Monday, December 22, 2008

Equal Time For Plant Life

It is a scientific fact that plants "cry in pain" when attacked or damaged by a hungry herbivore. They do have their own "alarm" reaction to tissue damage and, in an effect curiously similar to that in animals.

Plants make a hormone called "Jasmonic acid" when they are in distress. It signals the production of plant-defense compounds -- it works a little like a shot of pain, warning the plant that it is under attack. It can also pass off a vapor and warn nearby plants, a chain reaction that's like a warning signal to other plants.

Plant life is "life" after all and should be treated as such. I do not see any plant demonstrators saying we shouldn't be harvesting plants for medical research, or that nurseries are cramming vegetables into small containers. They are kept in nurseries all their life. There are some species of plants that are going to be "extinct" if we do not act now.

Nurseries are cramming new sprouts and seeds into plant mills and are harvested as soon as they are ripe. They don't even get a chance to blossom. Thousands of seeds are being thrown out or discarded. Who is going to take in all the discarded seeds?

Thousands of fruits and vegetables are just ripped from the vine they grow up on, and thrown away because they aren't good enough.

It is easier to kill a plant because it cannot move, you cannot hear it scream or see it look you in the eye as you drain the life from them. How cruel can it be, to pull them out by their roots and throw them into a pot of boiling water, or a pan full of boiling oil?

Just because plants do not have nervous systems and cannot run away from predators, does that mean they do not experience pain and suffering?

Let little Fauna and Flora live, once all plant life is destroyed, all animal life would cease to exist.

Plants provide us with oxygen; cows provide us with methane gas.

Save a plant today, eat red meat.

A good steak today will save a salad for tomorrow.

Joe Sinagra

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Illegal Immigration taking toll on Economy

Immigrants / migrant workers come here on a work visa, and when it expires its time to go back. No one is saying they can't or shouldn't work here; the problem is they aren’t leaving when their visas expire as no one is enforcing that. For some reason illegals feel they don't have to obey our customs. There are immigrants and there are illegal immigrants, there is a difference. Immigrants, who want to stay, get in line and apply for US citizenship the same way all immigrants in the past did. To me once you become a citizen you are no longer an immigrant. We don't need new laws written, what we need is our government to provide the personnel to enforce our existing immigration laws. We need to make it harder for illegals to receive an education, to get a job, and get medical, that make it less enticing to stay, or more of an incentive to gain citizenship.

The argument that illegals pay taxes depends on what side of the fence (no pun intended) you’re on. If you’re paying $2000 a year in taxes, but receiving $25,000 in benefits it just doesn't balance out. As a citizen I go to the emergency room and have to pay $300, as an illegal with no coverage Charity Care picks up the tab. Which we all pay for and are why our health care costs are so expensive.

Everyone one of us had family who immigrated here. But they worked to become citizens, and didn't expect handouts. My grandfather couldn't speak English and learned it, his first job as a milkman, then as a janitor and then bought his own farm. His proudest day was when he became a citizen.

What we are talking about is ILLEGAL immigrants, why is it so hard to differentiate between the two?

As a kid, as an American, I have worked as a janitor, I have worked in construction, I have bused tables, stocked shelves, washed dishes and as an adult whatever it took to make money to support my family and pay for college. To say there are Americans who won't work these jobs is a crock of bull.

Farmers, construction all want cheap labor that’s OK. Just enforce the work visas for immigrants. Not leaving after your time is up is what makes you illegal. The contractors are screwing themselves and it also affects the unions. When illegals become semi skilled or feel they have enough knowledge to go on their own, who do you think they are going to hire?

They hire their buddies across the border who then come here and cut costs on framing, sheet rocking, masonry, etc. Even though they charge less, they still make more then they would back home. Plus the money is sent back across the border, not going back into the economy that’s giving them a living.

An illegal sends US money home, and they receive the government freebies that come with being an illegal.

I don't receive the free benefits that illegals get and must pay for my kids education, I don't receive it free. I pay for my hospitalization; I don't receive Charity Care from the state. I need to pay taxes to keep my house, I don't receive housing assistance. Not only do Americans pay their own way, they pay higher to support the free programs for illegals.

Then we have the illegals come here and demand rights. If they want rights go back to their country and demonstrate there, but they won't because they will be seen again. It's amazing how illegals can come from nothing and then come here and complain about wanting more.

When the media writes an article about immigrants, they talk about them as if everyone is the same. Talk about illegals, not about immigrants who came here to work hard and become citizens. It is unjust and unfair to grant amnesty to illegals, when millions of immigrants studied and earned the right to come here legally and be called an American.

Illegal immigration causes an enormous drain on public funds. Taxes paid by ILLEGAL immigrants do not cover the cost of services received by them. We will not be able to provide quality education, health care, and retirement security for our citizens if we continue to bring in endless numbers of poor, unskilled immigrants.

Waves of illegal immigrants willing to work at substandard wages and working conditions depresses the wages of American workers, hitting hardest at minority workers and those without high school degrees.

Illegal immigration adds to tremendous population growth with the over crowding of our school classrooms, consuming already limited affordable housing, and straining precious natural resources like water, energy, and forestland

Hospitals receive funded monies to accommodate Charity Care Emergency Medical Assistance. So in essence we are legally paying for services to illegal immigrants

We need to stop giving illegal aliens jobs, education, ID’s and housing.

We need a program to end illegal immigration; that means ensuring that people who enter illegally or overstay their lawful status will not be able to obtain employment, public assistance benefits, public education, public housing, or any other taxpayer-funded benefits.

Yes it will cost us, but the savings of what it is costing the counties, communities and school districts will be astronomical.

It is costing the state’s taxpayers nearly $2.1 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration due to the illegal alien population residing in New Jersey alone.

