Thursday, January 31, 2008

Machine Gun but no Liquor

Finally someone is standing up for the rights of minors in this Nation.

A South Carolina Congressman fathered a Bill to allow service men and women to drink before the age of 21.

The problem is states with a drinking age lower than 21 lose all highway funding.

And it would be only enlisted minors. If you aren’t enlisted, you could not buy a drink.

Some oppose the Democratic Bill. Nay-sayers claim lowering the drinking age makes local roads less safe.

The safety advocates also say studies show minors consuming alcohol is not safe for the military either.

For further reading on this topic:

Lowering the Drinking Age

Minors and Alcohol

Penalties for Alcohol Suppliers

Monday, January 28, 2008

Schools Hindering not Preparing

Principals in the Northeast are setting students back once again. ALISON LEIGH COWAN of the New York Times brought us a story about teachers hindering their students instead of preparing them for the life ahead.

Teachers at Connecticut’s Oakdale School have put restrictions on children’s recess activities.

Recess for them was usually 22 minutes of unstructured play. Now games like kickball, dodgeball, and tag are banned.

Principal Mark S. Johnson said he encourages kids to play with hula hoops instead of games like soccer and other “body-banging” activities, as he put it. Johnson said children can not only hurt their bodies but their feelings as well.

Children from Wyoming to New Jersey are having their recesses restricted as well. Parents aren’t taking this well.

School officials encourage children to play with hula hoops and engage in activities alone where they are “less likely” to hurt themselves and others.

Today even recess is structured. No creativity. And schools are also discouraging anything involving competition as well.

Are they kidding? This is hurting kids, not preparing them for the real world. Do they think that in the work place the boss is going to say “Okay guys, no competition, everyone is great and exceptional. You are all such special people.” NO! Competition is what this country strives on. Every aspect of our society would suffer if we had that mentality. Learning these things at an early age is only an advantage.

The San Francisco Chronicle has further reading on this subject.

To hear the other side of the story go to the New Haven Independent.

New Jersey state Assemblyman Joseph Malone, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington, Mercer, is even trying to enact a law to make sure children are getting a set recess period. The News Transcript has this story.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Swimming with the Fish

ELISABETH ROSENTHAL said in her article in the New York Times that Europe is the biggest fish market in the world. A market worth about 14 billion euros, or about $22 billion a year.

She said because they are importing so much fish for consumption, fisherman are going to greater lengths and casting larger nets, illegal nets.

Because Europe's people are eating so many fish the sea goers are catching $1.6 billion in illegal ocean dwellers.

Why is this a problem? Because the fisherman are wiping out many species of fish. With the nets they don't only catch large fish ready to be eaten. They also entangle small fish. By the time these small fish are thrown back they are already dead. And the nets scrape across the bottom and ruin fish habitats and coral.

And the bigger issue here is that it is all too easy to sell these illegal fish. Organized smuggling bands can ship fish far beyond government quotas or treaties. Once the fish pass one check point, they are able to be shipped anywhere in the world. And, unlike cattle, the technology to trace where the fish came from is not yet mature.

The surf is simply not as easy to patrol as the turf.

And it affects us here at home too. The imbalance of supply and demand drives up the price of the commodity; in turn we pay more.

To read more on this story or others like this go to:

Empty Seas: Europe’s Appetite for Seafood Propels Illegal Trade

Another article by SHARON LAFRANIERE shows the cause and effect of fish and immigration. People want fish. They immigrate to be able to fish and then sell what they have worked to get.

Ms. Rosenthal also wrote another similar article about Europe ignoring scientists warnings on over fishing for the Herald Tribune.