Wednesday, June 17, 2009

LAW FOR ALL

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Copyright

Copyright is a legal fiction designed to protect the works of artists, inventors and innovators. In essence, it is a legal bar, allowing exclusivity for those who create works in the form of an intangible asset which can be sold or relinquished, and which expires upon a certain period of time. With the growth of the internet, and the creation of more and more content, the question of copyright is becoming increasingly more relevant, and one which more and more webmasters are considering to protect their own interests. Additionally, with the rise of the freelancer market, the issue of copyright is becoming a heated topic of debate for both buyers and sellers at every stage in the production chain, and the effects of not having the relevant rights could be potentially catastrophic. In this article, we'll look at what exactly copyright is, and how it relates to the internet in content creation.

Copyright is an artificial concept that gives the creator of a work, or the person he sells the right to, the legal right to use or modify in whole or in part, and to call their own. It has a different meaning in most jurisdictions, however the basic principle is the same: the creator owns the original copyright to the work in question, and has the freedom to pass this on at will, usually in consideration for money. Where a creator is working on commission, copyright is designed to act as a lien in his favour, meaning that if he creates and passes on but does not receive payment, he can withhold copyright and sue for breach where applicable. Of course, he would also have remedies under the ordinary law of contract, but the grasp of copyright is a very powerful tool, which can even be used against the third party buyer from the original commissioner.

Copyright is designed as a tool to cover what is known as intellectual property. Committing intellectual thoughts and ideas to paper, or making them tangible is usually sufficient to give rise to the copyright protection, which usually lasts for a number of decades in preventing others from steeling ideas. This is primarily designed to encourage forward thinking and art, and can be a vital tool in protecting the financial interests of those responsible for some of the world's most vital progressions. Consider the inventors of the seatbelt, Volvo. Volvo could have used their copyright to prevent other manufacturers from installing seat belts, and this would have been sufficient to protect any other manufacturer from doing so. Of course they waived their rights for the safety of the general public, which is also a possible consideration for the creator of something new and innovative.

Copyright is an exhaustible right, and it usually expires on a given date, after which all works enter the public domain. This means that those who create new products have sufficient time to capitalise on their idea before the world at large can join in. Unfortunately for many musicians, this means their artistic works can no longer make them money specifically, and can be used royalty free; a fact that has caused much uproar and unrest in recent years.

Copyright is a dynamic area of the law, and is particularly relevant to the internet. As more and more content of more and more varieties is created online, there comes a need to find protection in copyright law to prevent unscrupulous parties from using content without authorisation. In combating this, a number of international legal organisations have been established with a view to tackling copyright violation, and helping those without legal support to fight cases for the protection of their work. It is undoubtedly an area of law that is on the ascendancy, as lawyers worldwide strive to find a cohesive structure to online intellectual property law, and the protections online authors should be afforded for creating their works. At least within national boundaries, it is highly possible to rely on copyright laws to protect and govern material.


The Potential Effects of The Iraqi War on the Election

The upcoming election has many people wondering exactly how the 'War on Terror' will effect the decision for our next President. With President Bush's approval ratings taking a nose-dive in recent years it seems as if the American people are ready for a change, and want the troops that have been overseas for so long to be returned home to their families and loved ones. Many Americans are upset over the length of time the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have dragged on, and with the steadily rising death toll brave soldiers and their families are paying the ultimate sacrifice for something they no longer wish to be a part of.

The military is beginning to feel the effects of the war as well, with almost 4,000 soldiers deserting in 2006 alone, the highest numbers since World War 2. Many are looking to avoid the war and chaos as much as possible, which leaves the country trying to determine whether another Republican in office is going to make things better, or potentially worse for the country. As some issues in Iraq are cleaned up, more appear on an almost daily basis, causing the troops return date to be delayed even further.

Many Americans are also highly upset that while the troops are overseas, there is no definite timeframe for withdrawal, and no clear idea of when they will return home. No timeline has been determined, despite the long duration of military presence in these conflict areas. People all across the country are starting to feel as if this is potentially nothing more than a game that President Bush is playing, while using the troops as his personal game chips. A deadline for returning the troops has been discussed numerous times, yet has never materialized into anything worthwhile.

