Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Don't Take From The Needy...Stop The Abuse

I read Carrie Sanders post, Taking from the needy, and I absolutely agree with some of the points she made. First, it is without a doubt indisputable that many people use the government system when they are not actually in need of assistance. Articlebase’s, Kyle Krannebitter, hits the nail on the head by stating, “Recipients find new ways each year to prolong their dependency on the system.  It is not fair to hard working tax payers who are giving their well earned money to greedy, lazy Americans that are able to work, but do not choose to.” This abuse ruins many government officials, along with many American, views on welfare programs, and in turn brings about bills such as the Farm Bill Carrie described in her article.

As always, there are pros and cons to each and every case, which inevitably leads to groups of supporters and groups of opponents. However, I do agree with Carrie that there are a lot of people that are in dire need of assistance, which is why it is so unfathomable that our government would take such assistance away from those whom are in need. Like Carrie said we need stricter regulations to stop the abusers and help the needy. President Bill Clinton took such action on the national level during his presidency. Articlebase’s, Kyle Krannebitter, states, “Welfare programs have proven beneficial in helping people and families that are in need.  Because of the program's abuse, new state regulations were needed.  Statistics show that the reform program implemented by Bill Clinton back in 1996 is working.  It has succeeded in reducing the number of families and people on assistance.”

So, why not follow in the former presidents footsteps by implementing such regulations on a state level? We as a state need to figure out how to continue to help those in need, sadly most of which are the elderly and children, and cut off those who are abusing the welfare system. Austin American Statesman, Hank Perret, touched on the sad statistic by stating, “Last Wednesday, the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives voted to pass dramatic cuts to the Farm Bill. If it passes in Congress, the legislation will remove $16.5 billion from food and hunger relief programs that directly benefit children, seniors and families.” We cannot let such nonsense take place. Although there will always be law breakers, cheaters, and those who abuse privileges, it should not ruin the chances for those who follow the rules and truly need the assistance. 

Krannebitter, Kyle. "Regulate the Welfare Abuse." Articlesbase.com. Articlesbase.com, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.articlesbase.com/economics-articles/regulate-the-welfare-abuse-592020.html>.

Perret, Hank. "Perret: Cuts Would Affect Hungry Central Texas Kids, Seniors." Perret: Cuts Would Affect Hungry Central Texas Kids, Seniors. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2012. <http://www.statesman.com/opinion/perret-cuts-would-affect-hungry-central-texas-kids-2419803.html?cxtype=rss_ece_frontpage>.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Texting And Drviving, Is It Really That Bad?

Texting and driving, is it really that bad? I would argue yes. Shamefully, I am one of the people that have this problem. I try to avoid texting and driving, but at times I tend to forget. If the state of Texas made texting and driving illegal statewide, it would be harder for people to tend to forget, and hopefully then there would be less accidents and possible fatalities.

No matter how you look at it, texting and driving is dangerous. Every person learning to drive has to take a driver’s education course. From the get-go this course teaches us that at all times we should keep both eyes on the road and keep both hands on the steering wheel. So why would anyone argue that is safe to be reading something while driving, or taking their hands off the steering wheel in order to type a message on their phones? The Los AngelesTimes stated in an article that, “According to researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Ft. Worth, texting behind the wheel accounted for 16,141 deaths between 2002 and 2007.” As you can see, that significant number only totals for the years up till 2007, we are now in 2012.

With growing technology, such as the new and improved iPhones each year, the demand to be on our phones has grown. Not only are people text messaging while driving, but now they are checking facebook, checking their emails, checking their schedules, and so on. So, presumably with the continuous growth in technology the fatality rate most likely will continue to increase. The International Business Times stated, “Deaths due to “distracted driving” rose 28 percent in three years to 5,870 in 2008 from 4,572 in 2005, an analysis of federal data on road fatalities said.” Can you imagine what that percentage is right now in 2012?

