Mexico is worried about legal Marijuana in California

"Marijuana Cigarette"

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Our neighbor to the south is doing studies to see how much their drug trafficking would be effect if California’s Proposition 19 would pass.  Some studies are saying that the drug cartels could lose 20% of their export income while others are saying it’s as low as 2 or 3 %.   Some Mexican officials are starting to wonder if Americans even want to fight the drug war any more, and think that it might be impossible to ask their own citizens to keep it up on their own.

My state doesn’t even have legalized medical marijuana, let alone looking at making it legal to have an ounce or less on your person.  While I do see no harm in legalizing marijuana for those over the age of 21, I am not sure why we need to not change our laws to help out Mexico.  Obviously what we have been doing for the past who knows how many years against the “drug war” is not working here or there.  Maybe it is time for us to take a look at a different approach when it comes to drugs.

I will be the first to admit that while I was in college that I was no angel.  (Yes, I did inhale)  I think that a lot of Americans, even if they won’t admit it, were/are the same.  Schools have been having “Red Ribbon Week” for at least 30 years now.  Elementary school children have been hearing about the horrors of marijuana, smoking, drinking, and “hard” drugs, but yet still make the conscious decision to do these drugs when they are older.  It isn’t that they aren’t educated about what these drugs do, that they are bad for you, or that it is illegal they are young and want to do them.

We are throwing billions of dollars at a lost cause.  Every 17 seconds someone is arrested on a drug related charge.  In 2007 872,720 people were arrested on marijuana charges.  Our prison population grows on average 45,000 inmates per year, of this 25% are drug convictions.   With these statistics I am less worried about Mexico’s drug problem and more about ours.  I understand that many of our “street” drugs are imported from Mexico, but many others are grown and manufactured here.

The United States has been taking the same approach for decades on the fight against drugs.  We are no closer to winning it now than we were then.  Something needs to be done, and if legalizing small amounts of marijuana is a step towards lowering the cost of this “war” then that is what needs to be done.

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School Lunches, what should be done?

yea.... It hasn't changed much

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This week is Nation School Lunch Week.  Our schools have the job of feeding our children lunch during the school year.  This is a job that I cannot image being a small undertaking.  My children go to a small rural school, Kindergarten through sixth grade, there is about 630 children attending that the school system needs to feed 5 days a week.

I understand why schools serve the foods that they do.  Most kids are picky and they are trying to get them to eat what they know kids will eat.  I see no problem with that.  I myself have one child that is extremely picky, and know that it is a fight most nights to get her to even attempt to try anything that doesn’t look like a hot dog or mac n cheese.  I couldn’t imagine doing that with 600 kids.

Many in this country are trying to put the blame of childhood obesity on school lunches.  personally I am going to blame helicopter parenting, convince of fast food, busy lifestyles, and technology.  Children need to get up and get out to play, I have seen mothers on message boards saying that they won’t let their children outside by themselves even at 12.  I’m sure that these parents have their childs best interest at heart, but with all of the responsibilities that come with being an adult how much time can you really spend outside just watching your child play?  Our busy lifestyles have a lot of us reaching for prepackaged meals or stopping at one of the fast food restaurants that seem to be on every corner anymore.  Most of us don’t have time to cook, and in order to just get something in us and our kids we go for what is convent and not necessarily the healthiest.  Technology from the internet to the 798 channels on cable tv to video games keeps more children in the house than anything else.  Kids are happy to sit on the couch and hold virtual races rather than go outside and have an actual race with other kids, or to see what is going to happen in tonight’s episode of “Teen Mom” so they are in the loop at school the next day.  Today’s children eat the same amount of meals at school that previous generations did, you cannot say that school lunches are what is making them obese when for generations they didn’t.

Hungry kids are not going to learn as much as full children.  The government started the free/reduced lunch and breakfast programs for this reason.  I can understand the wanting to feed our children healthier meals at school, but at what cost is that going to come?  Our schools are already under funded in many places, the arts are being cut out of school days to save money.  What next can we cut so our children can eat the fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods that many are pushing for?  For many places in the United States fresh produce is not readily available year round.  It must be shipped in from other states and some time countries, this in turn raises the cost of that salad many are trying to get to be the main entrée on our children’s lunch menu.

