Monday, January 2, 2017

Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Restraint

Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint are polar opposites by definition. While both are well intended, they have dramatic differing implications. One philosophy, Judicial Activism, has the propensity to radically change our nation, some say for the better. The other philosophy, Judicial Restraint, and those who uphold it, would seek to keep such unwarranted change from happening.

Judicial Activism is the philosophy that the Constitution is a living document and must be interpreted loosely into this modern government. Those who agree with this philosophy in the Court system base their decisions off of societal expectations than the specific words of the document. Their decisions in individual cases are often based off a desire for general public welfare, not necessarily upholding the founders intent.

Judicial Restraint on the other hand, stands for a strict adherence the Constitution. These original, and sometimes legalistic thinkers believe that the meaning of the Constitution has not and should not be changed. This philosophy takes the wording literally, and those who apply it to their Court decisions may not be seen in as popular a light.

Judicial Activism, while it may seem more becoming of this modern age, could be very dangerous in that it allows Justices, Judges, and Courts to see the our founding document as idealistic not literal. On the other hand, while Judicial Restraint might be frustrating at times, it seems the best way to uphold justice and liberty for all in the way the founders intended.

Do you agree with Judicial Restraint or Judicial Activism?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Who Represents Texas?

The US Senators for Texas are currently Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn. My representatives are Congressman Bill Flores and Congressman John Carter. I will be discussing only Senator Cruz and Congressman Carter today.

Senator Ted Cruz was elected the 34th US Senator in 2012. He lives with his two daughters and wife Heidi in Houston Texas. He graduated with honors from Princeton University, as well as high honors from Harvard. During his private practice, “Ted has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs and argued 43 oral arguments, including nine before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Senator Cruz is a proponent of limited government, the constitution, and economic growth. He is on the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on Rules and Administrations, and the Joint Economic Committee. The Senator is also adamant that Obamacare be repealed. He state bluntly that, “ The fight against Obamacare must continue in the face of Washington’s apathy. That is where my attention will remain focused”

Congressman John Carter was elected in 2014 to his seventh term. He is chairman of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, and co-chairman of the Bipartisan House Army Caucus. He is on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee as well. One interesting fact about Representative Carter is that he has authored legislation that has been signed into law by both President Bush and President Obama.

Congressman John Carter gained a degree in History from Texas Tech, and then went on to graduate from the University of Texas Law School. He and his wife Erica, live in Central Texas where they raised their children and now grandchildren. Before being elected as a US representative, he held a successful law practice and later became a Judge in Williamson County. In relation to federal law enforcement efforts he says that, “It’s critical that those fighting terrorism, cybercrime, illegal drug efforts, and human trafficking receive the support they need.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Constitutional Amendments

While I think my favorite amendments are in the Bill of Rights, excluding those first 10 amendments, I know that the thirteenth amendment is extremely important. Section 1 of the thirteenth amendment says, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This is my favorite because it should have been inherent in the Constitution from the beginning. How can one say they live in a free country where the individual’s rights are valued when their countrymen are in bondage simply because of the color of their skin? The thirteenth amendment is concise and to the point. It made all former slaves citizens of the United States. While I think it took much longer than is should have to have an amendment like this ratified, I am glad it finally was. The thirteenth amendment paved the way for the civil rights movement.

I do not like the sixteenth amendment. This is not because I think that taxes are wrong, as I know they are necessary for the functioning of a government. However I do believe that this amendment gives too much power into the hands of the National Government. The sixteenth amendment says that “the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census of enumeration” (emphasis mine). These vague terms with all-encompassing implications, while good intended, seem too easily manipulated. Taxing income also seems to almost punish those who succeed in their businesses.

Thus I am so grateful for the thirteenth amendment, and I think its implications were huge. At the same time I do not appreciate the sixteenth amendment.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Rare Genetic Deletion

Hello all, some of you know my younger sister has a rare genetic deletion. Today I will be explaining exactly what that is. She actually has an even more specific form of this, however here is a general explanation.

