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NASCAR…remove the yellow-line rule and start your engines! May 10, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 10:35 pm

Drivers like, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are professional “super-speedway car” drivers on tracks like Talladega and Daytona. Winning is what puts food on their table and a roof over their head. In 2001 NASCAR introduced the “yellow-line” rule; it is supposed to create an out of bounds for drivers attempting to pass on the inside at Daytona and Talladega, the two largest speedways on the Winston Cup schedule. The rule was put in place for safety but in turn has proven that it is no safer than before and has taken the ability for a driver to change outcome of the race in fear of being penalized.

The rule states that drivers are not prohibited from dropping below the line to avoid another car, but they will be black-flagged–which forces them to make an unscheduled pit stop before returning to the track–doing so in order to improve their position. Knowing this, drivers often use the line to block faster cars behind them, which muses more trouble. The faster drivers are then forced to either break the rule or abruptly slow down and risk being run over at 190 mph by drafting cars.

A driver can be black-flagged if in NASCAR’s judgment they go below the yellow-line to improve their position or if they force someone below the yellow-line in an effort to stop him from passing. In other words if a driver goes below the yellow-line they lose the race so instead they have to go up and risk wrecking into others in order to win. This gets back to the safety issue. Does the yellow-line rule really provide a safer racing environment? Brad Keselowski, a NASCAR driver, escaped one of the scary crashes in NASCAR history at Talledaga in 2009 coming across the finish line first. Keselowski says it better than most “The yellow line is there to prevent us from running underneath it, prevent us from being crazy. But the bottom line is that is who we are – we’re all crazy race-car drivers and we’re going to run into each other. That yellow line could be six foot higher or six foot lower, and we’d run into each other.”

Two major issues that create hazardous conditions at the Talladega and Daytona NASCAR races are restrictor-plates that reduce horsepower and create racing in packs and the “yellow-line” rule that does not allow the drivers to pass underneath the yellow line that separates the track from the apron. Both of the restrictor-plate tracks you will find people from all over the world sitting on the edge of their seats trying to get as close to the track as possible. Some say these two are the most exciting races to watch because of the dangerous speeds which can be more than 190 mph, and the most massive chain-reaction crashes.

Currently NASCAR can, and does, enforce its written rules as it deems fit, considering the particular incident and its individual circumstance each time. Specific ramifications for specific infractions simply do not exist. This leads to inconsistent rules enforcement. It is time that NASCAR eliminates the “yellow-line” rule and let drivers accept responsibility for their actions. Let the drivers, the risk takers, take risk, it is what they do and they do a great job of it if they are given the opportunity. Every driver is out on that track to take home the win, to cross the checkered flag first. NASCAR fans pay good money and want to see these drivers giving it there all, regardless if that means passing below the yellow-line or on the outside just let them race.

Works Cited
Dolack, Chris. “Yellow Fever: at Restrictor-plate Tracks, NASCAR’s Inconsistent Enforcement of the “yellow-line” Rule Is Leaving a Lot of Drivers Seeing Red.” BNET. CBS Interactive Inc., June-July 2003. Web. 10 May 2010.
Pockrass, Bob. “NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Debate Impact of Yellow-line Rule on Talladega Crash.” Scenedaily.com. Street & Smith’s Sports Group, Inc., 26 Apr. 2009. Web. 10 May 2010.

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NASCAR – Eliminating Yellow Line April 26, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 11:54 pm

1. What is the authority of the commentary?

2. What type of argument is attempted (definition, evaluative, other)?

3. What evidence is cited? Is the evidence convincing? Valid? Verifiable?

4. Where do the two viewpoints conflict? How and why?

5. Which do you judge to be the most convincing? Why?

 

Standing Up! April 17, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 10:29 pm

No one ever said that raising kids was easy, which is one of the reasons one Saturday night I asked my sister Laura if her kids could spend the night with me. The twins were about three months old and I figured she needed a break, Kaylee was 13 and Jade was 8. Laura’s boyfriend was in jail for drugs and alcohol and had been since before Chance and Skylar were born. I knew this had been a trying time for her. I picked the kids up on Saturday and we had a big day planned. We were off shopping, eating out, and enjoying the day. It was a great day and I might add very challenging for me. I had never been around twins before and I found it to be quite challenging. When one was awake the other was sleeping, both were hungry at the same time it seemed like a non-stop job and I was definitely not prepared for the night I had signed up for. After being up pretty much the entire night by the time we got up and got around it was around 11 a.m. I had told Laura I would bring the kids home by noon. We loaded up in the car and off we went to take them home. I have to admit, I was glad. I needed some rest before I had to go back to work on Monday!

