Friday, December 9, 2011

Alcoholic Teens

A classmate of mine, Alex Cheyenne, believes the legal drinking age in the US should be lowered back down to a cool 18. Alex believes that having a higher drinking age causes the youngins to drink secretly, without supervision, which causes a higher death toll for these drunk teens. A commenter on Alex's post, Christina Valdez, disagrees with Alex on the grounds that teens are not full adults, but 21 year olds are in the right mind to look out for themselves.

I disagree with both the author, and Ms Valdez.

Let me start by suggesting that the legal drinking age was chosen at 21 because supposedly that is the age that the brain leaves the essential developmental stage in adolescents. Why it was raised from 18 to 21, I am not entirely sure. I'm not even 100% sure of the accuracy behind my first statement, but I must now go on to confuse you further by saying it's irrelevant. In comparing the cultural use of alcohol in this country to that of Europe, the legal drinking age has nothing to do with the death toll relating to alcohol consumption. In the US, children are brought up to idealize alcohol consumption as something outside themselves that they must obtain, wether that be like-ability, friendliness, conquering of fears, etc. Children are raised to see that getting drunk is "cool." They may not be learning this from their parents, but the media has set this standard. In Europe, however, children typically are raised around alcohol in their home, as if it's no big deal (because it really isn't). From a relatively early age, adolescents are taught how to drink responsibly, and how to tell when you have reached your limit. Getting drunk is not considered "cool" in most places in Europe, in stead it's generally viewed as trashy.

So in response to wether or not the legal drinking age in the United States should be lowered to 18 again, it wouldn't matter. Kids will be reflections of the media's idealized kids. Until our culture develops a distaste toward our modern use of alcohol, illegal drinking, drunk driving, and other such antics will still occur. So in conclusion, the drinking age should absolutely be lowered. Rock on, teens. You're going to do it anyway, so why not?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roseanne Barr For President

Roseanne Barr announced on Jay Leno's Tonight Show that she will be (seriously) running for president in the 2012 election! This isn't actually new news, on Mother's Day last year, she decided to post up in front of the White House (standing on a soap box labeled "soap box") and ramble on to absolutely nobody about her reasoning behind running, and what she intends to do - and also announce her intention to run for Prime Minister of Isreal. At the time, I'm not sure she was completely serious about either intentions, so I count her "announcement" on Leno as a valid first announcement. However, I was unaware of her 2010 Mother's Day speech, so I shall dissect it and yall can deal with it. [watch the video]
I'm here today to announce that after a lifetime in TV and show business, and even tougher, raising five children and five grandsons, I have, thanks to much prayer and meditation decided to pursue a less stressful future. I, Roseanne Barr, am simply going to fix everything.
Hell yes. She's been in and out of the public eye, raised 5 children, produced an intoxicatingly hilarious TV show, and managed to remain (relatively) sane through all of it. Is she qualified? I say yes. She could even make up her own random political party and I'd still vote for her...
To begin curing this world, I am officially running for President of these United States of America, as well as Prime Minister of Israel (a two-fer) on the brand new "Green Tea Party" ticket.
As all political candidates in America must do, I will refer constantly to my particular religion, which happens to be The Church of Common Sense. Its laws and gospels are nothing more than practical, simple solutions to the problems that currently plague humanity, and I will incorporate all these religious values into my campaign platform.
She goes on to claim she can obtain world peace within one year using a 3 step program:

  1. Make war illegal and legalize Hemp - Technically these have nothing to do with one another and should be considered 2 steps. Within this step she only talks about the war on drugs, which is a dynamic subject considering the legalities of individual countries. She really only refers to the US here, rather than world peace.
  2. Change the Demographics of Government - Population statistics (% of women, % living in poverty, etc.) will determine representation from each respective group. "1/6 [of the Green Tea Party] will be officially poor." I love this idea. The public should have control of public funds, and the rich do not make up a majority of the public, therefore should not be handing public need. She makes a side note calling 1 million American "Bitches" to march next Mothers Day, which was actually this mother's day, so dang. I heard nothing about this march actually occurring.
  3. Outlaw Bullsh*t - The concept of War itself will crumble.
Her platforms:

World politics
-Remain the world's police force, but arrest the guilty - and by guilty she means the corporate villains.
-All empty political seats (made empty after arresting and beheading the corrupt) will be filled with grandmothers who have "pledged to create heaven on earth for all children and animals and all humans."
-"War profiteering is punishable by the Guillotine."
-"Presidents, Prime Ministers and Queens... will be required to fight in the very first infantry wave of any war they authorize."

-Combine Capitalism and Socialism until someone comes up with a better idea, but allow the elderly to receive their retirement. "A system that rewards hard work and ambition but cares for its weakest child." Social welfare, public education, and public healthcare will be honored.

Mid-East Crisis
-Issue will be regarded as a Labor issue rather than a religious issue.
-Consequently, all religious books that speak toward burning witches and executing homosexuals will be considered irrelevant. 
-Pay the Palestinian people not to shoot at Israelis"We can put the Pal back into Palestinian!"