As I look at my own children’s lunch menu this week I see a mixture of different foods that would cater to different taste buds.  Every day there is a vegetable and a fruit.  I know that these are probably going to be coming either from a can or frozen for a couple of different reasons. 1 the growing season in Indiana is over, in fact we’ve even had our first frost of the year.  2. The cost of these items fresh for that many students is going to be more than is allotted in any school budget.  Finally 3. Can you imagine how long it would take to snap green beans or shell peas for that many kids?

Many parents will tell me that I am letting my children eat “crap” at school and I should be packing their lunch.  To them I ask what is the difference between me putting an individual applesauce in their lunch box and the school putting it on their tray.  I’m realistic, there is no way for my kids to heat up a lunch that I send with them.  While I don’t mind sending a cold lunch on a day that they are having something that they don’t like at school, I do not want them eating cold lunch every day.  They would get bored with it, and it nutritionally would not be as diverse as what they are getting at school.

I know that something does need to be done about school lunches.  I’m not real sure at this moment what that is.  I am torn between wanting kids to eat healthy and the schools offering items that they will actually eat.  The cost of what it would cost for fresh items plus the extra personal to prepare those items and with our country already in the red.  The final thing is wanting my children to eat healthy, but at what cost is that going to be to me each week while handing out lunch money?

Bottom line, the sick kids get the raw end

 

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I was excited to see some sort of health care reformed passed.  With my husband having Multiple Sclerosis, he is seen as having a preexisting condition and is basically uninsurable.  We were lucky that I found a job before his insurance ran out and they were forced to accept him.  The down side to this is that most people who are hourly in jobs are now hired in as part-time and are offered “mini meds” plans.  These plans only will cover a couple thousand dollars per person.  Which if you have someone with a health issue these plans are basically kibosh.

Obama’s health plan wanted to do away with mini meds plans, and with preexisting conditions.  This would help out not only those in my situation with a sick spouse, but also those with sick children.  The plan is set to be completely in effect by 2014, the first phase of the plan was to be in place by the end of the year.  Unfortunately corporations and insurance companies are applying for waivers to not have to put the first phase in to effect just quiet yet.  One such corporation is Mc Donalds, who is saying that the regulations would strip employees of their existing coverage. The reason Mc Donalds is stating it would strip them of their existing coverage is that they, much like most employers, are not offering their employees what this piece of legislation has deemed the bear minimum of coverage that they must offer.  So they would be forced to find a different plan to offer their employees that would meet the minimum requirements set.

Insurance carries are threating to stop selling new policies for children in some states.  They are stating that the new regulations would not protect them from having to cover too many sick children.  As a mother, I do not see how an insurance company could ever publicly admit that it does not want to cover sick children!  Parents have enough to worry about if they have a sick child without adding the fact that insurance companies do not want to take on more children for fear that they would not make money off of them.

I was hoping that we could have an easy transition into the new health care plan.  I see now that we are going to have to fight tooth and nail to end this kibosh the insurance companies and corporations are giving us.  A company as successful as Mc Donalds should have no problem handling to pay more in insurance premiums.  I have a feeling that these companies that are applying for waivers forget that with better insurance comes healthier employees and employees families.  Children can be better taken care of with better insurance resulting in less days parents call in because their children are sick.

Now I know that some children have cancer, Congenital heart disease, Muscular dystrophy, Leukemia, and many other things that are very costly.  Can these insurance companies and corporations actually say that they can just turn their backs on these children?  Insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and malpractice suits have driven the cost of health care to outrageous prices.  One of my husband’s medications is $2,500 a month, which of course our insurance provider will not cover.  So I do feel some of the pain that parents of sick children do financially, but still can not fathom the emotions they go through.