2q37 Deletion Syndrome is a rare genetic deletion. Those who have this deletion have lost genetic material in one of the two chromosome 2s. Since chromosome can break anywhere, the effects of this deletion can vary widely. The deletion is also called, the Albright Hereditary Osteodystrophy-like Syndrome and Brachydactyly-mental retardation syndrome. The deletion is extremely rare and seems to be more common in girls. While the syndrome can be inherited from parents, most cases are not hereditary. However individuals with a deletion carry a 50% chance of passing it on to their offspring. What are the characteristics and challenges of those with 2q37 deletion syndrome?

It is interesting to see the common traits and challenges in babies and children. Babies have low muscle tone which leads to a variety of challenges including feeding difficulties, which is often how the deletion is discovered. Babies are also prone to more general health concerns than are those without the Deletion. Children with a 2q37 Deletion will experience developmental delays and continue to have low muscle tone and loose joints. There are characteristic changes in the facial appearance, hands, and feet of these children. Namely weak musculature, weak or extremely flexible hands, narrow nasal passages, learning disabilities, the tendency to gradually put on too much weight, seizures, eczema, asthma, and frequent chest/ear infections are also common.

Feeding is a major concern during infancy and even toddlerhood. As children grow older the difficulties decrease, however the feeding issues for babies can be life threatening if not realized. Low muscle tone affects the baby’s ability to latch on to a breast or a regular bottle to suck. Thus feeding can take long periods of time and special nipples and devices as well as special milks and formulas must be used to ensure the child receives nutrition. In addition, babies with 2q37 deletion will often not cry to be fed, and so parents and doctors must be extra vigilant in making sure that the baby is getting the necessary feeding and gaining weight. It is common for families to have their own scale and keep close track of the weight lost and gained. Additionally, some babies and toddlers as well as children have Gastro-oesophageal reflux (acid reflux). This is when the milk or food from the stomach comes back up the esophagus bringing up stomach acid with it. Some babies may also be late to move to solids. Most of these issues will disappear by childhood however some children will continue to have acid reflux.

Those with a 2q37 will have developmental delays, however the intensity varies drastically. Generally children function around half of their age. They will lack a sense of balance and can fatigue easily. Due to this, running is often hard and when running children often hold out arms to maintain balance. Many have very lax joints. Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, such as swimming and horse therapy, are common and very helpful. Fine motor skills usually develop late or slowly over time, and they may never be quite like that of the average person. Thus physical developments do continually progress forward, simply at a slower pace.

Learning delays are also prevalent in those with 2q37 deletions. These delays, like the developmental delays, vary widely. Some people have only mild learning delays. An example from Unique tells of a mildly delayed 3 ½ year old can recognize some letters and is beginning to spell her name. A moderate delay is the most common and children with a moderate delay can generally learn at around half their age. Being moderately delayed means children and adults may need repetition and lots of sensory breaks to learn something, yet they can indeed learn a lot. Specific learning strengths and weaknesses are scattered from person to person. Music is a useful tool in learning. According to Unique, about half of reading age children can read. A child with a severe case may never learn to walk or speak.

Understanding for those with a 2q37 deletion usually comes ahead of the ability to express themselves. Children and adults can communicate in a variety of ways other than words including but not limited to: eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, vocal noises, pushing, patting, pulling, humming, laughing, and crying. Speech and communication is generally delayed however most children do learn to speak. Some children speak as fluently as any child. The average first words are spoken around two to three years old. Many children are fluent speakers by five or six. On the other hand Unique reports a twelve year old who communicates, “mostly by vocal noises and by pulling” (Unique 2q37 deletion syndrome pg. 15). Some families use picture exchange and electronic systems to aid with communication.

