Monday, April 14, 2008

The Economic Scale

I had another admirer leave a comment on my last blog, and it got my mind moving once again. This person claims that our fate is in the hands of the wealthiest 1% of Americans and that the economy's decline is their fault. That's about all you need to know of what was said, in case you don't want to go back and read it yourself.

The economy is obviously a very delicate thing. There's a way it can succeed and thrive, and about 10 million different ways that it can fail. This doesn't mean it's necessarily difficult to keep it going, it just means it's less likely for people to catch on and understand why it's falling to begin with. Since it is in fact so delicate, it requires a very special balance to run properly. Let's look at this balance as we would view a scale. On the right, you have the word "Economy" in big, bold letters. On the left, you have all our country's sources of income and all of it's products and services. If it's involved in the flow of money, it's on the left. The only thing unique about our scale is that it doesn't necessarily have to sit level. On our scale, the "Economy" side can sit at the top and that's just fine. "Economy," by the way, represents all the people.

The "humanitarians" have many common targets on this subject, but to keep things simple I'm going to use Wal-Mart for an example. Who hasn't heard the "bring down Wal-Mart" chant? This chant has one goal: to obliterate Wal-Mart simply because they don't like it. Let's look at our scale. Wal-Mart is a big company. They take up quite a bit of room on that scale. To simply pull Wal-Mart suddenly from the left side of our scale would be to let the right side, meaning all of us, sink. Why? To get rid of them so suddenly would mean an instantaneous loss of thousands of jobs and also bring production of countless products to halt. However, if you were to simply take your money elsewhere, you'd take part in a gradual shift from Wal-Mart to, say, Target. If everybody went to Target instead, all that "weight" placed by Wal-Mart would transfer rather than simply disappearing. Target builds more stores and, as they notice that Wal-Mart is only still there because they provide X service or Y product, they expand their services to take over completely. This balance is the beauty of Capitalism. This way, the company that wins is the company that provides the best products and service.

Wal-Mart's continued success is proof that plenty of people out there still see fit to shop there. That being said, it's time to drop it. That goes for every other company out there.

The response I received stating that control was all in the hands of the wealthiest 1% wasn't entirely false. There are indeed plenty of wealthy people shifting the laws to their advantage with political pull. If Sam Walton had stood behind and funded this or that politician, said politician would be sure to slip a subclause into a law somewhere that shifted the law to favor Mr. Walton over everybody else. And yes, this is in fact a very malicious practice. It too unfairly upsets the balance of our scale. It knocks out the competition by sheer force as opposed to the gradual shift.

Ultimately, however, this is not entirely the fault of the rich. Who's more evil, in the end? Is it the man who pulls the trigger or the man who let's the gun-man in? That second person is, in fact, the rest of society. It is every single individual person out there. Think about it honestly: could 1% of the population REALLY beat the other 99% if we didn't let them? They're winning by default. These people are getting their way because nobody is stopping them.

The absolute only thing speaking in any way in favor of us, the 99%, is that there's not a whole lot of leadership out there trying to actually call specific attention to these practices. Politicians thrive on it, so why should they genuinely try to stop it? The ones you could count on are the ones to don't have quite as much available for the ridiculous amounts of advertising. Candidates like my personal favorite, Ron Paul, focus more on restoring our laws to protect everybody equally than on how to bend the laws in order to get more support. Sadly, this is also why Ron Paul is so far behind. I don't know about the majority of the country, but I know in my community his name is almost completely unknown. This is where the blame comes back down on every individual in society. It's YOUR job to go out an learn about your potential president. It's not up to the TV ads to tell you everything. They just tell you what they think you want to hear. If you want to make a truly informed decision, you have to do some research for yourself.

This same apathy applies in other ways to the economic scale. What do you do for a living? Are you in a union? I'd bet that the VAST majority of you say, "No, I don't belong to a union." Why did unions start exactly? Back before minimum wage, people fought for their worth. If a company paid well, they kept reliable employees who strove to provide a great service for their company in exchange for a nice pay check. companies that didn't pay well wasted countless dollars training employee after employee to do the simplest of jobs because they thought it'd save them a few bucks to drop the wages down to nearly nothing. This, mind you, is still largely true today. However, the practice of fighting for your own worth wasn't always safe. People who went on strike because they didn't feel they were being properly rewarded for their work often lost their jobs. Unions played their hand in protecting jobs while workers were on strike. Somewhere along the way, however, people decided instead that it should be the Government's job to decide how much we make, and minimum wage was introduced.

