Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Harris County sued over First Amendment

I do agree with my classmates discussion on Harris County losing the lawsuit over the bible on the monument, but I can also see why this women was upset. http://texasgovtevolution.blogspot.com/

Her name is Kay Staley and she sued Harris County in 2003 because a monument had a bible King James Version, outside of a courthouse. She wins with a 2-1 ruling that the monument violated the First Amendment. It says Congress can not make a law respecting building an establishment of religion. The monument was put there to honor a man for all of his dedication to the homeless. I have to agree with my classmate when she says people will sue over anything! That is an unfortunate reality and this women is no exception.

Since this is a monument to honor someone and his beliefs it should in no way offend anyone. She is not being pushed or told to believe this way. If it was just a random Bible placed out in plain view, open for the public then that could be a true violation. With that being said the monument should stay up and honor a man who gave so much.

On the other side I can see this woman knew the law and apparently this was a violation. I always say the law is the law whether we like it or not.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Increased use of Pepper Spray in Youth Commission

Why is it we use violence to teach people to not be violent? To teach my daughter to be gentle and loving that is what I model to her. The Texas Youth Commission apparently disagrees. Teenagers who are incarcerated are now being pepper-sprayed more than ever before. This year there has been 1200 reports of teens being sprayed compared with last years 196. Two youth advocacy groups sued the agency and they are currently trying to come to an agreement on, how much is to much? Barry Krisberg is quoted saying," You're only going to get angrier, more alienated youths when you do this." I could not agree more! We need to teach these teens how to respond to a stressful situation calmly and peacefully. You can create boundaries and respect when that is what you give to them. Reacting to them in anger only reinforces that is how you are supposed to react. It is said they use the pepper spray on teenagers on suicide watch. They are clearly not in a good space why torture them more? It is like kicking them when they are down.

Physical restraints were bringing more injuries to the youth and staff members, the use of the pepper spray has reduced these injuries. We are trading one form of violence for another. These kids have to be handled respectively to learn how to be respectful. Setting boundaries and rules can be done peacefully.

We need to take a look at our egos in this situation. How much ego is involved when the decision is made to pepper spray? Guiding these teens toward a life of balance and healthy living should be our focus. http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/11/20/1120pepper.html

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids Health Bill

One of my classmates chose to comment on an article concerning children's health care. I think it is a very important topic and I have some opinions of my own to share. This article,http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CHILDRENS_HEALTH?SITE=TXSAE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-11-01-17-41-28, states that the lawmakers are attempting to override Bush's veto for a children's healthy insurance program, Chip, to expand it's resources. President Bush refuses to agree to "any version of the health insurance bill if it is funded by tobacco tax increase, which is virtually certain under any revised plan". I wonder why he would say such a thing? My classmate wrote a very good article but I have to say I disagree with his response.

This article makes me very emotional, being a single mom I struggle to insure my child. Health insurance is very expensive, without programs like CHIP many families would go without. Being the President of the United States Bush does not understand what it feels like to struggle and budget to fit in necessities like health insurance. Where has all the compassion gone? Our country desperately needs better health care options for our children. We need to just figure it out and budget for our children's future.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Texas Youth Commision Needs Help

The New York Times wrote an article on how Texas needs to "Raze" Youth Commission and "Start Over". http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2007/11/new-york-times-texas-needs-to-raze.html There have been some reforms made by Gov. Rick Perry but no real change in the works.

Blue Ribbon Task Force is ready with a sensible plan but there is not enough support.

In the article it says that some of the problems come from poorly run schools. I do agree schools are poorly run but the problems start at home. How are these kids treated at home? Do they get the attention, love and support they need? Children learn how to treat others by how you treat them. We do need to rebuild our juvenile justice system but we also need to promote better state wide parenting skills. If we can help kids from the beginning we can eliminate most of the problems. We have to raise good kids to get good kids.

Behavior problems can be linked to one of their needs not getting met. When children have a need not getting met or if they feel as if no one cares they can end up acting out. There thoughts could be no one cares, why should I? Children's brains are also not fully developed to understand the ramifications of there actions. We have to be there to help them understand and make good choices.

If children do get to the point that they need to be in centers away from family, we do as a society have a responsibility to give them the best we can. from what I have read on this issue we are not. To me it feels like the focus is to just get them in and out, no real rehabilitation. We have to bring people in to really help them so when they are out they have the tools they need to succeed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Austin Leads Way in Energy Efficiency

When we think of conserving energy and reducing pollution it needs to be taken sreiously! This article is about new code changes that will reduce energy use by 65 percent in new homes. It is said in the article Austin is the first city to do this. They are hoping that these changes will reduce total energy used bt 11 percent in each new home. The first changes will focus on heating and air conditioning, 40 percent of electricity consumption in Austin homes. This is a great start to what we can accomplish when it comes to reducing pollution. It is such a shame that in our world we hold the the knowledge to convert all of our energy consumption over to more coservative ways yet we do not.

Why does it cost so much for solar paneling? Why can we not make it affordable? In a situation like this we have to remove money as an obsatcle, our survival depends on it. We have brought so much sickness to ourselves in the way we live. It is amazing we survive at all. I think that these new code changes are great but money still plays to big a part in it for us to see big changes. I am aware that money is important but in this case our survivla should come out ahead. Visit this article at http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/10/17/1017zeroenergy.html

Friday, October 5, 2007

Study Questions difficulty of TAKS

The TAKS test here in Texas is being questioned about its difficulty, each states test vary greatly. It is felt that what students should be learning is not being met according to the 2014 requirement. What are children expected to learn and why? Why are so many students not meeting this and so many barely? Should we as a society feel it is right to put these kind of pressures on our children? It is not only the students who feel these pressures but the teachers as well. Teachers are quitting their jobs thanks to the pressures they meet every year with this rigorous testing. If an adult feels this much pressure the test, imagine how a child must feel.

They are now wanting to make one test for every state. Some are saying that is to much. Study authors think you can have national standards without a national test.

As this article states there is a lot of controversy about the amount of time spent on tests and tests preparation. Many electives are being cut back to make more time for test preparation. We need to take a look at the motives of the people in charge of making these regulations. Children naturally have a love of learning. If they are put in healthy learning environments learning will happen naturally!

If you have children thus article is a must read, not only this article but a greater understanding of what children are being put through in our public schools. It is our responsibility to make sure our children are getting the kindest and most loving education. www.austinamericanstatesman.com

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mark My Words Posted by Paul Burka

When Mark Halperin came to Austin to speak about the presidential race, he made some very good points. Election day is on its way. In my opinion one of the most important elections ever. We are in aposition for big change. Change that I believe to be a positive one. This article is extremely informative. It gives you some information on the candidates and also helps you understand the election process. One of my favorite parts is his response to, how he might change the media. I think we can all agree we would like to see less pop stars on the news and more real issues that actually affect our lives! texasmonthly.com/blogs