Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Check Out the New Blog

I've created a new blog to raise awareness about the coming peak in global oil production and consumption, and what that means for Americans and the rest of the world. Check it out, it's more of an information blog as opposed to a discussion blog, but feel free to leave comments.

http://kicktheoilhabit.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 12, 2005

How Bush Blew It

A very good article discussing how Bush's leadership style and the yes-men in his administration played a significant part in the delayed federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9287434/

Racist' police blocked bridge and forced evacuees back at gunpoint

Katrina was "giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children."

Cover-up: toxic waters 'will make New Orleans unsafe for a decade'

Insurers balk at paying out to 1 million Katrina flood victims

Is Bush to Blame for New Orleans Flooding?

Is Bush to Blame for New Orleans Flooding? He did slash funding for levee projects. But the Army Corps of Engineers says Katrina was just too strong.
http://www.factcheck.org/article344.html

Do Lower Wages Make Sense?

President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage:

http://money.cnn.com/2005/09/08/news/economy/katrina_wages.reut/

http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/090905LA.shtml


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4840717 (Audio)

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I've had many discussions recently with co-workers, friends, and family concerning how Hurricane Katrina has affected their lives and it's been great to see people genuinely touched by the situation going on in Lousiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. I wanted to have a blog topic to discuss Hurricane Katrina because this natural disaster is important at many different levels and it reaches into every part of our lives. So please post your thoughts and personal stories, vent your increasing frustrations, or suggest ways that people can help the people of New Orleans get back on track.

Just a few things to think about...

What went wrong in New Orleans?

Who, if anyone, is to blame for the estimated death toll of 10,000 people? Should the city, state, or federal government have provided means for the poor, elderly, and disabled to get out of the city after calling for a mandatory evacuation?

What do you think about the fact that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was warned by the National Hurricane Association about the potential levee breaks, which would cause additional flooding within the city?

What do you think about the fact that FEMA Director Mike Brown, the man responsible for directing federal relief operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, had no prior experience in emergency management. He was asked to resign over alleged supervision failures from his previous job as a "Judges and Stewards Commissioner" with the International Arabian Horses Association and got the job at FEMA through an old college roommate, Joseph Allbaugh, the previous director of FEMA.

Kanye West made the following comments during NBC's "A Concert for Hurricane Relief": "I hate the way they betray us in the media. If it's a black family, it says we're looting. If it's a white family, it says they're looking for food. And you know that it's been five days because most of the people are black. And even for me to complain, I would be a hypocrite because I would turn away from the TV because it's too hard to watch. We already realize that a lot of people that could help are at war right now, fighting another way, and they have given them permission to go down and shoot us...George Bush didn't care about black people. "

What do you think of Kanye's comments about the media and President Bush? Is this a race issue, a class issue, or both? Why do you the think the relief response was delayed and it took so long to get aid to hurricane victims?

What do you think about our government's ability to respond to the next natural disaster or terrorist attack? What changes need to be implemented to increase that readiness?

What are you personally doing and encouraging others to do, to help Hurricane Katrina victims and keep something like this from happening again?

What do you think is necessary to ensure that aid reaches Katrina's victims and they are not forgotten in a year or so?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Gay Marriage

Gay marriage is once again at the forefront of national debate. Last spring, Canadian courts ruled to grant gay couples most of the same rights and privileges as married ones. The Canadian decision was followed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down state laws prohibiting sodomy. And, last August, the Episcopal Church, flouting tradition, scripture and the wishes of a large minority of its rank and file, appointed its first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson.

In the midst of all this activity, pressure has been mounting in some state legislatures and city halls to pass laws extending marriage benefits to gay couples. Vermont and Hawaii already have gay-friendly marriage laws on the books. Massachusetts recently joined them, followed, early this Spring, by San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses to over four thousand gay couples. The San Francisco marriages have since been struck down by the California State Supreme Court on technical grounds.

There are over 1,000 federal and state level benefits specifically reserved for married couples. Here's a list of a few:

1. Immigration
2. Insurance Breaks
3. Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
4. Sick Leave to Care for Partner
5. Social Security Survivor Benefits
6. Tax Breaks
7. Domestic Violence Protection
8. Testifying Against Spouse
9. Joint Adoption and Foster Care
10.Joint Bankruptcy

What is the purpose and definition of marriage?