Now, do you go out every day ready to work hard and try to provide a great service for a just pay check? Or do you do as I have done entirely too often and just take what the company gives you? Pay is distributed no longer by value or ability, but instead by the "politically correct" system of seniority. Now, the only way to make money is to stay put for a long period of time. This also has an adverse affect on the company. Who wants to go and put out decent work when they're not going to make any more money than the next guy who does half as much?

I realize there's a chance that this all seems incredibly scattered at this point, so to bring it together: our economy is on an obvious decline, and most people find it very easy to blame the minority of people for this. Unfortunately, when two sides are actually both FIGHTING for something, it's the majority that wins. This means that the fault lies not on a few rich people, but on EVERY PERSON LIVING AND WORKING IN THIS COUNTRY. If you're in the rich, there's a good chance that you don't recognize employees based on actual value but rather based on politically correct standards such as race, sex, or seniority. So what if your staff is all one race or all one sex, so long as they're all hard workers capable of doing the job you ask of them to it's fullest extent? If you're in the middle to low class, then your blame lies on your apathy. Either you have the leadership present around you to get out and fight for what you're worth, or you're too apathetic to stand out and become that leadership. It's a journey I've just begun on, but in just a couple of short months I've begun to lose count of the number of people I've converted to the views of Capitalism and, of course, of rationality. The latter is incredibly important because with that behind you, the rest practically works itself out.

Ultimately, if this country is to save itself, it has to start with individuals. Individuals have to step up and be worth something, then demand exactly what they're worth in return. Along the way, or political structure needs to be restructured to do what the government is in fact supposed to do: protect our assets. It is the government's Constitutional duty to protect us and our possessions equally. Nothing more. Not provide health care for everybody, not to provide welfare for everybody. They're supposed to GIVE nothing, only protect. The rest is up to you. It worked through the industrial revolution, just as it could work now if only people would be willing to actually put in a little effort.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Let the Poor Murderer Go! Can't You See He's Black?

According to the January, 2008 issue of Wired magazine, Tony Frudakis can narrow down a suspect by race using DNA samples. In Baton Rouge, it says, various law enforcement agencies were searching for a "white man who drives a white pickup" based witness reports. After over 1,000 failed DNA tests on white males, they gave Tony Frudakis a chance to prove his technology. They gave him 20 swabs for test runs to see how accurately he could predict race, and he got every single one correct. He did, in fact, manage to turn up results that led to the capture of a BLACK serial killer, not a white one.

The comments of a prosecutor over one of these Baton Rouge murder cases sum up why Tony Frudakis might not be in the business much longer. He said, "If I could push a button and make this technology disappear, I would." Apparently, he likes to believe we all "bleed the same blood."

It's a matter, of course, of being politically correct. This is the worst epidemic spreading through our time. Or rather, part of. The root of the epidemic is simply ignorance. People choose who they vote for based dominantly on party alone. I've been in discussion with people about Ron Paul, and though they agree with all the stands I promote, they say they wouldn't vote for him because they "don't know enough about him." No, let's not use this as an excuse to do a little RESEARCH, just don't vote for him. Makes more sense, doesn't it? People can't stand to "waste" time on research. Then there was all that business with shock jocks getting laid off for being "offensive." If somebody hears a shock-jock on the radio that offends them, they can't just change the station and avoid listening to him, they have to gather to have him fired by their will alone rather than by ratings. If nobody wanted to hear him, they'd tune him out until the radio station decided he was hurting their ratings and found somebody else.

