Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gay Marriage v. The United States of America

Yesterday the D.C. council voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the district. A second vote is scheduled for two weeks which could allow it to become a law. Many church groups who are opposed to the bill feel that they are running out of time to stop the bill. As for the gay community, they feel it is a huge leap forward.
It's shocking that in this current day and time we are still debating an issue such as this: "Should gay people be allowed to marry legally?" I feel that we should be asking, "Why shouldn't they?" The number one response you will get from a person who opposes the issue is that marriage is between one man and one woman, taken from the United States constitution. The second response you are most likely to get is that being gay is forbidden, according to the bible. Coming in third, you will often hear that marriage is meant for those who procreate. All of the above are archaic, uneducated and let's not forget religiously motivated responses. What ever happened to all men are created equal? What saddens me the most is that 70% of Americans are for gay rights but when it comes to gay marriage that same 70% are against it. Maybe the secret to solving this issue lies in the lack of education in the subject. I hope that all who oppose gay marriage understands that it is not a choice to be gay. I don't think that anyone would choose to be the minority who cannot peacefully exist. People are born gay and if you believe in creation then you must accept that God made them this way.
I strongly believe that being homosexual derives from a deep biological basis that causes a persons brain to differ from that of a heterosexual. According to Natalie Angier from the New York Times, "A cord of nerve fibers that allow the two halves of the brain to communicate with each other is larger in homosexual men than it is in either heterosexual men or in women, scientists have reported. I've heard that if it was a genetic mutation then over time the natural instinct to procreate would weed out the "gay gene". My answer to that is for hundreds of years people have been born with down syndrome and thousands of others unable to procreate. Why hasn't evolution weeded them out? No matter what your beliefs are we do not have the right to judge how anyone lives their life. We also need to understand that by prohibiting any group a privilege that all others have is discrimination, a word that carries much weight. I imagine that one day we will all look back at this issue with regret and remorse just like we do today with slavery.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Glad to know... someone else cares about my $

Every day I come across an article or blog that leaves a bad taste in my mouth but today was not one of those days. For once during this economic hardship I was able to release a sigh of relief. "What! All of my money won't be going to the bank?", written by my classmate, Courtney Batts gave a glimpse of hope for our nation. Through Batts' blog I was informed that the Obama Administration is working to finally put a stop to excessive overdraft fees by banks. She claims that the Obama Administration's purpose is to provide aid for those who other wise would be on their own to battle financial institutions: "All in all, these new regulations are set in place to protect citizens from deceptive and unreasonable acts by financial institutions." This is great news for all who are sick and tired of being charged to use their own money.
Batts produced a well written blog that is highly informative and important. She was more than successful at taking a stand that appeals to an audience of wide variety. Batts made sure to include both sides of the story by adding how the banks will be protected as well as the customer. She went on to say that customers should not be allowed to abuse this new regulation but also should not be harshly punished for a slip up. Most importantly Batts was able to state the importance of this new regulation in one sentence: "These rules will help many Americans to stay on track in their attempts to start practicing better money management skills, and allow people to start trusting their banks again."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Food For The Poor...What about me?