As I arrived at my sister’s house I noticed several vehicles in the drive way and along the street. I was somewhat alarmed because she knew I was bringing the kids home in the morning so I was surprised she would still be “partying” at noon on Sunday. As soon as we walked in I knew by the girl passed out on the couch and the other people hanging around in the living room that I did not know what I should do. Could I leave the kids in this environment? Did I want to deal with this? What was I to do?

The answer came to me when I looked up in the hall where Jade was standing looking straight at me scared, sad and lonely with somewhat of a disgusted look on her face. This is an innocent 8 year old girl, my niece, looking at me through the smoke filled room with a helpless look on her face. I immediately said that we were just stopping by and we were on our way shopping. I told Laura I would bring the kids back later that day. We left! I was speechless, mad, disgusted and above all trying to hold my tears back. The kids somewhat shocked did not have much to say. I think they were confused by me saying we were going shopping when only minutes before I was ready to drop them off and go back to my safe house where no babies were screaming, no kids saying I’m hungry, thirsty, bored, etc.

We left, I tried to act as nothing was bothering me but the more I inquired about their living conditions I became as mad as a hornet. The thought of my nieces livng in a drug filled environment lay heavy on my heart like a ton of bricks. The kids and I went shopping; I took them to eat crab legs, something they had only had with me once before. I was trying to determine what my next step was going to be. I had raised three girls; the last was a junior in high school living at home with me at this time. My husband was working out of town for months on end and all I could think was that I could not allow these helpless children to go back into this type of an environment. My family had continued to “turn the cheek” again and again and allow this type of behavior to continue for more than 20 years and I could just not do it again.

I was not going to stand by and allow my sister to put these beautiful innocent children’s live in danger. I filed a report with CPS and called my sister to let her know the kids would not be home. She was furious, cursing and threatening me. All the while I stood strong as an ox. No way was I going to allow her to bully me into bringing them home. It was a long hard road but she went through rehab and is now an active member at church and Narcotics Anonymous. She is 3 years sober and gets better and better every year. Sometimes standing up for what you believe in is not necessarily the easiest thing but the RIGHT THING!

 

Single-parent families do have an affect on the outcome of children but not in the way you may think! April 12, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 5:06 pm

Single parents have somewhat of a distorted image associated with them in the public eye. Strangely enough, according to the single parent statistics, most people would be surprised to learn how much they have in common with the average single parent. The question remains “Do single-parent families affect the outcome of the children?” The answer is yes but not always in a negative way.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007 in November, 2009. There are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today. Those parents are raising 26% of the children under 21 years old. That is 21.8 million children that by no choice of their own are raised in a single parent family.
The statistics show that the average single parent(s) are:

• 84% Mothers 16% Fathers
• 45% Mothers 57.8% Fathers are divorced
• 34.2% Mothers 20.9% Fathers have never married
• 19% Mothers 20% Fathers are married (in most cases remarried)
• 1.7% Mothers Less than 1% Fathers were widowed
• 49.8% Mothers 71.7% Fathers are gainfully employed and work full time
• 29.7% Mothers 18.4% Fathers work part-time
• 27% Mothers 12.9% Fathers who have custody of their children live in poverty

Among custodial single mothers; 22% receive Medicaid, 23.5% receive food stamps, 12% receive some form of public housing or rent subsidy, and 5% receive TANF. 39.1% of custodial mothers are 40 years old or older, and 54% are raising one child and 46% have two or more.

These statistics are astonishing; the “average” single parent is a Mother, divorced or separated, employed, does not live in poverty, does not receive public assistance, is 40 years old or older and is raising one child.

A happy loving single-parent family life would be much more beneficial to a child than living in a home where the parents fight continuously and are not able to show affection and love towards one another. Children learn from what they see and hear. It is not healthy, physically or mentally, to live in a negative environment. As a parent it is your job to ensure your children are safe, healthy and loved.

Effects of single parenting do not have to be negative. There will always be challenges being a single parent however, there are some guidelines that can be put in place in order to have a well-rounded loving support structure. With being a single parent you have the opportunity to create bonds with your children by doing things you may not be able to do if your spouse was there. For instance, a Father might have more opportunities to get involved in his daughters dance recitals or a Mother might be more involved her son’s football activities where as, that might not be as likely to happen if both parents were there.

“Do single-parent families affect the outcome of the children?” The answer is absolutely yes. However, being a parent has the good things and the bad things regardless if you are raising your children together or seperate. As a single parent I can teach my children right from wrong, raise them in the best environment possible, love them with all of my heart and soul, and provide them with the best education available, however every child will make choices in their life that they have to live with, which is not a direct reflection on a single-parent family.