Sure, Frudakis' test costs over $1,000 dollars to run, but don't people place a greater value on human life than money? My stand, personally, rests a little more in the realm of taking responsibility for your actions. If you feel so justified in your actions that you would take a persons life, stand trial and prove to us that you can justify murder. If not, either don't do it or face the consequences. Not only that, but how much money do law enforcement agencies waste searching for the wrong suspects in the first place? As I said, they swabbed over 1,000 white males, and unless their version of a DNA test runs at a dollar a test, they really ought to just suck it up and go for the gold right off the bat.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Atlas Will Shrug

Between an anonymous antagonist and an article I was reading just recently, I couldn't help but go back to battery power once again. My antagonist tells me that anybody in support of battery power as a primary "fuel" source is foolish and doesn't know what a car is supposed to do. He/she tells me that batteries are way too much of a hassle. I mean, of COURSE a car should continue to burn away precious and limited resources.

As I replied to my antagonist, of course an electric vehicle couldn't possibly do everything that we can do with a combustion engine. But, who really needs the same amount of horsepower it takes to tow our boats and trailers on a day-to-day basis? Many of these diesel truck owners already rely on more fuel efficient cars for everyday business, however, and that's where the electric system comes it.

As for his/her remark about "who really likes using batteries?" or something to that extent, who wouldn't favor batteries in light of how much money they save? If there's one reliable fact in society right now, it's that the general population likes money. Who can blame 'em?

This bizarre hostility to the whole "green solutions" ideal is everywhere. A lot of people lose interest when I start going off on a Green tangent. They usually either don't care or are openly against it, though when I try to find out why, I get "I just don't know enough about it." Since when is this an excuse? I also get this response, interestingly though completely unrelated, when I talk about voting for Ron Paul ;)

I've been reading a book lately that, as far as I've gotten, discusses this attitude people have. It's called "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. Brief explanation of the 1/5 or so I've read:

Taggart Transcontinental is the leading railroad system in the nation. It's officially run by James Taggart, though all the real work and planning is usually accomplished by his sister and Vice President Dagny Taggart. Their most important line is suffering and must be fixed in less than a year, and the necessary rebuild is not happening with James in charge. He's relying on an "old friend" for steel, and this old friend is not delivering. So, Dagny bets it all on an up-and-coming revolutionary in the steel industry, Henry Rearden, who's invented a metal much stronger and much lighter than conventional steel.

So far, this story mirrors the current energy situation. There's a very clear problem: oil is limited and we need to find a way to break away from it now before we just run clean out and the world's economy crashes. There are actually several "Rearden metals" out there right now. Just pick up any recent issue of Popular Science and I'm sure you'll see at least one new proposal for an energy source of some kind. Many of them promise to be much more efficient than oil and at a fraction the cost.

How did the people react to Rearden metal in the story? With hostility. Rearden's accomplishment was seen as nothing more than greed and corruption. They started making and relying on false claims about his metal. They said that it would fail. The bridges would collapse and the rails wouldn't hold. They based these opinions on no actual scientific research. So, as my antagonist tries to tear apart my beloved dream of an electric society, I'd like to counter with only a small amount of research that shows that no invention is perfect the first time. Sure, the original EV-1 only drove 30 or so miles. What was the first combustion engine capable of? The later electric cars were starting to show potential 300 mile limits with lithium-ion batteries. So, let those few who want to put their faith in the car do so. There was already a greater demand than there was a supply for electric cars. In the face of such demand, innovations and improvements are sure to take place. Thankfully, other technologies (such as laptop computers) give us reason to continue to improve battery life so hopefully one day soon the electric car will come back.

The research I mentioned led me to an article about a group from Stanford who have increased the capacity of lithium-ion batteries tenfold. How about that? Could you stand a car that was only capable of driving 3,000 miles on a charge? I believe I've already mentioned Toshiba's SCiB batteries that charge 90% of the way in just 5 minutes as well, haven't I? If not, now you know.