I would consider myself to be a law abiding citizen. I follow "their" rules. I get up and go to work and school every day. I pay my taxes. I even accept water restrictions and only water my plants on days allotted. My initiative to be a productive and participating citizen has thrust me into the "I can not help you" category. During this time of economic hardship the working class has been forgotten. We have nowhere to turn for help. In order to be considered for governmental assistance we must quit our jobs and multiply our children. I could easily trade my paycheck in for panhandling on the corner of Metric and Parmer. Instead I choose to work for my money but ironically the latter would get me free dental work. Each day as I read the signs of the many panhandlers I question my intelligence: "Who's smarter?" My anger is not directed at the guy on the corner or even the many that take advantage of the government. Who could blame them? My anger is aimed at the government for not recognizing the hard work that me and every other working citizen produces. How about throwing my professors some of that stimulus money? They give the gift of knowledge every day, yet it goes unnoticed. The average working class citizen is the most deserving but least helped individual in the United States.
Welfare is government aid intended to help those with little to none income and supposedly including the working poor. According to an article in USA Today, "What recovery? Working poor struggle to pay bills" the working class has been denied:"There is a huge group of people who want to work, who are working, but it's a form of being indentured." "America has always been built on the belief that you can do better, but we have shut down the door to the middle class." I thought this was our land, it was built for you and me, by the working class. Our fore fathers would turn in their graves if they knew we were now considered the working poor. You can find on the "Too poor to vote Republican" website that the average American income has dropped $1,273 since 2000.
My family is living proof that the working class is barely staying afloat. My husband use to be considered the bread winner while I was a full time student. We have two children who use to have everything they needed and occasionally more. I now have to tell my children to wait till next payday to get what ever item is needed. My husband works on commissions which are steadily dropping due to the demise of local businesses. He was forced to drop his night classes to take a second job and I am now working a part time job as well. We no longer have health insurance since my husband's job can no longer provide it. We sought out temporary medical assistance for our children, one is on daily medication, and were denied. We were told that we make $100 too much to qualify. When we explained that we needed it just long enough for our second jobs insurance to kick in we were told,"Sorry, I can not help you."
When the working class is a paycheck away from being homeless something needs to be done. A program to help those who want to help themselves needs to be established. Why wait until we lose everything to help us? A help up is more logical that applying for unemployment in order to qualify for assistance. The working class citizen has been forgotten as well as denied assistance that was created to help those in need.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Senator McConnell's commentary "Every Republican in Congress Supports Reform" posted on USA Today's website, is about how the Senator feels Republicans are not getting credit for being in support of health care reform. He claims Democrats are using political tactics to make the Republicans look bad when in fact all that the Republicans want is a citizen and budget friendly health care plan. He claims that the government has chosen to extend it's powers into health care thus creating a trillion dollar plan that will create higher taxes and premiums as well as cut substantially into the medicare program. The Senator goes on to say that those in congress who support the administrative plan are wasting time looking for answers to solve American citizen's concerns when the Republicans have already given them to them. Senator McConnell suggests that a step by step reform plan is the way to go. He believes that a gradual change will be more successful and come with a lesser financial burden to the American citizens.
Senator McConnell from Kentucky is a proponent for conservative principles. His commentary is posted in USA Today which is widely known for forming down news so that it is easily read and understood. McConnell's writing follows that process but with an agenda: "I understand the tactic. It's an old political trick to accuse one's opponent of being against something very worthwhile when what they're really against are the specifics that you're opposing." This sentence is proof that the Senator is using an editorial column to convey his opinions to the opposing side of his topic. He chose specific harsh words to defend his views.
Senator McConnell feels that as a Republican his true beliefs are not being expressed accurately. He goes on to convey his views on health care reform and what his personal views are and how it should be handled: "Americans are also perplexed that in the midst of a terrible recession, near 10% unemployment, massive federal debt and a deficit that exceeds the deficits of the past four years combined, the White House would move ahead with a massive expansion of government health care when common sense, step-by-step reforms are a better way to go." It's clear that the Senator is claiming that the opposing side is not using their wits. I feel that his views are one sided and he fails to show proof for his claims: "The simple fact is, every Republican in Congress supports reform." Not once in his commentary piece is there any proof to back this up. I will admit that his writing is well written and persuasively intended but that is where it ends. He is using this forum to basically vent and persuade his readers to see things his way.
Respectfully I feel that Senator McConnell's commentary was entertaining and worth the read but honestly it lacked valid evidence to persuade the average reader. He gives advice to solving health care problems and even suggests what Americans want. Once again these claims lack evidence. If the Senator was to add some coinciding statistics as well as examples of other republicans who feel the same way it would add substance to his commentary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recycling Offenders

