For many years now, public schools around the United States have been encouraging parents to drug their children in order to have better behavior in the classroom. It's kind of funny to me that on one hand school districts are working overtime to keep kids from taking drugs, but on the other they are trying to get parents to take their children to doctors for medications that will control their actions. Have any of these school leaders bothered to look at their own history books and discover that kids with the worst behavior in school, many times turn out to be the most successful in life when they grow up? Just look at Bill Gates or even the masters of classical music. All were not very successful in school, but went on the lead very productive lives afterward. So what are the pros and cons of drugging kids with medications to change their behavior. The only reason I can think of on the pros side is that it will make children easier to control and manage in the public school system. Sadly, US public schools are more about conformity than they are in teaching what it really takes to be successful in life. On the cons side, taking an unruly child and drugging them during the time of life when their brains are still developing seems like one of the worst ideas I have ever heard of. It's a definite con when a school system or parents take the personality of a child who is different and try to impose a more socially and politically correct one in it's place. If we ever want to learn the mysteries of the universe or someday find a cure for cancer, those answers will likely be found by the children of today who are not conformist, but independent thinkers. If someone in the public school system encourages you to drug your kid into better behavior, please think twice before you go along. You might just have a very special person there who will do miraculous things when they grow up. Just because a teacher or principal wants you to take the spirit out of your child's life, please resist the urge to do so.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Earlier this week there was breaking news about a new product approved for sale in the USA called Palcohol, which is powdered alcohol consumers can mix with the beverage of their choice. Within 24-hours of that announcement, the government said it needed more time before Palcohol could be sold. What are the pros and cons of powdered alcohol and is it a good idea to have such a lethal product sold in this type of concentration? On the pros side, people who like to have an occasional alcoholic beverage would be able to easily carry small packages of Palcohol in their pocket or purse making it a great thing to have when flying on an airplane where the price for a mixed drink is outrageously expensive or when visiting other venues where the consumption of alcohol is allowed. The price of Palcohol was not released, but my guess is it will be cheaper than purchasing a bottle of booze at a liquor store. The biggest think on the pros side for people who drink alcohol is the convenience of having their favorite drink available wherever they might travel or for a night cap in their own home before bed. The cons of allowing Palcohol to be sold are many and all of them involved some fool making a bad choice with a product like this one. The biggest thing on the cons side is the danger that children will use powdered alcohol to get drunk or even worse they will attempt to snort Palcohol for a quicker high. Experts say such conduct could lead to a fast death depending on the alcohol volume consumed. Another problem that goes along with any type of alcohol is that some people do not have an off switch when it comes to knowing when to stop. While Palcohol can and will be abuse, that is not a good enough reason to keep it off the market. If people wanted totally safe homes, electricity and natural gas would never be allowed, because when misused they are very dangerous. I expect Palcohol to be released with various amounts of alcohol content sometime in the near future.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The times are always changing and the newest technology facing regulation are drones. It use to be only the military flew drones to spy on enemies and adversaries in battle. However, now days private citizens and public businesses are getting into the act of purchasing their own drones and flying them anywhere they want to. What are the pros and cons of privately owned drones and should the government begin regulating them now, before the skies are filled with them? The biggest thing on the pros side of owning a drone is that it would be fun to fly a small aircraft into places difficult or impossible to reach without them. That could also be a big issue on the cons side, if people are flying drones into locations you don't want them to be in. There is so little privacy left anymore with cameras everywhere and this new addition of drone technology is going to make privacy almost extinct in the future. Another thing on the pros side of drone technology is the speed and ease products can be delivered to consumers in the future. Companies like Amazon.com and Dominoes Pizza are already running experiments using drones to deliver their products to consumers quickly and easily in record time. The cons of a sky filled with privately owned drones are many, but most of them involve public safety and the right of all Americans to enjoy some privacy in their lives. The pros that make flying drones good are also the same as the cons that make them bad. Just image a sky filled with these small airplanes and helicopters making noise and ruining a nice day out at the park or a lake. Life today is already too busy and rushed for many people, so the constant buzz of drones flying around everywhere might cause some folks to snap. Another huge con of drone technology is the way it will certainly be used by some people to spy on others. In a world filled with drones, security fences will be no match for them and I have no doubt that some people will use them to spy on their friends and neighbors simply because they can. There must be new laws passed to protect the privacy of the public from this new technology or it's many pitfalls and problems will destroy a good thing, before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
No issue concerns young parents more than the proper raising of their children. For years there has been a battle between some parents and state agencies known as Child Protective Services (CPS). In the beginning, CPS was a good idea – because it's primary purpose was to protect children from unstable parents who did them harm. However, as the years have passed by – many states did not regulate CPS well, so some case workers took on a God like complex and started taking away children from their parents even when no harm was evident. What are the pros and cons of CPS? The pros side is pretty easy to explain, because no right thinking person wants to see a child hurt by a parent or guardian. Having children might be a right, but treating those kids in a way that might bring them physical or emotion harm is not. Without some type of government agency, many children would be forced to live in deplorable condition with no way out. Keeping children alive, is the biggest thing on the pros side of having a state agency like CPS. Sadly, there are mentally ill parents or ones who are addicted to drugs or alcohol - which are not good role models or caregivers for kids of any age. On the cons side of having a government agency like CPS is that case workers are given too much power over families who are simply different from what the agency considers normal. Using any kind of moral judgment, not based on law, is a terrible con when case workers have the power of temporary custody over children. Another huge thing on the cons side of CPS is the bureaucratic mentality of almost everyone who works in government from the federal to state level. Poor management of case workers and the inability of government to police itself leads to many heartbreaking stories where children are removed from homes simply because a case worker does not believe in the religious and moral teachings of a parent. For CPS to live up to it's original purpose, strong management and oversight must be the norm and not just the exception when dealing with these critical decision.