Where does this leave the country? With thousands killed in Iraq there are numerous votes that should have been counted in the next election that will be missing, as the fallen soldiers are all missed. With Bush's approval ratings in the mid to low 30's range, it is starting to look very bleak for the Republican party to manage to find a strong enough candidate to run on their ticket who can repair the massive 'goodwill' damage from the Bush administration.

It is suspected that the effects of the war will have a damper on the election, especially since in the course of the war the House has moved to a Democratic majority in power. With this major shift, as well as Bush's approval ratings being so low, it seems obvious that the people are sitting up and taking notice of everything that is occurring all around the country, the question remains, is how deeply this will upset the election and how heavily it will weigh on the minds of voters while they are standing in the polls casting those final ballots.

Many are rejoicing that Bush is unable to run, after seeing the war, as well as the state of the economy and hoping for a much better outcome from the next election. With the next election, looming in the horizon it will be very interesting to see how everything plays out in the political arena and the attitudes and ideas that the candidates will be emphasizing.

Executive Compensation to the People

There is a bill in the progress before the House of Representatives that is trying to put the issue of the pay and compensation package that executives of publicly traded companies receive in front of stockholders. This bill is actually expected to pass through the house successfully; however, it is unclear how well the Senate will receive it. Is this bill the right direction for a modern America, or do we need to consider more intimately the economic implications of such a decision?

The White House has already formally registered its opposition to such a plan, however the backers are unconcerned. Many feel that the compensation plans of the major officers of the publicly traded companies should be tied to the performance of the company and the officers themselves, and not to the figures that the officers wish to receive.

This bill if passed could place an enormous amount of power into the hands of stockholders who are upset with the way several companies have behaved lately, with declining profits and horrible business practices while the officers of the companies have picked up large compensation packages that include their salary, benefits, and stock options. Each officer can end up with hundreds if not thousands in profits even while the company is performing badly, which stockholders believe is an inequitable outcome.

Many have wondered if the officers in charge of these companies would tighten the belts on spending if their own pay was tied to their performance rather than their wishes, and with numerous companies falling short of profits with huge pay packages going out, and raises occurring almost yearly many investors have started complaining loudly.

While current President Bush has urged the officers of the companies to step up and take responsibility. He has also said that it is not an issue that the government should become involved in. How far should the government extend into a private business? How many people would really feel comfortable with the idea of having the government determine what their pay could be? Most Americans can agree that they would not like the idea of the government interfering with their job and pays.

At the same time, while most Americans do not wish to have the government intruding into their jobs and careers, many still want some measures put into place to hold the executives accountable who are responsible for multi-million and multi-billion companies that employ hundreds to thousands of people.

Many have argued that the concept is nothing new; it is similar to ideas that are currently in place in countries such as Sweden, Australia and even in Britain. With examples such as those to follow, it makes people wonder if this actually does have the chance to pass through the House of Representatives and the Senate once the voting time has arrived.

With time as the key factor, there is scheduled to be a vote on the issue in the House of Representatives in the very near future, which is very much expected to pass without much opposition. It is the next step in the Senate that is where it starts getting sticky with people unsure of the results once the voting in the Senate starts. However, with increasing support from the people, many of whom work for companies affected by this issue, there is scope for a mass political influence, which will certainly make the outcome interesting.

Gun Control Under Debate

After the recent massacre at Virginia Tech, once again the mammoth issue of gun control has been brought up at full force. Many are highly upset that even after gun control laws have been enacted that the killer in the massacre was approved for a gun and purchased it in less than 30 minutes. Many have speculated that had there been much harsher guidelines in place, that the sale would not have been completed, and it could have potentially saved all of the lives that were tragically lost in the disaster.

The death toll from the massacre has risen to over 30 killed and more than 20 wounded. This is aside from the emotional damage that has been caused to the hundreds who are left grieving in the wake, and those who experienced first hand the trauma of the event. How can such events really be avoided? Is it possible to avoid such tragedy with firmer gun laws?

