Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Discussing Immigration

Lately Immigration reform has in the national spotlight after Arizona passed its tough immigration enforcement law last week. The law will allow police to question anyone about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally, and the law makes it a state crime if they are.

The law takes effect in late July or early August, 90 days after the Arizona Legislature adjourns. But many say that the law is unconstitutional and unfair because it promotes racial profiling. Apparently it has been estimated that 440,000 illegal immigrants reside in the state of Arizona.

Many say this law just gives cops the right to profile people of Hispanic descent. And since roughly 30 percent of Arizona is Hispanic and about 80 percent of illegal immigrants are also Hispanic, many people say the law basically mandates that police engage in racial profiling and apprehending people based on their appearance rather than on any evidence that they may be in violation of the law.

Also amid the national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law, Republican Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James (and son of previous Gov. Fob James) vows in a new campaign ad that if he's elected, he'll give the state driver's license exam only in English, as a cost-saving measure.

"This is Alabama; we speak English," he says in the ad "If you want to live here, learn it." According to AOL News, exams are currently given in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.

Watch the ad here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Really Ok to Eat?

You see the commercials all the time now. Someone mentions that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you, and then someone else steps in to tell them that it's pretty much the same as sugar and that it's fine in moderation. But is what these commercials say really true? That's exactly what I tried to find out.

High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, is primarily any group of corn syrups that have been refined by converting its glucose into fructose and then mixed with pure corn syrup for its sweetness. HFCS is usually used as a sugar substitute in a variety of processed foods and beverages. But recently many people have been attributing HFCS as "a toxic chemical concoction" which is aiding in the US's obesity epidemic.

The truth is, high fructose corn syrup is cheaper to use and it is fine in moderation. But it's being used in almost everything we buy as consumers.

Recently the Corn Refiners Association has been trying to change the way people view HFCS with their commercials. Their message says that "it's made from corn, doesn't have artificial ingredients, and like sugar, it's fine in moderation." But according to the Consumer Report Health Blog, this message may actually be a little misleading.

The fact that it's made from corn is actually true, but it is a little misleading. It doesn't have any of corn's nutritional benefits, and it's actually chemically derived from corn. HFCS isn't really all natural, it is actually manmade and it uses the synthetic agent glutaraldehyde, but it is fine in moderation; it's not any healthier than sugar though.

The reports concerning that HFCS is actually the root of obesity is actually both true and not true. HFCS isn't the sole reason why the health of America has been flushed down the toilet, but it is part of the problem.

Because HFCS is added in almost everything we buy today, people end up consuming more than they think they are in the long run. I even checked the labels of all the food and beverages in my house and noticed HFCS in everything but my bottled water and my fresh fruit and vegetables. I was surprised to even see it in the label on my canned soup.

And when high fructose corn syrup is added almost anything that we buy, it becomes difficult to consume it in moderation. And because of this more people are attributing diseases like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease according to the Mayo Clinic.

It seems the only way to get around this dilemma is to buy organic, finding foods that don't have HFCS on the ingredient list (which is few but still in existence)and to avoid or limit eating foods with preservatives and consume more fruits and vegetables instead. And it won't kill you to eat foods with high fructose corn syrup in it, but just keep in mind eating too much of it can.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Puff and Pass This Law?

There is a political party centered on it, and hundreds of people using and selling it for medicinal purposes are campaigning for it. This year's coming statewide November election is now the year for the possible legalization of marijuana.

In 1996 California voters decided that marijuana could be used for medical purposes and since then fourteen other states have followed in our footsteps. And now, in what originally was intended to be for people suffering from serious afflictions like debilitating pain and terminal cancer, became a slow shift in the law towards legalization.

This November, if the proposition is passed, marijuana will be legalized for recreational use for those 21 years of age and older. The law will allow people to grow 25 square feet of the substance at their own residence, and if legalized, marijuana would be taxed providing extra revenue for the state.

"The Cannabis Act" is already causing a major uproar amongst law enforcement and clergy members all over California. Many law enforcement officials and clergy members are voicing their opinions against the proposition saying that the if marijuana is legalized, there will be a lot more kids dropping out of school and getting into "harder drugs" like cocaine or methamphetamine since marijuana is already deemed "the gateway drug".

I would have to say that marijuana becomes more of a problem because it's so taboo, and knowing that the drug has had many reported health benefits, cannabis is becoming something that a lot of people are willing to decriminalize.

But many dispensary owners, the people who use it for medicinal purposes and other like minded people who also see the controlled substance as a health benefit, see the act as part of the solution to help California's large deficit. And many cannabis act supporters are spending millions of dollars for the campaign one of whom, a dispensary owner in Oakland is spending $20 million for ads.

This year is definitely an important time for people who have been trying to legalize the drug's recreational use for 35 years. They believe that cannabis does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure which is shown to be effective for treating glaucoma, as well as a pain reliever. Less confirmed individual studies also have been conducted indicating cannabis is beneficial in a variety of conditions including Multiple sclerosis and depression according to the NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

They also believe that allowing the drug to be used recreationally will benefit California immensely. With the budget problem consists of a $6.3 billion projected deficit for 2009–10 and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2010–11, according to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, any new source of funding will be helpful.

According to NORML, in 1980 there were 401,982 total marijuana arrests in the Unites States. That number is only extremely increasing with numbers doubling to 872,720 last year in 2007. Many people believe that by decriminalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes it will help relieve some of the pile up in the prisons and that tax payers will have to pay a less amount to keep people in prison.

It's really crazy how the money spent on keeping those people in prison who were arrested on the possession, use or sale of marijuana could be used on our schools. Programs and classes have already been cut here at my school, Cal Poly Pomona, and at other CSU's and UC's all over California. It just makes sense to go ahead and decriminalize marijuana.

And with California in so much debt and not that many options to choose from, maybe taxing cannabis and letting the pot smokers come out and smoke freely isn't such a bad idea.