30 November 2007

Election 2008

Signs supporting Ron Paul can be found all over Austin. From "paid for by Ron Paul" to "Ron Paul 4 Prez" graffitied on the sidewalk, the man has garnered himself a following in the area. As a voter who has yet to make up her mind for the 2008 election, I decided to give a futher look into this guy. I visited the issues section of Ron Paul website and found that while he has some good ideas about limiting government influence, his ideas about abortion and international politics concern me. He doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose, would like to overturn Roe v. Wade and believes we should not remain in the United Nations. While he belives in the power of the free market, he does not believe in encouraging NAFTA trade. So while I think the young twenty somethings are for the government staying out of thier damn lives, I think Ron Paul could do that along with some unwelcome reform.

16 November 2007

Re:Texas executions—should death row inmates have last meals?

from http://look-through-the-window.blogspot.com/2007/11/texas-executionsshould-death-row.html
In a list provided by http://www.deadmaneating.com/, we see the kinds of food death row inmates get before their execution:

Barbeque turkey legs and barbeque brisket, with a bowl of cheddar cheese and avocados to eat.

I have barbeques when I want to celebrate something or have a good time with family. Barbeque should be enjoyed and savored by a hardworking individual who deserves to relax, not for someone who killed an “ex-girlfriend he stalked before raping, strangling, and using (sic) a claw hammer to beat her to death” with.

Another man named Christopher Newton--who was executed for killing a fellow inmate because the victim kept giving up before their chess game was over--received steak, asparagus, brussels sprouts, feta cheese, a soft drink, cake, and watermelon. I only get steaks on my birthday!

Of course, these were the last meal requests given to the media. According to Brian Price, an inmate who served ten of fourteen years preparing meals for the condemned, explains in his article, The Last Supper that many of the meals that prisoners wanted were substituted with less costly items. The policy of the Texas Department of Corrections was that only food readily available in the Walls Unit kitchen commissary and butcher shop could be used. For example, if the ill-fated prisoner asked for lobster, he was given a filet of processed fish. Requests for large amounts of food were brought down to more practical portions.

Still, do death row inmates even deserve to have meals such as these?

These people murdered mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers, and sons. Should they really be allowed to spend their remaining days pleasing their palate with delectables followed by a quick and painless death?

I completely respect Ms. Gonzales' opinion but have to respectfully disagree. I think it is a fair assumption that if you are being executed you have been on death for upwards of ten years or more. I think one meal before of non prison food is justified. And as the article states, most of the food served is only what the prison has in stock- it isn't as though fillet mignon is being flown in from France. I can see where it would seem logical to take the meal away from those prisoners who have no regrets about what they had done to get to the point they are at, but who is to judge that. And as DNA evidence has shown, many of those on death row who have been executed were actually innocent. I just think the "last meal" is a very American norm as much so as executing people.

02 November 2007

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch changes


This article in the Dallas Morning News points out the fact that 4 out of 5 fifth graders who fail the TAKS are still promoted. I have never been a fan of using standardized tests as the end-all be-all of measuring students intelligence. I think too much emphasis has been placed on passing the TAKS tests. I grew up in the Texas school system, and I remember how important the TAAS test was. In the weeks before the test, we would have review sessions of TAAS questions and do practice prompts over and over. In some cases I know teachers gear their whole year toward making sure everyone passes by teaching for the test. This type of behavior robs students of learning things not asked on the test. I feel one reason, in part, that the US lags behind in education is because of standardized testing. If teachers feel the need to cheat to get their students to pass a test, we have a problem.