People fight alternatives to the lifestyle they're used to living all the time, but why? Is this ridiculous fear of change really worth relying on a limited resource until it runs out and not having a back-up plan ready? The biggest problem is that people don't know what's going on around them. That, and they're afraid to put their hopes into one particular solution. They just think, "Sure, electric cars are a great dream, but the combustion engine already works. Why change it?" Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to practice other ideas. Times like now. Why are people content to wait for the oil to actually run out to solve the problem? It will be WAY too late by then. Our society will face a devastation that nobody could possibly imagine or predict. You can't just bring the world to a screeching halt and expect everything to be okay anyway.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get Organized, America

Perusing a few of my favorite websites and feeds for a worthy topic, I came across Just a Girl in Short Shorts Talking About Whatever - Fed Throws Up Hands & Wall Street Runs. In response I originally intended to leave a comment, but as usual I got carried away in my writing and decided it was becoming too long to just be a comment.

What my thoughts centralized around was that so few people even know what's going on outside the sphere of their own personal lives. I've been out of high school for half over two years and I'm starting to realize that this "world" or "society" that we all talked about in class was not quite the same as discussing Les Miserable or, unbearably boring as it was, The Scarlet Letter. No, this world around me has come into focus a substantial amount recently. Now, especially as the elections near and I actually take part in selecting a candidate to throw all of my support to (Ron Paul), I realize that what we need to do is maybe "cater" a little bit to people like my former self by taking part in the effort to spread truth and information in such a way that most people can come to understand.

People allow themselves to be blinded to things around them in favor of living out their own lives in ignorant bliss, or say they have too many problems in their own life to worry about it. Either way, it's irresponsible because it's enabling some pretty horrible things to come to be that our descendants will have to deal with. Though the economy is considered a pressing issue for this coming election, nobody really cares to talk about it. They'd rather watch news about celebrity gossip and tips for a healthier lifestyle that they're never going to follow. Never mind the fact that our economy is running out of anything useful to produce. Instead of some major export that does anybody any good, 70% of our economy is run by people buying lots of "toys" and other useless junk. Where does that leave us when the economy crashes? When jobs are scarce and pay cuts incurred around the nation, who's going to buy all of this garbage?

Many people realize that an out-sourced factory means that there are fewer jobs here in America. They may even take into account that this means we are sending these foreigners our money as well to provide the labor. What they don't realize is that every product we stop making here contributes to the increasing possibility that the US just might not last forever. When the economy's down and nobody's out spending the money we need to support our own country, what will we have to recover? If we had some major exports being made here, some products that were actually MANUFACTURED HERE and, maybe for a change, WORTH BUYING then we'd be able to buckle down, make some budget cuts (personally and nationally) and just focus on bringing the money in. Instead, things will probably just get exponentially worse.

The newer Bankruptcy laws are not helping like expected either. It seems as though expecting a person to pay back the loans and credit within five years is a just thing to do. It probably means lower payments then they'd already have. However, many people in this position got their homes at a low adjustable rate. These rates will definitely go up a lot in a very short time here. When these rates go up, it becomes less and less reasonable for a person to keep paying on their homes, their cars, AND their payments arranged when they filed for Bankruptcy. All in all, expect a lot of forclosures over the year 2008, and remember that each one of those is costing society money.

Then what about the oil that, as I've mentioned before, we could've been weening ourselves off of already for a few years? Prices are only going to go up, and that's more money flowing OUT of the country instead of IN. Instead of buying their oil, they could've been buying GM's EV1 models or a similar American product that actually held any value. Don't get me wrong though, it would definitely take a lot more than one product or one company.

As I write this, the national debt is at $9,173,759,902,852. Broken down, that means that each of us is essentially worth -$30,179.93. With everything that we don't make here, that number gets worse. Every barrel of oil we buy, every dollar we spend at war OVER THIS OIL THAT WE SHOULD ALREADY BE BREAKING FREE OF is another dollar/barrel closer to, quite possibly, the self-destruction of our nation.

At Immigration Counters, you can watch in real time the costs of illegals in our country. It's almost as scary to watch how quickly these numbers climb as it is to watch our debt climb. It's changing as I go so these numbers will in fact be MUCH different by the time anyone reads this, but here are some figures:

21,259,292 illegal immigrants in the US

$43,892,613,000+ wired to Mexico since 2006

$345,856,200,000+ wired to Latin America since 2001

$397,483,935,830 spent on social services for illegals

$14,913,529,435 spent on illegal children K-12

$1,485,070,305 spent on incarcerating illegals since 2001

10,268,034 jobs held by illegals here

To those humanitarians out there who think these people are no burden and deserve to be here as much as we do, here's some proof that they are in fact a huge burden. True, they deserve as good a life as the next guy, but not at the next guy's expense. Look at how they gather here in our country to fight for their "rights." If they gathered like that in their own countries, they could bring about some major reform. But, then, so could we to our own country if people learned to gather and fight in groups for the changes that need to happen.

