Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pros/Cons Of Banning Donald Sterling



I have always heard that rich people live differently than the rest of us and after learning more then I wanted to know about NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, I believe that to be true. Not only is he an alleged closet racist, but from a moral standpoint he is lacking as well. It appears that Sterling's racism was brought into public view by his mistress who herself is half African-American. On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from attending NBA games and practices. However, he does not have the power to force him to sell the team. What are the pros and cons of NBA owners forcing one of their own to sell a team against his will? On the pros side, it is clear that Donald Sterling has given up any right he should have to profit from the hard work of the players who are on the LA Clippers team. Forcing Sterling to sell his team would also send a powerful message to other NBA team owners that there will be consequences for bad behavior, especially when they express racist comments. Another huge thing on the pros side of forcing Donald Sterling to sell his team is the message it will send to owners of other sport franchises who might also share his twisted view of non-white people. There are cons to forcing Donald Sterling to sell his NBA team and those include the possible case of opening a can of worms when it comes to questionable behavior by owners in the future. If that really is Sterling's voice on those tape recordings, then he should be banned from owning an NBA team. However, it is also true that Sterling is an unfaithful spouse to his wife. On the cons side of forcing NBA owners to sell their team when their views are not shared by most folks, is the fact that some fans will believe he should not be allowed to own an NBA team simply because he is an adulterer. That's the can of worms I am talking about when it comes to this step to force an NBA owner to sell his team because of public outrage. All things considered, I must come down on the side that Sterling should be forced to sell the Clippers. Whether it be in his bedroom or his racist views, he appears to not care what damage he has done to the game of professional basketball and that fact alone should be sufficient to completely force him out as an NBA team owner.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pros/Cons Of Electronic Cigarettes



The newest product available to get nicotine into the blood stream is called electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Consumers seem to love them to the point they are being used all over the place, even in many locations where the smoking of regular cigarettes have been banned for years. The neat thing about e-cigarettes are that the really bad cancer causing materials have been removed and all that is left is the nicotine, which is the addictive part most people are interested in. So what are the pros and cons of e-cigarettes? On the pros side is the fact that e-cigarettes do not produce that terrible smell of smoke which is so irritating to people nearby. In fact - most of the anti-smoking laws that have been passed at the federal, state and local levels were initiated because non-smokes were offended by the smell of tobacco burning in their proximity. Another huge thing on the pros side is there is no second hand smoke, because all that is exhaled is harmless water vapor. The cancer causing materials, which make cigarette smoking so dangerous to both the smoker and others around them, are no long in the product. What are the cons of e-cigarettes? The biggest thing on the cons side is the fact that nicotine is still a very addictive substance. For that reason alone, e-cigarettes should never be sold or consumed by minors. For an adult, who is already hooked on nicotine, to switch from harmful regular smoking to e-cigarettes might make a lot of sense. However - for kids who have made the choice not to smoke, because it is bad for their health, to now believe it is okay to consume e-cigarettes, because they do not cause cancer, would be a terrible mistake. Another issue on the cons side of e-cigarettes is the water vapor that is released from the lungs when a user exhales. It has been proven that this water vapor is not harmful to people who are nearby, because the cancer causing agents have been removed. However - being close to someone spewing out huge sums of water vapor in a public place would, at the very least, be extremely annoying to many people who will be irritated by it.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pros/Cons Of Drugging School Children



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.

Pros/Cons Of Palcohol Powdered Alcohol



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

Pros/Cons Of Drones Filling The Skies



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.

Pros/Cons Of Child Protective Services



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.

Pros/Cons Of The Affordable Care Act



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.

Pros/Cons Of The Keystone Pipeline



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

Pros/Cons Of Michigan Affirmative Action



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.

Pros/Cons Of New Georgia Gun Law



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.

Pros/Cons Of Bureau Of Land Management Seizing Private Property



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

Pros/Cons Of Taking Out Student Loans To Attend College



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.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Has Vladimir Putin Gone Mad Or Is He Just Crazy Like A Fox?



