Purpose of Correctional Facilities

I read an article  on the Purpose of Prisons/Correctional  facilities. In this article it gave four major purposes that a prison serves: 1. Retribution meaning  punishment  for crimes committed  against society 2. Incapacitating referring  to the removal of criminals from society so that they can no longer harm innocent  people 3. Deterrence  meaning the prevention  of future  crime. Hoping  that being locked up like animals has taught these individuals a lesson and has discouraged  them from committing  further crime 4. Rehabilitation  which refers to activities  designed  to change criminals into law abiding  citizens; which may include providing educational courses in prison, teaching  job skills and offering counseling  with a psychologist  or social  worker. The article further reads that results may vary in the makeup of their staff, design of the building  and their operations.

Okay, I do understand  that people should  face some type of retribution for an offense/crime committed and we should take responsibility  for our actions. What has been done to correct  their behavior  when these individuals are released  back into society, with felonies and criminal  backgrounds? Statistics  shows that at least 40% of ex-cons land back in prison. So, what are these so called correctional  facilities  actually  doing to reform these individuals?These facilities  claim  to rehab, but what are the end results? It seems to me that they take away their ability  to support a family and make it where it is inevitable  that they come back to prison. This way they can continue to make money…modern day slavery I say.







Corruption in Campaigning

There are many problems with the United States campaigning process in today’s society. A major one being huge corporations ability to pour endless amount of money into a political campaign at the local, state, and federal levels of government. I believe this is a big problem because lobbyist have a great impact, and ultimately affect a candidates political decision making.
Non-profit organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberty Union to name a few, are corporations that give endless amounts of money to a candidate of their choice. The scary part is that all non-profit organizations are protected under the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. They have the ability to give as much money as they want to a campaign. In other words there is no restriction on just how much money they can give to political candidates. As we all know, these organizations have lobbyists in Washington whose sole job is to pump money into political campaigns.
Today the expense of a congressional campaign frequently surpasses a million dollars for every candidate, furthermore senate campaigns average 4.3 million dollars, often costing 10 million and even sometimes 15 million dollars. Once in office, a senator needs to raise money consistently each week to fund his or her re-election campaign. Much of this money comes from political action committees also known as, you guessed it, lobbyist. For example, Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate of  the 2016 presidential election, admitted he used his personal wealth to bribe politicians. “I will tell you that our system is broken, I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that is a broken system.” said Trump at the recent GOP debate.
There have been a few proposed solutions to this on-going problem, with one being the “Clean Money, Clean Election” proposal (CMCE). The idea behind the CMCE proposal is to limit the amount of donations received by political candidates to five dollars per donor. If you are backed by enough supporters, this will then qualify you as a candidate. Then they would then volunteer to sign a clean campaign contract making sure they use only federally provided funds (clean money) rather than over-excessive large corporation funding. The great thing about this system is that it is completely constitutional, because it’s voluntary. Candidates decide whether they want to participate in the CMCE program or not. But no sane person would opt-out. If you did, you’d have to work hard to raise money, your competitors could easily match whatever money you raised, and the voters would be told repeatedly by your federally-funded competitors that you were a cheat owned by special interests trying to get around the system. The pitfall I see with this solution is having a larger federal government involved in the election. However, this program would allow politicians more time to do their job rather than campaigning for their re-election campaign, and most importantly get rid of the lobbyists in Washington.
Another Solution may be to lower the cost of political campaigning. Small donor contributions have increased over the years thanks to internet and initiatives taken by presidential candidates and their respective parties. If the Federal government could match these small donations, this could play a constructive role in eliminating lobbyists. The costs of campaigning can be reduced with incentives such as free air time for candidates and their parties.
The end result is that the moneyed interests end up controlling the government, without doing anything wrong. More enforcement and regulation, while helpful, is unlikely to solve the problem. As long as money wins campaigns, the people with the most money will win the most campaigns. The only solution is to take the money out altogether.
Sources: Huffington Post, LA Times

Panhandling in Memphis

Last week I was exiting 240 onto Lamar Ave when I saw a man asking for money. He had his cardboard sign up that said “homeless and hungry”. I am a sucker for giving into people who are asking for help; it pulls at my heart strings and I try and always provide them with something, whether it be food or a couple of dollars. However, this time as I was about to pull out my wallet the man saw a cop who was driving by and he quickly hid his sign and walked away from the cars in the street.

