Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Are We Proud of Our Melting-Pot?

A recent article posted on The Texas Tribune.org commented on the march towards International Immigration Reforms that took place in Dallas on May 3, 2010. The article states that the march was overall peaceful, as the marches wanted to demonstrate a "1960s peaceful" style march, referring to the march in 1963 lead by Martin Luther King Jr. The march was held not only in Texas, but in other parts of the country to protest the Arizona Law that will inevitably lead to racial profiling, therefore making minorities second class residents.

While the article was informational, I do not favor the elaboration on how controversial the topic of immigration is by placing in multiple examples of marchers' comments in contrast to people who support the Arizona law. We all know that people have a lot of ignorant comments about immigration, and using their comments as evidence weakens the quality of the article. I do however, feel that it is important to shine light on the issue and show how people are reacting to the current situation.

Immigration is becoming more controversial as the number of immigrants increases. Some argue that immigrants are taking jobs away from U.S. citizens. Economically, it is easy to assume that if someone will do a job for cheaper, the will be more likely to be hired. Because immigrants have less resources coming into our country, it seems that immigration and poverty go hand in hand. I learned of a theory recently that poverty is "functional" in society; basically arguing that people in poverty do the jobs that no one else wants to do, for cheaper, and it works out for everybody. There is more to it than that, but that is the part I feel applies to immigration at the moment. I feel that we need to adapt. I'm not saying that it is Ok, but it seems to be true (in addition to the fact that people always want to have someone lower than them). People come here for the opportunity of a better life. It seems that people have this mind set that if someone comes in from another country and makes a living here, they are taking away an opportunity I could have had. It's a competitive world. It is bad enough that immigrants suffer a great deal of criticism daily for being who the are. People seem to take it for granted if they are a U.S. citizen, not allowing room for empathy. Are we not fortunate that we were born here? It just so happens that others were not and people feel that they are instantly better than immigrants because of this. All of us would not be here in the U.S., had one of our ancestors not immigrated to this country.

There are issues that arise because there are undocumented residents in our country like lack of money and resources for the booming population, but we should be able to figure it out with a solution that includes immigrants. This new law in Arizona is not a solution. I don't want to sound cliche and say "Can't we all just get along?", because I know when it comes to money and power, that is out of the window. In this case however, it is about the pursuit of a better life.

Growing up in the public education system, I always learned that America is the "melting pot". Teachers taught this as if it were something Americans were proud of. I later learned that many Americans view the many "ingredients" in the melting pot as imposing, invasive, and unwelcome. Diversity is something we pride ourselves in, but it is all a facade.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Commentary on Prison Abuse from Sohell

I am commenting on a blog posted about Texas Having the Worst Record of Prison Abuse on the blog Sohell. Sexual coercion of any kind is a serious topic.

The blog gives a good summary of the original article and it gives a clear opinion on what the blogger feels about the issue at hand. Although the bloggers opinion was clear, it wasn't as strongly states as I'd predict on such a topic. The topic, prisoners being sexual abused, is a concise one, making it difficult to add much to the article. Therefore, the commentary contains mainly facts from the article. The commentary is successful in providing information on what the government plans to do about the sexual abuse in the future and is able to relate the article directly to Texas government.

Prisoners being used as sex slaves for guards creates a violent environment for inmates, not that prison has the safest background, but violence from superiors encourages sexually abusive behavior. Once a person of superior power abuses their power, they usually do not stop there. The experience of getting away with such an empowering crime only gives one the encouragement to go further. In these situations it is easy to let the power take over your actions. Therefore, all guards that face indictments of sexual abuse in these prisons, and all prisons, should be removed until further investigated to ensure safety for the prisoners. They should also be allowed counseling for any psychological damage caused.

Prisoners usually use rape to establish a dominance hierarchy. Prison guards are not provided to make sure prisoners do not escape, and I think some people forget that they are there to protect the prisoners too. Although some may feel that prison inmates are deserving of the negative events that happen in prison, they are humans too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Yikes Salvinia molesta is coming for our lakes!