That, to me, is the biggest problem. All of these issues would be irrelevant if people weren't so apathetic. Maybe apathetic is the wrong word. Many people care, they just don't prioritize the needs of the many above their own. I understand this in a lot of ways. Working as the factory worker under strict attendance policy, I wouldn't have left work for a rally to fight illegals or save the electric car at the risk of being unable to feed my wife, and soon my own child. The people who win and who make reforms are the people who can gather the largest organization of people. That's supposed to be one of the most important principles in America. Majority rules.

If you, like myself, come away from this blog with that "gotta get out and do something" feeling, go join an organization that shares your most passionate issues. For example, I'm a strong supporter of home schooling becuase I feel the education system of today is inadequate. People aren't honestly getting any smarter than they were before. If anything, the opposite is happening. I was watching "A Christmas Story" with my wife today, and I was blown away by the way Ralph's teacher was able to talk to the kids. Now, teachers talk down to the kids like they're all perpetually two years old. As a result, your average high school graduate speaks no better now than (s)he did by the end of elementary. I myself remember feeling like I was taking the EXACT SAME English class every year from seventh grade on. So, I got online and did a search for "Utah homeschool organization." From result #1 I'm off to a good start, Homeschool World: Utah Homeschool Organizations and Support Groups. Now, say I join and X proposal comes up threatening to take away my right to homeschool my children. If I belong to an organization, I have a good source to turn to to gather in large numbers and fight it. If I don't belong to an organization, I probably just sit there staring at the headline shaking my head and thinking, "Well that sucks."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Some More "Green" Power

As much as I enjoyed the political environment of my Government class in High School, I've always been more for the progression of science as an answer to society's problems, and what frustrates me on this topic in particular is that the science is OUT THERE now.

Technology #1: The Electric Car. Also read the Follow-Up to My Electric Car Post.

Technology #2: Solar Power. Coal power costs around $1 per watt. Your typical solar cell costs $3 per watt. Now, however, Nanosolar has created solar "panels" that are actually a thin coating that you lay on any sun-exposed surface. The grand total here: 30 cents per watt by eliminating many of the wasteful components in the production process. It's as easy as printing out a big roll of clean energy. Now imagine that your electric car charging station was run on this. That, or your house.

Technology #3: Wind power. Not the strongest source, no, but not something to rule out either. Current wind turbines have too much friction in the gearbox and other components. Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old California inventor, came up with the "Windbelt." Instead of a huge mill spinning around, it uses a membrane fitted with magnets that vibrates in the wind, causing the magnets to oscillate between the metal coils. The device is currently around 20 times as efficient as the windmills we use currently.

With these technologies combined, I can't see how we'd ever have an energy crisis again. The only reason these things haven't come into effect at all is because of profits. Companies see a HUGE loss in profits by developing energy sources that virtually sustain themselves and have so few components.

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Trimester Bleeding

In honor of the uninformed, like myself (on this occasion), I'm going to spare anybody out there who just found out she was pregnant some potential trauma. To set the scene properly for just what an impact this had on us today, I'll mention that my wife had a miscarriage about a year ago. Today, less than a week after we found out she was pregnant again, we thought we had a repeat on our hands. She went into the bathroom and found she had a very small amount of bleeding going on. She mentioned having heard of something called First Trimester Bleeding, but didn't seem to believe that could be it. I'd never heard of it, and I assumed by her lack of confidence in it she didn't know as much about it as she (or I, really) should. I Googled it, and found some information.

