Credit Card Crisis: The Consumer Prospective


Credit cards

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Credit Card Crisis: The Consumer Prospective
Credit card debt has been a huge problem in America for many years, with current years being the worst in history. Americans’ are now feeling the pain of mounting bills, higher interest rates, growing fees, and less money to pay them, while credit card companies are earning record profits. The problem has gotten so out of control, that in 2009 President Obama passed a bill in hopes of making credit card companies accountable and consumers happy. “On May 22, President Barack Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure, or Credit Card, Act of 2009 into law” (McFadden, 2009). Some of the laws began taking effect in August of 2009, while others did not become effective until February. Though well intended, this law has made little difference in a plight that seems unfixable.
This new consumer protection bill dictates at least eight major codes credit card companies must follow, or face penalties. In an article by Leslie McFadden, she breaks down these regulations for better understanding:
 “Retroactive rate increases: Issuers can’t raise rates on an existing balance unless a promotional rate expired, the variable indexed rate increased or you paid late by 60 days or more. No longer will they be able to punish barrows for late payments on unrelated accounts under the practice of universal default or due to “anytime’ any “reason” clauses” (McFadden, 2009).
 More advanced notice of rate hikes: Consumers get 45 days’ notice before key contract changes take effect, including rate increases” (McFadden, 2009).
Fee restrictions: Cardholders will not face overlimit fees unless they elect to allow the creditor to approve overlimit transactions. Issuers can’t charge more than one overlimit fee per billing cycle” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Restricts card issuance to students: Consumers under age 21 who can’t prove an independent means of income or provide the signature of a co-signer aged 21 or older won’t get approved for credit cards” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Ends double-cycle billing: The new law bans double-cycle billing, the practice of basing finance charges on the current and previous balance” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Fairer payment allocation: A close look at your card agreement will likely reveal a clause that payments will be applied to lower-rate balances first. Not so anymore. The Credit Card Act requires above-the-minimum payments to be applied first to the credit card balance with the highest interest rate” (McFadden, 2009).
 “More Time To Pay: Card companies must send statements 21 days before a payment is due” (McFadden, 2009).
 “Gift card protections: The legislation includes protections for gift cardholders. The new law prohibits gift cards from expiring for at least five years. Issuer cannot access inactivity fees unless the card has gone unused for 12 months” (McFadden, 2009).
While these new laws and restrictions are helpful in protecting us consumers, there are steps that we must take to protect ourselves against high credit card debt. The government cannot protect us from bad spending habits and us; we must monitor and control these personality challenges on our own. If you cannot afford to pay for bills already, getting a credit card will not make this better- no matter how much we lie to ourselves. Additionally, ladies, if you want a new dress, or a new pair of shoes, do not buy them unless you can pay it off when the bill arrives. The key thing for cardholders’ to remember is, when buying an item on credit, we pay twice what the item would cost if paid with cash.
In addition to controlling spending habits and paying off purchases right away to prevent paying interest, cardholders must also read the companies “Terms and Agreements” with due vigilance. Skipping over the fine print can result in consequences and terms that the cardholder did not expect: these contracts (no matter how ridiculous), are indeed binding, while being costly to break. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And paying off a credit card with another credit card will always end in disaster- advertisements lie. It is the consumer’s obligation to get out the magnifying glass and read the fine print, if we fail- we pay. Reading a contract thoroughly is always the responsibility of the purchaser, if it is not completely understood; wait to sign it until you speak with an attorney.
Although these precautions are great for us as consumers’ because we save money, it is harmful to the credit card companies and their profits. When we pay our credit card bills on time, or spend less, credit card companies make less money. When consumers find ways to stop the unfair practices of these companies, the companies find more ways to trick us into paying more fees, and higher interest rates, with shady advertising practices. And, while some of the new regulations help, the credit card companies find ways to retrieve the losses in other areas. The conflict between company and consumer will never be completely fixed, but there are ways that we can protect ourselves from unfair practices from unethical companies. There are three reasons why this conflict will always exist: money, money, and, wait for it…money. The credit card companies are in the business to make money, if profits fail in one area, it will be made up in other areas- this is a fact.
The credit card companies make the largest portion of their profits off those who do not pay their bill on time, and those who only pay the minimum balance. Deadbeat is a term usually associated with those who do not pay their bills on time, but, in the world of credit card companies, a deadbeat is defined as one who pays off their purchases on time. A person would never imagine that paying on time is a bad thing. In the end, our financial security is up to us, if we as consumers do not protect ourselves and are not vigilant about our financial future, no one is to blame except ourselves.
However, the issue as a whole is a collective fault, the consumer, the credit card companies, and the government. Consumers neglect their credit and finances, spending money they do not have, the credit card companies drain consumers with interest, fees and enabling the credit challenged, and finally, the government needs to set the example and penalize the credit card companies for wrongful behavior. Will this issue ever be fixed? No. Just as with any other issue, unless all parties are in agreement on the solution, no solution will be satisfactory. It seems that no matter which side does what, the other is not happy- there are no victors’. The only thing consumers can do is control spending, be card smart, read carefully, and do not use credit cards for non-emergency purchases or transferring balances.
In conclusion, the issues of America, whether credit card or otherwise, is a collective problem, and moreover, a collective solution. What one of us does effects the other, no matter how small the action; we must remember this when making choices, these choices will affect others. We consumers must be aware of our own financial matters and do not spend money we do not have. In business, each party has its own responsibility and must take the responsibility very seriously. Finally, all of us must work as a collective to combat unethical behavior on each other’s part, and keep the American economy from ruin. If America fails, it is a collective effort.