What about the programs that offer rewards in the form of video game systems, computers and even cash in exchange for turning guns into the police? Are these programs effective? In order to truly control guns, there has to be consensus around the country where everyone agrees that it is time for a change and the change occurs quickly, and without opposition. Gun laws are clearly too lax, and our country needs to take action to avoid scenes like those in Virginia from reoccurring.

The chances of something such as this happening are almost impossible. Neither side of the political arena can agree with the other side about what appropriate gun control is, and with many residents of the United States being avid hunters whom use riffles and shotguns on an almost daily basis, it makes it very difficult to control all of the actions and movements that occur.

Consider that many weapons used in crimes are illegally obtained; it makes it very difficult to determine how effective the stiffer gun laws would really be. With a new Presidential Primary due to start in the near future, it will seem as if there will be much heavy debate over how to control the flow of guns into the hands of those who are dangerous, or potentially dangerous.

Facts remain, that while the election is likely to focus on this issue, there is still the issue of preserving the Constitutional right to "bear arms" as long as it is done legally, and those who already have the weapons currently can potentially be just as dangerous as those looking to purchase the guns in the future. We are left with the task of trying to avoid the tragedy as much as possible.

Colorado stepped up to the plate with a swift action enacting much stiffer gun laws after the Columbine school massacre in which two teenage boys entered their school donning trench coats and heavy weapons leaving a wake of blood and fallen students in the path. Colorado decided to avoid future incidents and enact the tougher laws. It is suspected that Virginia will follow in this path. The fate of the country rests in the hands of those elected to the public offices to help determine exactly how far gun control should go, and how the changes should occur.

Minimising Tax Liability On Death

When we die, most of us leave behind a fairly substantial and intricate web of assets and liabilities, including money, our home and our other possessions. In most jurisdictions, there arises a liability to tax on death that must be borne from the totality of the estate, and this can lead to a significant reduction of inheritance for our loved ones. Having said that, there are a number of ways in which liability to tax on death can be vastly reduced whilst still ensuring sufficient legacies and provisions mortis causa. In this article, we will look at some of the most salient ways in which one can seek to minimise his estate's liability to tax on death, and ways in which careful planning can help increase the legacies we leave behind.

Tax liability on death usually arises through bad inheritance planning, and a lack of legal consideration. Of course to a certain extent it is unavoidable, but with some care and consideration it is possible to reduce liability overall. There's absolutely no point in making legacies in a will which won't be fulfilled until after death and which haven't been properly considered in light of the relevant legal provisions. If you haven't done so already, it is extremely advisable to consult an attorney on minimising liability on death, and on effective estate planning to avoid these potential problems and to ensure your family are left with more in their pockets.

If you intend to leave legacies to family members of a specific quantity or nature, it may be wise to do so at least a decade before you die, which will ultimately divert any potential legal challenges upon death which would give rise to tax liability. Obviously there is seldom any way to tell precisely when you are going to die, but making legacies at least a decade beforehand avoids any liability that might be attached on death. In effect, donating during your lifetime well before you die means you can still provide for your family and friend without having to pay the corresponding tax bill.

Another good way to minimise tax liability is to get rid of assets during your lifetime by way of gifts to friends and family. One of the most effective ways to do this is to transfer your house to your children during your lifetime, or to move the house into a trust for which you are a beneficiary. This means you remain functionally the owner, but legally, the asset doesn't feature in your estate on death and therefore doesn't attract tax liability. Again, it is of great importance to ensure that the transfer is made well before death to avoid potential challenges and potential inclusion in the estate which would lead to inheritance tax liability.

Death is a particularly important phase in our lives, particularly in legal terms. The change between owning our own property and distributing ownerless property provides a range of challenges, and the controversial tax implications can cause serious problems. Without careful planning and an expert hand, it can be easy to amass a significant tax bill for your loved ones to bear. However, with the right direction, it can be easy to use the relevant mechanisms to minimise the potential liability to tax on your estate upon death.

Natural Law Theory

In attempting to garner an understanding of the nature of law, early legal philosophers and academics formulated what has come to be known as the natural law theory, and has become a literal cornerstone of the development of modern legal thinking. Although somewhat limited in modern jurisprudential thinking, natural law has had a tremendous impact on our understanding of what law means in society as a baseline from which to build more complex theories. In this article, we will look at some of the major propositions underpinning the concept of natural law, and the corresponding strengths and weaknesses of this fundamental interpretation of the legal function.

