Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Reponse to "*Cough*"

      I definitely agree with the author's viewpoint on second hand smoke. First, the author introduces how second hand smoke poses a problem around college campuses from first hand experience. It makes the reader imagine themselves in the author's shoes. Then, the author explains how different breathing is on campus with a ban on smoking on campus. The author also explores opponent's viewpoints on the ban, saying that smokers have nowhere else to smoke and that they are not hurting anyone. With credible sources such as the American Cancer Society, the author uses significant statistics to rule our opponent's arguments.

      To conclude, the author emphasizes the importance of anti-smoking laws for universities and college campuses. I wish that St. Edward's University had a ban on smoking on campus. When walking to class, I go from enjoying the beautiful weather to being smothered in second hand smoke. There is even an area on campus where smokers crowd, creating a tunnel of smoke. It is awful to experience, but smokers call it "socializing." I am not against smoking cigarettes, but they do need to be more considerate even if there are no bans on smoking on campus. The distance from smoking off campus and smoking on campus is not large, but the difference it will make will be even bigger.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Take the Wheel, Not the Phone

        Just driving ten minutes away, I spotted a large number of drivers talking or texting on the phone. Even though people are aware of fines, technology has become a dominate part of our lives. The smartphone can alert traffic, accidents, and weather while driving, which can be beneficial. Many people rely on the smartphone to texting since it is  faster than phone calling, cheaper, and it is a discrete form of contact. Texting is the number one driver distraction.
     It is without a doubt that this technologically advanced generation cannot do without texting. A 2007 survey of about 1000 teens demonstrated that 46 % text while drive. According to Don't Drive and Text, texting while driving compares to drunk driving when it comes to distractions on the road. A person's driving ability is impaired because there is loss of concentration, are more likely to swerve, decreased reaction times, and it is even risker under the influence of alcohol of drugs. More astounding statistics include that texting while driving accounts for 2,600 vehicle fatalities and 300,000 collisions annually. Texting while driving is about 6 times more likely to result in an accident than driving while intoxicated. More suprising, for every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text messages spends  4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road (Texas: Cell phone laws, legislation).
   Texas needs to have stricter cell phone laws. States such as New York and California have strict laws that ban hand held cell phone use and texting by all drivers. If compared with New York's 2010 accident rates are tiny compared to Texas' cell phone accident rates. In 2010, 46 people died from cellphone-related crashed and 3,400 accidents were caused by cell phone use. Currently, Texas has lenient laws when it comes to cell phone use. Current laws include:

  • Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using wireless communications devices.
  • Learners permit holders are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving.
  • School bus operators prohibited from using cell phone while driving if children are present.
  • Drivers prohibited from using handheld devices in school crossing zones.

Also, with state cell phone laws, there is funding opportunities. For example, in New York, each cell phone results in a $150 fine and in California, the base fine for a first offense is $20. These fines add up and can be used for funding for states' needs. 


This documentary was sent out by our coach and makes you wonder... was that last call/text worth your life?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Live Young Drive Old?

   In Why Old People Should Not Drive, the opening statistic that verifies car accidents as a top leading cause of death instantly invites the reader in. Although I think that texting while driving and drunk driving are the more significant causes of death, it was interesting to see the author present a rare issue that does not get a lot of attention.
  Then, the author presents why elderly people are more prone to mistakes on the road, which demonstrates the use of logos. Referring to Katie's Law as an option, the author explores the option as a possibility.
     Lastly, the author explores different options that could minimize errors due to the elderly driving on the road. I agree with an annual renewal of license along with the necessary exams to deem appropriate to drive. Maybe even monthly check-ups at the DMV could help. In addition, if the elderly go to the doctors, they could also give them the yay or nay to renew/apply for a driver's license. Another plausible solution could be  carpooling in a neighborhood, so that those unable to drive or failed exams are able to have another option. Yes, there are buses and other means of public transportation, but without direction or any sense of time, it is hard for old people to solely rely on public transportation. Making our roads safer will take one step at a time.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Water Conservation!