References
McFadden, Leslie. (2009, August 20). 8 Major benefits of new credit card law. Bankrate.com.
http://www.bankrate.com/system/util/print.aspx?p=/finance/credit-cards/8-major-benefits…

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WASHINGTON YANKS PROMISE SCHOLARSHIP


The Seal of Washington, Washington's state seal.

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Davey v. Locke

            This case is interesting to say the
least, two litigants citing constitutional rights, one cites separation of
church and state, the other cites freedom of religion. The state of Washington
denies Joshua Davey’s right to freedom of religious expression, claiming that Davey
cannot use the Washington Promise Scholarship funds to major in theology. Davey
was awarded the scholarship based on his performance in high school and on the
SAT, as was the other recipients. The case was brought before the U.S. 9th
Circuit Court.

Using the criteria in terms of
obligation, moral ideals, and consequences to judge the actions of Washington
State, Washington State is mistaken in their conviction. The U.S. 9th
Circuit Court agrees citing “Rule of Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v.
City of Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520, 113 S. Ct.2217, 124 L. Ed. 2d 593 (1993), as
well as the rule of McDaniel v. Paty, 435 U.S. 618, 90 S. Ct. 1322, 55 L. Ed.
2d 593 (1978), that a state offering a benefit may not impose disability on the
basis of religious status” (Davey v. Locke, 2011). Washington State has an
obligation to treat all scholarship recipients equally, regardless of religious
preference, race, color, creed, or sexual orientation; they did not hold to
their obligation of fairness.

Even the moral ideal of Washington’s
actions toward Davey is skewed at best. What does it matter what this young man
wants to major in, as long as he is a productive member of society? It would be
more beneficial to the State of Washington and its communities if Davey became
a graduate of any major, rather than the statistical ramifications of one more
citizen being uneducated. Statistics have shown a strong connection between
uneducated young men and gangs and drugs; it has been proven that young
uneducated men end up in gangs, jail, drugs, and eventually prison. The idea
that the State of Washington would take such a small amount of money awarded to
an ambition young American that wants to do right by his family, self, and
community is baffling- a perfect example of what is going wrong in this
country.

However, the American Justice system
imposed consequences against the State of Washington for its unfair practices.
The 9th Circuit Court ruled that Washington State must return the
money to Davey, stating that “We believe that Washington’s interest in this
case is less than compelling…the Promise Scholarship is a secular program that
rewards superior achievement by high school students who meet objective
criteria…scholarship funds would not even go indirectly to sectarian schools or
for non-secular study unless an individual recipient were to make the personal
choice to major in a secular study unless an individual recipient were to make
the personal choice to major in a subject taught from a religious perspective,
and then only to the extent that the proceeds are used for tuition and are
somehow allocable to the religious major” (Davey v. Locke, 2011).