Natural law starts with the basic premise that the law is driven by morality, and consequently is affected by it. With a history extending back to Aristotle and other early philosophers, the natural law theory has traditionally linked the law with religion and an innate sense of justice, rather than the more pragmatic approaches of some other theories. Although this might sound rather basic, the principals have been developed and refined through academic debate for centuries ultimately leading to a far more sophisticated theory of the nature of law. The idea that all law is subject to an unwritten code of morality is fundamental to natural law. This also throws up some potential problems in terms of civil regulation. Certain natural law theorists suggest that for a law to be binding on the citizen, it must conform to this sense of natural justice. However, there is clearly no definitive objective concept of morality, which casts doubt over this principle. Additionally, the prospect that a law may be disregarded in favour of some higher sense of morality doesn't conform in reality, considering the potential implications of consistently disregarding law on the grounds of the subjective concept of justice.

Furthermore on this primitive understanding of natural law, the citizen in contravention to the laws of his state, could attempt to excuse his actions through a justification of 'immoral' laws. This would also create a state of disorder, given the natural variation of personal opinions, which would ultimately render society unworkable. For this reason, the natural law scheme has failed to garner modern academic acceptance, of course with a few exceptions.

Natural law has been proposed as a consideration in trying war criminals, on the basis of the retrospectivity principle, i.e. no man can be tried for a crime that was not a crime when he committed it. Many war criminals are merely cogs in the machine of a legal regime, which ultimately permits their actions, however unjustifiable morally. Natural law theories give a basis for challenge on these grounds, whilst avoiding the awkward question of direct legal contravention, which ultimately works to serve justice. In this sense, it is perhaps useful as a canon of interpretation and in determining just and equitable outcomes in 'difficult' cases. However, as a wider legal concept, natural law and the proposed intersection between law and morality seems too awkward to reconcile with considered academic legal understandings. Having said that, natural law has provided an excellent starting position for further advanced argumentation, and has provided a platform for critique that has been essential to the development of the more sophisticated ideas held in regard in this modern day.

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Natural Law vs. Positivism

The philosophy of law is a complex and in depth study, which requires an intimate knowledge of the legal process in general as well as a philosophical mind. For centuries, the scope and nature of law has been debated and argued from various view points, and intense intellectual discussion has arisen from the fundamental question of 'what is law'. In response, several major schools of thought have been born, of which the natural law scholars and positivists are two of the most notable. These two camps hold strictly contrasting views over the role and function of law in certain circumstances, and have provided in themselves platforms for criticism and debated which continue to be relevant today.

Although the classifications of natural law and positivism are frequently used, it is important to remember that they cover a very wide range of academic opinion. Even within each camp, there are those veering towards more liberal or more conservative understandings, and there is also naturally a grey area. Having said that, academics and philosophers can be enveloped by one of the categories on the basis of certain fundamental principles within their writings and opinions.

Natural law has always been linked to ultra-human considerations, that is to say a spiritual or moral influence determinant of their understandings of the way law operates. One of the founding principles is that an immoral law can be no law at all, on the basis that a government needs moral authority to be able to legislate. For this reason, natural law theories have been used to justify anarchy and disorder at ground level. This had lead to widespread criticism of the natural law principles, which have had to be refined and developed to fit with modern thinking. On the flip side, natural law has been used as a definitive method of serving 'justice' to war criminals and former-dictators after their reign.

Some of the strongest criticisms of natural law have come from the positivist camp. Positivism holds at its centre the belief that law is not affected by morality, but in essence is the source of moral considerations. Because morality is a subjective concept, positivism suggests that the law is the source of morality, and that no extra-legal considerations should be taken in to account. Positivism has been criticised for allowing extremism and unjust actions through law. It has also been suggested that positivism in its strictest sense is flawed because it ignores the depth and breadth of language in legal enactment, which means the positive law can be read in different lights based on differing meanings of the same word. Despite this, positivism has been seen as one of the fundamental legal theories in the development of modern legal philosophy over the last few decades, and is winning widespread favour through a contemporary academic revival.