Based on Census Bureau data, studies estimate that households headed by illegal aliens used $10 billion more in government services than they paid in taxes. If illegals had been given amnesty, the fiscal deficit at the federal level would grow to nearly $29 billion.

The average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes, for a total of nearly $16 billion, but they impose annual costs of more than $26.3 billion, or about $6,950 per illegal household.

Amnesty would increase costs because many illegal immigrants are largely unskilled; their tax payments would be very modest. However, once legalized they would have access to many more government services.

Illegal aliens receive free public education; states grant illegal aliens college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition. An estimated 11.7 percent of the K-12 public school students in New Jersey are children of illegal aliens.

Free medical care at taxpayer expense. Those who do not qualify for Medicaid will receive Charity Care paid by the State. Taxpayer-funded, unreimbursed medical outlays for health care provided to the state’s illegal alien population amount to an estimated $200 million a year.

All are great incentives for illegal aliens to enter the US illegally.

Over 17% of our Federal Prison population consists of illegal aliens. The uncompensated cost of incarcerating deportable illegal aliens in New Jersey’s state and local prisons, amounts to about $50 million a year.

Iranians have been caught sneaking over the border. Over 100,000 illegal aliens from the Middle East currently reside in the U.S. If we can’t deal with the influx of illegal aliens in the US, how would we protect ourselves from terrorism?

The costs associated with illegal immigration, Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

A proposal requiring employers to fire workers who falsify identity documents, is favored by Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans, 74% believe that they should be required to provide documents proving they are in the country legally if a person wants to rent an apartment.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans believe it is very important to improve border enforcement and reduce illegal immigration, a view that is held by 80% of Republicans.

By a margin of (60% to 28%), Americans believe it is more important to gain control of the nation’s borders than to “legalize the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States.”

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Americans support doubling the number of border agents.

A majority of Americans (54%) oppose the current U.S. law that grants automatic citizenship to children of illegal aliens born in the United States, 63% opposes automatic citizenship.

The options we have are simple. We either accept the costs created by the presence of the large pool of illegal aliens, or enforce our laws by reducing the numbers of illegal aliens in the United States.

When we have groups in our nation flying their flag above ours, when we have people entering our country illegally and demanding that we as an American people live by their standards, we will have lost our traditions and our heritage.

Ask any illegal if they would be willing to die to protect our freedom in order to remain a permanent citizen of our country.

We are either American or un-American. Our veterans who fought and died for our rights and individual freedoms will have fought in vain.

How many more can this ship we call America take on, before it capsizes?

Joe Sinagra

Schools must be prepared to handle terrorist attack

We need to apply homeland-security funding to our schools. Is it that our school and elected officials are afraid to talk about it as it may generate more fear in our communities?

Not addressing the real threat of terrorism in our schools creates more fear among parents and school officials due to lack of information. Education, preparation and communication are the best way to manage those fears.We need to create a comprehensive safeschool plan at the district level. Have a school-security staff, conduct periodic drills, coordinate emergency-management plans, screen vendors who provide services to schools, and enact and implement safety and crisis-preparedness policies.

Our teachers are the first responders in any school emergency. They need to be trained and prepared as to what to look for and how to handle a crisis.

This would not be voluntary; it must be mandated.

Although a terrorist attack upon schools in the United States or our community may be an improbability, the first step toward preparedness is admitting that it is at least possible that terrorists could strike a school or schools.

How much of an improbability is it? Look at Stockton, Calif. (1989); Frontier Junior High, Washington (1996); Pearl High School, Mississippi (1997); Littleton, Colo., (April 20, 1999); Taber, Alberta, Canada, (May 28, 1999); Conyers, Ga., (May 20, 1999); Deming, N.M., (Nov. 19, 1999), Fort Gibson, Okla., (Dec. 6, 1999); Santee, Calif., (March 5, 2001); El Cajon, Calif., (March 22, 2001); Red Lake High School, Minn., (2005); the Amish school in Pennsylvania (2006); Blacksburg, Va., (April 16, 2007). On Oct. 27 there was a shooting on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

The trend in recent years to cut schoolsafety budgets is disturbing. Our leaders have pushed to increase funding to protect our airlines, bridges, monuments and hallways of Capitol Hill. It makes no sense to cut funding to protect the children and teachers in the "soft-target" hallways of America's schools.

Funding for school security and emergency planning should not only be spared from cuts, it should also be incrementally increased as we continue to increase our national defense and anti-terrorism preparedness in other public sectors.

This is where accountability comes in for homeland-security funds. Where has the money been spent?

Our leaders must acknowledge that it is a possibility that some form of terrorism can occur in our schools, and we must have plans to prevent and prepare for such an incident.

Many of our schools have an emergency plan, but how many of us know what that plan is if it were to be implemented? How many parents would know what to do in the event of a school lockdown? Would rushing to pick up your child make a bad situation worse?

The emergency plan is one that we would hope to never use, but we need to exercise it to ensure that everything falls into place once it is activated.

Many of our schools have a plan in place but do not use or practice it. The review of a school's plan is not required by the federal government, which only needs to verify that an emergency plan has been filed with the state. Colleges and universities are not required to have a plan.

In 2007 a 50-state study by the Government Accountability Office showed that in many cases, schools have never trained alongside local emergency-response teams, and in a few districts, school officials won't even be able to use their walkie-talkies to communicate with first responders during an emergency.

Of those with emergency plans, 27 percent have never trained with first responders, as the government recommends; only 29 percent train with "community partners" such as hospitals and municipalities.

In the event of terrorist threats, the public needs to be informed as to what our local schools, teachers and officials will do to safeguard our children.

To say it could never happen, look again at the list.

Joseph Sinagra