Friday, August 10, 2007

The Ultimate Punishment

This is my personal response to my colleague's blog post "An Eye for an Eye."

Death row is obviously a topic that is immediately thought of being in Texas. Texas is still one of the few states that legalizes and occasionally uses the death penalty. The death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and since then Texas has led the number of executions. Texas performs this sentence by either legal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, hanging, and firing squad. Of course, lethal injection is the most common procedure. However, my colleague states that financially, Texas would be better off taking the life imprisonment option for capital murder criminals rather than performing the death penalty. I disagree with this statement wholeheartedly because keeping prisoners in jail for a life time is extremely expensive. Think of just feeding a person for a lifetime. This would prove to be very costly over the years. Whereas, the lethal injection currently costs approximately $86.08, so I definitely believe that when talking about the financial aspect about this issue, the death penalty is definitely the way to go.

My colleague goes on and talks about the moral issue that comes along with the death penalty. I do agree with her statement that killing more and more people because our jails are getting crowded is wrong. Whether or not our jails are overcrowded isn't a reason to consider using the death penalty more on inmates. It's such a controversial issue because I don't believe that it is our place, or any other person for that matter, to decide whether or not a person should live. However, I do believe that death is the ultimate and fair punishment for someone that has committed capital murder. Someone that has taken an others life doesn't deserve to live in my book. My colleague also believes that killing an inmate gives them what they want in the sense that they won't have to suffer any longer in jail. I once again disagree with that statement because jail is an awful place, but not a torture chamber, and therefore, I don't believe that killing a criminal is doing them a favor in any way.

To read my colleague's complete post:

Friday, August 3, 2007

Raising Your Voice

The importance of young voters in elections is a very hot topic in both local, state, and national government. It seems as if with every election less and less young voters show up to cast their vote. Political scientists all over the state and nation have been trying to formulate some sort of plan or some sort system trying to get a much larger turnout of voters under the age of twenty-five. Being only nineteen myself, I realize and can relate to why youngsters choose not to exercise their right to vote, but I also realize that this is a huge problem that should be dealt with because despite what we may think, we can make a substantial difference.

Most college students all think that politics are boring and corrupt and that all politicians are nothing but liars who make promises they won’t keep. They aren’t concerned with the issues our state faces and don’t think that these issues will have any effect on them. However, if young voters would come to the polls every chance they get and vote, more politicians would address the issues that they are concerned with. It’s no secret that voter turnout is low among adolescents, so until this trend changes, politicians will continue to dedicate their campaigns to the issues that directly effect their major constituents. Everyone has an opinion and therefore should go to the polls religiously to express that opinion. Not going to the polls is only denying yourself a voice in our government.

According to Dr. Sharon Jarvis, “If current voting trends continue, it is feared that by 2020 less than twenty-five percent of Americans will be making one hundred percent of the electoral decisions.” Something obviously needs to be done and this is why this issue has been a very hot topic. Ultimately, voting or not voting is a personal choice, and you have to feel motivated and willing to vote. Currently, there are many programs trying to persuade people to get out and vote and to make a difference. Our generation could clearly have a great impact on Texas politics with a larger percentage of young voter turnouts. As Jarvis said, “The legitimacy of a democracy depends on turnout, and we do not have a legitimate, stable system unless citizens participate.” The choice is in our hands to stand up for young voters and dramatically increase the number of “our people” at the polls.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Stealing Our Funds

I've been doing some research lately an came across and interesting news story in the Austin American Statesman about college tuition. Of course headlines about college tuition always catch my eye and I found out some interesting information. It looks as if college tutition will be rising once again in the near future due to an action by our current governor. The article I found was regarding Rick Perry vetoing $154 million in state funding for community colleges. Due to Rick Perry's veto, it will force community colleges to increase tuition, restrict enrollment, and it will lead to a signficant increase in local taxes.

Fortunately, Leutinenant Governor David Dewhurst is standing up for community colleges and demanding the $154 million in state funding. Dewhurst proclaimed, "I've had enough of this, I want to see $154 million go back to our community colleges." He is also joined in this battle by the Speaker of the House Tom Craddick. The legistlative board will be convening in the near future to discuss this issue. I am completely outraged that governor Perry would take this money away from the community colleges. As previously stated, community colleges have decided that without this funding they will be forced to increase tuition and restrict enrollment. Governor Perry is always stressing the importance of education, but at the same time he is dening funding to our educational institutions. Increasing the cost of a college education only discourages people from continuing their education and places an even greater financial burden upon students.
Full Article:

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fenced In

The constant debate about the 700 mile long fence along the Texas-Mexico border is once again taking center stage. The opposition to this very vast and very expensive fence is growing rapidly throughout the state and even the nation. Many people are opposing this fence for numerous different reasons. For instance, rancher Bill Moody has been living in this area for most of his life and adamantly expressed that building this fence is nothing but a "big expense, and a big problem." Another wealthy ranch owner, Brian O'Brien, agrees with Moody citing that "If the river doesn't keep them out, why do you think a wall will?" Not only have wealthy land owners expressed their disapproval, but they have also teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who is also trying to prevent this project from happening. These environmental activists are angered because of the countless hours they have been putting in to restore the habitats in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. I think it's ironic and interesting how in this case wealthy landowners and environmental activists are taking the same opposing side to the same issue.

However, Congress proclaims that illegal immigration is increasing too rapidly and that something needs to be done immediately. Their solution is building this 700 mile long fence along the border. The fence is projected to cost between $2.1 billion and $8 billion, and maintaining the fence is estimated to cost about $49 billion over the next 25 years. I believe that immigration is definitely a major problem that we face today and should be addressed immediately, but I don't agree that building an immensely long fence is the solution. With every solution comes a loop-hole, and I believe that immigrants will still find a way into the United States somehow. Also, Congress is just predicting that this fence will be effective. Nothing has been tested and therefore no one can say whether or not this fence will actually prevent illegals from coming.

This widely debated issue will continue to stir up public opinion until it is either built or abandoned. This project will directly effect many individuals including each and every Texas citizen, so I believe that we should take a stance and fight for what we think is the proper thing to do is this situation and really think about if the outrageous cost will eventually pay off.

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