Natural law and positivism have been the subject of an ongoing academic debate into the nature of law and its role within society. Both respective legal schools have criticised and built on one and others theories and principles to create a more sophisticated philosophical understanding of the legal construct. Although the debate is set to continue with a new generation of promising legal theorists, both natural law and positivism have gained widespread respect for their consistency and close analyses of the structure of law.

No Child Left Behind

What exactly does No Child Left Behind really mean? Does that mean that a school bus driver agrees not to leave my child at school, or does it have a deeper meaning for parents to look into? What it really means, is that schools are forced to link the money they receive from the federal government in direct connection to how well students perform academically. Looking at the sheer facts of life, schools must have money in order to educate students.

Yet with the need for money in the schools rising steadily there needed to be a solution to ensure that students were, being taught the skills they needed in order to be successful adults who are capable of securing a job. Many students have graduated from high school in the last several years without the ability to complete many basic tasks such as reading, writing, and elementary level arithmetic.

After experiencing this phenomenon for several years, President Bush stepped up to the plate and proposed tying the results of students to the financial assistance that schools received as an incentive for schools to perform better. A grade was also assigned to schools each year based upon the standardized test scores that would tell parents, educators and the country as a whole how well the schools in a district were performing.

If a school performs badly, parents and students are given the option to transfer to another school that received a better grade; this directly affects the amount of money each school is capable of receiving. This puts a great pressure on schools to perform better. Schools are forced to start taking note, and answering questions in regard to why students are not performing on an acceptable academic level when the report cards come out. Each school has the ability to improve their grades and scores simply by teaching students the information needed.

Many parents are upset by the program; they feel their children are being pushed too hard in classes. Many other parents are very happy with the program; they feel that the schools are just now being forced to be accountable for the education that students are receiving. As the future draws more into the technological era, it becomes clear, that technology is king. In order for students to be able to secure jobs, they must have basic skills and be able to handle the pressures of life.

Students must leave school fully prepared to take on a job, make a name for themselves, and improve their lives. Many students upon graduating from school were forced previously to go onto welfare and take jobs only in low paying jobs that were unable to turn into careers. Many students now are able to go onto decent paying jobs that show the possibility to grow into careers, thus avoiding the welfare trap that many recent graduates were forced into.

How the schools perform in the next few years will really determine how well our outlook is for the job market. With more jobs moving overseas to cheaper labor, it is very important that students leave school with the knowledge and ability to help keep jobs here for the future generations, for it is only with a graduate-led economy we can remain competitive on an international level.

Online Campaigns

Where in the world can a person check their mail, pay bills, check bank balances, book a vacation, and show support for their favorite political candidate all in the same place? Simple - online of course. Candidates and politicians are looking to cash in on the most impact for their time and what better way to become a part of that powerful trend than welcoming cyber space into their lives? Who knew that a craze that started a few short years ago with social websites such as MySpace.com would turn into a tool to be used so heavily in campaigns?

Barack Obama has enjoyed adding 100,000 friends to his MySpace page, and other campaigns are even adding other MySpace pages as well as joining into the Second Life craze that has struck recently, with many people looking to expand the internet as one of their major sources of advertisement. Each candidate has their own website of course, with a great amount of information on their individual views, their position on the issues, and what they wish to see happen in the country. Never before has the democratic process reached so close to home, now pulling in a new generation of voters to guide the future of the country.

Is this a good idea? Should candidates really be losing that personal and physical touch? However, this is actually one of the most prevalent ways to get information out recently, with websites popping up everywhere where political opinions can be viewed, and with sites such as digg.com becoming popular it enables sites with good content that is full of information people find fascinating or helpful to rise to the top, and help spread the word to the masses.

Seems almost like a grass roots type campaign. Yet it does not involve any physical interaction from the candidates. This is the ultimate tool that can be used to spread the word quickly about progress and updates in their campaign without ever leaving their house or office and interacting with those they so desperately need votes from. This seems to be a bit of a strange position to be taking, but with the internet reaching so wide and far, it is a tool that many politicians are utilizing, and to great practical effect.