Obviously aggravated with the cases
undertones, the judges go on to suggest, “In these circumstances it is difficult
to see how any reasonable observer could believe that the state was applying
state funds to religious instruction or to support any religious establishment
by allowing an otherwise qualified recipient his scholarship” (Davey v. Locke,
2011). Similarly this is my perspective; Washington’s thinking was ignorant at
best. Moreover, the consequences did not end at Washington’s justice; it
carried on to the community when Washington pulled the program in 2006.
Washington decided if they could not control who is considered worthy of the
scholarship and who is not, then there would be no more scholarship- and those
consequences will last a lifetime.

References

Davey v. Locke. (2011,May 26). Davey v. Locke- 9th Circuit Court. Find Law.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1447570.html

Milking the Clock: Social Media in the Workplace


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Milking the Clock: Social Media in
the Workplace

            Despite what delusions employees’ have, employers’ are
not ignorant to their ‘milking the clock’ via the company computer. Social
Media sites pose major concerns for employers’ on a number of levels, security,
and employee conduct, sexual harassment, even bullying. “Social Media are any
type of Internet-based media created through social interaction, where
people primarily produce (and not consume) the content” (Jackson,
2011). Corporations and employers are realizing the necessity of a ‘code of conduct’
policy concerning these types of Websites and the issues they pose.

Websites that are of particular concern are: “Social
networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), Blogs (Web blogs)…Twitter is
considered a “micro-blog”…Online multi-user virtual worlds (World of Warcraft, Second
Life), and Video-sharing Websites (YouTube)” (Jackson, 2011). Employers’ have
an array of legitimate concerns; just a few negative posts by disgruntled
employees or consumers can totally ruin a company’s reputation. “In a 2009
study by Deloitte LLP on social media and the workplace, 74 percent of the
2,008 employed adults surveyed responded that they believe it is easy to damage
a brand’s reputation via social media” (Jackson, 2011). With over 500 million
subscribers, Facebook alone has the power to make or break a company’s
reputation and profits.

Moreover, “61 percent” do not care if the boss sees their
profiles (they would not change anything); while “53 percent” believe that it
is actually none of the bosses business what is done on their own time
(Jackson, 2011). What is more disturbing to employers is: “A 2009 study by
Nucleus Research of 237 office workers showed that 77 percent of them had a
Facebook account, and two-thirds of them use it while at work…[moreover], one
in 33 workers built their entire Facebook profile during work hours” (Morris,
2011). Setting up a profile on any site takes at least fifteen minutes or more,
many other tasks could be accomplished in that small amount of time.

How can employers combat this plight of productivity?
“The etiquette of blogging, tweeting, [and] social networking, hasn’t matured
at the same rate the media itself has, and so there’s no real ‘Miss Manners’
version of how to behave online that’s pervaded the culture” (Morris, 2011).
Freedom of speech and privacy rights makes tackling the issue of social media
almost impossible for employers due to possible litigation from disgruntled
employees. Additionally, employers believe that they have a “right to know”
exactly how their workers conduct themselves and portray the company. “Another
2009 study confirms that employees are acting on this perceived “right to know”…36
percent of the 438 management, marketing and human resources executives
surveyed use social media to see what current employees may be sharing online,
and 25 percent use social media to check the background of perspective
employees” (Jackson, 2011). This new employer interest in employees’ social
sites has workers on the rampage, demanding that their right to privacy be
observed.

Finding a balance between employee and employer rights on
the issue of social media will not be an easy task. However, there are can be done
logical options for employers to reach a compromise that fits the workplace
environment. Renee M. Jackson suggests a few great ideas in her article,
“Social media and the workplace: A comprehensive guide for employers” (Jackson,
2011):

  • “Screen
    applicants in a uniform manner. Create a list of the social media sites that
    will be searched for each applicant” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “Have
    a neutral party (e.g., an employee in a non-decision making role) conduct the
    social media search, filtering out any protected class information about the
    applicant and reporting only on information which may lawfully be considered in
    making the hiring decision” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “[Do
    not] Friend applicants in order to gain access to their non-public networking
    profiles” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “As
    always, employers must be able to point to a legitimate, non-discriminating
    reason for the hiring decision, with documentation to support the decision” (Jackson,
    2011).  (always speak with an attorney
    before making a decision about hiring and firing due to information found on
    the social media site)