David R. Francis' Commentary piece "An Opportunity in Prison Budget Cuts" is about how recession is forcing states to drastically reduce prison budgets. He believes that if done right we the American people could possibly benefit from the reduction of offenders sent to prison. Francis claims that prisons are over crowded and lacking adequate health care. He considers this to be cruel and unusual punishment that results in riots and destroys prisons. He proposes that we focus on imprisoning violent offenders only. He suggests that non-violent offenders undergo drug and alcohol treatment in place of jail. Francis goes on to say that by providing rehabilitation and vocational training for non-violent offenders it will help reduce America's fear of setting offenders free. Francis' commentary explores the benefits of reducing and recycling by providing rehabilitation to non-violent offenders.
Francis is a staff writer of the Christan Science monitor. The Christian Science monitor is widely praised for its lack of extreme controversy and non hysterical journalism. It is easy to see this in his commentary piece on prison budget cuts. His choice of words are wisely chosen in a direct manner that is open to a target audience of variety. Francis' goal is to inform and better educate his readers. According to Francis,"It's the recession that's forcing their hand. Done right, though, the cuts can lead to needed prison reform." This sentence shows that Francis is not putting blame on a certain person. Recession is to blame. He is merely stating that due to circumstance, recycling the inmates can lead to good instead of just throwing them away along with the key.
The argument that David R. Francis is trying to get across is that we sometimes get stuck in our ways and are scared of change, even when it can lead to good. Francis assumes that the reason for the lack of change is prison systems is based on America's fear: "There's only one way to achieve significant savings: reduce the number of inmates. That's not as scary as it sounds."He fails to explore other possibilities such as justice. It is possible that some people are cautious about letting minor offenders free due to lack of punishment. Those with children would argue that selling drugs to children is the same as killing them. The reason for lack of change in Francis' commentary is one sided but he is very clear in the specific terms that would help create positive change: "Rehabilitation, vocational change, and parole reform can stop the prison revolving door without setting off alarm bells with the public." He is direct with the specific tools the government should adapt in order to cut costs as well as reform offenders. Francis has suggested a green approach to recycling offenders as oppose to throwing them away.
When it comes to evidence in Francis' commentary it can be considered limited. His statistics are numerous but are focused on one state in general. He does a wonderful job telling his readers how California ranks in the prison system as well as how they could benefit from change: "In August a panel of federal judges ordered California to significantly reduce its prison population." Francis regretfully forgot those of us that live in other states. How does it affect us? It might have been wise to add a few other state's statistics.
Overall I think Francis wrote a successful commentary. I was personally convinced that reducing the number of inmates could possible benefit us all in the long run. Helping offenders who need a help up could change their lives and those they touch for the better. His statistics were sound and very persuasive despite the lack of their variety. We live in the new age of "Going Green." Why must it only apply to our natural resources? It is possible that a reformed offender could be the next resource we need. Recycle the offenders!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Health Care Plan or Punishment?

Health Care Reform has been the talk of the town. I have taken a greater interest in it now that it has personally become a concern for my own family. Due to our country's economic disaster my husband's job is no longer able to provide an affordable health care plan. We have been forced to search for our own provider. I have yet to find one that is worth my time not to mention the insane monthly fee that provides minimal coverage. This personal struggle leads me to address an article on MSNBChttp://msnbc about young adults being the key to financing health reform. Obama is planning on using his younger supporters to help persuade those in doubt over his reform plan. According to the article, Health Care Legislation is planning on creating an inexpensive,individual health care plan for young adults. The article goes on to say that a large amount of young adults from late teens to 26 lack health care coverage. In order to help reduce the lack of health care for the young, a senator is proposing to help keep premiums feasible. This affordable health care comes with a cost. The young would not get a choice in purchasing health would be mandatory. It gets worse. Not only would it be mandatory but there would be a fine to pay for those who do not have coverage. According to Shailagh Murray,Washington Post,http://Washington Post"Drafting young adults into any health-care reform package is crucial to paying for it." Is this not the most ludicrous proposal? My husband and I can barely afford to pay for our own health care. What makes Obama think that it would be any different for the young adults who are struggling to pay for dinner, yet alone health care. I'm not blaming Obama for trying to fix this mess we are in but this is not the way to do it. The young should not be punished for the mistakes of America. As citizens we should take a greater interest in the issues that personally affect us. Young adults across the states should take time to read more about this new proposal. It's possible that the next time you get your check stub there will be an added deduction to the many...mandatory health care.