Monday, August 13, 2012

 I read  Scott's blog recently and found his post about gas prices really interesting. In his post he mentioned a possibility of switching to electric cars, and I focused mainly on that and expanded on it. Here is my comment.

  I agree with you that gas prices are increasing to gruesome amounts, but I do not think that a switch  to electric/alternative fueled cars would be a simple task. As you said above that any attempt is better than no attempt. Currently electric cars do not look so great, which is probably an incentive people do not buy them. Anyways Telsa Motors ( is making series of electric cars that actually look nice, and is appealing to the customers. This could soon help with the switch.
  Also the Government is trying to make incentives of electric cars, due to the problem you stated above. One of them is to give up to $7500 in tax credit for those who buy electric cars. Right now it is an ongoing situation.  Recently the funding Obama originally planned for the electric car companies severely decreased ( as of June 2nd. The article also says many companies that were/are planning to make electric cars either haven't made their first delivery yet, gone out of business, or stopped production. So far the switch over to electric cars is not going very smoothly, with a lot of bumps in the road (no pun intended). I am not saying there are currently no electric cars, but just not a majority, because there are currently electric cars.
  If we can make a successful switch to electric cars then we would not have to rely on the Middle East for gas as much, and people with these cars can avoid the high prices. This will diffidently take a while for a major switch and to break the monopoly, but for now most of our nation is stuck with having to use the expensive gas. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

In recent years Texas public schools have had major budget cuts, resulting in cutting staff members, reducing bus services, school programs not properly being funded and even some schools shutting down , such as Veterans' Hill Elementary. Last year my high school cut a lot of the staff, and hired 1/3 of them back, yet a number of them were gone due to budget cuts. Also the classroom sizes increased to about 35-40 kids in a classroom, from the previous 25-30. If Texas used some of the Rainy Day Fund to fund schools, all these changes the school makes will not occur and the education quality will increase as well. The state is an economic re balancing issue, but we can fix that without messing with the education funds.

Currently school districts get money from local property tax, but we can see through changes this is not sufficient enough in some places. Schools are doing these changes to save money, because they are not being funded enough. If the state used the Rainy Day Fund (Not sure how much, but enough to help education) we would not have to make all of these cuts, to save little amounts of money such as a Forth Worth school district cut $1.5 million by cutting buses for kids who lived 2 miles radius of the school, the superintendent said  “It’s buses or teachers, and we’re choosing teachers.” If the budget was used they would not have to choose between these two things. This not only affects students, but teachers as well.

In order to save money schools might let some teachers go, and this can be devastating. According to this article about 100,000 of the states 330,000 will not return this fall. It isn't what the school wants to do it is what the school has to do. This accommodates 3.8% of people statewide who lost their jobs this school year. This would literally raise the unemployment rate 3.8%, from  6.9% to 10.7%. This would mean Texas would have their unemployment rate 2.5% more then the national average of 8.2%. 

Once theses factors are covered by the state the schools can focus on the educational quality of their students rather than these harsh choices. Maybe this could then raise the state's rating in public education? Maybe we are focusing too much on other issues about schools rather than the education? Maybe we should use the Rainy Day Fund to fund schools?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I read Thomas Brown's blog about how UT shouldn't carry the top 10% rule anymore, and here is my response to his blog.

  I could not agree with you anymore. I believe UT should switch into a complete holistic review instead admitting by top 10%. I would like to point out that they changed it from top 10% to top 8% now by passing senate bill 175  ( Now that takes up 75% of admissions and only leaves 25% to be holistically admitted. When UT determines admissions,excluding top 8%, they look at GPA,extra-curricular, essays, leadership, and volunteer hours. I like your example you have, but I am going to take that a step further . Let's say that there is a person who was in the top 8%, and all he did was study and has no volunteer hours or extracurricular activities and he has a GPA of 3.4. Let's say there is another person in another school who has a GPA of 3.4 and is not in the top 8%, but he is president of debate, is in  varsity football, and has 72 volunteer hours. Same GPA, but different schools and different standards of top 8%. The first person would get admitted into UT while the second person might not. This is due to the fact that there is the top 8% percent rule, and it happens all the time. I have a friend who came from another school, there he was in the top 2% of his class, and when he came to my High school he had a difficult time with his classes, and fell to top 40%. When I confronted him about this, he said that my school was harder than his old one. If he had stayed there he most likely would have graduated in top 8% while people at my school would not have do to different difficulties and standards. This is an issue and UT should switch into a holistic review, from the old top 8% rule.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It is a fact that Austin, Texas is a rapidly growing city. According to the 2010 Census, Austin reached the 800,000 mark in population. It is also deemed 13h largest population in the U.S. With the ever expanding Austin it is about time that we expanded the metropolitan area. Expanding the metropolitan area will result in numbers of benefits to the economy, and to the people. Lets take Houston for example, they have a Downtown, Midtown, and an Uptown. This is reasonable because they have about 2 million people living there. If Austin expands its metropolitan area it can create a number of jobs, increase the population, and contribute to the economy.

