Friday, November 8, 2013

An unlikely trio: Mormons play key role in promoting gay-rights bill

Article #1
1.     Category of problem: Politics
2.     Level of problem: National
3.     This article concerns: Gay Marriage
4.     Importance/effect on families/individuals: This article affects a large part of our population (LGBT individuals) in that it deals with official laws on homosexuality in the workplace. It mentions a recent change in tides in congress with regards to the public and religious view of homosexuality.
My input: This article talks about the recent vote on the Employment Non-discrimination Act, which was supported by three Mormon senators.
The official stance on homosexuality in the Latter Day-Saints church is that homosexual attraction is not a sin as long as one does not act on those feelings. But on Monday these thee senators showed that bipartisanship can actually happen in today’s world. After hearing about such heated politics and arguments that never go anywhere in Washington, it was very surprising to see a group of people show that there is still some common ground that can be found between two opposing parties.

This makes me think that maybe our culture actually is becoming more open with regards to these things. There has been many year-long standoffs with such strong topics which seem to lead to nowhere, but at least now we see that not all political debates are worthless.

Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor their own proposals

1. Initiative spending booms past $1 billion as corporations sponsor their own proposals (2013 Nov 8). The Washington Post.

2. Category of problem: Campaign spending, corporate influence

3. Level of problem: State level

4. The article concerns: Increasingly high fiscal contributions to ballot initiative and referendum campaigns from corporations and wealthy donors.

5. Why this is important: Because there is no limit on financial contributions to ballot initiative campaigns, corporations and invested donors are able to exploit this system to advance their own personal or business interests, possibly at the cost of a surrounding community's health, safety and happiness. In addition, the political power of individuals in the community is severely stunted by the inability to compete with wealthy campaign donors and the original premise of the ballot initiative system, direct democracy, is perverted.

6. My views on this issue/policy: I feel that exorbitant campaign spending by wealthy donors and corporations is the single most crucial topic facing Americans today, and the healthy progression of the US hinges on its abolishment.

Since the beginning of our Family Policy course we have discussed numerous challenges which threaten the health of our nation and our world: poverty and hunger, environmental destruction, and inadequate healthcare are only a few. All of these challenges have multiple things in common: (1) They threaten the integrity of our society as a whole, not just our poor or less unfortunate, and (2) they can be addressed and possibly relieved if we were to (a) more strictly regulate business practices, and (b) raise taxes which could then be allocated by the dictations of appropriate wealth distribution and socialization.

So the question is this: If there are issues, such as these, which threaten the safety, health and content of all US citizens, and there are ways in which US citizens and the US government can absolve these issues, why don't we take the necessary steps to do so? Who wants impoverished individuals to stay in poverty? Who wants to destroy the very earth on which we live? Who wants to deny someone the right to be treated when they're sick or injured? Clearly someone does because the US has yet to truly address these deeply serious issues. Instead of making the food stamp program a truly viable source of food for a family living under an unrealistically low poverty line, we have instead lowered taxes for the rich. Everyday we are enacting laws that simply don't make sense for the average American citizen and the pattern is evident: money is the ticket to political power and corporations and extremely wealthy individuals are using their wealth to rig legislation in their favor.

Unlimited campaign spending is one very important and direct link between money and political power. As long as campaign spending such as this goes unchecked, the people will be unable to protect themselves from a world built by the morals of capitalism. The government is not a corporation and its goal is not to derive profit: its goal is to protect the American people. But, as the article reveals, we are at the whim of corporate interest and realistic democracy is dimming each day. Efforts must be taken to abolish corporate influence in the political landscape if we ever hope to confront the issues which continue to infringe on our personal, national and global well-being.

Texas Libraries Face Federal Funding Cuts


2. Category: Education

3. Level: State

4. This article concerns libraries statewide.

5. This article concerns libraries because they are having their funds are being cut which is threatening to close them down.

6. This issue is concerning to me because libraries are such an important part in every town, not only in libraries in our state but in the country. They serve as a source of history for us. Libraries also have other services aside from book rentals and funding for those can also be at risk to be closed down. The article mentioned the program To Read or Not to Read, which are ESL classes for Spanish speakers. These classes have helped parents learn english so they can communicate better, especially with schools. Programs like this are important to communities and if they are closed down a lot of people will be affected.