If you take the time to examine the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin recently, you might mistakenly believe that he is suffering from some type of madness. However, it is very possible that instead of having mental problems - he is instead working his political magic on world leaders who are no match for his negotiating techniques. When it comes to getting your way as a world leader there are always two roads to travel. The first is the short game, where most world leaders find themselves today. The second and most important is the long game and it appears that President Putin is far more skilled than President Obama and other leaders around the world in getting what he wants for the long term. When Putin recently ordered troops into a small section of Ukraine called Crimea most world leaders, including President Obama, tried put him on a guilt trip with diplomatic talk explaining to President Putin that he was on the wrong side of history. It must have been difficult for Putin not to laugh out loud when he was told by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama that basically he (Putin) was a bad boy and needed to take his troops and go home. I think it is extremely possible that all President Putin wanted from the beginning was Crimea. That section of Ukraine is where critical military sea facilities are located and also the location where much of the Russian fleet sets out to sea from. It appears right now that when all the dust settles, President Obama and European leaders will back off their demand that Putin pull out of Crimea and instead let him keep what he really wanted in the first place, if he doesn't invade any more of Ukraine. It's very difficult to see how President Putin is going to pay any significant price for invading Crimea. My opinion is that in the end President Obama and the other NATO leaders will simply declare victory and let Putin keep Crimea for his own.

Is A New World Currency Possible When Nations Approach Bankrupt Future?



When it comes to spending more money than is taken in, most nations around the world are all in the same boat. I get amused watching commercials on television talking about all the gloom and doom that will befall the planet when world currencies go into free fall and become worthless. While there is some truth to what these modern day Gold merchants are selling, the key part they are leaving out is that all world nations will likely go broke at the same time. So what will happen if that does occur? My guess is that a single new world currency will be created and at that time the entire monetary system of the world will just start over again. Anyone holding vast sums of old money, will probably be simply out of luck as their vast fortunes are turned into Monopoly money almost overnight. The biggest losers would be the extremely rich few who have been loaning nations like the United States trillions of dollars for decades. Mind you, this would not happen unless or until old money became so worthless that no one wanted to use it anymore. To short term thinkers, the creation of a new world currency probably seems like total madness. However, it might be the only way to save a bankrupt world from itself. I certainly hope this does not happen, but at some point in time something will have to be done. The idea that any free government will do the right thing and start living within it's means is nothing more than a dream. While politicians continue to spend more money than they take in through taxation - eventually, our old money will become worthless and the powerful few people who run this world will have no choice, but to start the whole process over again.

Should American Professionals Be Held Criminally Responsible For Mistakes?



The horrible news of a ferry sinking that resulted in the deaths of dozens of teenagers in South Korea has been front page news in recent days. In other nations, unlike the United States, professionals are often held criminally responsible when someone dies - because of a mistake on their part. It has been reported that the captain and two crew members were arrested within hours of that ship sinking. Here in the United States - professionals like doctors, lawyers and ship captains are usually not prosecuted criminally when their mistakes lead to the death of someone. Instead, the US court system is set up to punished people through a civil rather than a criminal process. I have often wondered if the US model for punishing mistakes was the better one until recently. Sadly, when people are killed via the mistakes of others – there is a gut instinct inside of the victims family members to want to see someone go to jail for what they did. Almost always there is a rush to judgment when emotions are raw to their core and most of the time those feelings are not based in sound logic. After watching what has transpired in South Korea the past couple of days, I now firmly believe that the United States got it right by handling these matters in a civil court. An eye for an eye and the need for vengeance against someone who has hurt you, often times leads good and decent people to descend into a dark place where no one should go. It's so hard to watch those family members suffering in South Korea as rescue workers do their best to recover the victims. While I have many problems with how the criminal justice system works in the USA, separating mistakes from deliberate actions is the right thing to do.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rural America Does Not Trust Washington In State Matters