Pirates, capitalism, Fem-Nazis, common sense, and much more are discussed, and yall should go read it!

Seriously. I love this woman. I understand that illuminating tax, as she discussed in her interview with Leno, would make all of her aspirations extremely difficult to obtain, but the ideas are what count. Obviously I am not serious about supporting the use of a guillotine in any form of punishment, but then I suspect neither is she. I suport Roseanne Barr for President.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Controversial Precaution: A Response

Amber, a classmate I have grown to admire for her exploration through different points of view from her own, wrote an opinion piece on making HPV vaccines mandatory for adolescent girls. She wrote in approval of such a measure, shutting down arguments based on religion and morality. She says most of those in opposition of the vaccine administration use the excuse that the vaccine would promote promiscuity, and supporting lifestyles of abstinence would be more productive. Amber doesn't believe this is a relevant argument, and I agree because abstinence has never, and will never be an effective solution against STDs, so protection is necessary. Amber and I agree that the HPV vaccine is necessary, but where we differ is in making it mandatory.

My mother got me the chicken pox vaccine at a young age. I wish she had thrown me into a room with a chicken pox infected kid in stead, because now I have to keep getting the vaccine. Chicken pox is more dangerous the older you get. The chicken pox is, of course, among the least important vaccines. Those for Polio, Hep, etc. are far more important and necessary. Their necesity, however, does not influence me to believe they should be mandatory vaccines.

What one puts into their body should always be at the discretion of the informed individual. I have friends in California that grew up in households so against vaccines that they managed to avoid getting ANY. To this day, in their 20s, they're still not vaccinated, and have never had a problem. Of course, they lead extremely health-conscious lifestyles, so that factors in as well.

I'm not saying important vaccines should just simply be an ambiguous option, they should be stressed heavily by doctors and health teachers to all academic levels. Information about what is in the vaccine and what each ingredient does to prevent whatever disease It's preventing should be provided before administration of the vaccine, as well as side effects, and physical consequences and factual statistics if one were to opt out. All of this information should also be taught in schools, and given to parents at their children's doctor visits. Transparency is absolutely key in healthcare. There is nothing more important than health, and an understanding of how to maintain health.

On the subject of the HPV vaccines specifically, I support any woman taking the opportunity to protect themselves. As I have already stated, however, I do not believe any vaccines should be mandatory by law. I have gotten the vaccine, but I come from a non-religious household that believes in the empowerment of women. Not every woman has this fantastic upbringing. Medical, unbiased information has to be administered to every woman by their doctors about this vaccine stating the risks involved in the vaccine, as well as statistics related to the HPV virus and what causes it if one were to opt out, so every woman can make an informed decision by their own accord.

So here I come, from a less-than-moral stand-point with no religious affiliation, and I'm against making any vaccine mandatory. Am I a total hippy, or what?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tolerating Intolerance

The long on-going debate over the right for homosexuals to Wed is non-sense to me. I have absolutely no idea how one can argue for the illegality of allowing two men or two women to enter a legally binding relationship to one another. The institution of a Christian marriage is an irrelevant argument because of the Separation of Church and State. If a woman and I were to fall in love, I'd demand the right to see her in the hospital, should that ever be an issue. I'd demand the right to adopt a child or children with her. I'd want all the same rights as I would have if I were to fall in love with a man in stead. Homosexuality exists and is very real, and official acknowledgement is long overdue.

I also don’t understand how Homosexual Equality is a state issue. Matters pertaining to personal morality, like the recognition of a homosexual couple, boarders (and in my opinion, crosses) the the threshold of discrimination. How can you define a relationship without using any Biblical reference? Love is indefinable, and a personal matter. People are not Lincoln Logs, we make life messy and mold into whatever feels right, wether that be with a man, woman, or solo. We don’t fit into boxes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Do Away With The Dollar Bill?

For the life of me, I cannot figure out who wrote this article in the LA Times, "Dollar coin? It's time" but I found it to be so interesting that I'll take a leap and write about it. According to this anonymous source, whom I suppose would then lose all credentials and accountability, members of Congress are discussing phasing out the dollar bill and bringing in the dollar coin, and Richard Simon of the LA Times concurs. By the title of the article, you'd probably gather that the Anonymous writer would be in support of such a measure, and you'd be correct. The article is written with the feeling that the writer is under the assumption that everyone agrees with them. Well, I don't.

Of course, dollar coins already exist here in the states, but as one commenter on the article stated, "I don't much care for any coins, when ever I have any I throw them in a bucket by my desk at home." I cannot imagine the coin replacing the dollar bill. I, personally, carry around plenty of ones from either accumulation or because I use them more than other bills. Coins are heavy and annoying, but for the most part, useful for their purpose: small change. Though, If one were to argue for the phasing out of the penny, as this writer did, I'd be in support of such a change. The writer also mentioned phasing out the nickel, which I could not imagine being a great idea. The reasoning behind Congress members considering these options in the first place is not because of convenience, but because the penny, nickel, and dollar all cost more to make than they’re worth. Pennies and nickels are easy to see, because the materials are more expensive than they’re worth, but I was unaware of the cost of making dollar bills. According to our anonymous source, a dollar bill lasts all of about 3 years, whereas a coin will last up to 30 years. With all the time saved in between production rates, we could save $5.5 billion. I have absolutely no idea where this writer got that data.