Many women find within the first 12 or so weeks that they will bleed, and it does not by any means suggest that you are for sure going to miscarry. It should still be discussed with your doctor because it COULD happen, but it seems that doctors usually find the source of the problem to be safe and fixable. A lot of times, some of the cells at the mouth of the cervix cause the bleeding because of intercourse. This area's a bit sensitive, it seems. It could also be the result of infections, including anything from a yeast infection to an STD. Though, husbands/boyfriends/lovers out there, this doesn't mean she's been out cheating on you. Some of the potential infections behind this could in fact have been "dormant" in there for some time.

So, it's definitely something you should mention to your doctor because even if it is something that could prove malicious to your baby, he just may be able to get the problem out of there before it does any harm.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Follow-Up to My Electric Car Post

I'd also like to note that beyond the horrible actions of General Motors to prevent the electric car from ever having a chance, certain California legislations also allowed it to happen. I've just stumbled upon an outlook on how the federal government should handle the protection of the environment and thus encourage the production of such cars, taken straight from Ron Paul's web page Ron Paul on The Environment:

"In a free market, no one is allowed to pollute his neighbor's land, air, or water. If your property is being damaged, you have every right to sue the polluter, and government should protect that right. After paying damages, the polluter's production and sale costs rise, making it unprofitable to continue doing business the same way. Currently, preemptive regulations and pay-to-pollute schemes favor those wealthy enough to perform the regulatory tap dance, while those who own the polluted land rarely receive a quick or just resolution to their problems."

The California legislation that first led to the development of a pretty good variety of electric cars from several different manufacturers stated that if a manufacturer wished to continue selling cars in California X% of their cars must be zero-emission vehicles. That "X" value was meant to steadily climb over the years and would've been incredibly helpful in changing the way society drives and breaking us of oil if California hadn't caved to the car-makers and taken down the law.

What if it were suddenly in the hands of the people, as it should be? If you could make the case that this manufacturer or that was polluting your land and impeding on your ability to function outside the confines of your own home, you could sue them. Fear of this might just have the power to bring back the electric car. I'm not typically in support of the ridiculous law suits we have today, but to bring an end to people fighting and dying for a waning resource, I'd say it's worth it. If the Federal Government was able to sue California for the zero-emission laws, we too should be given the power and government aid to sue those responsible for smog alert days that keep us trapped indoors.

Who Killed the Electric Car?

I highly recommend that everybody watch the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car?" The fact that anybody can be as corrupt as those responsible for the destruction of the EV1 and other electric cars is sickening. We had in the EV1 and electric car that, if given the best batteries of it's time (NiMH), could've made up to 140 miles per charge. If this model had not been obliterated and were given the lithium ion batteries of today, as demonstrated by Alan Cocconi in the T-zero, it could have made 300 miles per charge.

The following rant has a few "spoilers" as far as information contained in the documentary, so if you don't want to watch it but want the gist of it, read on. If you're going to watch it, then just go do it now. If you have digital cable it's On Demand as of my writing this under Premium Channels, then Encore.

To everyone out there: boycott General Motors, and don't put all your faith in this hope of hydrogen fuel cells. They're not going to be all they're cracked up to be. Once the trillion or so known barrels worth of oil out there in the world are gone, gas companies will then become providers of all the hydrogen we would fill our cars with, and then what? prices would be just as bad as gasoline. The costs of building the fueling infrastructure would be insane. As for the electric car, it would be next to nothing in comparison. Your work-place could provide a simple plug-in in the parking lot, and various charging station/parking lots would spring up allowing even further mileage per charge. Many of these could be powered by all the wind and solar power, and even those that were still powered by coal power plants and others would be better than the oil we depend on now.

People die every day for this oil that's just going to run out anyway. Why, when we already have an alternative that would satisfy most needs of everybody? let's even suppose you DO need to go beyond the range of your electric car, if we had a few models of hybrids out there, we'd probably have plenty of domestic oil to meet those needs for quite some time until further developments of battery technology and solar panels allow the car to run as long as you can.