The next day that I was in class I brought this situation up and it was brought to my attention that panhandling is illegal in the city of Memphis. Call me naive, but I honestly had no clue. Before writing this blog I read up on the policies put in place to prevent panhandling and also a few site with statistics provided about panhandlers in general. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt so when people are humbling themselves to ask for money or food I usually think that they are being real.

Now that I see the numbers that show the amount of times money given to panhandlers has been used to buy alcohol or drugs it really changes my outlook on the whole thing. I read somewhere that said if a person who is asking for money, food or help they are usually going to provide a service or skill along with them asking, such as: musical performances, shoe shining, selling newspapers and other street vending options. Most every article that I read wrapped up by invoking passion to help out in with the organizations that provide shelter and food to the homeless and impoverished so that they can help to the best of their abilities.

As I looked into some of the options and organizations that provide food and shelter for the homeless around the city of Memphis I saw many ways that these could be improved and promoted. I believe there needs to be more word out about numbers, facts, and information on how you can help out in a way you are passionate about while also finding a way to better provide services to meet needs in an effective and cost friendly way for the homeless community. I also feel that more awareness will instill moral in our community to help.

Gender Roles and Children’s Toys

Recently I have had a lot of dispute with my friends (female and male) about the types of toys we should choose for our children. On a world wide spectrum, society says I should give my son toys such as trains, guns, wrestlers, and tools and those of us with girls should give them makeup, barbies, and cooking utensils. My son does have these toys but once I mentioned getting him an Easy Bake Oven is when the dispute began. Of course the males said absolutely no, some of the females were for and some were against. I believe that some toys/activities for children that are categorized as masculine or feminine are completely gender neutral. The Easy Bake Oven is a kitchen appliance. Males cook as well as females but since society says a woman’s place is the kitchen is it automatically associated with women and feminosity. I can say that there has been some change in world views recently. When I was a child the original oven was pink. A few years ago, I started  to see blue and pink ones with both boys and girls featured on the box. This made me happy that someone opened their eyes to the fact that there is nothing wrong with boys and this toy. They love it just as well as the girls do. A recent  interview NAEYC conducted with a professor from Connecticut University supports gender neutral toys for the development of children’s physical, cognitive, academic, musical, and artistic skills but what do we use to distinguish what is “for boys” “for girls” or “for both”? Do we follow the norms? Go with what the church says? Or create our own morals and values and live by those?

How The Global Economy (Globalization) Affects Our Dependency…

Globalization… The tool of “Civilized” countries, the measurement of the stock market, and… the end to independence as we know it…

What exactly is Globalization? And how exactly is it stripping away our Independence?

At its most fundamental level, globalization is merely the result of a free-trade world, where any company with the resources, or the ability to attain the resources, can spread indefinitely throughout the globe. Take for example, restaurants such as McDonald’s,  Wal-Mart, and Starbucks; all of whom are global companies that are based on infinite growth in a limited environment. And ironically two of those three companies have stripped away our independence.

Think of a point in history where most human beings knew how to make their own shelters, grow their own foods, and manufacture their own clothing. This is becoming a thing of the past (literally and figuratively)!

Loss Independence of Foods (And the Dangers Of It):