Many are even recruiting volunteers to manage their spaces in Second Life as well as MySpace so that their time is better spent and their ability to reach even more people is extended further. Seems almost strange that volunteers are now able to help on campaigns that they never would have been able to work on before, but thanks to the internet, they are able to show support for their favorite candidate in a way never before seen.

How much further can this really go, with the possibility of the internet growing into an even larger portion of the campaign, it is very much possible to keep track of all the happenings and events in almost every political campaign and race without ever leaving the comfort of your home. Whether this engages the ordinary citizen on a more direct level will remain to be seen, and the outcome this will have on the voter demographic at the next election will surely be profound. Now if only the election voting could be handled online, securely it would truly be a virtual world...

Positivist Legal Theory

The question of the character of law is primarily a simple one, although it presents a diversity of argumentation to make it an academic favourite and a thought-provoking topic of debate. Positivism is the term describing the school of legal thought that follows that law is an authoritative, binding, regulatory construct. It holds at its core the idea that law is enacted as an authoritative statement of how society must behave. It rejects the concept of any connection with morality, and suggests that there is no room for subjective consideration of the law - the law is, with no room for negotiation. Positivism has been criticised, particularly in Germany, as a means of affording tyranny and extremism to enter mainstream politics. It is said that the general concept of accepting and enforcing the law by virtue of its status allows unjust laws enforcing prejudice and discrimination respect by virtue of their enactment, placing an indefeasible trust in the legislature. As compared to other legal theories, positivism has gathered a great deal of respect and support across the world, making it one of the most prominent considerations of the nature of law.

Positivism places strength on the rules as they are laid down, on the premise that the process of the legislature is the time for challenge and interpretation. Although this may generally be the case, it does throw up some problems in relation to the practical consequences of certain enactments, which reflect better with experience the level of effectiveness. Another feature of the positivist movement is that rather than be guided by moral considerations, the law can be used in certain circumstances to determine what is right and what is wrong, on the basis of its status as in accordance with or against the law. Again this causes problems that have formed the basis of much academic argumentation in the area.

One of the main criticisms of positivism as a theory came in light of the linguistic considerations of HLA Hart, a leading international legal philosopher. He stated that the positive law is far from fixed in nature, for the simple reason that language is not fixed. For example, the famous scenario offered for this point is a sign in a local park stating 'no vehicles allowed'. This is by no means a fixed and definitive statement of the law, because 'vehicles' can be taken to mean a broad range of things. For the most part it will be fairly obvious what falls within the scope - no cars, vans, trucks or trains would be permitted. But what about skateboards? Bicycles? Are these covered within the definition of vehicles? There is no way of knowing from the text exactly what is intended by the law, so to positivism in this strict sense is flawed. Rather, a more sophisticated approach is required, which allows the law to be read in the light of pragmatic and policy considerations. This makes positivism more palatable as a concept, and strengthens its validity at the heart of legal philosophy.

Positivism is only one in a series of mainstream legal theories which satisfy the rational and logical requirements of academics and practitioners alike. Its intellectual sophistication sets it apart from the more basic natural law theory, although it is by no means an utterly definitive set of beliefs. All in all, this is an area of study that is rapidly developing, producing new and more complex arguments with every empirical text.

Sex Offender Laws

With the high rise in the number of sex offenders who are also repeated offenders the federal government decided to impose laws requiring all convicted sexual offenders to register with the states in which they live. Although this measure is controversial, government officials are claiming that it is an increasingly effective method of avoiding re-offending in some of the most serious criminals. Is this an invasion of privacy that the states and politicians have imposed upon someone who has served their sentence, or is this a legitimate measure of control for some of society's most dangerous offenders?

At some point in time, it became acceptable for the government to track former criminals; in requiring them to register as an offender, they are essentially tracking the criminal. They do nothing more than monitor closely their whereabouts, actions, friends, lifestyle, etc. How this came to be is quite scary, while it has occurred for a crime that fits the punishment, after all our children should be protected. It also comes with a price. Many people see this as an intense invasion of privacy and human rights, and in Europe under the banner of the European Convention on Human Rights, such procedures would almost certainly not be allowed.

