Archive for March, 2008

What Is Wrong With Home-Schooling?

 If you haven’t heard, a high court in the State of California has ruled that parents who home-school their children are violating the law. The court stated that parents must have their kids enrolled in public schools until they are 18 years of age. As you can imagine, this has angered parents, politicians, and conservative advocates.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on March 8, 2008, that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger adamantly disagreed with the courts ruling. “Every California child deserves a quality education, and parents should have the right to decide what’s best for their children,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

I say amen to that and commend the Governor for taking such a strong stance in support of parents. In this day of increased regulation, taxation and continued government intrusion into our personal lives, this one really tops the lot! When the government starts telling us how to raise our children, it is a clear sign that we have an out of control institution. I was speaking with a mother today who explained to me that exposing her children to some of the ills of the public school system was not what she wanted for her children. This is very understandable in a day and age when shootings, knifings, and physical attacks at schools are at an all time high.

Is it any wonder that nationwide test scores continue to decline and the United States still ranks extremely low educationally when compared to Asian and European students. The Department of Education is a failed wing of our out of control bureaucracy that has no real plan to improve the education of our children. School districts across the country are under-funded, teachers are treated like second-rate babysitters, and accountability is a word reserved for the dictionary; not school administrators.

So my final analysis leads me to believe that those parents who wish to home-school their children are indeed doing them a great service. Not all teachers are bad and I commend those who choose to practice the profession-in fact, I myself had explored teaching and maybe someday I will. However, the world we live in today is one that presents challenges that our children shouldn’t have to face. If a parent chooses to not expose their children to many of the tribulations our society has to offer, we should support them, not condemn them.

Sunday, March 30th, 2008 Government No Comments

What is Tao Te Ching?

This was the question I asked myself when I was walking through the bookstore a few weeks ago. I stumbled across a few books with “Tao Te Ching in the title and just had to find out what it was. I grabbed a few books off the shelf and started skimming them to see if it would be something of interest. After a few pages I quickly realized that it was something I would truly be interested in learning more about.

I bought a book called “The Tao of Daily Life”, by Derek Lin. While there were about a half-dozen books that I wanted to get I settled on this one because it appeared to be an easy read. It’s a paperback, just over a few hundred pages long and has a personal touch. Mr. Lin takes the ancient teachings of the Tao and includes stories that we can relate to our daily lives.

The English translation of Tao Te Ching as referenced on wikipedia.org is, “The Scripture/Classic/Canon of the Way/Path and the Power/Virtue”. While there are a few other translations, the basic meaning is as referenced. Explaining the Tao would take a very long time and would be a long history lesson. The Tao is ancient Chinese history, and dates back many millennia. The Tao is extremely inspirational and teaches those who choose to understand it, how they can better understand life and their existence on earth.

I have often thought to myself, what am I doing here on this earth? What is my purpose in life and how can I be a better person? What steps can I take to deal with daily life in a more positive and effective manner? Well the Tao teaches these very things and Derek Lin helps to relate the Tao to our daily lives. This book is an inspirational piece of literature and truly draws the reader into the teachings.

It is my goal to apply some of the teachings in this book to my daily life. It’s philosophical in nature and like any self-help book takes time to apply the principles. Our daily habits and thoughts are not changed overnight, so if you read the book like I did and expect instant change in your behavior and attitude, that’s just not going to happen. I recommend using this book as a reference material, reading a passage or two every day to remind you of daily principles to apply throughout your day. I can assure you that if you choose to study the Tao, it will be rewarding, adventurous and fulfilling. If you’re just starting out buying a book on the Tao, I highly recommend starting out with Derek Lin’s, “The Tao of Daily Life”.

Nathan Taylor

Friday, March 14th, 2008 Human Interest No Comments

“Death to the Environment”

 This was the term used today when I interviewed Cecil Garland “Death to the Environment”. Cecil is a rancher in Utah and has been featured in many articles over the years discussing the impact a large-scale water pipeline would have on rural Nevada communities. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is working to get final approval to build an over $2 billion dollar pipeline to deliver water from rural counties to the residents of Las Vegas, NV. It is no surprise that one of the world’s fastest growing cities that happens to sit in the desert is running short on water.