Although
this policy alone will not fix the problem as a whole, there is still the issue
of what to do about employees ‘milking the clock’ via the computer. While there
are no absolute ways to eliminate the employer’s plight of slacking employees,
there are some suggestions for deterrents. With so many company risks, it is
best to have a no tolerance policy in place. Some of those risks are obvious,
whereas, others are not; again, Jackson gives great advice in this area:

Jackson
explains some of those risks as:

  • “[Employees
    abusing] their access to their employer’s confidential or inside information by
    making unauthorized disclosures of company information (confidential,
    proprietary, and/or trade secret)” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “[Employees]
    misuse social media in a way that leads to corporate embarrassment and public
    relations issues” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “Comment
    or post photos on social media sites that disparage the employer or its
    customers, thus negatively impacting the employer’s brand or image” (Jackson,
    2011).
  • “[Employees
    may also] blog or comment via social media regarding confidential information
    about mass layoffs, confidential settlement or severance agreements, and the
    like” (Jackson, 2011).

While
these are not the totality of damages, an employee can cause via the social
media, it gives the general idea. An employer may think they are in a catch
twenty-two because of the up-and-coming generation of workers that are glued to
their high-tech distractions; however, this is not the case. Jackson states,
that while an out-right ban would not be in an employer’s best interest due to
the newer generation, there are some great tools that can be used to set the
standard. Jackson (an employment attorney) gives these suggestions:

  • “A
    clear statement that misuse of social media can be grounds for discipline, up to
    and including termination” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on disclosure of the employer’s confidential, trade secret or
    proprietary information” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    request that employees keep company logos or trademarks off their blogs and
    personal Web pages or profiles (including photos of employees in uniform) and
    not to mention the company in posts, unless for business purposes” (Jackson,
    2011).
  • “An
    instruction that employees not post or blog during business hours, unless for
    business purposes” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on using e-mail addresses to register for social media sites”
    (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    prohibition on posting false information about the company or its employees,
    customers or affiliates” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    general instruction that employees use good judgment and take personal and
    professional responsibility for what they publish” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “A
    statement that all employees with personal blogs that identify their must
    include a disclaimer that the views expressed are those of the individual and
    not the employer” (Jackson, 2011).
  • “An
    instruction on proper topics for discussion that add value, if encouraging
    employee use of social media for marking or business development purposes”
    (Jackson, 2011).

As
stated before, these policies will not stop all the slacking and issues
about this long-reaching social tool. However, they will give way to a
completely new concept on dealing with this inevitable clash between employee
and employer. The important thing for all to remember is that we are in this
world together; therefore, we must respect the boundaries, time, and money of
others, not to mention one’s self. Finally, the one certain way to protect the
integrity of everyone involved is, for all to put in an honest day’s work, for
an honest day’s pay.

References

Jackson, Renee M.
(2011, May 19). Social media and the workplace: a comprehensive guide for

employers. http://www.massbar.org/publications/section-review/2010/v12-n2/social-media

-and-and-the-workplace

Morris, Joe. (2011,
April 29). Social media in the Workplace: Information, image at risk without

established policies. The Nashville
Ledger. http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/Article

Email.aspx?id=52765&print=1

Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?


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Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?

Imagine if you will:

It is just another day delivering packages to the locals,
driving down a long country road going from drop off to drop off. The next
stop, a routine house on the route, seemed to be the normal stop and drop; then
something frightens you to the point of flight. Fight never thinking of
entering the thought process. This sounds as if I am describing a scene from a
horror flick; on the contrary, this indeed happened to Jan Thompson, a delivery
person from Ballard County, Kentucky. In “Forest
Creature”
, Jan tells her terrifying tell of seeing what she describes as a
8 foot, 500 to 600lb, thick furry shadow in the woods behind the house she was
delivering to that day. In this article, Jan states what she saw through her
fright:

“The
sound came from the thick group of trees and echoed over the fields in thick
vibrations. It was a mixture of a deep lion’s growl that heightened into a
scream containing the same low, deep, load rhythm. I stood stunned, half scared
and half curious. From the area of the trees where the sound traveled from was
the figure of something very tall, very large in width and very strong, as some
of the smaller pine trees about 10 to 15 feet in height were being shaken back
and forth vigorously and violently. The figure itself was not totally visible
but hidden mostly behind the shadows of the larger trees behind and around it.
It was dark in color, guessing dark brown or black, with a thick furry outline.
It looked to have stood over 8 feet in height. It began moving along the edge
of the trees towards the house, just keeping inside the safety of the shadows”
(Thompson, 2011).