In what should have been a simple problem to solve, the US federal government has once again made the wrong choice when it comes to dealing with people who do not trust them. Like Ruby Ridge and Waco, heavy handed armed aggression against fellow citizens has lead to another disaster waiting to happen in Nevada. There is far too much arrogance in the minds of the powerful in Washington D.C. and for the life of me I do not understand why they refuse to learn from their past mistakes. A macho attitude of coming into a persons home or property with the intention of making them obey at gunpoint has never worked and never will in a free society. However, since leaders in Washington refuse to learn from history these kinds of problems will continue to occur. The thinking of folks out west is completely different from east coast liberal intellects. For a group of people who believe so strongly in gun control to support the use of guns against American citizens seems sort of hypocritical to me. The rancher at the center of this latest federal government screw up could have been made to pay his 20-years worth of fines in a more decent way. Most Americans would have shown him little sympathy, if the US federal government had not stormed in with guns drawn to impose their will at gunpoint. He owes the money and he is refusing to pay it. Under normal circumstances, when someone owes money to someone else, they are not approached by law enforcement with guns drawn to collect what is owed. US citizens in the west do not trust the federal government in the first place and actions like these are only going to make the problem worse.

Pros/Cons Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform



For decades, both Republicans and Democrats have been trying to find a way for people who have come to the United States illegally to obtain a pathway to citizenship. While most Americans believe this is the right thing to do, there are a large number of Americans who are dead-set against the idea. What are the pros and cons of congress passing comprehensive immigration reform? On the pros side, finding a way to allow 10-15 million people living in the United States to become citizens would greatly increase the amount of taxes collected by the government, since many immigrants from Mexico now live in the shadows earning small amounts of money that is paid in cash to avoid detection. Another thing on the pros side of immigration reform is that it would keep families together as a unit. According to US law, when children are born inside the country they instantly become US citizens. Immigration reform would allow families to stay together. On the cons side of immigration reform, providing amnesty to people who have broken the law without punishing them first – might encourage others to break the law and believe they too might not have to pay a price for illegal behavior. There is another big thing on the cons side that has nothing to do with right or wrong, but is completely political. Simply put, most immigrants are likely to vote democratic when they become citizens of the United States. That reality is the main reason why some leaders in the GOP are against any type of pathway to citizenship where 10-15 million more Americans are allowed to vote, mainly for democrats, in elections. The GOP could turn this con into a pro, but to date they have not.

Teacher Fired For Telling Student Country Did Not Need Another Black President



Sometimes I wonder how some people are able to complete college, get an education degree and start teaching our children – while at the same time be completely stupid in their core beliefs. Recently, a teacher in Ohio told a black student who expressed an interest in growing up to be President that the USA did not need another black President. Wow, just when you think the country is getting better when it comes to racism, there is a story like this one explaining just how far we still need to go before hearts and minds are changed. I wish it were just white folks who had dark hearts when it comes to judging others based on their skin color, but sadly that's not the case. Even within the same race of people, there are some who judge others simply based on the tone of their skin or where their family roots originated. While I have no evidence to support my opinion that some of this racism is being perpetuated by politicians trying to further their careers, I do believe it is playing at least a small part. I remember when I was growing up, there were always kids saying they wanted to grow up and become the President of the United States. Even 40-years ago, I never heard any teacher discourage a student from that dream.

Kevin Skinner, America's Got Talent Winner, Where Is He Now?



About five years ago, I regularly wrote about an up and coming country music star named Kevin Skinner. Back in 2009, Skinner won the top prize in the NBC reality TV show Americas Got Talent. Few of us thought at the time Kevin had much of a chance at winning that year's competition, but when all the votes were cast he was the last man standing. From the time Kevin Skinner won AGT and until the time he started to fade from public memory was one of the shortest in recent memory. Much of the reason why Kevin did not realize an American dream of becoming a big time country music star was one of his own choosing. After winning the money, Kevin decided to blaze his own path in the music business and if he really wanted to have it all – he certainly made a bad choice in that decision. While I don't know Kevin Skinner personally, I would be surprised if he is not living life on his own terms today just as he did back in 2009. Sadly, many folks look at entertainers and judge them by the amount of number one records they have released or how many times they have appeared on television shows. I think it is possible that Kevin Skinner did not want all the fame and pitfalls that come with that notoriety and decided to simply focus on his kind of music and singing it to the few who really appreciate his brand of entertainment.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chestnut Hill College Student Bradley Amerman Found Dead – Philadelphia, PA



A young student was found dead on a couch at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania recently. His name was Bradley David Amerman and his age was 22. His lifeless body was found in St. Joseph’s Hall and police are investigating to determine his cause of death. Amerman's hometown was Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. An autopsy has been ordered. Many young people die, because they make bad choices in life and take unnecessary risks. However, there are many others who simply pass away from undiagnosed illnesses or just because their heart decides to stop. I have always been amazed how some people live to a ripe old age, while others are cut down by death before they even have a chance to reach adulthood. I hope Bradley's family will learn from his autopsy what caused his untimely death. We all should live each day as if it were our last, because it might just be.

