Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Response to "Redeeming Kids who Commit Henious Crimes"

The Supreme Court ruling did not eliminate life sentences for children who commit crimes, it only ruled out life sentences without the possibility of parole. The United States constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment and the Supreme Court ruled that life without parole for minors constitutes this. This decision was most likely influenced by the precedent the Supreme Court set when it banned the death penalty for people under the age of 18 as well as banned life without parole for juveniles found guilty of non-homicides. In essence, this ruling broadens the scope of previous rulings.
In Jennifer's post, she wrote that juveniles will be given a “simple wag of the finger by the government and a probation period” but that is not the case. Minors who commit crimes will still be fully punished for their actions. In the case of capital murder, the sentence will still likely be life imprisonment. However, that life imprisonment will now garner some hope for children with the possibility of parole.
When somebody is under 18, they are still developing. Their mind and body are still evolving. Everyone in their lives make mistakes. Some mistakes are greater than others, such as if a minor kills somebody else. But what message does it send to a minor when the government locks them up and throws the key away. In a blink of an eye, they see their whole life disappear. Now that they are in prison, they see no reason to become a better person. Without the possibility of parole, they would have no reason to change. They are much more likely to become a more dangerous and violent person in prison. However, with the possibility of parole, they have a reason to become better.
Parole is not something that is granted easily. In order for a prisoner to be let out of prison, they must prove they are a rehabilitated person. In the case of murder, there are minimum prison terms that must be served before parole is even considered. With these, minors who commit murder will still see a majority of their life wasted away in a prison cell. But now that the Supreme Court has realized that life without parole for minors is indeed cruel, and unusual, there is a shot for rehabilitating these criminals.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top 10 percent? I don't think so

I graduated high school with a 4.0. I graduated with 450 other students, and I was not even among the top 50 in my class. I was a dedicated student who took AP classes to extend my workload but more than 10 percent of my class found ways to graduate with above a 4.0. Good thing I did not graduate high school in Texas, else I wouldn’t be where I am today, a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
It is time for the state to get rid of the Texas House Bill 588 that guarantees admittance to any public funded university for any person that graduates in the top ten percent of its class from a Texas high school (http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0116.htm). It was enacted in response to a federal court ruling Hopwood vs. the State of Texas which stopped an affirmative action entrance program at the University of Texas law school.
This law unjustly lets students who do not deserve to be admitted to public universities take the place of those who do. The size of Texas is so great that graduating classes range from under a hundred to over a thousand (http://high-schools.com/texas.html). How can anyone say that the top ten people from a graduating class of one hundred are equivalent to the top 100 of a class of 1000? Texas is a place of great diversity. It has its major cities where some students are close enough to walk to class and it has its rural areas where high schoolers must drive long distances.
Admittance to schools should be based on many things. Graduation rank is not one of them. Schools should look at test scores, high school grades, volunteer work, admittance essays and extracurricular activities on a student by student basis in order to determine if a student is eligible to attend a specific university.
Let’s take a case for example, like mine. Say a Texas student had graduated from a bigger high school where he graduated with a 3.75 grade point average while playing two sports and participating in school plays. He does not get into the University of Texas because 81 percent of the incoming freshman class is taken up by guaranteed admitees as it was in 2008 (http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/top-ten-percent-rule/about/). On the other hand, a student from a tiny high school who graduates with a 3.5 GPA with little extracurricular activities garners entrance because of his rank among the best in his class. How can anyone make the argument this student deserves it over the other more qualified student?
It is time to kill the bill that is meant to compensate for an affirmative action program, that the federal courts already ruled illegal. In doing so, the drop out rates of public funded universities will go down as more and more deserving students are accepted versus students who weasle their way in through an outdated and unfair Texas law.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tragedy turns political