Texas should pass stricter water conservation measures. First of all, South and Central Texas have been experiencing a drought, marking June as an "exceptionally" dry month. According to LCRA, Austin was recorded the fourth driest in June. Stricter water conservation deems necessary since no improvement has been seen. 
      Imagine going through one's day without the use of water. We need water to cook, shower, and most importantly, drink. Water makes up about 60 % of one's whole body. Without enough water, one's body cannot undergo bodily functions that are truly dependent on water.
     Most water in Texas is used by irrigation agriculture, municipalities, and manufacturing in Water Conservation . Although agriculture uses the most water in Texas, there is potential of water conservation using pricey technologies such as an advanced irrigation system or laser-leveling of fields. As municipalities use one-quarter of the Texas water supply, it is expected to increase as the population grows. Lastly, manufacturing uses  10 % of the water supply in Texas, so water conservation is a possibility. As an example, Texas Instruments built a new silicon wafer fabrication facility that used 1/3 less water than the previous plant.
       Water Conservation is possible and can benefit Texas in the long run. As an example from The Daily Texas Online, The last time Central Texas experienced a drought was in 2006-2007, so they turned off fountains, updated irrigation systems, and renovated plumbing, which saved up to about 50 million gallons per year. What else can be done?? There should be cheaper rates for those who use less water, so those who use the most amount of water would be most affected by the highest rates. There are also more efficient toilets and shower heads that can save over 10,000 gallons per household per year! Texas cities and government need to be more aggressive at pushing for water conservation. They need to implement water-saving technologies that can save water in the long run. Save water now so we will have it in the future!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guns: Yay or Nay?

             In Crazy Talk About Gun Control ,by Tod Robberson from the Dallas morning views blog, the author presents the debate of gun control and examines both sides of the debate. The author's intended audience is everyone that is concerned with the Colorado theater shooting and those closely following the election. The author claims that he is "torn on the issue" because both sides of gun debate exhibit plausible reasoning.
            Examining those that propose tighter gun control laws, the author claims that the National Rifle Association can "strike the fear of God into any legislator who even hints at tighter gun control." The author even presents evidence with a link that gives the  NRA's "sane" position on the issue. Even though the author is already calling the NRA crazy and illogical, he does claim that there should be tighter gun control laws to prevent those with psychological issues from buying weapons such as the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting. To do so, the author rules out conducting psychological tests at gun stores or that banning gun sales to crazy people would have prevented the Colorado theater shooting. Using logos, the author claims that gun control laws in general is not going to stop killing; if a person wants to kill, they will find other means of killing other than guns.
          On the other hand, the author examines those that are pro-gun, who claim that if someone was carrying a gun in the theater during the shooting, many lives could have been saved. By describing that many lives could have been saved (12 people killed), the author is demonstrating the appeal of pathos. The author continues the claim by examining the scenario if someone else in the theater did have a gun. With the appeal of logos, the author goes step by step to describe that two gunman in the theater would have caused more chaos. The author presents evidence that the "vigilante-intervention" scenario does not work by describing the George Zimmerman case in Florida. To conclude his blog entry, the author names law enforcement as the number one defense.
        I agree with the author because gun control is such a two-sided issue. I do believe that gun control laws should be tighter, but doing so, as the author presented, will not stop those with psychological issues from killing, whether it be with or without a gun. Also, I am pro-gun because if one wants to protect itself, there should be laws that allow us to.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Voter Fraud?

In an editorial for Texas Makes a Case against voter ID, the author creates a valid argument about voter fraud. The author's intended audience are all of the Texas voters, especially those that will be negatively affected if the Voter ID Law was to go into effect. The author's stance on the issue is opposition to the Voter ID Law. The supporting evidence is from a statistician from the University of Texas at Austin. He presented an estimate of 167,724 people that will be "disenfranchised" if the law were to go into effect. Although this number seems small compared to the 1 million voters, the author puts this number into perspective. He claims that the 167,724 is just like "denying the vote to every person in Grand Prairie or in Brownsville." Then, the author expands his argument by deeming the Voter ID Law unnecessary because there is no evidence of abuse within the voter system. With a credible source, the author bolsters his position with statistics. A total of only five people have been persecuted for impersonating a voter and there were zero cases involving cases with non citizens who had voted. The author concludes the editorial with logical reasoning. The author states that voting is a right and it should not be denied. There are other ways of safeguarding the voting process from systematic abuse, but denying some one's right to vote should not be one of them. I agree with the author because of the strength of his evidence that makes his claim persuasive. I do propose that voters should show ID cards, but if there is not a lot of systematic abuse, then why?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Medicaid Alternative

The article State Medicaid Chief Weighs in on Health Reform introduces that Texas will not expand its Medicaid program, but the Supreme Court decided to uphold the Affordable Care Act. As a result, Texas' finances and health care system will be negatively affected. Billy Millwee, Medicaid chief, states that there will be an increase in those enrolling in Medicaid. This can be attributed because of the individual mandate, which requires that all citizens must purchase health insurance. His most interesting statement was that Medicaid " starting to enable poverty" because those that are eligible, but not enrolled are now being enrolled.

Millwee then suggests that the state receive block grants to expand the healthcare system. Under a block grant system, doctors would be paid better. Medicaid is too complex, which is why 31% of doctors accepted Medicaid patients. This article is worth reading because it investigates the negative aspects of Medicaid along with a alternative solution.