It is sad that the insurance companies are flat-out saying that they don’t want to cover these children.  These families did not ask for their children to be sick.  They did not ask to have to pay thousand upon thousands of dollars so their child can have a chance at life.  I think that it is the least these people fighting against insurance reform could do is make sure that these children are covered.

I do not usually ask my readers for anything, but in this case I’m going to.  I would like for the powers in charge to know that we as Americans do not approve of this kibosh, I encourage you all to write to the administration, your congressmen, your state governors even to put a stop to the waivers.  It is time for all Americans from the youngest to the oldest to be allowed to have good medical coverage, especially those families that have sick children.

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Westboro Baptist Church can kiss my….

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Today the Supreme Court will be holding a hearing about if the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS can constitutionally picket soldiers funerals under the first amendment.  I personally think this is a no brainer, anyone who would want to picket a funeral is mentally unstable and should be locked up.  End of court battle and these extremists would not be allowed to bother anymore grieving families.  Unfortunately our constitutional rights are not that black and white, and this would fall into a gray area of free speech that us sane Americans would never think of being in.

While I will admit that they can say the things that they do, no matter how hateful and vile I think they are, the location of where they are saying them is what I have the biggest problem with.  For people who are supposed to be Christians to do such hateful things, makes me glad to not be a Christian.  I think that these “Christians” missed the part about do unto others as ye would have them do unto you, because I think that they would be upset if someone came and disrupted the funeral of one of their family members.

These men are sons, fathers, husbands, uncles, cousins, grandsons, and brothers to the people at their funerals.  Children have lost their father and now see these people saying that he was a murder and that God hates him.  We as adults can separate the truth from a psychotic idiots point of view, but children cannot see that difference as well.  What they know is that their daddy or mommy is dead, and these people are happy about it.  Way to go again Westboro Baptist Church on remembering what is in your bibles about Jesus loving the little children.

This church needs to, in my opinion, go through their bibles again.  Their God has killed more people and taken more innocent lives than American soldiers ever have.  Wars have been fought in their God’s name that have killed thousands if not millions of people.  People have been tortured, outcast, burned, and killed in their Gods name.  For as many lives as their God has taken without a second thought, these people are sure spending a lot of time and money saying that he hates others for something less than he has done.  Not to mention no where does it say in the bible that God hates the people who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I’m not sure how the Supreme Court will rule in this case.  I know that no amount of money can take away the pain from the families who the picketers have hurt.  While I don’t think that our first amendment rights should be infringed upon, I do think that this goes beyond what our founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the right to free speech into the constitution.  I’m sure that none of them thought that the highest court in the land would be making a decision on if it’s okay for people to hold signs at a deceased military members funeral, or that anyone in this country could ever think of doing such a thing.

I hope that the founding fathers ideals are with the justices on the Supreme court as they make their ruling, and they rule as they see fit.  I do not wish I was in any of their shoes, because this is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t type rulings that will go into the history books no matter which way they rule.

To the Tea Party, why you shouldn’t cut Social Security

Social Security Torn Away

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I understand the Tea Party wishing to cut government spending.  I do believe that the spending of our government has gotten out of control and something does need to be done about it.  unfortunately cutting Social Security for those under age 55 is not the way to go about it.  The way to fix this country is not to take money away from those people whom cannot work.

People who are on Social Security under the age of 55 are the ones that need this money the most.  For many Social Security is their only income, the only way that they have to support themselves, and in my honest opinion most of the time it is not enough.  With the amount of medical bills that some of these people have, sometimes their Social Security all goes to doctors, pharmacies, and hospitals.  Some cannot even support themselves with what they are paid each month.  If anything, for these people, it needs to be raised.

Anyone who has gone through the process of attempting to receive Social Security disability knows that it is not easy.  Not only must you have your doctor send in your medical records, you also have to see the governments doctors, they interview you and your family.  From start to finish the process takes 6 months or longer, and then most are denied.  I know first hand how frustrating the system is, after the interviews how you feel like you might not have given enough information, and how you feel helpless while waiting on a decision from the government to see if you are disabled enough in their eyes for them to decide that you can receive money so that you can support your family.  I have been in tears over the process all while taking care of my family and trying to figure out how I was going to buy things that my children needed while getting the medicines that my husband needed.

