Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Distracted Livin

LoneStar Livin brings up a very good point that cell phones need to be banned on the roads. However, it would have been better if they put a few more statistics or ways to be able to enact that law. It is not reasonable for Texas to outright ban cell phone use, because as LoneStar Livin stated, they need to be used for emergency cases. Also there should be effort made by cell phone companies and cars. We have such advanced technological advances that they should invent something that allows more hands-free cell phone use.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Graduating is NOT an option

Texas public education system is something that needs some attention by those in the Texas government. According to “Texas onthe Brink,” Texas has the 2nd highest amount of public school enrollees, but the 45th SAT scores and the 43rd high school graduation rate. One of the worst statistics might be that Texas is 50th, as in last place, with the percent of citizens twenty-five or older that have received a high school diploma. This means that compared to every other state in the US, Texas is one of the least educated, with one of the highest amount of children enrolled in our school system. These are unacceptable statistics, and something needs to be done.  The Texas Education Agency has made it their mission “is to provide leadership, guidance and resources to help schools meet the educational needs of all students.” They do this by creating things like the TAKS test, which has improved Texas’ graduation rates marginally, but still not enough. There is more that needs to be done. The TAKS test is meant to replicate the SATs, but another idea would be have something that replicates a remedial test that students take at a college level to determine where they should be placed. There are so many students that are required to take these remedial courses, which should not be necessary because they are a waste of time and money if only the students had gotten the proper education in high school. Texas has a huge budget deficit that must be filled this year, so requiring them to invest more money into our children’s education system does not seem like a reasonable request. However, the money that does go into improving our public school education needs to be properly prioritized on improving their graduation rates and not on other things like sports. Students need to see that there is a reason that school needs to be a precedence in their lives and that not graduating is not an option.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Eyes of Texas on Panhandling

The Eyes of Texas's blog concerning panhandling is a difficult topic to discuss, because everyone feels a least a little bit bad for those that have no homes and feel that begging is the only way to get by. However, most will agree that purely holding a sign does not constitute a job that one should get paid for, but it is still hard for people to just say that it should be illegal, because then those people would have nothing. The homeless could always find something more useful to do, like sell The Austin Advocate, which is as "The Eyes of Texas" mentioned is produced for homeless people to sell.

I agree that homeless people should not be allowed to just roam the streets begging for money without providing a service. However, I believe that more homeless shelters, or other opportunities for the homeless to improve their lives would need to be implemented by the state and local governments before just making it illegal to panhandle. Although, if panhandling were banned from Austin or all of Texas for that matter, it could possible increase the tourist aspect to the city and state because it would be a more attractive place for people to visit, if they did not feel bombarded by the homeless. I think that this is a great topic to bring up to the public, because it would be great if something could be done about the issue. Also "The Eyes of Texas" brings up numerous good ways for the homeless to gain money through ways other than begging. However, it would have been a good idea for him to mention some ways for the government to pitch into the problem at hand.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Preventing a Massacre

          The recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has spiked a lot of discussion about gun control, and in a state like Texas that phrase seems to be hushed, but should it be? Texas is considered “friends of NRA,” which only means that it supports the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA is a lobbyist group that tries to protect our Second Amendment right to bear arms, while also encouraging firearm ownership rights.

          Texas is a southern state with citizens that like to go hunting for sport and protect their family, and property, which means people in this part of the country really support their right to bear arms freely for recreational and security purposes. So since these are the only reasons for needing to bear arms, then Texas should be more than willing to make it as difficult as possible for people like James Holmes to obtain a weapon in this state.

          Many restrictions can be implemented in order for that not to happen, while still maintaining the Second Amendment’s rights. For example, ammunition sellers should report a large quantity of product being sold to law enforcement, or requiring a background checks or even a psychological evaluations in order to be able to purchase a gun. It all seems like a very easy solution, however lobby groups like NRA are too influential and those that desire to purchase guns for sport or protection are uninterested in the laws making it harder for them to acquire these weapons.

