Tuesday, December 11, 2007

YouTube Debate Commentary

YouTube Debate Blog

I too think that the politician should have used this opportunity to clearly express his own opinions on the death penalty. This is such a controversial topic at the moment and is something that voters are concerned with. The politician might have provided a witty answer to work his way around the question, but I agree that the question should have been handled in a more appropriat manner. I see the politicians viewpoint however. When one is used to being questioned a certain way by a certain type of person (journalists, for example), it is tricky getting thrown into a completely new situation. The YouTube debate is almost a test to how the candidates can handle questions that are outside of what is normal. We not only want to hear what they have to say, but we want to see how they treat questions coming from everyday normal people instead of those who study politics and are skilled in asking political questions. The rise of the internet has certainly changed politics and it will have an interesting effect on this upcoming election.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CHIP and Medicaid

CHIP and Medicaid

This article on Austin American Statesman’s website by Corrie MacLaggan reports on the unusually large percentage of people who qualify for CHIP and/or Medicaid yet do not take advantage of it. CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) and Medicaid offer free (in the case of Medicaid) or extremely affordable health insurance to underprivileged children. According to this article there are currently about 850,000 Texas children who are eligible to receive CHIP and Medicaid benefits yet are not enrolled in either program. To help reach out to the families in need, call centers have been created and churches have been contacted to help spread the word. It seems as though these families who can not provide health care for their children to not know how truly important it is to have health care and do not know how accessible it is for them to get it. I think that Texans should do a better job in spreading this word to help more families. In the article they use the excuse that Texas is such a big state- it’s difficult to implement something on such a large scale. The size of Texas should not be used as any sort of excuse. If anything, the size of Texas should make it that much more important to help needy children who are not as fortunate as others. I think that we should send out CHIP and Medicaid representatives to these cities and towns where high percentages of the residents qualify for the programs. I think we should more actively seek out these people rather than just using call centers- which have a tendency to seem impersonal. It is a shame that there are programs created specifically to help all these people yet they might not have any idea they even qualify. Texas needs to help out its poor citizens to assure a brighter future.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Golf Course Blog

Lions Municipal Golf Course Blog

I agree with Janna's commentary in her blog about the golf course. As a student who is struggling to pay for an apartment, books, and tuition, I sympathize with those who are in need of affordable living situations- particularly those in college. I think that helping those who are trying to pay for college on their own is the best kind of help that can be offered. Yes, that golf course might be a local Austin tradition and could possibly hold lots of sentimental value, but a golf course can be anywhere. You can always relocate it to a different place and just because it is physically in a different place, as long as it is still around the golfers will still go to it and still feel the same emotional ties to it. Housing, however, is a different story. With housing, location is everything. With the demand for affordable housing so high right now, Austin needs to be thinking about the people who are having difficulty supporting themselves, especially if they are parents and need to take care of children. Conclusively, this issue needs to be addressed with those in need in mind. We need to think about what is really necessary in this situation- and it's not golfers. It's the people who can't afford any other living situations.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Scare Tactics

Annual Halloween Scare Tactic on Sex Offenders Doesn't Improve Public Safety

Grits for Breakfast has posted this article about a Halloween “round up” of all the registered sex offenders to make sure they are not welcoming trick-or-treaters. They require the sex offenders to report to a specified locale between certain hours of the night to make sure they are all in the right place at the same time. If they fail to report there it could result in jail time needing to be served. This new rule has been justified by the extreme amount of children roaming the streets at night, therefore increasing their danger of abuse by a sex offender. Although this reasoning does make some sense, the author and I tend to disagree. The author points out numerous statistics that prove that 93% of sexual assaults on children happen with people they know as opposed to complete strangers. So statistically speaking, the risk of a sex offender attacking an unknown child is significantly lower. The author also points out all of the other problems that occur Halloween night which tend to be even more prevalent. Graffiti, vandalism, drunk driving, and other crimes are extremely heightened on Halloween night. Perhaps instead of patrolling the houses of sex offenders to make sure they’ve reported to their specified locale, the police should concentrate their efforts on keeping our streets safer and protecting our city. Also, another thing to realize is that almost all children go trick or treating with parental supervision, which would make it much more difficult for a sex offender to attack.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Community College Funding

Community College Funding

This article concerns a recent pledge to replace the $154 million recently vetoed which would provide much needed money to community colleges for health insurance. Everybody at this point is very hopeful that some sort of resolution or agreement will come soon to work everything out. Governor Rick Perry has suggested a different approach that would allow a certain portion of a fund to go to health insurance and a minimum amount going towards technology grants and financial aid.

I think this money is very necessary and is definitely needed for all community colleges. Community colleges are a great way for students to save money before transferring to four-year universities and to figure out their true interests. There are still lots of high school graduates who think college is out of their reach and even have a difficult time paying for community college. If we could help out community colleges more by giving them and their students the money they desperately need, even more students might go on to transfer to other universities or obtain degrees and graduate from the community colleges they attended. I think this type of funding is very important and should take priority. If only there was just a little bit more money to go around and help out those less fortunate, think about how many more people would be inspired to return to school or to start something new in their lives. This is something that I feel very strongly about because I am paying for school all by myself with absolutely no outside help and it is a constant struggle. If there could be more money out there for the students who are willing to work hard even more people could realize that their aspirations are attainable.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


SCHIP Article

This blog concerns President Bush’s recent veto of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill. On Monday he noted the bills importance and acknowledged the government’s vital role in assisting lower income families in their children’s health costs. Later on he vetoed the reauthorization of the bill and openly stated his support for private medication as opposed to federal government run health care.

The SCHIP has been a controversial topic which has appeared in many of the blogs I perused. Bush’s contradiction and swift change of mind has many people up in arms over the issue. Health care in America should be the responsibility of the government, particularly for those who cannot afford it on their own. The government should take care of its citizens, especially those who can’t take care of themselves. Everybody, especially children, deserve the right to good health. Children can’t help the situation they are born into. Some are lucky and are fortunate enough to have parents who will provide them good health care and be able to take care of them in every way. Others, however, are not quite so lucky. There are many children out there whose parents do not make enough money to even support themselves, let alone their children who could be in desperate need of medical attention. The government needs to put their focus more on its citizens and less on the war in Iraq. We need to think ourselves before other countries and making sure every American citizen is taken care of and provided for in every possible way should be a serious priority.

Hopefully there will come a time when every innocent child will be able to get the medical attention he or she deserves without their parents worrying about how to pay for it. Hopefully one day our government will shift its focus from unnecessary wars to the people who it is obligated to take care of and provide for them everything they deserve. America is a wonderful country where immigrants come to seek a new, better life. We should be able to live up to that amazing reputation.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Allowing Graffiti in Public Places


This blog reports on a new project instituted in Brownsville to allow kids to create murals and cover up walls that have already been splattered with graffiti. The blogger says this new project will have two big resulting benefits. First, it will steer potential graffiti artists away from walls that might have already been painted with previous artwork and secondly, it will give graffiti artists (and artists in general) a designated place to display their work instead of putting it somewhere completely uninvited. There is hope that this will make graffiti artists more responsible and less likely to deface public property. Overall, the project benefits everybody. It helps out the owners of the property that would normally be defaced by graffiti artists, it benefits the city and its residents who would typically be forced to look at whatever was placed there by any graffiti artists, and it also benefits the graffiti artists themselves who now have a designated place to purposefully display their work.

I chose to write about this article because I have always found graffiti art very interesting and very artistic in its own unique way. Although I consider it art, I do not exactly agree with its placement and displaying it all over public property. Finding a legal way to celebrate graffiti art is a great alternative and should be instituted in more places now.