Is marriage simply and inflexibly defined as between a man and woman? If so, by whose definition?

Should the institution of marriage itself, be directly tied to secular/non-religious federal and state level benefits?

Is granting gays the right to marry a "special" right or is a universal right?

What similarities, if any, are there between the current movement for gay rights and the civil rights and women's movements in the past?

Is the issue of gay marriage have anything to do with traditional roles of masculinity or common misunderstanding and stereotypes of gay couples?

Are gay relationships immoral? Would same-sex marriage start society down a "slippery slope" towards legalized incest, bestial marriage, polygamy, etc.?

Should same sex couples be allowed to raise children?


Topic submitted by Mr. Jon McGhee!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Side Debate: Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?

I was privy to a recent discussionvia email and I thought it'd be fun to post the debate on the site. The discussion concerned Michael Eric Dyson taking on Bill Cosby on issues brought up in his now infamous NAACP speech from May 17, 2004.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Death Penalty: Eye For An Eye?

Scott Petersen was recently convicted of killing his wife, Laci Petersen, and given the death penalty. He was given the maximum sentence, even though he was convicted on circumstantial evidence, as opposed to something more concrete like DNA evidence.

There have been 7300 peolple sentenced to death since 1973, and out of that 7300, 114 people in 25 states have been released from death row. People in 32 of the 114 cases claim actual innocence with alleged proof to suppor their claim and 12 of the 32 cases are based strictly on new DNA evidence. According to theabove statistics, when sentencing people to death, the judicial system has been wrong 1.6% of the time.

Are you completely for or against the death penalty sentence? Or does it depend on the facts in each case? Does intent matter?

Is the death penalty morally wrong? and/or does it specifically go against any religious teachings?

How do you feel about people being possibly convicted of the wrong crime and sentenced to death?

What should be the standard for giving the death penalty instead of life without parole? Should the sentence be allowed when a conviction is based on circumstantial evidence (eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, etc.) or should DNA evidence be required?

How effective do you think the death penalty is in deterring crime? If the death penalty was eliminated, would crime go up? down? or not change?

What do you think about sentencing young adults under 18, who are guilty of murder, to death?

Is the death penalty a fair sentence in a judicial system where low income people often times cannot afford decent legal representation?

(Topic Submitted by "Forced Out")

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Affirmative Action: End It or Defend It?

The average earnings, in dollars, in 2003 for male and female workers with a bachelor's, according to the Census Bureau. (Figures do not include those with advanced or professional degrees as well.)
- - - - - Men - - Women
White -- $66,390 -- $37,761
Black -- $45,635 -- $41,066
Asian -- $52,508 -- $43,656
Hispanic -- $49,298 -- $37,550

3/28/05: http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-income28.html

What's the first thing that comes to mind, when you think of affirmative action?

Are affirmative action programs in the workplace a good idea or a bad idea?
What about similar programs used in determining college and university enrollment?

In today's society, are affirmative action programs no longer needed? Were they ever necessary?

What do you think would happen if we eliminated all current affirmative action programs?

Who benefits from affirmative action programs? Who do you think benefits the most?
Have you ever personally benefited from affirmative action?

Do you think there's still a "glass ceiling" in the workplace/corporate America? If so, what factors are still present that keep people from "moving up" in an organization?

If you don't agree with affirmative action, what alternative measures should be put in place to increase diversity and close the salary gap between genders and different races?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Additional Blog Discussion

Check out Shut Up & Think's blog site for another interesting perspective on the Schiavo case:

http://abuseyourillusions.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terry Schiavo: The Right to Die?

If you haven't heard about the Terry Schiavo case, let me fill you in.

In 1990 Terry Shiavo had a heart attack that resulted in permanent brain damage. Her husband Michael, was then appointed as her legal guardian. In 1993, Terry's parents tried to have Michael removed as Terry's legal guardian and failed. In 1998, Michael petitions the court to have Terry's feeding tube removed (which would cause her to die). Michael claimed that Terri previously told him and others that she would never want to live in her current condition . In 2002, three doctors on Michael's side testify that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state without hope of recovery. Two doctors chosen by her parents say that she can recover. Since 1998, the feeding tube has been ordered removed and then reinserted twice already due to court appeals. In 2005, the Supreme Court issues a final order to have the feeding tube removed. This past weekend, Congress met and passed new legislation with the signature of President Bush, that could possibly overturn the Supreme Court's decision.