Texas Public School Students Lag Behind in Reading


2. Category: Education

3. Leven: State

4. This article concerns students in Texas public schools.

5. This article concerns students in Texas because their scores in reading are below the national average. This means that they are not getting the education that is sufficient enough for them to make higher scores.

6. I think that a contributor to why reading scores are low is because of budget cuts that have been made across the state. The article mentions that northeastern states spend more on their students and therefore have better scores. If there isn't any funding for specialized programs then we can't expect students to perform as well. Another factor to why the state isn't performing as well is because there is a higher number of immigrant students who are learning english as their second language. There may not be enough attention that is being paid to these students. There is also a wide gap between scores of white students and scores of minority students. We need to find a way to make sure that all students have an equal opportunity to learn. If there are equal opportunities then the improvements will reflect in these scores.

Addiction and mental health is now covered by insurance

2. Category- health
3. Level- national
4. About- The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was incomplete. They just finalized the rules on coverage and like the name of the act says, people that receive treatment for mental illness and substance abuse will be covered under their insurance now.
5. Who this affects- The people that suffer from mental illness and addiction. They are going to receive equal coverage from their insurance just like someone that has medical or surgical needs. For too long, people that have to go to a psych hospital or rehab have to pay so much money out of pocket. Their condition was viewed differently (almost discriminated against) and not covered.
6. My views- Paying out of pocket for any treatment whether it’s to get your teeth cleaned, get an MRI, broken bone, etc. is super expensive. Mental hospitals and drug rehab programs are no exception. It really has been unfair that these people have had to do so for so long. Mental illness is a serious and it does not go away without professional treatment. Just like people that have diabetes type 1 which is an autoimmune disease that is completely out of their control, mental illness is also out of someone’s control. It is also genetically inherited which again is out of your control. Addiction is along those same lines. Obese people that are addicted to food can’t help themselves and they receive treatment. I think this has been long waited. I wish they had it five years ago, and then I would have saved $30,000 in bills when I went through my phase. This is slightly off topic but the film were watching in class really got me angry at how we don’t have universal health care in America. It makes me want to move to another country. Not just for that reason but that’s just another reason to add to the list!

Schools going public with good PR

Article #3

1. Schools going public with good PR

2. Category: Education

3. Level: Local

4. The article concerns with a new public relations campaign to showcase public schools within San Antonio in a more positive way. The campaign "Go Public" is going to be used by 15 Bexar school districts as a means to create a better mentorships within communities as well as student and parents of public schools.

5. This campaign affects families  who are in public schools for the better. As the article states public school districts being more commonly bashed for their public school education, the camapign is meant to alleviate those negative feed-backs. The new PR showcase for public school districts may affect those who look negatively at public school systems and bring better communities to support these school districts. The number of children carter schools may also decrease as well.

6. My views.
I think this is a great advertisement for public schools in San Antonio. I feel that the new PR to showcase the good and not just the bad in theses school with help bring the local communities together. It is a great step to finally put these school districts in reorganization of their efforts end of the negativity of their systems.

Obama apologizes to people losing health coverage

Article #2

1. Obama apologizes to people losing health coverage

2. Category: Medical/economic

3. Level: National

4. The article concerns with President Obama apologizes about many Americans losing their insurance coverages after being enrolled into the new Marketplace. Obama tries to give reassurance to those apprehensive about hew Healthcare law. He explains he will make sure those who were dropped from the insurance companies will have their policies back.

5. This issue affects many individuals who are trying to seek healthcare, but are on the fence about the Obamacare. There is so much scrutiny about the Obamacare, that the president has to take a stand to validate the new reform.Many Americans are confused as to whether they should keep their healthcare or seek the Marketplace. With Obama stating that those who like their current plan can keep, but Congress saying that is impossible due to certain standards other insurance companies must meet creates more problems for families who can not afford to lose their coverage. The confusion that is created with the mishaps of, will only continue to keep America from seeking help of the new reform.

6. My views:
I am glad President Obama took a stand to apologize for all the confusion Obamacare is creating. There definitely was no formal introduction of the new law I feel. As Obama said the government was not clear of the changes taking place, which was true. It does not put me at ease to hear Congress can not guarantee what Obama is telling Americans.  I understand it takes much process and all parties to amend differences on the Obamacare, but it is leaving Americans worried for their own policies.