I don’t believe a phasing out of the dollar bill would even work. There are too many people in this country as like-minded as I am: coins are too heavy, and I use the dollar bill too often to switch. Australia and Europe are using dollar coins, and it works for them, but I still cannot give it up. The coin slot in my wallet can only hold so much.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Affirmative In-Action

It's not often that I find myself on Fox News' website. It's even less often that I find myself intrigued and in agreement with a given opinion article featured on Fox News. From my opening, I bet you could guess what I'm about to say next: I found myself on Fox News' website, and found myself agreeing with an intriguing article. I didn't surprise you there, did I?

This such article, Why I Approve of Berkeley's 'Racist' Bake Sale by John Stossel, is about a group of UC Berkeley republican students holding a "racist" bake sale as a demonstration against affirmative action in colleges in California. Stossel is a journalist that writes for several papers, including ABC and Fox. He writes to get his opinion out there to anyone that would listen. He makes an argument, and backs it with rationale behind that argument.

Stossel opens his article by stating that affirmative action is theoretically good, "a way to compensate for past discrimination," but we're in a new day-and-age where racism is relatively irrelevant. In California, especially, the races are pretty well integrated in any given community. Stossel then goes on to say, "Useful or not, affirmative action is a form of racism," and I completely agree with this. A person should be sized up by their efforts, abilities, and disabilities in life, not the color of their skin. A woman that came by Stossel's own racist bake sale was quoted saying "No race of people is worth more than another. Or less." Stossel's and the woman's lines completely embody my argument against affirmative action.

College admissions should not attempt to fill a quota of certain races in schools, but grant admission based the old fashioned way: grades, extracurriculars, etc. It's the financial aid committees that would be better suited for affirmative action efforts, not college admissions.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Army Green: Armed Forces Turning to Sustainable Energy

While living in Marin County, California, I had been brought up under the impression that the government is evil. I had been taught that an individual can make a difference in this county by going along with governmental structure, but keeping the entire concept of democracy at arms length. This is ironic because everyone in Marin are either Democrat, Green Party, or independent. As I've grown into the free thinking woman that I am becoming, I have learned that our government is run by people, and therefore imperfect. It's an ever-changing structure that molds to the societal needs. The question is not wether or not to trust our government, or wether or not it's evil, but how you can get the ball rolling to make changes that need to be made. Everyone has a voice. Women got the right to vote by coming together and demanding it. Homosexuals are getting the right to marry in several states by doing the same thing: coming together and demanding it. When it comes to "going green", however, it's much more complicated to change power structures on a large scale. On this subject, we need governmental interjections to make any difference. Our reliance on fossil fuel is extremely profitable, but in no way realistic for a sustainable future. In California, many counties are building wind turbines and writing a sustainable energy quota for any new homes being built, or even old ones remodeled. This is a good start, but larger scale operations must begin sooner than later.

So who is on the forefront of green energy in a large scale? Think about who needs consistent energy and fuel: the military. Under high pressure environments like fighting in the middle east, it's unrealistic and even dangerous to rely on fossil fuels for vehicles, equipment, and structures. According to Michael Brune's article "The Military's Clean-Energy Mission" in the Huffington Post, the Department of Energy is granting a loan to install solar panels on as many as 160,000 military housing facilities. Back in California, the Los Angeles Air Force Base will be the "first federal facility to replace 100% of its general purpose fleet with plug-in electric vehicles." LA AFB, like much of the greater LA area, is implementing a solar panel grid, and cutting energy usage by staggering amounts, so even in recharging electric vehicles, "dirty energy" can and will be avoided. Electric vehicles, solar power, wind-turbines, and water power were all concepts I grew up with and got to know well as a child. Though I'm thrilled these alternatives are beginning to hit the mainstream, I also can't help but think, so what? This should have happened a long time ago. One thing I've always been uncomfortable with is the fuel usage by airplanes. The Air Force and Navy have got this covered (almost): some planes are already running on 50% biofules. These biofules, camelina seed and algea, are nonfood crops, so they wouldn't displace farming food crops.

The US armed forces aren't switching to alternatives just for an image adjustment. The change is entirely necessary for them, and will soon become direly necessary for the rest of us. Electricity prices will rise - my house of 3 people just got an electric bill of $240, and I'm not sure I can afford to pay that each month. We need more availability of solar panels; we're in Texas, for goodness sake. Today was the first day since I've moved here that I've seen a cloud in the sky. Fuel prices will rise. We need solar powered fuel stations with electric vehicle plug-in availability. We need more universal public transportation. There's a stigma for riding the bus in Austin that needs to stop. It can be a money saver for any income, but we need better route coverage and a more user-friendly scheduling. We need all these things and more to finally rid ourselves of fossil fuel usage.

I've been spoiled by California.