Someone smart told me once that when you boil American politics down to the most basic thing, you end up with doctors on one side and lawyers on the other. Nothing proves that more correct than the continuing battle over the Affordable Care Act. When it comes to health care there are two equally partisan sides. Conservatives believe doctors should be left alone and liberals want to control their behavior and more importantly how much money they earn. The pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act are fuzzy to say the least, because so much of it is based on political ideology and not provable fact. On the pros side, trying to control the amount of money spent on medical treatment in the United States has been an ongoing effort for years now with very little progress being made. It's not that medical costs should not go up, it's the fact they have been increasing at a great percentage than the average rate of inflation. So, if the Affordable Care Act is able to bring down the increasing cost of health care – then it would definitely be something to be listed on the pros side. However, it appears at this early stage the opposite has occurred as medical costs and premiums for insurance have been increasing at a great rate than before the law was passed. Americans disagree on whether or not access to health care is a right or a privilege to US citizens. I believe it is a right, but I'm not sure – if the Affordable Care Act is the right prescription for that problem. So what are some of the cons of this new law? The biggest thing on the cons side of the Affordable Care Act is that by it's very nature it is changing the relationship enjoyed by doctors and patients in this country for hundreds of years. In the beginning, President Obama claimed - if a person liked their doctor they could keep them. However, it didn't take long for that promise to go away. It appears that in the future the primary deciding factor of what doctor a patient will be allowed to visit, will be determined by insurance companies and the federal government instead of the patient. It's still to early to know for should what the Affordable Care Act will look like many years down the road. Liberals claim it is the best thing since sliced bread, while conservatives think the beginning of the end is near. The pros and cons of this law will work themselves out over time, but always remember that it will be doctors and lawyers who will be on the receiving end of the biggest lion-share of money created by this law.
When it comes to the construction of the Canada to South Texas pipeline called Keystone, conservatives love the idea while liberal hate it. Like so many issues facing the United States today, construction of the Keystone Pipeline through the heartland of America is a very political issue with red meat partisans lined up on both sides. So what are the pros and cons of building the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to the USA? On the pros side, it's no secret to anyone that gas prices are increasing these days simply because we are using fossil fuels faster than new sources are being discovered. The Keystone Pipeline would bring millions of gallons of crude oil to the United States where it would be processed into gasoline and other petroleum products. Canada has already told the United States, if this pipeline is not finished, they will simply transport their oil product to the west coast where it will be sent by ship to nations like China. The biggest thing on the pros side of finishing the Keystone Pipeline is that this petroleum will be refined much cleaner in the United States than it would be in China or some other country where concerns about the environment are not taken that seriously. So what are the cons of completing the Keystone Pipeline? The biggest con is that the production of more oil helps keep the price of fossil fuels low. Many people on the left believe the world will never discover and produce alternative fuels as long as fossil fuels like oil and coal remain repetitively cheap. To them, the huge thing on the cons side is that the Keystone Pipeline will increase the supply of crude oil and that in turn will help keep fossil fuels inexpensive. Another huge con is the potential that through accident or terrorism a section of the Keystone Pipeline might leak oil into some of the best farmland in the world. We all saw what happened in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago when a deep oil drilling platform burned and then gushed millions of gallons of oil into the ocean for weeks.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The US Supreme Court recently upheld a state law in Michigan that forbids the use of race in determining whether or not a student is admitted to college. Affirmative Action has been around for a long time, but there are disputes among Americans as to whether it is needed anymore when it comes to the selection process of students applying to attend universities. What are the pros and cons of the high courts ruling on allowing Michigan to ban affirmative action as a criteria for college admissions in that state? The huge thing on the pros side is that the highest court in the country is acknowledging that racial discrimination has reduced significantly when it comes to who is allowed to attend college. There was a time in the not to distant past when that was not true. Another thing on the pros side is that the US Supreme Court now believes that all white, black and brown children will be treated as equals in the admission process into college. On the cons side, there is that still nagging question as to whether or not the powers that be will allow themselves to be pulled backward into the sins of the past and repeat them again without court supervision? Sadly, in the world today – many of the problems of the past are quickly forgotten since few people seem to learn critical lessons from history. I would like to think that the United States of America has moved to a point where universities will treat all students fairly when they try to enroll in college. While I do believe the vast majority of schools will do the right thing, there is also no doubt that there are still pockets of extreme racism in this country and those will need to be dealt with in some future way.
