Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Response to "85 MPH is plenty safe."

I recently read an article posted by my colleague, Thomas Brown, on his blog regarding the Texas speed limits through out the state. He suggests that Texas should raise the speed limit to 85 for the rural highways stretched across our borders. Although I agree with his article for the most part, there are some serious implications that can be avoided by driving at a slower speed limit. Here is my response to his article that I posted as a comment on his blog:

"Like most young adults, I suffer from an extremely reckless and fiscally irresponsible case of lead foot. I agree with you, it's extremely difficult to abide by the state controlled speed limits especially when enduring a long drive across the Texas border. Coming from a girl that drives 12 hours twice a year to visit relatives in Florida, I can't imagine actually going the speed limit the entire duration of the drive. I read an article once that by raising the speed limit, it creates more aware and cautious drivers. Increasing your speed also increases the amount of attention you pay to your driving, drivers surrounding you, and your environment. However, a big argument against raising the speed limit is that when you are driving 70+ miles per hour, you lose a large portion of control from avoiding implications. When you are driving faster than 70 mph, controlling your vehicle after blowing out a tire or avoiding an accident, especially when it's raining, becomes a much harder task to accomplish safely. 


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Hopeful Future, Weeding Out Old-Fashioned Stigmas

Texas Democrats recently released their party's platform for 2012. Their platform included a better focus on education, strengthening small businesses, improving wages and working conditions, and decriminalizing the use of marijuana. This last part is especially interesting to me. In 1994, a poll was taken to determine Texans' attitude of what they thought was the most important issue to address concerning the state. The second most substantial issue that Texans in 1994 were fretting about was drugs, the illegal use of controlled substances, totaling 17% of the Texas population. The same poll was taken in 2000, and drugs only totaled up to 8% of Texans' worries. Now, in 2012, an entire party campaigning for upcoming elections advocates for the decriminalization of marijuana and over 50% of the American population believes marijuana should be decriminalized. I am in agreement with the Democratic party for this particular issue. By decriminalizing the use of marijuana, it'll allow law enforcement to use their time more efficiently for the greater good for more heinous crimes. Also, by decriminalizing marijuana, that'll address the issue of the drug cartels reigning from Mexico and creating catastrophic corruption while crossing into our borders just for money, power, and ensuring a supply and demand for Americans' marijuana desires. If we decriminalize it, it may prevent some violence occurring between the United States and Mexico from the drug cartels. Since the War on Drugs began, citizens of the United States pay $12 billion annually just for criminalizing marijuana. Also, 85% of the arrests regarding marijuana have just been for possession, alone. The Democrats state, "There is no evidence that marijuana is a 'gateway' drug leading to the use of more lethal drugs." Of the population arrested for marijuana, 75% is under the age of 30. Which means, a good majority of those arrested for the use of marijuana is being convicted at a young age and will never overcome this major setback once they are released and need to face the outside world and find a job. That conviction will remain on that individual's record from their youth and will damage their integrity, worth, and self-respect when attempting to find a prestigious and well-respected job. Although, Texas will probably be the last state to instill this Democratic reform to its policy due to its predominantly Republican and conservative perspective of any drug, the fact that Democratic Texans are advocating for this unique and controversial policy reform is astounding and gives me hope. Our prisons are already overcrowded enough, it's time to lighten the inmate list by releasing those that are convicted of charges related to marijuana. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Response to: "Southern drought, Texas consequences."

A colleague of mine wrote an article for their blog, "Looking for the Center in Central Texas". I responded to their article:

        It's interesting you raise this point. The Commissioner of the General Land Office in Texas, Jerry E. Patterson actually visited my UT Class during the fall semester and spoke of his project. He was investigating a piece of land that housed water beneath its surface. In order to obtain the land and disperse it among all of Texas, it'd cost Texas a pretty penny, however, the water supply is not only plentiful but also replenishes itself. The problem with telling Texans to "converse water" is that many take pride in their lawn. As we grow older, our reputation and pride in our local neighborhood is based on how well manicured our lawn is. Since I grew up in a retirement area in Georgetown, TX, I can say from experience that elderly people have no future plans of giving up on their morning rituals of watering their plants and ensuring every blade of grass is proportional in size. Also, during this summer's water conservation efforts, many Texans living within the greater Austin area were bending the rules and watering their plants while their neighbors could not because they hired a company to drill a well and tap into the St. Edward's Aquifer, allowing them to use the Aquifer's water supply to simply ensure they have green and heathy plants. It's hard to strip a Texas resident's individualistic desires to have a well manicured lawn. In fact, some can't even handle that restriction, they'll bend the rules so that they can get ahead of their neighbors for "best lawn in the neighborhood."