Thompson
is sure that what she saw was a ‘yeti’ or ‘bigfoot’. Could it have been the
legendary creature she saw in the shadows? I suppose anything is possible. I
try to keep an open mind, just in case. Whether anyone believes Jan or not,
this creäture was indeed very real to her. Thirty years old and seven months
pregnant, her hormones and emotions must have gone haywire. That being said,
there also may be another explanation for Jan’s sighting. As I mentioned, Jan
was seven months pregnant, she also drives a delivery truck dropping packages;
it may be that she did not sleep well the night before, or even a night or two.
It has been suggested that as many as 75% of pregnant women suffer from
insomnia, and thus sleep deprivation sometimes can induce hallucinations
(Roberts, 2011).

Similarly,
coffee and caffeine, if ingested several times a day, added with sleep
deprivation, could make a person at higher risk for ‘seeing’ things others do
not; this may explain why many hunters’ report seeing Bigfoot. Many women have
reported having episodes of hallucinations, which could also be caused from a
hormone imbalance, caffeine, and insomnia. Furthermore, sometimes woman, while
pregnant, develop diabetes; which can also cause a person to hallucinate.
Whichever the case, reasonable doubt that she actually seen Bigfoot can be
established (Roberts, 2011)

On
a side note:

The reason that I chose this story is because
I lived in Ballard County, Kentucky, in the exact area she speaks of. I
remember the town folk scaring the pee out of their charges with the Bigfoot
story to keep their behinds out of the woods and in toe. I never believed it
myself; an avid camper, I had camped at Land Between the Lakes and other areas
alone for years, never did see Bigfoot or any other creatures. Additionally, I
hunted the woods of Kentucky for many a year, and again, I seen no Yeti. I will
not go as far as to say that they do not, or did not ever exist, but, I will
say that in each case that I have researched, other explanations exists, and
therefore, cannot be dismissed.

References

Roberts, T. (2011, May
4). Treating insomnia during pregnancy. Buzzle.com.

http://www.bazzle.com/article/treating-insomnia

Thompson, J. (2011, May
4). Forest creature. Jan’s Tales. Guardian Tales.
http://www.guardiantales.freespace.com/Jan-Forest.htm.

60 Year Civil War Continues


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60 Year Civil War Continues   

The fight for the legalization of marijuana has raged within America for decades. Millions of people in America have been ticketed or imprisoned for growing and possessing the drug.  NORML reports, “Over 20 million American citizens have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965…while over 100 million Americans have used marijuana…most use it regularly.” (NORML, 2010) Although some have claimed to not have inhaled, they have still tried it. The country’s jails and prisons are packed to capacity; so much so that, they are releasing criminals back into society before serving out their sentences. American economical and judicial struggles have everyone, including the government, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and there is no relief in sight. The legalization of marijuana would bring economical and judicial relief to America.

Although most polls show up to 60 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, the White House shows no sign of surrender. “In fact, the default fate of any politician who publicly considers the legalization of marijuana is to be cast into the outer darkness…(Klein, 2009) There was some show of promise when previous pot puffing President Elect Barack Obama stated he would bud-out of medical marijuana issues. “[But] incoming drug czar Gill Kerlikowske declared…that legalization is not up for debate under any circumstances.” (Dickinson, 2009) While the opponents turn a blind eye to the benefits of legalization, and a deaf ear to the American voters, supporters are circling the wagons and preparing to fight for their freedom and rights.  The debate over the legalization of marijuana and hemp continues to be the longest civil war in history, lasting 60 years to date.

The government first declared war in the 1950s, when they banned American farmers from cultivating hemp because of its relationship to marijuana. Hemp is the stock, leaves, and flowers off of the marijuana plant; it is used to make paper and over 25,000 other goods for trade. In early America, some farmers were mandated to grow hemp. As a matter of fact, “many of our earliest Presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, all grew hemp.” (Huff, 2010) America has strayed far from our founders’ intentions; far from the freedoms once had. Prohibition was wrong then, and it is wrong now; legalizing marijuana would only help the economical and judicial plight of America.