Works Cited
United States. Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. By Timothy S. Grall. Nov. 2009. Web. 8 Apr. 2010. .
Wolf, Jennifer. “Single Parent Statistics.” About.com.: Single Parents. Web. 10 Apr. 2010. .

 

Epitaph – LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE!!!! April 9, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 1:31 am

Live, Laugh and Love! These three words describe Donna Johnson to the tee.

LIVE life to the fullest, whether it be watching the sun rise on the beach in the Caribbean or going hunting for bear, moose or caribou in Alaska do something you have never done before and enjoy every minute of it. That is exactly what Donna would do. Scuba dive in the Caribbean where the water is so clear you can see your reflection. You could be face to face with sharks, beautiful reefs or ship wrecks. Be out in the wilderness, 30 degrees below zero hunting for the bear that you have tracked for 10 miles, just waiting for the perfect opportunity. Just pick one and go for it! Or just maybe do it all! Donna has never been at a lost for adventure. Outdoors is what she lived for! Respect what God has put on this earth and you will be respected in return.

LAUGH every chance you get, because there will always be someone or something that attempts to ruin your day. Donna would never allow someone else to control her feelings or emotions. Life is just too short to be unhappy.

The definition of laugh:
a : to show emotion (as mirth, joy, or scorn) with a chuckle or explosive vocal sound
To show emotion: Donna was a touchy feely person. Very rarely did Donna shake hands, if she knew you and considered you a friend: you always got a hug! She always tried to see the good side of any situation. If there was not a good side, she always made sure that you knew that she was there for you and if she could do ANYTHING to make it better she would.

And then there was LOVE…Donna would never miss telling someone how much she loved them regardless of the situation. Whether she was right, wrong or indifferent, there is such thing as unconditional love. Donna had an unconditional love for the people closest to her. She believed love is what gets you through the good, the bad and the ugly times. Love is why Donna always had a smile on her face. She believed that if you can make one person smile a day, then you have accomplished something…some form of HAPPINESS! After all, happiness is truly what makes us live a long prosperous life!

Donna would not allow sadness at her memorial, there would be beer, lot’s of beer, margaritas, martini’s, whiskey and wine and celebration! Donna lived life to the fullest and would not regret anything that has happened whether it be good or bad. These things have made her who she is…a loving Mother, Nana, Wife and Friend.

If I could sum Donna Johnson up in three tiny words these would be the three…LIVE, LAUGH and LOVE! After all, what more is there?

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laugh

 

Texas House Bill 1084…AN ACT relating to shipment of wine to ultimate consumers. April 2, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 2:52 am

To all my Texan “wine-o” friends out there!!! No longer do we have to try to order enough wine in the cooler months of the year to get us through the summer! Texas House Bill 1084 was signed on June 26, 2009 that increases the amount from 3 to 9 gallons per month!

Because the hot Texas weather creates challenges to delivering wine during certain times of the year, it is difficult for wine permit holders to exercise their ability to deliver the full amount of wine under the statute. On June 26, 2009 Texas House Bill 1084 amended the Alcoholic Beverage Code to increase from three (3) gallons to nine (9) gallons of wine every thirty (30) days. This bill does not increase the maximum of thirty-six (36) gallons (approximately 15 cases) within any 12-month period to a consumer in Texas. (http://www.legis.state.tx.us)

On March 29, 2005 the Texas Senate approved Bill 877 that allows wineries to ship wine directly to consumers. Texas became the 27th state to support limited, regulated direct-to consumer wine shipments. This Bill allowed Texas wineries and out-of-state wineries to ship up to three (3) gallons of wine every thirty (30) days to a consumer in Texas.
Senate Bill 877 did two things:
1. It expanded the rights of Texas wineries to allow them to ship directly to consumers in wet or dry areas without shipping through a package store.
2. It created a permit allowing out-of-state wineries to ship the product they produce or bottle directly to Texas consumers in wet or dry areas.

Two opponents weighing in on the C.S.H.B 1084 were those who wanted to increase the monthly limit to 18 gallons which was provided in the original bill, and those who wanted to remain at 3 gallons per month.
The opponents weighing in against the increase were companies like Glazer’s-controlled Licensed Beverage Distributors PAC, Texas Package Stores Association, and Beer Alliance of Texas all representing the Licensed Beverage Distributors. They argued that the bill could lead individuals reselling wine which would deprive the state of the tax revenue dollars. (http://www.anotherwineblog.com/)

Those who supported the increase to 18 gallons a month argued that consumers who purchase the larger quantities of wine are more likely to be considered wine connoisseurs rather than someone who would want to resell wine. (http://www.anotherwineblog.com/) Many out-of-state wineries are reluctant to ship wine to Texas especially during the months of July and august due to the fact that wine is a perishable product that spoils at temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. By increasing to monthly cap from 3 to 9 gallons a month this will allow consumers to purchase larger quantities during the cooler months of the year.