Pros/Cons Of Climate Change Carbon Tax



As the debate over climate change continues to rage around the world, many believe that a 'carbon tax' is the best option for turning the tide toward a cooler planet. So, what are the pros and cons of counties like the United States imposing a carbon tax on businesses and individuals to reduce the amount of carbon that is released into the atmosphere? On the pros side, a carbon tax would reduce the amount of that material released into the environment simply because burning fossil fuels like gasoline and coal would get much more expensive. It is a proven fact that when any product or service increases in price, consumption of that product or service is reduced. So, a tax would reduce the amount of man made carbon released into the atmosphere. So, what are the cons of imposing a carbon tax to improve climate change? Many people do not believe that temperatures on Earth are increasing due to the carbon released by burning fossil fuels. Imposing a new tax of any kind on energy would hurt poor people the most. The price of heating and cooling their homes, in addition to higher gasoline prices, would make it extremely difficult for low income people to make ends meet. There are some people who do not believe the concept of man made climate change is a reality. Instead, they believe the whole thing is being made up by liberal scientist for the simple purpose of expanding government control over business.

Brandon Sulava, Brieyonah Painter, Brandon Barr Killed – South Bend, PA



Late Wednesday night, there was a horrific car accident that claimed the lives of four people. This wreck, a head-on collision between two vehicles, occurred on Route 156 near Gobblers Run Road in South Bend, Pennsylvania. 19-year-old Brandon James Sulava, 18-year-old Brieyonah Marie Painter and 15-year-old Brandon Barr were traveling in a Ford Mustang. 41-year-old Crystal Kay Kelley who was driving a Chevrolet Lumina was also killed. Three passengers in Kelley's car 33-year-old Robert Edward Kelley, 34-year-old Kent Smith and 35-year-old Kristy Ann Schall were seriously injured. South Bend police are conducting an investigation to determine exactly what caused this fatal accident. At this time, law enforcement believes speed played a factor in this motor vehicle accident.

Pelion High School Student Paige Widmer Killed In Boating Accident – Ottawa Ohio



17-year-old Paige Widmer lost her life recently in a boating accident on Lake Erie in Ohio. She was on 'spring break' at the time. According to the US Coast Guard – the boat was found partially submerged when they arrived on the scene. Another young woman, 33-year-old Amy Santus, also died. This tragic accident occurred on Toussaint Reef. It is believed there were four people on the boat, which was a 21-foot Tracker. Those two unidentified people are missing. A massive effort of local law enforcement and volunteers are searching for them. Paige Widmer was a member of the Pelion High School volleyball team.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Piper High School Student Kimanie King Stabbing Arrest – Sunrise, FL



18-year-old Kimanie King was arrested recently after he allegedly stabbed another student several times with a small knife. The victim, who is 16-years-old, was treated at Broward Health Medical Center and at last report was in stable condition. Criminal charges against King include, attempted murder and possession of a weapon on school grounds. According to police, an argument over a basketball game proceeded the stabbing. This is the second violent event to occur at Piper High School this month. School officials said these two instances were not related. The victim is expected to make a complete recovery. School superintendent Robert Runcie said this criminal act was an isolated incident and told parents that Piper High School is a safe place for students.

Texas A&M Student Christy Crow Died From Mononucleosis – Galveston, TX



19-year-old Christy Crow, a student at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas passed away recently a short time after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. Crow died Wednesday at UTMB Hospital in Galveston. Upon learning that her daughter was sick, Christy's mother drove to College Station to pick up her daughter and took her home to Friendswood, Texas. At first, family members said, Christy seemed to be fine and recovering well from her illness. However, she took a turn for the worse and was admitted to the hospital. A memorial service for Christy is planned for 6:00 PM on Tuesday at Friendswood Community Church. Her fellow Aggies are in mourning today after the loss of one of their own.