On the judicial side of the matter, American police officers have arrested or ticketed almost 900,000 people for smoking or possessing marijuana, which is just in the year 2008. The prohibition costs tax payers’ nearly $70 billion dollars a year on prisons and jails alone. Not to mention the almost $160 billion on police and court costs. (Klein, 2009) America’s prisons and jails are so over populated; prisoners are turned out into society before their sentences are complete. Violence occurs all along the Mexican/American boarders, drug cartels and thugs fighting over drug territories, murders and kidnappings are a frightening daily reality. Legalization will take the power away from the criminal, and pull America out of the judicial and economical hole the government has dug through years of prohibition.

Economically, the legalization of marijuana makes more sense than not. The money it cost to keep this war going alone could pay off some of America’s debt; the government could save billions in court costs, police salary, border patrol, and (DEA) Drug Enforcement Agency costs; leaving more money for education and reducing the defecate. Prisons would have 40% more room, so that hardened criminals could finish out sentences before being released. “It’s a crisis of incarceration…Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1,200 percent since 1980, “a senator from Virginia proclaimed to Dickinson. (Dickinson, 2009) This means that the cost to American tax payers goes up as well. The legalization of marijuana would also create jobs and a bailout for the American farmer; furthermore, stores selling hemp products and accessories would generate jobs and tax revenues, a potential economical stimulus package. The legalization of marijuana would create employment opportunities and tax revenues, economically reviving America.

Opponents spew skewed information across American airwaves to lasso the uncertain to their side, where, scientific information on the medicinal advantages of marijuana see little or no media coverage. Medical studies have shown that moderate marijuana smoking reduces the risks of some cancers; the THC in the marijuana has also been shown to “kill cancer cells, while leaving the healthy ones alone.” Most Americans also believe alcohol to be more dangerous than marijuana. In fact, health costs are lower in those whom partake in Cannabis, than those who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes.” (Armentano, 2010)  Marijuana has also shown promise to those with mental illnesses, such as PTSD, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Even war veterans are now able to get access to medicinal marijuana without fear of losing their benefits; it seems as if the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs are loosening their reigns of prohibition, changing their stance on the use of marijuana among veterans. (CMAJ, 2010) The legalization of marijuana could save billions of dollars in health care costs, therefore, helping America’s economy.

The opposition wants Americans to believe that ending prohibition would be society’s immoral down-fall. That, children would have easier access, violence would increase, and the very moral fiber of America would unravel at the seams. On the contrary, an ID would have to be shown to buy marijuana, just like cigarettes and alcohol, making it more difficult for minors’ to obtain (a drug dealer does not ask for ID). Individuals caught driving under the influence of marijuana would be subjected to the current penalties for DUI offenses. Studies have shown that marijuana eases anxiety and relaxes the mind; therefore, acts of violence should go down, not up; some people even claimed to have formed a relationship with God, a peaceful existence. Taking the criminals “corner on the market” would decrease the violence that already exists, freeing officers and detention staff to tend to other charges. For every excuse the opposition has for not legalizing marijuana, supporters’ has at least three logical reasons why it would be best for America. The legalization of marijuana would only help in the economical and judicial reform of America.

When users speak of the relief that marijuana provides them, it is hard to envision the picture that the opponents’ paint of the drug. Patients’ proclaim pain relief that they have never gotten from narcotics, without the nausea and chemicals. A war veteran explains to the Canadian Medical Association Journal about the first time he tried the controversial medication.

“What I experienced was different. I experienced relief. I was a mess and for the first time in months I felt relief. At that moment, it was a new relationship with that plant.” (CMAJ, 2010)

There are many testimonies just like this across America. Patients with cancer, HIV, MS, and other chronic and deadly illnesses rave about the relief from symptoms they receive from the use of medicinal marijuana, in fact, most non-patients’ state if sick they would consider its use. One cancer patient stated, “If it were not for medical marijuana, I would not be able to eat a thing.” (Hicks, 2010) Claiming the drug cures the nausea caused by chemotherapy. The legalization of marijuana would give access to this relief to all Americans for purchase; this will produce state and federal revenue, which will help the American economy.

Yet, with all the proof of medicinal, social, and economic benefits, the government still refuses to discuss the possibilities of ending pot prohibition. The American voters’ must force the hand of government to relinquish the right back to the people of the United States. When an entity claims dominion gaining full control and dictatorship, resentment will fill the hearts of the people. In this war only one flag is considered a sign of peace and surrender, the end of the war; the red, white, and blue, waving a promise of legalization and restoration of the peoples’ right!