My husband was one of the lucky ones, the government decided that he was truly disabled on his first attempt at receiving benefits.  Although now we are waiting for him to be disabled 2 years so he can receive medical, which is a whole other problem.  We were lucky that we didn’t have to go to court and fight for his benefits, or that it took years for him to be approved.

My husband has Multiple Sclerosis, he had an attack in June 2009 that left him disabled.  He now walks with a cane, he has memory problems, his balance was affected, he still has some problems with his left hand, he now has panic attacks almost constantly, and his eye site was affected.  After being a stay at home mom for three years I was forced to look for a job in a horrible economy.  I luckily had 7 years of grocery experience, and was seen as valuable to groceries, so I was hired quickly.  I work midnights so that I can take care of him, drive him to appointments, attempt to make a normal life for my 3 young children, and be around to do things in the house and yard.  I am mother and father some times to my kids.  My son will probably never be able to play catch with his dad, instead he will remember his dad watching as he played catch with his mother.  My girls won’t have their dad put them on his shoulders so they can see something up high, as he is no longer steady enough to pick them up.  My kids will remember only mom there for crowded events due to their dads anxiety problems.

If Social Security is cut for disabled people under the age of 55 families that are already dealing with emotional strain of having a person with disabilities in the house will also be dealing with financial problems also.  Why should you put that added strain on them of not knowing how they will support their family?  The disabled people of this country already have enough things to worry about without this unnecessary addition of losing their incomes.  I only hope that there is enough people out there who understand this, and do not support the Tea Party for their stance on this issue.

Americas fail at religion

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For a nation that 6 in 10 citizens say that religion is very important in their lives, a new survey by The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that the majority of Americans fail a test on religion.  For a country that was founded with the idea of religious freedom, we seem to know nothing about religions other than Christianity and the Bible as a whole.

The findings of this survey are in no way shocking to me.  I as a non-Christian I know that Christians seem to know the least when it comes to something that is different from their beliefs.  Most of them cannot even tell you the difference in the different Christian churches.  It saddened me to learn that in most cases 50% or less could tell you the correct answer to questions about their own religion.  Just under half didn’t know that the Golden Rule was not one of the 10 commandments.  You would think that since there is a movie on the 10 commandments that we could at least get that one right.

Are some of us so wrapped up in our own worlds that we cannot see past what the religious leader talking about in our various services is his interpretation of the holy book that he is reading excerpts from?  It seems to me that the majority of Americans cannot see past their little bubble that they are living in.  They take what they hear as law in their faith, and do not actually read anything to back it up.  They seem to be listening to someones opinion and getting in an uproar over a subject without knowing if it is true or not.  A great example would be the Churches that have spewed how horrible and wicked the Harry Potter book and movie series are for years now.  These people have obviously never picked up and actually read the books or watched the movies because they would then know that it’s not about magic, it is about good vs evil, doing the right thing, finding true friends, making hard personal decisions, and so many more positive messages.

I feel sad that my children are growing up in a country that most don’t know that the Quran is the holy book of the Muslims.  After all the press about the psycho, I mean pastor, in Florida going to burn one not to mention the uproar over the “Mosque at Ground Zero” you would think that the majority of people could have figured that one out.  How can people have their panties in such a bunch over something that they know nothing about?

I hope that this survey will open the eyes of Americans about the different religions that are in our country.  Maybe this will be the start of people not screaming about religious freedom or about how their religion is being suppressed.  Hopefully it will be a time in our lives where people of different faiths will learn about each others faith, and support those faiths as we do our own.  By learning about each others faiths we can see that many of them are not so different.  But this is America, land of the selfish, the self-centered, and the self absorbed, so my hope for religious tolerance and learning to be achieved during my lifetime is something I will not likely see.