can email Governor Perry’s office here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Census Information

There is some new census information that will be available after the census of this year. You can read the article here. For the first time, gay couples will have the right to be counted as married in the census.

In his post, Mr. Charles Kuffner states "The data is what it is, and the Census Bureau shouldn't be in the business of telling people they really aren't what they say they are." I have to agree with this myself. The census should be about gathering data and nothing else.

The spots for this information will be available on all states census questionnaire, even though 45 of the states don't recognize same sex couples as married. It will be up to the individual person to put whether they are married, life partners, or some other living arrangement on the census.

Gabriel Sanchez, director of the Dallas Regional Census Center, states it will "shine a light" into the LGBT communities. He also states that "we don't ask about sexual orientation, but what we have done is we will record and will publish that people are same-sex married."

We should all realize that gay and lesbian couples are a lot more prominent than we think, and that information should be taken into account. I believe this is a step in the right direction on getting some rights for these people. There are a lot of people out there that want equal rights for some people as long as it fits in their bubble of what they think is right and not anything else. Maybe this is a positive step to help bring some awareness and rights to this group of society.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tx Governor Candidate's 911 take

This is my critique on an article by Jonathan Gurwitz on Debra Medina's comments on Glenn Beck concerning the government's involvement with the 911 attacks found here.

Mr. Gurwitz has a pretty outstanding bio that includes being a member of the National Honor Society of Political Science, work with NATO and US State Department, held different offices for the City of San Antonio, and worked and volunteered with several charitable organizations. He is definitely a source that has some credibility. Mr. Gurwitz's intended audience is the voting population of the State of Texas. I am going to have to respectfully disagree with him on his viewpoint of this situation.

First off, Mr. Gurwitz states there is absolutely no middle ground on whether the government had any involvement or knowing of anything related to 911. "You either believe the overwhelming eyewitness, scientific and forensic evidence that it was a plot conceived and carried out by Islamic extremists, or you subscribe to one of a number of interrelated conspiracy theories that — to a greater or lesser extent — relieve the actual perpetrators of their culpability for 3,000 deaths. There's no middle ground." I must respectfully disagree with this. One thing, you should never believe everything you are told, no matter who it is from, especially if it is from an authoritative figure. Their main aim would be to keep their authority. As Timothy Leary put it, think for yourself, question authority. If the government came in and said we are going to take %90 of your earnings and you keep the other %10, would you question them then?

Next is the "overwhelming eyewitness, scientific and forensic evidence." News flash- quite a lot of the people raising questions about this are scientists, architects, and engineers. There is a petition with over 1000 architects' signatures to re-open the investigation. I will take the opinions of a lot of these people over people in the government who want to protect their power and statuses.

Here is part of Medina's quote: "I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard. There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there. So I've not taken a position on that.” I don't personally see anything wrong with her statement on that, but apparently Mr. Gurwitz does. There are some good questions that have been raised that should probably be answered. I really don't understand why he has a problem with this.

Now, here is part of Shami's quote “There had been so much controversy. You know, maybe there is no smoke without fire. You know, I mean, yes, we, you know, we read the, or we heard about the conclusion about 9-11, you know, and the committee that we did. But somehow, people are not believing that." I am of the opinion that the public should question something if they don't believe it. Are we always supposed to believe something blindly without proof? The last time I checked, this is not religion. The government kept denying Area 51 and how it didn't exist, but we all know now that it does exist and has for a long time.

One last quote, this one from Gurwitz on Medina: "The truth is that she victimized herself by providing Beck with an answer to a simple question that was either honest but politically intolerable or mistaken and intellectually incomprehensible." First thing, I have a lot more respect for a politician that will answer a question honestly. That is very refreshing. We won't even go into the part about intellectually incomprehensible. The last time I checked, most intellectuals are somewhat open-minded and know that there are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

***This is not class related***, but I am still a little peeved about this

I was on the way home after work the other night, and I witnessed a motorcycle-car collision around 8:35 p.m. I was the first on the scene and was the one to call 911. The guy who was hit on the bike got his shoe knocked off on the side he got hit on. This was a VERY low speed crash. I stayed there until the police, fireman, and EMS arrived. Now for the point of this story. One of the cops came up to me (mind you I'm in scrubs as I work at an Urgent Care) and asked to get my contact information in case they needed to call. He asked for my drivers license also. No problem. The next thing I know he runs my DL number and has me wait until it comes back clear before he let me go. I didn't think too terribly much about it while I was there, but later it really started to bug me. Everyone I have told the story to agrees with me, even before I state my viewpoint on the situation. Long story short, what a way to deter people from stopping and rendering aid to someone who needs it. Let's just say I had an unpaid ticket from years ago or ran a red light at one of the places where they photo you running it. I would have went to jail for STOPPING TO HELP SOMEONE. Everyone, you need to realize that your freedoms are disappearing day by day, and there's not too muchyou can do about it.