Armentano, P. (2010, August 29). 5 things the corporate media and government don’t want you to know. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/148013

(Armentano, 2010)

CMAJ, Initials. (2010). United States war veterans gain access to medicinal marijuana. Canadian Medical Association Journal, doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-3334

(CMAJ, 2010)

Dickinson, T. (2009, June 25). A drug war truce? Rolling Stone, (1081), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.wf2dnvr8.webfeat.org/ehost/delivery?vid=3&hid=17&sid=c7eaa

(Dickinson, 2009)

Gutierrez, D. (2009, July 25). Marijuana has anti-cancer properties. Retrieved from http://www.nayuralnews.com/z026697_research_marijuana

(Gutierrez, 2009)

Huff, E.A. (2010, May 23). Hemp history week, a look back at America’s hemp heritage. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/z028852_hemp_history.html

(Huff, 2010)

Huff, E. (2009, November 16). American medical association urges federal government to support medicinal marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/z027499_marijuana_medicinalgovernment

(Huff, 2010)

Klein, J. (2009, April 16). Why legalizing marijuana makes sense. Time, Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1889021,00.html

(Klein, 2009)

Messerli, J. (2010, April 20). Should marijuana be legalized under any circumstances? Retrieved from Http://balancedpolitics.org/marijuana_legalization.html

(Messerli, 2010)

NORML, Initials. (2010, March 5). Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Retrieved from http://www.norml.org

(NORML, 2010

Sullum, J. (2010, Aug/Sep). Pot tolerance hits a high. Reason, 42(4), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.wf2dnvr8.webfeat.org/ehost/delivery?vid=3&hid=6&sid=1146d.

.

(Sullum, 2010)

Categories: UncategorizedTags: Cannabis, Legality of cannabis, Medical cannabis, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, United States

OREGON BANS HAND-MADE SUICIDE KIT


A Ziploc plastic bag.

Image via Wikipedia

Oregon
Bans Suicide Kit: Soon to be Felony

 

On May 12, watching the news on
Oregon’s Fox 12, something caught this writer’s ear; a state that boasts about
their “Death with Dignity Act” (assisted suicide law), is quite upset about a
suicide kit. In fact, the state is now lobbying to make the sell and purchase of
this kit a felony; this is sure to upset the 91-year-old grandmother that makes
the kits by hand. That is right, The Glad Group that sells these mail order
kits is run by a feisty 91-year-old woman who calls herself “the bag lady”; she
has even put up an informational video to show the purchaser how to correctly
use the kit. The only criterion for eligibility is $50, making ‘the bag lady’ a
cool $100,000 a year; though, she claims not to be selling death (Fox News 12,
2011.personally watched on May 12).

The sharp-tongued old woman proudly
stated to Nicole Doll, an anchor for Fox 12, “If people think that I am going
to hell, then they can go to hell”! Oregon argues that the suicide kit is being
sold to young mentally ill people, with a death count of eight thus far. It
seems people do not think much of the method of the kit; it cannot be the fact
of the assisted suicide theory. “On October 27, 1997, Oregon enacted the Death
with Dignity Act which allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives
through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly
prescriptions by a physician for that purpose” (Oregon Health, 2011). Does
there seem to be a double standard on this issue? Is their reservation about
the kit due to the stigma, not clinical enough? On the other hand, is it the
money? Suicide is very hard to comprehend if a person has never considered it;
some believe it to be a coward’s way.

However, this is not necessarily so,
many people endure difficult situations day in and day out, making the choice
seem more feasible. A person with mental illness does not think and decide as
normal thinking people do; this puts them at higher risk for suicidal thoughts
and behavior. Oregon’s law is meant for the terminally ill that wants to die
sooner than later; there are strict requirements to obtain ‘permission’ from
the state to kill oneself– and a fee. One has to wonder just how ethical either
scenario is, after all, both involve suicide. Is Oregon ‘the pot calling the
kettle back’ in this issue?

 

Fox News Channel 12 Oregon. (2011, May 12). 10 o’clock news.