The skills of survival we once knew as a whole are diminishing at a rapid rate, sometimes with deleterious effects. Especially in the foods category. The times where we once used to grow local foods and make our meals first-hand is becoming a thing of the past. This is largely due to the ease of which it is to grab foods at the local drive-thru. Yes, our society has become very busy, with very little free-time to rest, at the very least grow our own gardens. But why are we not making efforts as a whole to come up with efficient alternatives? Our youth is being advertised and mislead into craving unhealthy, sugary foods and goods so they can get hooked on them at an early age. Candies, Sodas, Sugary cereals, are all a formula for an unhealthy and dangerous diet, yet these are some main components many food business pour their money into. Even the “healthy” foods we buy at chain stores have been shipped with profit in mind. Most have been coated with preservatives and chemicals to keep them looking fresh so the buyers will buy it, even though it may contain chemicals that can harm them. The increased shelf-life of certain produce can be attributed largely to the chemicals added to it. The foods we get at the local drive-thru are mostly unhealthy, and aide in the increase of Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. We are in a food war with local businesses, with many casualties. Efforts to win our food back is a must, if we don’t start the push of having more local food sources, who knows what our predecessors will be eating? What will their health-state look like? Statistics show the major causes of death in America can be prevented through diet, yet why isn’t this issue among the top in current political agendas? If the American citizens lives were in the minds of men and women, who have platforms to speak out for healthier alternatives in the processing of goods and produce for major corporations, maybe we wouldn’t be in this state to begin with.

 To Be Continued…

Child Homelessness

Every child deserve to live in a secure and stable environment. Unfortunately, more than 28,000 children and teens in Tennessee are homeless. The number of homeless kids in public schools has increased and many of these children suffer delayed development, learning disabilities, and emotional/behavioral problems. It is critical that children and teens live in a stable home because their environment influence their lives. Homeless children are the most neglected individuals in society, and decisive action should be made by the state. There should be statewide planning efforts in place to address child homelessness in Tennessee. Federal aid should go towards more programs in the state of Tennessee for these children without homes. Child homelessness shall be put to an end!

In State Tuition

Let’s just start by saying this is my first blog ever, so if you have any constructive criticism I’d gladly appreciate it.

When it comes to college many students go through the same problems when trying to figure out how to pay. And lets be honest, college cost down right ridiculous. Especially for students in state.  You would think that going to a college that is 10-20 minutes away from home would be reasonable. Or many you’re going to a school 2-4 hours away. I not saying you should not have to pay for college but I feel as though paying 8-10 thousand a semester is too much. You shouldn’t have to take out loans for school if you are attending a college in state.  College student are known to have little to no money and have loans out for college that they are probably going to spend a majority of the beginning of their career trying to pay back. Isn’t the stress of trying to graduate and survive in college stress enough? Why should you have to also have the grey cloud of trying to finish paying for school in your mind too.

Jim Strickland take the Reigns!

“A negative ad never moves a city forward, never created a job, kept a child safe, or a family find a home. Jim Strickland stop the negative ads because the truth is A.C. Wharton has helped families find a home, created good jobs, helped to keep my grandchildren safer, helped me to start my business. Now I know we haven’t gotten everything right, but when it comes to moving Memphis forward no one is going to work as harder.” This hilarious ad was shown on local television by A.C. Wharton to target Jim Strickland’s criticism of Wharton’s lack of progress in the Memphis area. I have been really paying attention to this intense political race because I must admit Jim Strickland has been the most outspoken person mainly criticizing Wharton. Everyday, I am seeing more Jim Strickland supporters with his ad on their front yards and even on their cars.

I have interviewed several people including family on who they plan on voting for mayor. Only one person has told me Wharton and only because his wife goes to her church (a Roman Catholic church) and the others have told me Jim Strickland. I must be honest I plan on voting for Strickland myself. In my opinion, Wharton has been in office since 2006 and I feel it is time for him to step off the throne and let someone else take the reigns. I was shocked to hear Wharton admit that he hasn’t done a great job with the city, but I have been truly disappointed with Wharton’s budget ideas. For example, the pyramid was once a great place where they had Disney On Ice and even graduations. When I found out that he is turning it into a Bass Pro Shop I said, “What in the world does that have to do with Memphis? What a waste of money and time!” The pyramid and the Rameses statue was the epitome of history and purpose. Most people know that Memphis was named after Memphis, Egypt and to turn the pyramid into a Bass Pro Shop is a slap to the face with our history. The pyramid would be great for a casino and all the employees could be dressed as Egyptians. Turning the pyramid to a casino would have been great for providing jobs to Memphis and fun entertainment.

