Saturday, May 30, 2009

Is Teaching Your Kids to Beg A Good Thing?

I live in the Austin, TX metropolitan area and it is common in the Austin city limits to see people walking along the line of traffic at stop lights asking for money. These are generally presumed to be homeless people or unemployed people. I generally have a problem with this as most of them could go to the nearest fast food restaurant and get a job. I do understand that some of these people likely have mental problems and would be best suited in a state facility. But I don't think that is the majority based on the culture of acceptance of such behavior here. If they put as much effort into finding and doing a job as they do into asking for handouts, they might be worth $10-$15 an hour. It is apparently more profitable for them to ask for money from passers by than to get a job, hence why you tend to see the same people at the same intersections day after day.

Well one thing that we've noticed on Saturday mornings is groups, such as various kids sports groups out in the medians with their parents holding signs asking for money to help them go to some tournament or some other outing with their group. I have a fundamental problem with the parents who are obviously behind this form of fundraising. Whatever happened to car washes, bake sales, and garage sales etc.? When did teaching kids that they don't really need to do anything to earn money become appropriate? I'm just as appalled at the people that give money to them for nothing. I'm more inclined to give money to a homeless person than a child growing up in a 2 income family with plenty of money to send their kid if they had to, but cheap enough to beg for it rather than pay for it themselves because they are too lazy to bake cookies for a bake sale, or wash cars in a car wash or some other activity that might require a little bit of planning and effort. Walking around with a sign is lazy and shameful. I'm willing to pay for my kid to play in this select sports group, but too cheap and/or lazy to pay or teach them to earn the money they need to go on a special trip for being on this select team. Newsflash!!! Select leagues are a way of getting more money from you and you put them in it for bragging rights. EVERYONE'S kid is in select league and there are plenty of kids not on a select team that are better than your kid. Just so you know.

Quit teaching your spoiled kids to also be lazy. Teach them the value of a dollar by making them work for it. And people wonder what's going wrong in this world. People are learning they don't need to work for anything because the government will take money from the rich and give it to them. That's what's wrong. Quit looking to the government or anyone else for a handout. It's lame and screwing up our world!!! Get off your lazy butt and do something useful!!!By doing so, you'll teach your kids about personal responsibility as opposed to depending on handouts.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!!!

I'd like to say a big Thank You to the families of the many soldiers who have given their lives in service to this country defending the very freedom that we have and continue to fight for. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed or unappreciated here. And thank you to all the soldiers who continue to fight.

Have a save and happy holiday weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is a Commencement Speech the Appropriate Time to Get Political?

The President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame this weekend, and it's apparently very controversial because he chose this time to give a speech about abortion. When I was trying to figure out what to write about, (Pelosi's fiasco...everyone knows she's a nut-job liar, budget cuts...can you really brag about your cuts if the overall budget increases?) I was very hesitant to even discuss this as one of the two discussions to have about this story involves abortion, which I generally planned to stay away from. However, I decided to buck it up and have the two discussions. The first will be about the topic of abortion and what he said, and the second will be about the title of this post as that's what really drove me to discuss this, even though it's the shorter of the two discussions.

So the title of the referenced CNN article is "Obama calls for common ground on abortion at Notre Dame," and while I may agree with the sentiment, it's as idealistic as banning or outlawing abortion. This is because I think people are very passionate about this issue,which it's very black and white to most people; right or wrong. I am of the opinion that there are people that are so passionately for abortion rights that they get come across pro eugenics more than pro-choice. If you don't know what eugenics is, click on the link I've provided for a more in depth discussion on it. Basically it's the belief that the human species can or should be improved though the elimination of inferior members. I take great offense to this. I don't believe that all pro-choice people hold this belief, but I think it's a fine line some walk when they discuss reasons to have an abortion with someone who has simply proclaimed she wouldn't choose it for herself. Pro-choice should be as much about choosing not to have one as it is about choosing to have one.

Here are the comments Obama made in the speech that I agree with taken from the CNN article:

"He urged supporters and opponents of abortion rights to 'work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term.'"

"He also endorsed the drafting of a 'sensible conscience clause' to 'honor the conscience' of doctors and other medical workers opposed to abortion."

I think we need to focus on working to reduce the number of people that make the choice by encouraging, perhaps even incentivizing adoptions. I'm sure private citizens that are looking to adopt would be willing take part in some incentive program for girls trying to make up their mind. And while I believe that health care workers shouldn't be forced to participate in abortions if they don't agree with it, they also shouldn't got seeking employment in abortion clinics and then refuse to do the job based on their beliefs. They should be made aware of the situation surrounding the impending abortion, whether it is essentially "elective" or "medically necessary" for the life of the mother and make their decision from there, and appropriate staff should be available.

I also believe there should be intensive counseling for elective abortions that lasts longer than 20 minutes where alternative options are discussed as well as the reasons for the decision. There should be at the very least a 48 hr waiting period that involve 2 8 hour days of counseling. I abhor abortion as a form a birth control and eugenics, but people will use it for these two purposes and the decision shouldn't be made lightly. They need to understand in both cases, there are people that want to adopt. There are people that will adopt special needs kids and these parents need to be made aware of this. I think the ultimate decision is between them and God. Our job is to encourage the right decision, not demonize the wrong one. (this does not include abortions that happen to save the life of the mother, there is no right decision there as a baby will either die or grow up without a mother. Anyone self-righteous enough to condemn either decision made in a case like this will also have to answer to God...We all have to answer to God in the end for our actions and words)

Now onto the point that really riled me up to write about this story, which is discussing a political agenda during a graduation ceremony. Isn't that a downer? Isn't the commencement speech supposed to be about the graduates' futures as they are about to step into the "real world?" How is bringing politics into the day accomplishing this? Not to mention it's offensive to some people whether they agree with his views or not. I would feel robbed of what should be a perfectly joyous moment in my life.