If government does not take action that number will continuously increase. I will be the first to admit that it will be hard to stop texting and driving completely, however, if there is a law in place and enforced, it will make a person, including myself, think twice before they pick up their phone. This is not something that is going to change overnight, but it is something that can change and that needs to change. We are endangering not only ourselves, but also innocent bystanders. You would think that alone would make a person want to change their habits. Although some opponents to this law, such as Governor Rick Perry, argue that such a law defies the rights of adults. I, however, would argue that adults are human, and humans do not always make the best decisions, so laws in general are in place in order to protect the people from possible bad decisions.

"Texting While Driving Killed at Least 16,000 in US." International Business Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2012. <http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/66405/20100928/texting-while-driving-road-accidents-in-us-texting-and-driving-road-accidents.htm>.

24, September. "Researchers Calculate the Death Toll from Texting While Driving." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 09 Aug. 2012. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/24/news/la-heb-distracted-driving-20100924>.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Planned Parenthood Is Good For Texas Commentary

I read Robert Anderson’s article, Why Planned Parenthood Is Good For Texas, and I have to say he brought a lot of key points to the surface. Much like what Robert said Planned Parenthood is a business, or shall I say their belief in pro-choice, that causes a lot of controversy amongst different political groups. Being a person who does not identify one hundred percent with either political party, it is tough for me to take a side on abortions should be a choice. However, I do think it is necessary for Planned Parenthood to be around regardless of their stance on abortion.

After doing my research on Planned Parenthood I fail to see how Roberts’s statement on Planned Parenthood is accurate. In his article Robert stated, “However what many fail to see is that abortions are not being done by Planned Parenthood, but in fact by entirely separate corporations.” On Planned Parenthoods website they state it plain as day by saying, “Three percent of all Planned Parenthood health services are abortion services.” This statement proves that Planned Parenthood does offer abortion services, however, they are only offered in certain Planned Parenthood clinics, which by state law, such clinics are not funded by the state.

Planned Parenthood stated it perfectly on their website by saying, “In order to comply with state regulations effective June 1, 2005, Austin Planned Parenthood is divided into three separate but affiliated corporate entities: Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region (PPTCR), Planned Parenthood of Austin Surgical & Sexual Health Services (PPASSHS), and Planned Parenthood of Austin Family Planning (PPAFP). PPAFP is supported by state funds—no state funds are used by Planned Parenthood of Austin Surgical & Sexual Health Services or Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region.” With that being said it is obvious that Planned Parenthoods name backs the affiliation companies. So, isn’t it safe to say that Planned Parenthood does offer abortions, although only at certain locations that abide by state laws and regulations? And doesn’t this knowledge still make conservatives look like idiots because factually Planned Parenthood is not using the state funds for the abortion clinics, but instead are only using them for their Planned Parenthood of Austin Family Planning clinics.

These clinics, not the ones that perform abortions, help hundreds of people a year, and in turn deserve the necessary funding. Planned Parenthood has abided by the rules and kept clinics of controversy separate, so why cut their funding when they are doing it the right way. Just because this company believe in pro-choice, and has unrelated clinics that allow the exercise of pro-choice, does not mean that the state should cut their funding for the specific clinics that are providing so many other services. Planned Parenthood states, “Planned Parenthood provides sexual and reproductive health care, education, and information to nearly five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide each year. Nearly three million women and men in the United States annually visit Planned Parenthood affiliate health centers for trusted health care services and information… Planned Parenthood health centers focus on prevention: 76 percent of our clients receive services to prevent unintended pregnancy. Planned Parenthood services help prevent more than 584,000 unintended pregnancies each year. Planned Parenthood provides nearly 770,000 Pap tests and nearly 750,000 breast exams each year, critical services in detecting cancer. Planned Parenthood provides more than four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.” Are the people of our state blind? These clinics are necessary for so many Texas citizens.

By the state cutting Planned Parenthoods funds they are only hurting the people they are claiming to represent. I think Planned Parenthood is doing a wonderful job at keeping the services they provide separate, as well as using the funds, or should I say the funds they use to receive, for what the government intended it for. I think the controversial issue is just that, controversial. People let their own beliefs affect the lives of some many others. I am not one to agree with abortion, however, I do think woman should have the right to choose. So many men simply walk away from their responsibilities as a parent, and are only held accountable if and when the courts get around to it, while woman on the other hand are usually stuck with the responsibility for the rest of their lives. To me this is not fair. I believe that allowing a person the choice, whether I believe it to be the right choice or not, is what makes the American way of life so appealing to others.

