On the Fence

Friday, August 10, 2007

This is a very well written piece about the top ten rule, but I wish the author would have put more of their opinion into it. I can tell their friend that was placed in the CAPs program wasn't a fan of the rule, but I didn't get a clear picture from the author.Yes, I don't think the top ten rule is fair, but others still do have a chance of getting into the University of Texas. I would know, I am one of them. I was not top ten at my class. I was in the top quarter. I think its about 30% of those admitted each year are not a part of the top ten percent of their graduating class. I was the class of 2004, so I guess the 2003 class was just a little unlucky. Each high school does differ educationally, but the admissions office does take this into consideration. They are going to look at other things besides just the class rank and see if they are capable of success at the University. I mean, just look at me if you want an example.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Getting to know the public

Recently, I was listening to a morning radio show. One of the DJs went out into the street holding pictures of public government figures and pictures of famous celebrities. He asked random people on the street to identify each one of them. Not suprisingly, most people knew all of the celebrities and about one of the government figures. This time he used those running for President, but before he held up pictures of the candidates running for Austin mayor.
It was amazing to see how little people knew about the government in the city that the lived in. I believe that this is the fault of both the Texas government and the public. Especially living in Austin, the state's capitol, the citizens should know those who hold office or who is running for office.
The government should do more to reach out to the public. They could make more public appearances or advertising. The government seems so far out of peoples reach. This could also be the fault of the public's education. They see pictures of famous celebrities and hear about their latest arrest or party in the news, and they don't even know what is going on in their own city. The citizens should look in the newspaper every now and then and see what new things are going on in the legislature.
Recently, celebrities have tried to get involved in publicizing government by the get out and vote campaign, or whatever it was called. MTV hosted specials on each of the candidates running for President and encouraged everyone to go and vote. It is sad that so many people in Texas don't care enough to vote. They think that since they live in a conservative state, their vote doesn't matter.
Both the government and the public need to put more effort into this problem. Those who run our state should be just as well known as what dress Jenifer Lopez wore to the Grammys.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Medlin-Freeto Law signed

"nine law enforcement officers have been struck and killed by drunken drivers in Texas since 2002"

Governor Rick Perry signed a bill on Tuesday that increases the punishment for drunk drivers who kill first responders. This includes policemen, firemen, EMS personnel, and other emergency personnel. The bill makes it possible for someone to serve a life sentence for this crime. The law increases the sentence from twenty years to ninety-nine years. The law takes effect starting September 1st.
Representative Paula Pierson, an Arlington Democrat, authored the new law. She wanted to make sure that those putting their lives at risk to protect citizens know that their lives are valued.

The Medlin-Freeto Law is named after two officers who were killed while helping citizens by drunk drivers. Medlin was killed outside of his patrol car by a drunk driver, and Freeto was struck and killed while helping a woman change a flat tire.

I think this law is very reasonable and hopefully will make people think a little harder before they get behind the wheel intoxicated. Before, a person who served there sentence could get out in twenty years and then have the opportunity to do the same thing. Now, there is no possibility for this to happen. It was time that Texas cracked down harder on drunk drivers who kill innocent bystanders. Hopefully, the statistic will go down and instead of nine deaths in five years there will be no first responder deaths due to drunk drivers.

To read more about this: Law offers some comfort for officers' kin

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Future for Sex Offenders

A new system is established in Texas on the classifications of registered sex offenders.

The Austin American Statesman recently reported on the change to the registered sex offender classification system. Though it won't make a difference to the already registered ones that have previously released from prison, but the ones who in the future will be released. The new system will determine the level of risk the sex offender brings to society. This rating is based on several tests with a point scaled based on "factors such as age, marital status, previous offenses and the sex of the victim".

The new system only will be applied to the sex offenders who are being released now. The over 45,000 already registered sex offenders will not be reexamined. It doesn't seem fair to place a stricter set of rules now and let those in the past slide. The new testing system is supposed to more properly rank some one as "low risk" or "high risk", but those already classified as a high risk to society now could be a low risk by the new testing strategy.

State Representative, Jerry Madden, a Republican from Richardson is pleased with the new test. He says he "is getting the people [he] wants to get with it: the people being released now".
There is no research yet to show if the testing is even vaild.

The main purpose of these tests is to determine which sex offenders may need supervision and those who are likely to commit another sexual offense or crime. Where is the supervision for those who have already passed through the system? Sure there name is on a list already and easily located through the help of the internet, but are they currently being supervised. Are those coming out as "high risk" now going to be more closely watched than the "high risk" sex offenders of the already 45,000 living in the state.

To view the full article: Texas to change sex offender classification