What kind of behavior accompanies these physical and mental delays? Those with 2q37 deletion syndrome are generally cheery, humorous, affectionate, sociable, and happy (Unique 2q37 deletion pg.17) . While their disposition in generally cheerful, they sometimes have difficulty being understood by other children. In addition they often lack social boundaries that come naturally to other children and can become obsessive with friendships. The same bad behaviors that all children have from time to time are prevalent in kids with 2q37 deletion syndrome, however they are more intense and sometimes last longer. People with a 2q37 deletion will often develop odd obsessions, which might not make sense to outsiders but are very important to the individual. Furthermore, they will participate in consistently repetitive behaviors, “This was often speech, either repeating heard sounds and phrases again and again or more often asking the same questions (Is the sun going up or down? What are we doing tomorrow? Where are we going?) repeatedly until deliberately stalled. Younger children were more likely to repeat a simple action, like opening and closing doors; turning light switches on and off; taking shoes on and off; banging. A few children appeared to repeat an action for comfort, such as rocking” (Unique 2q37 Deletion pg. 19).

Some of the above listed behaviors are also characteristic of people with autism. Many children and adults with a 2q37 deletion have autistic traits while about 25% actually also have autism (Genetics Home Reference 2q37 Deletion Syndrome pg. 1). The reason for these similarities and often overlap is, “Chromosome 2 has a group of genes called “homeobox” or HOX genes that control growth and development” (Kelly pg. 100). These genes are vital in creating the brain stem and cerebellum. Since this chromosome is disrupted in children with autism as well as children with this syndrome in which part of that chromosome is actually deleted.

A 2q37 deletion syndrome is so rare there are only approximately 100 reported cases worldwide. Because of this, many parents and families feel alone as the deletion is so rare there is not a lot of outside support and many doctors are not ready with available information on the Deletion. While development both physical and mental is delayed, sometimes significantly, individuals usually continue to progress forward throughout their lives. Babies, children, and adults with 2q37 deletion syndrome face simple as well as severe challenges, but their characteristically thin upper lips, narrow eyes, and arched eyebrows usually form into gleeful smiles and cheerful dispositions.

Sources:

“2q37 deletion syndrome.” Unique Understanding Chromosome Disorders, version 1,
2013, pp. 1-32, www.rarechromo.org/html/DisorderGuideConfirm.asp?ch=Chromosome%20%202&fn=2q37%20deletion%20syndrome%20FTNW.pdf&folder=information

“2q37 deletion syndrome.” Genetics Home Reference, April 2009, pp. 1-2. U.S. National Library of Medicine, ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/2q37-deletion-syndrome.

Aldred M et al. “Molecular Analysis of 20 Patients with 2q37.3 Monosomy Definition of Minimum Deletion Intervals for Key Phenotypes.” Journal of Medical Genetics, 41.6, June 2004, pp. 433-439. PMC. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2003.017202

Kelly, Evelyn B., “Autism/ Autism Spectrum Disorders.” Encyclopedia of Human Genetics and Disease, vol. 1, ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013, pp. 100, Gale Virtual Reference Library, go.galegroup.com.lsproxy.austincc.edu/ps/i.do?p=GVRL&sw=w&u=txshracd2487&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CCX2723700039&asid=88511bf2415faf14f21181453348252c. Accessed 5 Dec, 2016 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Guest Post: Maggie Groover- Pappy Thank You Cards

Today I have a guest post from Maggie Groover.

Maggie is a quirky, crafty, and slightly crazy, 17-year-old, who feels like she's still 7, and likes it that way! She loves kids, art, singing, and her Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Here you go:


Thank you, Lisbeth, for having me on your blog! It's a blessing!



This card is super easy to make, and only requires a few supplies! Here they are:

Supplies

Blank white card

Gray crumply paper from a shoe box

Extra fine black sharpie + colored sharpie of choice (I used turquoise and dark pink)

Glue



Cut the crumply paper to a little smaller than the size of the card.



There should be about...1/8 of an inch? space from the edge of the crumply paper to the edge of the card. The picture below should give you an idea of how much space there should be.



I was making two cards, so I cut two pieces of crumply paper.