Nobody could have guessed what was going to happen early Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado, where a deranged man shot up a movie theatre. I woke up to this news in shock, as did the whole nation. Every channel, local and national, was covering the event. I couldn’t help but notice the politics involved in covering the case. As stated in The Aurora Killing Spree and the Left’s Mad Dash to Somehow Pin it on the Right, Robbie Cooper noticed as well.
He believes that liberals in media were doing everything possible to find ways to connect the shooting to conservatives. He uses an example that Brian Ross, of ABC News, found someone, of the same name as the alleged shooter, on a Colorado Tea Party list and publicized this information. Although the author is clearly conservative in nature, and out to get the other side, he has a point. In no way was it necessary for Brian Ross to go digging into a Tea Party list to try to find some connection with the shooter. What makes the situation even worse is that the alleged shooter and the man on the Tea Party list are two completely different people.
He continues on to explain that both Obama, and Mitt Romney “suspended their campaigning” on the day of the tragedy. He questions their motives, wondering how this is under the jurisdiction of either one of them. As human beings, they feel compassion, as does everyone else that hears about such awful circumstances. At the same time, announcements of “suspended campaigns” seem to be just another part of their campaigns.
Moreover, Cooper talks about how Michael Bloomberg and Piers Morgan used the situation to advocate their opinion on stricter gun regulations. Although this may seem like an obvious solution to the immediate problem, it is a brash oversimplification of what happened. Both men seem to be taking full advantage of the situation to strengthen their beliefs.
UrbanGrounds, the website on which this post was written, is clearly a conservative blog. The fact that it is a blog that has ties to one side of the political spectrum may decrease its credibility as a whole, this article included. Nonetheless, the author uses facts to back up his claims of liberal media members using the situation to their advantages. In conclusion, this is an event that should not be taken lightly. Conversely, when viewing coverage of it, one must realize that although the media may seem to be merely reporting, there are always going to be certain opinions on how it is reported, and the real goal behind it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Perry... plain wrong about health care

In the article, For better health, pay Perry no mind, the author talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which just recently the Supreme Court held constitutional. The author, not specified by the newspaper, talks specifically about the provisions of the Act that would establish an insurance exchange and expand Medicaid. Recently, governor Rick Perry stated he has no plans to follow the federal law. Likewise, Republican legislators are likely to follow suit and attempt strike down the expansion of Medicaid, as the Supreme Court said states could do.
            For the rate of people uninsured, Texas ranks number one. About 25 percent of the population of Texas currently has no health insurance. The author believes that the federal Health Care Law is a necessary help. Thus, he/she is urging people to not follow Perry’s lead and indeed support the law. The author states that the people hurt most by the uninsured are actually the current insured health recipients. Since some hospitals incur treatment payments from uninsured patients onto insured patients, the new law requiring all citizens to carry health insurance would lessen the cost for the insured patients. Additionally, citizens in hospital districts pay higher tax rates in order for hospitals to be able to help the uninsured.
            The author seems to be targeting certain audiences. For one, the author targets all Texans in the sense that he/she believes they should support the new health care law. Additionally, the author makes a plea to legislators, Republicans especially, to not follow in Perry’s footsteps and indeed endorse the law. It is quite peculiar that The Statesmen does not list the specific author of this piece. One reason may be that knowing the author might lead people to have preconceived ideas about the piece before it is written. If a reader knows the political stance, or previous opinion, of an author, that might sway them. Since the article is on The Statesmen’s website, I take it as credible. The Austin American Statesmen is a very reputable newspaper and they would not knowingly post an editorial that is unfairly biased or, outright false. The facts listed in the editorial are indeed facts that I have seen said about the Health Care Law elsewhere.
            Ultimately, the author makes a very valid point in the fact that Texas’ health care is lacking. Anyone and everyone can make that assumption through the fact that Texas has so many uninsured citizens. With these facts present, as well arguments made by the author, I completely agree that Texans, as well as legislators, should follow the federal law and not Perry.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Many Americans, Texans included, have been keeping tabs on the proposed health care bill that the Supreme Court recently said was constitutional. Whether or not one agrees with the decision or not, it will impact many Texas citizens who currently have no health care. However, Rick Perry isn’t about to let the Supreme Court change his mind on the issue. This Austin Chronicle article talks about Perry’s plan to not enforce the law. This is very important to all Texan residence, whether or not they have health care or not. For those who have health care, this act will turn back billions of dollars in federal funding which will then be paid for through taxes. For those that don’t have health care, they will see little need to obey the federal law if Texas medical centers are told not to follow the policy, as Perry wishes. This decision on the Governor’s part has implications statewide and therefore it is important for Texans to stay up to date on the health care law and Rick Perry’s handling of it.