Are human beings morally entitled to end their lives whenever they see fit?

Would you want to be kept alive, if you were in a persistent vegetative state and couldn't make that decision for yourself? Who would you want to make that decision for you?

Should people appointed as legal guardians, be allowed to end the life of someone who can't make the decision for themselves or has not left a living will to document their wishes?

What happens when legal guardians and/or parents have to make these decisions for young children?

Where is line drawn between euthanasia and suicide and murder?

Is illness or disability a rationale justification for choosing suicide? Is there ever a rational justification for choosing suicide? Terry Schiavo had permanent brain damage..but what about people unwilling to live with Alzheimers? Multiple Sclerosis? Parkinson's Disease?

Does Congress's intervention in the Schiavo case set a dangerous precedent or is the intervention justified?

Do politicians and President Bush sincerely care about Terry Shchiavo and her right to live or are there other factors involved?

What are your thoughts about how the media is covering this issue?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Interracial Dating and Marriage: Stick With Your Own Kind?

"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~kdown/loving.html
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/loving.html

According to the court case referenced above, interracial marriages have only been legal for the past 38 years. But how far have we really come since then...?

Why should people date outside their race? Why shouldn't they?

Is it ok to date outside one's race, but not to marry someone of another race?

Should the possibility of having mixed children be a factor when deciding who to date and/or marry?

Who should persons of mixed race/heritage date and/or marry?

Is a white person who chooses not to date/marry outside their race, a racist? Is a minority who chooses not to date outside his race, a racist? Is there a double standard?

Do two people of the same race or culture have more in common than two people from different cultures? Can those differences make or break the relationship?

What role do stereotypes and preconceptions play in a person's desire to date outside their race?

What role should people outside of a relationship play? (e.g family, friends, society, etc.)

Are we sending young children mixed messages when telling them to be colorblind and accepting of differences, but also requiring them to date and marry within their own race?

What are the implications for our society and race relations as a result of each point of view?

Alright, let's discuss. My only requirement for this topic, is that we all just "keep it real."

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Obesity Epidemic: Who's To Blame?

Americans are getting fatter.

Everywhere you turn it's sugar coated, artifically sweetened, artery clogging, deep fried goodies that are taking their toll on our waistlines and overall health. Americans are losing the battle of the bulge, but who's to blame?

What level of responsibility should individuals take for exercising and being able to say no to unhealthy foods?

What role does social class and annual income play in an individual's ability to eat healthy?

Are corporations to blame for their marketing campaigns aimed at increasing consupmtion of their products?

Is the Food and Drug Administration to blame for not requiring foods to be properly labeled and unhealthy ingredients disclosed?

Why aren't other countries faced with the same weight problems as the United States?

And what about the increasing cases of diabetic and overweight children? Are parents to blame for not providing proper nutritional education to their children? Are schools to blame for not having adequate phyiscal education classes?

Is obesity really an epidemic, or is society just overly concerned with weight?

Any postings (short or long) are welcome.

Lots of questions.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts...

Additional Discussion Blog

I just wanted to let you know about a discussion blog started by blog contributor, "Shut Up and Think":


http://www.abuseyourillusions.blogspot.com/


If you start a discussion blog, and want me to add a link, just let me know. :~)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What Do You Think About Black History Month?

Every February is Black History Month.

But what does this month really represent to people?

What does it mean to blacks? What does it mean to whites? What does it mean to other minorities?

Should there be a white history month?

What do you think about Black History Month in February relative to Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15 - 10/15) ? or Asian Pacific Heritage month (May)?

Are the current activities celebrating black history month in schools, television, film, etc. enough or too little?

What would you like to see happen during the month that's not being highlighted already?

Is the celebration period too long? too short? just right?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Welcome

I wanted to provide a resource for stimulating, educated, and thought provoking debate about topics that are important to everyone. I look forward to reading everyone's comments and engaging in intellectual debates and discussions.


The Rules:

1. Be respectful

2. Be open minded

3. No personal attacks

4. Post something