South Bend Clay High School Student Nathan Hall Shot/Killed – Indiana



18-year-old Nathan Hall lost his life early Wednesday morning when he was shot and killed in South Bend, Indiana. Hall was a student at South Bend Clay High School who suffered a gunshot wound to the head while riding his bicycle. This incident occurred in the 1400 block of N. Adams Street. Fellow classmates were in a state of shock after learning the news of Hall's death on Wednesday. Police in South Bend are asking anyone with information that will lead to the arrest of the person(s) involved in Nathan's murder to please come forward. The school is making counselors available to students this week to help them cope with this terrible tragedy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Louisville Male High School Student Maddie Yates Suicide – Kentucky



It seems like everyday there is bad news reported somewhere in the world, but when I read about a high school student from Louisville, Kentucky taking her own life recently – I started to wonder how such a terrible thing could happen to a person who seemed to have so much to live for. Teenager, Maddie Yates took her own life this week after battling depression for a long time. Sadly - this was not an exception to a rule, but something that has become far to common. Someone told me once that suicide was a permeate solution to a temporary problem and I tend to agree with that. It is unfortunate that with all the modern medical treatments for depression today, someone so young could believe that that suicide was a viable option. While the taking of ones life is not exclusive to young people, it seems more terrible to me. May God grant peace to Maddie Yates friends and family and if anyone reading this post believes that suicide is a realistic solution for their problems - please seek out help, because 'this too shall pass'.

Boston University Student Kevin Lee Found Dead - Massachusetts


A College of Engineering sophomore, Kevin Lee, was found dead in his dorm room at The Towers on Bay State Road this week in Boston. At this time it appears no foul was involved in his death. EMS was called to the scene, but they were unable to revive Lee. BU is providing counseling and other services to fellow students who are having a difficult time dealing with this untimely death. The school released a statement expressing sorrow over the death of one of their students.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goucher College Student Matthew Gabriel Killed – Baltimore, MD


19-year-old Matthew Gabriel, a sophomore from Austin Texas, has died after being struck by a hit and run driver on Sunday. This fatality occurred on Dulaney Valley Road around 1:45 AM. Gabriel was a business management major who also played on the lacrosse team. 23-year-old Kayla Wiseman was arrested a short time afterward and charged with hit-and-run and driving under the influence. Funeral services for Matthew have not been finalized at this time.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Devan Hemby Killed In Motorcycle Crash – Jacksonville, NC


23-year-old Devan Hemby died in a motorcycle accident this weekend. According to police, Hemby left the roadway and hit a tree on Gardenview Drive. He was taken to Onslow Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.


Zykeith Harris Killed After Accident – Augusta, GA


14-year-old Zykeith Harris died early this morning after being hit by a car in Augusta, Georgia. This accident happened in the 1400 block of Gordon Highway. Another teenager was also injured.


Malik Herron Killed By Hit & Run Driver – Gary, IN


13-year-old Malik Herron lost his life this weekend when he and a friend were stuck by a hit-and-run driver. The incident occurred in the 4900 block of Vermont Street in Gary, Indiana.


Devlen Crown Died In Car Crash Last Night - Corona de Tucson, AZ


17-year-old Devlen Crown was killed in a motor vehicle accident last night in Arizona. Crown was driving in the 17900 block of South Houghton Road when he lost control of the car causing it to roll over.


Michael Smith Killed Sunday In Car Crash - Geauga County, OH


26-year-old Michael Smith, from Rome Ohio, lost his life in a car accident early this morning. The wreck occurred on Ohio 86 just south of Ohio 166 in Thompson Township. According to police, Smith lost control of the car he was driving and hit a tree.


Abram Sorek Killed In Accidental Shooting – Erie, PA


22-year-old Abram Sorek died yesterday when he was accidentally shot in Erie, Pennsylvania. Sorek was a student at St. Vincent College in Latrobe. According to police - Sorek was shot in the head, but his injuries were not self-inflicted. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.


Jacob Kipp Killed In Saturday Wreck – Hooksett, NH


25-year-old Jacob Kipp lost his life this weekend when he struck a guardrail on I-93 and was ejected from his vehicle. The accident occurred around 5:00 AM. Police are asking for witnesses to come forward, if they have any information.


