Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aerial Spraying in Dallas County

As I read through our classmates blogs, I read an article in Rohan Adiga's GOVT 2306 Blog about aerial spraying for mosquitos in Dallas County. I was recently reading about this issue in the Dallas Morning News and found his blog interesting. Rohan Adiga argues that we should not be spraying pesticides into the air to deal with the county's recent outbreak of West Nile Virus. I agree with Adiga's argument and think we should not be spraying pesticides into the air to kill mosquitos.
An article in the Dallas Morning News titled, "To spray or not to spray: The West Nile Virus battle" protesters of aerial spraying give many reasons why they are opposed to this method of control. First off, it is unsure how effective the method of aerial spraying is in killing mosquitos and ultimately stopping cases of the West Nile Virus.  In a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services it states that ground and aerial spraying are the least effective mosquito control techniques. An argument in the article is that when aerial spraying is effective it does not just kill mosquitos, but beneficial insects who eat mosquitos. Spraying ultimately changes the natural ecosystem of animals in the area that feed on different insects. Many are also arguing that people should just be spraying themselves with insect repellent. A bee farmer in one article argued that the pesticides would kill his bees and ultimately his livelihood. It has also been shown that only 1 in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus develop a severe illness and they are usually already sick and not healthy. In conclusion, I agree with Rohan Adiga and believe we should not be spraying poisons into the air to kill insects.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Up in Smoke

There are currently 17 states along with the District of Columbia that allow for the legal use of medical marijuana. Aside from cancer patients, I don't fully believe in the use of marijuana as a medical drug to treat patients, but I do believe that marijuana should be legalized and taxed as a recreational drug like alcohol. I find the idea that marijuana is dangerous or somehow worse than alcohol or tobacco to be ludicrous. I think the idea that marijuana leads to other drugs has been built up by society by throwing marijuana into a category of illegal drugs that includes much harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin. If marijuana was legal it would most likely eventually be accepted like alcohol. Today, alcohol is advertised all around us and generally accepted by everyone, but at one time it was illegal and not accepted.  Marijuana is a much more mild drug, it is impossible to overdose on marijuana, and I find it to be closer to tobacco.

There could potentially be many positive effects of legalizing marijuana. Aside from recreational use, cannabis can be used  to make all kinds of products. Police and other government officials could focus more on serious crimes. Marijuana can lead to young people that are not true criminals being classified as criminals. Taxing marijuana sales would also help the government raise money to fight the budget deficit.

Overall, I find limiting the use of drugs to be an intrusion of my personal freedom and it should be legal.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Texas Voter ID Law

A classmate of mine has recently discussed the issue of the new Voter Identification Law that was passed in Texas in 2011. This legislation has led to the U.S. Department of Justice filing a lawsuit against the state titled Texas v. Attorney General Eric Holder. The new Voter Identification Law would require voters to present a valid photo identification to vote in elections. I agree with my classmate and believe in the current society that presenting a valid photo identification is a reasonable request.

Currently when voting in Texas, a person does not have to present a photo ID. Acceptable identification after recieving a voter registration certificate includes:
- a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person's identity;
-official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental entity;
-a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter;

These documents do not have photographs on them and can easily be obtained or duplicated allowing voter fraud. An article titled, "Texas says voter ID law needed to combat election fraud" states that "In Bee County, near Corpus Christi, there are 19,000 missing voter registration cards - the only document necessary to cast a vote under current law, Ingram said. Texas will soon investigate 239 cases of dead people casting votes in the 2010 election." With incidents like these occuring in Texas, it is undeniable that there is a need for more regulation of voting. With photo ID required at voting polls, it will enable the government to better prevent voter fraud. Evidence has shown that this procedure would not influence voter participation. I believe photo identification at the voting polls is constitutional and has become a necessity in modern-day regulation.