Saturday, May 10, 2014

Forward Women in Afghanistan

Parents Exact Gruesome Revenge On Afghan Cleric Accused Of Sex Abuse -

This article outlines a tragedy but it also alludes to the women's movement in Afghanistan. This is monumental considering the oppression females bore under the Taliban. Women have representatives in the government, even women running for elected positions. Women are able to have employment, and they are able to vote. These rights are just a few of positive changes afforded to Afghani citizens now that the Taliban is no longer in power. The Afghani population is hopefully for the future as they pursue a young democracy. As with any burgeoning democracy, Afghanistan will confront many obstacles, one of which is the lingering violent presence is the Taliban. However, Afghanis are, although cautious, optimistic for the future.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Government Shutdown Shut Down Youth In Need

The shutdown ends and furloughed workers are allowed to return to work. This resolution is blessing to many individuals because unlike the six-figure elected officials in Washington DC who actual work for the individuals that were furloughed, these individuals cannot afford sixteen days without pay. What is the exact number of six-figure elected officials were still getting a paycheck for the past sixteen days? Let's add their total pay together and do a comparison. Here is a link that every registered voter should know: Focus on the good news, the shutdown is over, for now. Is the problem resolved? What will be the long-term effects of the current solution? These are questions we should ask ourselves.

So, who was affected by the furlough? The government posted a list of some of the services affected during the shutdown:

Everyone in our national community is important and has an important role. Certain national park were closed, and workers were furloughed. Citizens should take a closer look at some of the other services affected as well. Here is an article about how the shutdown affected one local community. The article, "Youth Homeless Shelter Closes Due to Federal Shutdown", describes the closure of a facility that aids youth who have no other means of support. Tell me Congress, where should the shelter send the children, the street? The article states that the young people participating in this program are "affected by abuse, neglect, addiction, homelessness, mental health issues and behavioral problems. It is the only residential substance abuse program for youths in the state." Obviously, these are the types of programs that really need cuts in funding or complete closure, right? Come on Congress! Think outside the box like most of the individuals affected by the shutdown will be forced to do to survive. What will the government do to prevent this from happening again?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Breaking the Mold....Universal Democracy

Apparently, Newt Gingrich has changed his outlook on the interventionist strategy. According to an article in the Huffington Post by Mollie Reilly, Newt Gingrich Rethinks Stance On U.S. Military Interventions, neoconservative Gingrich has changed his tune. One of the main aspects of the interventionist strategy is implanting democracy in developing countries or unstable countries with the theory that democracy will improve a country's way of life. Interventionist hope they can prevent radicalism and instability from seeping over borders and creating a ripple effect spreading terrorism and unrest. The reasoning behind this "altruistic" policy is that democracy worked for America it should work for everyone else.

Well that is just not the case. A democratic government worked for the United States, but what many people forget is that American democracy did not magically occur overnight. Furthermore, it is not perfect. American democracy is over 200 years old and still a work in progress. Interventionist exude the impression that America will invade a country, install a democratic government with the aid of American resources, and solve all the countries problems.  The expectation is these new democratic countries will be successful after one, five, or ten years. If it took centuries for an American democracy to be successful, are not new democracies held to unreasonable standards?

In addition, the world is filled with a variety of cultures and religions. Not every country has a receptive, developing American-esque culture to install a democratic government. If a country desires to create a democratic government, it needs to be adapted to the culture of that country. Democracy is not a cookie cutter policy to place on top of a society. America cannot implant American ideas in a non-American society, without consideration of culture, and expect that society to accept American ideas or for those ideas to be successful.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Drones For Countering Terrorism

Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars

This New York Times article by Mark Mazzetti and Mark Landler is very concise perspective on the drone wars. American is constantly building and improving our military. Terrorism is fact of life, and Americans no longer see terrorism as an event in some far off land that will never strike in our backyard. Unfortunately, the American people have also discovered that terrorist acts are not only executed by an unidentifiable foreigner but also American citizens. A terrorist should not be defined by their ethnicity by rather by their egregious actions.