Planned Parenthood, like Robert said, is a good organization for Texas. Abortion is only one aspect of what Planned Parenthood represent. The other aspects, which are stated above, should prove just how important the provided services are to the citizens of Texas. One service alone should not outweigh all the good that Planned Parenthood is doing. Their services help so many people many to stay healthy, stay informed, and to have choices!

"Board of Directors." - Planned Parenthood. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://www.plannedparenthood.org/ppaustin/board-directors-3727.htm>.

"Planned Parenthood at a Glance." Sexual & Reproductive Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 July 2012. <http://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/planned-parenthood-glance-5552.htm>.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Texas Up In Smoke

The cool thing about being an American is having the freedom to have and to express our own beliefs. We do not have to succumb to what others are doing; instead, we have the right to make our own path. So, why ban the use of plastic bags in Austin? Shouldn’t government be focusing less on this issue since it should be our right to choose whether we want to go green and use cloth bags, or whether we want to use plastic bags as means to hold our groceries? Also, should such issues as the ban of plastic bags be what take up our government’s time, or should they be focusing on issues that lead to greater problems for our state?

For me going green is not my fist priority. I especially think that when concerning the plastic bag issue, there are much larger problems that should be taking priority when speaking of our government. One issue in particular is the Texas fires that took place due to our excruciating drought conditions. Instead of our government focusing their attention on cutting back on the plastic bag usage, they should be focusing on greater issues such as peoples littering of cigarette butts.

This is not saying that plastic bags are not at all a problem. I do agree to some extent that plastic bags probably cause harm to our environment. Sarah Coppola, with Austin America Statesman, explained it by stating, “But city leaders have said the bags often end up as litter or landfill trash and cause environmental harm”. I believe this to be a true statement, however, it cannot possibly be more harmful then people losing their homes and businesses due to the lack of government action. During the fires that took place in Bastrop the American-Statesman staff said, “The fire in Bastrop County has been confirmed to have burned 14,000 acres and has grown to become an estimated 16 miles long, said Mark Stanford, fire chief of the Texas Forest Service”. With that being said it should be no wonder government should take greater action when concerning cigarette butts being thrown out the windows of cars. These fires did not necessarily start from the littering of cigarettes; however, it is statistically undeniable that littering of butts poses great risk of such fires.

According to Kut News’, Crystal Chavez, a lot of fires are started by the littering of cigarette butts. She states, “Tobacco related litter is the most common form of litter and over 40,000 cigarette butts have been collected from 39 Parks and Recreation Department sites this year. Cigarettes also pose a significant fire risk. According to the Austin Fire Department, 9 out of 10 fires along our roadways are caused by cigarettes and at least 25% of all wildfires have been caused by cigarettes”. So why are we not focusing more time and attention on cracking down on the littering of cigarette butts, and less on plastic bags. It seems to me that government has its priorities all wrong. While we spend more money producing and distributing durable bags, our state will be going up in smoke.

Chavez, Crystal. "Top Morning Stories 12/08/11:Council Voting on Parks Smoking Ban, Water May Be Cut Off for Farmers." KUT News. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2012. <http://kutnews.org/post/top-morning-stories-120811council-voting-parks-smoking-ban-water-may-be-cut-farmers>.

Coppola, Sarah. "Austin Passes Bag Ban." Austin News, Sports, Weather, Longhorns, Business. N.p., 02 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 July 2012. <http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/cityhall/entries/2012/03/02/austin_passes_bag_ban_1.html>.

"Fires Raging throughout Central Texas." Austin News, Sports, Weather, Longhorns, Business. N.p., 04 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 July 2012. <http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2011/09/04/fires_raging_throughout_centra.html>.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Austin's Local Businesses Being a Prime Example

As we know the U.S. economy took a nose dive when the United States headed towards the recession. One thing that has remained constant is Austin’s ability to have a successful economy and to stay alive regardless of the economies crashing around them.