What do you think? Should politics be a "hands off" topic for giving a commencement speech?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

NASA - Should We Be Investing in Space Exploration?

In these economic stressful times, many of us want the President and congress to cut the budget. Obviously I can think of many places to make cuts that I've discussed before. The reality is that there are additions being made that I don't agree with related to welfare, health care, and hostile take overs infringing on capitalism.

One thing we haven't discussed is NASA. On this weekend of the release of Star Trek, a movie that epitomizes space exploration beyond our wildest imaginations. I have heard discussions on NASA and arguments for or against spending on it. Some people think we are wasting money exploring space, while others want the U.S. to remain the leaders in the world in space exploration.

Let me giving you some spending history budgeted for NASA going back to 1996.

2010 Proposed $18.7 Billion
2009 Estimate: $17.8 Billion
2008 Estimate: $17.2 Billion
2007 Actual: $15.8 Billion
2006 Actual: $15.1 Billion
2005 Actual: $15.6 Billion
2004 Actual: $15.1 Billion
2003 Actual: $14.5 Billion
2002 Actual: $14.9 Billion
2001 Actual: $14.2 Billion
2000 Actual: $6.8 Billion
1999 Actual: $9.4 Billion
1998 Actual: $9.8 Billion
1997 Actual: $9.3 Billion
1996 Actual: $8.0 Billion

The funds proposed for 2010 you can see is not a huge increase relatively speaking. If you break it down per family of 4, it comes to 1.2 cents more. However the total $18.7 billion comes to $62.33 per person or $250 per family of 4. Obviously it's redistributed based on the amount of taxes each person or family pays. The more money you make the more you pay towards this amount. And the converse is true as well.

Funding Highlights:
• Provides $18.7 billion for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Combined with
the $1 billion provided to the agency in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,
this represents a total increase of more than $2.4 billion over the 2008 level.
• Funds a program of space-based research that supports the Administration’s commitment to
deploy a global climate change research and monitoring system.
• Funds a robust program of space exploration involving humans and robots. The National
Aeronautics and Space Administration will return humans to the Moon while also supporting a
vigorous program of robotic exploration of the solar system and universe.
• Funds the safe flight of the Space Shuttle through the vehicle’s retirement at the end of 2010.
An additional flight will be conducted if it can be completed safely before the end of 2010.
• Funds the development of new space flight systems for carrying American crews and supplies
to space.
• Funds continued use of the International Space Station to support the agency and other Federal,
commercial, and academic research and technology testing needs.
• Funds aeronautics research to address aviation safety, air traffic control, noise and emissions
reduction, and fuel efficiency.

So what do you think about spending on NASA? Is it something worthwhile or is it a waste of taxpayer dollars? I'd like to know what you think.

From my perspective, there are other places in the budget I would cut that would dwarf the spending in NASA. But I would also be hesitant to double or triple their budget anytime soon. I think the research they do feeds the imagination inside all of us. I would love the opportunity to travel to space in my lifetime. But perhaps that is a pipe dream we need to let go of.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

More Evidence People NEED the Government to Step In

That title is meant sarcastically. Read on.

Take a look at this story from across the ocean in Wales.

This story caught my attention because the Texas legislature, currently in session, is considering a bill that will make it illegal for anyone under 16 1/2 to tan in a tanning salon. Apparently currently if they are under 18, they have to have a permission slip. As if they can keep them from frying themselves outside in the sun. Before you know some genius will propose legislation making it illegal for anyone under the age of 14 to be out in the sun during the day.

My point of bringing up this discussion is to bring up the point of passing laws to make other people responsible where parents should be. Do we really need a law to prevent anyone under the age of 16 1/2 from tanning? Can't parents make those decisions for their kids? Should parents be responsible for teaching their kids and instilling common sense in them? I'm not saying tanning is bad, but I don't know a teenage girl that didn't learn the "don't get burned" lesson either from a tanning bed or from the sun several times while growing up.

You might be asking why 16 1/2 as opposed to 18. The cynical opinion here in my neck of the woods has to do with moms of cheerleaders not only supporting this bill, but wanting their cheerleader daughters to be able to tan in their last couple of years on the varsity squad. Also, they need to be able to tan before prom. Because these moms are living vicariously through their daughters. So they came up with the magical age of 16 1/2. I guess at 16, some other girls might become competition for their daughters???

In the above story the mom doesn't want to use this as a lesson teaching opportunity for her 10 year old daughter. She just wants someone to sue if it happens again. Just as something happened here in Texas I'm sure to prompt this legislation. Someone wants to be able to sue a tanning salon if they're daughter gets burned. You know what's funny is that on the fiscal note that I could find for HB 1310 they are claiming no fiscal impact to the state. I'm not sure this is the final version of the bill, nor could I find the associated senate version.
They say it can be absorbed into the existing budget. BS!!! If they are given an excuse to increase the budget, add an employee or two, they will use it. It may take some time, but they'll find a way to "justify" it. That's just the way government works. They will have to have someone take the phone calls, and investigate complaints. Gradually it will grow over time to start inspecting tanning salons and writing citations. That's just the way government works. So

I oppose laws like this. We have to take personal responsibility for the choices we make. What's your take?

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