Oregon Health. (2011, May 12). Death with dignity act. Oregon.gov.

       http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/Evaluation

ARIZONA’S IMMIGRATION LAW


Great Seal of the State of Arizona

Image via Wikipedia

No Trespassing:

Arizona’s Immigration Law

            In an article on NCSL.org, “Analysis of Arizona’s
Immigration Law”, Arizona’s tough laws are spelled out and defined as a
protection of the American Boarder and its citizens, via Arizona. In 2010,
Arizona enacted laws on immigration in the form of a “Support Our Law
Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (Morse, 2010). SB 1070 and HB 2162 in
essence states; all citizens must carry identification proving U.S citizenship,
anyone arrested must be confirmed legal before their release, a person can be
penalized for not willfully “applying for registration and to be fingerprinted”
(Morse, 2010); In addition too; tough laws on smuggling, transporting, and
employees’ who hire illegal immigrants. Whether you agree or disagree with
Arizona, it must be admitted that the American Boarder should be protected, and
illegal immigration kept under control. The security of America depends on it
(Morse, 2010).

Similarly, in an article by ABC News, it state’s
Arizona’s immigration laws are the toughest in the nation; bringing both
arguments to the table, for and against. Sen. Russell Pearce takes a stand
saying, “When you come to America you must have a permission slip, period”, going
on to state, “You can’t break into my country, just like you can’t break into
my house” (ABC, 2011). Where on the opposite spectrum, Jennifer Allen, director
of BAN (Border Action Network) suggests, “…reasonable suspicion is so broad and
the law provides no definition and no training for law enforcement on how to
identify someone…it essentially mandates racial profiling” (ABC, 2011). This
article leaves little doubt that America is in deep debate on how to control
our boarders; which in this writer’s eyes is better than not talking about it
at all.

That being said, as far as this American is concerned
there are at least three reasons why that Arizona’s law is appropriate; and,
before you start labeling me as a racist let me explain my reasoning. First,
and foremost, I do not care what color you may be, what sexual orientation you
claim, or what God you serve, if you are not in America legally then you must
go, now! We have enough criminals in this country; if you are here illegally
(hence illegal immigrant),
then you are a criminal. America has to protect itself against outside threats;
if these ‘illegal’s’ did not have some sort of shady business here, they would
be legal. I believe that if a person breaks one law, the risk for other
offences is undeniable.

Secondly, the state of Arizona and its citizens feel the
government has not done enough to protect them from illegal aliens crossing the
border, furthermore, nor do I. There are millions of illegal aliens in America,
and this problem is not new; the government has had ample opportunity to do
their job and tighten border security, and they have not done so. Arizona
should stand as an example to other states; when the government refuses to
take part in the solution, they are cut out of the equation. As a matter of
fact, this logic should be applied to all American issues; we need to show the
government that with or without them our will, will be done.

Last, but, not least; this writer is not the kind to
speak without knowing the facts, so, I read through the Bill on http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf,
Arizona’s legislative link. Using critical thinking skills, I read it carefully
so to detect any flaws in the wording, loop holes if you will. In every word of
every line, it was written to specifically refute any interpretations that
might lead to abuse (everything has the potential for abuse) by stipulating
that race, color, or national origin may be a sole reason for making a traffic
stop or inquiry (Arizona State, 2011). This does not however, mean that abuse
of power and laws will not happen, just that it is as unlawful as the illegal
immigrants’ offense; additionally, every law, bill, or power can, and will be
abuse, that does not make it a bad policy.

In conclusion, Americans’ must protect its borders from
outside threats; if the government refuses to be a part of the solution, than
they must be cut from the equation. Some people view Arizona’s law as racist,
but, it does not matter what color or race they are, if indeed they are here
illegally, then they must leave immediately. 9/11 proved to Americans that we
are within the reach of terrorists and drug lords’, we no longer feel
untouchable or safe; someone has to protect America, and it is looking like
Arizona has taken the responsibility in tow. Finally, if we do not protect and
secure American borders, 9/11 will repeat itself.

References

ABC. (2011, May 1).
Arizona law promises to be ‘toughest’ on illegal immigration. ABC News.

http://abcnews.go.com/arizona-state-law-promises-toughest-illegal-immigration/story?id

Arizona. (2011, May 1).
Immigration law. Arizona legislature.

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

Morse, A. (2010,
November 10). Analysis of Arizona’s immigration law. Ncsl.org.

http://www.printfriendly.com/print/v2url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ncsl.org%2F%3Ftabid%