Austin is probably one of the only places that have a street dedicated to unique food trailers, which capture the interest of not only tourist, but also locals. Unique businesses, such as the food trailers, are what people of Austin tend to gravitate towards. The citizens of Austin are paying less attention to the chain businesses and more attention to the local businesses which make Austin the funky place that so many people love. 

Joe Deshotel, with the Burnt Orange Report Blog, did a blog about how local businesses are helping Austin’s economy to stay alive and progress in an upward direction. Deshotel explained how supporting local businesses, such as the food trailers, not only helps the businesses succeed, but also strengthens are economy. By supporting everything local we are boosting the amount of money being made in Austin and the availability of jobs for the local citizens. Deshotel states it perfectly in his blog when describing how other areas should follow Austin’s lead. He states, "As one of the nation's fastest growing cities and strongest economies maybe this forumla for success isn't so weird after all and can serve as a shining example to areas still struggling from a global recessions". 

Austin is without a doubt a city that takes pride in its people. It is no wonder local businesses are what help the economy to be successful. If all places took pride in their city, like the citizens of Austin do, than the overall economy might take a giant shift in the right direction. 

Deshotel, Joe. "A Little Competition Goes a Long Way for the Local Economy." BOR: Our Eyes Are Upon Texas Politics. N.p., 22 July 2012. Web. 24 July 2012. <http://www.burntorangereport.com/>.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Health In Texas

After reading an article on Austin American Statesman about the lack of insured people in Texas, it was very clear that the Editorial Board was determined to reach out to a specific audience. This audience consisted of those who do not possess medical insurance, the elderly, most of which rely on Medicaid for nursing home care, the group of people who are not Governor Perry supporters, and the large population of poverty stricken people. The Editorial Board of Austin American Statesman pointed out rather factually that most Texan citizens, many of which relate to the groups I described above, are uninsured due to the lack of health insurance coverage, the lack of Medicaid expansion, and the lack of determination by our state to help increase the chances for the less fortunate to qualify for government assistance programs. Austin American Statesman states, "Most Texans enrolled in Medicaid are women and children; about a quarter are elderly and disabled. Yet most Medicaid spending — 58 percent in 2010 — went toward meeting the health care needs of elderly and disabled Texans. Nursing home care contributes significantly to the cost of Medicaid. Expanding or not expanding Medicaid won't change that fact. Patients with a household income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level are potentially eligible for Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid to cover patients with a household income at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That's roughly $15,400 for an individual and $31,800 for a family of four". It is no wonder Texas is number one when it comes to the amount of people uninsured. We as a state, meaning our government who should be speaking for the people, are not taking the necessary actions to make sure all of our people are taken care of. This in turn cannot and will not benefit the people financially. The Editorial Board stated it perfectly by saying, "A key question lawmakers should ask, though, is whether the cost is more significant than the costs that will shift to insured Texans and Texas taxpayers if millions of Texans remain uninsured and continue to rely on emergency rooms for even minor medical care. Hospitals pass along the costs of treating uninsured patients to insured patients. Taxpayers in hospital districts, such as Travis County's Central Health, absorb the cost in the form of higher tax rates". We, as a state, will pay the ultimate price for allowing so many of our people to go uninsured. 

"For Better Health, Pay Perry No Mind." For Better Health, Pay Perry No Mind. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. <http://www.statesman.com/opinion/for-better-health-pay-perry-no-mind-2416602.html>.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pointing The Finger

In this day and age one would think that pointing the finger would be left to the children of our world. One would never guess that adults, let alone ones representing the state of Texas, would be pointing the finger in order to gain votes. In the KXAN article Senate runoff hopefuls increase attacks, it was reported that Republicans Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst, are lying and accusing one another of wrong doing. In the KXAN article Cruz is accusing Dewhurst of trying to cover up past support for certain immigration programs, while Dewhurst is accusing Cruz of representing a person involved in a bribery scandal. Both parties are claiming that the allegations against them are untrue and they go on to justify why and how the allegations are false. As the article continues both parties continue to point the finger and attack one another in order to gain votes for the upcoming and most likely final debate. The article is a pretty interesting read when focusing on how people will go to any extent to get what they want. We as a whole, no matter our degree of influence, position in the world, or education level, will still act in child like ways, such as pointing the finger, in order to get exactly what we want.