Thursday April 1, Gov. Rick Perry announced the launch of a campaign, with the purpose of raising awareness of the rapid spread of Salvinia across Texas' lakes. It is stated that the aim of the campaign is to boat owners because evidence shows that this is how the Salvinia is being spread from lake to lake. The first sight of Salvania is usually at the boat ramps, which indicates its path of spreading.
I must say i like the thought of our governor doing something that's good for our lakes. However, the article makes it seems as though Perry only responded because of the threat Salvinia poses to the fishing industry, "which is worth 2.4 billion to the state economy" (3 Colin).
The invasive aquatic plant is severely harmful to underwater vegetation, blocking the oxygen exchange between the air and water (2). I assume that this alone is enough to get some interest groups roweled up, but as Perry stated, the problem became real when he started to see that the plant poses an economical risk.
Because the money to sponsor the awareness campaign came from a fund given to the Texas Parks and Wildlife, I feel that there should be (and I'm sure that there probably is) some sort of ongoing research to rid contaminated lakes of the Salvinia. Seeing as how the article clearly states the damage it can cause once contaminated, it seems as though there is not any hope for lakes lost to this. They label these lakes as useless now.. I don't think that is acceptable. There are already 17 Texas lakes contaminated and we are just now hearing about Salvinia and its awareness campaign!
However, there is hope, some cities in Texas are saying that they are trying to rid their lakes of the plant by any means necessary. An aquatic habitat biologist in Jasper, TX said they are even trying to remove the Salvinia by hand. That may not do any good though, because as the article mentioned, if every bit of the plant is not removed it will still spread rapidly.There is also the choice of chemically cleaning the lake, which is a hopeful option.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Stop with the Shenanigans

This editorial was posted on the blog, Grits For Breakfast about Scary rhetoric plans for Border Control. The targeted audience are those who want Rick Perry to live up to the plans he said he had for border control in 2006. The topic of the editorial is to inform Texas residents about the change we have not seen from our Governor, the poor choices Perry has made, and how we have nothing to show for it. "It's about time", the article states, of Texas- Mexico border leaders speaking up and asking Perry to tone down scary rhetoric tactics and get serious about future plans to protect our borders. The blogger provide evidence of Perry's " pants on fire" statements about border crime dropping, and provides a link for the original article, giving proof and credibility for the editorial. The author is also an avid blogger of Texas government, updating editorials almost daily. It is my opinion that the argument bring made here is logically based, in being supportive of those speaking up for the people in their communities. The majority of the blog states Perry's faults and how much of the grants provided for border control were purely wasted. Cities surrounding the border are still suffering despite the activity provided from the grants. The concluding sentences states: "Given that record, the Governor must hope that voters confuse activity with achievement. To be fair, though: They probably will". Following commentary about Rick Perry's use of scary tactics to get vote. I thought this was well stated and completes the article in a concise manner.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Editorial Analysis

This editorial was posted Thursday Feb. 18th, 2010 after the public was notified that Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his single-engine air plane into a building that housed an IRS field office, located near the intersection of highway 183 and Mopac Expy. The author's aim is to speak of how this event will effect how we live our everyday lives. It begins with stating that although Stack's harmful action was not considered an act of terrorism, we are consequently terrified from what we've witnessed. While many may argue that we are not as greatly effected by this event as some may think because Stack died during the intentional crash, no one can argue that there was not a feeling of relief once it was announced that this guy was not a terrorist. Terrorist meaning that he was not foreigner aiming to harm Americans because of his beliefs, but is this true? Terrorism is defined as the use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political reasons (dictionary.com). We do not know if this guy intended for others in the building to get hurt, but one has to assume he knew there would be others in the vicinity. What we do know is that his action was an act of retaliation to the Internal Revenue Service, or a threat as some might say. There are a few brief lines taken from Stack's rant letter written before he took action, used to point out his reasoning for intentionally crashing the plane.
This editorial covers full insight from the perspective of anyone who lives here in Texas. From the thoughts that rushed to our minds once we viewed the pictures of the burning building all over the news, to the gratitude felt for our emergency responders, this editorial was able to speak for most Austin residences.
My only critique is of the concluding paragraph. I don't care much for its word choice, bringing the tone of the article down. The reference back to Stack leaving his home that morning, making us feel less safe is to cliche rather than creative, but overall a great editorial.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Numbers Matter

We know the U.S. Census performed every decade is important, but this article I found in The Daily Texan tells us exactly how it can affect our state. According to the article, the majority of uncounted residents in Texas are college students, who just happen to be the most important residents. This is because college students are working towards a career, and we can assume that they will be contributing to our economy in the next decade. Because college enrollment this year is higher than ever in Texas, it is crucial that this year's census is as accurate as possible. Inaccurate counts can also lead to "insufficient representation and congressmen spreading themselves way too thin" (Joshua Avelar, Daily Texan). Inaccurate counts can affect our state in many ways, among the worse may be the way in which we have to pay for the "uncounted": an estimated $1,500 for each student. The point is, we are all busy people but our this article shows that the ten minutes you would spend filling out the census survey is well worth your time.