According to A.C. Wharton (acwharton.com) he states that his priority is, “Fighting crime and blight, creating economic opportunity while reducing poverty and changing the culture of city government.” Wharton, I understand that crime is your top priority but what about knowing to budget wisely and also from what I have researched Memphis unemployment rate has sky rocketed to 44% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015. Another thing that strikes Memphis is that there is a high infant mortality rate because of poverty, lack of education, and lack of resources. Poverty is very high in Memphis and it’s sad to say but in order for a homeless person to stay in shelter they have to pay that’s why you see a lot of pan handling. Since, Wharton concern is poverty and crime, it shows everyday his lack of progress in the city. Wharton has had eight years to help Memphis become a better place and more people are leaving Memphis to move to better cities because of better job opportunities and places to raise their children in a healthy environment. When it comes to poverty, there should be free parenting classes for low income mothers, building safer roads, and creating better jobs.

Now, let’s all be honest: Memphis when it comes to councilmen needs more diversity. Strickland with no apologies shows on his website votejimstrickland.com of his beautiful family. His daughter is very exotic looking while the rest of his family is of Caucasian descent. From his television ads, you can see that he has diverse groups of supporters. I love Strickland’s mission of, “Make no mistake-my campaign is about change:violent crimes, more roads will be paved, neighborhoods will be cleaned up, blight will be reduced, and city government will actually execute vision.” Strickland talks about what people are really concerned about because Memphis definitely has terrible roads. Wharton spent the city’s budget on crazy retail stores instead of fixing the roads where it produces safety hazards. I am happy to see that Strickland is also concerned about cleaning up our neighborhoods because Memphis is horrible of littering. The best thing about his website is that he is transparent on his plans of action to make the city a better place. His emphasis is mainly of the police force and of Memphis civilians. Strickland is about walk the walk not talk the talk or talking and walking at the same time. Strickland plans on making Memphis Police Department a very transparent business and enforcement is going to be strict on police and Memphis civilians.

One of his plans is to ensure that when it comes to police shootings that it must be documented immediately and also police can not investigate their colleagues shooting. He strongly supports police and plans to teach young children the importance of police in their community. I feel that children especially black children are taught at a young age to fear police when there are good police out there. I know that Strickland will be strict in his hiring process when it comes to police. He also plan on having a smart phone application for anonymous tipsters to report crimes to the police department. To lastly sum up his plans for young people is to have strict curfew laws. In my opinion, that is a great idea to have police enforce curfew laws to make sure children don’t get into trouble.

I am a strong supporter of Jim Strickland and his ideas of how to make Memphis a better place. Wharton hasn’t made any positive progress and has wasted our tax money on buying fishing gear at Bass Pro Shop. I know some Wharton supporters will read this and disagree with me and that’s fine. I am a firm believer in “We don’t have to think alike to love alike.” In the end, it is all about who is truly going to change Memphis and to ensure that it makes progress as the years go by. Wharton has been in office too long, he needs to step down and let someone else create a better plan. When Jim Strickland wins, I will smile, drink my Sangria, and think of all the positive plans that my future mayor has in store.


Providing Jobs and Lowering Taxes

As we know, unemployment has been at a all time high on both a state and national level. In essence, for those of us  who do work this makes the taxes that the government is required to take rise ridiculously. I feel that the state government should establish programs to help those who are unemployed learn a trade or get on the job training for decent paying jobs. There are many jobs that go unfilled yearly due to lack of experience. In my opinion, putting a program like this in place will increase the  amount of money that will come back into the state, and could possibly lower taxes for everyone state wide.

Condition of Memphis City Streets

Being a daily commuter to campus from east Memphis, it takes me about 20-25 minutes to get to school taking the express way. However some morning the e-way is so congested with traffic that you have no choice but to take alternate street routes. My concern is the poor street conditions of Memphis. Conditions including: pot wholes, broken pavement, and uneven roads are not only hazardous to your vehicles, but it also adds to the many dangers of the road. As we know Tennessee takes part in a mass of car deaths a year. I am unsure as to what actions need to be put in place, but I do feel like it should not take a flat tire, or even a fatality to bring attention to this matter.