Ashley Riley Killed In Motor Vehicle Accident – Cincinnati, OH


25-year-old Ashley Riley died yesterday in a car crash in Cincinnati, Ohio. The wreck occurred on Interstate 74 around 12:30 PM. A young child, also riding in the vehicle, was not seriously injured. The accident remains under investigation.


Tonya Anderson Died In Car Accident - Sioux Falls, SD


16-year-old Tonya Anderson lost her life Friday night in a Sioux Falls, South Dakota wreck. Anderson was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Shadd Tullis. Tullis is being treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tricia Martin Killed In Car Crash – Milford, DE


42-year-old Tricia Martin, the principle of Milford Central High School in Delaware, lost her life in a car accident on Friday night. Martin's daughter, 10-year-old Taryn, was critically injured and is being treated at duPont Hospital.


John Ceplo Killed In Car Accident – Pueblo, CO


19-year-old John Sebastian Ceplo died in a motor vehicle accident on Saturday morning. The crash occurred on Highway 50 in Pueblo West. Ceplo was ejected from a 2003 GMC Yukon. He died at the scene.


Jennifer Bonilla Killed In NCA Bus Crash – Los Angeles, CA


A Dorsey High School student has been listed as one of the young people killed in Northern California when a bus was hit head-on by a FedEx 18-wheeler truck. Jennifer Bonilla, a senior at the school, died from injuries she received in the accident.


Ismael Jimenez & Denise Gomez Killed In Bus Crash – Orland, CA


The names of two students killed in a horrific bus crash in Orland, California earlier this week have been released. Ismael Jimenez and Denise Gomez, both students at Animo Charter High School, perished after the charter bus they were riding in was hit head-on by a FedEx big rig truck.


Davon Jiggetts Hit/Killed By Car – Riverdale, GA


17-year-old Davon Jiggetts was killed today when he was hit by a car. According to police, Jiggetts got off a bus and was immediately chased into oncoming traffic by a dog that was running loose. Both Davon and the dog were killed at the scene.


Carlisle Spencer Killed In Motorcycle Accident - Cherokee County, Georgia


A motorcycle rider lost his life on Friday after a collision with an automobile in Georgia. 30-year-old Carlisle Lucas Spencer of Kennesaw died as a result of injuries suffered in a wreck on Bells Ferry Road.


John Abbott Killed In Car Crash – Ripley, WV


22-year-old John Abbott died in an automobile accident recently in Ripley, West Virginia. According to police, a vehicle driven by Abbott pulled out in front of another car on Route 21 and Homer Smith Road in Fairplain.


Mitchell Burton Killed In Traffic Accident – Brigham City, UT


19-year-old Mitchell Burton from Brigham City, Utah died in a vehicle crash on Friday. According to police, the wreck occurred on Interstate 15. Fatigue likely was a factor in this fatal one-vehicle accident.


Frank Guinn Killed In Bicycle Accident – New Orleans, LA


A firefighter with the City of Atlanta Georgia, 36-year-old Sgt. Frank Guinn, was killed on Friday when his bicycle was hit from behind by a car. The wreck occurred on Highway 90 around 10:00 AM. Funeral arrangement have not been announced at this time.


Kelly Gordon Hit/Killed By Taxi – New York, NY


A student from Boston College, 22-year-old Kelly Gordon from Brielle New Jersey, died on Friday when she was struck and killed by two different taxi cabs in NYC. She was in the city for a job interview when the accident happened. Police said she was not in a crosswalk at the time of the accident.


Shane Savoy Hit/Killed By Car – Keystone Heights, FL


18-year-old Shane Savoy died on Friday after he was hit by a car. 17-year-old Elin Cornett was walking with Savoy, but was pushed out of the way of the vehicle before she was hit. The two were walking to a bus stop at the corner of County Road 214 and Ranchette when the accident happened.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Adrian Castro Killed In Bus Crash – Los Angeles, CA


18-year-old Adrian Castro died yesterday when the bus he was riding in collided with another vehicle and burst into flames. Castro was a student at El Monte Union High School. The accident occurred in Northern California.


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