This part is so fun, and easier than you'd think! I got the idea for this card from this pin I found on Pinterest. So pretty, right? It doesn't have to be perfect, and your poppies definitely don't have to look like mine! Be loose with your drawing, and don't try to make it perfect.






Ooooh, I love lettering! This is also easier than it might look. Just write in your normal cursive, and then thicken the vertical lines by adding extra lines. Make sure to leave the space in between the lines open; don't fill them in with black. (See two pictures down.)



I did the "you" first, because I guess I thought it was more important that I get the placing right for that, than the placing of "thank"? I don't know, it just seems to work better.



After drawing the words, fill in the space in "you" with the colored sharpie. This why they had be left unfilled in by black. I used turquoise, and love how it looks.



And now all that's left to do is glue the crumply paper onto the card! I use my Elmer's liquid glue for almost everything, but you could totally use another adhesive. (I don't think glue sticks work well, but that's just my opinion.)



And here's our finished card! Nice and simple.





For my second card, I replaced the lower-case letters in "thank" with uppercase letters, and instead of turquoise, I used dark pink.





Which you do you like better?











Again, thank you so much for having me on your blog, Lisbeth!

You can visit Maggie on her blog at: http://maggiesbutterflykisses.blogspot.com

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Last Heart Beat

“One more heart that was stopped. 

Two more eyes that will never see. 

Two more hands that will never touch. 

Two more legs that will never run.” 

His heart beats its last beat. The little body is quickly sucked out of the uterus and the woman is soon free to go. A legal surgical abortion stops a beating heart. Medical death is when the heart stops beating; thus a child dies. Should abortion be legal? Is it ever justifiable? If the facts are examined and any basic form of morality or justice is observed, there is only one conclusion. Abortion is wrong, and according to scientific, moral, and American standards should be made illegal. 

Abortion should be illegal because it kills a living, innocent, being. Disregarding personal beliefs, it has been scientifically proven, that life begins at conception. Thus as a living, human, being, this new life is deserving of personhood. In fact it automatically has membership in the human race and thus ought to have basic human rights, just as any other human being. The stage of life is irrelevant, if the baby forming is indeed alive, and it is. At conception, when a new life is created, there is no longer one person involved. There is no longer one body. There are now two bodies; two people, to be considered. For this reason alone, proven by science, abortion should be made illegal.

Abortion is legally and morally wrong because the right to life, that is, the right to not be killed, undoubtedly supersedes the right of a woman to not be pregnant. Less than one percent of abortion procedures occur when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. In that case the doctor has two humans to save and must save whomever he can. In addition, to the fact that it is morally abhorrent to kill an innocent person, starting at just 8 weeks, an unborn child can feel pain. Those little cells can feel real, physical, pain. They can feel as the scissor-like tools are inserted into their head and their brains are snipped apart and sucked out through a small tube. They can feel as their limbs are torn off for extraction. After spending just one month in their mother’s womb, the child has all of its organs. Is this being still not worthy of life? To maintain basic human rights and moral decency in America, abortion must be made illegal.

Abortion must be abolished in America as it can be condemned for many of the same reasons as genocide and slavery. Anything that targets and eliminates a whole group of innocent human beings is morally abhorrent and stands deeply against American values. America stands for life, liberty, and justice for all, however the legalization of abortion makes these values impossible to uphold in our nation. How can one say his country stands for life, liberty, and justice when he refuses to extend those rights to every person, no matter what stage of life they may be in? Common words used to refer to the unborn baby are embryo, and fetus. These are indeed accurate terms as they are stages of the development of a human. However these are differences in development not differences in kind or personhood; a human fetus is still a child. The amount of children murdered is comparable to mass genocide, leaving the only just and truly American option to outlaw abortion.

Some say that in the case of dramatic unforeseen circumstances such as rape, abortion may be acceptable. They state that the woman might not be financially stable or is too young for a child. While these are indeed hard horrible circumstances and sensible claims, it does not at all change the fact that a life is at stake. To take a human life, without just cause, is murder. Since this is a living child, the hardships are irrelevant to the choice of whether a human being may live. Because both living bodies are people, they have equal rights as human beings and should have equal rights as American Citizens. For these reasons, the killing of an innocent being, even under such dire and wretched circumstances is not justifiable.