Thought for the day….In the hot sultry Texas 100+ degree weather, when you are sitting out by the pool fantisizing about sitting on the beach with the palm trees overhead, beautiful blue sky, sun in your eyes, and the sound of waves crashing against the shore with that perfect glass Chardonnay in your hand, just think…You could have 54 gallons in your cellar waiting for you to drink and go back to that “perfect place”!
Wine Quantity Limits
Oz vs liters

Works Cited
Miller, Dan. “Wine Bottle Sizes.” Cellernotes.net. DKOP L.L.C. Web. 05 Apr. 2010. .
“Shipping Restrictions.” Wine and Wine Gifts from My Wines Direct. Ed. Bryan Dougherty. My Wines Direct, Inc. Web. 05 Apr. 2010. .
United States. State of Texas. Licensing & Administrative Procedures. C.S.H.B. 1084. By Truitt. Texas Legislature Online. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. .
“Wine Law: The Times They Are ‘A Changing.” Rev. of Amy Corron Power. Web log post. Another Wine Blog. Amy Corron Power, July 2009. Web. 5 Apr. 2010. .

 

If you steal my car…! April 1, 2010

Filed under: English — johnsdl5 @ 6:56 pm

If you steal my car I hope someday someone takes away something from you that make you feel helpless and violated. Karma is a bitch!

In the year of 2008 in the state of Texas the following vehicle theft statistics were recorded:
• 85,353 vehicles were stolen in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $747,107,801.
• 231,211 thefts from motor vehicles including motor vehicle parts offenses occurred in Texas, accounting for an economic loss totaling $184,558,668.
• The top five stolen vehicles in Texas are: (1) Ford Pickup, (2) Chevy Pickup, (3) Dodge Pickup, (4) Honda Civic, and (5) Honda Accord.
• Texas ranks No. 2 in the nation in auto theft, behind California.
• Half of all stolen vehicles are unlocked and have keys in the ignition at the time of the theft.
• Texas recovered approximately 65% of vehicles stolen
• 6,337 persons were arrested for auto theft in 2008:
• 14% juveniles, 86% adults • 83% male, 17% female
• The most vehicle thefts in 2008 occurred in August, the fewest in February.
(http://www.txdmv.gov/)

I must say these statistics really shocked me. Wow…Texas is second in auto theft only behind California! I think this means it is easier to get stolen vehicles to Mexico from Texas and California than any of the other states. I would bet California’s top five stolen vehicles are not pick-ups. This one really gets me…most vehicles were stolen in August, I am surprised thieves even get out in the hottest month of the year in Texas.

There is nothing worse in my book than a thief. One has to question “What makes someone steal a car?” It is not like you can steal a vehicle and keep it. The Mexican drug cartels drive a lot of the illicit vehicle trading but they are not behind every stolen car but their money drives the professional side of the trade. Drug cartels have several uses for stolen cars. According to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security in some cases traffickers provide the stolen vehicles to smugglers who move weapons bought in the U.S. across the border. Using stolen cars makes good business sense for the cartels, which can minimize losses if the vehicles are seized. (http://finance.yahoo.com/)

I’ve had my purse stolen before. It was the worst feeling in the world. My entire identity, driver’s license, social security card, pictures of my children, cash, checks, credit cards everything gone in seconds. I have never felt more helpless and violated in my life. The first thought that went through my head is…”am I sure I laid it there?” then confusion, followed by panic, fear, anger, and then sadness. I work hard for the things I have. I remember the first car I bought, a 1976 Cutlass Supreme; I got it when I turned 16. I had to work every day after school and every Saturday just to make the payments. But it was worth it, I HAD A CAR! I guess I was raised that you do not get something for nothing.

I do not understand how thieves could think that stealing something could possibly bring good fortune to them. I truly believe in karma and believe in paying it forward. People work hard to get the things that make them happy and comfortable in their lives.

I always hear how friendly people from Texas are. I guess it just goes to show you, we may be a friendly bunch of people, but do not take your eyes off your vehicle while you are here…especially if you are driving a pick-up truck!

Works Cited
Simpson, Cam. “Auto Thefts Plague Border Region.” Online Posting. Yahoo! Finance. The Wall Street Journal, 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 31 Mar. 2010. .
United States. State of Texas. Department of Transportation. TEXAS AUTO BURGLARY & THEFT PREVENTION AUTHORITY. 10 June 2009. Web. 30 Mar. 2010. .