Thursday, January 20, 2005

News That Sucks

Dirty Bomb possibly headed to Boston: It's not so much the fear of a nuclear disaster in Boston that makes me dislike this news, it's that the state and local government seem to be somewhat lax in their pursuit of the people they have identified as being involved in it.

The inevitability we all have to live with in the United States is that sooner or later "terrorists" are going to strike our soil again, and that the toll will be many times greater than those previously suffered. I believe that it's the job of the government to maintain order and to follow up on leads, but I feel that in what might be a politically sound judgement in keeping local Bostonians in the dark regarding the plot might also lead to a greater death toll were something to go wrong.

I am not hoping that something goes wrong. I don't want to see anyone suffer, at all. Unfortunately, there are those in the world who seek to destroy a way of life that is foreign to them due to motivations of money, or religion. It might be a little bit of the pot calling the kettle black, as George Bush in his inaugural address mentioned 'spreading freedom throughout the entire world'. That's the sort of thing that is going to make more countries and organizations mount up against the United States, as we attempt to install democracy through whatever means neccessary to cull the bloodshed and death that we might observe from the outside of other countries such as Iraq or North Korea.

At any rate, I'm sending all my sleuth karma to the law enforcement folks who are working hard to find the people who may or may not be involved in this plot. I love my city, and I don't want anything bad to happen to it or the people who live and work there. Should the inevitable come today, or tomorrow though... stay safe, and head upwind.

Texas Lawmaker to Grade Children on Weight: This, at face value, would seem like a good idea. Parents and children need to be acutely conscious of their health and welfare. As the article mentions, and as has been featured in the news and movies as of late, the instances of childhood diabetes, obesity, and other weight-related problems have skyrocketed in recent years with no signs of slowing. Shouldn't someone be keeping an eye on these kids to make sure that they're healthy? Why shouldn't it become part of the school requirements?

The first person (or persons) that the welfare of a child is the responsibility of are the parents. That is the way it should be, as it always has been, and really as it instinctually seems to work. Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of our offspring are our own way of continuing our lineage, and by cutting their lives short by letting their bodies degrade to a completely unhealthy level, we aren't doing ourselves any favors. Of course, in the modren age of working parents (as well as an overly litigious society) the responsibility seems to have shifted away slightly from the parents.

Unfortunately, the parents are as much to blame for this legislative attempt as anyone else. In today's schools, there are no more competitive games during recess or gym class, because children don't want to lose at anything. This extends beyond the physical realm and into the classroom as well, as children are awarded for their work no matter what level it might be at. When everyone is equal regardless of effort, there is no motivation for excelling! Why try harder than the bare minimum when you will be rewarded just as well as those who work the most?

I am afraid that this is just another symptom of parents giving up their responsibility because they no longer want to be bothered. A simple check-up with a doctor (something that should be routine for children aside) could easily help parents track the health of their children, but given the startling number of obese and overweight children in the United States, it's obvious that it's not a great enough concern for them. I don't like to think that my kids will have to grow up being graded on their weight because if the trend of rewarding everyone continues, then even with this legislation involved, there will come a time when students won't have to try to be healthy. They will be rewarded no matter what.

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