          It needs to be a priority for not only the state of Texas but also for the country as a whole that we get gun control under control, because for all of the large massacres that are reported nation wider, there are also smaller incidents that occur under the radar. The state of Texas is one of the largest and most influential in the United States, so if they take a stand on something that Texas has traditional supported and decide to crack down on, then others will follow. We need to decide that making a change is necessary, even if it means more tedious duties required in order to purchase a weapon or ammunition. We should want every possible measure to be taken to ensure our safety as a state and country.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Children's Education vs. Political Problems

        The Social Media Coordinator for Empower Texans, Dustin Matocha wrote a blog concerning the Democratic Senator Wendy Davis’ tweet about how Texas school districts are now forced to increase taxes because the Texas Legislature decided to cut back on public school funding. Matocha believes that Davis’ comment has two incorrect aspects. The first of these is Legislature did not cut funding, but actually just reducing the overfunding that public schools have been receiving. The second wrong piece of information was that just because funding is being reduced, does not mean that they are “forced” to raise taxes. Matocha gives various examples of ISDs that are spending large amounts of money on unnecessary things like a $60 million high school football stadium. “In the 2011 TEA Snapshot report, Carroll ISD was spending less than 35% of their total funding in the classroom.”
        With Empower Texans being a conservative blog, as well as Dustin Matocha being the Chairman of the Young Conservatives when he attended Texas for UT Austin; the commentary was intended for other conservatives in Texas. Throughout the article, Matocha makes comments that tactfully attack the viewpoints of liberals, and makes it seem like he is only criticizing what she said because she is a Democrat. Even the title “Chicken Little Politics,” makes it seem as though she is kind of a liar. However, Matocha does make some worthy arguments concerning Davis’ tweet, like his point about how barely one third of the school funding goes to the classroom expenses. The school districts just need to figure out how to use their money in a more responsible manner, and that is the point that Matocha should have made.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"Fishkin" for Money

Joseph Fishkin, an assistant professor in the School of Law at the University of Texas, wrote an article in the Austin American Statesmen, arguing that Governor Rick Perry should advice rather than oppose Texans supporting the significantly expanded Medicaid program that is part of Obamacare. Fishkin’s argument to support the new Medicaid program is that the federal government will pay 90 percent or more to of the cost, and since Texas has the highest rate of uninsured in the nation,  they will have the most to gain from this expansion in Medicaid. According to figures from Kaiser, Texas will receive $52.5 billion in 2014 for this program, which accounts for more than half of Texas’s budget. So Fishkin is making his case to Texas Republican’s, that they should not turn down this federal money just because Republicans oppose Obamacare and this Medicaid expansion is part of Obamacare. Fishkin wants people to think logically and not ideologically. He seems to have done the necessary research and in his commentary, he states facts that were found, like the Kaiser figures.  However, Fishkin’s only problem in his claim would be that this plan could possibly help out Texan’s but he is not thinking about how all of that federal money would affect the US as a whole. The argument he makes for this, is that Texan’s will be paying for the expanded Medicaid program in our federal taxes anyway, but if we turn down the money then our taxes will just support other states. This is a very good point, but Fishkin does not seem to have an issue with this looming problem that the US is bound to face. Since Fishkin is an assistant professor of Law, his argument is very convincing and to point, and the logic is there. However it is unclear whether or not the audience, Texas Republicans, will necessarily buy into what he is asking of them.
Fishkin: Perry should change course to accept Medicaid funding,, written 7/13/2012, found 7/20/2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

McKnight in shining armor?!

Empower Texas wrote an article concerning Trent McKnight, a "common sense Republican" running for State Representative. The piece mainly discusses his position on taxes and money issues that are involved in public education. McKnight’s view, according to a video posted by AgendaWise is that the public education system has “both a spending and a revenue problem” that needs to be addressed, which typically means that higher taxes will be imposed in order to correct this. Something else that is brought to light is that McKnight refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which says that one will oppose any vote to increase taxes on their district, even though he says that he is against higher taxes. Another contradictory example of McKnight’s viewpoints is that he has typically voted “Strong Democrat”, but only recently changed to run for office. This article is one that others should be informed about because people should know who is planning on raising taxes on their hard earned money, and for what cause. According to this piece Trent McKnight is planning on doing so, but at least it is for something that does need attention, which is for our public education system.