Since beginning this and requiring that all sexual offenders register with their respective states, it opens the door for criminals of other crimes to be required to register. Once that occurs, it allows the governments to start requiring slowly that everyone be registered for one reason or another. Is this something that the people are willing to let happen? Should the government have full knowledge and control over where you go, who your friends are and where you work?

Many feel that the laws for the sexual offenders are not stiff enough; they call for stricter punishments and heavier penalties for these most despicable of criminals. This comes from the side of people that wish to seek nothing more than revenge. At the same time, if someone commits a crime whom is sent for mental help, instead of jail they are not required to register. Their offenses are recorded differently, and their punishment is much easier.

This can cause serious problems in terms of people not being registered that really should be registered as an offender. The main goal of the program is to protect the interest of the children; after all, they are the main resource worth protecting in society. Nevertheless, how far is too far? Some have suggested implanting the offenders with a microchip that would enable law enforcement agencies to track the offenders' movements continuously. Is this something that the American public is willing to accept?

With this being talked about, what are the chances of this occurring for other crimes as well? What is the point of releasing someone from the judicial system if they are so dangerous that they must be continuously tracked? As a woman, or a child how safe do you feel knowing that there are people surrounding you whom have been convicted of serious crimes against others? What about as a man, does this change your opinion? The requirement for registration causes social problems and victimization for those offenders, arguably justifiably, who have shown themselves to be dangerous. This has the knock on effect of altering the course of justice, given that these people will have served the appropriate sentence for their crime, and hopefully have progressed through the systems of rehabilitation in place.

How do you think it should be handled? There are some people who truly believe that the registrations processes should be removed, that once their time is served the offenders should be allowed to disappear back into the woodwork and free to live their lives without being under the public scrutiny. These are the people who are looking to have yet another law changed, that could have some very devastating effects on society, particularly for our children in the coming generations.

Stem Cell Research- Good or Bad?

This is a very 'hot button' issue that keeps arising in the face of politicians everywhere in the country. What if anything should the government involve itself in for the issues of stem cell research? How far should the government press into the fields of medical science research? Should the government interfere at all, or stand back and come up with laws to handle the consequences of such research?

It comes into question, how many ordinary Americans really know and understand what stem cell research is, how it can effect our lives, and what does it have the ability to do in the future? With topics such as abortion being very hot and causing pressures on all sides, it only seems natural that stem cell research should cause just as much controversy. Many supporters argue that the research gathered will be able to save millions of lives, while those opposing the research all argue that they are killing thousands of innocent children in the process.

This brings the question, where do the embryos come from? The majority of the embryos used in the research come from couples that have donated them, following a treatment for infertility; there are often 10 or more embryos left over after such procedures, which can be put to use in the laboratory environment. The options for those embryos are limited; they can be preserved, adopted to a needy couple, destroyed, or donated to medical research.

The embryos are only a few mere days past conception when they are frozen, and are unable to sustain life in any form on their own. From a legal standpoint, they are not living humans, and are not an infant since legally an embryo becomes an infant once the first breath of air is taken. This leaves the questions of who has the right to determine what can happen to them.

The embryos are the building blocks of people, yet, they have no rights themselves. Whom do they belong to? Who is responsible for ensuring they are taken care of? Many consider the embryos being used in research as the same category as murder. Is it actually murder when the child is never born, and is only conceived in a test tube? Who should really make the decision about how these embryos should be handled?

The embryos themselves are rich in stem cells, which scientists have said can help cure some of the worst diseases and conditions in the world. This makes the concept very tempting, but is this dabbling in aspects of science that shouldn't be used? Should humans really be trying to recreate whole body parts and organs from the stem cells in order to help a few, but at the expense of a few other lives?

The current administration has tried to place a ban on this research and block the use of the embryos. This has upset many supporters who feel this research is vital to the survival of the human race, while those who digress the ideas are upset that is has not been banned fully yet. Where is the better side to stand? Should we allow the government to meddle into the scientific aspects of medicine, or should we continue the research to save thousands, or millions of lives?


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