Las Vegas was never expected to grow to the size that it is today with well over 2 million residents. The region that Las Vegas sets in and surrounding areas as Cecil Garland says, “is the driest in the world”. “Desert growth cannot continue at this rate and the water issues impacting the area are on a collision course with the environment”, says Garland.

One of the most pressing issues to individuals like Cecil Garland is the effects this pipeline would have on local ranchers who rely on the desert lands and its water to irrigate their crops and feed their livestock. So what is the alternative to building a 250 mile $2 billion dollar public works project?

The alternative is using “Desalination Technology” that has been around since the early 1950’s. General Electric reports that, “The world’s water consumption rate is doubling every 20 years, outpacing by two times the rate of population growth. It is projected that by the year 2025 water demand will exceed supply by 56%, due to persistent regional droughts, shifting of the population to urban coastal cities, and water needed for industrial growth. The supply of fresh water is on the decrease. Water demand for food, industry and people is on the rise.”

So what does this all really mean? It means that there is a valid and substantive alternative to building this proposed pipeline. GE reports that oceans make up 97% of the worlds water supply. Having said that, with desalination technology we could in essence use this abundant source of water to sustain growing desert communities such as Las Vegas. The opponents of this technology as the Las Vegas Review Journal reported on February 9, 2008 say, “…It’s too complicated and expensive to address the communities needs in the short-term.” So the argument begins, what is the real cost to use desalination technology? We may not have this answer readily available to address the specific issues that face Southern Nevada. However, if explored we may find that the grass is greener on the other side.

One of Mr. Garland’s chief concerns is the environmental impact building this pipeline would have. My research tells me that the negative impacts on our environment, our ranchers and to future generations will be significant. I don’t see how you can build an 84-inch tube, run it downhill 250 miles and not have a negative impact on the environment. On top of that, taxpayers will be footing the bill to create absolute destruction of one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. If there is an alternative to building this pipeline and it costs a few more bucks, I think it’s worth it. If we can leave this place better than we found it for our children and future generations then we should do just that. If we can use desalination technology to help meet the water needs of Southern Nevada, I say lets use it. At the end of the day I favor a ballot initiative that allows voters to decide how they want to spend their tax dollars. $2 billion dollars is a lot of money any way you look at it-lets do the right thing.

Nathan Taylor

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 Nevada No Comments

Doctor May Have Infected Thousands

Let me give you a scenario whereas a healthy 40-year-old woman goes to the doctor to get what is to be a routine examination. However, this wasn’t your normal doctors office-this is an office that doesn’t use safe practices when it comes to their patients health. To continue the scenario, this young woman heads to another local clinic six months later to get her annual physical and during that exam she has her blood drawn. Days later she gets a phone call from the clinic informing her that she has the deadly HIV Virus. This woman is married and her husband is healthy, she doesn’t cheat on her husband and hasn’t had any blood transfusions.  How in the world did she get HIV?

It pains me to tell you that she was infected with HIV by of all people, her doctor. Last week the story broke in Las Vegas, NV that a local clinic “Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada” may have infected over 40,000 people with hepatitis C, hepatitis B and HIV. This story quickly hit national news and has obviously alarmed thousands of people in the Las Vegas community and surrounding areas. You can’t imagine the anxiety of all those patients who visited this facility.

Now all the questions surrounding this horrific incident begin. Who knew what and when did they know it? Did these Doctors order their staff to reuse needles? Why in the world would a medical professional expose so many people to possible disease? How can we protect ourselves from these practices in the future? What is our government going to do in order to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, and can our government really protect us from rouge physicians?

It may take some time in order to answer many of these questions, but the feelings most of us have are pretty straightforward. Should these doctors be arrested and imprisoned for their actions? My answer is, YES, absolutely they should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Their medical licenses should be revoked and they should never have the ability to obtain a business license in Nevada again. I have to commend Mayor Oscar Goodman and the rest of the Las Vegas City Council for quickly revoking their business license in the city. I have no remorse for these doctors and their staff. There is one thing we should be able to count on when we go to our doctor’s office. We should know that they are looking out for our best interests, and that they are taking every means necessary to follow strict guidelines when it comes to possible contaminated materials, i.e., needles. It is now up to government and regulatory boards to make a strong example out of these doctors. We must not see another case like this again-our health is much too important.

Nathan Taylor

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 Nevada No Comments
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