How many more innocent hearts will our nation allow to beat their last beat? An unborn child feels the pain of death. At the point of conception he is no longer a part of the mothers body, but his own person and thus entitled to his own rights. Abortion kills a living, innocent being, denies basic human rights to a person, and is equal in gruesome procedure and numerical importance to genocide. Therefore to uphold justice for all American citizens and to maintain the right to life for all individuals, regardless of age or development, abortion is never justifiable and must be deemed illegal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Dead Last

First off let me say that I do not really enjoy writing Narration.... But I had to for my English class so I thought I'd share with you all. :)

“That first day, she was walking! And now she’s going to Nationals…” Coach Roddy said as he encouraged another budding runner. To excel in a sport, career, or any endeavor in general it takes determination and hard work. It is not all beauty, medals, and crossing the finish line. There is much pain, training, and failure that first presents itself before success is even remotely visible. My freshman year of high school I decided to run track. I was not at all prepared for the training that lay ahead nor for the disappointments, failures, and challenges I would face. However, with these same challenges, came a deep motivation to push harder and be better that I will carry with me. I was able to overcome injuries and numerous obstacles and compete at a higher level than I dreamed possible. This is a story about failure, but ultimately about determination and success. It is about finishing dead last, and getting back up to do it again and again until finally you are no longer last.

When I first joined my school track team, I can vividly recall one early morning as I began a three-mile run. Three miles! I had never run for that long in my life. I was slow, tired, and could hardly breath. I just wanted to stop and walk the rest of the way, but my coach was running right beside me. Just leave and let me stop, I thought. Coach Roddy expected me to keep running. Willing my legs to keep moving I eventually finished those three miles and although extremely tired, I felt proud for finishing. Thus began my running career.

After that first track season Coach Roddy invited me to come run on his club team and compete in the summer so as not to loose valuable training. I decided to join, but knew because of our family situation I’d have to pay for it myself. I mowed lawns and babysat all summer to pay for the club and the meets. It was hard, but so rewarding. I went to many meets that summer and did not win a single one. I finished dead last or close almost every race. It was depressing at times, but I decided to use those losses to propel me forward. I would not go down without a fight.

In the fall as I began Cross Country I had painful shin splints. This is acute pain in the shin and lower leg caused by continuous running and not having enough muscle to handle it. My legs were too weak for what I was doing. I began doing specific exercises to strengthen those parts of my legs and feet, but refused to quit running. I often ran with my lower legs wrapped up to ease the pain and hobbled around like a penguin after finishing a run.

Soon my legs strengthened and I began gaining speed. The endurance I had built up from training on the off seasons was showing. As the next Track season rolled around, I began doing well at meets. I ran varsity at most meets and medaled at many. I was close to the top. I frequently trained with the guys as many of the girls could not keep up. I kept pushing to do better. I remember distinctly one afternoon practice in which we had a particularly hard workout. As I was coming around the corner of the track on my last lap I felt sick. I had a cramp that simply would not go away, but I knew that quitting was not an option. I tried so hard to get through the last hundred meters but the curdling food from several hours before simply would not stay in my stomach. I vomited into the grass. I wiped my mouth and finished the run. Never give up.

This past summer, going into my junior year, I competed in the Junior Olympics. This time I did not finish last, but it nevertheless was not easy. My competitors were devoted. They had all put blood, sweat, and tears into running just as I had. At the first qualifying meet I qualified in all of my events. The second qualifying meet narrowed it down a bit as I only qualified it in two events, but I won one. That is a feeling I cannot describe. Achieving something you have worked so hard for is so much better than simply receiving it. At the National Meet, which was the Junior Olympics, I placed 8th earning myself a place up on the medal stand. Success is hard. It comes with failures, and hardships. I will continue to race after my dreams, even if I come in dead last.