The administration of the drones in the fight against terrorism is a positive evolution. Not to say the drone policy is perfect, but the new onset of any policy will accompany challenges that will require addressing. Drone wars will result in a decrease in the American military causalities than the ground wars or special operations against terrorism. All administrations require transparency for legitimacy, but American people should not expect or desire officials to disclose every aspect of intelligence operations. Full disclosure would defeat the purpose. This is one reason why it is imperative for the people to elect officials with integrity and honesty. The drones wars should be less expensive which should ease the burden on the struggling American economy. I would like to know the facts on costs of drone warfare. Drone warfare is not perfect but it is here to stay.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Arkansas Parole.....Where is the Fix?

Now that officials have discovered that the Arkansas Parole system needs an overhaul, officials and legislators are clamoring to find the magic solution. Why did a life had to be taken before someone realized there was a problem? If I had to venture a guess, I bet the parole officers of Arkansas knew there was a problem before the death of Forrest Abrams, but they were bound by procedure. However, officials and legislators probably never asked the parole officers. Often, the higher ups in organizations and government forget about the people in the trenches. How many systems could be benefited by just asking the workers performing the meaty tasks, "What could we do to improve the system?" or "Where do you see the problems in the system"? Furthermore, it might be beneficial to actually follow up on the answers to these questions. Inevitably, officials would argue there is a situation with resources or priorities. Unfortunately, it took the death of a young man for priorities have changed.

What is the solution? The solution is in the procedure. Parole officers generally know there case load; if they do not, there is a problem right there. Parole officers need to be given some credit. If the government hires capable officers, there needs to be a level of officer discretion, just as police officers are allowed a certain amount of discretion. A good, capable parole officer is aware of a parolee committing crimes or violating parole, and there should be procedures in place to expedite a revocation, so violators are not left on the street to continue their unlawful ways. Why are we giving parolees so many chances? I am a firm believer in rehabilitating offenders and aiding their contributive return into society. I also believe that should be given a fair chance at a job and a home. If society does not give an offender a fair chance to become a productive citizen, society is dooming them to failure. If a parolee is truly committed to rehabilitation, he or she will take full advantage of any opportunity and be grateful for the opportunity. A major concern is overcrowding and the costs of the prison system which is a legitimate concern. Society needs resources in place for rehabilitation and reintegration into the community. The question is, "Where is the limit on second chances"?

This is difficult. Parole officers would argue that they know which parolee is going to get right and which one will never learn. A prisoner or parolee will argue the same sentiment. So if a prisoner can accurately evaluate whether a person will re-offend, what is the problem? This is a judgment call that is hard to measure which makes it difficult for an organization to have transparency and legitimacy. It is necessary to have a quantitative system. The fact is there are some people that will never learn, no matter how many services are available to them. Does Arkansas need to adopt California's three strikes rule to eliminate recidivists? Would it make a difference for an offender to know he only has those three chances, no matter the nature of the crime? A parolee is aware of the terms of parole if they violate these terms why should they be coddled? A citizen is aware of laws, and everyday citizens know if they break the law there will be consequences. The majority of people comply with the rules of society. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has created a tool for calculating prisoner recidivism that I am sure is already employed in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, but it is interesting to study. What is the fix? Arkansas is now working on the solution; a solution that hopefully comes soon.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sequestration in Simply Terms

Sequestration Will Prevent Creation Of Up To 1.6 Million Jobs In Next Year, CBO Concludes 

Tell me the reason again for the government sequestration. What will help the deficit will adversely affect the unemployment rate? Evidently, the cessation of the sequestration will increase the deficit. Although, when one lists the pros and cons of the sequestration, the only solution that seems best for America is to the end the sequestration. Does the government really want to save money but cutting into the livelihood of hard working Americans?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cold War Alliances Continue in New World....... Glimpse from History

Listening to the news this morning I was struck by a story. There are always a few key topics that peak my interest, one being North Korea. North Korea is a loose cannon, and it is important to keep close tabs on their activities. Same news story, three words.....North Korea, Cuba, Russia.... What?

What is this scenario? Are we still living in history's alliances? I guess so. On a ship leaving Cuba bound for North Korea, under sugar, Soviet missiles? Intriguing... yes? Concerning....yes?

Reports state the weapons are obsolete. So why are obsolete, harmless weapons hidden under sacks of sugar? It has been my experience that someone does not go out of the way to hide something they intend with good or harmless purpose, unless it is a present. I doubt the Soviet weaponry was hidden to surprise the North Korean President for his birthday.

What is North Korea's endgame?