Why did this car disappear you ask? Think of all the components present in your combustion engine right now. Car manufacturers would no longer profit from installing each and every one of those components. Then, think of how many of those components will be replaced throughout the life of the car. The electric car requires only a tire rotation and wiper fluid every 5000 miles. Nothing more.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Baby Grace

In Texas, two parents were put in jail on charges of beating their 2-year-old daughter to death for refusing to say "please" and "yes sir." Baby Grace is the name being currently used while police identify the body found on and uninhabited island in Galveston's West Bay. It is expected by police and a woman named Sheryl Sawyers that the child was in fact Riley Ann Sawyers (Sheryl Sawyers' granddaughter). Sheryl recognized artist sketches on the news when the body was found and tipped police.

The mother, Kimberly Trenor (19) was living with her husband in Texas. Her husband, Royce Zeigler (24), had ordered that the child be spanked with a belt for not acting the way he expected. Trenor complied with this but Riley still wasn't following his rules. Zeigler then took it upon himself to further punish the child.

Riley's parents are currently in jail on pending charges of tampering with evidence and injury of a child. Their bail is $350,000. Bail should not be an option for these people. They should be put through the full extent of their sentence, when the sentence actually comes. I expect it should turn out to be a clear-cut case. From what I understand, Trenor is admitting to beating Riley with a belt and holding her head under water as punishment, then helping to hide the body when she died. I don't think that Zeigler has come out and confessed any involvement. I know they initially claimed that Child Protective Services had taken Riley and provided false documentation for support.

Zeigler's lawyer has said that Trenor's story did not quite fit. "She is placing all the blame on Royce, but I think that once the facts come to light, once the timeline's established and the evidence is combed through ... I think her credibility is gonna become a big issue."

I read the affidavit and Trenor's statements, which held all of the information pertaining to the death of Baby Grace. On October 29, a plastic box containing 3 black plastic bags had washed up, and the police were called to inspect its contents. When Sgt. Michael Barry arrived, he found a child's body in the bags. The cause of death was three fractures in the skull. On July 24, Zeigler had taken the day off to try to get Riley "under control." When belt whipping and holding her head under water wasn't getting him the results he wanted, Trenor says he proceeded to lift Riley by her hair and throw her across the room. This caused Riley to hit her head on the tile floor.

In Trenor's statement, she said she suggested they call an ambulence, but Zeigler feared repercussions and instead gave Riley over-the-counter pain killers. Riley, however, stopped breathing. They both went out and bought the plastic container, concrete mix, shovels, and some other supplies. The body was not thrown straight into the Galveston Causeway, but kept first in a storage unit for two months or so.

"Baby Grace" was the name given to the body during DNA testing on October 31, then on November 7 Zeigler's mother reported to police that the sketches she'd seen on TV might have been her granddaughter, who she had not seen in months.

I find myself a lot more disturbed reading about stories involving child abuse than probably any other subject. The act of hurting a child in some way is something that I can never wrap my head around. I realize that people who do such things are messed up in a lot of ways, and I recognize that as being why I can't imagine wanting to ever bring a little kid into harm's way. I read another story where a mother in Texas tried to burn her children to death, and she received a life sentence. I feel that this is an appropriate sentence not so much for the sake of what an abuser "deserves" to go through so much as to protect other children from potential harm. Since it takes a disturbed person to hurt a child, who's to say when it's appropriate to let the person be around their own or anybody else's children? Who knows what could trigger them to hurt somebody, regardless of the kind of therapy they go through? I hate to be so absolute about most issues, but I don't know of anything that can damage a human being more than abusing them as a child.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mike Judge Success

I watched Idiocracy today, and as I've mentioned education a few times already it should be no surprise I loved the movie. As I feel people are already a lot like the movie shows the future, I'm only more convinced that home schooling will be the only way for me.

For those unaware, Idiocracy (starring Luke Wilson) is about an average guy in the military who's task is to be put to sleep for a year to test some new hibernation chambers made to preserve valuable soldiers for when America needs them most. Disaster strikes (of course) so he wakes up 500 years in the future. While he was asleep, the intelligent people of the world all waited to have children until they could no longer reproduce whereas the, we'll call them "less intelligent," have reproduced like rabbits. As a result, the future is not the society of sophisticated and hyper-intelligent people that your normal sci-fi movies depict.

So, if you like movies that make you feel like you're not the only one out there who's sick of how stupid people around you can be, this is definitely a must-see.