The United States is one mixed up place when it comes to different gun laws around the country. In the south, many state legislatures are passing new laws to make it easier for ordinary citizens to take their firearm with them when they leave their home. In northern states and on the east and west coasts, state legislatures are taking the exact opposite approach by limiting gun freedom. Right now, the United States of America is completely divided when it comes to the role guns play in violent crime and at some time in the future - it is going to become clear, if either extreme is right when it comes to gun control or more open carry reducing the rate of violent crime. So what are the pros and cons of a new law in Georgia that allows licensed gun owners to take their gun into places where they have never been allowed in modern times? On the pros side, there is a high likelihood there will be fewer mass shootings in public places – simply because someone with a firearm will be in those places and able to stop that crazy person before the death toll gets too high. Another thing on the pros side is that more people with guns will also stop crimes like carjacking in their tracks, because a criminal will not know if a driver is armed or not when they try to steal a vehicle. On the cons side, there is a good chance that not everyone who has been able to pass a background check and purchase a gun legally will be mentally stable enough to follow all the rules and regulations that go along with that privilege. Another thing on the cons side is the real potential that domestic violence could become more deadly as the numbers of available guns increase in homes throughout Georgia. There are many other pros and cons to the new Georgia gun law, but most of them are interchangeable from good to bad depending on your own point of view of guns in the first place. If you are a US citizen from the south, you likely support this new law. However, if you are from New York or Los Angeles you probably do not.
Much has been reported recently about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) trying to seize the property of a rancher in Nevada. This is a complicated issue where both sides honestly believe they are right by the law. There are many pros and cons to the US federal government taking the land of citizens and I will attempt to write about some of those here. On the pros side, if the government was unable to take the land of private property holders, none of us would have highways to drive on. All major road systems in the nation were created after government was allowed to take small parts of land from property owners and pay them a fair market price. If the country relied solely on voluntary compliance when it comes to building roads, few would even be completed. Another thing on the pros side of the government taking property from land owners is that sometimes it is the only way that owed money can be collected from people who refuse to pay the government, because they do not recognize it's right to tax land in the first place. The cons to BLI confiscating private property from American citizens are much more complicated and rooted in the United States Constitution. Many people, including myself, believe the US government has already taken away far too much land from citizens in the first place. Needing a small amount of land to build a highway is one thing, but seizing vast acres of property is something else entirely. The whole American dream is based on ownership of land and when the federal government decides to take that land and use it for it's own purposes there are going to be big problems. Millions of Americans do not trust the US government to do the right thing on most issues and when that same government starts taking away the one thing that many Americans use to proclaim their independence. It is not surprising that many Americans will show up with guns to protect the rights they believe were granted to them in the US Constitution. In my opinion, the cons of taking large areas of land through confiscation by the federal government far outweighs the pros. When you seize land from it's rightful owner in the USA, you take away what has made this nation special for millions of citizens over the past 200 plus years.
Monday, April 21, 2014
Many people believe a college education is the key to achieving maximum financial success in life. However, the vast majority of families in the United States do not have the means to send their children to college without some type of help. Years ago, the US government set up a program to help families send their kids to college and at the same time allow the cost of that education to be paid out over time rather than one semester at a time. For some - student loans are the answer to a prayer, while for others they are the beginning of a long nightmare. So what are some of the pros and cons of taking out student loans to pay for a college education? The biggest thing on the pros side is the ability for children from poor to modern income families to be able to pay for college. Another benefit of having student loans available is that it increases the number of university choices for students. Many of the better colleges in the United States are also the most expensive. Student loans make those higher priced universities available to a larger group of people. So, what are the cons of taking out student loans to attend college? The biggest thing on the cons side is the sheer size of the debt many young people take on even before they start their first job. It is not unheard of for many students to be in debt $100,000 or more when they graduate from college. Another huge con when it comes to student loans is the fact that the federal government provides financial guarantees to the banks who make those loans and if for some reason a student cannot or will not replay the money plus interest, the US government becomes that banks collection agency and recovers that money from future tax refunds and other sources. There are many more pros and cons to taking out student loans, so take your time and make sure of what you are doing before going into debt which could take you decades to get free from.