First off by building new infrastructure, many companies and law firms would reach out a branch into Austin. When this happens many offices in a building will be up for lease and this is where the companies will move to Austin. This results in new jobs being created, and the plethora of students graduating from UT Austin each year don't have to move to another city such as Houston, Dallas, or Forth Worth for a job. There will be many occupations in need of workers right here. Also many people who might be unemployed can apply for a job in numerous places if we expand the area. Currently the unemployment rate in Austin is 5.4% which is 4% lower than the national average. This would most likely lower the unemployment rate as well. Not only would the jobs created bring workers from all around town, but from other cities as well thus increasing our population

Second when the metropolitan area increases, a number of living spaces will be present. With the population rising due to the number of jobs created, the area would also have to make new houses along with the office buildings to support all the people coming into town for work. Austin is already a diverse place, and with population growth it will become even more diverse. Then there will be a demand of certain buildings for certain religious affiliations. This would be covered as Austin develops and increases the metropolitan area.

Finally the economy will substantially rise. With the number of jobs and people increasing the more tax the city will receive. The tax revenue would go up because of taxes the people pay ranging from sales tax to taxes on there house. As private-sectors increase the more tax dollars flowing to the Government. So with the number of businesses growing the better the economy will be. 

Some places where more infrastructure can be built to increase the area is by 1431, and Parmer, near IKEA where there is a lot of empty land near there. If it is expanded it should be in North Austin. Downtown already has enough buildings and there is no room to build. If this occurs it could be a possible Uptown for Austin. If the metropolitan area expands maybe Austin will become an even bigger city, creating a number of jobs, increasing the population and helping the economy substantially. For all of these reasons Austin, Texas should increase the metropolitan area.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In the article "Analysis: With Cruz and Dewhurst, the loathing is personal " by Joe Holley he talks about the rising heat between candidates Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst who are seeking to be GOP choice to succeed the retiring U.S. Senator Hutchison. He explains what the candidates are attempting to achieve by throwing so much dirt on each other over the local media, and embeds quotes from the debate they recently had. The "madness" started when Cruz said that Dewhurst was throwing out false information over the media. Joe also writes that another great aspect of the debate was the two tried to show who is more conservative, talking about issues such as the 2nd amendment and the border patrol.

The author is trying to clear up some of the misconception we might have heard over the media, and the candidates view points so we can comprehend more. Although he is trying to stay neutral and not lean towards a certain side, we can see he favors Cruz. He demonstrates this when he uses a Ted Cruz quote he gave a hint of this by writing in a sympathetic manner for Cruz, and how he was accused of being unpatriotic. Then the author writes what Dewhurst's response to that was, and the author adds in that an audience member yelled out "not true." If he was attempting to be neutral he did not have to put that part in and could have left it out. Later in the article he writes that the audience favored Cruz. Coincidentally the person she interviewed at the end of the article happened to favor Cruz  This contradicts the point of the article to show who the candidates really are. If the author wanted to talk about Ted Cruz not lying that could have been a whole article by itself without the Dewhurst quotes and point of view and only adding the jabs made at Cruz, but that isn't the case. This means the author was trying to be equal, but did a poor job that. Atleast he tried. The author did use excellent evidence though to support the article. He used direct quotes from debate, and even and interview.

The audience he was aiming for was the average citizen who has seen these commercials of the candidates insulting each other. I have seen some commercials which have been sponsored David Dewhurst and him making some claims about Cruz, and they have been pretty harsh. There are about three or four different commercials making jabs at Cruz. I have only seen one commercial by Cruz. The audience the author writes to is people like me who have seen these commercials and do not know what is really going on. He did a sufficient job of clearing things up. I now understand more about this topic. Even though the article may be Cruz biased it is good enough to clear misconceptions up.

Friday, July 20, 2012

 "Want to Ride to Work With Strangers, North Texas? There Will Soon Be An App For That." is an article talking about an upcoming smartphone app by Eric Nicholson. He is an editor and was a one-time "America's Top Model" judge. In the article he talks about in efforts to be more green we already carpool with strangers, and soon there will be a smartphone app for that to help us. It also states the Government encourages carpooling with strangers to be more green. I disagree with the whole idea of carpooling with random people to help the environment. One thing I do agree with him is on what if the stranger might be a rapist, kidnapper or even a murderer? The missing person rate has increased from 150,000 in 1980 to 900,000 25 years later according to "Missing Persons Statistics and Facts" Also according to the numbers they have in "Want to Ride to Work With Strangers, North Texas? There Will Soon Be An App For That." states "NCTCOG launched a ride-sharing function on its website about 18 months ago that has led to 1,400 carpool matches between strangers" This is not a very big number,but  just off of the website we can tell that there is not a very big market for this, even if it is a free app. Yet the money to develop the app is coming form a Government grant. The app developers do not have any projections of how many people will even use the app. In my opinion the whole concept of riding with complete strangers is an awkward experience with little market for it. Even if people did use this app the impact it would have on the environment would be very little, and how can we trust a complete stranger to give free rides? We don't know if they are just that nice or have other incentives.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This article is talking about a new toll road, Texas 130, being built in Texas. It is interesting and worth reading because this a billion dollar project and has been under construction since 2009. The articles mainly focuses on how the dry weather and droughts in Texas cause cracks in 41 miles of the road which have totaled $30 million just to fix the cracks, and brings the total cost to $1.3 billion.  Luckily though this will not slow down the opening of the road.The opening date of the road will be announced in a about a month. They are also working very carefully on the road so that in the future they do not have fix later cracks and slow down traffic. This project also show that the road is most likely being built because it is estimated that the population of Texas is going to grow and that as a state we are advancing and need more infrastructure.